I actually didn’t realize I was 12 weeks out today until writing this. The realization brought with it a punch to the gut that was a mix of both fear and excitement. I guess you can say it was the first of what I’m sure will be a series of “shit just got real” moments over the next few months!
This past week could have been a total disaster, but I’m happy to say that I had an awesome week. On Tuesday morning, I left Charlotte to head to New Hampshire for work and was there until Friday afternoon. This week threw at me pretty much every excuse in the book that people use to avoid doing the things they know they should – eat healthy and work out. I had some anxiety about it, but I’ve successfully stayed on track with competition prep during some recent shorter trips, so I knew I just had to have a plan and then to stubbornly stick to it.
On Monday night, I prepped 14 meals to take with me in my luggage. I cooked and measured everything out, then sealed each meal in a ziplock baggie, labeled it, and threw it in the freezer. Freezing the food overnight meant it would stay cool during my flight to Boston and then the drive to Dover. Right before I left for the airport in the morning, I pulled the food out and packed it into the bag I was checking.
My coach also changed up my nutrition plan and workouts this week. It was a little bit of a challenge for me mentally to switch over to a new routine (especially one that requires some form of training 7 days per week) when also dealing with the challenges inherent to traveling, but I woke up early on Tuesday morning and hit the track with a friend to get my first session of outdoor sprints in. It totally kicked my ass, but it was a great way to start off the morning – there’s something special about being outside in the cold, dark, tranquil time of morning before the sun is fully up. My flight left at 11:30 AM, so I hurried home, threw my stuff together, and took off.
Luckily the hotel that my company had put us up in was a Residence Inn, so I had a full kitchen, including a refrigerator, microwave, stove, dishes, utensils, etc. at my disposal. All week-long, I brought meals with me to the office (sometimes even eating them half-frozen because I didn’t have the patience for the line at the microwaves). I was very forthcoming with my co-workers about my competition and restrictions, and they were incredibly supportive. No one criticized me or made me feel like a weirdo. No one tried to pressure me into making poor choices. Everyone seemed to really respect and admire the hard work I am putting in and the discipline I have. They always consulted me when choosing where to go to dinner to make sure the place we chose had something on the menu that I could eat.
Two of the nights we went out, I had steak (which is now part of my plan). I always ordered it without sauce and made sure I got a vegetable side (usually asparagus) that was either grilled or steamed, and I asked that they not put any oil/butter on it. If the entrée I ordered was significantly larger portion-wise than I needed (one night it was 12 oz steak), I immediately portioned out the meal so I would know when I should stop eating. I did drink a lot of Diet Coke this weekend because a) it makes me feel full, which helps me avoid overeating and b) it’s still difficult for me to just drink water when everyone else has booze. Having a Diet Coke fulfills some kind of psychological need for me in situations where alcohol is present. The third night I had grilled mahi mahi over a mixed green salad (sans the cheese and cranberries with dressing on the side). I even got to have a coach-approved glass of wine the last night, which was heavenly.
I was in meetings from 8:00 – 5:00 each day I was there, and all of the standard temptations were present – muffins and bagels in the morning and cookies in the afternoon. There was one day in particular that I just really wanted coffee and a cookie during our afternoon break. This is where sharing my goals with others helped – I felt pressure to live up to the expectations I had set and knew everyone would jump all over me if I came back to the room with a cookie. Hell, they even gave me a hard time over having a couple of Altoids! So, in a moment of weakness, having others around me to hold me accountable gave me that extra boost to stay strong and say no to temptation.
The hotel we stayed at did have a gym, but it wasn’t great. There were two ellipticals, two treadmills, and one bench with dumbbells up to 50 lbs. Before I left, I planned my workouts for this week so that the only lifting workout I had to do while gone was shoulders and biceps. On Wednesday, I hit the hotel gym at 9 PM after we got back from dinner and improvised a workout based on the available equipment:
- Superset #1: Alternating hammer curls/Seated shoulder press
Superset #2: Incline dumbbell curls/front DB raise/lateral DB raise
Superset #3: Concentration curls/reverse flies
Then I did 40 minutes of walking on the treadmill at max incline. Yes, I was tired from the travel, getting up way earlier than I usually do, and a long day of presentations, but I was committed to making time for all of my workouts while I was there. The next night, I went to the hotel gym around 10:15 PM while many of my colleagues were in the hotel bar chatting. I got my 40 minutes of incline walking in, dropped by the bar for a few minutes to chat with everyone, and then went to bed. Working out that late isn’t ideal, but I knew I could stick to late night workouts more easily than early morning ones.
Finally, I flew home to Charlotte on Friday. My flight got in around 5:15 PM. After leaving the airport, I didn’t go home – I went straight to the gym. After lifting for an hour, I was tired and hungry and really just wanted to go home. I briefly considering skipping out on cardio, but then thought about the absurdity of skipping a workout when I was already at the gym when I had managed not to miss any workouts amidst the chaos of the week away. So I sucked it up and did my cardio.
Maybe this isn’t the most exciting post in the world, but hopefully it’s at least somewhat practical. This saying really hit home for me this week. Competition prep is my top priority and I found a way to stay on track and make it work this week, although I could have also found a hundred excuses not to. And you know what? I also had a lot of fun. I sometimes feel that I can’t be social when I’m dieting and tend to become a hermit. This week, I went out to dinner with my colleagues each night and had a great time. It reinforced my belief that I can have balance – I can have a life while getting ready for a competition, particularly when I surrounded by supportive people who are willing to accommodate my lifestyle.
However, now that I’m back home (no travel on my calendar until March for now), I am more determined than ever to kill it – every day, every week, and then on stage. Beast mode!