Happy Coach-iversary!!

COACHIVERSARYI’m back from a fantastic (and somewhat painful) vacation in Key West that I will post all about shortly, but today is a very special day!  It’s Deb and my 6 year “coach-iversary!”  And THAT is a day that I celebrate even more than my own birthday – it is truly the day that changed my entire life.

Deb Cheslow and I met through my son’s karate school where she was an instructor.  Of course, she was also a coach… Not an athletic coach (although she would be amazing at that too I am sure), but a “mind coach.”  I didn’t really know or understand what she did for a living when I invited her for coffee that day back in February, 2010, but I did know 3 things:

  1. Deb was my age and was in the best shape of anyone I knew – and I wanted to learn how she did it…
  2. Deb was one of the most “together” people I had ever met in my life – and I was falling apart and I wanted to learn how she did it…
  3. I really liked her and wanted to be her friend.

So, I invited her for coffee one Sunday afternoon – February 21, 2010.  We met at a Starbucks in Christiansburg, VA and we started talking.  And we talked, and we talked, and we talked.

She asked me about myself and I threw up all over her (figuratively).

7-changeI poured out my entire life on the table – the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I took off the mask that I put on for the rest of the world and told her everything.

… the seemingly unrecoverable financial mess of my life

… the inevitable bankruptcy that was looming

… the dead-end job I was stuck in

… the failing marriage I was stuck in

… the abusive, dysfunctional relationship between my husband and me

… the near-daily bottle of wine consumed to escape it all

… the self-loathing I felt every minute of every day

… the unworthiness I felt every second

… how I would watch my son sleep at night and cry because i did not feel deserving of such a precious gift

… the desperation I felt to get my shit together for my son, if not for myself

She listened.  She listened for hours.  She asked a few questions here and there for clarification, but mostly she just listened.  And when I was finished, she smiled and she said she could help me.  And I believed her… I trusted her.

Then it was her turn.  She talked to me for a long time and explained how most people perpetuate the crap that occurs in their lives with their thoughts… how most people allow their feelings to control their thoughts, which sets up an never-ending downward spiral of more and more crap.  It’s more complicated than that, but that’s the gist of it.

bobs stick figureShe drew “the stickman” on a napkin (how I wish I had saved that napkin) and explained it all to me.

I gotta be honest, when she drew the “hangman” dude and told me it would change my life, I almost got up and left.

By the end of our meeting, I was certain that the key to a better future lay in the things I would learn from Deb Cheslow.  I could not afford to hire her as my coach, but I couldn’t afford not to either.  So I did.  It was – without any hesitation or doubt – the best investment I have EVER made!

I met with her for an hour or so every week.  I diligently did my homework and applied the principles I was learning.  I got up early and stayed up late to work on myself.  I noticed a change almost immediately.  I felt better.  I started changing my behaviors, especially my eating, exercising, and drinking behaviors.

A month later my marriage came to an abrupt end.  Deb was there for Josh and me.  And she’s been there every day for the last 6 years.  During that time, I have accomplished things I never even dreamed were possible.

  • I became financially responsible
  • I paid off a mountain of debt (just one more to go – thanks for your patience, Mom)
  • I bought half of Deb’s consulting company
  • I’ve written and published 3 books
  • I earned my blackbelt in karate
  • I got in great shape and compete in triathlons now
  • I am HAPPY
  • I have the coolest kid on the planet for a son and he is as proud of me as I am of him
  • I haven’t had a glass of wine in almost 3 years (I enjoy a beer occasionally, but I avoid the trigger of drinking wine)
  • I get to go out and do what I love each and every day
  • I co-founded a non-profit corporation to help end domestic and family violence – WHAT???
  • And so much more

And when the going got tough (and it ALWAYS got tough), Deb was there as my partner and my friend, but more importantly, as my COACH.  She held my feet to the fire.  She never let me quit or give up on myself.  She pushes me right to the edge of the big, scary cliff and says “JUMP!” She believes I can do ANYTHING, and so, I hold onto her belief in me when I don’t believe in myself, and I jump and I learn how to fly on the way down.

So when I celebrate my Coach-iversary, it is a VERY serious matter.  It is a celebration of the day that someone listened to the trainwreck that was my life back in 2010 and held out a helping hand.  It is a celebration of the day I took back my life and started the creation of something very, very special!

Happy Coach-iversary, Deb!  I love you!


The First Big Test…

No excuses conceptSo, I started off 2016 with this great post about it being the Year of #NoExcuses and, truth be told, January went pretty great.  I hit my workouts, I found an awesome new chiropractor (who is also an Ironman triathlete), I dug into work and made huge headway on a number of projects, my nutrition was on point…  Great month!   I dropped 8 pounds in January and I swam 11.6 miles, biked 132.5 miles, and ran 40.4 miles.  Plus, I did strength training and karate classes twice per week.

All and all a successful base building month in my book.

As we launch into February, I am a little bit nervous.  Actually, I’m a whole lot nervous.  You see, this coming weekend 5 friends and I were supposed to run Ragnar Florida Keys – a 196 mile relay from Miami to Key West.  Only the Ragnar folks were denied their event permit and had to cancel the whole race.  But, we were planning to go anyhow so Deb and I are seizing the opportunity and heading to Key West for 11 days of vacation with her Dad.  11 days… no computer (except for my phone)… no work… no routine… And that’s where I tend to get into trouble.  I think that’s where a whole lot of people get into trouble.  It’s one thing to stay on track when we’re at our home base – in a controllable environment, but it’s something else when we take away all of the systems and structure that we’re used to.  It’s all fun and games until you throw vacation in the mix – with all it’s conditioned responses… the siren song of an unset alarm… the excuse of being in a strange town and not knowing where to go to work out…

The old me would take the 11 days off and enjoy myself.  I’d sleep in, relax, drink lots of beer, eat plenty of good (aka fattening) food, and just “vacation!”  But taking 11 days off from my training and nutrition plan and coming home with an extra 10 pounds on my body will not serve me or my goals in any way, shape, or form.  So, I have decided to do what I have to do to keep my eye on the prize… Ironman Florida… in NINE MONTHS!

However, here’s what the next 11 days look like… Duval Street… Bar, bar, bar, restaurant, boat, bar……


But lo, I see a road – that means I can run.  And although my bike isn’t accompanying me because we’re driving the convertible, I found a gym that has a weekly membership option… And a pool where I can swim at 5:30am (with a coach even) at the local Community College for only $5/day.

Mapped out the route between the condo and the pool and the gym... #noexcuses

I’ve already mapped out the route between the condo and the pool and the gym… #noexcuses

fail-to-planThere are #noexcuses for skipping my workouts – even if I may have to move things around and change things a bit – I have options to swim, bike, and run before anyone else in the condo is even awake – every single day.

And, of course, it’s Key West, so my wetsuit is coming along and I have every intention of getting in a few open water swims as well!

Food and drinking are a whole other issue, which scare me a bit, but I have the My Fitness Pal app on my phone, which keeps me pretty honest because I HATE having to log the bad stuff.  Drinking… My nemesis…  I’m going to allow myself 2 beers per day… period…  It IS vacation, afterall.  I will Instagram photos of my meals while I’m gone.  Not that anyone really gives a hoot what I’m eating, but I won’t want to post a picture of the fried conch platter, so I’ll be a hell of a lot more likely to order a bowl of soup and a salad.

I’m building in layer upon layer of accountability!  And, of course, at the end of the day, DEB will be there – the QUEEN OF ACCOUNTABILITY!  She will hold me to whatever I ask her to (so, I’d best be careful with what I commit to!)