Thursday, April 10, 2014

Professional Athlete

The first time I met J, he asked me if I like professional wrestling. I made a face and said, "that fake stuff? No way!" NOT the reaction he was looking for ... as he used to be one of those professional wrestlers. Oops! Open mouth, insert foot.

When we began dating, however, I thought I'd try to open my mind and see if I could appreciate the sport and at least tolerate it. (It's always a good idea to keep an open mind about your significant other's interests.) J was more than happy to educate me, explaining the characters and current story lines. I watched it with him for awhile, but then The Bachelor aired at the same time, and my priorities shifted. (Shhhh! Don't tell anyone - The Bachelor is my secret guilty obsession.)

Although I don't watch WWE Monday Night RAW every week, I do watch periodically. Especially when John Cena or The Rock is on! A couple years ago, we went to see RAW live at the Verizon Center. It was so much fun! J decided to get tickets again recently, so we went to see RAW last Monday night. Again, it was a blast! We had floor seats, and at one point, got to walk right up to the edge of the barriers around the ring. Talk about up close live action!

Ringside View!
Not only did I enjoy the matches, I was also thrilled to see the Diva matches. We've been watching Total Divas, which is the reality show of the WWE Diva ladies. I was more thrilled to see them because I felt like they were movie stars since I see them on tv every week. (I know, I know. I'm a huge dork.)

It's remarkable how much all the wrestlers put their bodies through. Although a lot of the action is faked, they definitely take their lumps, bumps, and hits. I have a lot of respect for all the wrestling athletes - they have to keep their bodies in tip top shape year round.

One thing that really struck me on one of the episodes of Total Divas is something that Brie Bella said, "I wasn't going to have fruit today. I was going to avoid the sugar. As a professional athlete, I need to make sure my nutrition is on point."

A professional athlete.

I don't know why I didn't consider the wrestlers "professional athletes" before ... like NFL, MLB, or NHL players. But they definitely are! They endure rigorous training routines and practices and need to adhere to a healthy diet in order to be able to perform at optimal capacity.

Brie Bella slamming Aksana, former IFBB Bikini International!
Brie's words really stuck in my head. It's not only about looking good, it's about being able to perform and stay healthy. Although I'm not an IFBB Pro, a professional athlete, I can still have the mindset of a professional athlete. To take my nutrition and training programs seriously, not just for the short time period of prep, but throughout the rest of my life. To be vigilant about making healthy choices year round. To not feel sorry for myself when I "can't" eat cake or cookies that everyone else is eating. Logically, I know that I'm making a choice not to eat them, but sometimes my inner whiny toddler takes over and complains about "missing out" on sweets and treats.

Professional athletes don't have whine - they do what it takes to get it done. To excel. To win.

Every year I have a mantra, or a saying that runs through my head during prep and helps keep me focused and strong. This year, my mantra will be, "I'm a professional athlete." The more I say it to myself, the more I'll reinforce it. 

"Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve."
~ Napoleon Hill

Do you have a personal mantra? What helps you stay focused? Do you watch wrestling? Who's your favorite wrestler or Diva?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Have you ever had one of those days where you just wanted to take a mulligan? A complete re-do of the entire day? Yesterday was one of those days. It reminded me of the children's book, Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

It seemed that anything that COULD go wrong, DID go wrong. It felt like Murphy's Law to the 1,000 degree!

It all started with a small makeup stain on one of my favorite shirts ... and the day went downhill from there.

I was scheduled to present a software demonstration with a few co-workers at a client site in the afternoon. I planned to leave work early so I could drive most of the day there, and then take the Metro briefly in order to avoid the whole search-the-car-for-bombs inspection and then try to find parking in a very large, very unfamiliar campus. Driving most of the way would also cut down on my evening commute time, since the campus is close to where I live. I turned my computer off an hour before I needed to meet my colleagues. I anticipated it taking about 45 minutes to get there, and I wanted to make sure I arrived early.

Two seconds after I clicked "shut down" on my computer, the screen informed me that it had 89 updates to install. 89?!?! WHAT?!?! I began to panic and then took some deep breaths.

It typically takes several minutes to install a few updates. I'd never seen more than 12 updates at a time. The instructions on the screen were clear: "Do not power off or unplug your machine." I was trapped. The clock was ticking down.

After 15 minutes, my computer still hadn't made much progress. I still had over 50 updates to go. I saw my colleague leave to head to the client site.

Trying to remain calm, I asked a couple of my other colleagues if there was anything I could do to either speed up the process or halt the installations and complete them at another time. They shook their heads sympathetically. No, they said. If I tried to undock my machine, I ran the risk of destroying it and everything on it. I decided to let it continue installing updates.

After 30 minutes, my calm demeanor was slipping. I tried to distract myself. "A watched pot never boils" kept running through my head. There were still 30 more updates to go, and the clock was ticking.

89. Really?
After 40 minutes, I packed up all my belongings so all I had to do was grab the machine when it was finished and run out the door. It was now 15 minutes before I needed to meet my colleagues. I texted them to let them know I was running late.

Five minutes later (after a total of 45 MINUTES), the updates FINALLY finished. I grabbed the laptop, shoved it in my bag, and sprinted down the hall. Of course, I got into the elevator that stopped at every. single. floor. on the way down. I then sprinted up flights of stairs in the parking garage and zipped out of the lot. Naturally, I managed to get behind every slow moving vehicle on the road, including a dump truck and a utility van. When I wasn't behind a slow moving vehicle, I was barely avoiding the atrocious and tire-eating potholes in the road.

I didn't have enough time to follow my original plan of driving most of the way there, so I headed to the closest Metro station. I wasn't absolutely sure exactly where it was, so I made some educated guesses. I managed to find the station and park in the garage. Wouldn't you know it - I parked on the complete opposite end, furthest from the stairs leading to the Metro entrance. I sprinted in my high heel boots - coat flapping, purse and water bottle in one hand, laptop bag in the other.

A train was parked at the station, so I flew onto it, gasping for air. I then saw the sign that there were delays and the train wouldn't leave for 7 minutes. It was now PAST the time I was to meet my colleagues. After I used my inhaler (couldn't breathe from the parking garage sprint), I called them and explained the situation. They were very understanding and said they'd wait for me. I collapsed in my seat, a frazzled, sweaty mess.

I arrived at the client site a half hour late, and encountered were some difficulties getting my temporary badge made. Of course it couldn't be easy.

The good news is that the demo went well. That is the only good news.

After the demo, I had to take the train all the way back up North to my car, and then drive all the way back down, almost back to the client site, to my home.

When I got home, all I wanted to do was to crawl into bed. Instead, I did cardio, ate a meal, and then went and had a blast at WWE Monday Night RAW. Which was the absolute BEST part of the day!

There were moments of calm, of near hysteria, of tears, of frustration, and of acceptance. At times, there was nothing I could do, so I tried to remain as calm as possible. I'm grateful for J for being there for my moment of breakdown, hysteria, and tears. He always knows the right thing to say.

My Rock
Today, thank goodness, has been the complete opposite of yesterday. And for that, I am so relieved!

Have you had days where everything seemed to go wrong? How did you handle it?