Sunday, March 5, 2017

I am....

This week in yoga class, the instructor started by talking about labels. She asked all of us to remove the labels that others have given us as well as the labels we give ourselves. She introduced a Sanskrit mantra: "so hum", which loosely translated into English means "I am". We did some pranayama (breathing), using the mantra "so hum".

You know I love a good mantra and "so hum", or I am, is as good a mantra as they come. Repetitive use of a mantra helps quiet the mind by giving the user a focus. The mantra "so hum" has a much deeper meaning, but for the purposes of this class and this post, I chose to focus on the "I am", letting go of negative labels and focusing on seeing myself in a positive light.

I am _________.

My mind wandered, as it often does during quiet meditation. While I breathed and so hummed to myself, I thought about how I see myself and how others see me. I could think of a few not so flattering ways people might see me as well as some not so positive ways I view myself. Taking a more positive viewpoint, I so hummed strength.

I would say that I see myself as strong. I bet most people would say that is how they see me too.

I am strong.



If several months ago, you had asked me to fill in the blank: "I am _____", I don't think strong is the word I would have chosen. Since my diagnosis with RA in December, I've found an inner strength and a resolve I never knew I possessed. Over the past couple of years, through multiple marathon training cycles, I've worked on mental toughness. That training has paid off not only on the road but more recently through my RA journey. I have not missed a run since my initial diagnosis. There have been days that I didn't feel like running, but I have pushed myself out the door and got it done.

This past week's runs went really well. My pacing continues to be good. Sunday's long run of 10 miles presented some challenges for me--while I've been feeling well this week, I'm having a little knee and hip achiness which I attribute to RA. I was also feeling a little fatigued and less than motivated to run. I wanted to work on pacing this run around 9-9:15m/m. I packed up a bottle of Tailwind and drank some before I headed out the door. The sky was cloudy and the wind was pretty brisk when I headed out. At mile 2, I sipped my Tailwind and I realized that I mixed it incorrectly. Instead of 2 scoops, I only put in one. Would I have enough calories to power through this run? Ayyyy! You know how that messed with my head!

Long story short, I needn't have worried. I finished 10.4 miles in 1:33:05, which comes out to 8:58 per mile. I stopped once for a picture and once for a pit stop. I needed this one and I got it.

This was actually from Tuesday's speedy 5 miler, although I felt this way again after Sunday's 10 miler!
I am strong.

This week, Becky and I wrapped up my semi-annual strength cycle. I met all the goals she set for me. A few weeks ago, Becky told me how pleased she was with my progress, sharing that she wasn't sure how I would do with the goals she set for me in light of my diagnosis and recent flare. I was determined not to let my coach or myself down.

I mastered the cleans--both the power clean and the squat clean (and got the terminology right!). This is the squat clean, or "clean".
70#
I PR'd my deadlifts.

She put on the red plates. Red is my favorite color! Red is the color of power.
That made me even more determined!
180#
I PR'd my back squats.

The green plates.
130#

I rang the PR bell!


I am strong.


Fill in the blank: I am____________. How do you see yourself?

I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap as well as Angela and Ilka for the Sunday Food and Fitness Linkup!



86 comments :

  1. The fact that you ever might have doubted your strength is just proof that our minds are liars. You are one of the strongest people I know, and that was before the RA battle even began.

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    1. Funny how that strength has bubbled up to the surface now! It's a pretty nice thing.

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  2. Way to go Wendy! I loved this post. You are Strong and I think that's what many look up to your for! You battle through and keep going. So happy for you with the fist pump at 10.4 miles completed at 8:58. Whoop!! :)

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    1. I was really happy with my long run, altho I wasn't planning on going quite that quickly!

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  3. Yay for you!!!! No doubt you're a warrior, a kick-buttocks STRONG warrior!!

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  4. It sometimes take those extra challenging events to see our true strength... you are definitely strong! I love that you got the ring the pr bell this week- so awesome!

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  5. Once again, your journey, your frankness, your humor, your honesty, and yes, your strength, have reduced me to tears. Not matter what our journey entails, reading your blog posts is always, always inspiring.
    What a wonderful post to read. (Insert "Love" emoticon here).

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    1. Thank you Connie! I'm glad my journey touched you.

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  6. You are so strong! Our minds really can play tricks on us especially when we are used to believing something. I have started meditating recently and it's so challenging. My mind does not like to focus.

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    1. My mind does not like meditating either! When I was in school, I always had to listen to music when I studied. The distraction helped me focus.

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  7. Yes, you are strong! And such a good writer too - this post is eloquent! I thinking running is teaching me that so much of what I can and can't do is mental.

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    1. Awww, thanks Coco! I don't know where I'd be without running--I truly believe that I'm doing so well with my RA because I'm a runner.

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  8. I am really impressed with your unwillingness to accept RA as an inhibitor to your potential. You really are very strong, both physically and cognitively.

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    1. It's amazing the gifts we get from running, isn't it? I know I wouldn't be managing so well if I weren't a runner.

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  9. I AM ....serious. My little guy asked me why I don't smile very often. Ouch! I've been so focused on school and work and keeping house, that smiles and laughter have become a rarity. I'm trying harder to take a few minutes each day to interact with him and be a little bit silly. Out of the mouths of babes right? My six year old is wise! Love this post. Hope you get to ring the bell again soon. 💪

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    1. I'd love to ring the marathon PR bell in June, but that all depends on the day!

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  10. Yes, you are strong. Congrats on reaching all those PR's this week!

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    1. That strength training is truly a game changer. Best thing I've ever done is work with Becky.

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  11. Indeed you are strong! Crazy how sometimes it takes adversity to bring it out. Nice week!

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    1. You are right! But today's 10 miler? Piece of cake. I love this newfound toughness.

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  12. Absolutely, the word STRONG is you, no question! :)

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  13. Yes Wendy! You are so strong! This is so beautifully written. I truly love your attitude and how you continue to not let RA limit or define you.

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    1. Fingers crossed that I can keep that attitude!

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  14. Congrats on your PB's! You look strong in those photos, that's for sure! I honestly don't know what I would say to "I am" right now...other then tired from a great day on the ski hill with my girls. Well, maybe I'd say "I am happy".

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    1. I could second that emotion. Happy is a good way to be!

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  15. Determined...Committed...Stubborn...

    You should be proud of your strength training cycle. I'm sure it has set you up to meet your marathon goals. You are strong. In body. In mind. In spirit.
    Thanks for linking, Wendy!

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    1. The strength cycle could not have come at a better time. I'm as mentally ready to tackle my training as I've ever been!

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  16. I have always viewed you as strong but seeing the way you have been tackling this RA is really quite inspirational and impressive. I have no idea how I would fill in the blank need to think about it

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    1. I myself have been surprised at how I've managed my RA. I didn't think I had it in me. Funny how that works.

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  17. I agree with the comments above, you're extremely strong - both physically and mentally. Great post!

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    1. Thank you! Some days I feel stronger than others!

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  18. I love this yogi side of you.... you are strong.... my I am probably changes every week... for this week I'd say I am resilient

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    1. My I am changes daily! But I think for the most part I am strong.

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  19. You are sooo strong! Awesome job on your 10 miler! Congrats on your PRs! I can't remember the last time I've done weights like that. You rock!

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    1. I love my strength work. I never thought I'd say that but I love feeling so strong!

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  20. Hell yes you are strong woman!!!! I absolutely love that last quote because people often say "you're so strong" about something extremely difficult you're going though and I'm like "do I have another choice?" I guess some people do but, we don't, right? You are amazing and strong and my she-ro :-) Keep it up!

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  21. You are SO strong! I am amazed at your strength in this battle with RA. You truly inspire. I AM many things but right now I would say "I am a great friend". I have a friend going through things right now and I am able to set aside time to talk and listen to her. I take my friendships very seriously--I don't have tons and tons but I cherish those I do have. I remember one time Rick and I took this quiz about each other and one of the questions was "something your spouse is really good" at and Rick said "you are a great friend". It touched my heart that he noticed and I always remember that when I am with my friends.

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    1. I think being told you are a great friend is the biggest compliment you can be given. So many people are superficial and when things get tough, they're gone. Your friend is lucky to have you!

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    2. I agree, it was such a sweet compliment especially coming from Rick who is attentive but really zones out when I am talking to or hanging with my friends; so I was surprised he noticed and that it stood out to him as something his spouse was good at (not surprised he did not choose being coordinated! LOL)

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  22. Good lord you are strong. Right now I am when used with how I define myself would vastly different from I am if used to define how I'm feeling. I am strong. I am feeling defeated

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    1. I would agree that the definition changes depending on the day!

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  23. Congrats on your strength prs! That must feel great!

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  24. My mother was recently diagnosed with RA and I've been telling her about you. Thanks for being such an inspiration to so many, Wendy!

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    1. Awww...thank you! I hope your mom is doing ok!

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  25. I kinda fall in love with you more and more with every post I read of yours. First of all, you inspire me with the strength work. Hot DAYAAMNN. Also, I'm glad you had such great runs. That 10 miler looks solid. I have a question: do you have a hard time differentiating between RA pain and any other type of pain? Or is does RA have a specific feeling to it?

    Two weeks ago was a very, very very emotionally difficult week for me. I was getting Callum changed into his jammies for the night and he was lying on our bed looking up at me and he said, "Mommy? You're strong." He doesn't say stuff like that; he tends to repeat the same words and phrases that he knows well. So, it felt like a gift. My arms may be pathetic little things but my heart, mind and soul are strong motherfu*kers.

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    1. That's a great question...I ask myself that a lot these days. I've been having pains in my joints for a few years--I always attributed those pains to running but now I'm thinking it was early RA.

      For sure, I know that the pain in my hands is RA. My knuckles are red and my hands have a burning kind of sensation. Over the weekend, I had aching in my knees and my hips. I'm going to put it on RA. Those are new aches and I can't think that it is from running, since I'm not doing high mileage right now. Not sure if I'm answering your question...

      Your friendship is a gift. <3

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    2. Yeah, you answered my question! I figured there would be some grey areas. Nothing is ever black and white. I guess it's just that much more important that you know your body really really well. It helps too that you're a NP.

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  26. You are so strong Wendy and an inspiration to so many people. Keep your head up and keep moving forward. You've got this!

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    1. Thank you! I never set out to inspire, but hey, I'll own that!

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  27. Love this!! What an inspiration! I am...Passionate. I think having passion for the things you love in life is so important, and sometimes I like I'm too passionate about things, but is there such a thing?

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    1. I don't think you can be too passionate! I'm a passionate person, too. Or intense, as I've been described...

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  28. You are such an inspiration to me and so many other people. I thank you for always keeping it real on your blog.

    congrats on your PRs this week! There's nothing that you can't do!

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    1. I'm totally humbled by all the comments on this post. I plan on pushing my limits, as I always have!

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  29. Yes you definitely are strong in so many aspects of your life!! Congratulations on your speedy 10 miler! That's awesome!

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    1. I hope I can run that well at the race! Thank you!

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  30. You are one strong lady for sure! That is definitely a word I would use to describe you. Inspirational too! Nice pace for that 10 mile run, lady- you got it for sure!!!! Cheers to a good week!

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    1. You are my favorite friend, have I told you that?

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  31. I've said it before, and i'll say it again! you are strong! You got this and are ready to keep kicking butt!

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    1. After my strength session this week, yep, I believe it!

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  32. I don't know if I'm strong with ITBS, but I'm certainly stubborn. I'm not going to let it win, and I will keep pushing. Great job on the weight PR!

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    1. Stubborn is another word used to describe me too!

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  33. We never know how strong we truly are until we're tested. :)

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  34. You are absolutely one of the strongest people I know. And damn with the 10-miler! I need a good run like that, too. It's been hard to come by lately but I'll get it one of these days. :)

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    1. I was pleasantly surprised by my 10 miler. Maybe the steroids helped?

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  35. Way to crush all the goals Becky set for you and know let that RA get you down. You are so strong!

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    1. I'm kind of surprised at how I just keep on going. Stubborn might have been a better word...

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  36. You are so strong. I don't think there's a single person who reads this blog or who follows you on social media who would say differently. No matter how you see yourself, you are always out there, giving 150% and rocking it every step of the way.

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    1. You are so supportive--I just am so grateful! I never saw myself as strong, but I'd say that since my diagnosis, I'm going to own that word.

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  37. You look, and sound VERY strong. I definitely don't see myself as strong these days - overwhelmed and frazzled, yes.... I'm going to have to really think about what I am, perhaps not knowing what I am these days is why I'm struggling, I don't really know what I am. Hmmmmm.

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    1. I never saw myself as strong, mentally, but over the past year, I've gained strength through all that life has thrown my way.

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  38. I've been impressed with your physical strength for a long time. Watching how you've handled the RA stuff has shown me just how mentally strong you are. Right now I am overwhelmed and tired, but I know that I'll make it through. Holding a steady course when the winds are wild is just another kind of strong.

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    1. Overwhelmed? Yes. I just kind of muddle through tho. I'm trying not to sweat the small stuff--that is definitely something I need to work on.

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  39. Yet another inspiring and thought-provoking post! Thank you. It took a bit of time for me to think of how to fill in the blank - but in the meantime I believe I am Disciplined. Disciplined in the sense that my priorities are what gets accomplished: Family first of course.
    Your strength has definitely pushed you through challenges in your life. I'm sure you'll continue to build on it and draw from it during tough times.

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    1. Disciplined is a very good way to be!

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  40. This is freaking awesome! I love how you crushed your strength goals in this past session! It is so gratifying to actually see the weight being increased and even when it's not, it's gratifying to realize it's not as hard as it once was. I have terrible upper body strength and almost got to there I hated Wednesday's because it was arms, chest, bi and tri's. I can hang with my trainer when we do legs because my legs are strong, but with my limitation on my shoulder anyway I suck at upper strength. I came to realize one day when not paying attention the weight I used to have to have help with I can do on my own now. So I so get this! Way to go Wendy!

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    1. I didn't enjoy the upper body work that Becky and were doing this past fall very much either. I'm much happier back on the glutes. Who knew?

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  41. You are so inspiring! That is great about crushing your strength goals!! I really need to work on strength as well, as i know it would help my running. Thanks so much for linking up at Sunday Fitness & Food. Hope you are having a Great Weekend!!

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    1. Oh, the strength training has been a game changer!

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  42. You are soooo strong and such an inspiration! Way to show RA it's your bitch!

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    1. I'm going to fight this thing as much as I can!

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