I’m an Arlington, VA native and a die-hard DC sports fan…HTTR! I vividly remember 2 Superbowl Championship Redskins teams waaaay back in “88 and “92. If you told me at age 12, fresh off a Superbowl victory dance, that the next time one of my teams would win the championship I would be 33 years old (cuz this is always the year!)….well, sure, I wouldn’t have believed you and I might have cried a lil bit… but I would have cheered hard just the same.
I have always been super-competitive and love winning almost as much as I hate losing. Since my pro teams weren’t doing it, I was forced to win stuff all by myself. 12 year old Robin loved trophies. And I STILL DO. You know what I’m talking about, right? Hardware rocks. I might be slightly addicted to the stuff. Unfortunately, there are no trophies for piano teachers. So, in 2004 I competed in my first triathlon in Columbia MD. Even though I did not win a thing in that race except a feeling of accomplishment and a pretty cool “runners high”, I FELL IN LOVE with tris. Triathlons are the perfect combination of events that feels good to my body, challenges me and fills my competitive spirit. They’re just awesome.
After training moderately as well as diving into the group fitness world as an instructor, I won a few age-group awards in sprint and Olympic distance tris. Woohoo! I actually even came in 2nd overall in one smallish race – yeeeah Dewey Beach! In 2010 I decided to elevate myself from “pretender “ to “contender”. Heck, I only had to shave 2 minutes off of my best Oly time to qualify for the elite starts in some races – how hard is that… really? I began to train rigorously and consistently with longer and faster runs, a few weekly “2-a-days” and plenty of brick workouts. I slogged through miles that the advanced program had prescribed. It was no-doubt a grueling schedule, but I actually kinda liked that fact – I was SO HARDCORE! What I did not like was the extra 8-10lbs that seemed to have magically appeared on my body. I didn’t get it. Exercising more should make me weigh LESS, right? This was not all muscle either. I was training hard AND eating everything in sight too – because I was hungry ALL the time. So I fed myself. Duh! I was fatigued more days than not, but the program seemed manageable and it was designed to get me the results I wanted, so I stuck with it.
How easy was it to shave those 2 tiny minutes? Couldn’t tell ya. My butt started hurting. I suffered an injury at the beginning of the triathlon season. I still raced that year, but not fast. After my final race of the season, I saw an ortho who diagnosed ischial tuberosity tendinitis. Prescription: REST (the most painful news an athlete can hear). 6 weeks at least. At least I had company, though. I ran into a lot of running friends at the doc’s office and the pt office – we all had the injury bug. It’s a DISEASE! What is there to be done??? HELP US!!!
About a week after my first appointment with the doc, I received my first bill from the doc. $1200. Mind you, I’m self-employed with a basic health care plan… $1200 out of my not-so-deep pocket. Ummmm, nooooo. I cannot afford to be injured repeatedly, as many runners I know and love tend to be (hi Dad!). My subconscious was screaming “Learn this lesson, Robin. Fix yourself and your training!”
Enter Metabolic Effect, a nutrition and exercise program designed at fat loss. I became an ME certified Fat Loss Coach in order to help my personal training clients grasp a good concept of basic nutrition so they could lose weight. I started ME for myself in support of my clients, but also (since I couldn’t race/run/bike at the time) I too needed a way to keep MY body under control weight-wise. It WORKED. For the first time since childhood, I had balanced hunger/energy/cravings. Excuse the double negative here and stay with me – I did NOT think it was possible to NOT be ravenously hungry at all times. Make sense? I jumped off of the “eat less, exercise more” bandwagon and got on the “eat more of the right foods, exercise efficiently and practice proper mindset” bullet train to my new happy, healthy lifestyle.
My hamstring/ischial tuberosity issue healed after (not 6 weeks, but) 3 months of rest and very minimal exercise. Meanwhile, thanks to my nutrition program, I had lost 4% bodyfat, numerous inches and about 5 pounds. I started running again, limiting myself to 3 days a week and reducing miles considerably from before my injury. I felt GREAT in my own skin, on my short and medium distance runs and in the gym. My first race back after my hiatus was the Love the Run You’re With 5k. And guess what? SURPRISE PR. And I wasn’t even trying! Ok, I always try in races, but seriously, it felt so smooth and natural. I never would have thought it was possible to run faster after running MUCH LESS in training. I credit ME nutrition, CX core training, less long runs, more speed work, lifting heavier weights and, importantly, NOT working out when my body told me it needed a rest day. I also quit feeling guilty for taking those rest days, I stopped feeling guilty for having ice cream and pizza every once in a while, and I “took it easy on myself” by learning to look at myself and my body with greater kindness.
I’ve gone on to set a new PR at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in 2013. I’ve found direction for workouts, meals and exercise psychology, and I want to spread the Gospel! Haha, no, I’m not talking religion. Although my dad ever-so-kindly reminded me that Jesus was 33 when he died – my age now — lovely. While I will not walk on water or change water into wine (as awesome as that would be!), I will ROCK YOUR TRI-training-eating-and-believing world! Stay tuned, please.