Be More

Life update: I have a day and a half left of my internship, start my new “real” job on Monday, and my tan is approximately at 7% of last years. Office life probs.

This summer has come with a lot of reflecting and looking ahead. I’ve struggled to find the “why” behind my discontent- why do I feel the need to constantly “be productive”? Not saying that this is a bad thing- I LIKE being productive and feeling busy. The issue I’m currently running into is…what am I training for? What do I have to be productive towards?

I read a blog post from one my favorites the other day, and she summed it up perfectly: “I am a do-er, not a perfectionist”. I am not one to nit pick on every single little detail, but am I am one that loves to look at the big picture. That involves creating training schedules that don’t account for stretching and foam rolling (or sleep), and always feeling AMAZING after a yoga class but never making the time to go.

My entire life I have been an athlete, and I have been fortunate enough to train hard and to travel the continent and excel in a high-performance setting. And as positive as I tried to be throughout the ordeal, breaking my foot scared the crap out of me. It’s been six months, and it still makes me angry and it still makes me sad that I didn’t get the opportunity to perform at my peak, as this season was by the far the best I have ever felt with my diving. I spent the rest of the winter doing rehab and competing on painkillers, spent all spring recovering and then training for Nationals. After a perfectly average, nothing outstanding Nationals performance, I’ve spent the whole summer working out to feel “back in shape”. I was/am convinced that my physical conditioning after the broken foot was the worst it’s been in years (which I completely understand comes with the territory of injury). I am not a dainty athlete- my strength in diving has always been my power over my technique or “rip” (entering the water without a splash). To have that taken away felt like a much bigger blow than it needed to be because that certain injury took away everything I was “good” at. I had to rely on the things I wasn’t as good at to get me through and I couldn’t stand it.

This summer, I have been getting up at 5:30am and working out before I had to go to the office, or would go straight to the gym from work if I didn’t make it before 8am. I don’t even have a meet to train for yet, as next years nationals haven’t been posted but I am assuming my next competition will be between December and February. And honestly? I am back “in-shape” at this point. I can squat, I can run, I’m doing just fine. And yet, the discontent remains. That burn is still there, lingering, from when I felt “out of shape”.

I am not training to be in shape anymore- I am training out of fear of feeling weak. It’s not always positive and it’s not always fun, and I’ve complained to my Dad about not wanting to become a cookie-cutter health blogger because I am not someone who goes to gym to do Pinterest workouts and writes running playlists (I will write about food however, 10/10 times). I want to be a force of nature. I want to be a hurricane of an athlete- strong and fierce, not weak and afraid.

I want to push myself, in every way possible. I want to surpass my standard of feeling “in shape”. I want to attempt harder dives, and lift heavier, and run further. I want to do more and be more and really see what I can do- what I’m capable of as an athlete. I am feeling that motivation to train harder, smarter, and to pay more attention to my nutrition and recovery.

Another quote from that same favorite blogger sealed the deal for me today: “You have to do decide who are to be, and just be it”. You cannot wait for Monday or next season or when you lose ten pounds to declare you are “starting”. This is life- you have already started. If you want to do something, train for something, be something, just go be it.

With that in mind, I’m on a mission. To do more and be morestay tuned.

Weeks 4, Maybe 5?

Whew I really fell off the blogging train for a bit. There’s been a billion things going on (isn’t that always the truth?) and I couldn’t be more thankful for the 3 day weekend. After camp wrapped up on Thursday, I took a four and a half hour nap and STILL slept for approximately 12 hours that night. For those who don’t know me personally, I’ve spent the past six months planning a five day dive camp that just wrapped- by far my largest professional project yet! 

With four weeks of my internship left, I can confidently say that I am in the swing of things in regards to meal prepping! They aren’t kidding when they say it takes 21 days to form a habit; the last week before camp felt like smooth sailing even though the stress was piling up pre-camp. I even tried new things- like protein donuts! Yes I paid $10 for a donut pan and I would do it again.

Not much to report this Sunday, besides just to let everyone know I am still alive, still meal prepping, and ready to step it up a notch :) My brain is buzzing with all sorts of new projects now that camp is off my plate- AND I’m extra inspired because my birthday is on Saturday!

Happy holiday weekend everyone! I’ll be back with more details soon :)

Week Three, Part One.

Well if I learned anything from Week Three of meal prepping is that sometimes more is better and less is stressful.

I was SO excited to have work night off this week from my second job, and I could arrive home around 6pm every night with no other obligations than meal prepping, laundry, and working on my side job (I help run sport camps- nine days to go! Whaaaaat?). What was intended to be relaxing productive evenings turned into “Wow I have so much time I might as well sit and read my book for two hours”.

Spoiler alert. It didn’t work. I ended up being SO LAZY I might as well have been working for all I accomplished :( It’s like I NEEDED those extra hours of work to make the REST of my hours productive.

On the plus side? My workouts where were on POINT! My Monday lift went really well, and Tuesday I actually got to the gym early enough that I could run a full 3 miles and still get in a short strength training circuit before 7am! Wednesday was a quick lift, and Thursday was a rest day as I had an early morning chiropractic appointment- which was 100% worth the skipped work out.

One other benefit to the week? I’m getting in the habit of posting more pictures of my meal prepping to the @laurenelysecan the Insta! I love my food so much I created a whole new Instagram account…it’s like when people love their pets so much they have own account.

Why the abbreviated and early post this week? Well, today I’m taking a shift at my third (forth?) job at 5:30am, and then going out of town! I need the weekend away so bad, my stress levels have been through the roof with commuting and keep up with emails and such. Don’t get me wrong I love camp- after all I spent all of last summer working camps- but I’ve taken on such a bigger role this year it’s exhausting.

I’ll check in early next week to update you on the weekend! I plan on eating less meals out of Tupperwares and relaxing with my best friends for a few days. Happy Friday!!

Do It for the I-Ring

Sunday during the day we had our Annual Swimming and Diving Awards Banquet, and Monday evening I had the opportunity to attend the Iowa Athletic and Academic Awards Banquet, along with the Senior I-Ring Presentation. These two events involved dresses and heels, plenty of photos, and the recognition of the many achievements Iowa student-athletes have accumulated. I was asked to stand a few times along with many others, for making the All-Big Ten Team for Academics and for qualifying for the NCAA Regional Championships. The Seniors got recognized with a procession to be seated, and then individually Monday evening to receive our I-Rings and induction into the National Varsity Club.

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Sunday, at the annual team awards, my coach stood at the front of the room and talked about how the team has grown, how this was the first time he had seniors graduating in the three years he’s been at Iowa, and told the story of my broken foot. I didn’t know he had planned to say anything about it. He admitted to many behind the scenes conversations that I wasn’t aware of, where the coaches and staff didn’t know if competing was going to be possible, and shared what struck him from my Big Ten meet; telling him I needed to finish what I started and finish with the girls I started with. He shared with the group that was the kind of individuals we had on this team- those who compete for the team knowing winning was out of the question.

My coach, in the past, has said that we need to be striving to leave the program better than we found it. We even had a specific conversation at the beginning on the season about what being a senior on this team would mean- mentoring the underclassmen through the difficulties of being an NCAA D1 athlete. Not just surviving, but thriving. I know my fellow seniors and I took that to heart, aiming to be the positive role models we thought the team needed. I thought by performing well and competing with heart I was demonstrating what our coach wanted us to do, but what I missed was the bigger picture. Our coach didn’t need us to be athlete role models, but role models for the ideals and values he taught us every day in the pool. He wanted us to demonstrate the life lessons he had taught us over the years. What I didn’t realize was that he was just as proud if not more so, of the example I set when injured, than when I was not. I didn’t know anyone was paying attention when I spent hours doing therapy and icing. I do know that I could not have made it through that time without the life lessons we had been taught through the past three years:

You need to fall in love with the daily grind. 

If you don’t love what you’re doing, every second of it, it’s not worth doing. You have to fall in love with every miserable minute. Every practice you feel like crap. Every day you’re stressed and tired and hate everyone. You need to fall in love with the bad days because if anything is guaranteed it’s you WILL have bad days. Embrace them.

Good is the enemy of great.

Do not settle. Do not give in to satisfactory, do not be “okay” with decent. Strive for more. Strive for better. Hold yourself accountable to be great. Belief that you CAN be great. Good is good but good is JUST good- don’t ever be satisfied with only good when there is the potential for greatness.

Do not despair. Do not give in.

Never, ever, ever, give up. Never give in. Like the daily grind, train through the bad days. Train through the negative self-talk. Don’t let the bad day win. Don’t let the bad day mask the bigger picture or alter your perspective on the ultimate goal.

Have the heart of a champion.

Having the heart of the champion is more than training and competing for the win. It’s about competing for the team, and training with a purpose. It’s about keeping a positive attitude above all, and rising up when we smack or fall (or break bones). Having the heart of a champion is never giving in to adversity, and fighting for your greatest potential.

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I didn’t think about my I-Ring much over the past five years. The significance of it just didn’t register with me while going through the practices and the travel and the competitions. And for someone who didn’t give it much thought, I can’t describe the feeling of pride in my chest when I slipped it on.

“Once a Hawkeye, Always a Hawkeye,” has never meant so much to me. No matter where I go in life, I will always be a Hawkeye, an Iowa alum, and a member of the Iowa National Varsity Club.

Phenoh Review- Stay Hydrated. Stay Balanced.

Through unforeseen circumstances, I had the opportunity this winter to get incredibly out of shape. With that being said, I also now have been given the task of working on getting BACK in shape! Thankfully, through my partnership with Fit Approach, I was asked to review a new kind of sports drink to help get me through those horrible getting-back-into-it workouts: Phenoh.

Phenoh

Phenoh is not like other sports drinks. The whole premise behind the brand is that their product is alkaline, unlike other sports drinks or preworkouts that can be very acidic on the body (coffee included) (guilty as charged). It has only SEVEN ingredients, is paleo friendly, and is low calorie (just 30 per 8 oz. serving).

Other benefits? No added sodium, high in potassium, fortified with Vitamin C and magnesium, and low on the GI Index.

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Verdict? Not going to lie here…it tasted GREAT! To be fair, it does contain organic aloe vera juice, which I am a fan of. I have heard from friends however, that aloe vera juice is an acquired taste. Phenoh is definitely sweet enough, and like all sports drinks and juices I tend to enjoy them quite watered down! Outside of the taste? I did feel like I was making it through the workouts better than expected! We’ve been doing a lot of eccentric squatting recently (squats that take 5 to 6 seconds going down) which have been miserable, but I definitely have not been getting the same cramping feeling in my legs that occurs when I squat heavy at times. While I am not endurance athlete, I feel like Phenoh helped my recover quicker between workouts (sometimes I have three a day with 1 to 3 hours in between!) This was partially due to the fact that I was chugging water + Phenoh because I honestly loooove the taste.

If you are interested in learning more about Phenoh, or trying some yourself, check out their website! I would not recommend a product I didn’t honestly enjoy, and am looking forward to seeing how Phenoh helps me back into great shape for this summer!

Through being a Sweat Pink Ambassador with Fit Approach, I received a case of pHenOH to put the test as well as a small compensation. As always all honest opinions are my own. 

The First Time I Said…

I’ve been emotional, and reminiscent, and very much on the fence when it comes to my looming college graduation. Several times A hundred times I’ve mentioned how these last five years have been the greatest of my entire life, and that remains true. That will never NOT be true.

College Graduation

With that being said, a sentence I never expected slipped out of my brain and off the tip of my tongue yesterday. The sentiment I never truly felt until now snuck it’s way in there and I stumbled over the words, but out it came:

“I’m actually excited for graduating college.”

WHO KNEW?!? I didn’t. I half expected to be reminiscent and emotional for the rest of my life.

I’m actually looking forward to the end of academic career (for now- no one ever really rules out grad school). Why? What compelled me to believe that I’m actually ready for that whole real world thing?? Well, I’m bored. I’m annoyed with writing papers that require three different types of citations because it’s whatever the professor preferences. I’m bored of notecards, even if the content in interesting. I have my systems of note taking and studying and procrastinating, and nothing is going to change in the last six weeks of school after 17 years of education. I might actually be READY to take on the real world, not just dream about it (whether those dreams were ambitious, romanticized viewpoints or nightmares). I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m starting to feel proud of earning two undergraduate degrees. I can quite literally make a list of the papers and tests I have left! Graduation might be looming, but I’m shying away from it anymore.

I’m excited to get a big girl job. I’m excited to have hobbies (and expand on current ones- like this blog, and cooking!). I’m excited to not have to plan my year around semesters and I’m excited for everything I don’t know yet. I can physically feel my anxiety lessening as the reality sinks in that we actually made it- we’re graduating and getting on with our lives.

And I’m not going to lie, this post was inspired by a strange weekend. My Easter weekend involved a game night with friends, work, studying, and a long walk Easter Sunday to take advantage of the beautiful day. Meanwhile, my three best friends: 1. Got nominated to teach abroad, 2. Got a major scholarship offer to grad school, and 3. Got engaged. Their successes made me unbelievable happy, and proud, and gave me hope that even though these five years have been amazing there is still so much to look forward to. There is still so much to do and so much to see and so many goals to set still.

I said it last night and I’ll say it again: I’m actually looking forward to graduating. I am as ready as I’m going to be for whatever comes next, and I am allowing myself to feel excitement over that.

What was the best, scariest, most unexpected thing that happened to you post grad?