Posted by: bettythebalancer | October 29, 2009

An Introduction.

This could get ugly. Because the truth is, I don’t always do a great job of balancing the various demands of my schedule, and sometimes, that results in a few missed workouts or an Egg McMuffin for breakfast.  But, I’m not ashamed of my slip-ups, of missed work-outs, or of having to grab a bite on the road every now and then — that’s reality.  The truth is, if I can work 50-60 hours per week, mostly stick to my training schedule, and manage to make mostly sound decisions about how I fuel — what can’t I do?

My Athletic Story: When I was four years old, my parents enrolled me in swimming lessons at the city pool.  My only memory of those lessons stems from having my face pushed underwater by an overly tired, underpaid, and impatient swim instructor who was unimpressed by my whining.

At the age of five, I was put in ballet lessons.  I remember performing in one recital and enjoying it thoroughly, but I haven’t worn another pair of ballet slippers since then.  I presume my parents saw my tendency toward physical goofiness — which persists today — and decided to steer me toward concentrating on my studies.   (Imagine a skinny, long-limbed, and uncoordinated child — in ballet slippers.  It didn’t last.)  For the rest of my childhood, however, my inner athlete was always there — summers were spent almost entirely on my bike or in the pool (yes, I actually learned to swim, despite the initiation experience described above), and although I was always one of the last kids picked for kickball or dodgeball, I always wanted to be, well, sportier.

In high school, I didn’t play a single sport.  I once tried out for the cross country team, but I had never run on my own before that, except during gym class.  I lasted for one try-out.  I practically wasn’t able to walk the next day due to soreness.  Finally, at 15 years old, I found snowboarding, I stuck to it, and I developed a passion for it.  To this day, it remains my favorite sport.  It was my “first,” after all.

In college, I discovered the university gym.  I wasted the next several years on elliptical machines and stair-steppers, trudging along and working up a sweat without knowing much of anything about nutrition or stretching or cross-training, but I threw in the occasional spin class or step aerobics class and successfully made exercise a regular part of my life.

After law school, I quickly found my new life as an attorney lacked any semblance of balance — I would come home from work exhausted and unfulfilled after having eaten salt-filled take-out for all three meals.  Sapped of energy and lacking proper fuel, I would slug back a glass of wine and collapse into bed for a few hours before repeating the cycle the next day.  Realizing I was burning myself out both physically and mentally only one year out of the gates from law school, I joined a fancy gym and began incorporating a visit there into my mornings before work.

I quickly graduated to spin classes, yoga, and eventually, I taught myself to run, I bought a road bike, I learned to swim, and now, here I am — a newbie triathlete who gets up at 6 a.m. to train before turning to the flood of e-mails that invariably start to crush my Blackberry by 8:30 a.m.

In the last three years, I ran my first 5K, competed in two triathlons, took up yoga, and have continued to snowboard every winter.  The question is:  Can I keep it up, keep my job, and keep my sanity?

My Professional Story: After earning my B.A. at a public university in Southern California, I decided, at the tender age of 22 and perhaps not knowing any better, to become a lawyer.  By age 23, I was knee-deep in law school classes at an expensive but respected East Coast institution, which I paid for entirely with student loans.  After graduation, I landed a plum gig as a corporate lawyer in a big office building with a fancy receptionist, nice views, and free coffee.  My hours vary wildly, but most weeks, I work from 8:15 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (ahem, and often later), with a few extra hours thrown in here or there over the weekends or during client emergencies.

My Food Story: I eat both breakfast and lunch at my desk almost every day (I pack both), and it’s pretty rare that I leave the building until quitting time once I arrive in the morning.  I also travel extensively, and am constantly having to balance my need and desire for healthy food and exercise against 6 a.m. flights and room service menus.  Let’s just say some days are disasters, and some days I would make any nutritionist damn proud.  I love to cook, and I love healthy food, but when the going gets tough at work, I tend to eat what I want, when I want it, even though I know most foods won’t provide me the energy or nutrition I need to train and power through my long work days.

My Goals: To remain injury-free through the snowboarding season, to compete in more sprint triathlons, a 10K, and some day, a half marathon and an Olympic-distance triathlon.

So, welcome to my journey.  Hope you brought a helmet — things can and do get bumpy.

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