My last post was on April 15th, way too long ago. I wrote about being discouraged throughout my training, and that I felt that the emotion of discouragement was unproductive and a waste of time. The blog post ended with these words: “I trust in this process and the results will speak for it in exactly 8 weeks!” The process I trusted was a nutrition and training protocol prescribed by two super successful trainers, my brother Pete Ciccone and his wife Meriza. 8 weeks after I wrote that post, the results did speak…and I won my first show ever!
Extremely thrilled and wanting to ride the excitement out, I looked to a national show 6 weeks later and made an attempt to place at the USA’s in Vegas. This would be the second time that I’d compete in this show; last year I placed 10th out of 35 and I hoped to improve on that. Plus, I would be wearing the lucky bracelet and ring that my beautiful friend Lillian let me borrow – she won 4 shows and I won the SoCals in it! I knew that I couldn’t lose, especially since I would be able to watch my brother Pete compete along with his 619 Muscle teammates, which is always amazing to see.
We don’t aways get what we want though do we? Feeling somewhat embarrassed, I did not place well – actually, I did not place at all! A little rushed backstage, a little bit nervous, and questioning if I did enough, I did not bring my best to the stage that weekend and got lost in the group – there were 45 of us girls in Class C! However, I do feel that I have made some improvements since last year. Some time off from running allowed me to add some muscle to my upper body. Unfortunately, it did not treat my thunder thighs so well! Some people say that it is a subjective sport, competing in shows like this. However, that does not really make me feel better. I would like to say that I just crashed and burned, or ran out of steam because that would mean that I went all out and I had no regrets. But, that is not the case. I am starting to realize that training for these shows is not like training for a marathon – you don’t need to save energy for the run back home! The regret I have from not going all out, 24/7, the entire weeks of training – I imagine that is why I felt rushed, nervous, and questioned my level of preparedness. I plan not to feel that way again. Time to dust myself off and get ready for the next 12 weeks of insane intensity. Making my way to the NPC National Championships in November with the help of superstar trainer Meriza –
HOTLANTA……HERE I COME!
One of the many things that I have learned in my training, whether for racing or a show, is having faith in whatever process you have chosen to reach your goals. In my blogs from earlier I write about recognizing where I have fallen short and why I might not have achieved my goals, I write about knowing what needs to be changed and how to do it, and I finally write about focusing to get it done. Well now I am focused! However, sometimes when you are focused and things don’t always go as planned, it is easy to get discouraged and think that you won’t make it.
I have learned that I must avoid this feeling at all times!
These few minutes of discouragement seem harmless at first, but add them all up and it wreaks havoc on your goals. Take for example, the mornings when I weigh or take photos of myself (for benchmarking purposes). I send them to my trainer, he/she tells me I am ok, but deep inside I feel like I am not doing enough. I say my muscles are not big enough, by legs are too fat, and where the f*#% are my abs. In the past I might have done one (or all)of these things:
1. run extra to burn more calories (like 400)
2. eliminate carbs in my meals to consume fewer calories
3. eat cheesecake and say screw it!
But, even then I knew that none of those things were really the right way to go about winning. By being overly self-critical and not trusting that things would progress if I stayed on track, I sabotaged myself and actually caused myself failure.
I won’t do that this time! I am going to identify with power! Just like one of my favorites from Tao te ching says,
So today when I weighed myself and it was more than I anticipated, when I looked in the mirror and made a mean face at myself, instead of being frustrated and irritated and letting bad energy associated with failure creep into my day, I just laughed at my mean face and followed protocol: 1/4 cup oatmeal, 3 egg whites and a scoop of protein, 350 calories on the stairmill and my training at the gym as planned! I trust in this process and the results will speak for it in exactly 8 weeks!
Well, it has been two weeks since my last long run at the NYC half marathon. Check out my last blog post for a recap if you are curious as to how it went! 6 Minutes Shy? Cool! That Means I Get to Try Again! I think the title pretty much says it all, that even though I did not make my qualifying time that I will try again. However, that will not happen within the next ten weeks. Today marks the day that begins my ten week preparation for the NPC Southern California Bodybuilding/Bikini Championships. Actually, it is said often that the training and nutrition is a way of life, but the ten week countdown starts today – so time to get focused!
For me, as an NPC bikini competitor, being focused means weight training five to six days per week along with cardio, measuring out all my meals, drinking LOTS of water, only one can of diet coke a day (anyone that knows me closely knows I am addicted and have forever been trying to cut back!), and NO cheating. This means no milk in my coffee, no BBQ sauce on my chicken, no bananas in my cereal, and NO extra scoops of peanut butter (actually I have no constraint when it comes to peanut butter or almonds, so I have eliminated both from my diet and will eat some other kind of healthy fat instead!) In the past, my cardio has varied from 350 – 1500+ calories because I was usually always training for a marathon. This time however, I am eliminating ALL running (except a mile or two here and there with some sprints when I just cannot take it anymore! ) and have replaced it with the stair mill. That is the plan anyway…for ten weeks…
Ten weeks seems like a long time to me. In the past, the “time to get focused!” might have only lasted six to eight weeks. Perhaps that is why the best I ever placed was 2nd…
I know that this time will be different though. If I, as an avid runner that has completed ten marathons in the course of less than four years, have been told by my trainer not to run for the next ten weeks, it will not be for anything short of my goals! my goal? To present my best physique ever, thus far, at this next show.
So this post is short, simple, and to the point….time to get focused!!
Me pictured below, at what I feel was my best physique ever approximately one year ago at the NPC San Diego Championships…that is the person to beat ten weeks from now!!
A couple months ago, I wrote a post about Abandoning a Goal. I wrote about how I decided not to continue with my triathlon training so that I could focus more on getting ready for the NYC half marathon and qualifying for the NYC full in 2012. 97 minutes was the time needed to run 13.1 miles in order to qualify. That is a 7.4 min/mile pace. The fastest race I have ever run in the past was at an 8.4 min/mile pace, but that was 26.2 miles. Surely, I thought, I could cut one minute off if I cut the distance in half.
That would be the fastest that I have ever set myself up to run.
I ran the race this past Sunday, on a cool, crisp, one of the last days of winter in New York days, at 7:30 in the morning.
I finished running in 103 minutes, 6 minutes shy of my goal. I did NOT qualify for the NYC full in 2012.
In a situation like this, after training so hard, I always need to figure out why I didn’t make my time. Did I not train enough hills or sprint intervals? Maybe I should’ve rested longer, or less? Was I late, was I frazzled, did I have too much on my mind? Was my gear not appropriate, was I too hot or too cold? Maybe my belly was too full from my dinner, or I was hungry! Should I have had more carbs earlier, did I eat too much, or should I have taken more energy drink? The questions are endless but after having run as many races as I have, I pretty much have the basics down and I must say, am quite an expert at marathon preparation.
But, I never would have imagined what I learned from this race as far as what not to do. In fact, I feel quite silly! As much as I would like to blame missing my qualification time on the person that stole my IPod and all the precious endless hours of training music on it (sabotage!!), I won’t go there. The race through NYC took us through Central Park, Times Square, and all through lower Manhattan – it was very picturesque! With a mission at hand, I should have been focused solely on making my time, and for the most part, I was. However, as I often refer to the famous motto – it is the journey that matters, not the destination – I might have been enjoying my journey that day a little too much! Stopping along the way, amazed at all the sights and lights and bells and whistles, the whole race was a photoshoot – in my head and on my camera phone! They closed down 7th Avenue for us 15,000 runners and it felt like they did it just for me! I pictured Tom Cruise from Vanilla Sky, running through the streets of NY. 103 minutes and 13.1 miles never went by so fast…and I got to enjoy 6 more minutes of it than I planned! So for next time, shoot for a time a few minutes earlier to account for picture taking and stopping to sightsee along the way!
I did not leave the City too disappointed about missing my time though, at a 7.86min/mi pace, it was my personal best half marathon.
And I cannot wait to do it again! See a few shots from the photo session pictured below.
Starting off from Central Park…bbrrrrr:
Breakaway onto 7th Ave, very much welcomed after 6 miles in the park:
Into Times Square, my second favorite place in the world after Las Vegas!
Wanting to stop at my favorite ice-cream place for a little Cold Stone!
Scary! Underground running through Battery tunnel:
The Elite! Their feet don’t even touch the ground it seems!
My name is Paulina and this is my first post! I am really excited that I am finally able to sit down and write this, and actually have something meaningful that I can share with everybody! Basically, this is a blog where I wish to share all my details for training, working out, and maintaining my healthy lifestyle. As a marathoner, triathlete, national level bikini and fitness competitor I always thought that the things I did everyday were just a normal healthy way of living. I was always so focused on what I was doing that I never really stopped to see who was watching me. However, more and more people, friends, family, and even strangers, were telling to me how inspirational I am!
Me? Inspirational? Well, normally I would think to myself “hmmm, ok, whatever…”, but something kind of struck me the other day to create this blog…so stay posted and hopefully tomorrow I will have something good to say! 🙂