education

100

Today, two days before my goal, I achieved my 100th ride plus 3. Do the math. By this time today, so have millions around the globe. So the special feel while not monumental to those riding for many years before the peloton, or in my case pechelon popularity overcame our world, is sweet.

This newbie found her groove and todays ride and pride was all mine. I did not take a live ride to pray for a shoutout and possibly fall of the bike if called out…No, I crossed my line for my own praise and satisfaction with a pre-recorded tabata ride. It was my perfect. I started for me and finished for me while singing “Fat Bottom Girl” at the top of my lungs, when I could breath. As proud as I feel I unfortunately spent most of the ride concerned about what’s next. Maybe everyone does, enter pelofondo…100 miles in a day. Right. This is the super extreme of home spinning goals. I salute all that survived the day as fitness is an addiction with the stakes only getting higher, riskier, and at a certain point possibly damaging. But I will take this addiction over many others that surround our society. It is obvious that with the popularity of fitness via peloton, pechelon or the other possibilities advertising for everyone’s passions, so are others. Will I ever pelofondo? Doubtful, but not out of the question. No, probably out of the question. Baby steps. 💯 is my today’s happiness and huge accomplishment.

Again, back to my thoughts during the ride…the what is next? Leaving this lifestyle is not an option, but my goals need to be realistic and not overtake my life. I want balance, health, happiness, the whole enchilada. I do not want to wake up and punish myself for not riding. That is not healthy. The instructors have become not only trainers but mental cheerleaders that allow me to push myself in all areas of life while spreading the reality of days will be days and some days we just don’t have it in us or even if we do we don’t as our bodies are needing rest. I want balance. The last two weeks have been double rides. I felt exhaustion and fighting for a number not a physical goal or enlightenment. But during the push I learned how much I can do, how much I love to ride and move my body. Now my work is on balance and a consistent better nutrition. As a member of WW for as long as I can remember I have always been at the moment of the last ten pounds, knowing full well what to do and how to do it…now that should be my goal. If I can do the rides, I can eat the right way, everyday. So, my numbers on the bike need to transfer to the numbers on the scale. So my new goal is ten pounds or so…200 rides by June and the addition of meditation, and barre to my daily workout All while trying to keep the balance and enjoying my workouts instead of chalking them off for the day which was necessary for this first testing round of goal achievement. I feel with the wisdom and strength of the trainers by my side, my favorites BTW are Robin, Alex, and Tunde and my go to rides are HIIT and Tabata. I know, crazy, right? This next go around will not only add to my numbers but include other options to my day and increase my saddle time from 20 minutes plus to 30 minutes plus on a daily basis so I build more muscle and burn additional calories. Now before all of you pelofondo achievers laugh, my ground zero point 100 rides ago was five minutes. Yes, five. I have come a long way and prouder than proud in my own quiet way.

Enjoy the ride, I know I have and will continue this passion.

goals, grey hair, life, retirement

The Talk

Nope, not that one. The talk that happens long after the children go out of the house, you get used to the quiet, for awhile, and finally you wonder what is next after the peace is not enough to satisfy the happiness and pride of surviving crying through the night, toddler tantrums, the school and sports years, braces, graduation and more until they find their way and move on and out. If you wondered, peace sucks. I like chaos. I like loud. I liked all that went with raising a family. So to say that this transition has been difficult is beyond explanation and my son is 30. Or almost. A tad embarrassing? Yes. True. Most definitely. Now, real retirement is about ten years away. I shudder at the thought of not going to work. It is a hobby, passion, necessity, all of the above plus more. What would any of us do without being needed or fulfilled in our everyday life. What will I do? What will we do?

As I round another birthday, I finally feel we have a plan. Now, not a dream I am willing to share at this moment But we have one, a true dream, plan, and a time-frame. Something we both want and after so many years (thirty-three years on May 28th) many couples aka most of my friends drift away…instead we are growing closer. Not all castles, travels, and diamonds, but one that is real, loving, and on the same page. We have both changed for the better. His wishes have become mine and my wishes are supported at every turn.

So, our recent “talk” was good. Actually it was great, surprising, and a relief. At the end of it we were both amazed that we are on the same planet as we begin to explore our eventual golden years. For now, we start our newest dreams, just as we did long ago at the alter, again at Stanford Hospital for the birth of our son, and many years later upon the birth of our grandson. Our nugget. Dreams make lives golden, it is not the years, and thank goodness we have plenty of dreams that with work will come true.

echelon, fitness, goals, granparent life, Peloton

Progress Not Perfection

About a year ago I went on a hike. A short hike. Barely an incline. I almost died. I had to sit about five times, I cursed like a sailor, and requested that my car be brought up the hill (as my friend called it). To me it was akin to Mount Everest. My embarrassing moments were just that embarrassing. Staring at the finish line aka parking lot while just feet away seemed like miles.

Fast tracking to the end of this terror I made it to the car and cried all the way home. Not out of pain but the reality of how I let myself become a blob with no ability to walk a few miles upward.

Once upon a time I was in shape. The wedding. Check. After the wedding. Check. Pregnancy. Check. After pregnancy. Check. My son’s first eighteen years due to the country club life and the machines I had at my disposal. Check. Then real life hit. A few life issues mixed in with mid-life. Everytime I started the walk down the block, the online barre or pilates classes. I stopped. Made excuses and felt pure guilt at not being able to cross the line of consistency.

Covid-19 brought many of us to our fitness, social, emotional, or financial needs. For me I knew if I did not do something I would look like a parades floating balloon. Perhaps it was the social media perfection pictures that flashed at me during the daily boredom and scrolling hours or all the blogs of fifty somethings that look thirty. Whatever it was. It clicked. Onward to my echelon/peloton life.

The first seventy-three rides were of the twenty minute variety mixed with HITT, Tabata, pop and the low key variety. Today, I made a move. I went to thirty minutes. I did it. I survived and I will continue until I can go to forty-five minutes with the weekly goal of an hour. My goal is lofty but it will be achieved.

So, my shape is improving for me and my family, especially my grand-nugget who will never see his grandmother poop out at a park. Any park. Even one with great big mouse ears. Does my shape represent thirty at fifty-seven, no. But I am getting closer and feeling great about it!

echelon, fitness, goals, Peloton

Me First.

This spring break I did a thing. I opened up another blog (Mrs. Livingston’s World), created a TpT shop and became an Outschool teacher. Within a week I am a small business owner who has a shell of a business with calendared days to work on filling the emptiness with materials and classes. But I did it. I took the leap. Not once this week, but twice. Learning that I had to coordinate names and buy a website, you know in case I make oodles! Now with all of this exciting news I took a couple days away from my riding. Oops.

I have stepped away before in a variety of studios but my pause this week allowed me to reflect that I put everyone but myself first. I get to the edge and run and make excuses. Lots of them. All valid and usually involving another person or situation in need but all hiding the truth. I have been afraid of being the best physical me, but that is over. The first sixty-two classes are filling me up with a daily endorphin cocktail which I attribute to the mental confidence to not only put myself out there with my side business hustles, that have sat in limbo for two years, but my physical changes. This does not mean that getting on the bike is easy. It is not. But a needed habit it has become. The bike and I are on to something pretty great physically and mentally as I give it credit for my stronger body and willingness to tackle Mrs. Livingston’s World.

So, in honor of twenty-eight more rides, in exactly four weeks. I am tackling just getting on the bike, daily and completing my four week beginning journey with choosing a ride based on feelings and needs for the day. Do I need music from the 60’s, a hard push with Tunde or Alex ( my favorites) or the craziness of Cody or countless other options. I am bringing my body finding my needs and getting off with a smile. Whatever it is I am honoring it and riding with my head up and completing my journey for my mind, body, and soul.

2020, education, life

Next year is 21…

Next year I will begin my 21st year of teaching. This year was hell. We can all agree. But what was worse than teaching to my little lost bubbles, was the digging deep to not emotionally lose them, and crying during the times I truly almost did. I found myself lost in my own shell as a teacher to the mysterious virtual world I lived inside. My normal soft hearted ways turned tough. With every new build of a virtual modules with countless varieties of materials needed to reach my peeps, another wall went up. The creative work allowed me to hide from our year long reality. I just kept busy. Each wall I built protected me from the kids truly difficult lives, and my own occasional pity party. Losing a year of human connection especially for a teacher is odd at best. It was hit and miss in the beginning but now I cannot remember what it is like inside the not so virtual walls of education. To me that is scary.

As I stated my chosen virtual world was sketchy at first but now part of me absolutely loves this new gaming world due to the creative methods of teaching, and let’s just say after twenty years I have done it all, literally. So this keeps my spark going. But that teacher part, the heart part, aches. That is something I cannot get back. However, since I am a positive gal I found a huge silver lining. My knowledge of technology went from a solid low single digits to triple digits on an average day. I began with just the basics of social media platform knowledge and texting with one thumb, which still plagues my cell saviness, but I am quick, know the lingo, and can challenge you on any tech platform to date. Ok. Not worth a year away from humans but the skills are priceless for my students and ultimate bragging rights for this old gal.

This post began with our recent “celebration” of the anniversary of hiding away from a virus that attacked the life we once knew. So much has changed. As a teacher at this time of year we start planning for next year. However, I do not know my next years direction. So the planning will have to wait. I am unsure of my school and grade level and at spring break this is frustrating but understandable. Districts around our state and the United States are still figuring out where our kids have been, as many have floated in and out of the public system long enough to be part of school, but educationally lost and without an actual daily home of learning. This did make me cry at night, in the beginning, but with the fortress I have built during this travesty, the tears have stopped. I am not proud of pushing away my feelings, but I had no choice. My long game was to survive the reality and damage education went through this year.

Next year, wherever I land, I will ring in 21 with joy and hopefully a softer heart. The outings will increase, the smiles will come back, and life will begin to make sense again. As for this year. I believe kids and teachers will eventually be ok. We all need a long summer of hugs and tons of fearless outings to welcome back a life after Covid-19. I will not forget this year, but perhaps, I will take more away from it aside from being ultra tech savvy. Just perhaps, I will enjoy life more sweetly than before and that will bring my hardened heart back to life.

echelon, education, fitness, goals, Peloton

50!

50 is a badge of honor in the Peloton world. I earned it. After my ride I danced…part tik tok and all embarrassing…no one was home. I inserted the word beast all day in every possible and impossible use just to tie me back to my tabata ride with Robin. The feeling I held with me that day and since this accomplishment is ecstatic as a beginner in the Peloton family. This is just one step one of many that I want not for the spin but the feeling afterwards. All these years I thought I would fall in love with a fitness routine. No. It is the moments after, that you fall in love with, that keeps you coming back. Ok the music and trainers are awesome, but it is the after.

My rides are saving my sanity. In a course of one week…deaths hit too close to home and my age, I became another pin cushion for Pfizer as I turned in my golden ticket for THE second shot, and muddled through the slight after feelings as the vaccine does it stuff. This was enough during an already over covidized lifestyle along with my yearly “I hate testing” mode that came kicking and screaming a few weeks weeks early. To add insult to injury my being raked over the coals for my ideals that state testing is the answer to everything or anything. It is my my opinion, but it was canceled quickly.

As a teacher, such speak is foreign to the trained union ears, but I have never have liked testing. Never. Ever. It brings out the worst in all teachers as they try to race to the top of the heap only to be publicly shamed if that years group does not measure excellence. FYI not every year brings testing success for a variety of reasons. It’s true. I have had great scores in my life, blue ribbon years in fact. How, I just teach. Thats all. You can’t push a score, child, or base your entire career around a number, but some do. I just teach and during testing I create cheers, dances, chants, and allow kids to breathe, chew gum, eat jolly ranchers galore as I just monitor and cheer.

As part of the canceled teacher culture. I am keeping to myself, teaching to my kids, smiling, and riding with numerical purpose. The new age of teacher (or those fixated on the score) has never understood me. We can’t all teach the same, test the same, be the same, and turn pages of text at the same time. However, we should all teach to the same standards at the same time with our materials of choice and share our knowledge and curriculum creation talents to bring the best to kids. If you love Common Core that’s cool, but in my opinion it has killed the overall creative spark of the teacher. Just my opinion. I love different. I create new lessons every year. I have never used the same plan twice. Ok, just one…but it’s really good. I will never change. Never. Truth be told I actually love a good test that shows a childs real growth or non-growth with the added caveat that the test must matter not for a pie in the sky score but true advancement. Give me any test that is meaningful to the tester and I am all over it as the purpose has changed. No longer is it a number it is a number for the child not the teacher. Big difference. We need a great test like Cambridge, ACT SAT, Stanford 9 that is used for student advancement. Not our current battle of the scores for only the teachers, districts, and states etc.

So how does my Peloton 50 celebration equate with my recent frustration surrounding my yearly testing woes. It is the difference between wanting the number and riding with no purpose. I worked for the number, I made the number happen. Our kids, especially our little humans don’t care about the number they just want the stress to go away. That feeling they have in their tummies and heads when some of our great teachers go overboard and our kids don’t see a connection to the test and life. Give it connection and we will see real scores that match to capabilities from our kids. But for now we are just ringmasters trying to squeeze out effort that many kids see no overall reason to give or just keep spinning with to please a system. Real meaning to testing will allow us to truly see the light of day. We would have invested kids, teachers teaching with true meaning, and correlation to the score and success which would have a higher impact on true data.

That’s all I want. That and my next Pelotin goal 100 by 4/19. Is it really too much to ask?

echelon, fitness, goals, life, Peloton

Falling off the Saddle

I fell off my saddle. Hard. Bruises with a deep cut to my ego and the strength I am building with my daily rides. Now all of my reasons are valid. Of course. I had this to do or that to do or pizza sounded good…not once but twice…accompianed by the guilt that always ensues with poor choices. I was rocking the biking/eating thing and suddenly I find myself on the floor applying bandages to my wounded soul.

Obviously, I am type A and do not take a step away of anything that demotes failure kindly. This is where I just give up. Walking away allows me to ignore the feeling of second best that settles into my mind. Many times in my life my dancing away allows me to mask the reality that I never put forth my best. I just walk away and it becomes part of my past instead of my present and my future. My mantra of belief is that I am too busy, it is not for me, nah, not good enough, I will find something more my speed. All excuses. So this week we have been doing a dance. I have been making ridiculous riding schedules and the bike continuously winking at me morning, noon, and night begging for me to get in the saddle as four days away was too much for both of us. Coupled with the Peloton commercials, in my insta and worse yet my kids asked me how my progress was…”Mrs. L how many more rides till 100?” Ugh. That was the final straw. Thank you 8th grade.

Today, on ride thirty-seven, I realized a few things. Scheduling rides a week in advance just makes me want to run and hide. It supports my theory of “I can’t.” Instead, I have marked my daily time and I just get on the bike with no excuses. I just show up and find a ride that suits my mood. Lately, Tabata with Robin or Ally have been calling my name along with anything that makes me laugh or transcends my inner potty mouth. Bring it on Robin. Now, as a beginner, my resistance is not quite at their level but my daily improvement is making me feel like I belong with the crew. Truth be told, I will always be fine if my hill is smaller than a team of professionals and other high number riders that are called out daily. As their numbers are called out I am amazed and motivated but let’s be real, I am fifty-seven and this is my first serious go-around in a long-time. My recent fall from a grace was necessary to find my stride and to realize that just getting on the bike is the daily true win. Just showing up to enjoy my time without the additional terror of overscheduling the one area in my life that should not be anything but free, fun, mine, and a healthy diversion. As life is life I have enough time restrainsts, alarms, and objectives, lists etc. This has become my time to just have fun and make my everyday a step towards making me in a better physical and mental form and yes, I am addicted. So what, aren’t we all?

education, goals, life, Peloton

Just Show Up

The first step of Peloton is “Just show up.” The epiphany is not mine, it is the company way, stated often, and a brilliant marketing tactic and a simple explanation of life. “Just show up.” After only twenty-five rides I am addicted to the mantras, coaches, entertainment, and the new fitter person I am becoming. Now, getting on the bike is not always easy, pretty, or physically pleasant. But it is my time where my showing up does equate to a better overall day due to endorphins and a mindset of positivity.

This week I taught my kids, during SEL time, about dreams, goals, and how to keep in the game when life keeps hitting us hard. My sweet 8th graders have survived unreal scenarios with no answer in sight. I reached into the social emotional learning lessons and inserted a few Peloton expressions and their little faces lit up. I guess it is true that everyone needs a little Ally Love in their lives!

Of course a lesson and a few fun quotes won’t solve the future issues looming over our littles lives. My kids find time to search me out or wait until class is over throughout the week and ask questions for which I have no answers. The frequency of their questions shows me that their stress level is going higher as the days pass. The questions are always the same but stated with their individual flair.

What will school look like next year?

Will it be scary to be back with new kids?

Will we wear masks forever?

Will the shot work?

What about the new strains?

Can we just stay virtual?

Will anyone remember me?

Will anyone like me?

That last one gets me in the heart. But my kids have been missing in action, coping with family, and trying to learn in a bubble chosen by their parents for a variety of reasons. My kids are home by choice and waiting out a storm that keeps bubbling up at every surface. Obviously, I have no answers but their fragility is noted. I shared that I am going to get the vaccine during my “lunch bunch” one student cried real tears as she thought that meant I would not be her teacher. I calmed her down and after I got off camera. I cried. Not even Ms. Love’s spirit and words could calm me down. A “Boss” I was not at that moment more like a puddle of emotions.

All of their questions are now in overdrive due to high-school enrollment on their plate. So I have adopted the Peloton mantra of just showing up into my virtual classroom. Everyday I welcome them by noting their good choices of showing up, being present, turning on the camera, and participating in school and life. This new phrase of congratulations of just showing up seems simple but to my littles they understand that this is the first step to each and everyday. To acknowledge the good choices they are making is my attempt to counter their fears and teach that no matter what the day brings we all have to decide to “Just Show Up” and tackle the day bit by bit. If mantras and power of positive thought can get this 57 year old to ride everyday because of that feeling of wow that I feel during and after the ride, just think of how consistent power of positive thought can transform my littles overwhelming fears.

It is my hope to turn my puddles of concern to strong personalities of positive thoughts for their exciting lives that await them if they are brave enough to peek around the corner.