Thursday, April 30, 2009

Training is the opposite of Hoping

Apparently, this is a new slogan that Nike is using in their marketing. I saw it on a t-shirt and LOVED it. This is my new theme for life. I think it can pertain to any challenge that you face – not just an athletic event.

First, I’ll discuss this in the realm of events, specifically the Half Ironman that Trevor and I are training for. I don’t want to stand on the banks of Lake Stevens at 6:30 am August 16th and think “I hope I’m ready for this”. I want to stand there and know that I have trained for it and that makes me ready. I want to know that I have trained for the 1.2 mile swim, the 56 mile bike ride and the 13.1 mile run. I don’t want to just hope I’ve done enough.

Sure, we could spend the next few months working out a little more, swimming a few times, riding the bike when the weather is nice and running some longer runs. We could eat a little more chicken and a little less ice cream. We could sleep in and skip workouts – go out drinking on a Saturday night and miss our Sunday run. We could eat big breakfasts at Biscuits cafĂ©. We could do all this and hope it was enough.


We could come up with a plan. We could spend the next few months executing that plan. It could include sport specific workouts for swimming, cycling and running….weight and core workouts. We could practice transitions from the water to the bike and the bike to the run. We could develop a week by week nutrition plan to fuel our workouts and try out different supplements and fuel for long workouts and recovery. We could read up on what to expect, other participants’ experiences and advice. We could get good sleep and solid rest on days off. And then we could show up and KNOW that we had trained and that we are as ready as we could possibly be. We can hope the weather is nice, but KNOW that we are ready even if its not.

Just writing that makes me want to be even more diligent in my training. It makes me feel like I am in complete control of my future and that is empowering.

Now let’s talk about how this theme can transfer to the rest of our lives. Are there things that you hope? I don’t mean hope in terms of “hopes and dreams”, I mean home as in “I hope I don’t lose my job,”, “I hope these pants still fit”, “I hope I have enough money to retire”.

In the examples above, the word training can be replaced with preparing. Let’s say “preparing is the opposite of hoping”. Let’s prepare for losing our job, so that if we do, we will be okay – look at what it would mean for you and what you need to do in order to be prepared. Do you need to cut back on your month expenses? Start saving into an emergency fund? Start looking for a new job now? And those pants…you know if they are going to fit. Stop hoping – either be okay with the fact that they don’t fit, or do something to make them fit – alter them or alter yourself. Either way is fine, just don’t hope about it.

Now, don’t get me wrong. You can train and prepare and it may still not be enough. You may have a bad day at an event, you may be hit with something in life that is totally unexpected – that you didn’t even think you would ever have to prepare for. You can do all the right things and still not be ready. But wouldn’t you rather look at an event/challenge/experience and say “I did all I could do, I gave the best I had, I respected the challenge. I’ll learn from this and grow”. That is so much better than “I should have been more prepared”, “I should have seen this coming”, “I should have trained for this”.

So many people go through life in the passenger seat – they let everyone and everything control their path. Sometimes its okay to go along for the ride, but for the most part you should be the driver. Take charge of your life. Decide what you want, come up with a plan and GO GET IT. Stop telling yourself all the reasons why you can’t have what you want.

Training is the opposite of hoping. Start training for your life.

Anything before 6 am is good.

Despite the 4 am alarm, today really started out to be a great day. Then I got to work and it all went downhill – that is mostly due to my attitude, I’m sure. I need to adjust that, otherwise I won’t be able to survive. Its just funny that some days I go home thinking that I’ve hit my limit and I can’t take anymore…then I go back the next day and I realize that my limit has been pushed, my threshold raised and I take more. Its not really funny, like haha, its funny like in a tragic way.

But back to good thoughts!! I have lots to say today – I had a great workout this morning and during my run I thought about a lot of things. I do my best thinking during the runs. I loved that it was light out at 5:15 am. That’s a nice change.

The Universe was sending me a message yesterday – about training. I read a story on the New York Times website about training. It talked about how people who actually train for an event perform better and have fewer injuries. By training, they meant with a group or a coach – following a specific program. The article profiled this one guy in particular and how he loved to train. I realized last night when I was riding my bike that I love to train.

I didn’t used to love to train. Growing up, I loved to play – but I hated to train. In high school I dreaded conditioning and the training before the soccer or softball season started. I would do anything to not have to do it – I’d lay awake at night and worry about it. Boy, have I come far from those days.

Then, I was at the Nike store and saw a shirt that said “Training is the opposite of Hoping”. I didn’t buy it, but I need to – because that is going to be my theme for this summer. During my run this morning I wrote a whole post about this in mind – I’ll be writing that later and will post for your reading enjoyment.

So, the Universe was telling me to keep training. That is what I am doing! Tomorrow is a rest day – I’ll sleep in until 6 am, if Roxie lets me – which is doubtful. Saturday is a long bike ride (100 minutes) followed by a 20 minute run. Sunday is a 7 mile run. I need to be sure to enjoy tomorrow too!

At the Nike store, I did buy a new pair of running capris. They were on a mannequin who was all geared up for a super fast run – when the cashier was ringing up the capris, the style name showed up as “Slacker Capris”. Who, at Nike, is responsible for naming a pair of running pants – “Slacker”. I wore them this morning for my 5:15 am run, after I had already worked out for over an hour and thought “who’s the slacker now?”

I have been listening to the same two playlists on my Ipod for about three months now. I have some songs on there that I really love and I haven't gotten tired of them yet. This morning, I saw that Trevor has some playlists on there and figured I would listen to one of them. Trevor had picked a song by Rush called Tom Sawyer for his fight walk song - the song they played when he walked into the ring before his fight. When he played it for me before the fight, I was like "ehh....couldn't you find something better?". It did nothing for me. I haven't listened to that song since his fight. It was on his playlist and when it started, I got goose bumps. I had this crazy feeling wash over me and it was like I was sitting at the Roseland, watching him walk into the ring. Then I started to feel sick to my stomach. It was the craziest thing. The song finished and I hit rewind to play it again....and I kept on running.

I have jokingly been saying for the past few days that I don’t want the swine flu. Then seriously, I have been washing my hands, watching what I touch and telling Trevor to do that same – especially at the store. He told me last night that a woman came into the store yesterday and after she was done, told Casey that he might want to disinfect things because she just got back from Mexico and was told that she should quarantine herself for 7 days and she said, “but I can’t do that”. Right. You need to be at our store infecting us. What the hell is wrong with people – this is the reason why things like this are transmitted – people have no regard for other people. I thought about this a bit on my run because, as I’ve mentioned before, I tend to stew on my run. But that didn’t ruin my absolutely pleasant morning. I used to joke that I’d love to live in a world where there was no one but me….when I’m up so early in the morning, its kind of like that. And you know what – I really like it. Its probably more like this: I’d like to live in a world where I hand picked only the best people…but then I’d have no one to blame but myself and that would suck.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Maybe I should get a newspaper route.

If there were any available, I might as well. I mean, I’m already getting up before the crack of dawn due to my workout/training schedule and my earlier work schedule. Starting in January, I have to be at work no later than 8:30 – this pushed my alarm clock back to 4:30 am. On top of that, I’m making less money thanks to a pay cut and furlough days. These items – early mornings, less money for more work – are characteristic of a newspaper route. I’ve done many paper routes in my life and honestly have never been paid for any of them. Well, that’s not true – I was paid my salary for my job at the newspaper, I was just never paid as an actual carrier.

Tomorrow morning, I have a mandatory 8 am meeting at work. That means that my alarm will go off tomorrow morning at 4 am. Which to me, is completely ridiculous. Completely. I’m trying not to be angry about it because that will only make it worse – when it really just is what it is.

So my alarm will go off at 4 and I’ll need to get right out of bed – no time to waste. I’ll do a weight workout, ab workout and then run for 35 minutes. The nice thing about it is that there will be NO traffic out when I run – which I LOVE. Its so peaceful and calm. I am hoping the skies will clear and I might have some moonlight to lead the way.

After my run, I’ll take Wookie for a walk. While we were on vacation, our awesome house/pet sitter, Joyce, walked Wookie twice a day and he refuses to go back to his previous sporadic schedule of walks. He now demands that he be walked and right after my workout is the best time.

Then there will be a quick breakfast, maybe a minute to peruse the paper, coffee, a shower and then off to work.

Roxie has been wanting me to pet her every morning around 4:25, she sits on my chest and touches my face. She used to claw my face, not she just paws at me – it is very cute. I always pet her until the alarm goes off. Unless she sets her alarm to 3:55, tomorrow she might just have to go unpetted. Or maybe she’ll wake Trevor up at 4:25.

My point is this....4 am is just too damn early to get out of bed - unless you are getting on a plane to go someplace great on vacation. Clearly, that is not the case for me tomorrow.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

4 down, 16 to go

Whew, I am just about caught up with all my posts. This week was a challenging week because it was spent on a boat and on vacation. Not the optimum conditions for training. According to the schedule, this was a "recovery" week. I did pretty good - got in all my workouts except the swims. The day we were at Atlantis, I thought I'd swim, but the water was too rough. Just about the time we were getting ready to leave, we saw an enormous, beautiful lap pool. It was too late for me to use it and I was bummed about that. I guess one week of not swimming won't matter much in the long run.

Today was my long bike ride - 60 minutes, follwed by a 10 minute run. It felt so great to be out on the open road instead of on a stationary bike on a moving ship!

Here is what the last 6 days have entailed:
(a total of)
0 hrs of swimming
2 hrs and 5 min of cycling
2 hrs of running
2 hrs of weights/ab workouts
for a grand total of 6 hours and 5 minutes.

I ate way too much on our cruise - in addition to eating a bunch of food that I don't normally eat. My body is really ready to get back to normal. I look forward to week 5 - working out hard and eating right. Doesn't that sound fun?

Cruise to the Bahamas Days 6 and 7

Day 6 was another day at sea. We had hit our limit of sitting around. So today we went to some of the activities. We watched the newlyweds game, which was really funny. Then we went and watched karaoke, which can always go either way.

The day went really fast and it was time for our last meal. The Sheriff and his wife left dinner early, so it was just us, the Athletic Director and the cop. I don't know what we were talking about, but the cop started to talk. We found out the he was a constable in Dallas and his job was search and seizure. At one point he said, "I don't say too much, you never know who you are talking to. But I say what needs to be said when it needs to be said". This was one tough guy - you would not want to mess with him. Eventually we started talking about our pets and he turned into a big teddy bear. We really enjoyed getting to know them.

After dinner we actually went to a show! We must be very sleep deprived because we slept for about 10 hours every night. This was the first night we actually went out on the town, so to speak. It was a great show, but we were ready for bed. Of course, we were excited to see what was waiting for us in our room...

The next day, we got up early and headed to breakfast. We were already docked back in Jacksonville. We just had to wait until it was time to get off the boat. Here were are.

That was it. Vacation - over. We caught the shuttle to the airport and couldn't figure out why the airport was built on the ocean....we still felt like we were on that boat! Our equilibrium was out of whack!

After many hours of traveling, we finally got home. The pets were so happy to see us and we were so happy to see them. As I said before, I love to go away, I just wish I could bring home with me.

We won this cruise at the Olivia Medici Memorial Run last year. This trip served as a graduation present for Trevor - he just finished up his bachelor's degree. After the trip was over, we reflected on the thought that this trip was also in honor of sweet Olivia. The 3rd annual Memorial Run is this coming weekend. That's where we will be on Sunday.

Time to get back to our normal routine and our crazy life!

a side note

Before this trip, everyone kept telling me that I wouldn't even know I was on a boat. The night we left Half Moon Cay, the water was really rough - we were sitting at dinner when the boat turned around to head back to sea. I felt really sick for a bit. After about an hour, that passed. We went and sat on the back deck. On the deck below us, there was a kid's pool that had about 2 feet of water in it. Check out the motion of the water in the pool. This will give you an idea of how much the boat was rocking.

After a while, there was no water left in this little pool, it had all sloshed out!

Here is a video of the same pool on the last day of the cruise when we were docked. This is how I expected it to be the entire time. This is how it would have been if we had not been able to feel the boat move, quite a difference.

Cruise to the Bahamas Day 5

Today we stopped at Half Moon Cay - an island owned by the cruise companies. When we woke up, it was raining. Not a good sign. By the time we got off the boat, the sun was out and it turned into a beautiful day.

We saw this sign with the distance to Seattle. We were a long way from home!

We walked around the island, sat on the beach. I got in the water. Here's a great picture of our ship, anchored off the island.

We had lunch and then sat on the beach a while longer. Then we headed back to the boat, cleaned up and headed to dinner.

Tonight at dinner we were joined by a new couple. They were from Dallas - she worked for Chyrsler and he was in law enforcement. They were really nice - at least she was really nice, he did not say a word the entire time we were at dinner. They had been married 6 months. He looked like an NFL linebacker, he was HUGE! It was interesting to watch the Athletic Director and Sheriff Farley try to get this guy to talk!

AFter dinner, we hit the back deck for a while, then went to bed, where Dino was waiting.

Cruise to the Bahamas Day 4

We woke up this morning to this beautiful sight:

This is Atlantis - an amazing resort in Nassau. We were going to spend the day there. But first we had to get off the boat, navigate through town to our shuttle. We then sat in the worst traffic for about 45 minutes.

Here is our boat in port:

We finally made it to Atlantis, where we enjoyed a relaxing day of wandering through their aquarium, sitting by the pool, walking the beach and wandering the property.

We got back to the boat and headed to another night of interesting conversation. This night we were joined by a mother and her two kids. As we started to talk to them, we found out that the kids were homeschooled and I believe this cruise counted as a field trip for them. They had been surviving on room service and this one dinner with their obligatory meal in the dinning room.

After dinner we headed back to our room and this is what was waiting.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cruise to the Bahamas Day 3

This was our first day at Sea, meaning we were on the boat all day, with no stops. We wouldn't be into port until the next morning. entire day with nothing to do!! It has been a long time since we have had one of those.

I got up early and used the gym. Then we had breakfast. We met some people from Boston who were super nice. They had been married 19 years and had 6 kids. They were renewing their vows on the cruise. We enjoyed a relaxing breakfast and visited with them.

The rest of the day was spent laying out in the sun, reading, wandering the ship and eating lunch.

That night we went to the dinning room for the first time and met our dinner mates. One couple was from Boston - he was a retired Athletic Director and she was a teacher. He was the stereotypical AD - picture yours from high school and it could have been this guy. He was so excited to tell us how this dinner thing works, "you can order as much as you want - if you want three dinners, order three dinners! Its already paid for, so why not". He then proceeded to order two appetizers, three dinners and three desserts". It was nuts!

The other couple was from Florida. He looked and talked exactly like Sheriff Dean Farley from My Cousin Vinny. EXACTLY.

There was lots of interesting conversation among the group. Trevor and I only ordered one appetizer, meal and dessert each. However, we did discover our downfall....its called Chocolate melting cake...and we would spend a lot of time with this cake over the next few days.

After dinner we headed out to the back deck and enjoyed the beautful night.

We got back to our room and this is what was waiting for us:

We named here Ellie.

Cruise to the Bahamas, Days 1 and 2

We left REALLY early on Friday morning - we had to fly to Dallas and then to Jacksonville. Our flight to Dallas was probably the worst flight I've been on in years. There was so much turbulence - we were all over the place. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have issues with motion sickness. I did okay on this flight and really just tried to relax. We started our approach into Dallas and there was a storm - we saw lightning a few times and felt the plane move when the thunder boomed. After a few minutes, we didn't seem to be going down anymore. The pilot came on and said we were going to circle....we did that for an hour. Not fun.

We finally landed and all the flights were delayed. We sat at the airport for over three hours and finally got on our plane to Jacksonville. We got in around 8, got to our hotel and went to dinner. What a long day! Our hotel was great, we got a great night's sleep.

Day 2 - I got up early and went for a run - it was so nice to see the sun and be able to run in shorts and a t-shirt. We had breakfast, ran to Walmart to buy some bottled water for our trip and boarded the shuttle for the port.

The check in procedure at the boat was smooth. We boarded around 1, went up and had lunch on the Lido deck. It was a beautiful buffet. We sat out in the sun and enjoyed the view. The boat wasn't leaving the dock until 4 pm.

We wandered around and tried to get a feel for where things were. We got into our room and were happy with it. Trevor tested out the bed - which was surprisingly comfortable for being two twin beds pushed together.

We went upstairs at 3:30 for the mandatory emergency meeting. Here they tell you what to do in case we hit an iceburg.

We went and visited the maitre'd and asked to have our dinner seating changed from the 8 pm to the 6 pm - because we are 80 years old and we can't have dinner at 8....that's too close to bedtime.

After we did that, we wandered a bit more, had dinner, then sat on the deck and went to bed early. The boat had set sail and we really felt the boat moving - all night long I was pretty sure I'd fall out of bed....but I didn't. I just took my motion sickness pill and went back to sleep.

Vacation, all I've ever wanted....

Ahhh, vacation. I love to go away, I just wish I could bring all five of my pets, my house and all my own things with me. Is that too much to ask?

Trevor and I spent the last week on a cruise to the Bahamas. We actually won this cruise in a drawing at the Olivia Medici Memorial Run last year around this time. We finally got around to taking the trip and it was great.

I'll break it up over a few posts, so you don't lose interest. Plus, it makes it easier for me to look back at it day by day.

I was anxious about this trip because I have an issue with motion sickness. A BIG issue. The worst day of my life was spent deep sea fishing off the coast of New Jersey. I get sick in the car, on planes, on amusement park rides, sometimes even just swimming laps. So this trip could have gone either way.

Everyone kept saying that I wouldn't have a problem - "on a ship that big, you don't even know you are on a ship". Its not that I didn't believe them, but I knew I needed to take matters into my own hands. I got some medicine from my dr and figured I would take it before we even got on the boat, just to be sure that I was okay. Then I did a lot of meditation and visualization about the trip to convince myself that I would not get sick.

I like to take a trip at least once a year with Trevor. When we spend an entire week together, alone, it gives us the chance to see if we still like each other! I am happy to report that we do, in fact, still like each other. Here's to another year!!

3 down, 17 to go

I'm doing a little catch up here, so bear with me!

Week three of triathlon training ended on the 18th. It was a good week - the heaviest work load so far. Lots going on this week - getting ready for our trip, not much time for messing around!
Here is what the last 6 days have entailed:
(a total of)
2 hrs of swimming
2 hrs and 30 min of cycling
2 hrs and 20 min of running
2 hrs of weights/ab workouts
for a grand total of 8 hours and 50 minutes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The final call.

If you are a Phillies fan, this may make you cry - it will certainly make the hair on your arms stand on end. If you are not a Phillies fan - I'm sorry you didn't get to spend your life enjoying this classic voice. Growing up, this voice was always in the background. It was the narrative of our Springs, Summers and far too few Falls. Rest In Peace Harry.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Open letter to the lady at the grocery store.

Dear Lady at the grocery store,

You know who you were at the Salmon Creek Fred Meyers today with your daughter (who I am guessing was about 12). You are about 35 and were wearing sweats. You may not remember me - but I was at the store for about an hour. I know you were too and I know this because I could hear you on your cell phone for the ENTIRE HOUR. Every time I turned down an aisle, you were there. Every time I came around a corner, you followed me. If I stopped and looked at the cheese, you were stopped and looking at the cheese.

You may remember me because at one point, your daughter ran into me with the cart. You yelled at her and told her to pay attention. The irony of that was lost on you, I am sure.

I got to hear you talk to whomever you were talking to about some teenagers who shouldn't be dating until they were 28. Then I got to hear you talk about how you knew something was wrong when "she took a third laxative". God only knows who "she" is, I wish I didn't have to even think about that.

Then, when I got in line to check out, I just finished unloading my cart and you pulled into the lane behind me. If you hadn't been so enthralled in your conversation you would have noticed the death glare I gave you. Now, I am sure that you are a really great person, with lots of awesome qualities, but at that moment, I wanted to ram you with my cart. Repeatedly. Seriously, over and over and over again. Happy Easter, right?

Let me tell you a secret. NO ONE WANTS TO LISTEN TO YOUR SIDE OF THE CONVERSATION. No matter who you are talking to. We want you to concentrate on the task at hand and get the hell out of the store, so we can do the same thing. You are an adult, with at least one child - its time you realize that you are not the only person on the planet.

And while we are having this discussion - could you please pass this info along to a few of your relatives....the woman whom I work with that talks on her cell phone in the bathroom (while she is actually using the bathroom), the man who talks on his phone in line at Starbucks, the woman who talks on her phone the entire time she's in our store and then acts annoyed because I am taking too long to ring her up and finally the young girl at our gate at the airpot who is rehashing her crazy night out drinking. I would like all of these people to hang their phone up and get on with life. Don't they have enough time to talk on the phone when they are in their car?


Two down, 18 to go

Week two of triathlon training ended today. This has been a good week - I have been tired, not as tired as last week, but still more tired than usual.
Here is what the last 6 days have entailed:
(a total of)
2 hrs of swimming
2 hrs and 10 min of cycling
2 hrs and 30 min of running
2 hrs of weights/ab workouts
for a grand total of 8 hours and 40 minutes.

The weather has been a little better this week - so my bike rides were all outside. Monday was the inaugural outdoors ride of my little red corvette (my new bike). For the last month, she has been stuck on the trainer in the garage - every time we thought we'd go outside, it would rain.

I love my bike and what a difference it makes! My mountain bike, with its thick tires, is a tougher ride. That bike served me well last season and this new bike will serve me well this season.

I went to see the chiropractor on Friday and he really worked on my legs. When he was adjusting me he commented on how tight my back muscles are. Between the stress of life in general and my increased training, my back is in a constant state of contraction!

My body is starting to understand that when we get home from work, we don't lay on the couch - we workout. So this week was a little easier than last week. I am really looking forward to the week when I am not exhausted. That has to come sometime in the next 18 weeks....right? I really hope that I don't spend the next 18 weeks being exhausted. That won't be much fun.

Maybe I'm not eating enough? I am pretty sure I am getting enough sleep...I mean - I don't think I could EVER get ENOUGH sleep - but as far as what my body needs, I'm getting it. I'll focus some more this week on eating more. Doesn't that sound fun - too bad it can't be all cookies and candy.

Another week down, one more week closer....its all pretty exciting to me. Hope it somehow is to you too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Out with the old.

I was watching Denis Leary on David Letterman the other night. No, I don't stay up that late - it was Tivo'd. I love Denis Leary and my Tivo is set up to tape any show that has him in it - so I end up with crap like Operation Dumbo Drop, but its okay, because I also get some great stuff too!

Anyway - Dave was telling Denis what great shape he was in and asked how he did it. Denis said he plays hockey. He said he used to run, but when he runs, he stews and that isn't good for anyone.

I was running early Sunday morning and realized that I, too, stew when I run. I was getting all worked up over the newspaper again. A general theme - its a huge part of my life, so it only makes sense that I would think about it when I run. As I've said before, that's when I do my best thinking.

Last week, there was a story on the front page of The Oregonian's 'How we Live' secton titled: "The Frill is Gone". It had a list on the left that said "Out with the Old", the list on the right said "In with the New". The "Out with the Old" list was a who's who of Oregonian Advertisers. The "In with the New" was non-local businesses or free services. This was not a hard-hitting news item, it was a human interest type story. I suppose the purpose of it was to respond to the tough economic conditions our readers are facing. Which I understand...but why in the world would we name our biggest advertisers in the "out with the old".

If this feature had run in any other publication - they would have listed newspapers in "out with the old" and getting your news online for free in the "in with the new". We'd be all up in arms about that.

The more I think about this, the madder I get. A few weeks ago, I posted two times about things going on at The Oregonian. Those posts were picked up by other bloggers in other cities and my blog got a lot of hits. My opinions were picked apart and commented on by many other people. That scared me a bit, because I want to keep my job. So I was going to keep my opinions about the paper to myself. Then this happened and I went for a run....the stewing began and now there is no stopping it.

For the life of me, I will never understand why the newspaper industry is so hell bent on putting themselves out of business. I am not suggesting that we don't cover stories or keep facts hidden about something or someone because they are an advertiser. If there is a story that needs to be told, we should tell it - no matter who it is about.

As a local paper, isn't it our responsiblity to support our community? Isn't it our responsiblity to tell our community's story? Even to drive business into our community? I think it is.

Now, I am bit of a fanatic about things. Our business is an advertiser in both local papers and I can say this for sure...if our business was listed in a story like this as one of the "out with the old"s...I wouldn't give another penny to that paper. EVER. My hope is that none of the decision makers at the advertisers who were named are like me. Because really....can we afford to lose more advertisers? I think not.

Stephen Colbert has been talking a lot about newspapers lately and the other night he said this: "When newspapers die, where will I read the obituary". Good question Stephen. Very good question.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I was talking to an old friend last night. She is actually one of my oldest friends and she has now become a new friend. We went to school together - all 12 years, all the way through. We always knew each other...but we never really KNEW each other. I have only seen her once since high school at our reunion. Then a little over a year ago, we got back in touch - by a very random chance. Knowing her now has made all the difference in my life. She lives 3000 miles away, we keep in touch via email, instant message and facebook. We've spoken on the phone once and I didn't want to say good-bye.

We have so much in common, we seem to have had many of the same life experiences and we see the world in the same way. There are differences between us as well and the awesome thing is this: our differences are the things that we admire most about each other - the things that inspire us about each other.
For example, She is a mom. As you know, I have no desire to be a mom, yet the idea that she has worked so hard to be a mom and that she works so hard at being a mom, inspires the hell out of me. I struggle with my spirituality and am just now really coming into my own as to how I feel about all of those things. My friend is Jewish and celebrates her beliefs. Growing up, where we grew up, that was something that made us different. Now, it draws me to her, makes me want to know her more and inspires me to figure out what I believe. In talking to her, we have also found things that happened in the past, during our school days and since, that caused us to admire each other. To be able to tell her these things now, feels good.

We were talking last night about the sixth grade. I don't remember that year at all. I spent most the year being sick and really had a hard time. It was probably the hardest year of my life and I really do try to forget it. This friend remembers that year, vividly. She mentioned something about thinking how courageous I was during that time. What a nice thing to say. We also talked about an issue she had several years ago and then she said this: "I don't want to be defined by my history". That statement hit me like a ton of bricks.

I don't want to be defined by my history either! I don't want to have to do or be something just because that is how it was in the past. I want to be free to carve my path to the future, unhindered by the things that have happened before. When you measure yourself by your past, you limit what you can become. Those things in the past can serve as excuses for why you can't do things now or in the future. This really is hard - most of us use our histories as a way to define who we are. "I'm not good at that...I don't like this....I've always been x, y or z".

I've spent the last few months practicing meditation and visualization. I am focusing on what I want to be and do, not how things have always been or who I used to be. Who says that just because I've always had a hard time traveling that I have to continue having a hard time. Our words and thoughts can create our reality. So, when I say "I'm an awful traveler. I hate to fly", I am reinforcing this behavior, setting it in stone. If I instead say, "traveling comes easy to me, I enjoy the entire process", I am now convincing my mind that is the truth.

I want to let go of all the things that have limited me in the past. I do not want to be defined by my history and I look forward to more words of wisdom from a friend from the past who is helping me shape my future. People come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn. I know that is true. It is ironic that someone from the past would teach me that my past doesn't have to define me!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

1 down, 19 to go.

Today marked the end of week 1 of triathlon training. I am glad the first week is over and ready to keep moving forward. It will take a few weeks for my body to really get used to the increased work load that I have thrust upon it.

One of my friends at work asked what the difference was between what I normally do and my “training”….good question Darla. Here’s the answer. The last few months I have been working out 6 days a week – usually about 6-7 hours per week. I did a mixture of just about everything and tried to have fun doing it. This included running, cycling, swimming, weights, step aerobics, boot camp, kick boxing – anything that sounded good. I was a little less regimented with my eating (translation – many more cookies, candies and cakes than usual!). The last two months, we were training for the Shamrock 15k Run. I knew that run would be 9 miles of mostly uphill, so we spent the weekends doing long runs on the Leif Erickson trail in Portland – which is mostly uphill. We completed that on March 15th.

The triathlon training schedule is much more sport specific. The event will be a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run. The training is all of these things and lots of them. I really worked hard with the weights over the winter and have built some good lean muscle and strength, so I will continue to incorporate weight training and ab work into my current program. I don’t want to lose what I have gained and that strength and stability will help with all the other workouts and my performance on August 16th.

Here is what the last 6 days have entailed:
(a total of)
1 hr and 30 min of swimming
2 hrs and 5 min of cycling
2 hrs and 10 min of running
2 hrs of weights/ab workouts
for a grand total of 7 hours and 30 minutes.

Here is what the heaviest week of training will entail:
(a total of)
3 hr and 15 min of swimming
4 hrs and 50 min of cycling
3 hrs and 55 min of running
2 hrs of weights/ab workouts
for a grand total of 14 hours.

I did all my cycling in my garage, with my bike on the trainer (a contraption that holds the back wheel and allows you to make your bike a stationary bike. My running was done outside in the rain and cold and usually dark. During the week I often had visions of how things would be during the heaviest week. It will be in August and it should be light out from about 4 am to 10 pm. It should also be hot. What a difference that will be.

During my rides, I visualized how it will feel on August 16th. After all the training and prep, I think the day will be awesome. The hardest part really is the 20 weeks leading up to it. The event is just one day. It should take about 6 hours. By that time, 6 hours should be a piece of cake…right? While I spend time visualizing all of this, I am working hard to take it one day at a time. I find myself feeling a bit anxious when I start to think of those weeks that will have 12-14 hours of training. If I just focus on what I have to do today, I just feel better.

So that’s that.

In other news – Trevor is getting better every day. He swam this week and felt pretty good. The dr said he can start riding the bike next week and running in one or two more weeks. Although he will be 4 weeks behind me in training, I’m sure it won’t show once we get to Lake Stevens, he’s pretty resilient! His black eyes are just about back to normal. Its almost like none of it ever happened. Almost.