Wednesday, September 22, 2010
QUOTE: "Everyone who got to where they are had to begin where they were."
Richard Paul Evans
Sometimes I wonder how on earth people got to where they are. I admire them from afar and wonder how to get there. Then, when I really stop to think about it, I realize that people simply begin where they begin and end where they end. There just really is not a special secret except the decision to move.
With each event I attend, either as a volunteer or a participant, I see the miracle of movement. Once any one of us decides to take an idea and add movement to the idea, we see change. This past Sunday was another confirmation of this miracle of movement. To see so many people brave a cold morning to swim, bike and run was so uplifting. There were really 693 DIFFERENT looking people. We each donned similar swim caps, but under those caps were 693 people with 693 sets of motivation for this special race. it was kind of fun to imagine each story behind the decision to race. For many this was their first race. For some, I imagined that they had been racing for years.
As I raced and as I finished, i wanted others to feel what it feels like to have worked hard and to have finished. I wanted people to know that it is not an impossible feat. I saw people there whose pace was slow and measured. I saw others who zoomed by the rest of us at speeds that caused wonder. Neither was more special than the other. ALL were stunning.
The speaker, Sally Edwards, encouraged us all. It was a bit "pep rally-ish" but the message was incredibly important: there is not a one of us who does not have an inner athlete that CAN come out with gentle encouragement. I've climbed many hills on my bike and on foot, but none really has been as challenging as the hills I created in my mind. My physical being has served me well and my mind has followed when I have allowed it to. And the reverse is also true: my body has followed when my mind has permitted it to follow.
If no other lessons I keep from my current journey, I want to keep this idea: that I really can do that which I can imagine simply by adding movement to my ideas. I can't stare at a hill in front of me and whine, groan, lament, protest and still expect that the hill will move. I simply have to move towards the hill and takes its slopes (or sheer incline) a step at a time. All that energy spent complaining gets me no where. Investing that same energy into action serves me much much more effectively.
And you? How are you confronting the hills?
MANTRA: Faith. Fit. Focus.
PHOTO OF THE DAY: This is one hill I love to take in!!
Monday, September 20, 2010
It's a pretty interesting feeling to get to the finish line of an event at about 9:00 in the morning and realize the rest of my day is still ahead of me! It's odd really. How many times do I say to myself that I don't have time for this that or the other? How many times do I say that I can 't possibly fit in my workout because of the time on the clock? And yet on a race day, I am up early, eat reasonably well, drive to the event, get set up for the event and then jump in the water at a cooooool 7:15 a.m.!! It just goes to show that we can fit what we want into our days. It often just depends on our motivation to do so.
On Saturday night I was thinking I did not want to race because it was pouring rain and I HATE being cold! In fact, probably the only thing that will stop me from doing something outside is the thought of getting cold. I cramp up and the chill only leaves me when I can take a steaming hot bath. Normally I am a determined person, but the cold can stop me from budging. So on Saturday night, with the idea of impending COLD I did the ostrich thing and hid under the covers at our B&B at 8:00 pm!! LOL.. uh.. I usually go to bed close to midnight, so 8:00 pm was my way of ignoring the rain and the cold and hoping I could avoid a cold day in the lake! However, last time I checked, the ostrich strategy rarely works. I had also heard that there were 2000 women that would be showing up and this made me feel odd. I dislike crowds so my head under the covers seemed to calm me.
I got up at about 4:15 when my body said it was starving. Earlier on Saturday evening, the innkeeper had prepared a spinach quiche for me which I warmed up and thoroughly enjoyed. I prepared all of my things and then woke up my daughter at 5:00. She begged for an extra 5 minutes of sleep, so I went downstairs to check bike tire pressure. Then I woke my daughter up for reals and we still got ourselves out the door by 5:45.
The event was a short 10 minutes away from the B&B and after finding a parking spot (all of them were a good 10-minute walk from the start line), I found my spot in the transition area with relative ease. Once I was in the race mode, I was fine. My nerves from the night before were gone and I was ready to rock and roll!
The start waves were rapid fire. I was in wave 3 and things started ON TIME. There was no backing out once you passed the gates to the water area. Kind of like a herd of cattle ... I internally giggled with an urge to moo or baaaaaaa! At the count down the women did a double high-five to the women all around them and off we went... I had to hang back for a good 20 seconds as the water cleared up in front of me. Lots of kicking feet and I did not want to get a heel in the nose. Note to self: I am pretty sure now that I need to get a new wet suit. I think my daughter's middle school one keeps my arms from having a full range of motion. I was more conscious of being a little uncomfortable with my strokes. nevertheless, I emerged at pretty much the same time as my first tri... just about 20 minutes.
With my propeller securely fastened to my helmet, I took off for Mercer Island on my bike. It was a fairly flat ride with a few steep hills. My favorite part: WOOHOOing in the long long tunnel and shouting ECHO ECHO ECHO at the top of my lungs ... while riding through said tunnel. Several women echoed back and I'm sure we were all feeling as silly as ever. I lopped off about 10 minutes from my time at Hagg Lake two weeks ago. This I contribute to the fact that the hills were minimal compared to Hagg Lake. I did feel pretty strong the bike ride. It seems to be my stronger of the three disciplines.
The run felt about as arduous as my Hagg Lake run. I had to walk a few times but I felt like my form was a little better than my last race... I actually thought about how I was running this time as opposed to how tired I was feeling. Someone placed a gawd-awful hill about a 1/2 mile from the finish line. Nice! Not! It took all of my focus to not stop to walk it. The last 1/4 mile though was pretty darn decent and I felt like I had enough in me to give myself a little spurt at the end.
And just as I got my finisher's medal (we all got them) a light rain began to fall. The sky was spotted with blue patches and dark clouds. I looked for a rainbow but missed it. But the sky looked amazing. My daughter and I were able to see my neighbor finish strong just a short while later (she started in a different wave). This was her first tri so it was pretty special to see someone else have that awesome... truly awesome feeling... when you cross that line for the first time.
My biggest lesson: The thought of cold has the potential of stopping me, so I need to prepare for it.. physically. It's not mental for me. It is physical. I don't function well when freezing cold. So while I work hard at improving my run and my swim pace, I will be working on finding ways to stay warm.
My observation: I am inspired by so many people when I go out on these events. There were two particularly inspirational moments during this race:
(1) I saw two ladies on a tandem bike on the route and as they passed me and I passed them (back and forth a few times) I saw that the courageous lady on the back was a blind participant. She had a special bib that indicated her status. I saw her later with her partner on the run. And as we crossed on the run' s switchback, I felt that swell of admiration for a person who simply amazes. She had that look... that look of determination.
AND (2) My neighbor who has worked so hard in the past few months to get herself to Seattle for this Tri. If you have a chance, give her a shout out here on SP. She is MMS354. I'm pretty sure she ran this race for her dad who passed away recently. The emotion ran high and she did her dad proud... very proud. WAY TO GO, MELISSA!!!
On my way home, my daughter and I schemed about doing tri's together soon. She is on the mend so "soon" is arriving fast. This means I have to buy my own road bike soon since I've been using hers for training and my two races so far. And I'm starting to think that perhaps I can in fact start training for a slightly longer race- an Olympic Tri. The hardest part will be the run, so I had better get cracking!
In my reflections during the drive, I also realized that I have now hit a point that the race needs to be about someone else.. not just me finding myself. I think I am ready to figure out how to give back in these races. My daughter trained with Team in Training last year. I gained much respect for this organization when I watched her grow and then race. Their mission is admirable and one I think I need to start considering for at least one race next year.
OK! I'm bushed and happy I did not stay in bed with the covers over my head.
Hope your weekend was spent in a MOVEMENT-oriented fashion!
QUOTE: "Actions have consequences...first rule of life. And the second rule is this - you are the only one responsible for your own actions." ~Holly Lisle
MANTRA: Faith. Fit. Focus.
PHOTO OF THE DAY:
A few of my stats from this race:
==There were 693 finishers (I'm not sure who told me there were 2000 women, but the number shrunk to 693 on Sunday- at least that is what the report says)
==I ranked 225 overall.
==There were 52 women in my age range (50-54) and I ranked 15 overall there.
==The fastest time overall was 1:08. The average was 1:50:13. I finished in 1:38.04. My Hagg Lake finish was close to 15 minutes more! So, I PR'ed!!! WOOHOO ("I've always wanted to say that!)
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