Sunday, February 27, 2011
Had a good interval run today. After a week of freezing weather, today was a nice break... cold but not freezing. I admit: It was hard to get motivated to get outside, but once I stepped outside, the rush of the anticipated run felt great! The cold wind actually felt good.
Now to the point of my ramblings today. As I ran, I saw in the distance a big orange blob .. a mound of orange that looked like that plastic fencing that is used in some construction zones. It looked like it was spilling into the running path along side the road. I was planning to run around it when I got closer.
With my eyes - even with my glasses, the clarity of what I was seeing did not come until I was within about 20 feet or so. And, it was not plastic fencing at all. It was a huge orange construction sign that had fallen over and said "Road Work Ahead". As the words came into view, I also realized it was not in my way at all and I would not have to avoid it. Instead, I just thought about how my plan about what to do with the apparent obstacle changed as the reality of what the thing was came into focus.
As I am apt to do now on my runs, I started thinking about what this meant in my life. How often do I have "signs" in my life that seem rather blurry for a while.. often until they are staring me in my face? How often do I work on a "goal" and realize that my plan does not match the goal? How often do I just not see the signs in my life clearly?
And on the other hand, I also know that while I have not seen some things clearly in my life, when I have made clear and focused plans, things work out quite well! I am able to stick to those clear plans more easily. I am able to achieve those goals more easily. I don't kid myself when the sign is in plain sight.
ROAD WORK AHEAD... is a great sign to remember as I head into the spring season. My first big run event of the year is in just a few weeks. I need to pay heed to the sign and start WORKING.. and not avoiding the obstacle! I can feel a good week of movement coming on!
Have a great one, friends... Hopefully the weather will keeping thawing!
QUOTE: "All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: Act as if it were impossible to fail." Dorothea Brande
MANTRA.. new for the next few weeks: ROAD WORK AHEAD!
PHOTO OF THE DAY: From our trip to NYC a few summers ago...
Monday, February 21, 2011
My first big event of the year was last weekend... the infamous WORST DAY OF THE YEAR RIDE... The night before the ride the winds arrived, the rain poured down and the dogs went wild with all of the pine cones pelting the rooftop. As I prepared my bike, my clothes and my foods, I thought how this was going to be a tough ride, living up to its name quite well. I was much more prepared than my ride in October when it rained the entire time and I was not prepared at all. I froze the entire ride. With two sets of gloves, a new cover for my helmet and rain pants, I was ready for the torments of the day! Or so I thought.
I had signed up for the 18-mile ride but at the lat minute decided to take the plunge and ride the 45-mile route. For the same entry fee, why not!? My friend had to bow out due to a horrendous cold so off I went into the day with the other 3000 riders hoping to keep up with someone so as not to get lost or stuck with no one beside me. The day started off cold but the clouds seemed to be staying in the background. The announcer actually said that in the ten years since the ride had begun, it had never actually rained. Things were looking good for us. The rains and winds of the night before were keeping their distance. So things were looking great! Or so I thought.
We took off in waves, riding carefully through the downtown streets of Portland and obeying traffic lights. One thing I have noticed when I am on these group rides is that I lose track of where I am because I am busy watching for the little signs on the street telling me where to turn and keeping up with fellow riders. I gulped when I realized we were heading for one of the parks by the local zoo. Having run the same route in December, my stomach getting nervous was right on target. This was a hill I had cursed during the run. A little gentle hill??? OH no... much worse, people.. much worse. And when we finally got to the top one would think there would be a great hill going down, but somehow that never happened. There were "teaser" down hills... and the challenging up hills for the next few miles. I was pooped and we were not even half way through the ride. And, since I had no idea where I was, there was no turning back. Plus.. who would really turn back, right?
We made over the big Portland hills into the towns west of Portland. I did get one nice long hill as a reward for all my hard work and things started to look good again. The little nagging thought about having to go BACK to Portland did tickle at me, but hey, when the down hills come, those thoughts get left behind rather quickly. We had a great rest stop after a few miles of flat riding. Then we wound through some wonderful parks and wetlands. Quite a view that one rarely sees from the freeway in the distance. The worry about the ride home became more distant as I saw the we were not going back the same way we had come. Or ... so I thought!
As we trekked through idyllic landscapes and country roads, the slight climb began. It was a very gentle and coaxing climb... at first. And then, at each bend of the road, when you expected a downhill to happen, the grade got steeper and I got more and more tired. Sure, it was not raining at all, but the grade of the hill was more severe than any rain storm I had imagined. I had not hydrated enough at the start of the ride and I hit a wall a few miles up this hill. So tired I was that I actually had to get off the bike and walk about a 1/4 mile to the summit. If I read the map correctly, we got close to 1000' at the summit of this old country road. My heart was pounding by the top of the mountain!
After a good swig of water at the top, I put my jacket on and got ready for the descent. This time, I was wonderfully rewarded for the hard ride. The wind at my back and whistling through my helmet, the bike just soared down the hill, with curves that begged for leaning! The last 10 miles or so were inside the city limits again and the flat lands allowed my legs to rejuvenate.. enough so that by the end of the ride I wondered if perhaps I'd like to do this ride again.
At the beginning of the ride, I had thought that the challenge of the day would be the promise of wind and rain. I was wrong! The challenge was int eh course itself. The challenge was got me thinking about being focused. I have to get more focused on my pre-ride nutrition. I had not been careful enough before this race and I hit that wall because I was not prepared. And the challenge of the ride reminds me that I can make it when I just do it and stay focused. There is a point of no return and one just has to deal with it.
Ignorance in fact can be bliss, up to a point. I think next year's ride will actually be harder because I will know what I am in for. So that will actually be the real challenge. I'll have to sign up soon so that I can't back out!
Here's to a great week, everyone :)
QUOTE: "It's our attitude in life that determines life's attitude toward us." Earl Nightingale
MANTRA: Just revving up!
PHOTO OF THE DAY:
Sunday, February 13, 2011
It's been a while since I posted a blog... After 13 months of posting without missing a day, I decided to take a break and see if I could focus as much on my health when I was not posting. At some point I felt like perhaps I was using SP as a crutch and not a learning tool or as an inspiration anymore. This might in fact be a natural part of the journey!
I discovered something... When I left (logging only my workouts), a very important part of this journey had become part of me. Although I was worried that not logging in and blogging would mean that I would not continue to work out, work hard etc... I found that this was not the case.
I'm still in a winter swing of things. I am just beginning to get that spring feeling when I can do some more serious workouts. However, while off the daily blogs, I managed to keep my regular walks at work and my weekends bike rides. I kept up my weekend walking (not jogging yet) as well. This weekend I turned what I had planned to be a 18-mile bike ride into a 45-mile bike ride. (More on that tomorrow.. It was a doooozie!)
My more relaxed version of taking care of myself I attribute partly to winter and partly due to a process that I am calling SPARK-FIRE-EMBER. And I am content with this process.
Let me explain...
SPARK: When I first started, something sparked my interest and concern to begin to take better care of myself. After discovering SP, my attention was turned to my eating, my water intake, my exercise, my sleep patterns. I did a bit of learning, got inspired by the stories I read on SP and in the book and that turned into an ALL OUT FIRE!
FIRE: I was consume by the flame of learning. I could not get enough of figuring things out on the health side of life. Each day my attention was intensely on making a difference in my health, my weight, myself. This is pretty typical of my learning style. I get my interest piqued and then I consume the learning that needs to happen in order for me to get to a new level. I'm pretty dogged at this stage. Nothing much can stop me from focusing. (For a person with a short attention span, this always surprises me about me!) I spent the last year engrossed in my training, digging into new opportunities and having a ball at it!
EMBERS: I did not realize that I had entered this stage until I took a blog-break. I had worried that perhaps without the blog-writing I would wander and wander right back into old habits. But just like a cozy fire that settles in for a cold winter night, the embers of learning had in fact settled in. Although I have to get myself into a routine that the dark evenings and super super long days (way too many that go from 5:30am to 8:00pm or later) cannot interrupt. I have not found that rhythm yet, but I am ok with that struggle at this point. What I am excited about is that HEALTH and TRAINING is part of me now. I'm not worried that I will revert back to the self of a year ago. I've got lots more to learn and many more opportunities to seek, but now I do this with a sense of pursuing myself... rather than wondering if I am really settled into this new lifestyle.
I am pretty sure that the EMBERS will flair into small fires when I find new things to try. That adds that level of excitement that I enjoy in life. But not much is going to put water on the embers now...
So now I am back. Not because I "NEED" SP.. but because I can enjoy the company, continue to learn from others, continued to be inspired by others, continue to log my own journey. This realization is very gratifying. I'm here for new and renewed reasons.
"If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning." Mahatma Gandhi
MANTRA: Just Revving up!
PHOTO OF THE DAY:
Monday, January 31, 2011
QUOTE: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes." Marcel Proust
Love this quote! And how true is have been in the past year. My days, though the content has not changed dramatically, have really be upheaved this year. I see my days differently. I see so much more the way my choices affect my health. I see so much more how my choices either invigorate me or stifle me.
Last night, for example, I read an article in my new magazine; I'm sure I have read similar articles before, but I was ready to listen yesterday. It was an article about the line between some foods being helpful vs destructive/harmful to athletes. The foods they focused on were alcohol, sugar and caffeine. What popped out for me was the use and abuse of caffeine. For some reason, it finally clicked. My eyes were ready to see!
So today I promised myself to pay more attention to when I drink coffee and when I really ought to be filling my desire for "energy by eating more protein. I have gotten into a bad habit of picking up a latté on my way home most days because I'm exhausted. And the habit is just as compelling as the thought that I "need" coffee to get myself home. Today, I prepared. I brought an extra Greek yoghurt and two bananas and water for my trip home. And the thought about coffee lingered but not the need for caffeine. The snacks I brought did the trick. I'm sure now that the battle NOT to buy coffee on the way home will not be much more about being a creature of habit than the real need for a jolt of caffeine.
I'll be working on looking at my days with continually changing eyes...
MANTRA: Just revving up!
PHOTO OF THE DAY:
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