Monday, September 30, 2013

Never say Never. Never.

“We’ll never survive!”
“Nonsense, you’re only saying never, because no one ever has.”
(Princess Bride)

1998, Shark, caught on a
Hopkins Plug - Hatteras Inlet

Well, that is so true of many things in life.  You only say NEVER if you’ve NEVER seen it. So, in theory -

I could say I’ll never run a BQ because I’ve never run one before.
I’ll never do an Ironman distance Triathlon because I’ve never done one.
I’ll never ride my bike 102 miles on Saturday because I haven’t ever gone that far before.

2013, Puppy Drum, caught on a
stinger - Cape Point

I’ve been fishing for 30 years at the OBX and TWICE I’ve done something "impossible" to do.  Isn’t that interesting that FISHING taught me something about LIFE? Maybe that’s why so many people enjoy it...

I wonder what other "NEVERs" I'll learn this year.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dear Professor, I am a spiritual being. For realZ. Regards, GBA_GF

Nothing stamps out the urge to be creative like an assignment on creativity.


It's like snuffing a candle.

"Go do something creative," our professor told us in her rich southern drawl. "Find a way to connect to your inner self, and relate that creative drive to your spirituality. And do something that is not for school".

Irony, of course, if I'm doing something creative to meet an academic requirement, doesn't that, by design, make this a school "thing"? just another example of Nursing School Semantics - I'm sure of it.

In fact, I believe that this blog post fills the requirements to the assignment.
Or, if not this, perhaps the 10 mile run I did this weekend will count.

I consider myself a spiritual person. I connect to my spirituality every week for 14 - 20 miles, depending on my schedule. To me, there is nothing more spiritual than my run. I imagine it's this way to other runners as well, and cyclists find it on their ride, and rowers in a skull, and boxers in a ring, and so on and so forth.

My run is my friend, drug, companion, enemy, challenger, supporter, lover, therapist, and maybe, just maybe, my channel to the divine. The nice thing about my run is that it doesn't mind being all these things.  On occasion, it rises up and finds a new role I haven't even thought up.

Running requires that I put my thoughts to the side and let my body be in charge.  It demands that I release myself from the constraints of day to day life, and let my feet, heart, breath, and desires all work together in tandem.

There are days when a marathon and all the training that goes with it seems impossible.  My head will tell me that 26.2 miles will hurt.  Doubt will question if it is too hard.  Logic will remind me that the training is risky and injuries are possible.... and if I can quiet all that interference, my feet will tell me to go for a run.

As the miles click off, I get lost in the sensation as the fall air kisses my cheeks.  The crickets sing to complement the drum of my shoes, and the voices in my head will grow weary of the competition and become very quiet.

In that blessed silence, I find my center. I regain the balance I need. I connect to me.

And really, is there anything more spiritual than that?

~savor the run~

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Life at 100

I read somewhere once that cyclists take sadistic pride in the agony of riding.

After this week's workout, I am going to go a step further.

Cycling is one of the most painfully miserable things I have ever done... and I've birthed 3 children, run 4 marathons, completed a Half Ironman Distance Triathlon in 90+ degree heat, and run the SF Half Marathon, which is a bit hilly.

I know my own pain experience is pretty diverse, and yet, cycling is fixed firmly in the top of that list.

That's partly because I have found a new form of torture. 30 second intervals. Holy Misery, they were awful. Thankfully I had a companion.

He's significantly faster than I am.

We warmed up together, chit-chatting. I tried not to get intimidated. I knew that once our intervals started we wouldn't be cycling together any more because this guy is probably the fastest guy I know on two wheels, and I am a mom of 3 kids who's run a few marathons, half iron, yada yada and oh by the way I do have a bike.

We did work out a system to ride together, uh, sort of... but if we're looking for an analogy of what the acceleration was like...

It was like chasing a Nascar (Car) on a Pinto (pony)...

Nothing in my memory is as painful as those 30 second sprint intervals in full sun chasing a Galacticly Bada** Egyptian Gentleman. 

And here's the catch that our ride really drove home. He was an amazing cyclist. And he was suffering and spent by the end of the ride.... 

Intervals are always going to be painful. No matter how many years I ride, no matter who I ride with on any given Tuesday... riding at 100% is always going to be hard.

It doesn't get easier - you just get faster.

Bet that applies to running...

In fact, I could apply that theory to life... parenting, nursing school, and relationships. They don't get easier. If you are working at 100% effort, it's going to hurt.

Of course, you can only maintain that level of intensity for 30 seconds. It's an excruciatingly painful but minuscule percentage of time in your workout. 

So the next time you consider giving 100% to your life, just remember, it's going to hurt... and that you can't maintain that hurt for more than a few minutes. It takes a team to get 100% out of life. The theory of pace-line is that you work 20% less when you have a cyclist in front of you blocking the wind/cutting a 'hole' in the air for you to draft in... I call it riding in the pocket, though I'm not sure that's technical.

Basically, even if you are a world champion, you can't expect to do it all on your own.

rephrase - 

I can't expect to do it all on my own.

My plan these days is to get my kids to pitch in 10% each, I'll push myself and put out a solid 60%, Desi (our #bestdogever) will put in her standard 2%, and the rest comes from the love and support of the people in my life who give me the help I need to pull it together, both on the bike and off.

Together my team is tip-top, riding at 100%.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

X is probably 42

While I would like to celebrate the fact that we’ve survived 4 weeks of nursing school plus 2 whole weeks of middle school and first grade at chez moi... I don’t think I can do that...

Yes, I did manage to get them there on time without missing any busses, and yes, on 75% of the days that I sent them, the lunches I lovingly packed full of nutritional goodness like Doritos (cheese, right?) and dry cereal (um...) were actually in their book bags. It’s just that the sense of accomplishment of sending 3 people out into the world is dimmed by the fact that tomorrow is Friday, and I have done no laundry since Tuesday. This, of course, means that I have 6000 pounds of laundry to do before Monday rears it’s ugly head...

How I have so much laundry is a mystery of the universe that probably requires a mathematician or physicist to write into an equation so that some poor high schooler will have it to solve in a text book for advanced math so that they can grow up to go to college to be a physicist, etc.

My personal nightmare would read something like:

If a mother has 3 children, and the oldest wears 1 outfit a day, the second wears 1 outfit and 3 pairs of socks a day, and the youngest wears 2 outfits, 8 pairs of socks and 3 skirts a day, how many loads of laundry will the mother have to wash assuming that there was no rain but a dirt pile was delivered to a neighbor’s yard? Solve for X...

X is probably 42.

Or purple.

Meanwhile, I think I deserve a break. And a beer. And heck, maybe an award for managing to remember to pay the babysitter... wait... did I remember to... 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I am not raising The Ugly Step Sisters.

I knew as soon as the words were past my lips that I had hit a chord with them. Three sets of eyes widened. My son’s mouth formed a little “oh”.  My eldest coughed up some words of dispute, like the young teenager she is, she was quick to defend.

“It’s not like that!  Well, we aren’t like that.”

“Hmm” I mused, “I think when children don’t contribute their share in the household, they’re behaving like the ugly step sisters in Cinderella.”

By this point, we’d finished our chores and were sitting knee to knee in a circle in my daughters’ bedroom.  It was clean, just waiting for a vacuum, which I would do later.

In fact, we had just finished combing through the entire residence for the 20 minutes before I had the Cinderella Step-Sister Revelation.

Like a swarm we moved from room to room.  As the General, I throw out orders as we arrive in each space. They must sound crazy to anyone from the outside: What do you see that you KNOW how to fix? Start with that.

The youngest lines up shoes in the closets, the eldest hits the tallest items, the middle pulls sheets into place and starts the beds.  Together we are a well-oiled machine.  Each room is a blur.  Three minutes later, we move to the next space.

Repeat:  Look around.  What do you see that YOU know how to clean?

And again, in 3 minutes, we are done. Moving on. Next. 

And so on and so forth.

At the end my son commented on how fun it all was today, and how great it felt to be done so fast.  I’m a lucky Mom.  I know this is a wonderful gift. Cooperative children who work together are a precious commodity. I thanked them for their great help.

But in an odd turn, in our last space, we stopped to wonder what the house would look like if I didn’t function as the “boss”.

~like~ If there was no Mom, would we, the kids, still clean?

“Yes, I think we would” one said... but another looked less sure....

“Not cleaning would be like telling me I should do everything.  It would be the same as being an Ugly Step Sisters, and treating me like Cinderella.  ‘Get my clothes, make my bed, fix my food, clean my room...' and that wouldn’t be good for any of us.”

Remember that time I finally got through to my kids about what it means to be a contributor? 

Thank you, Disney.
Huh. I never thought I would say that.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

That moment when you're running

Have you ever had *that moment*?

You know?  That moment when you're running and you have 8 on the schedule, but there's a group you know running 20, and they're faster than you, but you show up anyway for part of their run and you get dropped at mile 7.5, and at mile 8 you decide you are going to run your last 2 miles at a hard effort to try to catch them before they leave their 10 mile SAG* and it takes you 2 miles to catch the group, but you do...?

cos everyone does this sort of thing, right?

Loved finishing strong today. It made me feel super. And I felt even more super when I realized I logged an 8:20 mi at mile 9 of my long run...

I used to be a pretty solid little runner... and today I ran with my MOJO.

So tomorrow I will ride for a few hours, because as much fun as my MOJO and I had today, tomorrow my run needs a rest day.


*SAG = support and gear

Monday, September 2, 2013

Prioritize Post Workout

The most important thing to do after an endurance activity is to drink.

The most important thing to do after an endurance activity is to consume protein.

The most important thing to do is take an ice bath..

s'ok. I'm gonna jus' lay down on my floor and take a little nap now. Wake me up after there's a consensus on what to do "first" after a 57+ mile bike ride in 2000% humidity.