Monthly Archives: August 2008

8/28/08 That Which You Manifest Lies Before You

Friday.  After three days (or more)  of feeling like crap  I feel much better today. 

Wednesday night I was going to do my 1 hour run by the river.  I had played tennis in the morning but I still wanted some mileage in.  I hadn’t been feeling too well.  My mother called and told me to take it easy — that I was doing too much, listen to my body.  If I am feeling achy, rest.   So of course I put on my running shoes and headed to the river.  I ran for about twenty feet and the backs of my knee caps were scraping and I knew that was not right to run with that feeling.  So I did an intense power walk for 1 hour.  I had a good workout, I was breathing fairly hard for walking and it didn’t hurt my kneecaps so I thought that was a nice compromise.

Thursday a.m. we had another bike workout.  12 people at the grown up table and just 4 of us at the kids table.  At least this week we were able to recover and regroup instead of splintering off into singles.  I know I have more in me somewhere, I just don’t know where it is right now.  Jackie tells me I need to pull more from the core for the uphills.  I will work on that.  I feel like I’m singing that Amy Winehouse rehab song telling my legs to go, go, go and they say no, no, no. 

At lunch I went to see my acupuncturist Mark (he is truly a miracle worker  http://www.markthompsonacupuncture.com/).

I like to think of myself as an active patient.  What ever doctor or healer I am visiting, I ask a lot of questions.  What’s that you’re about to stick into me?  Why aren’t you using more Novocaine?  How long can I take Vicodin before I become an addict?  Think I’ll be healed by Tuesday at noon?   I am sure  I am very annoying to most healers, but Mark always shows me great patience.  He’ll touch a point on my body and if I feel any sensitivity I say “what’s that?”  He’ll usually come back with something like “that’s on your kidney meridian” or “that’s a lung point” while pressing on a spot on my foot or hand.   After thanking him for helping me get through Ironman injury free (and I give him MAJOR credit), I told him about my latest round of complaints — the backs of my knee caps were scraping again.  Despite taking Tylenol Cold and Sinus it seems I have a cold or sinus problem that won’t go away and for no apparent reason I’m not sleeping which is making me tired and depressed and eating too much to try to get energy.  He touched my hair and pressed a few points.  “Ow, I feel that, what’s that?”  I shot a concerned look at him.  “That’s your head.”   We both cracked up laughing at that one.  Acupuncture Comedy therapy.  Ancient Chinese proverb: Confucius say don’t take yourself too seriously.

By evening I felt the pressure in my sinuses release and for the first time in 3 days I didn’t feel like I was talking in a wind tunnel.  I was feeling in a little better mood so I was getting ready to go after work for my evening run when I found out I got tickets to Shakespeare in the Park via their virtual line.  [For anyone who doesn’t know about this, instead of standing in line the day of the production to get your free tickets, you can go online to http://vline.publictheater.org:8080/account/ and set up a free account.  Then every morning you join the virtual line by signing in.  At 1 p.m. they tell you if you received two free tix.  It’s a crap shoot as to whether or not you’ll receive tickets.  I did it 4 different days over the last two weeks, yesterday being the 4th day and voila!!  I got tickets.  My friend Paul and I walked up to the theater before show time, showed my ID, they handed me the tickets.  Nothing to it — no lines, no waiting, no CHARGE!!  Free tickets.}

We saw HAIR and both enjoyed the performance.  The weather was amazing.  Perfect temperature for an outdoor production.  The music and dancing is just great.  So much energy on that stage.  I kept looking at Paul saying “they look so young!”  He said “I have suits older than them.  Suits you were with me when I bought them!!”  Great, don’t remind me!!  I kept looking at the amazing athleticism on that stage.  Dancing.  That’s what I need to do.  Dance.  Look how strong and powerful they all look.  “Yeah but you did an Ironman, none of them could do that.”  Big deal, I thought, I could pick anyone of them and train them to do an Ironman in 6 months and they would all beat me.  You could put me on Dancing with the Stars for two years and I still couldn’t Two Step.   They were amazing tributes to the power and grace of the human body.  Excuse me while I throw out this donut.

I stumbled upon a book called “Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein.  Of course with a title like that I had to investigate.  I am not finished but so far it is somewhat cute — narrator is a dog.  The racing is referring to the dog’s owner who races cars and the title refers to lessons he learned from Italian sports car drivers about racing in the rain.  The big lesson comes in the phrase ‘that which you manifest lies before you.’  I get it, if you see the rain as a problem, it is a problem. If you see it as just another surface it is just another surface.  Or so they say…  In golf, if you look at the water hazard you might as well just walk over and throw the ball in because that’s where it is going.  What you focus on is what appears. Yadda, yadda, yadda, same ole same old  “The Secret” stuff.   But it’s been haunting me a little bit.  How much of my own anxiety do I create for myself?

When I used to teach computers, (a long, long, time ago) I used to always tell my frustrated students to stop every once in awhile and look at how far they have come instead of focussing on far they have to go.  How we choose to see ourselves is our choice.  We can see ourselves as making incredible progress or we can see ourselves as years away from an ever-moving goal.   Whichever vision you choose or manifest is what becomes your reality.  “That which you manifest lies before you.”  As Wayne Dyer always says “what you focus on, expands.”  I eat too much, I drink too much.  You’re right!!  I drink much less than I used to, I eat much less than I used to.  You’re right again!!  My husband never pays attention to me.  You’re right.  My boss hates me, I’m too slow, I’ll never be like her, My mother-in-law is annoying, my stomach is too big, I can’t do this, I’ll never get to goal, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll….  Whatever it is you are right.   What you see before you is that which you have manifested. (In WW we talk about this a lot as Reframing — taking a negative outlook and turning it into a positive one.)

I go back to a day at Sutton Tennis Club many years ago, 8? 10 years ago?  I was playing doubles with my friend Corinne.  I kept trying to serve out wide but couldn’t get that ball in to save my life.  Like the guy in the movie Tin Cup, I refused to give up on this one stupid shot.  I was blinded by my own focus.  I was blowing the whole game trying to serve to one spot.  “I don’t know what’s wrong, I can’t serve out wide.  I can’t.”  Corinne turned to me and said “you’re right, you can’t, aim for a different spot.’  A duh.  I aimed for up the middle and swoosh.  There it went.  Sometimes it’s just a tiny change in focus, that’s all you need.

There, I think I mixed and destroyed enough metafors for one day.  I could go on but I’m going to focus now on changing what I choose to believe about myself for today.  I’m not slow, I’m getting warmed up.  I’m not struggling with tracking points, I’m fine tuning my relationship with food.  I’m very excited that weight watchers has added a new tool for tracking.  I can now use my blackberry. http://www.weightwatchers.com/templates/Marketing/Marketing_Utool_1col.aspx?pageid=1092821 It synchs with my online tracker so I can track on the go.  Wherever I am, no excuse.  Track away.  Oh crap, no excuse.  Now what will I do?

Namaste

Just a little something to make me laugh today.

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8/27/08 I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues

Wednesday.  Feeling okay.  Well better than yesterday.  Had some kind of weird funk going on.  I haven’t been feeling exactly sparkly and it was beginning to bug me.  After conferring with some other teammates, several expressed the same feeling of blahness (or in my case blobness).  I’m feeling puffy and not very fit.  I am watching my calories very closely this week — watching them as I consume them!!  I’m trying but man I seem to be hungry!  I’m eating as close to nature’s recipe as I can.  Lots of fruits, veggies and grains. I’m just not sure nature meant for me to be eating so often!!

I had a difficult time getting motivated to go do my run yesterday.  I had the blahs, the blehs, the blues.   I think it was backlash from too much partying over the weekend.  I have a theory that too much sugar (as in alcohol) can leave you in a worse mood than before your started to party.  Finally I managed to walk up to the park around 5 p.m.  Ugh, so crowded.  Much nicer in the morning.   I was having a little problem trying to figure out how much to run so I decided on the 1 hour with some hills in the terrain per my runner’s world marathon plan I’m kind of following. 

I did one five mile loop in the park.  The first 40 minutes were pretty painful.  Very hard to get moving.  My knee joints are really feeling kind of sore and stiff.  This is really the first discomfort I have felt in a long time.  I started to take my Glucosomine again this morning and next week I have an appointment with my acupuncturist.  I’m feeling a little scraping on the back of my patellae — just getting old I guess. 

The fun part of running in the park that late is that every ten minutes I ran into someone I knew so I got a couple of short breaks.  After each break I found I was running a little better.  My barometer was a gal who passed me early on.  She must have been taking walk breaks because after I would stop and say Hi to someone I would catch up to her, then she would pass me again.  By the time I was finishing out the five miles I passed her and felt much stronger so I knew she wasn’t going to pass me.  I almost stopped to ask if her if she wanted to meet next Tuesday ’cause she was a good pacer for me…  It takes me a long time to get warmed up. 

After I was finished with my run I felt much better and made note to myself to try to fit those morning workouts in because those endorphins are just wasted on the evening hours.  If I would have just made myself run first thing in the morning I would have had more energy and enthusiasm for the rest of the day.

This morning I called an old hitting friend from the club to go hit some balls.  He’s a better player than I am (he has what we call “wheels” he is so fast.) He was willing to go and just hit to help me work out some cobwebs. My strokes were okay but my knees felt so stiff and I had no bounce in my legs whatsoever.  That makes it really hard to get to balls.  I might need to Tiger  Balm my knees or something.    They don’t hurt, it’s just the joints feel like they are swollen a little and they don’t want to bend.  My friend’s comment was “your shots are there but you are not anticipating the ball the way you used to.’  I had to agree.  It seems I was constantly thinking too late.  It wasn’t unti 40 minutes into the hour when I started to remind myself “racquet back.”  Preparation is key, if I don’t get my racquet back first and then move, forget it I can’t get to the ball fast enough.  I have to see the ball hitting his racquet and start moving right then, NOT when the ball is bouncing in front of me!! That’s a classic problem — players running to the ball then stopping to prepare and bring their racquet back — too late.  You have to get your racquetback BEFORE you get to the ball.  (Of course exceptions to every rule.)  My running forehand footwork was backwards too and I couldn’t fix it — I needed one more step to step into the ball instead of reachingg.  Ugh.  We are going to hit again next week and I thought I might try to hit the treadmill first to see if I can loosen up my knees a little.  It felt like I was running on sticks instead of legs with knees.  I’m going to run 3 miles tonight as part of my marathon training — I’ll test out tiger balming them and see if that helps.

Tomorrow I bike in the a.m. and then run in the afternoon again.  Friday is three weeks since eye surgery so I can do my Yoga class and then hit the pool!!!  Yeah, I can’t believe I actually miss the pool!!!  Maybe the pool had been helping my joint stiffness and I didn’t realize it until I went 3 weeks without it?

There are so many factors that go into a good mindset.  I say it over and over — sleep first.  Without sleep it’s almost impossible to feel good.  Next comes the nutrition.  When I eat (drink) crap I feel like crap.  It’s just like bad fuel in a car — lots of knocks.  Finally I have to tweak my brain.  I was talking to a friend yesterday and she reminded me that sometimes you just have to tell yourself you feel good.  I know positive affirmations sound corny as all get out, but I have to admit they really do work.  I have a tape I listen to that keeps repeating a litany of positive affirmations.  Eventually I turn off the tape and I’m always surprised to find that I feel better.

Sometimes, though, there is no getting rid of the funk.  For some people medication is the answer.  There is no shame in taking whatever it is you need.  Don’t call Tom Cruise, but sometimes there is something chemical and if medication is what you need, I say take what you need.  It doesn’t mean you will have to take it forever and it doesn’t mean you have to take the same dosage forever.

I read a post on my former coach Lisa Smith Batchen’s blog about Depression.  One of the reasons I admire Lisa so much is because of open she has been about her struggles with Depression.   When someone who is so driven and accomplished can talk publicly about her own demons, it is almost like seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  Wow, if she struggles with this, maybe I’m not so far gone.   When she was coaching me it was very easy to explain to her how I was feeling and have her give me extra guidance, understanding and motivation during those blue periods.  I still listen to her advice to this day about mixing up my workouts and making sure to do something FUN every week, not just swim/bike/run.  (Okay maybe she didn’t technically mean have a margarita, but she would be all over going rowing or playing tennis as fun-training).  She was also very big on forgiving myself.  I’ve been very lucky the last couple of years that my bouts with depression have been infrequent and much shorter, but it has not be coincidence.  I work out every day, I try very hard to eat nutritious food and I try to meditate and sleep.   When I start slacking in any one of those areas, I feel it in my attitude and my mood.  (Right now I’m feeling it in how my pants fit which is effecting my mood.) 

2008, for me, has been about learning the power of the mind.  My friends often get on me for being so self-critical.  Guilty as charged.  But this year I’m really focussing on the power of the positive thought.  It really is possible to change the way you think.  It’s not easy, but it starts by simply saying out loud what you want to believe about yourself.  Fake it til you make it.  See it, believe it — achieve it.    Just take the simplest phrase and start to repeat it.   Shower your psyche with positive affirmations.  “You are already complete, just the way you are.  Everything you need is within.”  Rinse well, then repeat.

Namaste

Lisa asked me to share her blog entry about Depression with my friends.  http://lisasmithbatchen.blogspot.com/2008/08/have-you-ever-been-depressed.html

Here is a link to the complete Runner’s World article that was done about her.  http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-243-297–9379-1-1X2X3X4X5X6X8X9X10X11X12X13X14-13,00.html

 

 

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8/25/08 She’s baaack

Monday.  Rather big weekend.  My former tennis doubles partner Robin was getting married this weekend so we had a lot going on with all the pre-wedding prep and excitement. 

I had planned to run Thursday evening but had too much to do so I went out Friday morning instead – I got a good hour + in.  At this point I’m just trying to keep putting mileage in and working on my marathon training schedule.  Was not a bad run, nothing exciting other than the fact that they have FINALLY opened up the running path on the westside highway at 57th street so I don’t have to run on the bike path anymore.

I was sooo grateful to get back to my WW meeting.  Yes I was up the 5 pounds from 2 weeks ago but there was something reassuring and motivating to be back in the fold.  As long as I can check in with my group every week I know I won’t stray too far.  I don’t even want to think about what would happen if I just gave up on WW because I think I would be a mess.  Every Friday I get a reality check and my friends there pull me back toward my goal of Fitness and Health. I get off course so easily but every week they pull me back to shore.  I’m ready to fight another week.  I’m on it — tracker in hand.

Saturday I did my morning run up to Riverbank West State Park to help my friends build the huppa for their wedding.  I didn’t actually work on the huppa but I did stake some pretty flowers.  I thought it was interesting to discover that running is actually a viable mode of transportation.  At first I thought I would take a cab, then I thought I could bike there, it was really strange to think, geesh it is only 6 miles I might as well just run there.  That was a weird feeling.  After huppa helping I walked home again (knees started to feel some patella scraping so I thought give them  rest.)  Maybe I have to rethink the three days in a row running thing.

The wedding was great, everyone had a wonderful time.  It was great to see old friends — some I haven’t seen in a couple of years.  A lot of my old tennis buddies.  I talked with one guy about possibly resuming to teaching tennis with him this fall for an after school program.  I was strangely excited about the prospect.  i was surprised that I even cared about playing, never mind teaching.

Sunday I got myself up bright and early and did 4 loops of the park on my bike.  It’s not my imagination.  I’m slower.  First loop I did in 22.08 minutes.  Okay, you are just warming up, no big deal.  Second loop I tried a harder, 21.28.  Ugh, that’s not very good, what happened to my 18 minute loop?  Try harder.  3rd loop 21.36, oh c’mon!!  That’s crazy, what is going on?  I think I’m pedalling but I’m not doing well.  I don’t get it.  4th loop I say what the heck and just pedal as I want and I don’t care.  22.35.  Groan.  Well at least it’s not just my imagination.  I’m slower.  Don’t know why.  I got sleep.  Yes I drank wine at the wedding but we were dancing and socializing and I didn’t feel like I was hung over or anything.  I think I’m just going to have to lump it and realize, for whatever reason, I’m just slower right now.  This too shall come to pass.

Sunday afternoon we all went sailing on the Adirondack on the Hudson.  Very fun.  Great to hang out with my old non-tri buddies and everyone had a great time.  After the boat we said “remember that place we used to go? The Frying Pan?”  It’s a bar on a barge in the Hudson.   We thought it was gone because they were doing reconstruction at Chelsea Piers.  “It’s moved to 26th street” someone says.  “Let’s go!!”  We hung out for the afternoon, looking at the water, telling stories and then someone asks me “so are you ever going to play tennis again?”   “Oh yes, I plan on it,” I said “just not yet I need time to hit a bucket of balls and get my groove back I’m not ready to play yet.”  All of the old gang was there.  These were the gals who welcomed me back to tennis in 1996 when I first returned to playing.  “Let’s play tomorrow” someone piped up.  “Yeah, I can play said another.”  “Me too” said a third.  They all looked at me and said “well?!??!?  you want to be the fourth?!?!”

Gasp, sputter, uhhhh.  “I can’t play with YOU guys” I stammered.  I haven’t played-played in years.  The most I’ve done is subbed with some basic players a couple times over the winter, ran a couple of clinics, fed a few balls.  I haven’t played with any good, strong players and I haven’t played with anyone who knows how to wallop a ball or construct a point in ages.  I was pretty sure I would get creamed, if not worse — injured.  “Oh, c’mon, just for fun, just us.”  They all said.  Yeah, I know who “just us” is.  I was going to get creamed.   Next thing I know I’m saying, “Okay, I’m in.”  Went home and dusted off my tennis shoes and dug out my tennis racquets.  Ugh, this was not going to be pretty.

I get to the courts first and see an old friend who had also been at the wedding was running the courts this morning.  “Wow, I don’t see you for two years and now I see you twice in one week.”  He says. “Yeah, I’m back with the gals to play”  “Wow, old school reunion week or what?”  He waives me onto the court without having to pay which was REALLY nice.   One of the gals was running a little late so three of us got to hit some drills and min-tennis for about 45 minutes which was great.  Nice slow warmup, just what I needed.  I was actually shocked that I could hit a ball.  I kept thinking, well that was just mini-tennis, I won’t be able to hit any decent ground strokes but I hit some decent shots.  I managed to hit some net and I even managed to get some practice serves in.  I was surprised — I didn’t totally stink.

Then we played, Robin and I played together again like old times.  We were doubles partners for several years during my USTA days (I won’t be going back to that.)   Robin is what I call a scrappy player.  She’ll run anything down.  I’m more like Serena — wham, hit it hard and don’t plan on it coming back — if it does, well Robin will track it down until I get another shot to put it away.  (Reminds me of women’s volleyball a bit — except for the bikinis.)  Well, my put-away shots are not quite there yet but my medium shots were okay and I still had some touch.  I was a little intimidated by how hard the ball was coming over the net at me (it is not like me to be intimidated by a fast ball but my reaction times were just off so I had to play more back instead of all over the net like I would like to play).  We were playing red clay so thank goodness that slowed the ball down a bit but some of Corinne’s serves were like bullets coming up the center line.  She’s what I call a classic player — every stroke looks like it came out of a tennis how-to video.  Rhonda is putting balls away at my feet or down my alley.  Arghhh, does she have to place every shot?!?!   I knew she was waiting for that shot!!! Darn it!!!

We played, we laughed we had a great time.  2 1/2 hours of just fun.  Just like old times — even better because there was no tournament, no league, no referees, no match scores.  Just old friends hitting the ball around.  Yeah, Robin and I lost but it was not for lack of trying.  Geesh had it really been 12 years ago when I met them all?  That was wayyyy before Triathlon.  I had just quit smoking and started to play tennis again after refusing to touch a racquet from 1982 – 1996. 

In 1996, I was smoking, drinking, playing a lot of bridge and getting wider by the minute.  Okay maybe some eating was going on then there too.  I think the only exercise I did in those years was bend my elbow.  I brought my bridge friends down to my family’s place on Amelia Island every year.   They all played tennis — I refused every year.  (After I gave up tennis 2nd year of college I swore I would never play again.)

One year they came to play tennis (and bridge) and one of the guys sprained his ankle.  They needed a fourth for tennis.  I said “no way, never, forget it.”  On this tennis resort island where tons of people play tennis every day there was not a single person to be found to sub in on their tennis game.  I couldn’t believe it.  We called everyone from every where.  Nope nobody to play.  I would be a bad hostess if I didn’t step in to save them from a weekend of Canadian doubles.  ‘Okay, okay” I said, “I’ll always be able to hit the broad side of the barn.’   We went out to play and I was nothing short of a disaster.  Literally hitting balls over the fence into the next village, missing balls entirely.  I was mortified.  I had been playing tennis since I was six years old, what do you mean I can’t hit a tennis ball?  Well that’s what 14+ years of no hitting will do to ya.

As soon as we returned to New York I marched into Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club (I remembered playing at this club back in college, I didn’t remember why, I just remembered it was there.)  I paid for a membership, asked for a pro and that’s how I met Marlie — one of my coaches and life mentors.  I have learned a lot more from Marlie than just tennis.  She has really shown me how sports are often a reflection of what is going on in our lives and how we think on and off the court can change our outcomes on and off the court.

Soon Marlie introduced me to Barbara who asked me to play on their team “no, I’ll never play competitive tennis again” I remember saying.   Ten years later, Barbara, the gals on our team were all still playing together, going to tennis weekends together in the Poconos and Amherst and Saratoga.    I was captaining teams, league coordinator and even playing NTRP tournaments (never say never).  I was an addict.  (Hmmm, sounds kinda like triathlon.)  Eventually I was so addicted that I went back to get my certification to teach tennis.  Like I said, addict.  Anything and everything to do with tennis was my obsession.

So now it is fitting that these same friends lure me back onto the court, make me feel like I’m not a total beginner again and remind me of why I like sports in the first place.  It truly isn’t about whether I am acing my serves, winning matches, cycling an 18 minute loop or a 21 minute loop, finishing the Ironman in 15 hours or 16:20 (talk about splitting hairs!) — it’s about being out there.  It’s about being engaged.  It’s about being alive and active.  That’s really what fitness is about.  The game, the sport they are just vehicles to ride on the journey of self-awareness.  My friends (tennis and triathlon) are the best people in the world.  Kind, generous of spirit and full of fun — and alive!  I am blessed to have such great people in my life.  I am blessed to be able to participate in all of these sports.  It is a true luxury and I am grateful.

So I will keep showing up and keep plugging away even though sometimes I feel like I’m going backwards because, really, in the end, it’s about the friends and the experiences you get to keep more than the medals and clock results. 

Namaste

Have a great quote I stole off a rerun of “Grey’s Anatomy.”  The interns had a competition and one of them loses badly and is consoled (after being chewed out) by the Chief of Staff.  He says to her:

“So chin up, put your shoulders back, walk proud, strut a little, lick your wounds, celebrate them.  The scars you bear are the sign of a competitor.  You were in a lion fight.  Just because you didn’t win, doesn’t mean you don’t know how to roar!”

Picture of me being a tennis ham on the Riverside Park Clay Courts

 

Powerhouse, Scrappy, Classico and Moi playing at Riverside.  Classico showed up wearing a Trilife Visor which cracked me up!!

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8/21/08 When the Party is Over

Thursday.  Groan.  Just got back from bike practice.  I got my butt handed to me on a silver platter.  Omg I was pathetic.  There was some old guy roller skiing up Cat Hill and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pass him.  I got dropped from the group like a rayon blouse mishung on a silk rack at Bergdorfs.  What the heck was I doing?!?!

We did 4 loops of the park.  Loops 2 and 3 had 3 intervals in them with a repeat of Harlem Hill.  I was pathetic.  I couldn’t catch a cold if I tried.  I was working very hard but it felt like my bike was riding through Molasses.  Pedal, groan, pedal, groan.  Why… groan… is this… groan…. so hard?!?!  Huff Puff.  There was another gal having an equally hard time and we just kept looking at each other asking “what is wrong with us?”  After the intervals I tried to do  recovery spin but then I saw the team was waiting for us so I picked it up to catch back up with them.  It felt like 4 loops of intervals.  It was bad.  I stunk.  I’m not saying I would keep up with this group even on my best day, but I wouldn’t be left soooo far behind.  Or maybe I would.  I just know that Cabernet Sauvignon does not make a good bike lube.

It’s my own fault.  I’m too old to party so much.  I partied too much up at Timberman.  I stayed up too late.  I didn’t work out enough (I only ran once and did not get on my bike at all).  I didn’t eat right.  I drank too much wine.  Then I went to CT.  I stayed up too late.  I didn’t work out enough (I did run for 1 1/2 hours but I didn’t do enough hills I just ran on the flat).  I didn’t eat right.  I drank too much wine.  I dashed back to NYC yesterday to help my friend get ready for her wedding.  I stayed up too late.  I didn’t work out AT ALL.  I didn’t eat right.  I drank too much wine.  No sleep, felt gross, forced myself to go to bike practice to punish myself and it worked.  I feel totally punished.  Bad rumble girl, bad, bad rumble girl.  Mohammad Ali would be very disappointed.

But, today is a new day.  Yes I am up 5 pounds (in just two weeks!!)  Two weeks ago I had gone to WW and was down 2 1/2.  I put that back on plus 2 1/2 more.  Tomorrow I go to my meeting to get punished some more.  Oh lo, one step forward two steps back.    But it could be worse.  I could be not training at all and just eating out of control and put back everything.  I’m so glad I am continuing with my training because frankly I just can’t be trusted to be left alone and lead a healthy lifetstyle.   I need some structure.  I need WW to keep me on track.  I need a group of people to humiliate me if I don’t “do my homework.” 

A good friend is getting married this weekend.  Big doings.  I just have to get through this weekend as smartly as I can.  I’m not going to say I’m not going to drink but what I can do is put in some extra workouts in the a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.  Damage control.  I only have 4 weeks to get ready for Westchester and if I learned nothing else this past weekend I learned there are no easy races.  Time to buckle down, get back on track and put a cork in it.  The party is over!!!

I will rest up and start nourishing myself with better foods.  I do not do a good job of fortifying myself when I travel.  No matter how good a bottle of Cab is, it does not contain the RDA of any vitamins or minerals.

Today I go old school.  I’ve pulled out my WW tracker.  I wrote down my healthy breakfast.  I am planning a healthy lunch.   Back to basics.  Measuring quantities, counting points.  I’m even got on my Pilates machine and stretched after my bike this morning.  I’m not going down without a fight.  I will be back next week and although I may still not catch up to my team, that old guy on the roller skis going up Cat Hill is GOING DOWN!!!

Namaste

Read about my 200 mile ride: http://www.active.com/donate/Hersheystourdepink/CCarpen48

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08/19/08 T-I-I-M-M-B-B-B-E-E-RRRRRR

Tuesday.  Wow, what  weekend.   Drove up to New Hampshire to watch my friends compete in the Timberman races — Saturday Sprint and Sunday Half Ironman.  Wow, I was just amazed at the effort and determination I witnessed the entire weekend.

On Saturday my focus was on my friend who was doing the sprint.  I was a little worried because she has been recovering from some serious injuries and I knew the running portion would take it’s toll from her but she did just awesomely!! She’s a fast swimmer so I was worried that she was going to swim to the shore and out of transition faster than I could run there.  But I managed to sneak a peek as she flew by me on thebike. 

As I was waiting for her to come back on the bike I was truly amazed at how many families were out there.  I was even more struck by how many fathers were toting around the kids as the mothers were racing.  I stood on the corner so I could see both bikers come in and runners go out. A father knelt down to 5 small children and said “now see Mommy is going to come by here on her bicycle and get changed to run and we’ll see her come out there.”  No reaction from the kids they were just staring at the incoming bikes.  Then the father starts to yell “here she comes, here she comes! Look, there goes Mommy.’  Without skipping a beat one little girl turns to the other little girl and says “My Mommy is faster than your Mommy.”  I almost died from laughing.

Wow what a different world.  I remember growing up when little girls (in my town) couldn’t play little league.  There were no organized team sports for girls.  That’s one reason I was grateful to have tennis.  We didn’t have girl’s summer soccer leagues or baseball like the little girls have now.  I was so thrilled that this generation of kids are growing up with a new model — Mommy power. 

I was also struck by how many athletes were out there doing their first race and how emotional it was for them.  It was a little humbling because I realized that I had lost a lot of perspective in my own racing.  There are no easy races.  I was watching that sprint race thinking “Man, I’m not sure I could do that.”  Of course intellectually I know that’s not true — I should be able to do it, but watching it I wasn’t really sure how I could do it.  It looked so hard!!  When I saw my friend coming into the finish on Saturday she looked strong, confident, all business, all athlete. I truly doubted if I could summon the strength to do that.  The problem with a sprint is that sure it is a shorter distance but you have to SPRINT.  You have to swim, bike and run at your top speed without stopping.  That seems almost harder to me.  No stopping to change your socks in a sprint.  That’s why I think I’m meant for longer races — I’ll stay out there all day but just don’t ask me to sprint — too hard.   My friend hit her goal times exactly.  Almost to the minute.  Talk about goal set goal met!!

Sunday was the big day.  I had a lot of friends racing but one of the Rumble Girls was having her big day — her first half Ironman.  We were all so excited for her.  Nervous too.  I woke up with knots in my stomach and I had to keep reminding myself — you are not racing, you are not racing.  Didn’t matter, It might as well had been me — it felt like  a race morning.  Actually, come to think of it, I was more nervous for my friend than I am for my own races.  She looked pretty calm.  I think I was remembering the Sprint from the day before and thinking “oh man, this is hard, that’s a long swim (1.2 miles), a long hilly bike (56 miles) and a long run (13.1) miles.”  I was so nervous.

My friend came blazing out of the swim and flying past the wetsuit strippers.  She was running so fast I couldn’t track her.  I ran around the transition area and saw her going out on her bike. “You Nailed that swim!! I screamed at her.”  She gave me a nod and headed off — all business, all athlete.  I felt a shift in energy.  Oh she was in this — she was going for it.  I started to do my magic mojo dance (when demonstrated it wasn’t quite as popular as I thought it was going to be — may have to work on that, lol).

While my friend was out on the bike I decided to run a loop of the run course.  I headed out and was surprised to find the course was not as flat as I remembered when walking it last year.  (Okay last year I was on a lovely Vicadin/Tequila cocktail combo and I remember my shoulders were hurting me so much I had to rest my back every 5 minutes against my friend’s truck so maybe my perception was a little off.)  I thought the run course was actually kind of hard.  Very little flat area, either you were running up a long incline, or running down a steep hill or running up a steep hill.  The only saving grace is the last mile and half of each loop was  a gentle decline which I think is a very nice way to finish out a race (hint, hint, NYC your marathon finish stinks!!!)  But my overall impression was — “Man, I wouldn’ t want to have to do these hills — twice.  Not sure I could do them.  Not sure I could do this distance.”  Yes, yes, I know on paper I’m supposed to be able to, but when stepping back and watching, it looks plain ole HARD!

The sun was out and that worried me too.  I hate running in the sun .  Yes, yes, i know I’m not a big fan of running at all but really I’m coming around to make my peace with it.  I just was wishing for a few clouds but the skies were blue and the sun was shining — hot.  Then we saw my friend coming in on the bike.  Well within her good-pace projection times.  We were all so excited.  Everyone was crossing fingers.  Was she feeling okay?  Good enough to run 13.1 miles?  We were crossing fingers, toes, arms, legs.  Within a couple of minutes there she was — all business, all athlete, on schedule and working it.

It was so much fun to see so many friends racing — some of my friends are fasty-fasts and I was so surprised to see how hard they were working.  I often forget how hard it is for them.  Someone once said to me it never gets easier — you just get faster.  I know that concept intellectually but it was good to see it in practice.  I started to put people into two groups, working hard and looking good vs. working hard and looking like they were going to crumble any second.   ALL of my friends fell into the first category.  It was a good reminder of how well trained we all are.  Some of the competitors literally looked like they were going to fall over if a gust of wind blew by them.

I had so many friends running out there I was just trying to keep track of them.  Screaming at the top of my lungs and ringing my cow bell.  DeeeeLUUUUUUCCCAAA!  Trying to make my friend smile.  “You look GORGEOUS” to Jason — got a smirk out of him.  Celeste was so close behind him ‘C’mon go catch Jason!!!”  I screamed hoping she actually might catch him but then wishing Jason to run fast enough to stay ahead.  One of my coaches from last season was racing and I love to watch her run (I try to visualize her running when I’m dragging — she has very little upper body movement and her legs look like she is still pedalling a bike when she zips by.)  “COACH, Move your Butt!!!”  (I’ll probably pay for that one come Fall training but I got  laugh out of her anyway.)  Cliff runs by looking sooo strong and I am still so jealous of that freakingly perfect posture he has — I must do more core.  I had teammates from Ironman 2007 out there running by looking like pros – Jen who put the medal around my neck at Placid flew by with Stacy not far behind.  Man they are fast!  I must work on my running, their faces were very serious so I knew they were not comfortable — they were working but man their feet were just spinning.  Turn over, turn over, turn over.  (I hear Charlee’s voice in my head.)

My friend Cat and I had a blast cheering.  We walked out to the Evil Hill and cheered for everyone coming up it.  No way could I have run up that hill.  I ran up it in the morning but that was not with a swim and a bike under my belt.  First loop about 70% were running up the hill and 30% walking it.  By the time we got out there for the second loop 90% were walking it and some of them looked like they were not going to make it.  I was trying to will people up the hill.  Once again I was struck by how all my friends in red looked tough.  Cat and I were cheering for everyone.  There were not a lot of cheerers left and the competitors were very grateful for our cheering.  I kept walking up and down the hill cheering people.  I figured that was some good exercise and in a small way a sympathetic motion.

We knew our friend would be coming soon as we started seeing some of the same people who were in front of her before.  Only problem is some of the people were looking like the walking dead.  One guy passes me and says “check on that girl in blue okay? She looks like she is going to pass out or something.”  Sure enough a gal comes stumbling up the hill and she does not look good at all.  “Are you eating?” I asked her.   She mumbled something incoherent and her eyes were darting back and forth.  “Stop and grab something to eat and drink at the rest stop at the top of the hill, you need fuel” I told her.  She nodded her head that she would.  I saw her leg as she passed by — 19 years old.  Wow, I gathered she had signed up not realizing how hard a half ironman is (or how to execute a calorie plan).  She only had 1 1/2 miles to go so I knew she would finish, but I was pretty sure she would require medical attention.  She was definitely in group II.  (I did see her after the race walking her bike out of transition — she was fine.  19 recovers quickly.)

Then we saw our friend coming.  She looked strong.  She was on time.  She wasn’t dragging like the others.  She had dignity.  I know this sounds strange but it made me feel better about my own race at lake placid — okay maybe an outsider had to look hard to find it but I hope a little slip of dignity was peeking out from beneath my own tri shorts somewhere.  Cat and I jumped up and down and waved and then realized “crap, we better turn round and run if we want to stay ahead of her.”  So we turned around and tried to run to the finish.  I knew I needed a good head start because I was worried that she would start booking it to the finish and I was pretty sure I didn’t have any book left in my personal library.  Cat and I ran while looking over our shoulders “run faster, she’s coming” we mumbled breathlessly.  (Darn why did we walk so far out?)  I thought of all my friends who had cheered for me — Melissa darting in and out of the woods at St. Anthonys and in Rhode Island and NYC.  Stephanie, Mo and Donna at countless races.  I didn’t realize how much work there was to keep ahead and made a mental thanks to all my Rumble Crew!  I wanted to make sure I was standing at the finish line camera in hand.  Note to self — wear better shorts to run in when cheering!!!

I made it to the finish in time to set up my camera and watch my friend come down the finisher’s shoot.  Woosh, she flew by, I wish it could have lasted longer.  Not for her of course, but for me.  She looked great.  she had dignity to spare.   I know I hate it when people say this about me, but I really was inspired to get back to training and work harder.  There is NOTHING more inspiring in the world that to watch someone set a goal, make a plan, stick to a plan and reach a goal.  That is what made this day so exciting for all of us.  We watched our friend execute a carefully crafted plan.  Goal set, Goal met = Maximum Rumbleness. 

Every day, every minute is a chance to start anew.  Little plans, little steps, little goals.  Work a little harder.

Namaste

 

Read about my 200 mile ride: http://www.active.com/donate/Hersheystourdepink/CCarpen48

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8/14/08 Recovery

Thursday. I go for another eye check up this morning — some moments I feel there is improvement in my right eye but then I think that I’m just getting used to it — we’ll see what he thinks.

No swimming for 3 weeks per eye doctor. I can bike/run and do the jitterbug but no swimming. So I had to come up with something else to do yesterday instead of swim. I had no creative ideas and the day kind of slipped away so I just went for a run along the river to the pier and back. 40 minute jog, nothing hard, practiced lifting my knees — not sure what that gets me but I see the good runners doing it so I figured I should try practicing it more often. I remember once a long, long time ago one of the TNT coaches told me to shorten the pendulum (by bending my leg) to make it easier to run faster. I think I understand that in theory, just not sure it works for me in practice. The good news is I have tons of opportunites to practice, practice, practice.  In fact I can pratice for 26.2 miles all during the marathon if I want.

This morning we had another team bike in the park. I definitely didn’t keep up with the group on the hill repeats. I was trying hard, maybe not my hardest but I was trying. They lose me half way up the hill. On the second loop I lost most of the team — was caught in no man’s land (for you tennies). Most of the group too far ahead, a handful behind. I tried to regroup the back of the back but that didn’t work and it just made us farther behind the main group. Finally it was just me and Jackie heading towards Harlem Hill when the rain busted out. I let out a little laugh to myself “HA! You call this rain!?! This is N.O.T.H.I.N.G.!”  But to be cautious, we skipped the extra repeat of Harlem Hill on the second loop and just did it once and headed home.

Very interesting, when I got to Tavern on the Green (where I turn off to go home), it had stopped raining and my legs did not stop pedalling. It was weird. It was as if they were saying to me “well, you can go home but we’re not done yet.” How funny. I’ve given up arguing with my legs a long time ago — they do what they want. They run or they don’t run. They pedal or they don’t. They kick or just hang there. My commands mean nothing to them. I decided to just let them pedal. I had a lovely 4th loop all by myself with incredibly even cadence the whole time. I have no idea what my speed or cadence was (never bothered to look). My legs were just doing their own thing and I was along for the sightseeing.  I was impressed with how smoothly they were pedaling.

I’m starting to understand the eb and flow of recovery over a long season. It would be nice if we all operated on the same schedule — we would all peak at the same time, recover at the same pace and resume on cue. Unfortunately all bodies are different. I don’t think I’m 100% recovered yet but I think I’m 90% there. I think my strength (what there was of it) is pretty much there. I was breathing hard this morning so I think maybe I need to work a smidge on my cardio and I think there is one more level for me to give on the hill climbing — just not feeling like I want to go there yet. All in all, an okay morning despite getting dropped.

I’m off to New Hampshire to cheer for Timberman, have several friends racing and I’m looking forward to going up and having a good ole time yelling at people to run, run, run!!! (It’s sooo much more fun to cheer than to actually do all that hard work.) Praying for cool temps, no rain and fast feet for all my friends. Special good mojo dance being performed nightly for one good friend in particular!!

Work Just A Little Harder
Believe
Race Smart

Namaste

A little poster for motivation:

 

I’m riding 200 miles — click here to read more:  http://www.active.com/donate/Hersheystourdepink/CCarpen48

 

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8/13/08 Open the Door

Wednesday. I’m feeling strangely good. Whatever dark cloud was hanging over me the last couple of weeks seems to have lifted and I’m feeling good — both mentally and physically.

Monday I had a day of rest though I ran around catching up on a lot of errands. Felt fine. Got some stretches in. Made sure to eat a good amount of protein. (Maybe ate a little too much — have not been tracking this week so far so I need to get that back under control.)

Yesterday’s run workout was my first reintroduction to some hill repeats. I was not looking forward to it but the weather has been so gorgeous that I had no excuse (and was not really looking for any). I had a lot of work to do so I couldn’t get out into the park until the afternoon.  Remembering last Tuesday’s fiasco of not being able to even make it to the reservoir never mind completely around it, I started my workout with some trepidation.  I started a slow jog up towards the reservoir.

I was surprised that my legs felt okay warming up. I can tell a lot about my forthcoming workout by my warmup. If it is hard for me to breathe or if my legs feel like stumps, I’m probably not going to have a grand ole time. But yesterday I did a very nice and easy warmup to the bridle path bridge and I was surprised that my breathing was good and my legs felt strong. (They didn’t feel fast, they just felt strong.) This was good. This was how I felt on Saturday. I felt optimistic.

At the underpass I was supposed to do some kind of long stride things. I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to do. I remembered at the beginning of the season we used to do a warmup exercise where we  did a kind of running leap. I figured that would be good enough and I would try to do some of those. GROAN!!!! I stunk. I would try to leap (kind of like a dance jeté). My legs were not even, I couldn’t get any distance, I was out of breath after 25 feet. Yucko. Then I jogged back and repeated it four times. People were strolling along the path and here I was lumbering past them back and forth looking like an idiot. Oh man, why haven’t I been practicing this stuff all season? I was tempted to try some butt kicks but I thought why demoralize myself completely in one session?  Then I ran some hill repeats. Okay, “ran” might be a liberal use of the word. The first time up the hill and to the reservoir was just terrible. Terrible. I almost didn’t make it up. The inner dialogue was rich.

  • It doesn’t matter how long this takes you, just get up there somehow and don’t stop.
  • I don’t want to.
  • I know you don’t want to, but this is good for you, just do it.
  • I don’t think I can make it.
  • Of course you can make it, you’ve done this countless times.
  • It’s too far, I’m too old, I’m too fat, I’m too tired.
  • Okay just make it to the top and I’m not going to make you do repeats.
  • Ugh, I don’t think I can, this is going to take all day, this is going to take forever.
  • Just get to the top and we’ll re-evaluate.
  • When is this going to be over?!?!?!  This is taking F.O.R.E.E.E.E.V.E.R.

I finally hit the tree and hit my stop watch 3 minutes 30 seconds.  That was ridiculously slow even for me but still it was only 3 minutes 30 seconds.  That’s not that long of a time in the big scheme of time.  Eesh, what a big baby.  C’mon, I coddled myself.  You can do ANYTHING for 3 minutes 30 seconds.  I started jogging back down the hill to start up again.

The second time up was amazing.  Not because of my speed (or lack thereof) but because of what I witnessed happen in my brain.  It was that same little voice that had struck out during the first hour of my run at Lake Placid.  “You can do this, if you try.”  I am struggling to explain what happened in my brain.  The best way I can describe it is like a little door opened and a flood of butterflies flitted in and took over the joint.  I was filled with optimism from tip to toe.  Very strange.  Everything seemed okay.  All of my regrets about Ironman seemed to dissolve right then and there.  ‘Look how hard this is to get up this freakin little hill’, I thought to myself. ‘ Imagine how hard it is to do an Ironman.  Yeah you did a 16:20 but it was YOUR 16:20 and you finished it.  Okay it wasn’t pretty but it was your best effort at any given moment during the day and that’s what it was.  Just like this little stupid hill, right here, right now.  You are not fast and I’m sure there are grandmother’s with strollers out here who could pass you but you are doing it.’

I felt very empowered to find that secret little door in my brain.  I wondered if that door had always been there and I had just now found the visualization key to open it?  I drew on those feelings from that one hour from Ironman “if you believe, you can do this.”   Wow, is this something I’m going to be able to draw on forever?  Totally worth the 16 hours just for that.  This is pretty cool if I can change my consciousness like that.  Where else in my life could I use this little trick?  There’s a literal switch in my brain I had no idea that I could access that never mind flip it at will.

The second repeat was my best. 3:20 though I’m not sure how that compared to earlier in the season I’ll have to look that up.  Then the next two just got worse, 3:40 and then gasp 3:50 — okay enough of that (I’m pretty sure I could have walked that last one faster, started to feel knee twinges and I was just jogging to the tree). 

I then ran around the reservoir and up to 102nd street on the bridle path and back down to Tavern on the Green.  My legs felt strong and on the little uphills I really felt some power to get up there.   I didn’t feel a need to stop or slow down.  I felt good.  Of course there were all these young guys running like the wind and I was painfully aware that I look nothing like a 16 year old, skinny boy running up a hill.  LOL, what a juxtaposition!  I was supposed to put some extra smaller little hill repeats in but I was running out of time and frankly I was just thrilled to make it as far as I had and that I was feeling strong.  I wasn’t feeling fast, but I was feeling strong.  No aches, no pains, no nothing.  My head was clear, my attitude was good.  What more could I ask for?

That reminds me of something else I have not really fully acknowledged.  For the last couple of months, I have felt no knee pain.  None of my knee going out of joint while running. Very little scraping feelng. That’s pretty huge.  I give Mark my accupuncturist a lot of credit because I was going every other week throughout the season for preventative measures, but it really worked.  I’ve been running downhills too.  That’s huge.  So although I’m still back of the pack I’m stronger than I have been in the past.  Next week I will go back onto the every two week schedule through the marathon.

So this “opening the door” in my brain is something I’m really going to try to focus on in the coming weeks (and hopefully forever).  That it is actually possible to change how your brain is thinking and feeling with a little visualization.  The trick is you have to remember to do it.  Oh God have I discovered “the power of positive thinking?”  I might gag.

Namaste

“I can’t believe that!” said Alice.

“Can’t you?” the queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”

“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Lewis Carroll from Through the Looking Glass

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