Monthly Archives: November 2009

11/30/09 Building New Muscles

Monday.  Four days in a row of feeling pretty good.  Friday did my walk/slog along the rail-to-trail.  Saturday I did a 45 minute walk.  Was supposed to be a hike but the trail I picked wasn’t that high it was crazy windy and it got dark early.  But I was feeling pretty good and happy not too push it too far.  Then came Sunday. 

Sunday turned out to just glorious.  The weather was about 55 degrees and sunny.  The wind had died down.  It was the most perfect day for a ride.  I started to map out my route on and was ready to don my riding togs when all of a sudden a little voice said to me “Go for a run.”  Huh?  A run?  Why the heck would I do that?  I slogged on Friday, I walked on Saturday.  Neither one of them were anything to write home about other than time on my feet.  I haven’t ridden my bike since last Saturday and don’t forget this is ALL about the bike.  I like biking.  This is a good day for biking.  I have my stuff on. I  have a map ready.  “Go for a run.”   No, the schedule says bike, I have to bike, I have to do a bike every weekend — those are the RULES!!  “Go for a run.”   And without my telling them to do it, my cycling pants changed into running pants and my running shoes found their way on my feet and I was in the car heading to Reservoir #6 on Talcott Mountain …..   unbelievable, but okay I was on my way.

On the way to the reservoir I came up with an absolutely BRILLIANT idea.  I would run the four miles around the reservoir and then head up the mountain trail to Hublien Tower.  That would be a mega hike (unrunnable for me).  Then I would come back down and run some more until I was done.  I had no real expectation or plan.  For all I knew I would do 30 minute walk and turn around.    The weather was so nice that I was forced to park in a secondary lot at the other end of the Reservoir.  But that lot set me at the top of a hill and I set out for my run going downhill.  And then I didn’t stop.

It was bizarre.  I was running in the woods.  Real running.  I had to stop every so often to catch my breath but I was watching my heart rate monitor like a hawk.  My HR monitor was now working correctly because I actually followed instructions and got it wet before putting it on.  Not just two dabs of water – I ran it under the faucet.  That must have been what had been causing it to go so freaky.  It was working fine and all my numbers were just like the old days.  I FELT 100% FANTASTIC.  It was a miracle.

So I started out slogging at HR of 123 and then picked it up to the 130’s (breathing hard) and then into the 140’s to 145.  145 is my 10k race pace HR.  I actually can’t maintain that right now but it felt like my old 145.  I’m working hard, I’m pushing.  So I would hang at 145 for about five minutes or until I couldn’t stand it and then I would walk until my heart rate got down to 123.  As soon as it said 123 I would pick it up, hang in the 130’s for a bit and then back up to 145.  I continued this pattern for pretty much the whole time.  There was no science to this.  My little voice was telling me what to do.  I was training Joan Benoit style — by feel.  It felt good so I did it.

I hit the trail to Hublien Tower.  I’ve always chickened out on this trail and turned around because it gets steep so quickly.  This time I told myself I would hike until I got to the top.  Lo and behold a little way up the path another path sprung off and it was flatter so I went running on that one.  The trails were covered in leaves and there were the annoying rocks and branches under them but my feet felt light and I was navigating well.  I felt like I was out in Arizona training camp — pushing off the little rocks — short steps so if I trip the other foot would be there to catch me.  But I was moving okay.  Not breaking any land speed records but I had energy and was moving.  It was a miracle!!

I ran around and through a lot of mud and instead of getting upset I was happy.  The sun was in my face.  The woods were beautiful.  An occasion dog hiker would go by and everyone was in a great mood.  I soon found myself finished with one trail and onto another.  The day was gorgeous.  I was feeling great.  It was truly glorious.  I really like running if it is not on a gerbil mill like central park.  I like unknown territory.  I like the thrill of possibly getting lost.

I ran for 1:40 minutes.  Of course not straight running but more running than I’ve done in a long time and even my walk breaks were with good effort.  I came home, stretched.  I was very happy.  This is good news.  This bodes well but I’ve had good days before. I’m not going to get cocky.  I’m going to take it one day at a time.

It occurred to me that we have a lot of different muscles we have to build.  From the Beck’s diet solution I have ripped off the term “building the stick-with-it-muscle.”  But now I realize a need for me to build my patience muscle.  I know I’m not where I want to be physically and I probably won’t see that for awhile.  But every day I have to work on the patience muscle.  Read each day for what it is.

I did a little research on the internet and found a support group for people with thyroid issues like mine.  It was amazing to find a group who truly understands everything I’m going through.  To them my symptoms are normal and understandable.  With their help I’ve been doing a little more research into my numbers and trying to understand a little more of what I am dealing with.    So today’s lesson was all about T3, T4 and TSH.

There are plenty of websites to explain all the functions of the thyroid but suffice it to say it manufactures two hormones T3 and T4. Is a good and simple website to explore.

I do not produce T3 or T4 but I take a pill to replicate it.  It’s called Synthroid.  Apparently that seems to be working because my T4 count is 1.33 which is well within the normal range.  The problem is there is a 3rd hormone called TSH or thyroid suppressing Hormone.  apparently my TSH is out of whack.  I want this number to be nice and low (between .4 and 4.5).  My number is very high 16.8.  When your TSH is high and depending on your T4 number it can be indicative of  HypOthyroidism and you can feel tired, gain weight, brittle nails, dry skin, coarse thinning hair,  intolerance to cold, or memory problems.  What was I saying?   Oh, right,  basically your furnace is not burning.  When your TSH is low and your T3 high that is the opposite and can be equally dangerous that is called HypERthryoidism and you can experience fast weight loss, excessive sweat, fast heartbeat, or nervousness/moodiness.   They are both bad.  (Though I wouldn’t mind feeling  a little Hyper).

So I’m taking medication to get my T4 and TSH in line.  The problem is it takes about 2 months for the dosages to get up to level in my system.  I haven’t quite figured out why one day I feel good and the next I don’t but I figure it has to do with the levels and not being maintained. 

Meanwhile, my iron is low  19 (recommend range is 10-291) and my Vitamin D is low (but not as low as it used to be) 15 (recommend range is 32-100).  So the combination of low Iron and Low Vitamin D coincidentally have the same symptoms as… yep, HypOthyroidism. 

And the final ingredient to this fine cocktail is estrogen.  As I am entering menopause (which can be accelerated by the drugs I am taking) I have to figure out how to replace those hormones as well (or maybe not — I’m not sure yet).  Much to research and much to learn.

So my plan for training is to be opportunistic.  On the days I feel like I can go out and run a trail, that’s what I’ll do.  On the days I want to crawl into bed and be a snail, that’s what I’ll do too.

But the one muscle I can work on every day (and every minute) is my patience muscle.   The best way to work the patience muscle is through meditation.


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11/27/09 Moment By Moment

Friday.  This week has been a very difficult week for me.  Just trying to hang on but today is a new day and filed under “Things I know to be true,”  is today’s reminder that fortunes can change in a moment.  Good fortune can go bad and bad fortune can go good.  Never give up because it might just be in the next breath when you find your good fortune again.

 I struggled both physically and mentally this week.  My last workout was Saturday when I did a bike ride with the team.  I’ve had a challenge in trying to figure out my “new normal.”  Some days my heart rate is crazy high and then other moments I see flickers of my old normal.  It remains that I get exhausted easily and it takes me longer to recover from my workouts than to do them.

I had a chance to talk with one of my coaches on Saturday’s ride and we talked about my struggles.  For the first time I let the words come out of my mouth “I may not be able to do the Ironman.”  I choked a little on the words even as I added “too soon to make that decision but I have to say it’s hard to ignore the obvious.”  We agreed that for right now I will just continue to monitor and do my best — whatever that is for now.    We have time to adjust goals later as needed.  The team went on to do stairs and a run for their brick, I went home.  4 hours on the bike is my limit right now.  I felt fine when I got home.   Went out to dinner on Saturday night and felt fine.

Then I went downhill.   Not on the bike, just in general.

I had planned to give myself Sunday off as an experiment.  I just wanted to see how quickly I bounced back after a calculated rest.  (Mind you my previous week was light so this was not a case of over-training).  Sunday I felt okay but appreciated the rest.  I slept a lot.

Monday I was surprised that I didn’t feel rested.  I felt tired.  Heart rate still high.  I was functional at work as long as I just sat at my desk. 

Tuesday I felt even more exhausted. Okay this did not make sense.  I had plenty of sleep.  I’ve taken all my vitamins and pills.  Why am I exhausted?  The idea of going for a run was impossible.  My book club came to my house.  I could barely set the table.  Only good news is my heart rate did seem lower while I was reading.

Wednesday was an all system crash.  Granted, not enough sleep but nonetheless, felt like crawling across the floor would be a challenge.  I tried to go to the pool.  I managed 4 laps and then had to leave.   4 laps.  That’s less than 5 minutes.  It took longer to blow dry my hair than I spent in the water.  Not good, not good.  I started drafting my resignation letter.  No Ironman for me.  Tears of frustrations.  Not about not doing the Ironman, just about not being able to do anything.  A 5k seemed like a lifetime away.   The elevator seemed a lifetime away.   Maybe I should wear more skirts because finding two pant legs seemed like too much work.

Thursday Thanksgiving.  Exhausted.  No way could I drive to CT.  I went back to sleep.  Finally woke and managed to get to CT in time to have dinner and then hit the hay.   Honestly it was too much.  How could I be tired?  I’ve done nothing.  This is not over training.  This is chemical.  I’ve taken every pill I was supposed to take.  I’ve slept.  I’ve not had a drop of alcohol in four months.  I’ve been tracking.  I’ve been good.  This was nuts.  I crashed to watch a movie.

Then at 9 p.m.  BOING.  It was the weirdest thing.  It was like a fever broke but it wasn’t a fever.  All of a sudden I was awake.  I felt fine.  I felt, dare I say it?  Normal.  Just like that.  9 p.m.   I was fine.  Almost five days of pure undeserved exhaustion and just like that — poof — I felt fine.  Literally like someone flipped a switch.

This morning I woke up ready to run.  I was so relieved.  I waited out the rain and hit a flat rails-to-trails path and ran a little, power walked a lot.  Scary heart rate readings at first that couldn’t possibly have been right.  199?  I don’t think so.  I’ve never had that high of a heart rate in my life.  Then it would drop to 166 which was still ridiculous.  I stopped to take my pulse manually.  It was only 100 and when I would check my watch it would show 107.  How could it drop from 166 to 107 in 30 seconds?  Something wrong with this heart rate monitor.  Maybe my mp3 player was causing distortion?  Piece of junk. 

I felt good enough to keep going.  I felt I had energy.  I felt good.  This was the weirdest thing going.  How do I record these numbers?  They mean nothing.  My heart rate monitor was not reflecting my perceived rate of exertion (how hard I was breathing).  I kept going. 

Then at about 25 minutes the most miraculous thing happened.  I was doing my slow slog and I looked down and there it was.  122.  My old 122.  122 was my old slog rate.  It was just hanging at 122.  I was breathing my long, slow, distance breathing.  I was so happy to be slogging and showing 122.  There might be hope.   This was desert running pace.  I could go 125 miles!!!  Or  five.  Five would be fine too.

Mostly power walking at a very good pace, some decent slogging.  But I was thrilled.  I had the energy to finish it and I didn’t have to lie down in a field to take a nap.  This was promising!  Instead of writing my resignation letter I started planning how I was going to do the Manhattan half marathon.  13.1 miles.  Could I do that in 8 weeks?  I’ve done 18 half marathons and this is the first time I’ve ever thought that I might not be able to complete 13.1 miles.  How crazy is that?  But now there is hope.   There is no way I can run it but maybe I could walk it?  Yes, I could do a run/walk and just try to build up my endurance.  Just try to get to stand on my feet for 13.1 miles.

And that is what I mean by your fortune and future can change in a second.  I’m sure I will have more bouts of exhaustion.  I’m not sure if I will be able to do the Ironman in August.  Right now I’m looking at St. Anthony’s in April as a huge achievement.  If I can get to the end of that one, who knows?  The sky’s the limit.


I have a new Shero.  I heard about this gal Karen Smyers who is from my neck of the woods in CT.  She’s a professional triathlete and had her first DNF when she was in a bike crash in a race.  Of course for her it took her 16 years to have a DNF (I beat her on that).  But she has a great attitude.  She was still racing professionaly at 47 years young.  Now she  coaches.  But I love her come back and over forty is fabulous attitude.

Click here to read about Karen Smyers

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11/14/09 Befuddled

Thursday.  Today’s mood is befuddled.  Had bike time trial this morning and I totally stunk it up and I have no idea why.  I have been taking it easy.  I did two easy workouts this week — and I mean easy.  Except for the stupid kicking in the pool yesterday I wouldn’t even call that a workout.  So I should have been rested.  I didn’t sleep that well but frankly that’s not a new factor, I don’t usually sleep that well.   I was really looking forward to working hard and I really can’t even tell you what happened.  First loop last time was 19:53.  This time was 21:30.  Okay right off the bat I knew something was wrong.  You better work harder.

I was trying but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t move that bike.  My heart rate was freakishly low.  For the last couple of months I have spent my workouts chasing my heart around the park and beyond — it is usually  beating six inches outside of my chest.  I was barely breathing hard this morning and I was trying!!  Really I was.  I had a couple of hard exhales on Harlem Hill but really?  Not that hard.  I kept telling my legs, Spin faster.  If you’re not breathing hard spin faster.  I’d look down and see I’m doing 91 RPM’s, I’m in the big gear and I’m going 16 mph in a 19 mph zone.  What the heck?  If I tried to move into a bigger gear I couldn’t move it.  My legs were not screaming — no quad burn so I know there had to be more in there but I couldn’t reach in to find it.  I didn’t feel tired, I didn’t feel dizzy, I just don’t know what it was.  It’s puzzling, it’s befuddling. I thought it might be my bike so I did pause to make sure the brakes weren’t rubbing but alas it was just me. Third loop was 22:54, which is about the same as saying a 23 minute loop which is not my best by a long shot.  (Fastest I’ve ever done one on my absolute best day was 17:30). 25 minute loop is my sight-seeing pace.  This was pretty close to sight-seeing. 

I refused to get upset because I’m spending all of this energy on not working too hard, holding my seat, leaning in and whatever other mantra of the day you’ve got.  I tried to think of what could have made me slower and not faster as I had hoped.  I had a light protein shake before breakfast — 150 cals my normal pre-workout intake.  I went through my inventory of everything I did and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.  Why no heart rate?  Why no burning quads?  The only thing I could think of is I kinda forgot to take my iron pills since last Friday.  I’m not really good at remembering to take those so maybe I was feeling anemic and didn’t know it?  Oh well, whatever, sue me, had a bad bike and it probably won’t be the first or last. (Yes I can hear someone yelling at me all the way from Sarasota to take my iron pills.)

Rested for an hour and then I hit the tennis court for an easy game. First game in a long, long time — I’m thinking May?   The club promised me it would be really easy.  It was easy but I don’t understand people.  We warmed up for about 5 minutes, he hit maybe 20 balls (and the only missed balls during warmup were his) and then throws me the balls and said “you want to serve?” Was that even a 5 minutes warmup?  I really wanted to say to him “listen fella, last thing in the world you should be doing is challenging me to a game — you would be best served to just hit balls with me for an hour and try to smooth out that choppy stroke.”  But I didn’t.  I played him.  It wasn’t much of a game.   Very, very nice guy but again I’m befuddled.  If you don’t have strong tennis skills why do want to play games?  You are not going to get a lot of action.  Why wouldn’t you want to hit as many balls as you can and practice, practice, practice?  Why are we so quick to jump into the competition but loathe to do the practice necessary to really have fun with a game?    I don’t get it.  But at least I hit some balls so next week I’ll have nerve to call up some of my regular playing partners and try to really hit.

So this brings me to the first question I have to answer for today.  I received an email from my tennis coach regarding my last post saying:  “you never answered the question posed on Wednesday on what would you tell an athlete who was not feeling well?”   Well of course I would tell THEM to rest, recover and live to race or compete another day.  If this is your lifestyle then missing one race or workout isn’t the end of the world.  After my accident in Lake Placid one of the lines my former coach said to me “if you haven’t had a bad race, you haven’t raced enough.”  It’s part of life.  I think it’s true,  all the disappointments and bad workouts and bad races and bad tennis matches are just part of the lifestyle.  I don’t know of a single athlete — famous or not who has not had a bad workout, a bad race, a bad season, a bad year, a bad decade.  There are cycles in every season.  In order for us to peak we have to peak from something so that means we can’t always be up.  Better to rest to recover so that when you do come back you’ll be stronger and less likely to injure yourself or mentally defeat yourself.  I think that’s what I’m doing right now.  I’m backing off.  I’m not competing in anything until April which is a lifetime from now and that will be an entry-level benchmark race (St. Anthony’s).  I’m taking the next month as easy recovery.  Light workouts, restorative.  All that said, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a struggle to do that and I would acknowledge to anyone going through the same that I understand how difficult it is to take a forced break.  But take it anyway.

Second question (I almost have a “mailbag?”  Two whole questions in one day!).  “How did you heal your sprained knee so fast?”  Answer.  Cabbage.  What?  Yep, I used cabbage.  This is going to sound nuts but it kind of worked.  My housekeeper is Polish and a little old school in her superstitions and remedies.  (When I was training for MDS and had six pairs of shoes delivered and sitting on my dining room table, she almost had a heart attack and made me remove them immediately.  “But they are still in the boxes and I’m returning them.”  I offered in explanation.  “No, no, no.  Shoes on table bad luck.”  She was so emphatic and urgent about it that I had to oblige and take the shoes off the table.  Apparently it okay for them to be on chairs.”)  Anywho, when she saw how swollen my knee was when I got back from camp she immediately went to the store to get me cabbage.  I too was suspect.

Apparently cabbage has some kind of astringent healing powers.  Here is how she showed me to do it.   You get a head of green cabbage.  You take off a couple of leaves.  You pound the stem of the leaf with a wooden hammer (we used wooden handle of a big knife. )  You are trying to release the water from the vein — apparently that’s the mojo “juice.”    You just pound lightly, you are not trying to make holes in it, you just want to see the liquid coming out of the stem.  Then she put the leaves in the fridge for a bit to get them nice and chilled.  Then we put three leaves with juice over my knee and I fastened them with medical tape (any old tape or wrap will do.)  I secured it enough so I could sleep on it.  In the morning I did three more leaves and I think I did it one more time after that.   The swelling went down but I’m not sure if it was from the cabbage or from the cabbage being cold or if the swelling would have gone down on its own.  But a little googling shows that in fact cabbage leaves have been used to reduce inflammation from sprains for centuries.  Who knew? 

The second thing I did to fix my knee was I stayed off it for a week.  I did go to swim last Wednesday but I didn’t kick at all.  I used a pull buoy for the entire workout.  So for Monday-Friday that was my only workout — easy in the pool with a pull buoy.  By Friday I seemed to be walking on it fine and the swelling was down.  Saturday I did a swim and Sunday I rode.  I did feel a few twinges on Sunday but I just backed off the intensity.  My knee feels pretty good right now.   So was it the cabbage?  I don’t really know but I will say this, if I sprain something again I will certainly put some cabbage on it it — can’t hurt, might help.

Oh, if the cabbage doesn’t work I would use an anti-inflammatory like Aleve and then I’d make cole slaw from the unused cabbage.



Things You’ll Need:

  • 1 head of green cabbage
  • 4 large or 6 medium carrots, peeled
  • ½ medium onion
  • ½ cup canola or extra light virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. dill
  1. Cut cabbage, carrots and onion into large chunks. Shred in food processor or with hand-held shredder.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine cabbage, carrots and onion, stirring until evenly distributed.
  3. In small mixing bowl, combine oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and dill. Stir vigorously with whisk or fork.
  4. Pour oil mixture over cabbage mixture and stir until evenly distributed.
  5. Chill your vegan coleslaw for at least one hour and serve.

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11/18/09 Do unto yourself

Wednesday.  Today I feel 100 times better than I did last week at this time.  I took a week of rest from workouts last week.  I only did two swims and 1 bike.  Okay partially because I twisted my knee and really couldn’t do anything but I was also trying to take it easy and give myself a break.  I want to give myself 4 weeks of not pushing too hard (except Thursday, I give myself permission to push hard on the bike time trial practice, that will be my only hard push this week.)

Highlight of last week was during bike on Sunday I finally did the skating drill on my bike.  Skating on your bike is like how we used to ride our bikes when we were kids.  You put one foot on the pedal,  push off a few times with your opposite leg and then lift it up and over your saddle and sit down and pedal.  The only difference is for the drill we start seated, stand up on the bike, lift one foot over and cross the the other side, skate a few steps and then lift your leg back up and over.   I know no big deal to the rest of the bikers out there but it was a big deal to me.  I’ve never been able to do it.   I used to practice all the time on my trainer at home.  It was so easy on my trainer why couldn’t I do it in the open?  It was driving me nuts?  How come I could do this when I was 8  (AND we used to run with our bike first to get a running start — throw your foot on the pedal and go, go, go!!) but at 50 I can’t?

On Sunday I was out with the team and we were practicing this and I was getting mad.  Why can’t you do this?  I realized I was afraid of falling.  And then I had a great idea.  Go ahead.  Fall.  I didn’t want to fall in front of everyone so I went to a little side parking lot with the full intention of falling off my bike.  Go ahead, just do it — fall.  You’ll only be going 2 miles an hour, how much could you get hurt?   I got to the regular place of putting my leg up on the saddle but too afraid to push it over.  This time I said, make yourself fall, go ahead.  Lo and behold,  I didn’t fall.  My leg that was clipped in was plenty strong to catch me.  I threw my leg back up and over and I screamed “I did it, I did it!”   I just had to push through those six inches of fear and voila, I was on the other side.  Isn’t that usually the case with fear?  You just have to push through and give yourself permission to fall.  Chances are you won’t fall but if you do, you’ve prepared so no big deal.  Made me think of what Pema said about people being more afraid of the unknown than they are of pain.  So true.

Yesterday I did get out to do my “run.”  It was really just a jog/walk but the air was nice and I didn’t pass out at the end.  We were supposed to do 5k intervals around the reservoir.  Where they wrote 5k pace I jogged and where they wrote recover I walked.  But I got outside, got sunshine (c’mon vitamin D get in there), air in my lungs and time on my feet.  I am shooting to feel better after my workouts instead of zonked.  For now.  For now we are being, gasp, hate the word, patient.

This week I am trying to spend the time in my workouts but with a much, much lower intensity.  Not only intensity of effort but intensity of expectation.  I’m letting my expectations go and just seeing how everything feels.  This, my friends, is harder for me to do than anything.  This is my true journey — learning to pace my expectations of myself more than pacing my body.  To still maintain my drive but in a lower gear.

Yesterday I did a 2 hour jog/walk yesterday.  Today I will swim working on technique and not power.   Thursday I give myself permission to do the bike time trial — it will only be 1 hour of hard effort, the rest will be easy.  I also agreed to my first tennis game on Thursday.  I have been assured that he is an older gentlemen with a very consistent but gentler game (no 35 year old lawyer trying to blow me off the court).   I haven’t touched a racquet in I don’t know how long.  Last week I was so exhausted the idea of picking up a tennis racquet was beyond me.  This week I feel okay but I want to stay feeling okay.  If he is really a decent enough player and we can just hit for an hour that will actually feel spiritually and physically restorative.  If I have to start generating a  lot of power or digging out dropshots, cross-court slices and lobs, I’m screwed.

Food is going really well.  The Fresh Direct thing has been working.   I’ve taken all the guess work and effort out of making my meals.    My mantra right now is AUTOMATE.  Take all the choices out.  Just have your menu set and go.  I have the best success when I don’t have to think about what to make.  It’s made, it’s there.  No extra scoops or seconds, no changes in plans because I’m hungry while making the decision.

I think my medication is starting to kick in because after 8 weeks of doing my very controlled eating plan and not losing any weight, the last two weeks at WW (eating the exact same meals and calorie levels) I lost 1.5 pounds two weeks in a row.  I would prefer to be losing a little more because 1.5 pounds I can put back on with a sneeze but I’m going to lean in and just follow the process.  My WW meeting continue to remain a cornerstone for me.

Recently more than one person has asked me  “what would you tell someone else to do?”    If you were giving advice to a new athlete would you tell them to push through and play that tournament or run that marathon  even if they weren’t feeling their best?   I’m aware of the huge double standard I hold in my life.  Expectations of myself vs expectations of others.   It’s okay for others to take the safe and slow road but not for me.  This year I am encountering limitations I never imagined within myself.  Physical, mental and emotional.  I’m in new, unconquered territory.  (One person put it “you’re fighting your inner-badass.”  This is a new challenge for me and I’m depending on meditation more than ever.  Trying to hold my seat.  Lean in.  Give myself permission to fall and be surprised when I have the strength to stand afterall.

This morning I thought of that saying “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”   I need to change that a little and says “Do unto yourself as you would do unto others.”


In this video around minute 3:50 there is a guy Dwayne demoing the skating  (or “scooting” as they call it).  See how easy he make this look?  I couldn’t do that for so long and now I can!!!  (Okay it might be a little harder with clipless pedals and a tri bike on asphalt but still once you do it, it really is easy)

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11/10/09 A Bird in the Hand

Tuesday.  Okay, lest everyone think I am totally nuts (or I prove it further) I rested yesterday, meditated and a new plan has appeared.  I realize the error of my thinking and I have a simple new plan.  I’m taking a rest.  A long rest.  I’m not giving up, I’m leaning in.

I got an email from my tennis coach who reads this blog and she was alarmed (as were others) that I might be doing actual harm to myself.  I was about to say my usual “yeah, yeah I’ll rest” until I actually thought about tennis for a minute.  Oh my God.  I realized that I was so tired that right now I would not be able to play a game of tennis if I had to.  I’m not talking about a set or a match, I’m talking about a game.  Okay sure I could stand there and let four balls sail by me and lose that way but I couldn’t run down even four balls per point.  The thought of the strength I would need to lift my racquet to serve is exhausting.  That’s when I really knew how tired I am.  That’s pretty darn tired.  I’m too-tired-for-tennis tired.  That’s tired.

I took a sleeping pill last night.  I needed to force myself to sleep.  I woke up this morning with a new plan and a clearer point of view.  Here it is.

I am not giving up on Ironman Canada but I am releasing my hold.  If it happens, great. If not, that’s okay too.  I will free myself from this pressure of “I have to.”  I want to remember the whole reason I do these events is that I actually like training and I like racing — I like it a lot.  I like long swims, I like long bikes.  Yeah, I don’t really like long runs but really, they aren’t that bad if you are injury free and you stick to a trail they can be meditative.  Most important I want to find the joy in the workout again.  Feeling good vs. feeling spent.  I have to have enough energy to do my day job and be there for my family.  I can’t go bike for 4 hours and need 4 to recover.  That doesn’t make sense.

When I started this blog back in January of 2005 was when I was starting to train for my first marathon.  I remember being so terrified of completing the marathon that it motivated me to do it.  I did it.  Twice.  I did that and trained for Ironman (twice, finishing it once).  I trained for Marathon des Sables and finished it.  All of these events I trained for on the adrenaline of being afraid that I wouldn’t be able to finish.  (That is in itself a somewhat worriesome statement but we’ll let that go.)  I have no data to support my not being able to complete anything.  I can finish Ironman Canada and I don’t have to prove that to anyone including my biggest critic — myself.  I really, really want to do Ironman Canada because I think it is going to be a spectacular event.  But I may not be ready to start training… yet.  I may feel very differently in a month or I may not.

A part of me feels like I rested all Summer so I should be ready to do all of this.  I did nothing for July, August and September.  I feel like I should be rested already.  But I was not feeling well and I have to acknowledge that was not really resting.  I was recovering which is an active process of mending.

So as of now I have no deadlines.  No pressure to keep up with anyone.  I will rest until my body wants to do something.  I’m not NOT going to swim, bike or run.  I’m going to keep to my Ironman training schedule but I’m going to treat every week as a recovery week until I feel stronger.  No hard runs — walking okay.  No biking to fatigue — easy spinning is just fine.  Swimming to feel released not pressured.  If I feel okay I will push harder but not until I feel 100% rested first.  Like Joan Benoit, I will train according to how my body feels.  If it takes 3 months to feel rested.  I’m okay with that.  (Okay, deep breath and read that again.)  I am okay with that even if it takes 3 months…  If I’m not rested in 3 months, I will take another 3 months.  However long it takes is how long it takes.  (Did anyone else’s heartrate increase right then?)  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Exhale.

I have a visual picture in my head of a baby chick resting in my hand.  I can take care of it and nurture it to grow or I can squeeze it and kill it.  That baby chick is my health, it is my spirit and it is my motivation.

What I will give up:

1.  The feeling that I have to keep up with a schedule or a team.  Let it go.  If I’m not ready to do something I’m not ready.   Period.  If I can’t ride with a group, find my own group or ride on my own.  If I’m too tired to get up at 5 a.m. to go to the pool I will sleep.  I will smile and let everyone go.

2.  The feeling that I have to do the same distance or intensity as other people.  It’s okay to just do 30 miles (gasp!).  It’s okay to just run 6 miles.  It’s okay to just swim a mile.  (Okay those were all really, really hard for me to write.)  And I’m going to stop and have coffee at the Runcible Spoon as often as I feel like it.  So there!!

3.  Expectations that I have to do an Ironman in August to prove anything to anyone including myself.  I have a feeling that I will still be able to do the Ironman but let the expectation go.   August is a long time away. Let it reveal itself.  I can repost my goals in January.  As a wise person with an australian accent and very long blond hair said to me once “C’mon you’ve done it already, you don’t have to prove you can do an Ironman!”  I get that.  I don’t have to prove it, the problem is I like it.  I’m one of the weirdos who actually likes going long distances.  I will be expectation free and as my coach said to me this weekend I will become the observer.  (Right now I am observing total tiredness).

What I will do:

1.  Lean in.  If I’m tired, I will rest.  (Leaning in is NOT giving up).

2.  Wait 4 weeks from today before I push myself.  So 4 weeks of light but regular workouts.   I will still go to workout but I will do what my body tells me to at each workout and I will not argue with it no matter what it says.  If it’s only 20 minutes it’s only 20 minutes.  Okay maybe 30 or…

3.  Concentrate on light and healthy eating and tracking my food.

4.  Meditate.

5.  Rest and Recover.

6.  Be at peace.

That’s it for now.  No more expectations.  I feel better today mentally but I am physically still spent.  So no working out today.  I was a little misguided for awhile, now I’m back on track.




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11/9/09 Perfect Storm

Monday.  Pema called and she wants her Buddha back.  Apparently I have been giving him a bad name.  I’ve been a bad budding-Buddhist, bad, bad, bud.

This weekend was training camp.   I’ve done better and I’ve done worse.  Well, okay the only time I’ve actually done worse is when two guys crashed in front of me and put me in the hospital.  That time I did worse so this wasn’t the worst but it wasn’t very good!!  Oy, how pathetic.

I’m trying really hard to not blame myself and to be understanding and to be patient.  I’m sure several people just snorted into their coffee upon reading that one.  Anyone who knows me knows that’s like asking me to do 100 pushups.  It’s just really hard for me to do.  Part of what I like about myself is my ability to push through seeming impassable walls.  But like any good attribute it has its bad twin.  This weekend was all about bad twin.  There is pushing down walls and then there is banging your head against them.

Part of it is my own fault (okay, okay, MOST of it was my own fault.)  I actually had the brief fleeting idea that maybe I shouldn’t go to camp.  I really wasn’t feeling that well and maybe just completing a 10k and ride to Nyack successfully would be good for me.  What?  Say I can’t do something?  Never.  Quit?  Never.  Back down?  Never.  I am of Viking blood — we conquer we don’t surrender.  (That one was for my brother.)  What do you have a broken leg?  Use crutches.  Broken arm?  Use your teeth.  C’mon work harder.  Work hard, Train hard, Party harder…  (oh wait, that was college, I digress)

Last Tuesday during my run I had to stop a couple of times because I thought I was dizzy.  “You’re not dizzy” bad twin says “stop being melodramtic and you don’t have to hold onto the fence post to steady yourself.  Stop escalating.”  I don’t know maybe I was dizzy?  Maybe I was just wimpy?  I told myself I was just escalating (a term from Pema Camp).  No matter how hard I looked I couldn’t find the down escalator.

Thursday after biking I spent 9 hours wrapped in electric blanket with alternating chills and fever.  Do I have the flu?  I don’t know.  I don’t think so.  I don’t have a sore throat and I don’t have a cough or a sneeze.  I think I’m dizzy.  I’m not sure.  I am definitely a wimp.  I have no actual symptoms of anything.  The fever, chills and quasi-dizzy go away and then I think I’m fine.  M aybe I have swine flu but don’t know it yet?  Maybe it’s just whine flu. Maybe I’m just old and out of shape.  I don’t really know (okay I do know I’m out of shape — Colleen says I can’t call myself old anymore.)

So what I do know?  I started new medications on Monday.  I’m pre-menopausal.  I’m PMS, MDS, UPS and whatever else you got.  I’m just plain ole tired all the time.  I feel weak.  And when I type “I feel weak” I want to cry.  When I even think about feeling weak I want to cry.  When I think about cheese Danish I want to cry.

When I try to run my legs are like logs and I can barely move.  I try to sleep and I can’t.  I need a lot of sleep but I never feel rested.  So should I go to camp?  Sure, why not????

Saturday we did a hike.  I wasn’t feeling well right off the bat.  We get up into the woods and I just want to lie down next to that fallen tree over there and take a nap for twenty or thirty years.  I can’t lift my feet so I’m tripping over every root and rock.  I think I’m dizzy.  I don’t know.  You’re not dizzy.  Keep moving.  I see everyone slipping away.  I think I should smoke a joint but I’m in the wrong decade.  I turn around and start walking back.  No don’t do that keep going.  I turn around again and continue hiking.  I stop to tighten my shoes, my feet are slipping too much.  Hiking boots would have helped.  Keep walking.  Now I’ve totally lost the path.  I see the top of the hill and I just don’t care.  Nope don’t care one bit.  I’m alone in the woods and I decide to turn around and slip/slide my way back down.  I wander around the woods a bit and find another teammate who is coming back down.  We find a couple of the assistant coaches and we decide that walking the roads will be just fine so we just go for a walk and wait for the team to come back.  Is it time for a nap yet?  Because I’m really tired.  My heart is beating fast.  A flash of sweat comes over me.  Yes, I’m quite convinced this is not enjoyable.

Then we get on our bikes and go for a ride.  I’m really sluggish and slow.  I have one of my old teammates (God love her) and we ride together complaining about how hard it is to get back into shape.  “How do we get that punch back?”  We both bemoan that we can push the pedals but we don’t have that click.  We find little spurts of energy and push and then we look at each other and say “wanna just spin for a bit?”  yep.  Too much, too hard, too fast.  Every hill I’m dying.   She’s dying, I’m dying.  These are not even hills.  These are nothings.  I did much, much harder just in September.  (Oh yeah, that hurt too.)   Why can’t I pedal?  What’s wrong with me?  We split up and I find myself riding alone for a bit.  I keep looking to the side of the road for a place to pull over for a nap.  Just five minutes.  Really I’ll feel better if I can just shut.. my… eyes… “HEY! No weaving!”  I hear a voice yell at me. My last season coach pulls up to me.  I realize that I had been about to ride off into that beautiful little pasture on my right.  La-de-dah.  I try to use the lines my Doctor told me  “I’ve been better and I’ve been worse,  But I’m here.”  I don’t really believe it.  I explain my heartrate.  “I feel like my heart is beating outside of my chest but when I look down it says 151.”  151 is high for me but not beating outside my chest.  Even 163 (my highest heartrate I’ve ever had) didn’t feel like my heart is knocking on the outside of my chest trying to get back in.   He tells me this is to be an observation weekend.  Observe how my body is doing and take notes.  I observed that my body was weak.  I am weak.  I can’t get my mind to conquer my weakness and I don’t like that.

I explain my new theory to my coach.  I’m separating my head from my muscles.  I’m telling my muscles to continue to work without me.  One day, my mind and muscles are going to reunite and we’ll be ready to roll.  Right now I just can’t get into it.

We finally make it to Hudson walkway thing.  I put my sneakers on (yeah, I am calling them sneakers ’cause until I start running again they are not running shoes.)  Who do I run into but one of the gals from my WW group.  Not any gal, one of my gals from Monday night who just finished her first marathon and who I am so proud of.  (She started running with us on Monday nights and kept on running right on through to the marathon.)  I spent the last couple of months giving her tips on training and running the marathon and she did great.   It was a sign from the universe but I wasn’t having any of it.  I gave her a hug and said “I’m not doing so well.”  I didn’t want to let her down so I kept going.  What kind of example would I be if I just crumbled to the ground in front of her.  I was this close to asking for a ride but I kept going.  I just did 10 minutes out and 10 minutes back.  I wasn’t running, I was slogging.  I don’t know what you would call it.  Fine, here’s the bridge, pretty view, yeah, gotcha, back to the bike.

Ride back was pretty flat and uneventful.  I just wanted to get back to the motel and take a hot shower.  I had told the coaches earlier in the week that even if I made it to camp there would be no way I could make it to the team dinner.  That much I knew already.  I was getting ready for my post ride fever and chill fest and sure enough from 6:30 -9:30 I was just frozen to the bone.  I couldn’t get warm.  I had the heater on to 75, pants, shirt, sweater, full down coat.   That was bearable as long as I stayed under the covers (gotta love those Land’s End Down coats.)  And then just as mysteriously as they  arrived, at 9:30 I woke up and I was fine.  Chills, fevers gone.  T-shirt was just fine. I was okay to eat a sandwich and stretch.  What is wrong with me?!?!?!!?  I googled Thyroid/chils/ hot flashes and sure enough there is tons of info out there on it.  Will just take time to adjust my internal thermometer.

I wasn’t too worried about Sunday’s long run.  I figured I would just walk it and not worry about it.  Was actually looking forward to a nice walk along a trail.  Nothing stressful.  Unfortunately they changed the route this time there were some  rocky stairs I had to climb to get up there.  Darn.  They normally wouldn’t have been too much of a problem but I was getting dizzy and feeling weak and I just needed a rest.  I would say this was my perfect storm moment.  I sat on the rock and looked out over the Mohonk vista and started to cry.  I just can’t do this.  I’m too weak.  I don’t think I can ever do the Ironman.  How could I do the Marathon des Sables in April and not be able to see straight going up this?  My heart was racing, I was hot flashing.  I was naseous and dizzy.  I knew it was hormonal and emotional and irrational. Enough. I”m done.  I quit.  You can’t quit.  Too bad I quit anyway.  Just go a little further.  Shut up.  Leave me alone.  That was just the conversation with myself, then my friend Jac appeared.

So Jac talked me “up” off the cliff.  And we continued on for an out and back along the trail, nice and flat.  Every time I tried to start to run I felt my heart racing and that dizzy hot flash.  So we start to just do 1 miutes on and 2 minutes off.  She makes me laugh at myself.  (What would Pema say?)  She’s a good friend and she’ll make a great coach for the team.  Of course then I had to add guilt to the hot mess blend because I felt bad that I was sucking up all of her energy and using it for myself.

Geesh maybe I really am sick or just sick in the head.  I had 100 reasons for what was happening to me but I only wanted only one.  Why can’t I just have a sprained ankle or something I could reason with?  Something I could see and touch and say “there” there is your problem your foot is broken 6-8 weeks and it will fix.  Now either rest or chop off your foot and keep going.  But now I feel like everything is broken. My electricity is out and my thermostat is broken.   Lights are not even on.  I don’t know where to get an emergency generator.

What I do think I need to do is back it down to more manageable goals. I ‘m going to take a couple of days off and just rest.  Then I just want to be able to run for 1 hour without crashing.  Start building on some rewards instead of failures.  And maybe I won’t be able to do the Ironman in 9 months but I have time to reassess after a couple more months.  Right now I’d settle for a good night’s sleep without chills and hot flashes.  And  maybe a nice cup of tea — yes, that would be good.

I’ll be fine, I’m just escalating.



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11/02/09 Smiling at Fear

Monday.   Okay it was Monday when I started this but it’s now Thursday.  I guess that pretty much sums up my week right there.

Got my blood tests back from my doctor.   She’s upping everything. Apparently my thyroid is still too low. I’m anemic again and my vitamin D deficiency is back.  I think that is what is know as a mess!  I know it sounds nuts but I’m ecstatic ’cause that means I’m not imagining my exhaustion and inability to lose any weight!! I’ve been working so hard and all I keep losing is sweat weight. (Could you imagine how much weight I would have put on if I hadn’t been tracking?) She’s putting me on a different thyroid medication (I’m going name brand instead of generic for more accuracy) and upping my dosage by a lot! She’s also putting me on some extra Iron and Vitamin D for a couple of weeks until they get back up. I’ve been so tired and never feeling rested no matter how much I sleep. Whew, I KNEW it wasn’t me. I just knew it!!! Okay I can continue to work hard now. Very happy with that phone call.  What a relief because if I was going to be faced with this kind of caloric restriction and exhaustion for the rest of my life I might have just given up.  (Nah, I wouldn’t have given up but I would’ve been really cranky!)

I have to say this.  For as much as I hate tracking, it was really great to be able to go to two of my doctors with trackers in hand and say “SEE?  Here are my calories in and my workouts.”  Two years ago I could have eaten more than this and still lost weight with these workouts.  Even if they didn’t believe me it felt better just knowing that I knew it.  So there is one HUGE reason for tracking — data.  I’m not saying I’ve been perfect, I haven’t.   But even on the days (like marathon night when I had two rolls, olive oil AND pasta) I recorded it and it still wasn’t that egregious based on my caloric expenditure for the day (five hours out on the marathon course cheering and slogging 1/4 mile repeats with various runners).  I haven’t been working out six days a week but I have been working out five and that should count for something too.  (Okay, I’ve not done any core work and I promise to start doing that….)

I feel like I’ve been given a little bit more room on the life line.  Maybe it will be all okay.  I actually feel a little choked up.  Must be my anemia.  All of my workouts for the last two weeks have just plain ole stunk.  I’ve had no energy and when I finish a workout I come home and crash.  I have completed the workouts but barely.  Tuesday I had to take a cab back from the reservoir (and I didn’t finish the third loop.)  Today I ended up back in bed with chills and a low-grade fever after bike practice.  I really struggled with my heart rate this morning but I know from last time that when they up my dosage my heart rate jumps around a bit until it settles in.  My doctor told me it takes two months for my new hormone levels to stabilize!!   Yeesh, two months!  Thank goodness my race is not until August, I have a feeling I’m going to need every minute.

Everyone (okay all three of you) wants to hear about Pema.  I have to say I was so excited about going to hear Ani Pema Chodron speak at Omega institute this past weekend.  I just adore her.  She is funny, smart and wise.  She INSPIRES me (yes, I used the “I” word and mean it).  For those who don’t know who she is, she is a very famous Buddhist nun.  (Here is a link to her bio   There is something very real and close about Ani Pema.  Close as in the opposite of distant.  I feel like I have known her forever and I could really feel some kind of warmth exuding from the stage where she was speaking.  She was everything I was hoping she would be.   I hung onto every word.  I had a great seat and didn’t have to sit on the floor (about 100 people in the middle on meditation cushions and about 300 in chairs.)  It was everything I wanted.  Very focussed and everyone was quiet and listening.

I often find that harder I try the more I can get in my own way.  The more I tried to meditate the more I kept falling asleep.  The more I tried to summon loving kindness the more people annoyed me.  When I gave up trying I had the most success.  At one point I had to laugh.  I was preparing myself for the big battles but it was the little ones that were tripping me up.  Yes I’m willing to take on world peace but that check-out gal has got to go!!!  It’s in the details, right?

The theme of the weekend was “Smiling at Fear” which is a process of awakening the true heart of bravery — cultivating the spiritual warrior.  Pema was so funny.  She said “people will ask you what the seminar was about and you’ll think and you’ll pause and think for a minute and then say ‘um, it was about fear.’  And then they’ll ask ‘what about it?’  And you’ll say ‘um, something about smiling at it.'”  Which is is so funny because it is so true.  How do I recap everything we discussed in ten hours of meditation and lecture in ten words or less? I guess I’ll just recap the best I can with what stuck out for me.

My first shocker of the weekend happened when I checked in.  They had failed to mention to me that the entire campus would be observing “Noble Silence” from 10 p.m. Friday night to 5 p.m. on Saturday.  That was NOT in the brochure!  That meant no talking.  Note writing as a way of communicating was frowned upon too.  I didn’t have to ask about email and texting — I just assumed those were off limits as well.  Of course I had to hastily post to facebook right before I went into verbal lockdown and I panicked for a moment worried about failing at this surprise constraint.  Even more than I’m a talker,  I’m a typer.  I think at the keyboard.   How would I do without responding to my cell phone telling me I have messages?  (The universe was working with Pema as my phone reception was terrible in Rhinebeck.)

Each session we started with guided meditation.  I meditate almost every day.  Sometimes I am more devoted to the practice than others.  Recently I would say more but that is just because I’m back at Buddha School.  For some reason (well, now that I have my blood tests back I know the reason) I kept falling asleep during the warm-up meditations.  We would meditate for 10 minutes and then we’d stretch, then we’d meditate for 15 minutes and then we would do some yoga stretches.  Day two Rodney Yee (a very famous Yoga instructor) was sitting next to me in the audience.  I was so embarrassed when I had to do proud warrior and triangle next to him.  It was like a how-to and how-not-to demonstration.  But the nice thing about falling asleep and doing the yoga is that when Pema took the stage I was totally refreshed and hung on her every word.

I’ve been concentrating two concepts since the weekend with Pema.  (There were many more points made in the weekend but these are the two that spoke to me at the time.)  The first is “leaning in” and the second is “holding your seat.”

The idea of smiling at fear is to step right up to whatever frightens you or discomforts you and confront it “confront” is my word and I’m not sure would be Pema approved.   Her word is to lean into it.  She talks about Martial Artists who, when their opponent grabs them, they don’t necessarily pull away immediately — they lean in a little before they make their move.  They break the tension of the hold.  In my mind this works too in a Weight Watchers mentality and what we hear from Wayne Dyer and others.  What you concentrate on becomes stronger.  The more you fight to get away from a feeling, you are creating more tension and you have only one direction.  When you lean in and slacken the tension you create a more flexible energy to actually move in another direction.  I think of fighting food or fighting expectations.  Sometimes when you stop trying so hard, that’s when you have success.  Right now my workouts have been in stinksville (would Pema say stinksville?) and of course I’m disappointed but I’m not fighting it.  My strength will reappear in its time.  Same thing with food, I’m doing my job which is to track my points and keep my points in a reasonable range.  The weight will come off when it is supposed to.

So this morning when I couldn’t keep up with a cycling group that normally I would be able to keep up with I just had to lean into my feelings.  Instead of fighting harder (and possibly hurting myself) I had to acknowledge that today this body didn’t have what it needed to do that.  It doesn’t mean in 8 weeks I won’t be keeping up, it means right now there is nothing to fight.  Lean into it.  Yes I was disappointed and yes I was frustrated but instead of wallowing in those feelings I just acknowledged them.  “Ah, I’m feeling frustrated that my heart rate is through the roof and I have no energy.  That’s reasonable and normal and nothing to fight.  It is where I am right now and around the next bend I will be somewhere else.”    I’m feeling tired and I trying to understand that there are some force out of my control and I can just do what I can do.  This too shall come to pass.

The idea of leaning in also fits nicely with the idea of “holding your seat.”  This is my big challenge.  During meditation we can find a place of mindfulness and maybe even a glimpse of loving kindness in our hearts.  (Or not — sometimes we just fall asleep).  But after those sessions of mindfulness we often drift off to our unmindful ways.  Our challenge now is to bring that mindfulness with us into our active lives.  Not so easy.  When I have a quiet room with a some incense burning and a candle flickering it’s easier to bring myself into a state of mindfulness, Om Shanti Om — everybody is cool.  Step out my door and have taxis honking and people snapping and having their own bad days it becomes more difficult to keep that loving kindness.  Keeping that mindfulness awake is what Pema refers to as holding your seat, as in your meditation seat.   I practiced that this morning and I didn’t do a great job.

Before I went out to ride I did my 10 minute meditation and found a nice quiet peaceful place.  My focus for the morning was to just do my own ride to the best of my abilities and enjoy it.  Try to focus on my pedal stroke and just hold it and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.    I get to the park.  My regular riding group is not there so I have to jump in with some new people.  One guy is constantly stopping pedaling and I’m riding right behind him.  This makes me very nervous.  Another gal keeps speeding up when it is her turn in front.  I can’t catch her unless I sprint and then I’ll wreck the line for the others.  On the hill my heart rate goes through the roof with that weird fast beating again (that I think is tied to my new medication dosage).   I never catch my breath because I’m trapped behind the gal who keeps surging and she’s too fast for me.  Now I’m feeling guilty that I’m holding the whole show up and my heart beat is racing and I have so lost “my seat” in every way.

I drop back to catch my breath and let my heart rate settle down and try to find my seat again.  I let them ride away.  I wasn’t feeling well enough to keep up.  I finished the workout but by the time I finished they had all gone home.  I had a hard time “leaning into” my fears of inadequacy.  I had to really focus on staying in the present moment and not projecting my entire August 2010 Ironman result based on a bike session in November 2009.   Hold your seat.  Lean into it.  It took me three loops but eventually I found my focus again.  It wasn’t a pretty workout, it wasn’t my best workout but it was my workout.  And that’s all I ever really have.

One thing Pema said during her lecture that really jumped out at me was “Pleasure is not a reward and pain is not a punishment.  They are natural occurrences.”   I have to remind myself often that when things don’t go right it’s not necessarily because I didn’t do something right.  (Like IM 2008 deluge was not just for me.)  Today was just a stinky workout, it was not a reflection of how hard I am trying.  I’m pretty sure the universe would acknowledge that if nothing else, I am trying.  (no pun intended but it might be appropriate anyway.)


Quote Pema found in some magazine “People are more afraid of uncertainty than they are of pain.”

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