Monthly Archives: August 2011

8/16/11 New Shoes

Tuesday.  I was listening to a great lecture yesterday on suffering and the teacher told a little story about shoes.  You have a favorite pair of shoes that you wear all the time.  You wear them so much in fact that they get worn out and they start to cause you heel pain.  You decide it is time for a new pair of shoes.  You buy a new pair of shoes but on the first day they give you blisters.  The blisters feel so terrible that you decide to put on your old shoes even though you know they will cause you heel pain.  The pain you are used to is better than the new pain.  (The Devil you know and all that.)  The point of the story is we get comfortable with our discomfort.   Even though we have choices to change our situation we don’t do it because of that comfort factor.  No great revelation but I know for me it is true.  Sometimes we have just out grown something and although there is going to be a learning curve, a blistering session, it’s time to move on and make those calluses.  We can experience that same comfort with discomfort with emotions.  We are used to being scared or nervous like Chicken Little.  We actually get get comfortable with those fears and anxieties.  The idea of breaking free from them is appealing but the work required to get there feels like blisters.  It hurts more than the anxiety you know.

September is coming.  I always think of September as my “new year.”  Maybe because it is my birthday month.  Maybe because that’s when school starts.  Or maybe now it’s because it’s the time to start planning out the coming year of training and racing.  Time to toss out some old shoes and break in some new ones.

In January this blog will be 7 years old.  Seven Augusts.  I thought I would take a little trip down memory lane and see where I have been on my journey.

August 2005 – Preparing for my First Marathon ” Tuesday night did test #2 with our marathon training group. We ran 5.5 miles and did one-mile tests within the workout. First we warmed up by running from E. 90th street down to E. 70th. From there we ran a mile as fast as we could (to the mile marker at W 64th). I ran it in 10:18!!! Yeah!! Last time I did it in 11:05. I don’t think I could repeat that because my lungs and legs were burning but I did it. The second mile I did in 10:58 last time I did it in 11:35.”[2011: Seriously, I do not remember ever in my life running a 10:18 for  1 mile.]

August 2006 – Preparing for Firman ½ Ironman.

August 2007 – Preparing for First Year of Ironman Training.  Best Blog entry.  Really enjoyed rereading this one:

August 2008 –  Preparing for Second Year of Ironman Training.  Not so interesting of a blog but guess what I was doing?  Playing tennis again.  Starting to see a trend here…

August 2009 –   Darkest hour.  Post surgery.  Only one entry in the entire month of August

August 2010 –  Ironman Canada.  DNF.

August 2011 – Preparing for start training for IM Mont Tremblant.

All of this leads me to ask “so what is different?”  I feel different.  I really do.  I’m not scared or nervous.  I respect the work I have to do but I’m not freaking out about it.  I know what I have to do and I also know that IM is more than a medal.  For me, Ironman is a lifestyle.  It’s a big choice to take on this kind of training.  But this year I hope I can come from a place of mindfulness.  I hope I can come from a place of being present.  Setting my ego aside.  Taking some of the teachings I have been trying to hammer into my head and see if I can apply them in a real life situation.  To acknowledge that I am already okay.  It’s about clearing out the clutter in my mind and allowing my body to express itself.  And it’s about putting on a new pair of shoes.



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8/5/2011 Frozen Corn and other Gratitudes

Friday.  Whew. Watched a really, really bad movie last night (so bad I won’t even mention the name of it) but one of the lines delivered was “I’ll never take breathing for granted again.”   I laughed and then cried as my laughter caused another spasm in my back.

I have been in pain all week with a pulled muscle in my back.  I’m pretty sure I know how it happened but I have not been able to do much of anything all week (other than work, blech).  I tried to stumble through the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met but ended up having to hug the walls.  Rescued by my brother and some aspirin I made it home.  I was lucky because my brothers took care of me on Tuesday, my housekeeper took care of me on Wednesday and my dear friend Colleen took care of me yesterday (St. Colleen now).  I actually think I made it worse by applying heating pad to my back on Wednesday.  Yesterday seated with bags of frozen corn and bags of frozen edamame I felt the pinched nerves and tight muscles start to slowly melt away.  I couldn’t bend over yet but I was optimistic. I was swallowing Alleve pills like jelly beans and became more worried about the possible damage of side effects from taking so many pills.

Today I can sit and stand unassisted.  Yeah!!  I bent down and plugged something in by myself!!  Yeah! The muscle spasms are gone but my back feels tight like I really want to go into the plough pose. Instead I think I’ll  go down to the pool and do some easy stretches in the water and a soak in the jacuzzi and see if I can’t get rid of the final kinks.

I’ve had a little time to laugh at myself.  How fleeting our promises to take care of ourselves are.  I remember when I had a scare a couple of years ago with my heart doctor (turns out I was fine but they put me through a battery of tests to find out I have a very common arrhythmic heart beat.)  While waiting for the results I remember swearing I will take better care of my heart and if I would just be okay.   I actually forgot all about that promise until yesterday.

When I found out I had exercise induced asthma I swore I would appreciate my lungs and not put them under any undue pressure.  Then I found out an inhaler worked and I forgot all about that.

Thyroid Cancer made me think that I would be making green drinks 3 times a day for the rest of my life.  I remember how adamant I was that I would cure myself and life the monastic life of a guru for the rest of my life.  The last drink I made in my vitamix was a frozen margarita and I still technically have cancer (as all four of  you reading this.) [See I listen when you said — ‘hey I read it too!’]

So I’m left to laugh at myself and my big plans for perfectionism.  I’m going to ride loops of the park every morning before dawn.  I’m going mountain climbing on the weekends.  Yeah and I’m joining the masters swim class too.  Every morning an hour of meditation and an hour of yoga. Tennis twice a week.  I’m going to do it all… Then bam, I can’t bend down and plug-in my cell phone.  I am in the end merely mortal and my vanity is nothing more than a constant source of entertainment.

So today I will be grateful for the little things like, breathing, a heart beat, a piece of fresh fruit and the ability to pick it up off the floor once it falls from my fingers.

Man plans and God Laughs.



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