October 30, 2010
In the years I raced, I always did an event in late season, usually an Ironman. Right now I see most people around me in pre-race mode, doing long runs or tapering. I feel awkward, like people are talking about a party I'm not invited to.
Brandon and I have started to make our track sessions a weekly thing. It's good for both of us to have the accountability, and it's a nice opportunity to chat, do drills and get in a good run. Brandon is a RUNNER. The track is home to him. I'm in awe how natural it feels to him to run along the turns and straights, his effort always looks so effortLESS to me.
Carole: "This must feel so good to you, to be here, running at a track... Does it?"
Brandon: "I love it here..."
I envy that...
In any event, BDC and I are committing to our track sessions.
On Thursday the workout he structured for us: 2 x 800m, 1 x 1000m, 1 x 800m, 1 x 400m - each getting a 400m easy jog recovery.
The first 2 x 800m were hard, but like any sustained effort, the middle intervals were mentally pretty tough. I was able to save some kick for the last 400m…though I never know if my kick comes from digging deep or sandbagging, I'm still trying to figure that out. I am certain this has implications in all areas of my life, but I think I'll stick to exploring this one first and go from there.
My mind wanders a lot during track. Is that normal? I'm probably not working hard enough if my mind is wandering... but wander it does. Actually, I get philosophical. It's BIZARRE.
Even as I began my first 800m, amid the huffing and puffing, I started thinking that work like this is easier for me when I have a triathlon I want to survive, heartache I want to numb, unsaid things I want to scream, a problem I need to untangle, or anger I want to unleash. It reminded me of a petulant artist who can only create when she is miserable, so she wears only black and lots of eyeliner, chain smokes, and creates obscene levels of drama in all her relationships to insure proper levels of toxicity needed for inspiration.
For me it's strange, it's like I only want to hurt like that when I'm trying to displace pain from someplace else. Otherwise I am happiest when I am comfortably running along, no desire to pick things up whatsoever. I wish I could borrow some of JZ's innate competitiveness, because I just don't work that way. She can fly out of the gate like a whipped horse, just because it's Wednesday...
On this day at the track however, I needed to give Carole a little shove. I am all for respectful rest for the body and spirit, but I think there is a difference between rest and regression. The 1000m came upon me - I fought my nature to plug along and tried harder.
Running hard only because I'm 'being chased by the clock' is not good enough. I need to run hard because I can, because I should. Not all the time, of course, but often enough that I don't forget what it feels like to burn. I can apply the same concept intellectually, spiritually, emotionally…where ordinary times of life are the workroom, the meeting room, the office, the home. We need to practice our work here. We need to study, learn, run the drills over and over again so that when the moment of crisis comes (and it always does)…we do what needs to be done automatically. In the moment of crisis it's too late to train.
I decided that I need to train my motivation the same way I train my legs and lungs, guiding it, informing it, refining it, and cajoling it from one level to another. Complacency is not okay. Contentment is.
They are different.
October 29, 2010
- Elizabeth Gilbert -
October 24, 2010
October 20, 2010
Like many people trying to get back in shape after an injury, I have the patience of a flea, and nothing ever happens quickly enough for me.
I'm not able to swim too well yet with a right arm that has little flexion, and I don't seem to be able to get too comfortable on a bike - literally and figuratively - to do that either. Running seems to be an activity I can handle so I have started that up again, with the goal of running a 1/2 in January. I'm still in the splint, but I can do things now.
I have a little problem that doesn't seem at all consistent with the freaks out here in Colorado. With me, I embody the law of physics. I identify completely with inertia: "A body at rest stays at rest!" Unlike others who seem to be chomping at the bit if they've been sidelined, if I am inactive for too long, I tend to stay that way, and don't seem to really care. I develop a deep sense of malaise during my inactivity - and that isn't at all a good thing. Knowing this about myself helps me snap into action before things (can) get out of hand.
So this week my Boulder cohort and former UCLA runner, Brandon Del Campo, met me at the track for us to do some serious drills (let's face it, we ALL need those!) and a very light track session. I just wanted to get the juices flowing again. (Or was that vomit?)
And let's face it, if THIS was your track, and this was how blue the sky was, and this was the backdrop you were lucky enough to get to look at - C'Mon, you'd get your lazy ass to the track too!
Last evening I was complaining to my (fortunately patient) friend, Kristen, that my gut wasn’t shrinking fast enough, my ability to run more than 45 minutes without collapsing in deep huffs and puffs was not getting better, and despite doing my physical therapy exercises religiously I wasn't gaining range of motion quicker. Ideally I would prefer each item to take just a day, I told her, and then I’d feel I was making progress. Yes, drop the 9lbs you gained since you bike crashed in August, be a complete aerobic machine, have total mobility again in your right arm, fit into your jeans, look sensational, all in just a day.
"Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day, was it?", was her answer.
Not very original perhaps, but I had to laugh, imagining the Ancient Romans’ to-do list:
Monday – build Rome
Tuesday – conquer all known Western world
Wednesday – conquer all unknown Western world
Thursday – whoops, collapse of empire
The most flattering description of this affliction of impatience is one by Barbara Winter, who says ‘Impatience is the curse of the visionary’, which is balm to my impatient spirit. Who wouldn’t be seduced by the possibility of being a visionary?
Her phrase also captures the frustration I feel when I am trying so hard to accomplish, when I have done it before and I can so clearly see what it’s going to look like when it’s finished, only to realize that, not having attained the art of instant manifestation, a lot of time and effort will be expended before I'll be there again. Argh - I am never good with projects that require patience.
By the way, having said nothing ever happens quickly enough, I texted Barbara's quote to Kristen – and her reply came back immediately! The marvels of Texting – even quick enough for impatient visionaries!
Cheers to patience ..... and just doing the best you can to get going yet again.
October 11, 2010
October 5, 2010
So far I've done a few. I've jumped out of an airplane. I've done a triathlon (who knew?). I've criss-crossed the country in my car, alone. I've fallen in love with a soul mate. I've swum with dolphins. I've tolerated having a boa constrictor draped across my shoulders (for like 30 seconds). I've learned to surf.
I have a bunch remaining: spend 2 weeks in Italy, diving in a shark cage, among them.
I'm on the verge of doing another: get my black belt in karate.
There is something so completely ass-kicking about that quest. I love the complete self discipline and focus required, the self assurance and defense reflex that becomes instinctive. I love the idea that I could actually protect someone (even myself); save them from an otherwise unenviable fate should I happen to be in the right place at the right time and can step in to kick someone's ass.
I am still haunted by the story of an Atlanta woman named Jennifer Ewing, a beautiful wife and mother of 3 who was brutally raped and murdered while cycling solo on the popular Silver Comet trail in 2006. Like we all felt upon hearing the gruesome story, what we would've given to have somehow burst onto the scene and been able to have helped that poor woman. Apparently she fought as valiantly as I can only hope I would have - reports came out that she ripped the guy's penis off amid her fight. I still mourn for her, the brave heroine who desperately fought for her life, and who was taken from her family in a way that leaves me horrified. In many ways it's almost in her memory that I want to do something to be in a position where I could help someone.
When I lived in LA I dated a police officer who taught me how to shoot a gun. When I taught high school my colleague and football coach taught me how to really throw a good punch. To date I've thankfully needed neither skill. But I want more than that. There is something inherent in me that wants to know how to annihilate someone's world should I need to. Beyond protecting, I want to be able to RESPOND.
I want to be able to rain down a shitstorm on someone who messes with someone I love, or someone clearly incapable of defending themselves. This totally motivates me. Similar to how they say a Marine can kill with his bare hands (Billy?) .... I want to be able to do that.
I don't want to NEED to - but I want to know I can.
I'll be starting a course in November towards getting my black belt.
I look forward to having another successful bucket list quest acquired....but mostly I look forward to being one who can make a difference in someone's life should that opportunity be placed at my feet.
“Power is no blessing in itself, except when it is used to protect the innocent.”
- Jonathon Swift -