Tag Archives: triathlon

What does a bike ride have to do with school?

Hi All,

In the video below you will notice that I am somewhat wet! Some of my greatest A-HA moments are realized while I am on my bike, or doing laps in the pool-or running (very slowly)-and this was no different! This is all about adaptability-how can you change something when the circumstances are not what you want or expected? After watching the video, I would love to hear any questions or any A-HA! moments you’ve had when the circumstances are different than what you wanted or expected….

The Lazy Perfectionist

I think an acupuncturist described me as such when I was in college after telling her about myself. I don’t know if I’d call myself a lazy perfectionist anymore. I think perhaps I’m lazy (can you relate?) but have developed habits that urgently push me out of bed in the morning and have learned set goals that keep me on track. And the simpler and shorter my goals and “to-do” list is the better…

Back in March some of you may know I signed up for a half-ironman.Seemed so exciting at the time…and doable!  It’s next Saturday. The training has not been as consistent or as hard-core as I would’ve liked, and I have also had some great moments.

For any of you other Lazy Perfectionists or  Type-A-Wanna Be-Neurotics you might be able to relate. Perhaps you you  don’t always wake up saying,”YESSSSS!!!!!TODAY I’M GOING TOTRAIN!  YESSSS!!!! or even, “TODAY I MUST TRAIN, AND I WON’T COMMIT TO ANYTHING LESS..” By the way, you can substitute work or any other goal (it doesn’t have to be training) and this entry still applies.

This mind of mine gets really excited about doing a large volume of training or a really fast pace.. But then And it gets really upset when I don’t complete that large volume or that really fast pace.

So lately I’ve started training my mind in a different way…instead of telling myself that we are going to train hard (anyone else have multiple personalities, ha!) I tell myself that we are going to train focused.

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Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis

I know that sounds strange. One of the delights of longer trainings is letting the thoughts drift. Getting lost! Exploring! And it is! But that’s not necessarily what I need for my day at that time.  And f I let my thoughts drift too much without feeling my body and my brain rooted in the training then I stop…and drift some more…

…..and knowing that sustained focus is something that I consistently  need to practice, why not do it during a time in which a repetitive movement is already built in to my week.

 

 

 

 

Getting Started

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On Biking

The  red-faced, wind-kissed cheeks and the smell of fresh air on your skin ,and knowing that you just came in from a slightly windy morning riding at the beach never really does get old. San Francisco has changed. For sure. But the morning fog still rolls, and and the crazy waves still crash on the shore of Ocean Beach. Still not up to “training pace” but getting out again on Sunday put me back into that infinity circle again of “what have I been missing!”

On Running

Crissy Fields is another one of those magical places. I ride my bike down Market, up Polk Street all the way up to the Marina; gives a real feel of how the city changes from one area to the other (from rags to riches…and all the colors in between). My heart becomes lighter as I climb up that last hill and the ocean comes into view.

20160522_092624Getting started, like with anything, always feels like a big push. And last Monday I drudged myself along for the first mile or so, convinced to keep going only by the ocean breeze and the sway of the grass. By mile 4 I was in a groove when I heard quick-footsteps behind me and then beside me. Realizing that we were basically the same pace, the other set of foot-steps and mine matched each other–first her running slightly faster with me a little behind and then vice-versa (the pains and gains of training with another). Half-way through, I gasped between breaths, “What’s…your…name…” and aside from that the only sounds we exchanged was the  rhythm of our feet and the quick breaths as we continued down the path.

On Swimming

Yesterday, I tried to run on the treadmill. Bad. Idea. Too tired. Too light-headed. Too stifling. Not happening. Didn’t even want to get into the pool after that. But it’s a rooftop outdoor pool. And it was, again, that perfect mix of fog and rain.”One lap,” I whispered to myself, shivering on the side of the pool. I dipped one foot in the water which sent my face into a scrunch.  I felt the whine coming low and fast and before it sent my legs running down into the locker room where a sauna awaited, I dove in, the  water making me forget whatever doubts I had about being here in the first place.

Sprints were on my agenda. Just one length of the pool at a time with a 20 second rest…how to get my time down to just 20 seconds? I put my attention on the pull part of the stroke; where the elbow is bent and the forearm pushes against the water. Could I push any harder? Recover any faster? Focusing on the push and recovery on the seventh of twelve lengths, I glanced up at the clock as my fingertips touched the wall. The clock read 20 seconds…all because of a bit of awareness and effort at one aspect of my stroke.

 

 

 

 

 

Three Easy Bits

1487869_579275772167212_307070608_oExhaustion has consumed me this week. Maybe after a week of insomnia I am now swinging the other way.

…I fell asleep before 9pm last night. Maybe it was the kava that did it…yes, kava..a south-pacific drink that tastes like dirt (“an acquired taste…” “people don’t drink it for the taste”) giving the body a high while still being cognitive.  It’s supposed to be a relaxant…I think it worked.

At 6am I woke up with that slow very tired brain mush and pushed myself out of bed contemplating the closest place to get coffee that was open… a cafe that didn’t require a hill. “Mmm…bike ride?” Really? First, coffee. Always first. Coffee.

An hour or so later, reluctantly climbed on the bike and sailed down hill towards the park.This morning was another  moderate ride of 20 miles. The fresh air felt good on the waking up from mush head and I played with the push and pull of my shoes on the pedals.

Discovery #1: My Feet!

While doing a balancing pose in a yoga class recently, a teacher suggested that we focus on the instep of the foot. I noticed immediately my tendency to shift towards the outer parts of my feet (towards the pinky toe) and how much concentration it took to press down with the entire foot.

I noticed the same on my ride this morning. In order to go faster I use the outer edges of my feet; so I practiced pressing down with the whole foot, which although, uncomfortable at first and had me slowing down was neat to realize the difference in the muscle usage and ultimately made for a more comfortable ride.

Discovery #2 Clip-ins!

At stoplights I always clip out with both feet which is incredibly ineffective. It’s pure fear. And so again today I played with clipping in and out and discovered that I could do it with relative ease (and fear).

Discovery #3-No hands!

Not yet….but for sure so much more comfortable in the dug-outs and also finally able to comfortably take my right hand off the bar and take a sip of water.

These are small easy bits that perhaps I should’ve mastered years ago when first starting out. But I didn’t; and it’s fun, now, to these abilities emerge while enjoying the ride.

 

 

 

April Adrenaline brings May…

Mix  adrenaline with  a half a cup of insomnia, and powder on top with a pinch (or two or three) of anxiety for a recipe of signing up for a half-ironman. I mean, also it was a long time coming…

It started with a bike ride in late February. A bike ride on the most perfect late February day. I was just supposed to go to the park and practice but I felt so good that I flew across the Golden Gate Bridge, met a friend and her daughter for lunch and then on the way back, four blocks from my house a flat tire landed me in a bike shop…which then turned into a serendipitous meeting of a man with whom I had practically  a long-term relationship (all of one month!)-that ended when the fairy dust  settled and we realized that we were both human after all.

A year-long business coaching program seemed to also cross my path where my pen gave the signature along with the digits of my credit card number, and I finally re-entered the world of solo performance which was (as I told myself) the reason I returned to San Francisco in the first place.

My Cannondale road bike was stolen (and no it wasn’t as safe as it should’ve been. I’ve done all the grieving, kicking and beating up to myself necessary)….

and I also moved!…well, rooms. And even though the process of moving inside the same house is radically different, it still comes with a rush of excitement and the challenges of well…moving!

So in the midst of all this  last Wednesday while sitting in a café on Valencia my keyboard took me over to the Santa Cruz 70.3 and entered, once again my name and credit card number.

So here we are, first week in May, half ironman training week one, Day #3.So far, so fun! Two moderate bike rides with a very sweet Specialized (emphasis on moderate) and one moderate run (with a stop at 0.42 mile for coffee. See what I mean by moderate?). The soundtrack for this one is just beginning to build, so be sure to get your pick in…

Performance dates for Solo Performance (if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area) will either be June 17th or 19th at Stage Werx on Valencia. Save the dates for some good storytelling…

Walking Towards the Sun

Lands End

Lands End

“What would you do if you had nothing?” an ex-boyfriend once asked me. I was in the middle of preparing report cards, and training for a half-ironman. I didn’t have a whole lot of time for him, and he was frustrated. Nonetheless, his question gave me pause. I loved being busy. It’s who I was, and without it? I didn’t know. I never stopped to think about what “nothing” was.

Coming back to San Francisco this past December, I felt totally lost and lonely. I had entered a huge urban metropolis that I wasn’t used to anymore. And I was confused by that lostness as I had once loved this city so much. I realized over that month that I was holding onto expectations of what this city was for me before, thinking that  I would drop back into the life I had previously and pick up where I left off. Once I started to let go of those expectations I was able to have patience with the ups and downs that come with moving to a new place. But still, I marveled at the busyness of it all. Maybe because I wasn’t part of it. And of course I had just come from living in community where, part of the busy day was consciously stopping to make time for meditation and for conversations at meal time.

So yeah, I was confused…especially because I had been a part of a bigger urban metropolis just 6 months prior. So the fact that it was strange and foreign was strange and foreign. Had I changed that much in just those six months? Was I jealous of all the busyness that I no longer felt that I was a part of? Did I suddenly feel that I had “nothing?”

As it was, my loneliness led me to the Integral Yoga Institute. Having just come from Yogaville, I was rejuvenated with the idea of teaching yoga again and was determined to do so. The Integral Yoga Institute is a center in San Francisco related to the Yogaville Ashram in Virginia. It is situated in an old victorian up on a hill from Dolores Park. At night, when I stand outside on the front steps the sun lights up the sky with different neon colors as it settles over the top of the city.  Since I was there, and desperate for housing in a seemingly very expensive city with a housing crisis I thought I would ask about residency as well. “Yes.” They said.  And so here I am two months later living in a yoga center with housemates and a community that practice meditation and yoga, and embraces peace of mind and transition.

Shortly after I moved in, I came down with a cold. That ate up quite a few expenses as well as had me laying low for almost a month. Almost no work, no going out, and certainly no signing up for the classes that I had hoped. I was, by nature of the cold, forced to stay home, get quiet and meditate. And meditate. And meditate. It was stressful at first. I am active. I am an ironman! And to sit and watch the busy lives of those around me while I had to sit, drained of energy was indeed frustrating. And then, something happened. I relaxed. I stopped worrying. There was no need. There was no use.

I have heard that if you trust in the universe it will provide. I have some tension with this. How is that not lazy? I believe that if I want something to happen then I need to put the energy out there to make it happen. And yet, once that’s done there needs to be a certain amount of trust that the right thing will bounce back.  I think what it comes down to is listening. It doesn’t mean being  lazy.  It means sitting and listening to that voice inside even if it doesn’t make sense. It means, at least in my case, practicing patience.

So in my three weeks in which I couldn’t do much I sat and listened a lot.I did nothing.  I have achieved a certain amount of relaxation that I fear is lethargy, although I am also making sure to keep an eye on that.I am yoga-ing, journaling, involved in a small fun project, discussing,  and my favorite, practicing to be a professional coffee shop dweller, an aspiration of which I had in my early twenties.

Simple Pleasures Cafe

Simple Pleasures Cafe

I was coming back from my favorite coffee shop, Simple Pleasures, late afternoon one day, after a morning in the foggy part of the city. I called my friend to say hi, and left a message. She texted me back and said, “I hope you get this with your phone dying and all, but I love that you ended your message with ‘I’m walking towards the sun.’

I Don’t Really Wanna Say Good-bye

So, we left off in Mexico. In San Gil at the Water’s Edge where I swam 1900 meters in 37 minutes!

And then, things started to get hard. Friends came back to Mexico and it was so so wonderful to see them!  But they were all headed back to school. I wanted…I needed something to do and I knew it wasn’t school, but I didn’t know how to start what I wanted to do…and I found myself in that negative cycle of…but if I open door number one then what if door number two won’t open and then I’ll be stuck again and in the same place that I was before, and then there’s no point and… down the rabbit hole. I was completely stuck.

So many wonderful places to go and things to do, and I felt like all the stuff that I had spread all over the room that my friends were kind enough to let me stay were boxing me in.

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All My Bags are Packed, I’m Ready to Go

It’s time to leave, Mexico. I heard the voice over and over again say. No, no. Not yet! Just let me figure this out. I pleaded back.

And it wasn’t until I wrote an email to a friend thatI thought I wrote from the depths of my soul that I got a wake-up call. “Sarah!” he wrote me back. “Stop feeling sorry

Alexa (teammate), Mike (coach), and Me

Alexa (teammate), Mike (coach), and Me in Veracruz

for yourself. You are an independent smart woman. Do something about this! You are not happy. I tried to justify his statements. “Maybe YOU don’t like what I’m doing, but I’m perfectly FINE!” I snapped at him in defense. But I wasn’t.

I spent the weekend at my ironman partner’s Paloma’s house with her and her family.”Go home.” she encouraged. “You’ll see.” 

Waiting for the Important Guests

Paloma’s children watching for the dinner guests

Indeed it was the only place that came up over and over again…home, I know, ultimately is where the heart is, but in this case home…meant my mom and my dad.

And so I booked my ticket; . It goes without saying I hope, that I savored that time with the good friends and community that I was lucky enough to have in DF. Here’s a short list of activities:

  • got in a couple more walks/talks/and healthy food exchanges with a friend whom I’d been running with since arriving in Mexico three years prior.
  • accompanied a friend wedding dress shopping
  • held a “see you later party”
  • attended one more yoga class, and of course
  •  trained for one more triathlon, Veracruz in August.

It was a wonderful weekend, reminding me of why I had started with the sport in the first place. I spent the weekend, laughing my head off with athletes from both Endurance and Fortia,

Endurance and Forita Together

Endurance and Fortia Together at Veracruz Triathlon

and my coaches, who had become good friends.

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Coach Mike, Me, Coach Luisen, Coach Alejandra in Veracruz

Before my final departure in late August, I visited my acupuncturist one last time. “I can’t believe I’m going home.” I told him. “Well why are you going?” he asked.. “I don’t know. Something in my heart tells me that’s where I need to go.” I responded. “Well,” he said. “Go home. Relax. And you’ll get the email or phone call you need in two weeks.”

I’m sure my eyes widened at his words, hopeful and skeptical at the same time. “Could there really be something to this whole follow your heart thing?”  I thought. And with that I bid him farewell and headed to Massachusetts on the early morning of August 26th.