Shifting Gears. Or Not:-)

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Theodore Roosevelt

Simple quote from Teddy.  But how this summed up my comical bike ride Saturday.

Saturday I gave myself a chance to see, for real, how hard I’m willing mentally to work for Ironman #6.

Essentially, I spent most of the ride without my big front chain ring, no problem I right? Just some high cadence times and no pushing downhills at all. Still kinda mentally draining but whatevs. Then it happened.  No shifting in the back.  It was stuck on my 11(smallest and hardest).  Eff! I may have said out loud, yeah I swear in times such as these:-)    I was still 25 miles from home. Uphill miles.  Many long climbs, general ups and stupid steep stuff that are always hard even with all systems go.

What to do?  I had the thought that was planted into my brain by the TedXBend talk last week… Ask, what is funny about this?! Everything!

So I now had a fixed gear bike.  As I said on Fb a very fancy fixed gear bike.  Hmm never really imagined riding this route under such a situation.  But I thought it IS funny, it has to be.  Certainly isn’t a REAL problem!

So here it is, I’m going to work hard on the way home, maybe I will even have to get off I don’t know, the other few hundred cyclists on the road on a bluebird Saturday may wonder why I am either spinning, not pedaling or grinding up a hill at 23cad, in sloooow motion…

Every hill I crested I felt both exhilarated and exhausted.  I focused on one at a time. One standing push at a time. Watched my power numbers for fun, watching the fatigue creep in and Max numbers drop lower.  But mile by mile I made it home.  Even after a family of 25, I mean 10, crossed the road at the bottom of the hill I was flying down to get free speed for a good start up the 2nd steepest climb of the day. They saw me, they crossed.  I had to almost stop. Ugh.  Felt a surge of wth at the clueless people who didn’t know or care about my one gear wonderful ride. Then I forgave em.  I pedaled up. It hurt, was slow and I felt victorious.  I was going to make it! Just a few more mildish miles.  I think I used all my happy brain power and way more of my body than normal for a bike ride.

I never called for help, wondered if I should for sure,  but just stayed focused on small tasks to see what I could do.  I did post a statement about my plight on Fb, a moment to vent while I prepared to just keep going lol.

I wonder if I will need to call on this experience again, this proof that I can manage surprise not ideal circumstances. I know I will. Actually thrilled it happened. It’s like a boost to what level I want to train at now.  And yes I learned to keep my shifters charged esp before long rides!

Pharoah the Phancy Phixie at my pondering point

 

Kinda behind on my days, so this is 16 of 50.  Maybe I can catch up with some short n sweet posts.  This week.

Song for ya,  Thistle and Weeds by Mumford, “…plant your hope with good seeds don’t cover yourself with thistle and weeds….I will hold on I will hold on hope”

There’s always hope-If you have taken care of that part of your soul everyday. It will take care of you when stuff gets tough!

Raising me up… Falling Waters

 

Falling Waters

Gate closed, no cars allowed
Running alone, no one around
Creek flowing, flowers growing
Heart beating faster I won’t be slowing


Cliffs above me towering strong
Soon I’ll be there, it won’t take long
Crunching, stepping, climbing higher
Life in mountains helps you feel lighter.

I hear the sound, a rumbling roar
Soon I see it, where eagles soar
Water falling, splashing below
Where only the strongest firs can grow

So clear, so cold
So many stories from glaciers old
I run to see you, to feel you, to listen
I run to breathe you in, to find that bit of ‘me’ within.

I found it yes, I always do.
Already can’t wait to return to you.

By Me



Today was a going back to a familiar place but it’s been awhile.  Since my running buddy Runninghood was teaching today, I figured I could at least explore so we could have a plan for a more epic day on the higher trails.  It reminded me how much I need this air, with the sounds of water falling all around me, beside me.  Snow still on the trails, light snow falling like a mist, tree fall to climb over, touching bark, jumping, slipping. Perfection. Just 8 miles but they were good ones.  I’d have to say “quality” miles.

Instead of writing my normal rambles I decided to try a little poem and posted it for Fb and IG, so might as well share it here today too, make it easier to keep track of too:-)

Day 13 of 50. Song “No Light No Light” by Florence and the Machine, ethereal and strong at the same time.  Older song but new to me today.

The Vulnerability of Racing

“…there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love *running*. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you’ve got,
being patient and forgiving and… undemanding…maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that getting better at one could make you better at the other.”                        Christopher MacDougall

This struck me today as I was wanting to write about vulnerability, racing, comparing, competing…

These words have been swirling in my head since the half marathon yesterday.

The quote really says it all to me.  What works for loving someone really does work for training and racing.  Yesterday was putting it into practice.  Being willing to do the best with what I had in each moment, each hill, each step, while letting go of the need to control it and keep it the way I “wanted”.  To let go of caring what my final time ultimately said, and find joy amidst the struggle to figure out what I even wanted out of this race.

There were moments I truly felt free to just run, to be with the people.  Not to get on the podium. Not to have a success story. But to be able to say I tried pretty hard and this was what I could do. No shame, no judging and comparing and would’ves, could’ves.  To be just a runner.  I think doing that actually made it possible to have a really solid race.  I opened up, I didn’t wimper and scold myself when people passed me, it was ok! Today I’m just a runner- you’re just a runner, I trust that you are doing what you can and I appreciate you so much for it.  I don’t want you to slow down to make me feel more worthy.  I don’t want you to speed up to feel more worthy yourself.

Yesterday I found freedom through showing up at the start line.  And crossing the finish line. Competing is a slippery slope.  Expectations go with territory of putting in work and being “competitive” meaning wanting to compete with yourself or others to compare results, ideally good results.  But I’m learning to find a balance between being vulnerable enough to try, have goals, yes even come out near the top, and freedom to let the process be what it is regardless of outcomes along the way or at the final line.  Putting away the post game analysis after a brief review. Smiling because even a bad day running is a good day.  Seriously.  A good day running is a perfect day running when you can find fascination and curiosity and love for the community pounding along beside you on a race morning.  A perfect day running is brought to that close place of memories when a friend is waiting,  already finished, knowing the thing that just happened, those miles covered, the random thoughts, the struggle, the determination and familiarity of a good hard run well done.  The hug can capture all of that.

I hope I am getting better at loving my people, the way I feel like I’m getting better at ‘running’. Starting to get it now.

Piece by piece.

So this is day 10 actually, written about day 9.  Maybe I’ll try 2 short posts tomorrow.

A song for you “love don’t die” by The Fray, why? Because it’s a phenomenal tempo running song and is ready to play next time I run thats why.

Common Threads- TedXBend

“In life we find ourselves in situations where we are lost, don’t know what to do or what the right step is. To me, the worst thing is to do nothing. You just have to keep moving forward, and if you can’t see too far ahead into the future or don’t have the vision to do it then you make very small, incremental steps until you’re ready to make bigger ones, I continue to move forward, even if not in big strides, but very small steps.”  Omar Samra

Today was the second year I have been able to attend TedxBend.  Such a treat for someone who has spent countless hours watching a huge variety of talks, sharing them, learning from them, crying with them, laughing and getting angry and motivated.  This time I brought my girls and my mom.  Pretty cool to share this with them, I’ve always only done these kinds of events alone, with Patrick or my Arbonne family.

Today we heard from a mom whose 14 year old committed suicide after years of managing bullying and cyber-bullying.  She now seeks to help all of us understand our kids, to listen, to HEAR them.

-From an ambitious success minded executive whose life, mission, world changed on 9/11 when her step father, a firefighter was on the 78th floor when tower 2 collapsed.  Her sense of self and well-being shifted.  She is now using that shift to help us care about each other’s well being, all levels of it.  She had many powerful quotables, one was this…

We are not separate from the suffering of our neighbors”  think about that one…  

-From a photographer who showed us painfully clearly how connected we are to our devices, and how we can adjust to the new norm, creating our own habits that allow real connections to resume, just by creating new habits and boundaries and awareness.

-From a man who has dedicated his life to sharing his abilities and inabilities as his way to connect his gift, his heart.  In particular those with intellectual disabilities.  Teaching us that by embracing our own inabilities we give others the gift of being able to help and care and connect.  Instead of only focusing on our best parts, let’s embrace the parts in ourselves and others that aren’t so functional for a better life,   for better deeper relationships, each side gaining more than imaginable.

-From an expert in how our brains can be rewired to change the world, by changing our innate hard wired tendency for anything negative towards more humor, gratitude and positivity, affecting everyone we touch.  Just 2 Simple questions to shift most situations… How is this funny? and what am I grateful for.  Pretty sure I use these daily already! It works! 

Then we closed with Omar Samra. A man with a huge heart, man lifelong challenges creating the person who held pain and suffering within, a power that was channeled into climbing and exploring, breaking so many barriers as he become one of only 38 people to climb all 7 summits and ski the poles.  And he’s from Egypt! with grief at the loss of his wife after the birth of their daughter, struggles and turmoil and finding ways to let go of untold pain and tokens of life have helped him bring a new light to hundreds of thousands of children in her memory, while continuing to find relief and answers in the mountains.  I could have listened to him the rest of the evening.

He told a story I am anxious to transcribe.  Essentially, when you let something go, it becomes a light that takes off and spreads through the world. A LIGHT.  We need more light. We need to let more stuff go. 

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Omar Samra sharing

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Devices “removed” #tedxbend2016removed

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We all added our bands to this art piece

As it was last year, the afternoon was filled with happy hopeful energy as we came, gave our open hearts and minds, and left full, thinking, wondering, grateful.  Music and art and innovative ideas combined with the heartfelt, brave even funny stories we heard, all along a similar thread, were familiar because they are us.  We are the thread, all of us, all connected.  We laugh, cry, dream, ache, hope, plan, scheme, tremble, worry, listen, cry, yell, whisper, pray, and LIVE our common experience.  The sooner more of us realize this the better.

I am anxious for you all to have access to the videos when they are released.  I will surely share them here when I can.

Day 8 (oops I missed 7… had a fun productive Earth day, made a fun video with over 150photos, and ended with a magical sunset.)  I’ll share the video later somehow.

Your end of page song for now, my fav version of a classic  The Boxer by Mumford.  We all should tell our “seldom told” stories.  We all have em.   Goodnight!

.. and sings our love

Today would have been John Muir’s 178th birthday.  Today this breathtaking, humbling video was released in his honor, showcasing our indescribable, must be experienced Pacific Northwest.  It was filmed in Washington, but could have been in Oregon also, listening to the words, and watching the images filled me with awe, emotion, the feeling of HOME.  I so love it here.  It features my favorite John Muir quote, the one that just reading it makes me cry.  Now to hear and see it come to life in the voice of Lou Whittaker, has mesmerized me.  Again and again, this was much of my day today.  Please enjoy a few minutes.  Take the time to soak it up.  When I shared it on my facebook page I called it yummy.  It is.  Maybe for those of you who haven’t been out here yet it will give you a glimpse at my passion for our new home.   Let me know what you think!  and definitely share the love on the vimeo link:)  expand to full screen size, and put it on your tv for full effect!


Description of the video in words of it’s creator below.

In January of 2016 I made the decision to move from the picturesque Pacific Northwest to New York City. Living in New York had long been a dream of mine, but doing so meant leaving the beauty of Seattle and the wilderness that surrounds it. During the summer, fall and winter leading up to the move I chose to create a film as my way of giving back the PNW for all it had given to me and thus, Muir Song was born.
The inspiration for this film came from my time living and being active in the PNW. My goal was to capture the energy and attitude of exploring Washington through the eyes of people who do so religiously. The film is set to a quote by legendary conservationist John Muir, and narrated by infamous mountain climber, Lou Whittaker.  We were extremely resourceful in shooting this film due to challenging locations, and chose to backpack all of our gear into remote areas in order to find unique angles of the PNW. Our kit was small and mobile, but shooting on the Dragon with an anamorphic adapter enabled us to achieve a cinematic aesthetic without compromising portability.

I’m excited to release Muir Song on April 21st, what would have been John Muir’s 178th birthday. If you’re unfamiliar Muir and his work check out his bio on the Sierra Club here: http://vault.sierraclub.org/john_muir_exhibit

Director: Janssen Powers
DOP: Janssen Powers, Caleb Babcock
Creative Development: Mckinzy Powers, Janssen Powers
Producer: Mckinzy Powers
Quote: John Muir
Narrator: Lou Whittaker
Music: Ryan Taubert- Revival, Imagine

So that’s all I have for blogging today.  This video took over my thoughts today and I can’t move past until I’ve made it a permanent part of my blogging history:)

Day 7 of 50   Song for you.  A tad melancholy, but soothing to me.  “Below my Feet” Mumford and Sons.  One of those run in the woods steady steady, connect to what’s important kind of songs.

 

Common Majesty

As sensory experience junkies, we have been blinded to the majesty in the common.
Bryant McGil

I wonder sometimes as I go on run after run and bike after bike in beautiful places, am I a sensory experience junkie?

I find exhilarating paths with breathtaking destinations, on courses that are often challenging and leave you feeling accomplished and drained and overwhelmed with emotion at the finish. The sights, smells, sounds, effort combine to create such a sense of well being and gratitude that you want more of it.  The brain says, THIS. MORE.

Can I find THIS in the common parts of any given Monday?  Do I feel less satisfied with the common?

Asking myself this now, reflecting on the day.  Today I was a mom chaperone of five 4th grade boys on a field trip to our High Desert Museum.  A really cool place to learn much about the west and our area’s history and natural life.

I wasn’t zipping down a curvy hill, I wasn’t running a long a rushing river hopping over rocks and boulders under giant trees.  I was herding little goofy people from point to point.  Watching the moms have little mom chats, enjoying the museum staff, so good and patient, what do they do at home in our same town?  Listening to squeals of little girls, dynamic boisterous boys exploring their social ladders.  Wondering who will be those GOOD friends that are part of our family by senior year.  Little hands shooting up with answers to questions about the Oregon trail, so confident, some less so, but brave wanting to try.

I was part of a common majesty today.  It was a beautiful experience as I was both in the moment, and also floating above in my mind, picking out scenes to remember, images and sounds to absorb into the deeper parts, the what I am.

So yes, I am a sensory junkie, but I can get what I need about anywhere, it’s what I tune into, and tuning in is the key to any of it.


  
Day 4 of 50:-) writing this one from my phone in bed, the old me would have skipped!

Song of the day-  Uma Thurman by Fall Out Boy because it’s what we jammed to on the road to the museum.  So cute watching little future men let loose and all sing along.  Don’t be afraid to boogie in the car:-)

Volcano and Bike love.

 

“When life brings you mountains, you don’t waste your time asking why; you spend your time climbing over them.”

AJ Darkholme

img_8599I tend to write more often about running.  Maybe because it is easier to take a photo during a run, and photos are often a moment I can turn into a feeling about running.  Not as easy with a bike though not impossible.  When you are really having a great ride and rolling along, kinda don’t want to lose momentum to stop for a photo or take one while riding.

I’ve been finally training consistently since I took a lot of time off swimming and was inconsistent for a year on the bike.  This spring the body finally feels mostly really good and my mind is recovered from doing 5 ironman races in 3 years.

I have a new bike, after retiring the Biscuit (cervelo p1) who was with me for every race I ever did.  It was bittersweet for sure, but I was ready for an upgrade.  Maybe I just needed an excuse to get excited about pushing the pedals and setting new goals, and a sleek black machine seeemed like just the thing.  Now I 110% know,  any lacking on the bike is 110% the pilot.  With that comes pressure.  I cannot be a slow person on a fast bike.  Nope.  Incentive.

Almost every ride now I feel the subtle weight of that pressure, to come back after a year of piddling, gaining weight, being injured,  to get faster and stronger and healthier than I was before.  But it’s ok, it’s a good feeling.  Early this year as the miles started creeping up on long rides, I was starting to have some worries, wow am I really THAT out of bike shape? ruh roh, my power was decent, but the speed numbers we blah and I could not for the life of me stay in aero without falling off the front of my seat.  Thought I was wimpy and I needed to get better.  Then it kept happening and my fitness was going up but the rides were still slow.  hmmmm.

Time for a bike fit, again…

TIP:  Don’t be a cheapskate and skimp on bike fitting.  I had mine fit when I first got it (affectionately my Pharoah, a Dimond)  Thought it was good really, it matched my other bike fit so… surely it was fine.

We knew I’d maybe need an adjustment as I got in shape, so it quickly became a no brainer to get it fixed if possible, not being able to be aero is kinda bad on a pricey tt bike.  Not sure why I waited 4 months after noticing problems, procrastination is often disguised as “making sure”.

Anywhoo. They (Bowen Sports Performance) overhauled my fit based on a guru fit machine and my recommendations on what felt better at same power output and some wise eyeballing.  Presto, new fit, BIG changes, and miracle of miracles.  I am aero stable again.  I can endure aero again.  I am so freaking happy about this!  because I love aero.  Aero equals feeling fast.  going fast. feeling anchored and focused.  Aero is good.  very good.  My perceived effort now matches my results, and my mental state has skyrocketed.

Thus, when I had to postpone my long bike to today, to let the body absorb extra soreness from the week,  I quickly had a clear plan.  Today I was ready to Climb Mt Bachelor, all the way to the parking lot yes.

I needed to have at least a decent base built over these first few months so I knew I could just ride up steady and happy and come down as fast as possible.  Today was the day.  I left at 6:30 am and had the road to myself mostly, quiet and cold, frost all the way up.  I have to say I love having a power meter.  I didn’t want to do a race effort at all so I kept it around 5-10% under my threshold,  I wanted to feel a hard effort that was sustainable and more than what I typically manage on rollers in the country.

I had such a good ride.  I have to admit it felt really good knowing I was the first up for the day.  The first little cyclist to have Mt Bachelor appear like a friendly giant, the first to pedal until South, Middle and North Sister were revealed over the summit with Broken Top in the morning light.  Every time I go up, it is for THIS.  That view, that coming into view.  Every single time it takes my breath away-  I simply cannot soak it up into my being enough.

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From my house to the head of the parking lot at the ski area is about 25 miles.  3050 climbing.  On the way down there is about 600 more climbing and some nice flat to hold onto tempo as long as possible.  Oh Oh, and in the early morning, no one is coming down the highway in a car with you… only going up to ski!  It is a beautiful time of day to enjoy the Cascade Lakes Hwy.  It’s always great with big wide smooth shoulders, but still, no one is better than some or many.   So get up and get out the door when you go!  Who needs warmth of midday sun? bundle and go and you won’t regret it.  Too many times we wait for perfect conditions.  I say MAKE them perfect.  Be cold, wet, hot, whatever, there is a way to prepare for most of it.   Once you are out there,  when others are not, that little extra something does something for your inner badassery belief level.  So I Highly recommend not only dealing with what ya got, but don’t even whine a lick about it.  Revel in it.

That’s my message for the day I reckon:)

So here we are Day 3 of my 50 day challenge.   And I have another song for ya inspired by the beloved volcanos we are drawn to daily.   Young Volcanoes by Fall Out Boy.  Get it, YOUNG (my last name) and volcanoes.. heehee.  ahh I’m a dork.

…it’s all over now before it has begun, we’ve already won, we are wild, we are like Young Volcanoes… 

To become a mountain goat, runner of Mountains, seeker of new Heights

“Mountains are not Stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.”
― Anatoli Boukreev“

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Broken Top as seen from Green Lakes, turnaround point of my run today

There has been a large lull in my writing.  As glorious of a year as it has been living and growing and learning and thriving in Bend, there have also been some challenges to work through that at at times consumed me, and even left me unable to do what I love, namely running and triathlon.  When your body doesn’t want to let you perform, along with the mental downward spiral that can go with that, well… I surely wasn’t in a place to write.  On a daily basis I found the lovliness in my life to hold onto, abandoned self pity and used all my tricks to get to the next step in getting back to me.  I’ve learned so much about other people struggling daily with real problems much more serious than any discomforts I was facing.  I learned compassion I don’t think I’ve had before, as I tried to talk to myself like I would to a friend, but that is easier said than done. Now I have a better understanding of how anyone else on any given day might not be able to just “snap out of it”.

I fill my day with gratitude for so many things, but even that at times isn’t quite enough to cover that feeling that you aren’t yourself, or at least not getting to do the things I defined my “self” as.  I learned to be patient with me, be patient with my energy, my goals, shoot, I even stopped making any goals whatsover, just do the day, look at my kids, as in really SEE them, enjoy the house, take pictures anywhere and everywhere I went, share beautiful things with people I’m only connected to anymore via this silly computer.  Open up to new friends.  I found a dear friend to share life with, our families with, one I can escape to the woods with and just be me, and our kids and husbands feel the same,  April, my Utah transplant who has my heart.  So thankful for the forced “break” that let me do that, gave me space and time to take time to share that part of me and us.  So It has to be a great thing, coming from years of so much focus on achieving big milestones, maybe it was just the thing I needed.  Maybe it was perfect timing, maybe it was the lack of frenzied focus I could use really tune into what was calling me again, not just do what I do because that’s what I do?

A friend told me also that this first year after a move was a BIG adjustment.  I don’t think I fully ever gave it credit…Shoot, Had we even given the year 2013 credit? 2014 was a delicious cake walk compared!   The list of things that happened in that one year alone… huh. I may need a post about that!   We just stepped right into an amazing new life, got going and haven’t looked back.  Not realizing maybe the actual drain that it had taken? Once I acknowledged that, and decided this entire spring, was perfect.  And now I feel free, and now somehow my body is cooperating again, coincidence? hmm:-)

One thing for sure that has awakened me, (not from enjoying this gift of Central Oregon, which is impossible to not be in awe that WE LIVE HERE!!!!)  but back into my nature as an athlete and teacher of sorts, is a friend literally jumping into triathlon, tackling a new challenge and piece of it each day, flying in the face of her comfort zone of running, learning what she can to do her first Olympic tri in less than a month from now!   Running is a lifelong gift for her, that she has most definitely embraced and shared and challenged herself with, and used it to parallel life and motherhood. She’s helped countless others with her stories and musings on life as a mom and wife and athlete. (If you don’t already, you need to follow her blog, Runninghood, always entertaining, always real, and from the heart and always gives me perspective with my own family and endeavors (and btw totally responsible for getting me to write again)

Watching Amanda abandon that comfort zone,  freely do the uncomfortable and humbly seek help, has really renewed my sense of passion for swim bike and run, and inspired me to do things I typically avoid. like RUN mountains ha. (camping and hiking is a different world, physical yes, but not the same) We share an understanding of wanting to openly share who we are whether or not anyone cares lol, at the same time as just wanting to live as much life as we can possibly squeeze in, and I can’t wait to see how we move forward in our new lives here, how our kids find themselves, and I’m assuming, will become great friends once they go on a few adventures together.

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signs are everywhere

So today I ran a trail that I had only previously hiked and trudged and done short attempts in the snow.  It is a trail that is a moderately challenging hike, with great footing on the well worn trail, with many parts that are a tiring at a walk.  For a year I’ve seen photos and heard about runners running it routinely, even loops of it, so it has been on my list as a “run to do”. Still, with all of these trails around here, I’ve never run any of them that are a pretty much constant upward grind into alpine territory. So I’ve hesitated, certainly not wanting to run it with anyone who knows what they’re doing.  And I know, if I ever want to do any of the real mountain races or ultras, well, I need to become a mountain goat of sorts.  Shoot, I don’t care if I even race, I just want to be up there, where most people don’t want to go on their own feet.

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Creek flowing down from Green Lake beside an Obsidian lava flow. Yeah it’s not bad

So Cheesy but So in love with being out here

So Cheesy but So in love with being out here

When I looked at the Garmin results, and saw 1325 feet of climbing, not including about 10 it missed when i had shut off, I was happy, as I don’t think I’ve ever RUN that much climbing before.  Then I realized, some of my friends get in 10-20,000 on a training day lol.   Of course I don’t need that for what I want to do, but dang, and ouch.  Ok ok, I’ll stop comparing, I’m happy with that and it’s just the beginning!  And I did it with hacking chest congestion and allergy nose, so I am excited to see what I can do with full access to my lungs.

It’s just the beginning, because my piriformis/sciatica felt fine until about last 2 miles of 9, and then it was very subtle. Yesterday’s 5 mile run I didn’t feel it at all. After really bad week of self pity a bit ago,  I’ve really upped my game in self care/rehab with everything I can think to do mobility, smashing and strength and activation to combat the nagging pain I’ve had to run with for almost 2 years.  So hopefully it isn’t a fluke, hopefully it is a result of my diligence, if so I can keep at it.

One thing I do know, I’m going to STOP being jealous of people doing more than I can right now,  I’m going to focus on my cans,  I CAN BIKE, I CAN SWIM, I CAN RUN (some) and I CAN CLIMB and I CAN BREATHE, and I CAN SMILE and I CAN SHARE. and thanks to my mahvelous iphone6, I can document what I see along the way.

South Sister. I cannot explain how much this mountain stirs my soul!  Seriously.

South Sister. I cannot explain how much this mountain stirs my soul! Seriously.

The Spandex Crowd

I originally wrote this for Facebook, but wanted to keep it easier to find here in my blog.  I am truly blessed to now live in a town that has patience and understanding for those who pedal, but I know this attitude doesn’t exist everywhere, and I know even in my cycling utopia, there are people who feel more anger and annoyance sadly.

(inspired by a comment made on an article about a cyclist (one of the spandex crowd) hit by a drunk driver- yes I did reply in a sane rational way but did not address the title he gave “us”)

So just who IS “THE SPANDEX CROWD”?

1. a mom who just needs some fresh air so she can be a little peppier for dinner time
2. A Grandpa who found out if he doesn’t get moving he won’t live to see his grandkids graduate
3. An ER doctor who just tried to save a child in a car accident, but failed, today this bike ride is about more than the bike.
4. A guy who is as “gay” as you think he “looks” in that spandex. But is more of a man/human than any self righteous judgemental fool ever could be.
5. A wife who for the first time feels power in her life filled with abuse.
6. A daughter who misses the dad she never really knew, but knows he is proud of every moment she pedals and tries at life.
7. A superhero by day, a daddy by night, doing his best to be a provider and healthy and live by example.
8. A previously unfit, unhealthy alcoholic who lost a leg in a drunk driving accident, has found redemption and healing on his bike with his new leg.
9. Someone you once adored in a different sport who now finds value in the effort even solitude on the roads.
10. A person who has absolutely zero redeeming qualities aside from the fact that they were inspiring to watch race and have still managed to change the world for the better.
11. A friend in between cancer treatments, just looking for any sense of control and freedom.
12. A regular joe who just discovered the thrill of wind on his face and covering ground under his own power, no smell of gasoline anywhere.
13. A girl who always felt left out in team sports, finding a skill and power she never knew she had.
14. A kid who just wants to see who is the fastest, who could be doing drugs and partying, but this bike thing seems to work better
15. An egomaniac who likes being superfit, why not? don’t we need superfit people to look at? hehee
16. A grandma who has no family nearby and husband gone years before her… instead of staying in, she rides.
17. The barista who you enjoy chatting with every morning before work, she doesn’t need much in life but good people and some time with the bike.
18. A too young to die 25 yr old who weighed 400lbs and has already lost 100# on his way to his first triathlon.
19. A hopeful college kid inspired to raise serious money for cancer in a cross country cycling adventure.
20. A widow whose young husband was killed riding his bike, and to keep cycling is just one thing that keeps the connection, through fear and uncertainty, she rides.

A few of these are me. one of these might be you. If you aren’t one or don’t know one… maybe it’s time you put on some spandex and join us, don’t judge us and for God’s Sake be a decent human on the road and to each other in general.
Sincerely,
Corie Young

Card Carrying Spandex Crowd member

Ironman is just Silly

“How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life”
Marcus Aurelius

Yes when I think about it, it kinda makes me chuckle, how serious we take it using words like determined, challenge, goals, focus, grit, guts, tough, pain, perseverence, and on and on.  How about silly?!

We train and train and set goals and plan as if setting off to a real war, of course this is not a war.   On this fine day in Arizona looking at a brilliant sunrise over the water with bridges lined with people and twinkle lights, people are serious, focused, worried, scared, many eager and emotional and happy thank goodness.  Then we go and thrash and mash, in fact I was more smashed and mashed so people could “beat” me or “beat” their best, than any IM I’ve done so far.  I too was getting frustrated and annoyed and didn’t let many giggles enter my heart for those 2.4 miles. My ambition for a best time let serious seep in and hide the silliness of the whole reality of the scene maybe if I had felt a little more goofy I would have found holes to swim through and swim the speed I wanted, but I didn’t and so I didn’t.

Climbing out of the never ending swim for our lives, I slipped and smashed my toe on the stairs, of course I did.  Why not, Ironman is a silly trickster after all right?!  I didn’t realize it was broken until the med tent later this fine day.  It hurt but it should when you do smash it and put bike shoes right on.  It is not life and death, it is a hurt toe. A hurt toe in a silly race I now get to ride 112 miles on my bike in.

Windward Fun I’ve been ‘determined’ to have an incredible bike, this year after training at some altitude and mountains, the bike course was going to be ‘dominated’ by me.  Again how silly of me to think this way.  The winds did not wait until mid morning. they started in earnest on lap one, headwind up to 30-40mph gusts all the way out to the turnaround.  We all hunkered down in our little lines and tried to pass people in our quest to be super fast lol… How funny I bet it looks from above, all this effort, discomfort. But boy what scary fun it was coming back with a tailwind and slight downhill!  In case you were starting to have too much fun here, the crosswind gusts would play with you, threaten to dump you on your rear and did completely topple and injure and end the day of many cyclists. I think you had to embrace the wind, play and dance with it or you totally did not have a fun silly Ironman experience. So as much as I was slower than on my previous less windy attempt, I came in off the bike in 10th place in my age group. A perfect spot for me with a marathon to go.

My transitions were WAY faster than last time with my serious focus on getting outta there… 6 min total  T1/T2 time improvement.  No way was I going to dilly dally in this silly Ironman sitting on a chair, NOT going towards the finish line!  I set about to run my run all day pace, one that would put me near or below 4 hr pace.  For some reason though I wasn’t as smiley as I usually am, I had a goal of doing well so I had to focus!  I did hi five a line of little kids, that was about the extent of exuberance I could muster.  Hamstring/sciatic was getting tighter by the step, of course I knew it would, silly of me to thing otherwise lol.

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Mile 4 Running toward my friends Tunnel

I was NOT going to let it get the best of me though.  So I ran and ran. until I had to throw up.  Right as I was entering mile 15, and a mile long section of fans who were trying to support me with all the silliness they could manage, the lump in my throat and stomach knotted up.  All I could think was don’t throw up on the people. Not here, not now!  Then our fans, my friends and husband, ok REALLY not now!! I don’t think I even smiled? I just tried to keep it in, and run to an empty spot on the trail. Commence dry heaves.  This is where you really think how comical this all is.  I mean seriously.  Training is never like this.  Training is rainbows and butterflies for real for me. I LOVE TRAINING!  This race is just SILLY!

At that point I hear I am in 7th place- What?! so I have to try.  I cannot do my usual run/walk. That just wouldn’t do, to miss a kona spot because I got wimpy after all this ridiculousness.  So I only ran.  Unless I was stopped lol. I stopped for porta potty for the tummy, I stopped to gag, nothing in my stomach to release, just blech.  Surely some girls passed me then, if I had seen them would I have kept going?  They wear their totally ridiculous calf sleeves that cover their age group so I had no idea if I should catch em.  But silly me I should try anyway right?! My mouth is white with tums.. I probably ate 30 during the race… My lips parched and cracking, I even thought about Patrick’s trick of using ear wax, ew!!!  In Arizona, you run in the dark after 9-10 hr mark I think. So It was dark by now, goal of breaking 11 hrs gone.  I ran by the Go Mitch Go tent near the finish, and they yelled I could still PR.  NO I Can’t I yelled back.  I was already at the time, would be a few minutes over.  But I still didn’t know where I was overall so I ran and it hurt, I couldn’t run too hard because you just really don’t want to throw up in the finish chute.  Like REALLY don’t want to do that and I was very much there still.

Finish line is typical wonderful, no pain zone, a why didn’t I run like this all the way zone. But when I came across, boy was I DONE.  Like no other time before.  I was woozy dizzy and just not well.  I got to go to the med tent where my bp was 80/50, so happy day I got to get fluids!  This is the goal of every Ironman racer lol.  Fluids equal faster recovery!  Faster time to be able to eat mounds of food. and sleep well and on and on.  So I am grateful to the staff who took care of my pale low BP self. This is where I saw THE TOE.  I asked to take a peek, cuz it felt like I had a scrape or bad blister all day. Well it was bent and swollen and purple.  Thank goodness it wasn’t a more useful toe. Now patrick can make fun of my toes even more:-)  In the end I was 11th in my age group, Improved by 6 places over 2 years ago with much more drama to deal with. So I’ll take it, kinda have to:)

Silly thing is, we ALL were having silly ridiculous days out there. I had so many friends there who had spent an entire year training and fundraising for Go Mitch Go, most doing their first IM, having their own wonderfully awful days…The day of days they had waited for, I so wanted to chat with each one and see how it was compared to their visions, better worse, etc.  I could easily have picked a few and just stayed with em till the end, so magical is the first finish!

I was not the only one with gut issues, foot issues, hamstring issues and way way worse.  But for some reason we all keep going on as if we really have to. Really we don’t ha. Still not sure why I do these.  I love the training.  I love suffering race day and seeing if I can out suffer myself and some of my competitors.  I don’t have to prove anything, especially after the first one.  I know Ironman is something anyone can do. If you can tolerate all the silliness the day brings.  I guess I do it now to see if I can perfect it. Find that balance of happy and fun and focus and effort.  To show others there are things out there that look so hard that are so in your grasp, to not be afraid.

Go Mitch GO!!

The Go Mitch Go Team from Austin and OKC Raised $200,000!

So many brave tough adventurers out there.  I see people at the top of menacing mountains, because they climbed in the snow with their skis on their backs just to fly down and be done.  That amazes me, but not enough to want to do it.  I see people so strong and limber and brave they free climb cliffs and dangle, or ride mountain bikes at insane speeds down wild trails and obstacles.  They prove to me there is so much so so much to do if you want it. And all of it is silly,  these things we can do for a thrill, to enjoy and maximize our life experience.  All of us wee people on this magnificent earth seeking and pushing limits just fascinate me. How cool it is to have ANY opportunity we want to see what is possible. Ironman is not the pinnacle of that by any means, just one of the many options in our pretty humorous human experience.  I say we should all do something brave, silly, hard, fun, courageous, scary…  It is our job to give God a good show.

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