Ironman Readiness

“There are two things we should always be 1. raw and 2. ready. When you are raw, you are always ready and when you are ready you usually realize that you are raw. Waiting for perfection is not an answer, one cannot say “I will be ready when I am perfect” because then you will never be ready, rather one must say “I am raw and I am ready just like this right now, how and who I am.”
―C.JoyBell C.

I am 11 days from Ironman #5.

11 days from testing my readiness.

11 days from experiencing a true and complete exhaustion, exhileration and relief.

Every single Ironman I have trained for has had it’s own unique challenges, each I have felt a different level of readiness, and in fact come into them a different person than I come in now.

Number 1, the first, the only first you get, the magnificent glory of doing the work and following a plan with the total unknowing if it was going to work!  The mystery and awe of the day filled me with so much emotion for months, inspired me to start this blog.  The day was full of portapotty time and a wee bit o misery.  But it never crossed my mind I couldn’t/wouldn’t finished once I started that day.  Not losing my ability to hi-five volunteers and chuckle at what I had done to myself by even entering helped me cross the line.  Finishing it was the victory, as it should be for the first.

Number 2, was a year later on my home turf, with friends and familiar roads and paths, was a quiet preparation, the knowing was there, confidence and comfort and fun with dozens of friends along side was truly special.  It was a real struggle also, almost a full marathon walked after coming in off the bike in 2nd place… breathing and nausea issues would give me new lessons for future races.

Number 3 was 8 weeks later, big hopes because of the walkathon I had just experienced, and it was on familiar ground, familiar because it was Tempe AZ where I had gone to college.  Had a solid race, free of any significant issue and a PR, but still much more walking than I wanted.  It is definitely a course to do very well on if you get your act together:-)

Number 4 was 6 weeks after a dear friend and training partner in our group of 5 was killed on his bike on one of our training 100milers.  To say we were “ready” for this race… well, not sure any of us were ready… Mentally or physically. Things changed, our hearts changed.  We had a new reason to do this Ironman once we knew we were going ahead with it.   Gone were goals and worries about the perfect taper etc. Perspective shift big time.  Tahoe will always be special, an emotional roller coaster that I never wish on anyone, but one that is a huge part of my soul.

Number 5 is coming,  IMAZ again.  First time to do a course twice.  This time, after a major family life change, moving to a training mecca outdoor wonderland in Bend Oregon.  Once the settling in and rhythm was set this summer, training was the best I think I have ever had, overall at least.  Improvements mostly bike related, run has had issues with back and sciatic entire time but I believe has made me stronger. Calm and focused on having a breakthrough race.

I look back on all the races, mostly a blur, they are done and I’ve moved on, I think.  But I realize I carry little expectations for the next one with me each time.  Like NEXT time I will Look as fit as I feel. NEXT time I will lose that extra 10lbs that I didn’t have in my first one, NEXT time I will swim a ton more, NEXT time I will hit every interval and session with intent and dedication, do more this and that.  It annoys me that I get annoyed at the extra layer of “fuel” I have over my body lol. Especially now, we live in an amazing place for food and enjoying a fine glass of wine, and I should not regret the indulgences that don’t align with my picture of myself as an athlete.  They are in fact part of the rest of me, the family, friend, wife me.  Just wanted to share that, because I know many of us struggle with it on some level. And it is absurd that should ever cross my mind, but yep it does.

I am not perfect, but I am ready…. I am not perfect, but I am perfectly ready.  I am stronger than I have ever been, at times I feel like a machine, and I think for this phase of the game that means I am ready.  I am ready to be raw on race day… To be all that I have wanted to be in the 4 races before, to be all that I was in the 4 races before, and to be ME on race day.

The Investment of Appreciation and it’s Generous Return

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
— Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)

Oh the glorious mystery of appreciation!  I have found that is it a strange affliction, almost out of control and expanding with no end in sight.

Bend leaves

Leaves in Transition…

Over the years as I learned to deliberate focus and education and practice, to appreciate small, benign almost insignificant things around me, my appreciation muscle has grown.  It became normal for me to see wonder and beautiful nature in the falling down wire fence and overgrown weeds, perhaps mixed with flowers, along my runs and bike rides in Oklahoma.  To find joy in the expanse of skies and parched red earth and south wind that blew freely, shaping the trees in that familiar lean towards the north.  Piles of junk in country acreage, that actually tells some sort of story of the midwest.  Much not impressive at first glance, but when you APPRECIATE, and feel it in your bones, the world becomes beautiful.  The way the clouds and light interact… In Oklahoma the leaves don’t offer much change before the winter north wind sweeps them away, but with APPRECIATION you can see every subtle shade and contrast with sky and earth.  My love of Oklahoma skies and vistas though could not have prepared me for what gifts awaited our arrival in Bend.

Running in the Rain

Running in the Rain

So tuned in was I already to the small beauties, that here, it is almost sensory overload.  Like a blind person who sees for the first time or a deaf person who hears for the first time….  I seriously can hardly breathe at times on a normal drive to the store, let alone when I am out on a run or on my bike truly feeling connected.  It is why I stop several times during each to take it in, or photograph it, why I go crazy when my phone is too full to capture the moment to share with you.  The appreciation I have nurtured is truly giving back to me exponentially.  The colors and scope and variety of plants and animals and water and landscapes and shapes of rocks and textures, and the Scents- oh my!  I say this not to make you wish you were here, but more to inspire you to consciously seek appreciation where YOU are. Deliberate, focused enjoyment of things that maybe the world doesn’t consider pretty or special.  Do it. It will enrich your life today and if you do venture to a new place, will make it that much more an extraordinary gift.

Jumping Anyway.

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”
― C.JoyBell C

South Sister Climb

The view is worth it! Keep Climbing!

Now that we are here in Bend, there is a sense of accomplishment and comfort, knowing we have landed exactly where we were meant to be.  Of course, I have confirmational bias… I look for and see proof EVERYWHERE.  You do surely get what you expect and what you are looking for.  Ever notice a piece of litter, get annoyed and suddenly you might as well be living in a trashpit? (maybe that is just me lol) That is one reason I insist people STOP looking for the sad and bad stories in general, not to lose touch with the ability to be empathetic and offer support and ideas when needed, but because it seriously will expand into your world so that is ALL YOU SEE Believe and KNOW. 

Ok I digress, but it really is a hot topic with me to change peoples perspectives, from negativity or woe is me or victimhood or excuses, to one of gratitude, hope, seeing good and more good, and watching that flourish in their lives.

So my point was, that we have landed right where we wanted, but not where we ever imagined or planned even just a few years ago.  Now we are moving on to the Now What’s (cute little guys if I do say so myself)  Many things I’ve not been afraid to jump into, didn’t need proof for, things like Arbonne, triathlon, marathons, raising a family, starting our own vet business, fundraising and so on.  Ok well maybe in hindsight I can say that.  YES I had NO IDEA what would happen with any of those, but I/we did it anyway, no experience,  not knowing the outcome, but only through jumping off the ledge could we soar!  I believe we need to constantly find those ledges and jump off.  All summer I’ve been looking for a new ledge:-)  Think I have found it and I have no clue what I am doing.  But I do have proof that I never died from any previous jumps, they only led me to more wonderful, at least interesting things.  So I am taking that with me as I jump into a new world. Thinking podcasting and beyond…. So excited and scared and looking forward to the madness and fun that will come of it!  It will be called “BENDing Perspective”.  I will keep you posted:-) Are you on a ledge right now, just waiting? need a push?  a safety net? Let me know if there is anything I can do to get you off and soaring!

3 (Not Scientifically) Proven Ways to Get Faster

…”no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . .” F. Scott Fitzgerald

Will keep this brief, since my goal is to offer you brief nuggets you can take and use to improve speed of the most important kind.  Running and Cycling.

1. The Time Crunch:  DO NOT leave enough time to do your session, run or bike.  Schedule some appointment daily, can even be the daily pickup/kid drop off kind of schedule.  Get yourself ready, bike, shoes, whatever it is you may require, be ready to go.  Now, do not go yet.  Still not yet.  How long do you think it will take?  2 hours?  Need to be somewhere by 10am? Okie dok, do not leave until 8:15 or 8:20, run or ride the same exact distance you were planning.  At the halfway point you may realize you are going to be late. No worries, just go HARD all the way home. You can do it!  Boom, you have just set a PR from point a to b and are now faster.

2. The Weather Threat:  very similar to #1.   First, do not look at weather forecast.  This one works best by looking outside.  When you see dark clouds you can get ready to go.  When you smell rain and hear thunder go ahead and start. Now ride or run TOWARDS or minimum along the edge of the darkest part.  Have an hour run? You guessed it, run your 30 min towards the storm. DO NOT CHICKEN OUT!  for this to work you need to commit.  Successfully making it towards halfway point while other wimpies are high tailing it home makes you some sort of something special, sure some may say stupid? maybe, but on your way home, at full speed not knowing where or when the sky is about to open, you WILL BE FASTER.  one seriously good interval of intense focus. Repeat as often as mother nature allows.

3.  The Chase and Tag:  This works great when you spy a draft group on a bike, but can be equally useful on the run.  Chase them down, simple, take your aim, and go.  You can get creative and give yourself points for passes, based on type of participant you just passed.  Pass the kid on the single speed, ok you can have a point… but Pass a Pro? hmm that is a lot of points.  No one needs to know that they were at the end of a 4 hr mountain day and you were just starting, you passed em, points for you! DISCLAIMER: I am not admitting to anything.  Oh yes, an important tip for this one is to be especially cordial and calm when passing.  a simple Howdy, how are you, have a great run, etc.. are a nice way to distract them from your true intentions;-)

Hope this helps your training when intervals by the clock aren’t enough.  Any other fun ways you have”proven” work to make you faster?

Moving Home.

  “Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
― Sarah Dessen

Tumalo Falls

 

The Sisters

The Young Family relocated June 3, 2014 from the comfort of surroundings we had known for 14 years in central Oklahoma, to the unknown but expected magical surroundings of central Oregon.

Metolius River

It was purely choice, not necessity as I’ve seen with so many friends and family. We found a place by chance that stole our hearts and minds from the first few minutes 2 summers ago.  For 2 years we played with the crazy notions of what it would be like to live there for real, like the people we met did. We continued our daily life full of friends, good people, horses and triathlon and a growing community that always supported (or pretended to ha) our little acts of whimsy and crazy.

family race

 Comfort was surely what we had in our home and 10 acres.  We made it home. A forever home that never imagined leaving for real, just in fanciful dreams after a fun trip… always after trips to the mountains that keep pieces of you every time you leave.

Things happen in life to people you love and admire, things they never saw coming, things no one who loved them expected.  Things that were ‘someday’ things now never will happen, at least not the same.  We started to wonder if waiting for a “best” time was really wise? We have life and love and energy, right now!  We saw fire light in our kids’ eyes at the hint of such an adventure, and also heard them doubt us.  Doubt we would follow through with our little ideas or maybe somedays.

I want my kids to follow their guts, always, to not miss out on things that call them for the security of safe and the false security of “later”.  Preaching this to them may sort of help, but showing them started to feel right.  So right that we made it official in the spring, the Youngs were moving. Moving to a new home.  Moving us, the true sense of us, who we are together IS home so that means we were MOVING HOME.

Not moving away from home.. taking it with us, taking all of the people and memories and lessons learned with us, it all is part of making anywhere we are HOME.  Thanks to all the people who cheered us and cried with us through the move and let us know that we are loved.  You all are part of what made it possible for us to go for it.  And you are part of home for us, no matter where the dot on the map says.

mt bachelor and shiny happy us

Just so happens it is smack dab in the middle of volcanoes and rivers and waterfalls and lakes and pine trees and wildlife, aka Bend.  We are pretty darn tickled about that:-)

Much of our ability to forge into new territory came from reading stories of pioneers, true pioneers before us… Is where you are today because of such a change  or inspired by someone?  Are you pondering a “move” in one direction or another?! I would love to hear about it!

Building fires

“Among the notable things about fire is that it also requires oxygen to burn – exactly like its enemy, life. Thereby are life and flames so often compared.”           Otto Weininger

Building fire

The Fire within..

I have a passion for fire.  Not that I want to burn things in general.  But building a fire is a wholehearted, full on meditational experience for me.  14 years married to my Eagle Scout husband have included hours and hours around a firepit, no matter the weather, but preferably the cold.  I have learned and refined my skills- from first requiring firestarter even lighter fluid (I admit) to now being able to cajole one match and wind and even dampness into flame, life supporting warmth and mesmerizing embers and soothing crackles and pops and whooshing murmurs of power contained.

It gives me a sense of purpose and satisfaction to man the fire for days.   To transfer energy from one log and stick, even leaves and twigs, on to another as they give all they have, succumbing to the heat, reaching for all available oxygen, burning hotter and hotter in the attempt to find more, an opening to burst through for that ever abundant resource the world depends on.

In supporting the fire’s needs, we find our own needs met.  We meet around the fire, we adjust around the smoke and help the fire reach it’s potential, while we chat and dream and plan, clearly now seeing our potential.  We stare, often into the nothingness that seems alive, the embers that flicker and shine, like snowflakes, never ever the same.  No fire is ever the same, each has it’s own shape and smell and sound.  No thoughts I have around the fire are the same, but similar feelings for sure.  Feelings of ultimate contentment, of calm, of knowing.   Maybe an ancient familiarity that generations who came before understood fire as well.  Needed it to become.  Might the fire within us be tapped by building a fire, a real fire?  For me, yes I think so.

About that Whitewashing on Facebook thing…

I recently read a blog where a mom who admittedly posts all the best quotes and moments and pictures from her life on Facebook and other social media,  truly feels like a fraud and spent the article sort of admonishing the practice of “whitewashing” our lives.  Because when we do this, it puts a pressure on everyone else to compare their lives to yours, their children, spouses, activities, fitness,  vacations, passions, Godliness, education, wealth, free spirit, happy go lucky life is goodness.  And it denies all the “real”ness that is our lives, messy, busy, hectic, shall we say NOT PERFECT- gasp.

OK so at first one says yeah!  I yell at my kids!  I have arguments even fights with my spouse, I have money issues, I have piles of dishes, even food molding in the fridge, I stare at lumps on my belly and rear, I get annoyed at this that and the other.  SO right on you great blogger mom! (who is a closet debbie downer)  AND boy oh boy did she have some people jump on that bandwagon (other not so closet debbie downers).

So here is where I completely wholeheartedly beg to differ.   I never assume when I see a great picture from a beach vacation that it is anything more than a moment captured, a happy moment, a moment of contentment.  Sure it might have been in the middle of pure chaos, but for that moment, the posting moment, appreciation was felt and the next moments if not hours were improved.  JUST FROM POSTING A PHOTO.

I never assume when I see someone post a workout status that they are bragging or saying they are better than me.  It is just a status – God forbid I want to feel a moment of I should do that today.  or oh yeah I remember doing that, I know how hard that was, or I can’t wait until I am up to that, or good gravy NEVER will I do THAT!!!

I never assume when you post cute status about how much you love your husband and kids that it is a lie, or a fairy tale at home that I don’t have.  What I ACTUALLY get from such a status is yup, I feel that too, and yup sometimes you have to say it outloud and public just to concrete it in your heart and mind.  Sometimes those posts, need to be said and shared before even really felt in the moment.  If someone can read it and take a situation or emotion that is going quickly down the wrong path at home, maybe a pause can stop the momentum.

I never assume that an inspirational quote bursting with hope and positivity, means that person feels that all the time.  Seriously!?  I know we all don’t!  Geez!  BUT I say again.  Finding a quote or a picture or a moment of your life that makes you feel better, makes you notice the small and big moments as cool and perfectly imperfect, IS the way to gradually make your world a better place.  I welcome you sharing it with me.

If I posted all the stupid crap that happens and annoys me and disrupts my life, and my friends, I guarantee you, stuff will not get better for anyone. Most importantly ME!   I can post (and have done so) something that irks me, and BOOM, I can have 20 people commenting, agreeing, equally upset or annoyed and now we have a bunch of grumpier people now tuned in to more of the yuk in their own lives.  Probably half of them will now have issues in traffic.  I just don’t want to do that blogger mom.  So stop bashing people or the action of posting good stuff, happy stuff, lighthearted stuff.  It is not lying, it is not to feel superior, it is not to compete.  It is because I want more of THAT.  And pointing out its opposite is not the way.

Keep posting your edited pics and cool quotes, and glorious- funny- warm- life moments.  I wish you so many that you run out of time to share.

It’s All About Expansion

“I will grow. I will become something new and grand, but no grander than I now am. Just as the sky will be different in a few hours, its present perfection and completeness is not deficient, so am I presently perfect and not deficient because I will be different tomorrow. I will grow and I am not deficient.”

Dr. Wayne Dyer

It’s a new year, a new race season, and time to get on the task at hand.  Last year was a great year, I achieved and surpassed many season goals and kept many goals alive, albeit a little tired;)  Truly it all was worth every second of time juggling, kid shuffling, gu gulping, almond butter squeezing, muscle burning, foam rolling, headwind riding, bug swallowing, sunburn striping and chlorine infusing.

The fun now is to start again, without too many glances in the rear view mirror, except to appreciate all that is there to learn and grow from and memories that serve as happy fuel and energy.  Since I began my journey just to get healthy and fit in my pre-baby clothes, it has always been a path of expansion and saying now what?!  yes, great, loved it, next!  super, that was good, next!  or, woah, that was rough, next!

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