Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Waaah, waaah, waaah

I've whined a little bit about getting dropped on rides both on and off blog. Getting dropped sucks, but I make a bigger deal of it than I should, I think. I've often said that I have childhood issues from age group swimming that might be better worked out in the therapists office than the pool. Maybe the same could be said about cycling. I'm starting to feel bad about whining, because I think it shows what an ungrateful brat I am to all the people who have helped me out in T.S. Here is a list of people who have waited for me or slowed down:

1. Sally
2. Tanja (enthusiastic teacher)
3. Michele
4. Cindy (who has also been very patient and helpful with tips)
5. Tim
6. Rose
7. Heather
8. Jocelyn
9. Martin (who changed my flat once)
10. The whole team delayed the start of the ride once when I got a flat.
11. The whole team twice at the top and bottom of a cold Old La Honda.
12. Susan (she didn't wait for me, but she helped me bridge when we both fell behind the pack)
13. Carol
14. Tracy (who stopped when she was already late for a ride to help me with a flat, even though I insisted she go ahead.)
15. The whole team after an 11 mile run.
16. Kim
17. Lorraine
18. Hani

Wow, that's a lot of people. That doesn't even count all the great people who have given me encouragement on runs. It's been hard being slow compared to the rest of the team, but I definitely could never say that the team isn't beginner friendly.

Friday, April 25, 2008

BFN New Website

Big L. and I, along with some help from other M.M. swimmers and Laurel at BFN, created a website.


I'm pretty proud of how it turned out, and hope it will be a helpful tool in recruiting help for the organization. It was a lot of work, but I'm having trouble letting go of wanting to work on improving it still.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Letter I Wrote to Myself in December About Hawaii 70.3

Below is part of a letter I wrote to myself in order to decide why I'm doing a Half Ironman in Hawaii. I've had some setbacks training lately, so I feel like I need a reminder.

It’s hard for me to even write a list of what it is I want or expect to get out of doing Hawaii 70.3. Tahoe was so far from what I expected, it’s hard for me to get excited about this. What I am really afraid of is that I’ll have another bad experience like Tahoe. I had high hopes for how I’d feel when I got done with it, and thought I’d come out of it a transformed person, confident and freed from a lot of my neuroses. While I did get a lot out of the experience, it wasn’t what I expected. Truthfully, I don’t know what to expect out of this experience. I know it will be a challenge, but I don’t even know how challenging it will be and in what ways. But maybe a simple answer to why I want to do this like “because it is challenging” is more honest and open to possibilities and lessons than making a list of what exactly I expect to change about myself through the experience, like I did for Tahoe.

I am at once hopeful and fearful about this whole thing. I have hopes that it will redeem athleticism for me, and give me back some of my old romanticism. I have fears that I will have a disappointing experience, and two bad experiences in a row will completely kill my desire for setting athletic goals for myself.

I think my two biggest challenges in getting my mind in the right place are:

1) Understanding what it means to be committed and not be obsessed
2) Letting go of my expectations and being open to the joy, character building, and challenges I may be confronted with.

I think before I start training I need to make a list of the things that are more important to me than doing this race:

· Not being constantly exhausted
· Coming out of this physically stronger, not weaker
· Not injuring myself
· Having enough energy for those around me
· Keeping an interest in enough things outside of the sport that I’m able to be engaged when talking to people who aren’t involved.
· Keeping my house neat
· Taking the time to eat healthily
· Working enough hours per week

Maybe what it means to be committed and not obsessed is to find a balance in my life between those things above and the race. This means not giving up on the race just because I’m feeling exhausted, or because I’m having pain in my ankles. It means I’m committed to all of those things, not just the one, and finding the best way to manage everything. I will at times be exhausted, and then I’ll have to step back, take a break, and find a way to continue training without being exhausted. Similar reasoning goes with everything else on the list. Maybe I’ll post the list up somewhere, and make myself read it everyday before I train. Probably could add a few more things to it.

T.S. strikes me as a really great group of people to train with. Big L., Tanya, C.P., and Coach are such great people, just to name a few. But as I said above even with this, I am both hopeful and fearful. When I joined F.F. Masters 3 years ago, I fell in love with the club very quickly, and very naively. I projected so much of my own good will onto the club, I assumed everyone would be supportive of me and everyone else, and I found this to really not be the case as much as I would have hoped. Despite that, I still continued to love F.F. Masters. It was a great learning experience, in learning to love something imperfect. It tore my heart in two to leave, although I knew this was the best decision for me. Meeting such awesome people in M.M. and T.S. has been really opened up my mind. I didn’t place on M.M. the hopes and expectations I placed on but were never met by F.F. Masters, but Coach and my teammates have consistently exceeded the expectations I consciously tried to release.

I still feel twinges of hurt from my experiences with F.F., so despite seeing what seems like I always wanted in front of me, I feel wary of trusting it. Maybe this is OK. Maybe the trust will come with time, and this is how it should be. I know C.P., Big L., and Coach well enough to know they aren’t perfect. (Although they and everybody else on the team sometimes seem intimidatingly close to it.) But they’re pretty great, and I think I can learn a lot from them. I feel like such a baby in this group, but hopefully I can learn to grow up enough that I can be as nurturing, confident, and supportive as they are. OK, I’m not a baby. I’m an adult, who is capable, and has a lot to give. This attitude, along with a bit of humility and openness will get me a lot more out of this experience than my tendency to feel unworthy of friendships with people I admire.

So those are my hopes and fears. But what about motivations?

· I’m looking for a challenge
· I’ll hopefully learn to embrace what I love (athleticism) without letting it take over my entire being
· I’ll train with a great group of people, who I can hopefully gain friendships with and be able to learn from
· The fact that Coach sent out an email to MM makes me feel more welcome in a group I had some hesitation about joining

I’m not excited about this in the same way I was excited about Tahoe. But then again, my excitement about Tahoe waxed and waned. This is something I’d like to do, and I’ll see how it turns out in the end. Truthfully, I was full of doubts when I first started training for Tahoe, too. Hopefully I’ll find some joy and excitement along the way.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I’m in a bad mood today. I’ve vented, and vented, and vented and I still feel like crap. So instead of ranting, I’m going to count my blessings:

1. I’m going to a party tonight to send off Mojojoey for her professional triathlete debut at Ironman China! Go M.J.!!! I’m glad I have friends who do such cool stuff that I can be excited about.
2. My bike computer on Wednesday said I went about 2.5 mph faster than I have on any other ride I’ve done. I did the longest ride I’ve ever done (57 miles), and went 1 mph faster than my last 4+ hour ride.
3. I got dropped on Wednesday, but Coach did make some effort at making the ride more beginner friendly, and I stayed with the team for half the ride. He also encouraged me to hang in there, and I’ll be able to stay with the team the whole ride soon enough.
4. I asked for a raise this week, and it sounds like I’m going to get one.
5. I got to work on Monday and had flowers on my desk to thank me for the work I did on a proposal last week. It’s nice to be appreciated.

Coach H., one of the bikes coaches at T.S., tried to soothe me as he saw how nervous I was at the beginning of a ride once. He said "It’s only a bike ride. It’s not important. What do you do for work? That’s important. This isn’t important." It’s funny, I worked on a crazy, last minute deadline for a proposal worth six figures last week, and was hardly phased. I was cool as a cucumber when I asked for a raise, and am not the least bit nervous about whether or not I’ll get it. Yet, I’m terrified at the beginning of a group ride, and my athletic progress will make or break my day. Are my priorities screwed up? My job is often a welcome break from my training.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Anti Depressants = Instant Englightenment

This is a reprint of something I wrote 2 years ago. (Wow, have I been blogging that long?) Someone scolded me yesterday for being upset about getting dropped on a ride, so this is my way of venting a bit of my annoyance.

The Four Noble Truths (Buddhism):

1. Dukkha: There is suffering and impermanence in life for all beings.
2. Samudaya: There is a cause for Dukkha, which is attachment and desire (tanha).
3. Nirodha: There is a way out of Dukkha, which is to eliminate attachment and desire.
4. Magga: There are paths that lead out of Dukkha, one named: the Noble Eightfold Path. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths)

Anti-depressants are known to lower one's libido. I wonder if lowering your libido is a side effect or the actual mechanism by which depression is stopped. I mean, if the cause of suffering is desire (see second noble truth) maybe anti-depressants get rid of suffering by going for the root cause.

I'm neither an expert on nor proponent of either Buddhism or anti-depressants. And this is not an invitation for you to ask me about whether or not I'm depressed and if I'm thinking about going on anti-depressants. My biggest pet peeve is when people tell me I should be happier. I think I am a happy person generally, and if I want to be unhappy sometimes, it's my prerogative. I push myself beyond my limits sometimes, and that is my choice. As an athlete and an introvert, I sometimes try things that make me afraid; hence I'm not always in the best of moods. Life is all about taking risks, and sometimes they work out and sometimes they don't. Don't tell me I should be happy when I'm not. Sometimes I'm happy, sometimes I'm sad, sometimes I'm thoughtful, sometimes I'm spontaneous. Sometimes life sucks so badly that being happy is just completely inappropriate. One of my favorite all time lines from Say Anything. When Corey Flood tells Lloyd "We don't want to see you get hurt" while Lloyd considers asking out Diane, he defends himself by saying "I want to get hurt!" I reserve the right to do things that might end up hurting me, and I reserve the right to be hurt when things don't work out the way I want. If it bugs you, you have the right to ignore me, but you don't have the right to choose my mood for me.

I suppose in some ways this relates back to the Four Noble Truths. Maybe suffering isn't such a bad thing; hence desire isn't such a bad thing. Desire brings suffering, but it also brings joy. I think it's a bad thing to romanticize suffering, and to pursue suffering as an end into itself, but it isn't a bad thing to risk it.