Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why Not Dream?

I was wondering...After a long Christmas night in the fog and cold, did Rudolph's nose crack and peel? Or is there a reindeer moisturizing secret? Because after three days of nearly continuous nose-blowing, I look like Rudolph and I can't find a remedy that doesn't burn when I put it on. And I've suffered enough.

Just when I was feeling better after a month of yuckiness, I got "the cold" that seems to be going around the entire Northeast. It's nasty and sneaky. I, like others who've had it, got a "little touch of something" that started to go away after a week, then, "bang," the real germs attack. The ensuing running nose was so bad that I took a day off from teaching yoga.

Image of a container of Vicks VapoRub
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Needless to say, the training drought continues. I am doing some strength training in preparation for and while teaching a new yoga and weights class I added to the yoga studio's schedule (The class is called Yoga Body Shop and for those in the area you can find it on the schedule if you're interested in trying it.), but the treadmill and bike trainer are gathering dust while I spend time in bed, snuggled under the covers with my humidifier and a jar of VapoRub.

Since I'm in bed anyway, why not dream? I've been dreaming of the upcoming race season. It's going to look like this:

Saturday, April 7th:  Glens Falls Rotary 5K at SUNY Adirondack in Queensbury, NY. Just to shake out my legs and give me an incentive to get back to training. (There's a good article at Beginner Triathlete about getting out of training droughts here.) This race, coincidentally, marks the end of the winter training plan that I have been neglecting to follow and, after an unstructured easy week, the start of my half-ironman training plan.

Sunday, May 20th:  The New York/Vermont Champlain Bridge 5K in Crown Point, NY. This is the coolest 5K I've ever seen. As part of a weekend celebrating the opening of the new Champlain Bridge, we get to run 5K over the bridge, from New York to Vermont. How many 5Ks take you from one state to another? Plus we get to run on a brand-new bridge that was designed by an engineer who grew up in Schroon Lake.

Saturday, June 30th:  North Country Triathlon in Hague, NY. I'm returning to the scene of my very first triathlon for a third go at the sprint-distance race. I considered the olympic-distance race, but I don't think I can get enough swim time after the lake melts (and warms up to a reasonable temperature) to be ready for the longer swim. Besides, there is a hill in the sprint bike course that needs to be taught a lesson.

Wednesday, July 4th:  Montcalm Mile in Ticonderoga, NY. Just for some Independence Day fun during the summer when I normally can't take time off from teaching yoga to race.

Sunday, September 2nd:  BIG George Triathlon in Lake George, NY. My first half-ironman distance triathlon! 70.3 miles! Enough said.

Sunday, September 23rd:  Adirondack Distance Festival Half-Marathon in Schroon Lake, NY. Third year in a row for my hometown race, this time on my 45th birthday. Finishing under 2:10 would be a nice birthday present, and a nice end to my race season.

I've also been dreaming about the new road bike I'm going to buy when our tax refund arrives. My 1970's Schwinn 10-speed is retiring from triathlon. I haven't made the final decision on a bike yet, but I'm close. Pictures will be posted.

During rare moments when I'm not spending my bed rest dreaming of riding 56 miles on my new bike, I'm thinking about my ongoing battle with nutrition. I've decided to follow the plant-based nutrition plan in Brendan Brazier's book Thrive, almost. (I get very spacey without any animal protein and I'm not sure I can live for long without cheese, so I'm going to have some occasionally.) While I know what foods I should be eating, like training I eat better when I'm following a specific plan so I don't have to think too much. What Brendan suggests is close to the diet I followed when I did a week-long cleanse with Leslie Hadley of EveryBODY Wellness last fall, only geared towards supporting endurance sport training. After that week I felt great, so I'm excited to see how it works long-term.

The biggest dream? An entire season of feeling good and staying healthy. I plan to start on that dream right after I stop coughing.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fat Tuesdays

There was a conversation in our house yesterday that went something like this:

Me: "Oh my gawd, I just figured out that the whole Fat Tuesday celebration is about doing whatever you plan on giving up for Lent alot, because it's the last day you can."
Mardi Gras Day, New Orleans: Krewe of Kosmic D...
Image via Wikipedia

Hubby: "You JUST figured that out?"

Me: "Yes. I guess I never thought about it before."

Hubby: "Wow, your ability to be clueless is astounding."

So the next time I go to a Mardi Gras party I'll know what's going on, finally.

I don't follow a religious tradition that gives stuff up for Lent, but I have my own Fat Tuesdays. Sometimes I have Fat Sundays, Fat Fridays and the occasional Fat Thursday. They occur on the day before a new training plan starts, or I plan some nutritional changes, or I make a promise to myself to spend less time watching Netflix so I'll be more productive. As soon as I make a choice, I feel compelled to watch the remaining episodes of whatever I'm watching, eat all the junk food in the house or take a few days off from working out.

When I plan to start something at the beginning of next month, which is, say, a week and a half away, things can get pretty out of hand. Like Mardi Gras, but with less dancing and more dishes piled in the sink.

I totally get the Fat Tuesday thing now. How about you? Do you have your own Fat Tuesdays? And, if you gave something up for Lent, what was it?

I gotta get me some beads...

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012


sim-plic-i-ty (noun) The quality or condition of being plain or natural.

I like to tell people I'm living the simple life. And the people I tell like to raise their eyebrows at me, especially if they've seen my to-do list.

I'll admit, trying to grow a fledgling yoga studio in the conservative and economically depressed Adirondacks, launch a personal training business, take care of a husband, two kids, two dogs and a cat, train for the upcoming running/triathlon season, knit, bake, plan a kitchen garden and spend time on my own yoga mat doesn't sound simple. I do feel a bit overwhelmed at times. Every now and then I want to crawl into my bed and hide until the world goes away.

Thanks to the work I've been doing with my life coach, I recently had a realization about the things that sent me diving for the cover of a down comforter. And it goes right back to simplicity.

Have you ever thought about what you value? I've thought about it quite a bit lately, thanks to pages of life coaching homework. And I have a pretty good idea of what's important to me.

When I live simply - naturally - I spend my days doing things that fit with what I value. When I'm overwhelmed, I'm trying to do things that feel unnatural, because they are out of alignment with what's important to me.

I'd really been struggling with some of the day-to-day mundane "have-to-dos." Things like paying bills and filing papers weren't in sync with values like "adventure" and "freedom." For the record, "I didn't feel like paying bills" is not an excuse the credit card company will accept, and monitoring the caller ID to avoid the credit card company does not create a sense of freedom. However, once I realized that financial independence would give me the freedom to pursue more adventurous goals, I made a plan to pay off all our debt except the mortgage within five years. Suddenly paying bills lined up with a value and I've been on top of that task ever since. I'm also free to answer the phone.

When each thing on my to-do list reflects my values, life flows naturally. And that's how to keep it simple, sunshine.
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Friday, February 10, 2012

A Good Day

This afternoon two brilliant, funny and inspiring women sat at my dining room table and took the first steps in manifesting big things. While they planned, I baked cookies. (They were chocolate chip cookies and at this moment they are being devoured by my son's Cub Scout pack.) It was a very good day.

I've been on an interesting journey since my last post and was very happy to have a good day.

The ladies in my dining room this afternoon were life coach Anne Gregson and freelance writer Beti Spangel, who were the facilitators of the amazing Adirondack Women's Empowerment Retreat which took place this past January 20th - 22nd. I was there, teaching yoga classes and helping our friend Kim in the kitchen. I was blessed to be able to watch the weekend unfold. Twelve special women came together and, guided by Anne and Beti, experienced some truly transformational moments. I was blown away by their strength, optimism and openness. I was also very impressed with Anne and Beti, both of whom overcame self-doubt and fear and together created something magical.

I came home from the retreat feeling like I was standing on top of a mountain. A few days later I started to slide down the other side.

It's all physical stuff. And it's stuff that's way too personal to get into here. Suffice it to say that there is a doctor and there is a treatment that may or may not work but in the meantime is making me feel yucky. And I may or may not have had a stomach bug as well, but the symptoms are the same so who can tell? Oh, and my knee hurts again. I think it was just missing the attention.

What does all this mean? It means I haven't been training. Not at all. My treadmill is getting dusty. I am six weeks from my first race of 2012 - a local 5K - and I'm not sure I can run three miles right now. But I'm getting better. Today I didn't feel sick, part of the reason for the good day. So there's hope that I will be training again soon.

Meanwhile, I've done some other stuff.

I'd been enjoying participating in 31 Days of Adventure until the ickiness started. Then I enjoyed seeing where others went with it.

I watched Solitaire, a really beautiful and awe-inspiring movie about backcountry skiing. Then I added visiting Patagonia to my bucket list.

I created a new page in the visual journal I started a year ago during the Inside Out e-course.

I worked with Anne (she's my life coach) on some things I'd been putting off, like conquering the big pile on my desk. It was scary, but I did it and it was satisfying to see the top of my desk again.

Once my desk was clean the rest of the house fell in line. Which left me with time to bake. Today's cookies were a deviation from the pie-baking roll I've been on. I'm determined to perfect my pie crusts. And I can't forget the biscuits. The other day I made biscuits that came out of the oven three inches high and incredibly flaky. My pastry knife is getting a workout, even if I'm not.

When I'm baking I feel totally at home in the kitchen. And I feel creative and powerful. So could there be a better thing to do when two other creative and powerful women are in my dining room putting their heads together to find ways to help other women feel creative and empowered in their own lives? 

Besides, we think better with cookies. Especially if they're chocolate chip.
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