Fit Enough

            I remember before Granite-Man this year a girl my age was doubting herself. She was nervous, asked if she could just do the swim and skip the bike and run. I somehow convinced her that she was strong enough to finish the whole thing, I pumped her up and got her excited for starting and finishing the race—and she did. She thanked me at the finish and was stoked she had done it! I was stoked she had finished it! Seeing other people succeed, helping them realize this is incredible and powerful.

            The power of other people lifting each other up is well, powerful. I competed in my first off-road triathlon on Sunday in Yellow Creek State Park near Indiana, PA. I was really excited to swim and run—not so excited for the 14-miles of terrifying mountain biking I that hadn’t trained for. I did the course Saturday afternoon and pretty much, after my third fall, I convinced myself I wasn’t fit to do it. I was afraid of hurting myself, ruining other peoples races and was just scared in general. My amazing community, over pre-race beers and burgers, convinced me I was fit enough. That I could take it at my own pace, that I was racing my own race and that I could do it. I could do it.

 

I did it.

 

It hurt. I was sore, and tired, and not smiling the whole time. But laughing before and after made up for the pain and nervousness. My tired body this week is testament to what my body can do for me. Resting is like a big thank you to my tired muscles. This post is a giant hug for all those who supported me.

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Seeking Shelter

I’ve been craving quiet lately. We live in such a media driven world where cell phones are ringing, text messages are coming through, snap chat, facebook updates, twitter posts…on top of that I live with boys. Well, father and son actually—son with a bum knee and a knack for falling asleep on the couch with the TV on or a video game controller still kissing his fingertips, I felt bad at first clanking around in the kitchen at 630am, but quickly remember he has his choice of three bedrooms upstairs to sleep in. Grind on, coffee maker, grind on.

            The television is generally turned on right away. Fraiser, Will & Grace, or some other sit-com is what blares at my brain by 8 o’clock. Not Matt Lauer, Al Roker or one of the other friendly faces on the Today Show—it’s laugh tracks and corner gay jokes are laughed at right on cue while I sip my coffee. Which is fine, I have a bedroom that I can seek refuge in, and I often do, grabbing my novel and hiding away under the covers with candle lit to cover up the stench of my work out clothes.

            By the time I head to the Tavern I work at, hungry families are lining up to order lemonades and afternoon beers. Families. That means children. Whenever a couple brings their child into the bar I find myself quoting Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama; “You have a baby…in a bar” [cue face drop] I was ready to join my co-workers for a smoke break after my 20 top that consisted of more children than adults…the tavern was taken over my ankle biting, high pitched screaming, sticky fingered children. I told my manager that that was the best birth control, ever.

 

My answer for some quiet this week? The pool. I swam competitively for nearly ten years. Swimming is comfortable, swimming is easy (unless I have a tough workout planned), swimming is like a big, quiet hug. I’ve been training for a triathlon, and eventually will be swimming the first leg of a half Iron Man this fall. Needless to say, I’ve been in the pool quite a bit lately. But today, today I appreciated the pool for more than it’s caloric burn, it’s ability to stretch my body and build my muscles—it was quiet.

            No. Wait. The deck wasn’t quiet at all. The lifeguards had music playing, there were children (though the pool is an appropriate place for those munchkins,) there were other swimmers swimming laps. I jumped in. In that moment being surrounded by bubbles, I recognized the silence under water. I had known how loud my life was outside, but I hadn’t realized how quiet it could be.

I seeked shelter there for an hour. Not enough, but enough for the moment. Just noticing this quiet refreshed me. As I put my ear buds in for my run home I played soft, soothing tunes that were enough to ease me back into reality.

 

Rock jumping in Ohiopyle, PA

Rock jumping in Ohiopyle, PA

 

           

What Are You DOING?!

I don’t how I do it, I don’t know why I agree, but somehow every season I get roped into and signed up for some sort of race. This year while volunteering at an adventure race in Ohiopyle, PA, my friend Ashley offered a comp entry into an X-terra she’s coordinating—THREE WEEKS FROM NOW. Time to get training.

 

            I’ve never claimed to be fast. I’ve never claimed that I’m going to win anything. I always just take pride in the fact that I’m out there trying. This morning I got on my mountain bike and took off for the Deep Creek State Park. Hopped on the trail and was quickly humbled by all the rocks, roots and technical ground I was covering. I got off and walked.

            The hill I climbed was on foot not by peddle. The hill I descended was on foot while pumping my squeaky brakes. I again had to cross the trail lifting the bike up a foot to clear the big rocks that I’m not skilled enough to ride. But at one point I looked up from the ground, steady with my footing, and noticed I was alone. I was out there on the trail alone. I was out there. That’s more than a lot of people I know can say about their morning.

            It didn’t matter that I wasn’t yet good enough to bunny hop over the ‘boulders’, or that my legs had a hard time pumping up the incline. I was in the woods, swatting the flies, sweating through my shirt, getting dirt on my legs doing it and loving it. What are you doing?

 

 

Seen on my ride

Seen on my ride