Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Genesis Home in the News

This past weekend, Ryan and I celebrated Memorial Day with a "staycation." Forget paying $4 per gallon at the pump. Instead, I relaxed by the poolside, had the time for a long ride with Ray, broke out my cookbooks for a triumphant return to the kitchen, and enjoyed dinner with friends -- and no travel recovery needed!

Reading the paper on Sunday morning, I was especially glad to be home to see this feature story on Genesis Home.

Planning to Peak

"Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."--William Faulkner

Spring is in full swing, summer is just around the corner, and my next triathlon is three weeks away! This second tri of my season will be my first A race. I'm preparing with race-specific workouts and a bit of a taper leading up to the big day.

This week begins my first peak block in training: less volume, more intensity, sprint-focused. For example, yesterday's 1900 yard swim workout was short on the yardage, but had these words written into the plan: fast, VERY fast, FASTEST 100 yet!

This post on Tri Fuel offers several recommendations on peaking for summer races -- many of which will be incorporated into my workout plans for the next few weeks. Perhaps, most importantly, I'll be spending some quality time sitting and visualizing success.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Getting Outside

"My only hope was to plug into something bigger than my pulsing mind, to flail around outside rather than within me. God can't clean the house of you when you're still in it. So I went for a walk in the hills..." - Anne Lamott, Grace Eventually: Thoughts on Faith

After hitting my half-way point in the midst of a big three week build and falling into the motivation black hole , getting outside literally - and figuratively - was I needed this week.

First, I literally immersed myself in the outdoors throughout this week's quintessentially gorgeous North Carolina spring weather: a long walk (with no training goals!) through the neighborhood after dinner, a 40-mile solo ride on one of my favorite routes through rural Orange and Alamance counties, several hours of disc golf on one of our most wooded local courses, a gourmet grilled dinner on the back porch amid the tiki torch glow. Simply glorious.

But perhaps more importantly, I let my mind and spirit outside for some play too! Loading new songs onto my iPod (thanks Ray!), adapting a prescribed workout to include some much needed yard work, simplifying my race schedule for the remainder of the year, allowing myself to simply rest all day on Monday - no guilt!, taking the time to finally finish a book that's been sitting on my bedside table for months, and just generally taking a break from reading, writing, and doing triathlon was just what the doctor ordered. I'm back now - physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Although it's literally a building with four walls, locks, alarms, and lots of rules, I think that Genesis Home actually allows the folks who live there to get outside too. It's a space where they can they can, as Anne Lamott says in the excerpt above, really plug into something bigger than their pulsing minds and get outside what they've always done, so that they can instead choose something else.

..and with that, I'm headed outside for a run!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Still Here....

No posting in the last week, but I'm still here!

Working out, enjoying my rest week, focusing on my day job.

Lots of stories to come soon.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ode to the Recovery Spin

"Total rest has its place, naturally, but so does an intentionally easy workout." - Sage Rountree, Sage Endurance Newsletter, April 2008

Each Thursday morning for the last three weeks, I've hopped on my bike and enjoyed the benefits of a nice and easy recovery spin: Forty-five to 60 minutes. High cadence. Low, low effort.

I've learned to look forward to it as my mid-week break. By the end of the workout, my legs actually feel better than I think they would have had I not done anything at all. The spring is back (well, almost!) and I'm ready to take on the tempo run that awaits me on Friday!

In response to fellow blogger Tri Greyhound's Blogger Poetry Contest, here's the haiku that came to mind during this morning's spin:

Spin, spin, spin: I ride,
Leaving behind heavy legs
and finding my kick!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Reminder of My Reasons

"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." -Henry David Thoreau

I reached the half-way point in my year full of excitement, pride, and gratitude.

I then immediately fell into a slump: unmotivated, really feeling the daily grind of my training plan, questioning how I can embrace these next 20 weeks with the same joyful spirit that have filled the first 20.

Having been here before, I know these feelings are temporary -- and will most likely be resolved by the rest week that starts next Monday -- but, to help get me through, I've been thinking a lot about my reasons.

Why am I doing this? What are my reasons for this year? Why triathlon?

Here's are the reminders to myself I wrote last night:

I crave the opportunity to push myself farther than I've ever gone before. I'm curious about how I will respond to the challenge. Triathlon allows me to be a student of this process.

Although, I'm lucky enough to have a job that truly helps to make a difference in the world, much of my average day is spent in a glorified cube, in front of a computer, typing away. When I walk into my office after a tough morning workout and leave in my running shoes, I feel like a superhero. Triathlon gives me that feeling day after day.

Thanks to being committed to training, my outside matches my inside: strong, focused, resilient - dare, I say - sexy. I'm more fit than I've ever been before. I like walking into any store and finding clothes that fit and feel good. Triathlon keeps my body - and my mind - in the shape I want.

Doing something that others may consider extraordinary - or extreme! - gives me a platform to raise awareness about an issue about which I care about deeply. Triathlon amplifies my ability to make a difference.

I've learned that it's possible to excel in areas that once seemed off-limits. Yes, we do have time to exercise. Yes, we can learn new skills. Yes, we can really improve. Triathlon gives me the privilege of being an example for my co-workers, friends, and family.

I want to show up on November 1 and race - not just hope and pray and stumble my way to the finish line. Showing up to race requires training - and some training weeks are tougher than others. Triathlon has revealed my inner athletic competitor and I like her.

This year is a gift. I may never again have this combination of time, money, and support. Triathlon helps me honor NOW.

I refuse to live a life of quiet desperation. Instead, this is one step I take every day toward a life of extraordinary. Triathlon frees my song.

Friday, May 9, 2008


"Believe you can and you're halfway there.” - Theodore Roosevelt

As of today, we're over half-way there! Five months and 166 training hours into a 10-month campaign and $3,680 raised toward a goal of $7,300 by November 1. Thank you for all of your generosity and support.

One Genesis Home family is half-way there this week too. This week N's family graduated from Genesis Home's Family Matters Program and moved into a permanent home of their own. N is the boy I raced in honor of back in February. Out of the structure shelter life provides, now is when the family's real work to not only remain financially and socially stable , but to thrive, actually begins.

I'm feeling like this month is when my real work begins too. Like N's family, what I do over the next few months will help determine whether I'll be successful in reaching my own goals. Because I know the basics, know what I need to do, have my systems in place, I could see how complacency happens.

I just don't feel like finishing this interval. I'll just skip an extra workout this week. What harm will more helping of unhealthy food do? Why am I doing this again?

Luckily, both N's family and I have support to help us succeed in this next stage of the journey. N's family has the out-of-shelter supportive services that Genesis Home's case management staff continue to provide to new graduates. I have my family, my coach, and you!

I hope you'll help N and me make it past the half-way point by making a donation to Genesis Home.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Committing to the Backbend

"When you practice backbends this way—honoring resistance, working with integrity and sensitivity—the result is not only more access to the benefits of backbends but an inevitable transformation of the elements within you that initially resisted the practice."- Kate Tremblay, Yoga Journal

This Yoga Journal article describes the experience I've often had in my yoga class. I practice yoga seeking sanctuary and can get frustrated when that peaceful, meditative place is interrupted by a pose that's just too darn hard!
The week, however, has been different. This time, I've committed to the backbend- both in the studio......
Committed to really using wisely the energy this pose takes and relaxing in any way I can.
Committed to knowing that I have enough air, strength, and patience to push up one more time.
Committed to noticing the intensity of feeling that this pose brings and sticking with it anyway.
....and on the running trail, trainer, pool lane....
Committed to sticking with a very full training schedule.
Committed to nailing my intervals.
Committed to focusing on form and heartrate when I feel tired and unmotivated.
Committed to remembering that this is a build week -- so don't back down!
Committed to my reasons.
One pose. So many benefits. Especially when it's hard.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Feeling It

All learning has an emotional base.”- Plato

All of sudden, there it was.

A good night's sleep. A normal Tuesday morning. A challenging hour-long ride on my trainer in the middle of a tough three-week build period.

...and a giant lump in my throat.

All of sudden, I was crying.

Pedaling away. Feeling the burn in every part of my legs. Thinking about the families living at Genesis Home and the work they do every day to change their lives. Remembering how far I've come in my own journey. Visualizing myself crossing the finish line come November. Getting all choked up.

That was my morning.

A wonderful reminder that all of this is bigger than me; that I do this for reasons I don't completely understand; and that, although the practicalities of training like this every day can in some ways become mundane, this experience is anything but routine.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Thank You Great Outdoor Provision Company!

"Charity begins at home and justice begins next door." - Charles Dickens
I'm thrilled to announce Great Outdoor Provision Company as the latest Tri to End Homelessness supporter!
GOPC is a locally-based outfitter with 9 stores throughout North Carolina. This year, GOPC will be joining the Tri to End Homelessness team and supporting Genesis Home through their annual coat swap, special merchandise offers, and more! I'll also be making regular contributions to the GOPC blog. Thank you!!
If your company would like to join GOPC in supporting Tri to End Homelessness, please be in touch. I'll post your logo on our blog, talk about your products in my posts, and Genesis Home will highlight your support in their publications. Plus, being part of ending homelessness in our community just feels good!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Not Minding our Own Business

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

My Tri to End Homelessness teammate extraordinaire and sister Rachel shared a funny story earlier this week that has me thinking about what is and is not our business - and how, when, and why we choose to get involved.
As longtime readers know Ray is in the first year of a very intense doctoral program and has taken this year off from racing. After an incredibly busy couple of months, capped by two weeks of stressful exams, Ray has this week off and has been enjoying returning to long runs in the woods with her dog, Laurel.
At the end of Tuesday's run, a fellow runner (and a stranger to Ray) and her dog flag Ray & Laurel down from across the street, insist that Ray remove her headphones, and proceed to tell Ray that she needs to slow down, because it seems that Laurel is not quite keeping up.
Uh, o.k.......
Now, I support ethical treatment for animals just as much as the next gal, but PUH-LEEEESE, Lady.
Or as my exact email reply to Ray read:
Are you freaking kidding me!!!!??? I mean, we're at war, we have a major election coming up, recession is upon us, and kids in schools need mentors. There are plenty of ways for this woman to get involved in her community -- without inserting herself directly into your life without invitation!

Now, I realize that this woman was probably just trying to do her part - as she defines it - to make our community a better place, but I'd like to offer a few additional suggestions for how she and all of us can truly mind our neighbors' business and get involved:
  • Do SOMETHING to end homelessness - -for people or animals. How about supporting the work that Genesis Home is doing everyday to end homelessness for families with kids and kids leaving foster care?
  • Go Vote - and get others to.
  • Volunteer for an organization with a mission that speaks to you.
  • Write a letter to the editor.
  • Protest.
  • Train for triathlons and raise money for the issue you believe in most.

Any of these will do...but, please, let my sister run in peace.