Perfectionism

So, I’ve been slowly wading my way through Brene Browns Daring Greatly and let me tell you, it’s a “one day at a time” sort of book. There is so much in there and it’s really got that researchers touch that appeals to the mathematician in me. Lady has mad skills.

So, she talks about certain shields that all of us as humans tend to apply to protect ourselves from being hurt, diminished, and disappointed. We wrap ourselves in a coat of thoughts, behaviors and emotions that we think protect us from harm.

I found that as I read some of the chapters I was saying “Huh, that’s what so and so does, that’s interesting” but then we hit the perfectionism chapter and I found myself underlining EVERY SINGLE PARAGRAPH and saying to myself “that’s what I do.” It was interesting to connect with some stuff so deeply.

Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving for excellence. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth. Perfectionism is a defensive move. It’s the belief that if we do things perfectly and look perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame.

–Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

Crap…girl just got all up inside my head. I totally see a lot of this in myself. The good thing is that after 7 years in triathlon I understand what striving for excellence means and have had many successful quests in this department. But I also identify greatly with the second sentence, the concept that perfection insulates me from judgement. I struggle when judged. Another quote that came later in the book ties in this with this. After I read this quote in the book I had to put it down for awhile. I really did. Mind. On. Fire. (Underlined Part)

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It’s this tightrope that has to be walked and I’m really coming to understand more and more that allowing yourself some leeway is so important. The perfectionist (me) struggles with leeway, with self forgiveness. It’s the little things: not being able to be everything to everyone, not being able to cook and clean and train and mother and get enough sleep and maintain meaningful relationships with my friends, my athletes, my coach, my parents, all while dressing cute and applying sunscreen (seriously, I feel like this last one is going to undo me sometimes). I’m incredibly hard on myself when I drop a ball, despite my intentions being in the right place all along.

Most perfectionists grew up being praised for achievement and performance (grades, manners, rule following, people pleasing, appearance, sports). Somewhere along the way, they adopted this dangerous, and debilitating belief system: “I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it. Please. Perform. Perfect.”

— Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

This last quote is in no way a dig on my parents. I have great parents, they taught me manners, how to respect others, and they taught me how to show people love with my actions. Both my parents are some of the most generous people on this planet, whether it’s with their time, their food, or their knowledge. They taught me to give of myself to others, to help and be available to people in need. I am one of the best mama bears you can have around you. I nurture people with my actions. It’s a big part of who I am and that’s what makes it hard to find that gap between ME and PERFECTIONISM. How do you keep the good stuff and let go of the shield. I’m learning it’s all in the WHY!

Perfectionism is more about perception than internal motivation, and there is no way to control perception, no matter how much time and energy we spend trying.

–Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

That was a big ah-hah. I really have to separate the intention behind my actions into two separate categories

— Because I want to  <—-GOOD

— Because I feel I need to for approval  <—-PERFECTIONISM

I have found that since reading this chapter from her book I find myself repeating “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of good” really often. Probably 3-5 times a day I catch myself doing something and I have to say those words in my head.

Dans ses écrits, un sage Italien
Dit que le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

(In his writings, a wise Italian
says that the best is the enemy of the good)

–Voltaire, La Bégueule

So, here’s to moving forward in a more half-ass way! It feels good to read a book for once that doesn’t make me feel like I need to be more, do more, be better, etc. I feel like the important take away from the book is to have the courage to be vulnerable, imperfect, and self-compassionate. That’s where important things in life start to come out of the fog. It’s a weekly thing for me. I find that I’m good, I’m cranking along, and then something will set me off, a missed session, a dirty house, being really tired, and suddenly my perfection-beast is screaming at me to buckle down, stop being lazy, do more, work harder, work faster, oh and smile through it. I’m still trying to really understand my triggers. It’s a work in progress.

 

Okay February, Let’s Do This

February is here. Wow and wow, February is here! Training the last few days has been poop. It’s hard to get motivated in the cold weather, with all the snow, but I’m getting it done. I just hate training when it’s a chore. I always like to find ways of making it fun and enjoyable. Even if it’s singing or downloading my favorite songs, I want the process to be enjoyable, because it’s my hobby and fun is a choice.

So, I would love to hear what some of you do to keep it fun and lively when you are getting bored on the trainer? Sometimes it’s the tinniest things, like a new favorite hat, or a new song on the playlist.

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After having traveled in January I came home excited about the prospect of being home the entire month of February. But then it snowed like every single day since I got home and now I’m ready to leave again. Haha!!

I will say though….I just applied for a travel visa….??!!!! To….???!!! Any guesses?

Some hints, I’m headed to a race, but I’m not racing. And….. it’s sometime in March.

This past weekend while the Broncos forgot how to play the game of Football Annie and I were working on her Valentines Day box. Did you have to make these as a kid? Valentines day was my second favorite holiday as a kid. Halloween being my first. But Valentines day….ooohhh, the making of all the little cards, then putting them in all your friends boxes. Then getting to open up your box and read all the notes. LOVE! Like totally LOVE!

Since Kindergarten Annie and I have sat down and worked on her box together. the first year her’s was covered with buttons and feathers. It was pretty cool and top notch for a 6 year old. Then last year we went big. We covered her box in the fake flowers. Actually, she covered it and I managed the glue gun. She said glue here, and glue away I did. It was beautiful and floral and amaze balls.

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This year she had decided on an ocean theme and I was thinking to myself, how the heck are we going to pull this off? So we went to Michaels for our hour of meandering and crafting our plan. Well, at Michaels she found these fairy garden lawn furniture do-hickies. That’s the best I can describe it. A trellis, bench, wheel barrel, you get the drift. The spark had struck. And then we were off. Rocks and fake plants (lots) and moss (several kinds) were procured. Then the idea of a pond was hatched, so pond rocks and sparkle ribbon was procured. I grabbed a few helpers, some more glue for the glue gun and we were out of there.

The process was the same this year. Annie thinks and brainstorms, says what she’s thinking and I help make it happen. I run the glue gun, she pokes, and cuts, and puts rocks down, and moves things, and creates cute little flower pots full of this and that. This was the Annie show. When we got done, we were all itchy from the moss so we had to go take a bath, but after that, we sat back and marveled at it. It was her best yet. She can’t wait to take it to school!

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And I gotta say, much to the distaste of Troy I do not put up a stink about the financial implications of these projects. Fine art costs! So what if it’s used for one day just to put Valentines in. We have so much fun with it, she’s so proud of it, and I let her get whatever she thinks she needs to make it happen. So yes, $120 Valentines Box and I could care less about the money. The memories are priceless and timeless. It’s the little things like this that are so hard to carve out for our children. The traditions that are so loved and cherished. These things are really important to me.

Yesterday I went on a cleaning and rearranging the whole house binge. That felt darn good. I moved some rooms around, finally got Troy to move his office from the family room, which I turned into a room for riding the trainer, into a spare bedroom we have. Now he has a room with a door that he can close and it’s quieter and lighter in there. Happy Troy. Lots of throwing away stuff and boy did it feel great!

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Today was super awesome. I spent several hours at Denver Fit Loft getting a Retul fit from Daniel there and it was awesome. I now am the owner of two fully built up TT bikes. Oh my! My CD01 frame was sitting in a closet and now it’s built up and fit to me, and will live on the trainer. A huge thanks to James at Tribella who built her up beautifully. I almost felt bad for my Illicito because she looks a little drab next to the CD01 now. Daniel did great getting the two bikes to match even though they have completely different head sets. I also filmed a video blog at the Denver Fit Loft:

Life for the rest of the week is about to get a little wild. Michelle has surgery to reconstruct her ACL Thursday and we are so excited that we get to bring her back here and take care of her for those first rough days after her surgery. Someone else for me to spoil with love! I’m really hoping that her recovery goes smoothly, so send her some healing vibes please.

Other than that, all is well and great! Oh and if you are looking for a good book to read, Katie and I are going to launch into Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. I loved her Ted Talk on vulnerability (13 million views!)

 

And Katie says we all need to watch the one she did on Listening to Shame.

 

Okay friends! I’m off to bed!

 

TriWhole30: Day 3 – Wildtree Giveaway

Giveaway….keep reading!!

Today was pretty awesome! I had a huge meeting with my swim coach and that got my brain juices flowing….gotta post a blog on the triathlon blog sometime soon over it.

I ran in the afternoon with Michelle. We didn’t go far since it was her first run in a month (since IMAZ). It was painful for her, but I felt good and mainly talked her ear off the entire time. I do that. I talk more than her. She still talks a lot, but get me going and you CAN NOT SHUT ME UP. It was one of those days.

So, I’m reading The Happiness Project. Thank you Gina, this was her suggestion and so far so good! I gotta share this quote from the book:

The most reliable predictor of not being lonely is the amount of contact with women. Time spent with men doesn’t make a difference.

-The Happiness Project

So, essentially men need time with women to not feel lonely, and women need time with women to not feel lonely. Everyone needs time with women! I was telling Michelle that a lot of days I speak more words to her than I do to Troy, and so this quote validated that for me. I need Michelle!

After our run, I didn’t have a recovery drink. I REALLY did not feel that I needed it and I went home and heated up some sweet potato and ground beef, had a pear along side too.

Dinner tonight was cleaning out the fridge of leftovers! Steaks, Chicken, sweet potato, veggies. It was a great hodge-podge of a meal that really filled me up.

On my run with Michelle today I asked if she would give away some Whole30 compliant stuff on my blog!!!! She said yes! Whoop!!!

I’ve never done this but here I go!

What can you win?

— A 3oz container of Ranchers Steak Rub: or as I call it RSR. I put this on everything, meat, veggies, you name it. Anywhere you would put salt and pepper, use this instead for MORE JOY!

— A 3oz container of Everything Spice Blend: I haven’t tried this yet, but Michelle says that if you take the goodies on top of an Everything bagel…that’s what’s in here. And Erin told me in the comments the other day that I HAD TO TRY IT, so I thought I would ask Michelle if she would give some away!

How do you win?

— Go like Michelle’s brand new Wildtree Facebook page. That will get you one entry.

— Send Michelle your email address so she can add it to her distribution when she sends out recipes and what not: Send to michelle_ford AT comcast DOT net . That will get you a second entry

— Then, just so we can keep track of you, leave a message here with which of those (or both) that you did.

When do you win?

Monday Dec. 23rd I will pick a random winner (or 2) and notify you here on this blog.

Tomorrow Troy and Annie and I begin an epic road trip out to California for the holidays. It’s going to take a couple days to drive there and recover from driving there! I’ll be back posting on the blog on Monday most likely. Have a great weekend everyone! Move your body every day, have fun with the holidays, but make the rest of the meals healthy and balanced!!

And guess what? Next week I’m going to get back to posting food pictures! My parents love to cook, so there should be lots of fun Whole30 cooking action happening! Stay tuned!

Book Report

I love when I get a reading itch! I seem to go through phases of how much I read and what I read. I’ve been hitting it hard recently and thought I would share the few books I have gotten through and my take on them.

Silent Tears – by Kay Bratt

I just finished this yesterday and it was rough. It’s the true story, in journal form, of an Expats time in China, and most of her time is spent volunteering in a Chinese orphanage. Which is an odd name because the children aren’t orphans, they’ve been abandoned because they have deformities or because they are girls. The one phrase I keep coming up with after reading this is “complete and utter disregard for the sanctity of human life.” It’s heard breaking, and the 4 years the author spends doing work there pretty much sucks her emotionally dry. There are things that you can’t unsee, and in my case, things you can’t unread. If you can get through this book without immediately wanting to adopt a Chinese “orphan”, then you are more emotionally resilient than me. Be prepared for total heart break with this one.

The Light Between Oceans – ML Stedman

A total page turner, set on an tiny Australian island occupied only by a husband and wife who tend the lighthouse, this book dug it’s way into my heart. It’s vivid and you immediately place yourself in the story, wondering what you would do. The wife has lost baby after baby when suddenly one washes up on shore in a boat with a dead man. The husband wants to play by the rules, but the wife just wants the baby. What to do, what to do? The book takes a few harsh turns, and in the end, I was laying in bed at 2am balling my eyes out. It wasn’t the ending I wanted, but I understood it, and I accepted it.

Beautiful Ruins – Jess Walter

Another island book, but this time an actress from a famous movie set appears there sick with stomach cancer in the 60s. The production company is hiding her away because she is actually pregnant by the main actor. A parallel story is running where an old man appears in the office of a famous producer in Hollywood, asking about the past. As the two stories collide you can’t wait to see how the middle of the story plays out. This book was awesome. I totally loved it, and the various stories that were woven in were so well done. This is the best book I’ve read in some time, loved it!

The Kitchen House – by Kathleen Grissom

Whew, plantation times, little Irish Lavinia is orphaned on the ship over to America and brought to the plantation of the ship owner as an indentured servant. She is raised in the kitchen house, but she is white, which is odd for everyone. It’s a story about the difficulties of being in two different worlds, heart in one, skin in another. This is one of those books that mounts and mounts and you know it’s going to blow up at one point. And it does, it blows up big, and leaves you up at 2am madly clicking the next button on your kindle. There’s no way for this one to end well, and lives are lost, but it’s a great read and worth the pain you know it will inflict.

Unbroken – by Laura Hillenbrand

Everyone is reading this book about Louis Zamperini, the famous American runner who is lost at sea in WW2. One third of this book would make for a great book but it keeps going. I won’t spoil it, but I will say that at the end of this book your jaw will be on the ground and you will feel privileged. No matter the hardships you have been through in life, I doubt that any of it compared to Louis’s life. The stories are all revealed in time, all the loose strings are tied up, and you will never be the same afterwards. This is a must read. Never Never Never Give Up!

HAPPY READING!!

MA and SJ

The last two days have been inspiration station! On Wednesday I heard that our local running shoe store was doing a fun run and afterwards Mark Allen, Luis Vargas, and Mighty Mouse Angela Naeth were doing a panel with Barry Siff moderating.

Please note here that although blurry, Barry is sporting a PxRx Hat. Boo to the Yaaa!

Then on Thursday night I had purchased tickets for a fun run and book signing with Scott Jurek in Boulder. He was showing a video and doing a panel chat and a reading. It was to be a busy few evenings, but with the opportunity to talk to some superior athletes and learn some stuff too.

Of course, I want to share it all here. Mostly because despite the fact that some of you read this…I read back on these things too. I like to get it all down before it fades.

L to R: Luis Vargas, Mark Allen, Angela Naeth, Barry Siff. L to R: BAMF, BAMF, BAMF, BAMF

Of course when they asked for questions from the audience my hand was the first one up (duh…overachiever #1 here). I asked Mark to give me some advice since I am 11 days out from CDA on what I can do at this point to set myself up for a good race. I actually phrased it more like “There are a lot of us here doing CDA, can you give us….” but really, I just wanted to sit in a room with him and pick his brain for about 18 hours. So yes, clearly the hay is in the barn at this point from a training perspective, but come on folks, training is only 1/2 of 1/2 of the battle. So what can we I do at this point? Here is what he said.

  • Make sure this week that you get everything for the race set aside in a corner of your house or room. Make sure you have enough water bottles, that the bike is tuned up and ready to go. Do all of that this week and don’t leave any running around to next week.
  • This weekend he suggested a 1:15 run on Saturday, followed by a 3:00 ride on Sunday
  • On Thursday of next week he suggested a 30 min swim, followed by a 1:30 bike, followed by a 30 min run. He said to get those done as early as possible in the day. The point here was to deplete the glycogen reserves 72 hours out of the race. He said they take 72 hours to completely refill and after this workout is when you should focus on getting the glycogen nice and full by adding a serving of carbs each day, don’t go overboard.
  • On Friday he suggested a day off. He said this was the most important day for rest so he would make sure to be in bed come 6pm and to sleep in the following day (Saturday) as much as possible (I find it interesting that the day you need the most rest is the day they keep you out until 10 pm with a banquet and mandatory race meeting)
  • Saturday he suggested a 20 min swim, 30 min ride, 10 min run all back to back to back, and then eat early and get to bed. He said sleep the night before is not a big deal. If it doesn’t happen that’s fine, it’s 2 days before that’s really important
  • He said to focus on hydration at least 3 full days out from the race. It takes that long for your cells to really fully hydrate. He also suggested over-salting foods during this time period.
  • He also advised against doing a lot of heavy thinking the week before the race. He talked about how our brain needs to stockpile resources for race day as well. So having a quiet mind and allowing the brain rest as well was important
  • He said the most important thing on race day was the ability to quiet the mind. He talked about positivity and how people always talk about having to stay positive in an Ironman, but he said that sometimes there isn’t anything positive to find in the situation. If you are hurting and struggling, there isn’t a lot of positive stuff to focus on, so he said that he prefers to quiet the mind, stop the chatter, and race. Once he figured out this skill, his racing took on a new dimension.

Those were the major points of his answer to me. He got asked another question about balance in life. He brought up that he loves to surf and someone asked if he and Luis advise athletes to take breaks on a weekly, or monthly basis to seek balance. There were some great comments from Luis and Mark on this one.

  • Luis said that something he sees interacting with a lot of athletes is the concept of honesty. You have to be honest with yourself and your needs. Different people need different things and part of this sport is assessing your own needs. He said most AGers do the sport as a hobby and a passion, and so they need to be honest with what their needs for a balanced life are.
  • Mark brought up an interesting point. He asked how many people went on a 6 hour ride last weekend? A lot of hands went up. He said “There is nothing balanced about a 6 hour ride.” On a day to day basis balance does not exist. He said that what he sought was balance over the year. So when he was training for Hawaii, the 7-8 weeks before it was all tri all the time. Nobody saw him unless it was in a training setting. But then after Hawaii he would take 2 months off and would see his friends and family, and have a lot of fun with them. He said his life was balanced over the year, but not in any one day or week.

Everywhere I had read that Mark was kind of a serious guy, but I didn’t find that at all. He cracked a lot of jokes and he exuded a very quiet and confident peace. He has that ability to relax a room full of people and to make the task at hand seem easier and more straight forward than you might have once thought.

I didn’t talk much about Ang. She was asked a lot of questions about her own training and her work with Mark. The talked about breaking her season into thirds and how that has helped her this year. I can tell that she is happy and thriving, which from a friend point of view makes me happy too.

So, last night was Scott Jurek. I went to the fun run with him and 200 other people that I didn’t know. But I did make some friends. These two were totally cracking me up and I’m sure that I’m going to be addicted to their YouTube feed for years to come. They were hilarious and adorable all at the same time.


When we got off and running I was in the front and Scott was right there. See…


And this is what it looked like behind me…

Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute…make all of your overachiever jokes now…

Done?

Okay, I got to talk to Scott a little, tell him I really enjoyed his book, listen to some things he had to say about his experiences writing it and going on this book tour. All in all it was well worth it to get to run a bit with him. He’s a really chill, and a really NICE guy. You just get that feeling straight up.

During the book signing he did a reading, and they had a panel discussion. This really got my thoughts flowing as I sat and listened to them speak about ultra running. As silly as this sounds, Ironman is about speed and the pain to go fast, the pain to turn yourself inside out, while all around you other athletes are posturing, walking, blowing up, puking, and then some of them passing you, hurting more than you, better than you. Ultrarunning is different, even for the guys at the top, ultra running is about pain. The genetic factor has honestly been mostly removed with ultra running and the guys who excel are uniquely a different breed.

The question was asked “why?” It always gets asked. But this time is was more like “What kind of sick demented person does 100 mile races and does well at them?” One of the panelists answered…At the core of it, most great ultra runners don’t feel like they are good enough. They hit the trails to either punish themselves for that, or to try to prove that they are good enough.

Damn. Someone finally sat there and told it like it was… only in ultra running. It was none of this CW BS “I’m just trying to get the most out of my body” (say it in a British accent…). No, at their core, anyone who repeatedly goes out there to F themselves up royally (do I need to repost the pics of my toenails from the Moab 100?) is trying to prove something. Either to others (that usually doesn’t work) or most likely to themselves. That point was discussed and it was dead on.

Why do people that clearly excel at things need to hurt themselves to prove worth? Well, for that you are going to need a chaise lounge and a few hundred hours. Sometimes, 100 miles on foot is just easier.

After the panel Scott stayed around to sign every single persons book, and I know that because somehow I ended up at the end of the line. He spoke with every person, he was genuine, he asked them about themselves. He was just a cool dude. He asked Annie if she was a runner. She said yes.

These last two evenings, while they threw me out of my routine, they were really good, and really needed. I have been really focused on the “work” these last weeks and I have worried about my fitness level, especially after the saddle sore incident. Following a new plan this year it’s been hard for me to feel like I am ready. I’ll say it, I don’t feel fit, not like I have been in the past. These last two nights I was reminded that good performances can come from a place of insecurity. They can stem from something to prove, to yourself, to others. So maybe going into this race feeling like I’m not “there”  is an okay place to compete from.

PMA

Years back when I was just starting down this triathlon road I spent a weekend in Pueblo with our good friends Michelle, Ron and Sam. I believe I spent a portion of the mini vacation drunk on Pomegranate Liquor, getting the sprinklers turned on me, and enduring a horrible puking session. Not my finest moment but there are always positives that come out of extreme puking sessions. One thing I took away from the weekend, other than the fact that getting drunk is just not for me any more was my friend Ron’s term “PMA.”

I love it and use it ALL the time, a gift from him to me.

PMA…Positive Mental Attitude.

Some people just have it and for some it’s work. People think I am one of those who just have it and I guess most the time I am, but other times not so much, like when I was praying to the porcelain gods and wondering why I spent $40 on a bottle of pink booze that was now headed to the sewer.

That weekend cemented the concept of PMA into my heart and mind and I’ve been running (and riding and swimming) with it ever since.

I’m reading a great book right now that CV suggested. A quote, if I don’t mind myself:

In every pursuit, focus drives consistent high-level performance. The recipe for high-quality focusing is simple – stay positive and stay fully connected.

— Terry Orlick

It’s true that your ability to remain positive in all situations will give you a leg up on your competition, and even if it doesn’t….at least you will have a positive outlook on things. See, I just think the happy route is definitely the way to go. If you are fast and happy, you’re good. If you are slow and happy, still good. But if you are fast or slow and unhappy…no bueno. If you are slow and unhappy, I’m pretty darn sure that shifting to slow and happy will give you the best chance at becoming fast and happy. See what I mean?

But how does one just develop a happy positive attitude? What if you are a pessimistic person, or worse yet, a pessimist who says “I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist.” I say “You’re in denial.”

Frist things first, I think most of us would agree that our lives are a series of choices. Even if you are prone to making excuses, deep in your heart, you know that with everything that happens to you in life, the reaction you have is a choice, an active choice on your part.

Choose to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Choose to focus on the opportunities rather than the obstacles. Choose to bring a fully connected focus to your practices and performances. Choose to focus fully on the step in front of you rather than on distractions. Chose to live and perform closer to your potential.

— Terry Orlick

Sometimes we make mistakes though. Sometimes it’s not all hearts an flowers. Having a positive attitude doesn’t have anything to do with what happens TO YOU. Yes, it’s not always peaches and cream. But your REACTIONS, the way you process the stimuli that comes into your sphere of influence, well that, my friends, is entirely on you. Have some PMA.

If you want to keep your snowball of postive results rolling, then process each day by revisiting the positive parts of the day, the stuff that rocked the house. Also take time to assess the parts of your training or performance that can be improved, take stock, make some adjustments and move on. If you are to “dwell”, then dwell on the positives. But dwelling is best done when we are in our graves…plenty of time to sleep then as well.

“Grow from setbacks by channeling their lessons and energy towards improvement”

— Terry Orlick

We can all be a little bit better in all that we do. If we wake up each day, ready to attack it with PMA and a new plan to learn from the lessons of yesterday, then before we know it those days have piled into massive amounts of fun, fitness, and joy. Rest assured, results will follow, and if they don’t, you’ll be too busy having fun to notice.

PMA…think about it.

Tucson Camp #2

This past week PIC Michelle Ford and I headed back to Tucson to get pummeled by coach fantastico Chuckie V and his much more attractive sidekick Angela Mighty Mouse Naeth (who are in a bit of a Twitter war to get more followers than each other, I linked their accounts above). The first time PIC and I went to Tucson we were so excited. This time we knew better, we were excited, but it was mixed with a sort of fear. Last camp was hard, fun but hard. We knew better than to think we were headed to Disneyland.

Camp did not start with swimming! What? Wow! We got to sleep in (which we didn’t) and build up our bikes during the first morning. We were off to Mt Lemmon, but this time Chuckie said “no cookie”. It was a chilly day and we enjoyed the views together up to mile 15 and then hit it hard for several repeats up the lower miles.

A run off the bike with some “whew” efforts in there, a trip to Trader Joes and we were ready to sleep like logs. We bought way too many groceries at Trader Joe’s, we weren’t even sure how we were going to get it all home. It’s getting a bit frightening how well Michelle and I sleep together. So many years, so many trips, so many races, we sleep better together than we do with our hubbies.

We knew it wouldn’t last for long, the next morning we were up and at ’em and in the pool. We have the coolest pool to swim in, it doesn’t have any lane lines, just lines on the bottom. It’s great for drafting practice. Saturday morning we swam the hardest swim workout of my entire life. On paper it seemed pretty straight forward, but during it there were a few near drowning moments. I survived, but the next day I was quite sore from it.

Saturday we also headed to the track for some work there including a MAF test. We do these quite often, as do all my athletes. If you haven’t read Phil Maffetones new Book The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing you need to. It will rock your world. Maffetone lives in the Tucson area. He’s made people fast for years.

We had the best easy spin that evening that turned into a 2.5 hour “tour de Tucson”. It was warm out, and sunny and we got to tour all around the university and downtown, and the bike paths. We had so much fun chatting about life, and sport, and being happy. Whatever it Takes!

Sunday we were back in the pool, duh. We made Chuckie a scrambled egg breakfast and he went easier on us. Then it was off to MIDDLE OF NOWHERE AWESOMENESS for the day. Oh my, this was one of my favorite training days ever. We rode and rode and rode, out past the town of Oracle and into lands of beautiful smooth road with fun whoop-dee-doos and twists and turns. There were Saguaros with 20 arms (really old) by the hundreds. We rode in the middle of the road, we didn’t see anyone. It was AWESOME.

We had a couple hill repeats to get in and these were so fun. We had 30 minutes of hill that was relentless and we got to go for it. It was a particularly cool day for PIC as she made a bit of a breakthrough that made me smile inside. Training with Chuckie is so interesting because we both know that he is giving us the work that is best for each of us. Sometimes I progress, sometimes she progresses, and overall we both have made lots of progress. The nice thing is that we can celebrate each others ahh-hah moments, and we support each other through the lulls. Seeing PIC fight tooth and nail to hurt herself out there was awesome. Angela was with us for one of the repeats and she didn’t break a sweat, but was always there to offer a smile, a nudge, or a wheel to pull you back to where you needed to be. It all just flowed.

After our killer repeats we headed out for a little run. It just so happens that our route intersected the Arizona trail. It’s 800 miles of trail across Arizona. We have to watch out around things like this. Chuckie has hiked the PCT not once, but TWICE and when he sees trails like this we have to chain him to the bumper for fear of loosing our coach back to the wilderness! He starts getting all excited and we have to bait him back with the promise of ice cream and that we will be good athletes.

 

This was a tough run to turn around on. I wanted to run for miles and miles and miles, and had I been alone, I would have. The scenery was insane, just beautiful with tons of cacti and perfect dirt single track trails. There was nobody out there and the stillness and peacefulness are something I will remember for a long time. It always amazes me just how quickly you can get away from it all, even when you live or are near major cities. These trails are barely used, yet quiet peace is so close to the city, just a short drive away.



I love the “pedestrian crossing” sign. Since the Arizona trail crosses the road, they put a pedestrian sign. Seems a little out of place, eh? Of course Michelle and I are maximizing our nerdliness in this photo. I can’t even tell you what we were doing, it’s top secret.

You just have to be a little careful out there not to step on these guys. They will get ya if you run a little wonky or don’t watch where you are going.

Monday we were back in the pool for another pummeling. This one was particularly fun because we did 5 bajillion sets of 12×25 and we got to draft PIC Michelle on every one of them. She had me on her right side and Angela on her left. We were scratching her, grabbing her, trying to hang on for dear life. But it upped our game. She swam for her life to get away from us an we swam for our lives to hang on.

Sometime during camp we were renamed from the “PIC chicks” to the “Housewives”. I don’t know quite how that happened but it was a title we both immediately embraced. Oh look, you just got passed by a pair of housewives. Hold one, let me take off my apron before I school you in the pool. It just stuck. Housewives…I still laugh just thinking about it.

My favorite line from PIC

“Would you like a martini with that unexpectedly hard swim??”

After the unexpectedly hard swim we were off for a trail run while Angela Mighty Mouse Naeth got her bike on. Madera Canyon was our destination. This place is truly a gem in the Tucson area. It’s a must see. I was totally ready to move in here.

We got in a great trail run where I made it up to 8,780 feet of elevation, so close to the summit of Mt.Wrightson. Sometimes you gotta save something for the next trip. Chuckie got a chuckle out of all the responces and comments from the hikers comming down the mountain.
“Did you see those two girls running?”
“They were German.”
“No, they were European.”
“The first one wasn’t very nice, she didn’t even say anything.”
What a hoot. Barreling down miles of technical single track fulfilled this deep love I have for trail running. I am most calm out there on the trails and hard charging technical downhill makes me feel so alive. Of course two days latter my quads don’t feel so “alive”.
The drive home Chuckie wore his helmet the entire time. Yes, this is my coach, he always keeps us laughing.
The following day it was time for PIC and I to depart. But FIRST…we were blessed with another sweet swim workout brought to us by Chuckie V! Onto the plane, we had to kiss Chuck and Ang goodbye. It was all bitter with no sweet. We wanted to stay, we had so much fun with them. I think what was so motivating was to see the care that Chuck and Ang take with each other. She is this hard core athlete with so much talent, and he has been there, has the war stories and the knowledge, and is trying to make her great. They are a great duo and I’ll never forget the many lessons I have learned from both of them. Thanks Chuckie and Angela for all you do for me, it’s such a gift to have you both in my life.
Really Coach, it’s Tomato Juice!!!!

R&R in Summit County

So my parents planned this great ski vacation for Christmas break. I’m sitting up in Summit county in a hotel in peak ski season and guess what? I’m not skiing. My knee is giving me some trouble and I am letting it heal. Getting in proper ski position hurts it the most, which makes me think I hurt it skiing rather than running. I have never had a single knee issue in my life, so this is a little disheartening. So, instead of hitting the slopes with my dad and Troy, I’m hanging out in 3 degree weather with Annie and my mom.

I’ve been catching up on my reading, in fact I just finished A Million Little Pieces. Wow, I just could not put it down. This book was all the rage a few years ago, but when accusations surfaced that the author skewed the facts it got a bit of a bad wrap. I had stayed away from it because of what I had heard. My mom gave it to me a few months ago and I just got around to starting it. I keep a stack of unrad books in my bookshelf and the ones I’m less excited about always seems to stay on the bottom of the pile. BUT, when I am reading a lot I end up with only the books on the bottom and sometimes I am so surprised at what gem I let sit there for months. I could not put it down. I don’t read in the car b/c I get sick, but I read it on the entire drive up to the slopes. I couldn’t put it down for three days. The author refers to a book called Tao Te Ching. I had never heard of it, but apparently it’s well known. I really liked all the quotes he used from the book, ones like this:

Knowing others is wisdom;
Knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self requires strength;
He who knows he has enough is rich.
Perseverance is a sign of will power.
He who stays where he is endures.
To die but not to perish is to be eternally present. (chap. 33, tr. Feng and English)

The book is supposedly a memoir about the authors time in rehab. I am content to see it as fiction, and even in that light, it holds it’s own. I was very fond of the style of writing. Good Book.

Next up, The Sound of Butterflies. Two chapters in, and I’m really excited about this one. It’s old-worldly and descriptive. I’m excited.

AND…after that? Humm. I’m really in the mood for a good non-fiction book. Not quite sure what type. Nothing political, or war related, but maybe something finance, adventure, or self discovery-ish. I would like to know more about Coasta Rica as well. Anyone out there reading have any good suggestions?