Last Tuesday I got kicked out of two coffee shops.
I wasn’t causing a ruckus; I was just unaware that Santa Monica shuts down at 6PM on weekdays. At least, the off the grid spots I like to visit vs. the standard, visible on every other block Starbucks or Coffee Bean that are my usual haunts, that Tuesday was special, because I was on vacation. Yes, I was only about thirty-five minutes from my house, but it felt like a galaxy far, far away because I was waiting for one of my best friends to arrive from Denver for a quick, yet perfect thirty-six hour visit.
My friend Susie Wood is a phenomenal human being.
We met in our college dorm our Freshman year at CU, (Libby Pit), and have been great friends ever since. However, we have spent minimal time together since I moved back to LA in 2001, because of course, life happens. Susie is the mother of three amazing kids, wife to a wonderful guy, a business owner, and singer/song-writer, so her choice to spend her rare free time, (her kids were away at camp), visiting me in LA, proved to be the magical tonic to truly pull me out of my not-so-mini-midlife crisis, and drop back into the world again.
In body, heart, mind, and soul I was ready to feel like myself again.
Lucky for me, I got to run FAST on the track with friends on Thursday, ride up and down one of the most beautiful and challenging climbs in the Santa Monica mountains, Mulhulland, on Saturday, compete in an open water swim in the ocean with friends, teammates, and my coach cheering us on Sunday morning, and capped it off by showing the gorgeous terrain of my home town to my teammate from Virginia during a long run after the race.
It was an incredible week filled with good times with great people.
But, the most important part, the few moments that centered me fully, I spent all by myself.
I had been up early and going all day Sunday, starting with the drive to the swim race, charged with emotions of racing again, and then being absolutely pummeled, (and doing some pummeling of my own), in the water among hundreds of men and women thrashing through the waves at the start, by far the nuttiest mass start I had ever swum, but I loved it! I felt smooth and strong in the water, and enjoyed every second of it. I did not bring home any hardware, but I was more inspired than ever to become a good swimmer. It may take another forty years, but I’m in. Watch out, Lucy.:)
The run after the swim was challenging. It was longer than I had run in a while, and hilly, but my lungs were champs, and my energy never waned, it was a gorgeous morning to run, but after it ended, I still wasn’t finished.
Next, I climbed into my Jeep and drove the hour long mind-numbing stretch along the 405 freeway north from the South Bay, up and over the Sepulveda pass, and slammed back down into the reality of Summertime livin’ in the valley. I could’ve finished up the remaining miles of my run the high 90’s middle of the day heat, but I opted to drive a little further west and run them in the chilled peace and quiet of my gym.
The next forty three minutes humming along the belt of my favorite treadmill were not the most spectacular or Superhero-like strides of my life, they were modest, yet consistent, which is what they were supposed to be. My body felt fine, my legs were happy and willing to assume their position as the praised workhorses who never let me down, my lungs and heart were steady and comfortable lending me as much oxygen as I desired, and my mind was fully awake to absorb and allow me to enjoy it all, my favorite part of life, the majesty of movement.
At last, I was back.
The song and video choice this week is a shot back to 2014, but I love the song, and it is fitting for the theme this week, plus the video is adorable, American Author's, Believer.