How do you spend your mornings before 6AM? Are you sleeping, writing, sipping coffee, meditating, swimming, running, lifting weights, leading a conference call covering multiple time zones, or lying awake in bed wondering how to tackle the mountain of tasks the day promises to deliver over the next few hours while a couple heavenly creatures lick your face? Inside a certain corner house in Granada Hills, CA, the one slathered in a garlic infused gloppy substance used to deter unwanted four-legged strangers, some version of one of those activities occurs before 6AM every day.
Yep, we had “Paul” the possum move in about ten days ago, but we think/hope he is gone now. No one wants to approach our house since it is currently emitting a nuclear whiff of garlic bread that promises to rid unwanted guests of any species from approaching too closely.
Oh, the joys of home ownership.
I start every morning writing at least one page in my journal, and some days, the special days, I sit down in front of my laptop and let my fingers dance across the keys to choreograph sexy sentences that I hope to share with the World Wide Web every Tuesday. However, most of those sentences are not sexy. Rather they're sloppy, disjointed, too prude, or too aggressive to share with anyone other than my present and future self who appreciates their expression and design, but cuts them out, and leaves them on the editing room floor before Tuesday morning, “Go time!”
'Tis, the plight of an artist.
The fact is I write because I want to and need to. I would do it every day if millions read my words or no one did at all.
Writing and running are my most trusted stress relievers, and miraculously this past Sunday I had a breakthrough doing both. I rose with the inspiration and energy to punch a lagging insecurity in the face by writing it all out, and then slam dunked my emotional breakthrough by running ten 800’s around a track much faster than I thought I would. Following is the PG-13 version of what I came up with.
What happens when life slows down, when you’ve made it up and over that heaping hill of sagging tasks that seemed insurmountable for forever, and it is now behind you? You’ve even looked out at the view and are repelling back down, or sauntering down the even easier path on the back side down to the bottom. What next? How will you feel when you really can do what you want to do? I’m there, and it’s awesome, but weird, and I am trying to figure it out.
My priorities have gradually changed the past few years, but they have dramatically changed the last eighteen months. I have been solely focused on training, writing, promoting my writing, working, making optimal nutrition choices, (going full-on plant-based, not drinking alcohol, although I do still drink coffee), in order to be the strongest version of myself, but along the way I fear that I have distanced myself from the most important people in my life.
It turns out not everyone I care about, cares as much as I do about my average watts from a bike interval workout, or my average pace for 100’s in the pool, and/or how many miles over twenty I run on a Sunday.
They just care that I am happy when I come home from enduring all of that.
Growing up as the youngest child, I did a lot for attention. I believed that I needed to prove myself to everyone around me; I needed to stand out, or I would be forgotten. No joke, that actually happened once. My parents, (I won’t say which ones), left me at the house on their way to a wedding, fun stuff. I am pretty certain that incident covered a few of my therapist’s car payments.
In fact, the only upside of my parent’s divorce was that the week or so before we moved from Palos Verdes to Claremont, our neighborhood crew threw us half a dozen going away parties that I was actually invited to!! At the sage, age of seven years old, I finally felt accepted. We must have played five hundred games of Truth or Dare that week, (it was the mid-eighties after all) it was awesome.
PRO TIP: If you are the youngest in the group, ALWAYS choose Triple Dog Dare; it is a failsafe way to appear cool and fearless to the big kids. I may have performed some high-wire acts at those parties that my mom is still unaware of, but if I impressed the “Queen B” of our ‘hood, Carrie Nibarger, every heroic and humiliating act was well worth it.
I still always choose Triple Dog Dare.
Anne Lamott proclaimed in her fantastic book, Bird by Bird, “One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore.” Bingo.
The first book I wrote because I needed to, I am writing this next one because I want to.
I am not choosing an arbitrary number of marathons, and/or triathlons to hit by a specific date, I am taking on adventures that I want to share with others while we’re in it, and years later within words shared on a page. I don’t want to detach from the people I care about, I want to share my adventures with them.
That is why this year is so special.
I kicked it off in January spending a week with my coach and teammates at triathlon camp, a wonderful and gut-wrenching experience that cracked open a shell of vulnerability that I feared would reveal my weaknesses, but instead built me up to be stronger than before.
Next up, I am racing the Boston marathon in April with my sister/athlete, Sarah, and in front of our supportive parents who are flying across the country to cheer us on.
Then in June I will race an Ironman in my college town of Boulder, Co. What sweetened the pot about this race, is that my two best friends in the whole wide world will be there cheering me on, and I will be racing alongside many of my kick-ass teammates. Racing at altitude will be tough, but I am about twenty pounds lighter than I was when I ran along Boulder Creek everyday in college, so that negative should be a plus on race day.
Then of course there is a popular race on a large island in the Pacific that falls on my niece Sidney’s ninth birthday; a powerful shot of motivation that I will have over my competition.
But that’s not all…..
I used to dream of living in New York for 500 days; no more, no less. That dream is still lingering, never say never, but in the meantime, I plan to scratch that itch by running through all five Burroughs on November 4th during the New York City marathon. I haven’t had any desire to run the NYC marathon until recently, but so many of my friends now call the Big Apple home, and I miss them, and since most of my travel involves a race of some sort, Wah-La! I’m off to New York!
I may be cutting it close racing Kona and the NYC marathon three weeks apart, but what are we here for?
Following is a true gem of a song and video from one of my favorite Canadian's, Drake. Plus, the track laid underneath the song is incredible.