Thursday, September 14, 2006

Energy is the essence of life...

Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you're going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus. -Oprah

The sun finally came out today. I am a Leo and my whole being just doesn't feel right if the sun isn't shining. I got back in the pool this morning for the first time in almost a month. Troubles seem to just slide away from my brain and I can deposit them into the bottom of the pool. With my face in the water no one can interrupt my thoughts which allows me to touch on alot of different thoughts or just concentrate on one at a time to the rhythm of my stroke punctuated by a flip turn. I take the same amount of strokes everytime I swim a length. I know this because of my breathing pattern. Repetition. Rhythm. Like the comfort in rocking a baby.

The triathlon season is winding down. Fall is the time for distance running...miles in the bank for next year. Long, mentally challenging rides on the bike trainer in the winter. Last big race here in STL. Hope to volunteer. The general rule is...if you're not racing you should be volunteering. Makes sense to me because I couldn't do what I do without volunteers. You get what you give. Monika, one of the girls from the tri club (who was also with me at the start of the bonkfest of a bike ride I wrote about back in July) finished her first IRONMAN race in WI last weekend. Otherwise known as IM MOO. 15+ hours of racing. Great race report here:

But I really liked how she summarized WHY she does it. It resonated with me (because I've been asked so many times "How I find time to do it") because when someone understands "Why we do it" the how is just a given. My best girls have a HUGE event coming up and I know this will resonate with them too.

Monika's words posted at
Lessons learned:At the Friday night athletes meeting the physician in charge of the medical tent said that a good leisure activity should meet three criteria. It needs to be a challenge, require skill and help form social bonds (or something to that effect). He said Ironman certainly meets those criteria...... but so does golf. Then he also said that a leisure activity probably won’t reveal the meaning of life (but to let him know if anybody found it out there after all...). I was a little surprised at this bit, considering how very, very important Ironman is to a lot of the people there. It seemed weird that he would want to point out that it’s “just” a leisure time activity. On the other hand, I really liked what he said, because of course he is right and his slightly cynical view was refreshing after all the Ironman North America hyphe. Then the next day, while I was totally tickled to cross the finish line, it wasn’t a grand, life-changing moment. Neither was my first marathon. Or first half IM or any one moment for that matter. But here’s the thing: While the finish line wasn’t, the journey has been life changing in a quiet way. Setting goals and achieving them. Doing things I never thought I could. I am SO MUCH MORE confident and balanced and happy, not to mention healthier (well, maybe aside from this back pain...) and fitter. I know that I can achieve a lot if I put my mind to it. As mentioned way above, I actually saw the strongest indicator of this before the race, when I wasn’t anywhere near as nervous as I had anticipated. By finishing my training and sticking to it, I had already achieved so much of what I set out to do. This race was just the icing. (“ice” being a fitting term here...) I knew I could do it. And that quiet confidence is more important to me than the brief euphoria of a finish line. In addition, and just as importantly, I have found an incredible community of friends who are supportive and fun and interesting and definitely the best part of it all. None of this is probably unique to triathlon – but it sure works for me.


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