Going to Church…

During the winter months I spend a lot of time on the trainer. It’s the only time I allow myself to watch really crappy reality TV shows. One of my favorite shows is The Real Housewives of Orange County. It’s a hott mess, but I enjoy it. One of the guys in the show is a cyclist (and apparently rode in the tour, but I guess it’s debatable if it’s true or not). He once made a comment that riding his bicycle was like “going to church.” I liked that phrase and I totally get it.

Yesterday I went to “church.” It was my third time on my bike since Rev3 at the end of August. It was also my first time on my road bike since probably June. I almost fell in my driveway getting on it because I apparently left it in the hardest gear. Why? I have no clue. It was a chilly morning, but for once, it was not raining! I’m riding a Century next weekend so I figured that I should probably ride my bike once or twice so I don’t die halfway through the ride. Although, my only goal for that ride is to eat about 10 pounds of gummie bears. And if those gummie bears fuel me through those 100 miles then I might implement that as my Ironman fueling plan… 😉

Anyway, it was nice to ride without having to think about power, speed, intervals, cadence, etc. It was nice to just ride. I have always LOVED riding my bike. But, honestly, I was falling out of love riding this summer. Part of it was due to the fact that I felt I lost a lot of my bike fitness and all my bike splits in my races just plain sucked. I wasn’t where I needed or felt where I should be. It will be one of my main focuses this coming year…

One of the reasons I love riding my bike is that it’s really the only time I can actually forget about life’s stresses and just be. Hence, why I love the phrase “going to church.” People go to church to figure stuff out. I ride my bike. This past week I read the book, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. My boss suggested that I read it. I purchased it back in March, read the first chapter and put it down because I thought it was a bunch of spiritual mumbo-jumbo. I picked it back up this week and gave it a second chance. I like to believe that everything and everyone deserves a second chance in life. I still think the book is a bit of spiritual mumbo-jumbo, but there were some things in the book that really hit home with me.

The book is about living in the now. The present. It is a problem that I know I have. I live too much in the past and future. It especially happens while I’m racing. I need to work on overcoming that barrier because I know that it holds me back from my true potential. I’ve made some good progress this year with the mental aspect of racing, but I still have a long way to go.

One of section of the book was talking about the origin of fear. I found this quote interesting:

“This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future. This creates an anxiety gap. And if you are identified with your mind and have lost touch with the power and simplicity of the Now, that anxiety gap will be your constant companion.” (pg 43)

Ever since my mom passed away over three years ago I have had some issues with anxiety. It’s not terribly bad and I just deal with it on my own. Most of the time I have no problems at all, but every so often when I’m under a great deal of stress I have anxiety attacks. A lot of it has to do with the fear of unknown. I’m very much the type of person that has to plan and know exactly what is going to happen. I don’t deal well with change. I know that change is part of life and you must accept it, but it’s hard for me. Racing is all about the unknown, especially in long course. You have a plan and you try the best that you can to stick to that plan, but sometimes shit happens and you have to come up with a second plan. This happens in life too.

“Just as the moon has no light of its own, but can only reflect the light of the sun, so are past and future only pale reflections of the light, power, and reality of the eternal present. Their reality is ‘borrowed’ from the Now.” (pg 50) 

Reality happens in the present. We live in the present. I can’t dwell in my past. I have a tendency to relive events in my head and try to “rewrite” history in my mind. I know that I can’t change the past and I know I shouldn’t even try. The past is what makes us “us” and it is how we learn to better our selves in the future. Accept the past and move on and live in the present. Just because I had a bad workout or race previously doesn’t mean the current one will be the same. Live one day at a time and make the best of it.

“Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there,’ or being in the present but wanting to be in the future.” (pg 84)

Oh, this one is very true for me! I’m ambitious and a dreamer. At this point in life I have finally figured out what I want to do in the future. It has caused some stress in my life because I know that I still have more education and experience to gain before I can finally embark on my dream. I’m impatient. When I want something I want it now. I know that I need to live in the now in order to reach my future dream.

Now, what does this have to do with “going to church” and riding my bike? Everything. It is during this time that I truly live in the Now. It is nothing but me and my bike. I am lost in my leg muscles working like pistons. My breath is hot with effort and the sweat is slowly beading up on my forehead. At this moment I am working and truly in my happy place. I am in the Now with no thoughts of the past and future. Nothing but me and the road ahead.

I decided to partake on a tough 50 mile route that brought me over Douglass Mountain in Sebago. I had ridden the same route back in May before Mooseman and I decided that it was only fitting to do so again today. Solo. It was a chilly morning and a slow ride due to my severe lack of bike fitness. However, it was a beautiful ride. The Fall colors were in full swing. Fall is a time of change. We must accept that those warm summer nights that we loved have past and the cold winter mornings will begin soon. It reminded me that I must let go of the past and just enjoy the change. It’s a part of life. And that ride was exactly what I needed

100th Post!

Today marks my 100th post! I think I’m suppose to celebrate or do some sort of blog give-away… is that how it works in the blogging world? I really have no clue what is the “cool” thing to do. I just learned what “IMHO” means recently. It means “in my honest opinion” in case you’re wondering! But I guess it is a small milestone in my little world.

I started a blog last fall for several reasons, none of which I never really mentioned before. I enjoy writing. I know I’m not the best writer (although if you look at both my MCAT and GRE scores I’m at the top percentile for my writing abilities… just don’t look at my pitiful verbal scores…). I was a long time reader of several triathlon-focused blogs before I began my own. There were so many times that I read something and thought “OMG, I thought I was the ONLY person who said/thought/did that!” Reading other people’s thoughts helped me realized that as much as non-triathlon people think I’m crazy, I’m really not. Pissing yourself during a race is completely normal…. 

And to be totally cliche, part of the reason I wanted to start a blog was to help and/or inspire other people. Now, I know I’m not an amazing athlete and I certainly haven’t come back from the dead to do something stellar. I’m just an average girl with average intelligence and average athletic abilities who has big dreams. Someday I want to qualify and compete at Kona. I know that dream may never ever happen and I’m completely okay with that. And for someone to claim that I think I’m a stellar athlete is just plain silly. I’ve certainly come along way in my journey so far (with so much more to go), but, I know I will always be average.

Another reason that I started a blog was eventually I want to get into coaching and this is a way to put my name out there. Perhaps no one will ever want to hire me. I’m not an amazing athlete (like a lot of coaches), but the one thing that I can tell people is that I understand physiology and the principles of coaching (or I will once I take the triathlon level I coaching seminar hopefully next year).

I came across this quote from a friend’s Facebook page and it really hit home with me:

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” -Unknown

This year has been a big year for me in terms of athletics, educational/professional, and personal. I hit a rough patch around March when I began questioning a lot of things in my life and what I really wanted to do in life. A lot of it had to do with hitting the big 2-5 and the anniversary of my mother’s death. I also realized that I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life. Since then I have been putting my “ducks in a line” to get where I ultimately want to be. I’m excited about what the future as in store for me in the next couple of years. I will be done officially with my MPH in December (as long as I don’t pull my hair out for taking 7 very demanding credits this semester and working two jobs. HELLO no free time!) and I’m currently applying for another graduate program in the area that I want to work (because obviously one masters degree isn’t enough!). If all goes as planned then I’ll be making some changes… 🙂


~ Happy Training!


My cousin shared this photo on Facebook yesterday and it describes perfectly how I’ve been feeling lately. They say that nothing in life is guaranteed except death and taxes. I believe that change is also one of those items that is guaranteed in life. Everyone will undergo change in life, whether it’s physical, emotional, mental, intelligence, etc. We all change. It’s part of growing up.

Today marks the beginning of the 8th month of 2012. 2012 has been a big year for me thus far and I look forward to the rest of the year and whatever it has entailed for me. It’s been a big year for me in terms of professional, academic, and athletic goals. But it has been without some major ups and down. I had a bit of a rough patch in March/April where I began to question the people around me, my professional/personal goals, and myself. What did I really want to do in life? Was I making the right choices? Are my friends the right people I want to associated myself with? Am I happy on the current path I’m taking?

Interestingly enough, my life has taken a complete 180 since that time. The one person that I was quite upset with has turned into my main support system and it’s nice. It’s nice to have someone that for the most part understands your frustrations and crazy busy lifestyle. And also do things like ride with you and clean our bike 🙂 And it’s interesting that the people that I leaned on during those times are not there anymore. The one thing that I have learned over the past few years is that people change – for the better or the worst. I’ve also learned that some people just can’t accept when another person changes their goals or achieves success. I especially learned this one in college.

My triathlon race season is not over yet. I have less than 4 weeks to my big A race and paring any mechanical or nutritional issues on race day, I’m set up for a huge PR. However, I’ve been finding myself thinking about 2013 already. I’ve begun to start planning my fall “off-season.” I’m excited to just have fun this fall with a less rigorous training schedule. I’ve been longing for the days of boot camp classes and yoga. I also want to run. I’ve always hated running, but this year I really fell in love with it and there are many days I’ve just rather run than bike or swim. Talk about a complete 180 here too! 2013 is going to be a big year for me so I want to ensure that I continue to build a strong base before going into IM focused training and also to meet other like-minded people who will help me along that journey.

My body has changed so much over the past year. I can see how strong I have really become and I finally feel comfortable in saying that I am an athlete. I still have body composition goals that I still would like to achieve this year that I plan on working on this fall. I no longer view food as a treat for working out. Food is fuel for my next workout and I need to focus on eating to keep my body strong and ready for the next tough workout or race. Although, I still enjoy cookies. I have also prioritized recovery. Recovery is where my body makes it changes and gets stronger. I’ve never slept better than this past year.

I am now nearing the beginning on my last semester of graduate school. I’m excited to finish with my first Master’s degree and have already begun the process of applying for my second degree. I’m excited for my next chapter in life. I have found my perfect program in one of my favorite places on the planet so I’m quite excited for what may happen in the near future. I’ve worked very hard for the past 2.5 years on my MPH. Working full-time and also doing graduate school full-time is not easy. It requires a great deal of time management and balance. I’m very proud that this past spring semester I took 3 classes, worked full-time, and also trained on average 12+ hours a week and maintained a 4.0 GPA. There were many times I doubted that I would be able to do it, but I worked my ass off and did it. People like to say that good things come to those who wait, but really good things come to those who work hard.

The past seven months have been good for me and presented many important life lessons and challenges. I look forward to the last 5 months of 2012 and what they may bring to me personally. I know one thing that is for sure is change. I have been implementing small changes throughout the year and have reaped great benefits from those changes. Fall is a time of change. Change of season, change in light, change of colors. I’m looking forward to the changes I’m going to make this fall. I am making steps to make myself a better, stronger, and happier person. I respect myself to undergo change. To be the best person I can as a friend, student, employee, and athlete. So embrace change and respect yourself to make the changes in your life that you need.