think positive thoughts

Friday, April 14, 2017

I'm running the Hot Chocolate 15K tomorrow, but the last thing I feel like doing right now is racing. (OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. Of course I'd much rather run a race than, say, projectile vomit onto a wall with a velocity so forceful that the vomit immediately splashes back on my face. That would clearly be much worse.) I'm exhausted from training, I'm frustrated because my last two swims have been pretty craptacular, and "heavy thunderstorms" are predicted for tomorrow.

Accurate feelings.

Blah, blah, blah. Whine, whine, whine. You get the picture.

I need to fix this, so I'm creating a list of 10 times when I felt like a goddamn champion so I can call up these happy memories if I'm still feeling dumpy on the course tomorrow. So much of training and race prep focuses on the physical, but mental strength is just as important and often gets taken for granted.

So here goes. Let's flex those mental muscles, baby.

1. IMAZ 2014, the first Ironman. It was a culmination of hard work, a celebration of strong friendships, a turning point in an otherwise shitty year. Quite possibly the best day of my life.

2. The first time I completed an Olympic distance swim. After struggling with my fear of open water for so long, I wanted to cry with joy when I did that swim without freaking out even once.

3. Canyoneering in Costa Rica. Want to feel like a bad-ass? Jump off a cliff.

4. When I climbed Green Valley Road for the first time and didn't have to get off my bike and do the walk of shame.

5. The night I arrived in Seattle. After driving for 14 hours from Sonoma County with two very confused cats (Mouse did not yet exist at that time), it hit me I'd be starting a totally new life in a city where I knew no one. And I felt excited.

6. When someone asked me, in French, for directions in Paris. This is how you know your outfit looks good. (Also related: When I successfully bought tampons in French.)

7. When I broke the two-hour mark for a half marathon. (Side note: I'd really like a new 13.1 PR. It's been awhile. But that's another goal for another time.)

8. Cutting my CSS pace and realizing I don't have to be in the slow lane forever. God, I want a sub-2:00/100 swim time so badly.

9. When I was on a relay team for Iron Girl and it felt so good to pass a ton of people on the bike and our team kicked ass and we had a blast.

10. Vineman 70.3. My favorite race ever. I'll never forget the first time I crossed the finish line -- again, a feat I never in my life thought I'd be capable of. Or the year I set a PR there and it was cathartic and I ran straight to Layla and cried my little heart out.

You know what? I'm feeling better already.

professionalism

Friday, March 31, 2017

Yesterday morning I heard a cat crying in the juniper bushes outside work, so naturally I dumped my bag and jacket in a pile, flagged down a facilities guy and made him listen for the cat (which he heard too, thereby proving I don't just make this shit up).

And since I didn't have any meetings for another hour and he was having a slow morning, we both dove into the bushes to rescue the cat, which sounded like it was in trouble or trapped.

Entering the abyss.

We spent 50 minutes crawling through the juniper, which was like a cave under all that green. (I won't lie: The entire time, I was picking out cat names.) We found two empty cigarette packs, a coffee cup lid and a spent bag of Ruffles, but sadly, no cat.

And now I have tiny, itchy red bumps on my wrists and hands because apparently I'm allergic to juniper sap. Also, let's not forget the stellar reputation I have no doubt earned with the coworkers who happened to walk by while I was in the bushes calling for kitty.


(I'm currently trying to convince myself there really was a cat and it wasn't some recording that an art student put out there to trap crazy cat ladies as part of some kind of social commentary on toxoplasmosis or something.)

#trypod

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I'm a big fan of listening to podcasts during pre-dawn trainer workouts, when I'd rather watch the sunrise than stare at a screen. Since March is "Try a Pod" month, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites.

For real horror: You know what's scarier than ghosts, vampires, zombies, haunted lighthouses and being buried alive? Actual real-life contemporary murder. In "My Favorite Murder," the hosts (who are from my homeland of California) recount their favorite true crime stories. One episode talks about the Night Stalker, who was all over the news during my childhood growing up in L.A. Another focuses on Mary Vincent, whose attacker hacked both of her arms off, yet she still managed to survive. The show also talks about child murderers (as in children who are murderers), a murder in a lululemon store (WTF), a woman who faked pregnancy and then tried to kill a truly pregnant woman so she could take the baby out of her and claim it as her own (seriously WTF), and other equally pleasant topics. I can't stop listening. (True story: My parents were visiting recently, and I was on the trainer listening to murder and they literally started praying the rosary.)

Be warned, however: Every time I go running now and see someone out there, I'm 99 percent sure they're going to murder me. It also doesn't help that this just happened in a park I used to run through in Seattle. And my paranoia isn't limited to the trail. One of the creepiest stories in the podcast is about a woman who was swimming laps and a guy stood on the deck and stared at her and she got a bad feeling, so she didn't get out of the pool and just kept swimming and eventually he went away and then later she saw his picture on the news and he was a murderer. Now I think about this all the time. (I do feel like I should sign up for a self-defense class and carry pepper spray. I'm curious -- if you're reading this, do you do anything to protect yourself while running?)

"Phew! Didn't get murdered!"

For shits and giggles: On a completely different note, I also love "My Dad Wrote a Porno," which is basically three friends reading aloud from their dad's horribly written erotic novel. The novel in question is "Belinda Blinked," and it is so unbelievably bad that it's amazing. (The word "cervix" should never, ever be used in a sex scene.)

So you know you're not alone: "Terrible, Thanks for Asking" tackles the awful things that happen to us and how we learn to live with them. Expect tears. But expect hope too. (Also related: "The Hilarious World of Depression." I love that we can have honest, adult conversations about mental illness because it really is a thing and we shouldn't be embarrassed to talk about it.)

For tunes: The Current is my favorite local radio station, and I'm a fan of their "Song of the Day" podcast. It's a great way to find new music.

For politics: The "NPR Politics Podcast" is a good overall view of the shit circus that is our current administration. (Side note: Is anyone else freaking out about the proposed budget? EPA cuts? Elimination of arts funding?) If you're looking for politics with a much more adamantly liberal slant, check out "Pod Save America." And finally, "Civics 101" explains all of the government terms and entities we hear about in the news so we can decipher what's really happening and how things actually work (or should work, or perhaps may not be working at all).
 
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