Sunday, January 27, 2008

Kicking Off With Team in Training

We've officially kicked off our Team in Training triathlon season, with two run workouts and a bike fit/road repair clinic. Although I've felt very frazzled as the beginning of the Team in Training (TNT) season overlapped with the State Robotics Tournament (where the kids did very well!) So I had one very insane weekend where everything came together, and now I should be settling out into just doing the TNT coaching thing. So far, we've got a team of 10 people setting out to do an Olympic distance tri, and it's been great getting to know the team members.

My ankle's still on the mend, so I've been riding my bike with the team as they run, but hopefully by our next run workout in two weeks I'll be able to hobble along. I'll get to coach our first swim workout this Wednesday, and that's the part I'm most looking forward to, but am also the most nervous about since usually when I've coached bigger groups of people it's been Master's swimmers, who all pretty much know the drill. I definitely want to help everyone on the team meet their goals and I know for many of them that means making it through the swim.

Hopefully by the time Wednesday rolls around, some of the snow that's been falling here will be melted. I think we're going to hoof it down the hill tomorrow and catch a bus into town for our Karate class, since my car is definitely snowbound unless I want to throw the chains on. So for today, this is what my hill repeats looked like:

Friday, January 18, 2008

At the Worst Possible Moment

365 Day 340: Enforced FUTAB I've got my first Team in Training triathlon team run this Saturday, and my robotics team's State Championships on Sunday, and I've managed to badly sprain my ankle this Monday. So, no running for me for awhile, and all of the stairs at the Robotics tournament are going to be quite a challenge in this splinty thingie I'm supposed to be wearing.

And how did I injure myself, one might ask? Diving for a volleyball? Running that 10th mile? No, I was taking a photograph. The challenge of the day on my 365 Days of Self Portraits photography group was to take a photo that tells a story. So I took this one and injured myself in the process. Ah, what we do for art.
365 Day 339: The Phone Rang Again, She Ran

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Beauty in Motion

This morning I was playing volleyball at our club, and the tall guy on the other side of the net went up for a spike. As I was moving toward the place where the ball was going to rocket at a 120 mph, it suddenly hit the net and ricocheted off in the other direction. As I put a fast-stop on my lunge and turned, I saw out of the corner of my eye two of my teammates in oddly choreographed high-speed motion change directions to deflect the new course of the volleyball. In that blink of an eye, it occurred to me (as it has so many times over the years) what a wonderful machine this human body is - how responsive, how complex, how fundamentally miraculous. If you think about the internal chain of events necessary for even this one small motion - the eyes perceiving the direction and velocity of the ball, the muscles tensed, the brain computing speed and direction and plotting where the ball will land - and then think how quickly your body can change and respond to a whole new set of inputs, well it's pretty humbling. So often in our bodies, we concentrate on what they are doing that's not to our liking. They gain weight, they get wrinkled, they dehydrate, they don't snap back for that workout we wanted to put them through. But we rarely take the time to appreciate the miracle that we've been handed.

Sports give us back the miracle. At least they do for me. When I'm out on my bicycle, I'm often glorying in the sheer beauty of flying along the road under my own steam. When I can still leap or dodge or remember a complex set of moves, it's a wonderful thing to me. That's really the gift of sports in my life.

I'm so thrilled to start sharing that gift again with others. We had our first information meeting for Team in Training this week, and getting to meet some of the people who will be on my triathlon team was really exciting. When I think about being able to help people meet their goals, cross a finish line they didn't think they could make, open up a whole new world of fun and appreciation of what their body and mind can do, it's something I am looking forward to. But I'm also really nervous. These folks will be depending on me. Organizational skills are not my strong suit. I'll be responsible for getting them to a point where they can swim a mile in an open body of water. This week is going to be a very tough one to get through as I try to get everything organized. Fortunately, I've got an awesome team of assistant coaches (experts on the bike and run respectively) to help me out. But ultimately, the success of these people is my responsibility. With the kids robotics team State Championship tournament also looking up next weekend, time will be short and I may not be blogging again until it's all over.

Until then, I'll be falling farther behind on reading my favorite blogs, watching presidential debates (thankfully I'm recording them) and even finishing a sudoku puzzle here or there. Life will get crazy and then it will smooth out again for awhile. It always does.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

First Faves & Raves of the New Year

Fave Food: Dates, stuffed with cream cheese and pecans. I like to make these for parties, but they're great after-workout snacks as well! We have a local organic creamery that makes awesome cream cheese, cultured with acidophilus and all that good stuff. Yummy!

Fave Music To Work Out To: ChangesOne by David Bowie. One of the first pieces of vinyl I ever bought, I was in our little local corner market the other day and the gal that works there was playing it. So I had to find it on CD. You just can't resist moving to tracks like Fame, Rebel Rebel, Sufragette City, Jean Genie, and of course Ziggy Stardust!

Fave Activity: Hiking with hubby and the kids, any day it's not raining lately! We took a New Year's Eve hike up a local butte in a lovely break of good weather and it was just gorgeous up there. Quite unfortunately, I managed to get poison oak! If you've read my blog for awhile, you know this happens to me all the time, but rarely in the middle of the winter. Argh.

Fave Workout Tip: That Holy Grail swimming move. Still working on it, I've been using the big rubber bandy things at home to simulate the movement of the catch and build up some muscle power. I have to say I think it's working. I swam our traditional New Year's morning workout (108 x 50 yards on the :45 interval) without much trouble, despite not putting in much pool yardage at all in December. I think that's largely due to more power in my stroke.

Rave: By the time I get to vote in the primary elections, out here in Orygun, we'll be winnowed down to just a few candidates. I understand why the system is the way it is, but I don't have to like it.

Fave Quote to start off the New Year: “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” -- Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, January 03, 2008

No Resolutions Here

I don't do New Year's Resolutions. I know it's practically an American Institution (not sure about the rest of the world) and I've been asked a dozen times this week what my resolutions are, and my answer's the same every time: nothing. I've thought a little bit about why that is, and I think for me the answer is that it's more of a daily process than a yearly one; and that resolutions are not as useful in my life as goals. A resolution carries the implication that one will do this thing or else, and that if the resolution is somehow not accomplished, one has failed. I refuse to accept the language of failure. In fact, one of the big reasons that I unschool my kids is that I can't state strongly enough (at least not in polite words) my dislike of our society's win/lose, succeed/fail mentality. I tell my kids all the time: mistakes are opportunities for learning and growth. To resolve to do something is different than to have a goal to do something. A goal is a target you're aiming at. Goals are measurable, achievable, and if need be, alterable. How many times do you hear people resolve to do such nebulous things as "get in better shape", "exercise more", "eat better", etc. ? If I have a goal to complete a certain race, then for sure I don't need to resolve to exercise more. I'll exercise more in order to achieve my goal.

While my goals are a bit in flux for this year's triathlon season, I've got lots of other stuff on the plate to fix my attention on. I've got goals for my photography and writing, for my Team in Training coaching, for the kids' robotics team I'm coaching, and for getting our family ready for a big bike touring trip this coming fall. When the right races present themselves, I'm sure I'll sign up and then I'll have my triathlon goals in place as well. And the rest will sort itself out.