Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wiped Out

Wouldn't it be great to crash when you're really tired?  The freedom of youth.  These are my boys after their third day back at school.  I'm not a napper but there is something to be said for that quick 20 minute nap.  Maybe today is your day!

Saturday, August 25, 2012


I started back at school this week.  We have a new principal after having had the same one for 20 years.  Our new principal has a hard job to do.  He is following in the footsteps of a great leader.

On our first day together, he showed us a video about being vulnerable.  As I watched, connections to my own life and those around me came flooding in.  I was moved at the thought that our success lies in the ability to be vulnerable.  Our principal was showing us how to succeed as a staff.  But what about in our home life?  Our marriage?  With our friends?  It is a question I continue to ponder.  Enjoy the video.  Please ruminate on the idea and share your thoughts.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Look Left

Have you ever been given advice and you realize it fits in every area of your life?  I went to my physical therapist last week for my back.  I mentioned I'm having a lot of pain on the right side of my neck.  She worked on it, gave me some exercises to do but ended the session with a question.  She asked how I hold my head when I'm riding my bike.  I had no idea how to answer the question because I didn't know.  She told me to pay attention on the next ride.  Easy enough.

It has been a week and I realized I look right all the time.  When I run, I look right.  When I bike, I look right.  When I shop, I look right.  When I teach yoga, I look right.  When I talk on the phone, I hold it under my right ear as I do other things.  I couldn't believe it when I started to pay attention.

The simple solution would be to just start looking left.  It isn't as easy as it sounds.  Not only do I have to change where I look but I have to be aware of everything that leads up to looking right...where I sit, stand, run, etc.  It is uncomfortable to look left.  I don't like it but I know it will make the pain in my neck get better.

This brings me to the idea of change.  Life is full of habits.  Each day we go through our routines without even thinking.  We pick the same spot to stand in an aerobics class.  We have the same breakfast every morning.  It can feel uncomfortable to make changes to our routines.

Why is that?  Why do we get into a groove and stick with a routine?  What if it is hurting us?  I think about my neck and how now that I'm thinking about it and am looking the other way, it is refreshing.  I've started to notice what's on the other side of the street.  I'm starting to enjoy the change though I have to stay vigilant.  The old habits are lurking in the background.

And here is the work, the homework we'll say.  Think about what you do each day and find that moment when instead of looking right you can look left.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Summer of Learning

I went on a great ride today.  The course was hilly at points but I was able to stick with the group.  It was at one point on a particularly difficult hill that I started to reflect on my many rides with Balance Cycling Team.  I'm brought back to last year's rides.  The season started out cold and wet.  My workout routines were less than thrilling.  I would either shorten each workout or wouldn't even start if the weather was less than favorable.  Consequently, I had some hard rides in May.

It was a beautiful day towards the end of May when I ended up joining a ride that was supposed to be right for my riding ability.  Soon after starting the ride I was clearly out of my league.  The pace was fast and I wasn't in shape to keep with the group.  While I wasn't dropped, I certainly could have been had the other riders decided to stop helping me along.  Part of the 60 mile ride included some rolling hills that felt like mountains.  Our club president, Ryan, rode next to me through the hills and coached me on my form.  He offered helpful feedback (while I felt like I was going to die) and stuck with me while Dan let me draft him, hill after hill.  He told me to put my hands on the top of my handlebars, look up, open my chest and breath, tilt my hips,  ride to the next sign and then the next and then the next.

A few weeks later I was on a ride with Carlos.  He watched me working to get up a hill and he offered another piece of advice- speed up your cadence.

On another ride I found myself headed to Woodbury.  We had just climbed a fairly steep, long hill and Damon rode along side me.  He told me to tighten my core to help me climb.

My final piece of advice for the season came from John.  He told me that when he goes up a hill, he imagines working his legs in a complete circle,  360 degrees.

It might sound like all I heard last summer was advice but that isn't true.  On every ride I was handed a piece of gold.  It was with every critique that I grew as a rider.  I could stay in a group ride and enjoy the hills by the end of the season.

So I want to say thank you to everyone at Balance for the support.  I enjoy the conversations, the exercise, and working together as a team.  I'm proud to be part of a wonderful group of riders!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hit by a Mack Truck

Have you ever been hit by a Mack truck (figuratively), survived and been in a better place afterward?  In January, I started having problems with my back.  What I should really say is I started having new problems with my back.  I have had a bad back since high school but was now experiencing pain down my leg and all the way into my toe that had become numb.  As the year went on, it only got worse.  At the end of the day of teaching sometimes I would lay on the floor because I was in such pain.  I had a pinched sciatic nerve and it was so painful at times I couldn't think.

I had an MRI at the end of February and was seeing a neurologist in April.  When I went to see Dr. Timming, he was amazing!  He listened to my whole life story of my back.  At the end he sent me to physical therapy with the future possibility of shots or back surgery.  I could  handle that part.  It was when he said "No running or swimming" that I sat up and took notice.  In my mind I thought "yeah right."  My body was saying "no, he's serious." So I stopped.  This meant the three triathlons I was signed up for were not an option.  It would be the first summer in a while that I wasn't training.

At first I went nuts.  I was CRABBY.  I needed to move but was still in so much pain.  I went to my therapist but he didn't seem to understand the problem behind my back pain.  After five sessions he told me I may want to consider shots in my back to help with the pain.

Needless to say I didn't go back.  I was fortunate enough to have a parent in my class who is a physical therapist herself.  She started giving me advice about my back and I switched over to her care.  Thanks to Betsy, I now am on the road to recovery.  It is slow but rewarding.

So what have I learned?  How am I in a better place?  I feel like I have been put on a forced vacation and have really come to like it.  I don't feel crazy if I don't get to workout.  I don't have the stress of getting ready for a race.  My body isn't tired all the time from training.

I have also learned to let what's meant to happen, happen.  I could have done a few things differently to help my back but really it was unavoidable.  Things have been happening in a larger plan and I have to learn from the events around me.  Will I race again someday?  Maybe.  Will I lose myself to a goal I'm trying to achieve?  I hope not.  For now I'll keep strengthening my core, spend time with my kids, hang out with friends, sew, run (yes, Betsy has me running again, yeah!) and ride when I can. I'll let myself have fun instead of feeling pressure every moment.