The economy is plummeting, and the word in every news paper is beyond depressing! It seems that call after call from friends brings about another sad story of a friend going through a tough time. I too am going through one of those "tough times," but in the midst of it am finding ways to stay positive and remember life doesn't stop just because there is a speed bump in the road!
So in order to keep my mind side tracked I have stepped up the training. One of my favorite quotes comes from a famous rowing coach. He recorded the following message and his rowers listened to it every morning before heading out the door to practice:
"Good day, we are privileged to live another day in this magnificent world. Today you will be tested. Today you will contact your death with the power of your living. As a warrior this is your practice. You must silence your body and senses and quiet your breath and mind that you may create within yourself by act of will the mood of a WARRIOR" - Mike Livingston
In order to quiet my mind I took off for Palm Springs this past weekend. It was an endurance athletes dream "vacation." Well except that it was freezing! (ok, not MI freezing...but SoCal freezing!). Saturday was the annual Palm Springs Century ride. I met up with some friends and took off for my first century (106 miles actually) ride of the year. At mile 25 my friend Becky rolled up next to me. She's a dynamite little cyclist, so it was great that we found each other out there! Together we avoided any and all packs for the entire ride...but didn't avoid all the tacks in the road. Tacks in the road...who does that! Riding with her, and avoiding the huge packs was a lot more pleasant than joining in the sketchy draft fest that goes on out there. Plus, it will make us stronger....right!?!?! There we are...riding three girls strong (Jodi, Becky and me)...all triathletes refusing to "take the easy way" and draft. So silly! This is about mile 75. Soon after we decided we'd give in and form a small pace line (many tried to join the back of our little pace group, but we kicked each one of 'em off by flooring it and loosing any intruders!)...But I was happy for those small drafting moments! After all there was more training to do on Sunday.
Yes. Sunday....I woke up exhausted, and my legs were praying that I'd stay in bed with my compression tights and socks on. But only 2 miles away people would be running a half marathon. I couldn't stay in bed!
Unlike in Carlsbad I had zero interest in warming up , or preparing for a P.R. performance. I remained in the car until the last possible moment, kept all my warm clothing on and headed for the start. The gun went off and there we went....cruising along at 6:15 pace. I turned to my friend Lori, and prayed we'd slow up and run a bit smarter. And soon after we did. She set a very steady pace from the start, as I thought my quads might implode! I opted to stay with Lori and run together. My plan was to keep my heart rate low through half way, then pick it up if possible, hold to mile 10 and then cruise to the finish. I turned my focus to helping a friend break 1:35. It was WAY more pleasant than running alone! So until mile 9 we ran together. The miles actually went by pretty quick and I finished well. 1:32 the day after 106 mile ride. I'm cool with dat!!
To have the friends I do is a blessing that no words can describe! And all too often I don't think those of us that train/race together realize what we do for each other. We provide an escape from a world that isn't always so pleasant! We provide each other with a social outlet that allows us to silence our minds and create in ourselves the mood of a Warrior...one that can conquer the athletic arena and one that can conquer any other speed bumps that life throws our way!