Sunday, February 25, 2007

And It Stoned Me

I had only been going a half mile when "the rain came pourin' down." And although it would have been totally acceptable to turn around and go back to my couch and television, I kept going.

Maybe it was the music. And maybe it was the chick in yoga pants who sprinted past me - who SHOULD NOT have sprinted past me - but something twitched. In a good way. And I settled into a pace and a rhythm that I haven't felt in...

I can't remember the last time I felt like that.

There was no gasping for breath as I plowed up the hill. There was no beg for mercy when I accellerated down the other side. As the path flattened out and The Bridge came into view, I felt lighter.

"Oh, the water!"

And then it stoned me. The sky opened up and it was slightly miserable, but entirely wonderful out there. My heart thumped and my stride increased. I glided across the pavement, to the bridge and back home again. Feeling as if I were six feet tall. Happy and healthy and balanced and exhausted and invigorated.

Distance: 8.5 miles
Time: 70 minutes
Pace: 8:15 min/mile

"It Stoned Me" by Van Morrision, from the album, Moondance.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


It has been a sweet week and a half - on many fronts. So sweet that I haven't had much time to write, but I'll be getting back into that soon...

1) Running: I'm running again. And I don't hate it! Yesterday AER and I went out for a morning trip to The Bridge and Back, completing 7 miles in 56 minutes. Yes, we are back in running shape. It's pretty sweet.

2) Swimming: I'm swimming again, too, for the first time since the early '90s. Yes, I have been getting in the pool and splashing back and forth since early January. But as of this week, I am really SWIMMING. As in, not stopping to suck in air after every few laps but actually paddling back and forth repeatedly. For extended periods of time, repeatedly. And completing, in 29:15, an entire mile. Yes, I'm swimming. I'm really swimming. It's really sweet.

3) Cycling: Yes, cycling. Not spinning, cycling. On a road bike. And not just A road bike, but MY road bike. My Orbea Aqua Dama. She is SUPER SWEET. See for yourself...

4) And Valentine's Day? Well that was also sweet. Really, really, sweet. Just like him.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Staying Power

Except for a few of my friends from college, therapy, at least on the East Coast, is still something many people don't embrace.

However in San Francisco, it seems that almost everyone I know has a therapist. And why not? They have general practitioners to monitor their cholesterol. OBGYNs to routinely check-in and make sure all is well. Personal trainers to make them stronger. Cosmetic surgeons to improve their aesthetic appearance. (OK, that's more of an L.A. thing...)

And over the past few months, it has been pretty amazing to learn just how many people also see a therapist. To monitor their stress. And to make sure they stay well. Balanced, and strong. Not to mention, good looking / looking good...

I feel very lucky to live in an environment where so many of my friends embrace mental health. Their unconditional support the past several months has empowered me to confront so many of my personal challenges with confidence. And this past month, I have realized that I am really starting to feel great. I feel happy. And energized. And good.

A couple of times this month, I have started to wonder if maybe I am "done" with therapy. But after some thought, and after reading this article, I have come to the realization that mental health, just like physical health, has no final destination. I may lower my cholesterol. My pulse. My stress. And I may increase my strength. My speed. My energy. I may one day find the most amazing tooth whitening toothpaste ever. But if I don't continue to work at maintaining these accomplishments, I will surely lose them. My stress level will go back up. My muscles will atrophy. I will surely again grow tired.

So I'm not going to stop going to therapy. As the article suggests, "Perhaps seeing a therapist when you’re in a healthy mental place will actually increase the odds that you’ll stay there."

Ah, staying power. Give it a read...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Swim - Swim - Swim

The countdown to Wildflower is on. I have almost two full weeks of base training under my fuel belt/spin shoes/swim cap. More like a month if we count the first couple weeks of January, during which I often - but not too often - woke up early to ease into a 6:00 a.m. spin class or treadmill run.

Before I started training for a triathlon, I figured I'd get in a lot of running, a substantial amount of spinning/cycling, and a couple of swims. But after all this initial training, I have to admit that I have barely run at all. And this week, I haven't even made it to a spin class, yet.

True, work has been a little more chaotic than normal. And the rest of my life has gotten a little more interesting, too. (That's for another post, though...) I have, however, made it to the pool - many many many times - to swim. Maybe it's because the pool is only a couple of blocks from my office. And maybe it's because I like to follow-up my swims with a soak in the steam room. But the fact that I have been swimming more than I have been running is truly a surprise.

And perhaps, maybe the real surprise of triathlon training to date is how much I don't hate swimming. And even better, maybe the surprise is how much I'm not bad at swimming!

When I first started in early January, it took me 39 minutes to swim a mile. (Including rest stops to catch my breath. And to check out the hottie in Lane 1.) But this past Monday I swam a mile in 34 minutes. On Tuesday it took 33 minutes. And today, I swam a mile in 32 minutes.

And tomorrow... Well, I'm going to the pool tomorrow. Oh my god, I like to swim!

Well, I don't know how much I like TO SWIM. But I like TO HAVE GONE FOR A SWIM. Which is how I felt about running at first, too. And that is good enough for me right now, only a couple weeks into Wilflower Training.

So... now that I got that off of my chest... What's a good time for swimming a mile? In a pool and in open water? How fast should I aim to be?