Picture of the Day

Picture of the Day
Vacation Fun

September 19, 2013

Redefining vague-blogging....and not giving a shit.

Sometimes, life gets really interesting - either on our own accord or via things that other people do or decisions that they make. Having one of those such days today myself, I'm a little stuck in exactly how I'm going to proceed about the various paths in front of me and/or what my reactions are going to be in the situations that I've been presented. As usual, there are warring factions in my brain & heart. I'm trying (& possibly failing) to keep my head on straight, to control the emotional reaction, to have empathetic moments & not go batshit crazy. The only things in our lives that we can control are our reactions to whatever is thrown at us.

Questionable reputations, nothing new in my book. If there's a name out there to be called, or an ugly thought to have been had about or look to give to someone - I've been on the receiving end. Sometimes deservedly, sometimes not so. My reactions to these things over time has varied as widely as the audience, instigators & issues at hand have. My initial reaction in my current state is to say "screw you" & keep plowing forward with what I want & how I want it.

Using whatever small kernel of empathy I can drum up at the moment, however, I'm left with a different, altogether more confusing set of paths & a heartfelt understanding. I've seen too many of my friends walk the paths of pain & recovery that come with extrication from unfulfilling marriages. The rediscovery of self, the re-emergence into the meat markets, the pursuit of validation & the inevitable questions of "what's next" are never easy to witness nor without pain to traverse. I don't pretend to know what another's path looks like, nor do I think that each walks the same steps. But I've seen the path in multiple forms & I know the on/off ramps that help rebuild the woman at the end of the journey. As a bystander, you have to just sort of "duck & cover" when it's necessary, be a shoulder when it's requested & just sit quietly when it's not. There are other situations where for some reason or another it's best to just walk backwards very slowly, not make any sudden movements or eye contact & fade into the shadows. Empathy or not, I'm not going to be subjected to & affected by the issues in another's life - I've got more than enough of my own to deal with. I take ownership of my decisions, my discussions, my feelings & my actions.....usually I try to think ahead about the possible outcomes of any situation...sometimes I fail. But I'm not licking cupcakes nor claiming territory, life's too short for me to be sucked into anyone else's drama - remember I have plenty of my own.

On another, only remotely related topic, there have been more than a couple times where I've been let down by someone I've chosen to count on. No big surprise, everyone has, right? Like deciding how you're going to deal with crazy (above)....we each also have the opportunity to decide "what now" when we're let down by another. Some choose to be become jaded & isolated, to return to within & become self-reliant. I think this may be the stock initial reaction but I wonder how many times it's ever really accomplished. Often you hear threats of isolation, to "never trust again" or some such nonsense. We are however, at our instinctual levels, pack animals that seek comfort & company via interaction. With widely varying degrees of introversion & extroversion taken into account, we all yearn to be loved, approved of & valued. We long to be understood & identified with, to be loyal and relied upon...especially as it relates to something that takes a huge amount of time to prepare for & (mental) energy to accomplish. So when the game changes in the 11th hour it's difficult to adapt. When I make plans or give assurances it's as good as set in stone to me.  I'm a process-oriented person, routines allow me to feel centered & comforted. So to not have the same is annoying, to say the least. It inflicts a bit of panic & frenzy in my life, the least of what is needed at this moment. But this too shall pass & will be just another good story at the end of the day. I'm left to do my best to understand the "why" & not take it personally or let it jade me. I already isolate too far given my druthers because I'm internally motivated & introverted. Long hours spent with my head underwater & only my little voices for company? Sure...sounds great! Hmmm.....at least I can recognize that it doesn't make the most sense to the rest of the world....

To each their own decisions & actions. If you need me, I'm going to be over here doing my own thing. Sort it out amongst yourselves & lemmeno when I'm no longer in the line of fire. I've got shit to do, brain cells to protect & goals to achieve. Life's also too short to spend time worrying about what someone else thinks of me, I have to work too hard to stay on my own good side.

Motivation, drive, validation & appreciation should always start within.

September 15, 2013


I've often wondered if people/animals can or are resurrected after they're gone from whatever current life they're in. That would make life a true never-ending circle with phases & periods throughout time. (This poses the question of what some unfortunate soul had to do to get stuck with a cockroach or some other such animal that's nearly indestructible and/or lasts a really long time....and makes me hope I can avoid that should I be given the choice...) Should it be something that happens I've already called dibs on being a dolphin for myriad reasons that are insignificant. But that's not my point...on a smaller scale, I do believe that we have the ability to re-create ourselves throughout our existing life span, should the need present itself & the soul require it. I've gone through at least a couple such transformations and would also like to think that these are all a part of growth/growing. Maybe the universe is really just a giant merry-go-round?

This meager literary adventure started as a way to capture my experience heading into Silverman, what used to be known as the toughest iron-distance tri out there. A convenient way to capture my thoughts & keep those that weren't in Vegas with me up-to-date in the goings-on & a simple outlet to capture my race report for all time. It morphed into a nice way to blow off some steam, capture my thoughts & training processes, to keep a log of how I processed both the milestone and the minutiae of daily life. For the past two years, three if you want to look at it from an athletic standpoint & include the Cleveland debacle, I've not done a good (or even adequate) job of processing through these things, just more going with the flow & taking things as they come to me. It's plainly evident that Cleveland was a damn farce, a segment of my life in which I was quite directionless and clueless as to who I really wanted to be. I always said I'd never let my life live me but I did exactly that for almost a full year. At least coming to Tennessee started some of that journey back to reclamation....for the most part.

I missed swimming. It was the easiest to pick back up & dedicate myself to. It's the sport that has always come easiest to me and this adventure has been no exception. I got back in the pool with the intention of resurrecting the triathlete that had been sitting quietly in the wings for awhile. Silverman took a monumental toll on my body and mind, such that racing triathlon was a bit more than I cared to take on again for awhile. I eased back into that process a bit, but clung more to the exploration of running while taking on some marathons. It's another easy way out - I know I have no pressure to be a fast runner & thus my obligations are completing what I enter. I still relish the blessings, drive and gift that each of these events is to me - I know there are many out there that can't or don't choose to experience them. But getting back into the swimming world reignited a passion that's been dormant and largely unexplored in my adult life.

Just before Big Shoulders, 2013
I compete both in the pool & in open water, from mid-distance to marathon swims. I'm able to show up & know who I am at these events. There are no doubts for me in the water - life makes sense, I know that I'm fully capable of doing what needs to be done at any given time. I've been able to train up to a level near where I was when I quit swimming after high school. I'm older now so of course I'm not quite as fast - amazing what you realize you could have done after-the-fact when time takes away some of the easy speed - but I've found an ability to just swim forever. I'm sure my shoulders will only last so long if I'm not careful, but my swimming endeavors over the past couple of years have been nothing short of life-saving. Swimming at master's nationals up in Indianapolis this past spring, utilizing my knowledge & background to help teach swim school with kids/adults, completing/racing multiple 5k swims last summer in prep for a 10mi swim in October, to rounding out the schedule with a number of local/regional meets as well. Swam Big Shoulders again last weekend (pictured) & dropped almost 11-12 minutes off my 2009 time in similar conditions. Swimming another 5k next weekend that I did last year & we'll see what happens. I may soon even start coaching part of my master's team as well. It's mind-boggling to think now that I was away from this for so long. But as mentioned above, the neatest part of life is being able to realize these things....better late(r) than never.

But I've not picked the triathlon back up. Oh I've thought about it, looking into multiple events & still doing the tri down at the florabama almost annually. But I've not really picked up the running or cycling again as I've shoved myself into the water for the past 20 months or so. Honestly, it's pure cowardice & ego. There are some amazing athletes here and I really don't want to get crushed. What if I can't ride like I used to, or what if I can't put it all together anymore? How can I find time to train & still be the swimmer that's so integral to my identity now? Can it be done?

When you feel like things are missing &/or you don't know "what comes next" then there's always an emptiness lurking around the edges of your consciousness. For a person like me that's just damn annoying & leads to some really unhappy moments. There are some big changes afoot & it's about time I stood up to do what I want to do, to be who I want to be & to not take any flak or make any excuses about that. If that person is unacceptable to anyone else then maybe they should re-evaluate whatever it is that makes them want to be around me. Some say to be an endurance athlete/triathlete is an inherently selfish mindset, I say so be it, what's your point & that's certainly not a shocking trait to anyone that's known me for long. No one should have to put parts of their personality, their very essence, on hold or dampen their enthusiasm for life at any given time at the request of another (or even for the very wish of another). If you don't like the scenery, the destination or the driver, get the hell of the bus.

I signed up for Ironman Chattanooga a couple of weeks ago. It's about damn time that I got off my ass & quit being too scared of not being good enough to even try. That's not who I am, it's not what I want my legacy to be, it doesn't even make sense to me. So I'm going to do a branded race (almost an even bigger shock than anything else) in its inaugural year....while picking up other races I haven't ever done throughout the summer. The winter will be base-building & figuring out how in the hell to ride my bike AND run AND swim again....

The beauty of our human life is that nothing has to be permanent if you don't want it to be. If you're not happy with something, you (usually) have the ability/capability/possibility to change it as needed or keep looking until you do find something that makes you happy. In theory, I also believe this should be a continuous process of evaluation & change. Maybe, however, the greatest opportunity throughout all of our lives is the ability to pick & choose what elements to keep/resurrect/trash as we move from one phase to another. When along this journey you lose your way, maybe it is as simple as back-tracking until you knew you weren't lost & changing incremental things as you step forward. Or possibly it's a matter of just plucking whatever the component or trait from your past was that made you who you want to be & reincarnating that into your life or personality. Either way, I suppose the most important thing is to move forward with each day being the person that you want to be - incorporating incremental or major changes as needed.

September 13, 2013

The Courage to ask questions...

Excerpted from Racey Stacey's blog....

I find that a key to success that I credit is that I really depend on my ability to compartmentalize my thoughts as I run. I ask myself, in each event, “what can I control? And, what can I not control?”…that is how I decide who/what gets my head space.

A great example of that: I rarely thought about the heat in Death Valley during Badwater. It was actually way too hot for me to wrap my head around. It was ‘hot’ for everyone. So, if I gave it some of my head space-could I do anything about it? No. Could I change it? No. So I left that head space for things I could do something about.

Protect your headspace.
Choose your moments.
Then, they are yours.
These are your moments.
You trained for these moments.
You are sweating for these moments.
It’s between you and the pavement tomorrow.
Don’t allow negative thoughts the power in your head.
Don’t give negativity your headspace.
Stay positive!

Now, I can’t help but to come back to that same statement I started with: To me, running gives me questions-and I run because that is where I can find answers. Think of the questions that go through your head before a big mental, physical & emotional challenge like a race.

What are the questions you are looking to answer tomorrow?
You have 21.1k or 42.2 kilometres to find answers tomorrow.
And you will.

March 19, 2012

Not forgotten...

I haven't forgotten about my dear little blog, my trials of life story...I'm just busy. Ivebtaken some good photos lately & I've got some good & some 'ok' things going on. I will make myself less busy so as to ponder on the meaning of life again soon. Until then, I'm going to try taking my medicine (which should have been done before 9a today), getting out of the bike shorts I've been in for 4+ hours (ouch), wash the stink off me & try to sleep!

Life is very good.

January 8, 2012

Pendulum swing...

I looked through some of my ramblings over the past year a couple of days ago. It's been a journey, I'll give it that much. I'm not sure I can really give it much more. As with all things, I don't know that I'd undo any of it, because it wouldn't have brought me to this moment, but I might've made the journey a little easier and/or enlightened myself if I knew the pain & BS I would have to walk through. But walk through it I did, and here I am. I've come out the other side of a tough part of my life, albeit not unscathed as mentioned, but remarkably happy.

I have a great job - or what looks like a great job if we're able to make progress & pursue some of the opportunities that we've begun discussing. I have a decent house - yeah, I live in the ghetto (or on the edge of it if you're asking my mother) & I don't really feel safe going anywhere after dark without the dogs on high alert, but it's a decent house at a decent price that holds all of my stuff. And that's a lot of stuff! (Once I finally get it all put away and/or out of the garage I might have a better idea of just how much of it I really need....) I have loose associations with some great local athletes. Hopefully as time progresses I'll be able to develop some friendships out of those that will at least make the training (or the drives to the training) a little more palatable. But I'm looking at regaining my fitness & that feels great. And I'm dating a wonderful man. One who's hell-bent on taking care of me & with whom things are easy, comfortable, relaxed & cute. I'm sure there'll be more on that later.

Suffice it to say that this year has started out wonderfully. I'm glad to be where I'm at.