Friday, July 26, 2013

Good Morning Sunshine

I awoke this morning to the sound of birds chirping happy songs and the beginning streams of the early dawn sun peeking through my open windows.  I luxuriated in bed, allowing myself a few moments of quiet reflection.  I smiled, feeling in my heart today was going to be a good day.

As I went through my usual morning reading, meditation and yoga practice, I quieted my mind and reflected upon the last week.  It had been a very emotional, stressful week.  It culminated with tears last evening.  It's true what they say, there is nothing like a good cry.  I released the tension in that cry.  Let go.  This morning as I moved and stretched my body, I felt completely refreshed.  Happy.  Hopeful.

Leading up to my good, solid cry was a week during which I felt as if I was in a rut.  Professionally and personally. I was beginning to doubt myself as a writer, athlete and person. I had been on an emotional roller coaster and was out of sorts. I had lashed out at people who are important to me, yet I didn't really know why.  I could say it was out of fear, and it likely was, however I'm tired of accepting fear.  It's held me in it's chains for too long.  It seemed as if I was in the same place in life I had been for quite a long time.  Stuck in that proverbial rut.  And it was as if I had become comfortable there, complacent in my fear of climbing out of it.  There is comfort in routine, even detrimental routine.  It would take strength to climb out of it, and it would be hard.  The tears came, and became the release that would turn into becoming the push I needed.

Then, late last evening came a conversation with a colleague whom I greatly respect.  A fellow writer, who had sent me a message acknowledging a recent piece I had published.  He said "Thank You", and advised he had shared my work on several media outlets.

The expression "I'm right where I need to be at this moment" came to my mind.  Something clicked inside of me and a feeling of lightness came over me. It was a small thing to him, but it meant a great deal to me.  Inspiration surrounds me,  I just wasn't seeing it.  I wasn't willing.  I had unwittingly closed myself off to the opportunity for creativity and happiness.

There have been some wonderful things that have come into my life. Instead of focusing on the wonderful, amazing blessings, I had remained closed.  Choosing worry and doubt over happiness and freedom.  I was languishing in their shackles.  No more.  Last night I let go.

I had been writing, but I hadn't really been writing from my soul.  I had been existing, but I had not been living to my full potential.

During my brief conversation with my colleague, I expressed that I had been in that rut and that his sharing of my work had given me a boost, for which I thanked him.  He said "It's not a rut, it's how life works. It's recharging your creative energy for writing.  Just like everything in life, things need time to grow."  I found this to be so moving.  Not only had I been recharging creative energy for writing, but also for living.

Sometimes it takes nearly losing something precious to open our eyes, hearts and minds.  To allow sunshine back into our lives.

Today, I am feeling inspired, open and loving.  Finally.  The same birds are still chirping happily as the full, beautiful sunshine touches my shoulders.  Freedom.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Chance of RAIN

2013 has been an amazing year so far.  I've had so much fun and have met some wonderful new people. Athletically, it's been extremely fulfilling. Every day I learn a little more about my sport. Every day I grow and push myself to my limits. Every day is a gift.

While I have concentrated on all three disciplines of triathlon in my training, my primary focus for the first six months of 2013 centered around cycling.  It is my passion. I have logged 3,900 miles in the saddle the first six months of the year. This was largely due to training for and the completion of of my biggest cycling endeavor to date; RAIN/Ride Across INdiana. July 13, 2013. From Terre Haute, IN to Richmond, IN. One day, one way, 160 miles. It was an absolutely incredible experience. 

I planned to ride RAIN with several close cycling friends. We made the journey to Terre Haute, an 80 mile drive from Indianapolis, Friday evening.  We reached the city too late to make packet pickup so we grabbed a late dinner and retired to the hotel, arranging to meet in the parking lot the next morning at 5:30am.

The morning arrived with crystal clear blue skies and cool temps. We made our way to the venue and prepared our equipment for the day. Excitement was in the air.  It was my kind of heaven with cyclists everywhere, race atmosphere abound and the familiar nervous excitement building inside of me. I had trained for this ride for months, and I was ready.

We underestimated what time to arrive at the starting line and found the field was set. As such, our group was forced to start toward the back of the pack.

We were still optimistic.  The gun sounded the start of the ride.  The first 30 miles was difficult as we volleyed for position. We slowly made progress, passing slower riders and eventually hooking up with a good pace line with faster riders. We gained speed and regrouped at the first SAG stop.

The next couple of legs were faster. Adrenaline took over. We discovered another factor imperative in this ride: teamwork.  This is not a solo endeavor.  We attached to good, fast groups and made up a lot of time taking advantage of drafting opportunities.  Unlike triathlon, drafting is completely legal in most cycling events.

As the afternoon approached, the winds picked up and were directly in our faces.  This made riding twice as difficult unless drafting was utilized. As the afternoon progressed, the field of riders was largely dispersed, and our little rag tag group was left to face the wind alone.  The last 40 miles was tough.  We were tired, saddle sore and one was extremely hung over.  To make matters even worse, the final 40 was a steady, gradual climb into the wind.  It took all of our strength to keep pedaling.

During the last two miles two of our Indianapolis riding buddies caught up to us and we crossed the finish line together.  I had never been more thrilled to get my ass off the bike!  The sense of accomplishment far outweighed any pain or stiffness that I was feeling.  I had done it!  Ridden across the state.  Amazing!

My goal was to finish in 9 1/2 hours, based on my performance in training.  When it was all said and done, it took me 11 hours but hell...I finished!  Many did not. RAIN was tough.  I was a rookie just out to do her best, one pedal stroke at a time. We encountered several obstacles:  a 14mph headwind all day, we got off to a late start (we started at the very back of 1,400 riders), we didn't use time wisely at our SAG stops (SAG = Support And Gear), and did not adequately prepare leading up to the event.  Training is not enough.  I am chalking this year's ride up to be a fun learning experience and knowledge gained of what we need to improve next year.

One example: corn fields make perfectly acceptable potty stops.  No lines, no waiting.

Post RAIN, my focus shifted back to the swim and run portions of multi sport.

My next event is in a little over a week.  Ironman Steelhead 70.3 in Benton Harbor, MI.  My "A" triathlon of the season. I did this race last year and my goal this year is to PR (personal record) the race. I will be joined by a large Indianapolis triathlon circle group of friends and it will be a fun weekend! I'll keep you posted...

Peace out xoxo

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

When Fear Returns

I started this blog a year ago in order to share my experiences and face my fears. Fear is what holds me back from a happy, joyous and free life. I know this, but sometimes I forget and slip back into old behavior patters. In my reality, to let go and live life to it's fullest is my ultimate goal. With that, anything is possible.

Does it come down to simply putting the puzzle pieces together?  Fill in the gaps by facing obstacles? Or is it deeper than that?

Recently, I have noticed my defense mode has been on overdrive and I have not been my true self. I've been arguing my points to death. Even compartmentalizing. This revelation was eye opening. It seems I have allowed fear to creep back in. I have become complacent, and fear has gotten hold of me again.

Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat which causes me to quickly pull away and usually hide.  It is a basic survival mechanism. Fear is basically the trait that causes the urge to confront or flee.  Sink or swim.  Kill or be killed (figuratively speaking).  It's my go-to character defect that pops up from time to time. A skill (for lack of a better word) I have used my entire life to cope with what can be my skewed perception of reality.

Can I learn from my mistakes?  Yes I can. I cannot go back and erase, but I can move forward and make amends by my future actions.

From early childhood fear has held me in it's grips. I was a shy child, who worried endlessly. A quiet teenager who avoided social engagements.  In college I became a rebellious, wild girl wearing a mask of defiance. Later I approached adulthood by falsely shielding myself by isolating for so many years. Pretending that everything was perfect.  Slowly dying.

In recent years, I've made great changes.  I've written about this in the past.  It all stems from facing fear.  This will apparently always be something that I will have to be diligent about.  Not allowing complacency to creep in.

Live happily....joyous and free.

Have I spent so much time focusing on other areas in my, work,  kids, etc. that I've lost focus on myself?  In my experience, if I'm not working on me I am actually working against me.  I need to rein it in.

The beauty of the wisdom I've gained from others is that I can start over at any time.  Fear doesn't have to control me today.

I have the tools to put the puzzle together.  It doesn't matter what it looks like on the outside.  What matters is how functional it is on the inside.  Sometimes life is good when it's not perfect. My imperfections make me who I am.  Ultimately it comes down to my choices on how to handle my imperfections which will allow me to live happily.

This morning was a time for quiet reflection and yoga meditation.  Centering myself and getting into gratitude.

There will be no hiding today. There will be no take no prisoners mentality.  There will be Nimsy in her truest form; herself.

Peace xoxo

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summertime Chill

Since receiving word that my daughter is healthy, I've been a bit AWOL from my little blog.  I've missed you guys!  I have been basking in the summer sun, enjoying time with the family and training.  Sometimes pictures speak louder than words, so I'm bringing back the photo essay.  Summertime chill...

Long, solo rides...

Beautiful country scenery...

Board games with kids and dogs...

Sunset on the lake...


Crazy midwestern storms...


No words necessary...

Riding with my girls...


This weekend is approaching, and I have a little bike ride/race...we will see what it turns out to be.  We will be riding across the entire beautiful state of Indiana. This is my first attempt at this event and my competitive nature has me wanting to race it. But I'm going into chill mode, and am planning to enjoy the experience and do my best.  Stay tuned...I'm back.  I will report in on Sunday on my RAIN ride experience.  I hope you're enjoying your summer!