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ONE OF THE BEST THINGS A FRIEND DID FOR ME

I want to share one of the best things one of my friends did for me. She showed up unannounced in my office, on a really average day, and talked me into training for a half ironman triathlon (1.2 mi swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run). I doubt anyone ever used the word “athletic” to describe me, but “stubborn”? Yes. “Crazy?” Probably. Turns out both of those go far when considering that distance endurance race.  

My crazy (in the best way) friend and me!

While I’d signed up, didn’t train and completed several recent runs, that only gets you so far. I mean, I swam laps one time since high school and biked even less since middle school – and I was 39 racing towards 40. We signed up for the event. She not only committed to being my drafting buddy (meaning she’d be working hard while I hoped to draft off of her), she also volunteered her parents to watch my kids during our swim practices (who were 5 and 9 at the time). It scared the [poo emoji] out of me! I never realized how many expletives I knew until I tried cycling windy mountain roads. 

Riding these distances made my buns numb! WTF! Way Too Fast!

Truthfully, I believed I the weekly Saturday practices would kill me. I actually planned my weeks no farther than Saturday afternoon and used the words “If I survive practice!” because of how far beyond my comfort zone I’d landed. Swarms of coaches brought me back from the edge – and each practice elevated my vibration closer to “Badass!” I really needed that after my divorce.  I dialed in on my nutrition and tuned into my body focusing on the slightest “gut instincts” about what I used to prep or recover from workouts.  Sometimes my body took over forcing naps despite my best efforts to counter with caffeination. Working out 6 days a week allowed me the first and last time I ate ANYTHING I wanted and still lose weight. Between the 2 of us we built a team within the Team to join in this crazy journey with us and were stronger together!  We got to know each other deeply on really raw, intimate levels. Oy!

No photo description available.

I’m the red cap in the back!

As a training exercise, we competed in our first (for many of us) triathlon – an Olympic distance tri. I even confronted my biggest cycling fear (pouring rain)! We also faced down a training weekend where we actually completed the race course of the half-iron tri but over 2 days, not 1 like for race day. I hallucinated several times about 80s movies “I want my two-dollars!” and cartoons “Pikachu!” but I finished!  In the end, my body stepped in and took over again and apparently a danger of getting in shape too fast is that my gallbladder burst 3 days before the big event so instead of being on the course, I was in the hospital. 

But I don’t feel like I missed out. I came away from this event living life on a larger scale with a “Mother (F’ing Crazy)” badge that I bring out when I need to, a pile of life lessons to pour on my kids “What I learned from doing the tri was…” and with life-long friends who are generous (with fundraising to fight cancer and with each other), amazing and just crazy enough to scare me in the best way! 

My friend pulled me out of the life I simply plodded through into one that exhilarated and terrified me but scared me to death and made me feel alive! I don’t know how I could ever repay my friend for this except to consider it again now that I’m 49 racing towards 50! 

wildflower girls

We South Bay girls may look like delicate wildflowers, but… 

No, I’m not considering one right now, not even a little 1-sport event. 

What about you?
What was the best thing one of your friends did for you?
When is the last time you challenged yourself?
Are you the type of friend to go with your friend or cheer them on from the sidelines? (Both are valuable!)
What scares you?
What lesson did you learn?
When is the last time you surprised yourself?
Want me to talk you into a triathlon?
If you want to read more about my 2-day hallucinations from my Half Ironman training on the course…

#ChallengeYourself #PushYourself #SurpriseYourself #Midlife #Triathlon #Team #TeamInTraining #Blogathon #Day4 #CraziestIdeaEver #SupportSystem #ChallengeAccepted #YouHaveNoIdeaOfWhatYoureCapableOf #Friends #MakesMeWander

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PRICELESS GEMS

There are so many amazing lessons from this story, I couldn’t help but share it…
(In their honor I’ve created a new Category of stories:  Heroes Among Us)

Kids doing a triathlon

Kids living life to its fullest

Kid having larger challenges than anticipated out on the course…

Marines sweep in and make sure this kid’s dreams come true!

Life’s lessons:

Never underestimate what you can accomplish!

Victory is sweeter when you share it with others!

There’s a reason why Marines look awfully good in their uniforms – it’s because of the size of their heart!

Feel free to add to this list in the comments section…

Check out this story!

RECOVERING PRINCESS: GOT OVER MYSELF AND JUST DID IT

Ruler of my universe...

Ever notice that sometimes smart people do stupid things? I’m a recovering Princess who’d joined a triathlon team despite my delicate posterior not gracing a bicycle seat in 27 years! Our first journey traveled near the Rose Bowl castle. I sighed hearing that a lap around the kingdom covered 3-ish miles. Having traveled that distance before, I would survive. Turning to leave, I heard “…Six times!” My blood grew icy as I fled beyond the cubicle woods in search of padded pantaloons for posterior protection.

I arrived to the far away kingdom’s border, where subjects warmed up their steeds. I mounted my silvery beast and followed suit. I plotted to ride as far for my first ride, as I could then return to a tub with musical bubbles – celebrating my first ride. The coaches made proclamations then sent us away – sun and wind through our helmets, reveling in the power of our own legs.

What, no shiny streamers?!

As I celebrated one lap and prepared for another, a man waved me down. I realized he wouldn’t whisk me away for a massage, rather he couldn’t let me escape until I knew how to change a bike tire. I cried, flirted and threw around my “First Practice” badge hoping he’d do it for me, but he was unresponsive. Eventually a kind soul came and instructed me while I did the work. After both wheels, I continued my journey! I made it 4-5 laps and returned to the cheering royal tunnel of love.

The coaches asked how I felt. I replied proudly “Tired – It was my first ride!” The coach unflinchingly responded, “You should’ve started earlier.” His sharp tongue cut me deeply but fairly. I instantly knew that doing “what I felt like” wouldn’t be enough. I would reach deep to bring my best to determine whether I sank or swam on triathlon day.

Honestly, I chronically suffer from underlying princess tendencies. Every workout afterwards, I panicked a little at new distances, new jobs, or new facebook accounts. While it seems easier to hire a huntsman to do your dirty deeds, I now prefer to stare down the dragon, arm-wrestle, defeat it, then turn around and help another do the same!

Slaying the beast...

MUSIC SOOTHES THE SAVAGE BEAST

I’m an all or nothing gal. I used to think it was a Gemini thing, then an oldest child thing, an Asian thing, supermom thing, now I know it’s a stubborn thing that needs to be obliterated – all or nothing! I feel the compulsion to cram as much as possible into the day.

When it's too slow, I swear time moves backwards.

My single-mom exercise plan, training for marathons, crammed in as many miles in one day as my sister did in a week. Training with philanthropic teams meant I socialized, gave back and trained at once – sucker for synergy every time! After training for a half-ironman triathlon, I haven’t resumed training regularly again simply because I know I should, would love to, or go mental without it. I prefer jobs where I’m grand central station in a busy work environment to slow, quiet days. Fueled by Stellarbucks, I run as hard as I can til all that’s left to give is nothing. My rationale rationalizes that I’m cramming two parents into one so if I’m taking time away from family, then whatever I’m doing better be big or it wasn’t worth it.

Of course, this mentality commandeered my blogging too. It wasn’t enough to write 365 words a day, I started a blogging periodical collection, spent free time ignoring my book club, instead reading other blogs learning more complicated tricks to drive traffic to my blog, as well as juicy tips of the trade. Tonight I focused on one simple tip to assist me with writing – MUSIC!

Some musicians are more distracting than others...

My system to write at night, about a situation I wandered through that day, got somewhat sluggish. The spigot I tapped to let the creative juices flow got dammed by all the workday newness to absorb. For a while I would surf the social media and pinning boards searching for inspiration, but truly avoiding the fact that I still needed a topic. Tonight, I’m up against my midnight deadline yet again, but listening to music reminded me of how moved I am by it which yielded 3-4 nuggets to polish when significant. It got me to slow down enough to relive memories, listen to lyrics, and not do anything besides sway and occasionally snap my fingers.

PAYING IT FORWARD FRIDAY: GO TEAM! (Click to the right to help now!) –>

In 2007, after finalizing a divorce and launching myself into the rest of my life, I signed up to run the 10th anniversary race through my hometown on my birthday. The race was the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon as in 26.2 miles. For perspective, when we moved worlds away from San Diego out to the sticks in Poway – I signed up to run farther than that.

I have no idea how a marathon got in my bucket list.  I never ran as a kid, except on horseback. Workout programs followed the trends.  In college I ran around the track, while the rugby team practiced on the infield, ending up with shin splints. It was then that I attended an information meeting for a fairly new program called Team In Training.  I didn’t sign up because I lacked the vision beyond myself to see how to complete it. Then, 16 years later, the planets aligned! I signed up!

Team In Training benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to find a cure for blood cancers and improve the quality of life for patients and families.  The training program molds you into an athlete and a fundraiser!  It SO thoroughly trained me, that I still remember the night before my marathon. I didn’t worry about finishing; I worried about not making it to start.  Talk about the law of attraction, when I got to the start area, I stepped off a curve, twisted my ankle, got through it and finished anyway!

Courage to start! John "The Penguin" Bingham

Beyond the event, the support I received, the mental arguments I won, and the people I met made it the most amazing experience ever.  I got to train alongside heroes!  Heroes who showed incredible bravery facing their, or a loved one’s, diagnosis, heroes sharing their stories of recovery or recurrence, heroes who blew past fundraising goals, heroes relentless for a cure.  I continue to draw on the endless inspiration from the experience so often that now my kids roll their eyes. I have done several events with the Team since and make such quality friends! If running is not your thing, they have options.  I highly recommend joining the Team for you and for them!

YOU should start a blog too…

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