Back in the Saddle

January 26, 2011

Rockin’ to and fro
Back in the saddle again
I go my way…”

I am back in the saddle, in my trainers, and in the pool, again. With races ahead, along with long days of preparing for them, where sweat, food and sleep are my best friends. I have a new modus operandi, and a new coach who is already proving to be the voice of reason for a girl that just doesn’t yet know how to rest. And so bump along in this groove I know so well, and yet so much is new.

Just two weeks in, already the Boston Marathon and the Vineman Ironman are on the horizon, with a handful of 70.3 races, half-marathons, and ultramarathons (and maybe an epic bike adventure or two.)

My training schedule picked up just days after starting my position with Backroads here in Berkeley – there doesn’t seem like anytime is more appropriate than the present to make time for this addictive hobby of mine — that being this crazy endurance stuff. So my days are a bit more full than they are for other 9-5ers….but I have good company in my ambitious co workers, which makes my early morning runs and trainer sessions, lunch time swims and rides and summer calendar filled with long miles running and riding much less insane. And it feels great.

But also, I’m humbled. I recall those days not so long ago when my days consisted of nothing more than waking up to ride, run, swim in the ocean, teach a few yoga classes in our tatami rooms, and recover by walking Gunner on the beach in Southern Japan. I became a triathlete while we were living in Asia and my life was completely open to allow for the desire to bloom. I have missed those days of hard-core athletic ambition and this season I am out to get back there for myself. I crave the consistency, and the accomplishment, the victory, the sweat, and the connection that you make with yourself after walking the finest line between standing tall and crumbling to the ground. Literally. These triathletes that have real jobs, real families, and real lives outside of their training are hard core people! Fitting it all in is a challenge I embrace, but it is still a challenge. Roll that up with all the other change going on and there are some days that my body feels like I have been training non-stop for months.

Typical days include something before dawn – a run along the waterfront over looking the San Francisco skyline as the sun comes up, springs and hill work maybe, or a short but heart-pumping session on the trainer. Breakfast, a snuggle with the men in my house before hopping on my bike and heading to work. The stability ball at my desk keeping things “rolling” until I head out to swim/ride/run in the hills around our office, returning to work for the afternoon with just enough of a glow that one might think spring had arrived already in California. By 5pm I’m spinning home again along the Berkeley marina, watching the sunset and starving for dinner. Snuggle the men. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

By the weekend, we are running in the hills, exploring our new surrounds in trainers with hydration packs. Exploring, I take my bike out and spin in the sunshine. So good. Especially come Sunday evening when the calendar reveals time to bake, drink wine, watch a movie, and relish in a bit of time off before the lovely grind begins again. I need this time too – as much as I need the consistency of the calendar, I need time OFF of it….no matter how long its been since I was formally “back at it.”

Tis the season, to ramp up expectations and hard work, to use the time I have and use it well. To embrace whatever strength I have inside and use it to dig deeper still. Maybe just to prove to myself that I can. This pace of life seems to fit. It allows me to glow, to thrive. These times when time to laze is short teach me the most about traveling fast, far and well. The reality of few moments to spare reminds me that, even without a calendar or coach, our energy and time is precious. And so I go forth! 🙂

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