Interested in hearing what goes on in the mind of a life coach/aerobics instructor? While it can be a bizarre place, it's always entertaining...mostly at my expense. Witness my struggle/dance/frustration/celebration with change as I stray out of my comfort zone and encounter other brave and interesting souls along the way.

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Odyssey--Citius, Altius, Fortius

Ah, the Summer Olympics are over and the flame extinguished for another 4 years. Well, there's always the Winter Olympics. But somehow, to a girl devoted to Track & Field, skiing and figure skating are just not the same.

As I train for my marathon, tending aching muscles and a weary attitude, I know I can find inspiration in the Olympic credo--Citius, Altius, Fortius.

Faster, Higher, Stronger.

To me the most stirring performances in any sport come from the courage to join the battle against the odds, rather than to attain glory at any price. I admire the athletes who come, knowing they have absolutely no chance at winning a medal. The glory comes from dedication, from perserverence and the honor of representing those who believe in you.

I want to respond faster to the world around me, jump higher over my struggles with fear and ignorance, and act stronger in upholding the values that mean the most to me.

Citius, Altius, Fortius. Each and every day.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Odyssey--At Least No One Molested Me!

Whew! I am still recovering from this morning's run of round about 15 miles. That is definitely the farthest I have ever fun in my life! But basically, I have decided that this whole marathon thing is nuts.

Today I ran non-stop for more than 2 hours and yet would only be a bit more than halfway through the marathon at that point. Who's idea was this?

And then there is so much on NBC today about the history of the Olympic marathon. I love the story of how the first guy to ever cover the 26.2 mile distance dropped dead immediately afterwards. Very inspiring.

But for all my groaning during the last 5 miles this morning, at least nothing hindered me in the way Vanderlei de Lima, a runner from Brazil, encountered today while leading in the men's Olympic marathon with less than 5 miles left to victory and the gold medal. As de Lima cruised along at about a 5-minute mile pace, a crazy Irish guy ran onto the course, grabbed de Lima and pushed him into the crowd that lined the streets. Fans along the route, along with a bicycle cop, wrestled the guy off de Lima and he was allowed to finish the race. Unfortunately, de Lima ended up getting overtaken by an Italian and an American runner and ended up with the bronze medal.

Who needs that? I mean, here you are, running in the heat and humidity at a pace that most people could not sustain for even one mile, for more than 20 miles and now you've got to fend off fanatics and lunatics just to finish the distance? Incredible.

I suppose the next time I am out on the road and I start feeling sorry for myself, I will have to recall Lima and his ordeal. What a nice way to keep things in perspective.

Friday, August 27, 2004

The Odyssey--My Concerns

My concerns are that the all-knowing training schedule dictates that I must run 15 miles on Sunday and that to date, my longest run ever is 13.1 miles, which nearly crippled me. And seeing as how this is only my 3rd official week of training with the all-knowing schedule and that ten miles is as long as it's gotten, I'm pretty concerned that 15 miles, an increase of 50%, will not be pretty.

Oh brother. What's up with my attitude? What's with all the glass half-empty concern? Time to, as my colleagues at Cal and I used to phrase it, suck it up. Time to put my head down and run. Of course, I don't see any of my Cal friends training for a marathon...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Odyssey--Ding!

Ah, the little mind games we play. Well, the games I play. I find that I have begun to bribe myself in order to get through my workouts. Or sometimes it's not so much a bribe in advance, but a reward after the fact. Like tonight, I took a spin class and worked harder than I planned. On my way out of the club, I caught a glimpse of the cafe counter where they sell smoothies. Didn't I deserve a little something for working so hard? Uh huh. 5 minutes later, I'm driving home with one hand on the wheel and one hand on the jumbo sized smoothie cup.

But my theory is that this working harder than planned in class came from my morning track workout, wherein I literally said to myself, "If you get through the next 3 sprints, you can have ice cream tonight." Bang. I ran off like a shot. Think of Pavlov and his little bell. Ding! It's dinner time. Ding! Time to start salivating...

Ding! Run fast and you get ice cream. Ding! Spin hard and you get a smoothie.

At this rate, I'll gain 5-10 pounds training for a marathon. Hmm, that just might be a record of some sort. Fire up those competitive urges.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Odyssey--Sleeping In

Oh the joy of waking up early in the morning and knowing that it is a day off from exercise! Ironic, coming from a fitness professional, right? Hey, I can crack the whip all day long over students and still want to sleep in the next morning.

I tell you, getting paid to teach classes or essentially, getting paid to exercise is the best set-up in the world. And not really because of the money but because it eliminates the option of working out. Don't feel like doing push-ups, squats, and crunches today? Tough. Not interested in an intense 45-minute cardio set on the bike? Too bad. Knowing that a group of people depend on you gets you out the door and to the gym every time.

But today? A glorious rest day. Just a 5 mile walk with the dogs. Track sprints and a spin class are on the agenda for tomorrow. Better rest while I can.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Odyssey--Mission Accomplished?

I feel so energized, invigorated, peppy, happy, and perky all at once that I just love everyone!

Ummm, OK, no.

Actually I my head's a bit foggy so that I am having trouble responding to any mental task with any alacrity. My quads hurt whether I am walking, standing, sitting, breathing. And I am hungry beyond all reason.

Yes, I got my butt out of bed this morning (at 6, not 5:30am) and ran the 10 miles that the training schedule dictated. (Damn, that training schedule! I am sure I will rip it off the wall at some point in the next 3 months.) I would love to say that the run changed my life for the better, but I'm a terrible liar. At this moment in time, I'm not so sure. How is my quality of life enhanced? Yet, I see the ultimate goal of Hawaii shimmering in the distance and I am ready to soldier on.

My mom watched the Women's Olympic Marathon the other day and after seeing the favored British woman crumble to the ground miles from the finish, in tears and apparent agony said to me, "I don't think this marathon thing is a good idea."

But you can bet she will be there anyway, standing on the sidewalk in Waikiki to cheer me on as I lumber past. Again, any excuse to go to Hawaii is good enough for my family.

Day off tomorrow, but sprint work scheduled for Thursday. Oh joy.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Sight for Sore Eyes

Hey, it was great seeing so many of you in Berkeley last week! Thanks for coming out to my guest appearances when I taught classes at Cal and the Y. You all look great.

I tell you, I love living here in Southern California, but there are many things I miss about Berkeley: Cody's, Moe's, Peet's, Strada, Tachibana, BART, Court 5, the farmer's markets. Hmm, mostly books and food, huh?

Great hanging out with you. See you again soon.

The Odyssey--Getting Back on the Wagon

Ouch. Once you fall off the wagon, so to speak, it can be quite painful, if not seemingly impossible to pull yourself back up. And it's so easy to fall into a pattern of excuses, isn't it? Putting off the tasks of dusting yourself off, trying to smooth away the humiliating sting of a temporary defeat, and THEN scrambling or clawing your way back to where you were a week, month, or year ago when you first fell off can be so seductive. "Let's forget about it today. We can always start over tomorrow." But then, as Mary Shelley said in the name of this blog, the beginning isn't tomorrow. The beginning is TODAY. Dammit.

I was running beautifully on schedule with my marathon training routine last week. I even packed my running shoes for a short trip up to Berkeley, fully intending to run at the UC Berkeley track on Thursday night. Heck, maybe even go for a run Friday morning as well! And what do you think happened?

Actually, the first transgression was not really my fault. I opted to help out former colleagues at the Berkeley Y on short notice and teach a class during the hour I would have spent running. Strike one. And then the next morning, it was so cold and foggy that coffee at Peet's and my favorite raspberry muffins at the Bread Garden sounded like a much better option. Strike two. And Sunday, after I flew back to the Southland, I was scheduled to run about 12 miles. Somehow my bed looked so inviting around 3pm and I thought, how about a little nap? Strike three.

Time to quit?

Give up?

Well, the next run is due tomorrow morning (10 miles.) The alarm is set for 5:30am. The running shoes are by the door.

Oooof, why does that wagon have to keep such a fast pace? Why can't it slow down or even stop so I can hop back on gracefully?

Tomorrow. 5:30am. 10 miles. My good intentions.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The Odyssey--Who's Afraid of Commitment?

Well, it's official...I have pledged to run the Honolulu marathon on December 12th. Whew! At least I finally made a decision! And I managed to talk my brother into joining me, even though he has a 4 year old and a 2 month old at home. Haha. Will he go the distance? Only time will tell.

I ran 9 miles today around a track. Ask me how my legs feel. Is a trip to Hawaii really worth all this? And 9 miles is only 1/3rd of the total distance. What, am I nuts???

16 weeks to go and counting.

Friday, August 13, 2004

The Odyssey--Let the Games Begin!

OK, so I have officially committed myself to running the Honolulu Marathon this year in December. My training began in earnest this week as I discovered that I am pretty far behind and should already be up to a mileage of about 30 miles/week. Haha. Not even close.

So I look to Greece for inspiration with the beginning of the summer Olympics starting today. When I was a kid, that was my big be an Olympic athlete. I'll never forget sweating it out at the LA Coliseum in 1984 to watch Carl Lewis, Evelyn Ashford, and Edwin Moses compete. And of course, that was the year that Joan Benoit won the first ever Women's Marathon event.

Oops, gotta run (figuratively). It's about the start!


Hey. Just read some posts at one of my favorite blogs, "Life at TJs Place." That is one wild forum! Anyway, the author didn't post for 9 days, which sparked a huge controversy involving accusations, conspiracy theories, and even one tasteless poster posing as a friend who informed the group that the author had died in his sleep.

Sometimes I wish that I could receive comments from readers. In fact, I hope to get to that point someday. But the thought that you would then have to wade through as many as 200 comments on a single post is overwhelming. Not that I flatter myself by believing I have that sort of blogging superstar status!

But can you believe that some people take this so seriously?? Hmmm, I guess it takes all kinds.

Monday, August 09, 2004

The Odyssey--Afraid of Commitment?

After receiving a little coaching from a masterful guy, Jon McCallum, I have 99.9% committed myself to running the Honolulu Marathon on December 12th, 2004. You see, of course, the .1% that remains. It's just that 26.2 miles is a very looooonnnngggg way to run. I just pulled up the training calendar and realized that I need to be on track to run a distace of 13 miles in one stretch and 26 miles total next week. Yikes!

Thank goodness the Olympics are starting up this week. I am a sucker for those inspirational gold medal moments.

As soon as I win over that last .1%, I'll let you know.

Friday, August 06, 2004

I Can't Believe I Got Stood Up!

I made a commitment to myself to wrap-up my work on the computer by 8pm tonight. I have been working pretty late most evenings and as a result of staring at the computer screen for so long, I often don't get the highest quality sleep.

OK, what time does the clock say? 8:43pm? Not good.

In the drive to cross just one more thing off my never ending to do list, I fought the desire to close up shop for the night. I violated my commitment and essentially stood myself up.

How often do you honor the promises you make to yourself? Do you make your "me" time a priority or does taking care of yourself fall somewhere behind helping your family, friends, co-workers, pets, and community?

Try making an effort to set a date with yourself. And then keep it!

I have some big time apologizing to do tonight and a need to turn my back on the workaholic in me for at least a night or two. What's that line from Loreal cosmetics? "Because I'm worth it."

Yes, I do believe I am.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Warning: The Politically Sensitive Need Not Read

Just saw the funniest political cartoon called, "This Land is Your Land," starring George W. Bush and John Kerry.  View it here:
Now if you are politically over-sensitive or just easily offended, please don't visit.  The 2 best things about it are:

  1. It pokes equal fun at both sides.
  2. It serves as a reminder that we live in a country where freedom of speech is celebrated.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Quote Me on That

"He is able who thinks he is able." --Buddha

Monday, August 02, 2004

Beginner's Mind

Tonight I attended my second class at a local gym, in a format that I am unfamiliar with. Does anyone besides me have a hard time trying something new? Have you ever experienced any of the following:

1) Nervousness at finding a new location for the first time.
2) Feeling like the outsider, or the only newbie.
3) Feeling like everyone identifies you as the outsider and either feels pity for your circumstances or superior.
4) A knot in the stomach and the realization that you could still sneak back out of the room, unmolested.
5) Conviction that you will never, ever be good at this.
6) Conviction that everyone else around you has a natural talent and has been able to move like that since birth.

Well, I am here to tell you that yes, it may be difficult and even a little intimidating the very first time you try something new. But go back a second time and you are already an expert in the eyes of the latest newcomer. The task might be just a little easier. Someone whom you've never spoken to might recognize you, catch your eye, and smile.

Watch how children approach a new activity. Notice that a few are shy and timid. Others are bold and exhibit an almost alarming sense of abandon. Is there a middle ground where you could exist?

When was the last time you tried something new? A new class, an item that you have never tried on the menu of your favorite restaurant, a different route on the way to work? Experiment with change in small doses so that it becomes a regular part of your life, like switching from whole milk to nonfat.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Prioritizing Heaven for the Anal Retentive

Following along the lines of Friday's post, I just read about a very aggressive time management technique, called the "ABCDE Method," from "Turbo Strategy: 21 Powerful Ways to Transform Your Business and Boost Your Profits Quickly" by Brian Tracy. Basically, you write up a list of activities or tasks for the day. Then you categorize them in order of importance, with A being highest priority, B second highest, and C lowest priority. Mark those tasks that can be delegated with a D and eliminated with an E. Next, prioritize within each category: A-1, A-2, A-3, etc. Then, get to work. The big rule is that you cannot start working on a B task until all the A tasks are completed.

I incorporated this method into my schedule today and was amazed at how many "difficult" yet highly important tasks I accomplished. The big distinction for me was that I often allow myself to get distracted by B or even C tasks because they are generally smaller or easier to do and have less pressure tied to them. How many times have I reached the end of a week and found an in-box full of incredibly important jobs languishing while all the trivial fluff was cheerfully attended to and filed away?

Again, only the person in serious need for hard core time management need apply.