Saturday, April 30, 2011

Accomplishing what you put your mind to.

Well the weekend is certainly off to a good start. Friday night I met up with Jennie at Bastille in Ballard for happy hour and we polished off some curry mussels and French fries. We chatted for several hours and parted ways - just in time for sushi in Fremont with my sister and her beau Sam. And after consuming roll after tasty roll, we walked across the street and had pie for desert! You can get a pie fix up to 2am on a weekend night - just what the center of the universe needs.

Mmmm, pie.

This morning I was up long before my alarm, ready to head to the gym to get my body fat tested. And since my numbers came in a little lower then expected, I treated myself with a roasted chicken, roasted parsnips, and large salad. I am stoked and a little surprised that I reduced my percentage by four points since my last weigh in. Maybe I'll have more pie tonight?

Jennie poked a little fun at me actually - for wanting to keep track of my body fat and weight. Her reasoning? You are what you are and if by reaching some magic number on the scale you feel more empowered and can suddenly do more, then go for it. But to her it's silly to put such stock in a number. I did have to laugh at myself - and I suppose it's a cross over from boxing and being obsessed with numbers. But hey, I'll go into tomorrows race with a tad more confidence that focusing and working on something can and does produce results. And that you can do whatever you put your mind to.

It's Saturday night and my belly is full and body relaxed after a fun mountain bike session this afternoon with Michelle and Danielle. We hit up the trails at Tokul and I hooped and hollered down the roller coaster ride called Flotron - the best trail in Western Washington. That single track had me grinning from ear to ear and I can not wait to run it again and again. And again.

On tap for tomorrow - Washington state road race championship in Elma, WA (near Olympia). Should be another sweet day on the bike. Oh and it's supposed to be sunny. Double win!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Love/Hate Relationships

I have a love/hate relationship with rest weeks.

On Monday, I thought "thank God! I was about to implode!" Both body and mind were tired - from the back to back to back large volume weeks of training. Individually they are completely doable - 20 hours spread over 7 days is easily achievable. But consecutive 20 hour weeks stacked one right after the other adds up. Their cumulative effect is huge - you have to break the body and mind down to make it stronger.

After the first day: "I wish this was a two week long rest week."
After the second day: "Wow - I'm catching up on my sleep!"
After the third day: "I miss my bike."
After the fourth day: "I'm going CRAZY! I need to get my heart rate up! It's sunny out, I want to ride my bike. I HATE the couch!"

Then, and only once you've reached that tipping point, must you take one more day off - completely - before the training resumes.

But if you do it right - and truly rest - this valuable time will pay HUGE dividends later. So quiet down the social calendar, eat good foods, take lots of naps, dive into a book or two, and chill. Your body and mind will thank you and your competition will not.

Eugene, Oregon

When I was a little girl, my dad would organize weekend bike rides. We would start from the house, bombing down Whitten drive's gravel road and out onto Lorraine highway, down past the local Dairy Mart, through the Friendly neighborhood and eventually connect to the Mackenzie river trail. My brother and I had twin BMX bikes - his was black and mine was red, with checkered foam handle bar sleeves and red bar ends. Our knobby tires absorbed potholes, glass and gravel and if we did flat, my dad was there to patch it up.

The thing I remember most is what a sense of adventure those rides provided - for I was often the last one in our pack of three and therefore on what felt like being on my own. Winding our way through the flat streets of Eugene, around Skinners butte and through the rose garden, our biggest challenge on the return, with an enormous mountain to climb.

Those rides fulfilled my sense of wanderlust - of going some where by my own accord, living in the moment and filing it away deep into my memory banks. It was there, next to the river bank, that I first fell in love with the bike. And it was there where I learned to capture and chase those endorphin filled moments of happiness.

(Rest week this week - time for lots of reflection and nostalgia. Lucky you!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blind faith

"It's dangerous, because a trainer holds a fighter's mind in his hands. The fighter depends on him for the truth, and if the trainer don't got it, the fighter is going to get hurt."

- A Fighter's Mind by Sam Shepherd

I think back to my first days at Cobra Kai, and the hours upon hours of workouts spent in a gym in Ferndale. Where I learned the foundations of how to box, how to move my feet and punch, hard. How to throw combination punches, block, bob and weave, and build my cardio base. I think back on the relationship I had with Coach James Ferguson - the blind leap of faith I put in his hands and the blind faith he put back in me.

His piercing blue eyes, flattened nose, and boxers gait framed an aging and failing body. Often his back would spasm and he would lean on anything nearby. On a good day, he would hold mitts and we'd rattle off jab, cross, jab, left hook over and over and over. He'd start throwing in a return hit so you got used to protecting yourself. And I swear, you'd learn more in those five minutes with him then hours spent with sparring partners.

Coach would talk about dancing and always moving your feet. And for warm ups we'd often incorporate a free flowing dance with shadow boxing thrown in for good measure. Turns out those little drills would be invaluable when fighting in the ring. Being able to move your feet and move is crucial for survival; if you just stand there, you will get hit. The more you get hit, the more it hurts.

Coach also made up games. Games that would push us and challenge us in outside the box ways. For he knew the importance of becoming a well rounded fighter goes well beyond what happens between the ropes in 20 square feet. One summer we did a training camp down at Boulevard Park, termed "Hell Summer." He would have us swim in Bellingham Bay's frigid water, swim in a water soaked log and then haul it up the beach. People must have thought we were nuts. Then we'd take the log back into the water and dry off and start warming up for focus mitts. We'd run flights of stairs, carrying our sparring partners by piggy back up and then back down. Then we'd time it - competing against one another. He was toughening us up, preparing us for the rigors of going to battle.

And then one time we had a snipe hunt.

The discipline it takes, the motivation to workout day after day, especially when your body is screaming for reprieve and your head is still fuzzy from last night's pop to the chin and your neck has whip lash; it takes a driven person to stick with it. It was there I honed in on how much I loved competing. I loved facing danger right in the face, prepared and completely naive - it scared me down to my core and it made me feel alive.

The "Hell Summer" ribbon of excellence lays right next to my world cup jersey numbers on a mirror covered dresser. It is a big part of the athlete I am today. And its printed words remain my mantra: A champion is made a day at a time.

I wonder what Coach is up to these days. I lost contact with him once I moved down to Seattle ten years ago. Yet some of his lessons still resonate in my head. And for the record, I never got hurt.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Smart moves.

I had the best intention to go out on Saturday night but instead pulled "the bike racer/I'm in training mode/can't get off the couch" card. And my body thanked me for it the next day during my 4+ hour ride, in the rain.

As much as keg stands, gorging on bonbons and cake sound appealing, sometimes you have to listen to your body. There is a delicate balance between pushing your body and recovering, especially as we age. The candle that burns on both ends sadly gets shorter and shorter. And although I don't exercise for usually more than 4 hours a day, it takes at least double that amount of time to bounce back.

A week ago I mentioned how I was adapting to 20 hour training weeks AND maintaining a healthy social calendar by going out with friends every night. Funny - I cracked that same day, hard. Rest means rest - and sometimes a date with a good book is more advantageous than running around.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dead Baby Bike Challenge...

Oh man, does the sun feel good today.

I write from a blanket in my side yard, with the sun on my back and shorty shorts on in hopes of getting some color baked into my pasty white pigment. I'm sure I'm not the only person who is hoping for a sunburn today.

After this morning's time trial, I can't think of anything better to do then lazily lay in the sun, eating bonbons and napping. Yeah, my yard could use some attention - but those chores can wait. Even Makiah is panting with her long fur coat begging to be shaved.

My neighbors stack of dead baby bikes lay temptingly in the yard next door... as soon as I get my bonbon sugar fix, I might take one out for a stroll. Or at least ride one up the street later for the big birthday bash at the clubhouse. I heard rumor of a keg being tapped - and you know what that means.... time to break out my keg stand appropriate attire. It's all down hill from there. (Back to my house that is.) Bombing down a hill after some liquid courage? Kids, don't try this at home.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I often have vivid dreams. They come in batches - sometimes weeks apart. And then I'll have a group of them that leave me thinking about them all the next day. Does it have to do with diet? Was it something spicy I ate last night? I've been known to have some whacked out ones right after a big seafood feast - I wonder what the validity is for that one.

I dreamed I cut my own bangs last night. I pulled out the scissors, started to chop away, realized I needed sharper ones, and then continued hacking. But it didn't stop with my bangs, I got carried away and next thing I knew, I was giving myself a pixie haircut.

But what does it mean? Naturally I turned to the most authoritative resource I know: Herr Google. "Cutting my bangs dream" revealed 5,140,000 results. I chose the first one - a answer and had an AHA! moment.

Cut / Cutting
To dream that you have a cut, suggests that you are being let down or being undermined. If you cut yourself in the dream, you are being your own worst enemy. A dream of cutting something signifies a broken relationship or severed connection.

My own worse enemy, eh? Ain't that the cold hard truth!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Heavy weight.

There's a trainer at my gym, Mike, who I have befriended over the years of pumping iron there. We both attended Western; he is a few years older than I. It took me a while to build up the courage to say hello - as the gym culture is passive and quiet, especially during the non-peak hours. And to be honest, Mike is an intimidating fellow at first - with his guttural noises and loud encouragement with his clients. I often run into him in the Olympic platform area and we have had quite a few exchanges over the years. The ice was broken over box jumps a few years ago - as he is a big fan of plyometrics and he was curious what sport I am training for.

Since returning from my adventures abroad this past winter, I've been putting in some serious hours in the basement of Sound Mind and Body. And I've run into Mike, a lot. He's usually with a client and doing his thing, so we often just say hi as we work.

But earlier this week, we crossed paths while both working out, sans client. We had a heart to heart, which probably doesn't happen every day amongst bar bells, squat racks and bench presses. Between reps, he asked me how I was doing. My immediate response was, I'm great! But the look on his face revealed he wanted to know how things were really going, you know, since losing Ryan.

I took a little longer recovery between my sets and answered him, truthfully, that I was okay. That time, the ultimate healer, is doing its job. And, be as awkward as it may be, I was thankful Mike took the time to ask what a lot of people may be wondering, or are too afraid to say - how are you?

I am doing just fine, thank you.

Mike's funny. He said his response would be to someone asking him the same thing, "there's a big gaping hole in my life. How do you THINK I'm doing?" We laugh, at the seriousness of our conversation and get back to our reps.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I just realized - I haven't baked a single batch of cookies this year. And the scale proves it - weighing in lighter then ever prior to butt-slimming intervals. But my mouth waters and taste buds yearn for Michelle's Snickerdoodles.

I mean seriously. Check these bad boys out.

I can afford a cookie on a three-a-day workout, right? But there are mountains to climb and a stage race looming in the future... maybe after I climb them, I'll reward myself. One month. Cookie free.

I sense a binge coming on.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Doing more while slow cooked.

The human body is amazing. It can survive, regenerate in most instances, and adapt, adapt and then adapt again.

Last week's overwhelming meat and potato workouts are already getting easier. The volume is manageable and I've found a careful balance between crushing my ego pedaling in fast and slow circles, feeding my bottomless pit of a stomach, resting and having fun. The more you do, the more you do. Every night this past week has been spent with different friends, and today is no exception. I'm heading north to Bellingham to meet Josiah James Mather, born earlier this week.

And as much as I like spending time by myself, in a steady state of reflection, it's nice to laugh with your buddies. The added bonus? It gives me more to reflect on.

Some new things are developing in my life that I will share soon enough. Let's just say I feel a summit getting close and am enjoying the journey up the mountain of life.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Broken, I mean buried noses

My nose has been buried between the pages of "A Fighters Mind" by Sam Sheridan for two days now. It provokes a monster inside of me that has been dormant for a long, long time. I've put down the Angry Birds, turned off Pandora and my palms start sweating just thinking about the sounds, smells and sights of the boxing gym.

Oh to be the predator, instead of the prey. A feeling that is hard to describe and if you dare, best experienced.

To go back to something so basic, so brutal, and so beautiful has certainly sparked some nostalgia. Cycling is so much different. The closest event to it is probably the Madison; where strategy, aerobic fitness and throwing down with no reservation come into play round after round.

Yet I'm still drawn to the fight, despite the risks associated and injuries involved. The broken noses, ribs, black eyes, brain injury - is it strange I don't shy away?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


All my life I've made up words. It must be some mild form of dyslexia - as I often substitute the wrong word or just plain make one up. Take contentness for instance. Sounds legit, right? Wrong. And the grammar police wouldn't have to make much of a case before arresting me.

But good intention is there.

So here's my argument for the word contentness. It's concise. It gets the point across. And instead of saying: "I have a feeling of complete content," you could say: "I'm full of contentness."

Oh boy, that does sound ridiculous. Somebody arrest me, quick.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Speaking of new additions.... the Mather house is expecting Josiah James any minute now! Come on out baby - we're excited to meet you!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Meat and Tatters

It's 9:30pm, and I've been laying in bed for a while now. To say I'm tired is an understatement. This was the first week of what I'll term the meat and potatoes of my workouts. Twenty plus hours of workouts for the week. And three more weeks of it to come.

But I know that hard work put in now, hours spent sweating in just the right zones, pushing just the right weights, training races, group rides, hot yoga and recovering will pay huge dividends later. I've found that if I just concentrate on attacking each effort, each rep, each pedal stroke, each posture, then the huge goals I have in mind are that much closer. Thankfully I am in a position in my life where I can pursue what I love. Other than walking my pooch and working my odd hour job, I have ample time and energy to devote to training. Spoiled? Absolutely. Grateful? You bet. Trade lives with anyone else? Never.

I wouldn't swap this eyes-half-masted feeling for anything. My entire body aches and other than my 5 hour team ride this morning, I didn't do anything today. I take that back: I did mounds of laundry, which was composed primarily of chamois. I also ate what seemed like mounds of food.

But oh what I'd give for a leg and shoulder rub.....

Friday, April 08, 2011

New Additions!

There's a new addition to the family.

And every single fingernail has grease beneath it.

Welcome shiny Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, welcome. I plan to ride you for at least 10,000 miles before you need serious attention. Don't worry, we'll go lots of places - fast. I expect nothing less then 1,000 watts from your first sprint. :) And if you play your cards right, we might just travel the world together.

Yeah, I'm a geek. Most girls would be excited about a new pair of shoes. I'm stoked about a set of new training wheels. But they represent freedom and distance - and happiness. What's not to love?

I wonder.

A big sense of needing change overwhelmed me today.

One of those, I have to do something IMMEDIATELY to gain some sort of sanity, some sort of inner peace.

I suppose last night's dream might have had something to do with it. My dream was so vivid and so real it woke me up at 2:15am. I should have written it down right then there: the who, what, when and where. The why? Well that usually reveals itself at a later time.

What I will say is this: it involved an unexpected passing of a younger female presence. I wish I could recall the details - for they are often clues to my dream's meanings. And as wacky as this sounds, for some reason or another my dreams show foresight into what becomes reality. But hours later, I woke up feeling instead a sense of urgency to make sure I'm living a life exactly how I want to be. The time is now.

It leaves me wondering why these feelings cloud my consciousness and why I have these crazy dreams.

I wonder.
I'm setting a deadline for myself: October, 2011.

Ready. Set. GO!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Flow

I was in bed at 9:30 last night, with full intention of calling it an early night and catching a full 8 hours before my early 5:30 wake up call. Instead, I found myself playing Angry Birds, a game I am fully hooked on -until oh, 11pm. It's not that I wasn't tired, I just couldn't land my boom boom birds in the same pig blowing up sequence and I'll be damned if I was going to settle for anything less then three stars! Die piggy's! (:

Jake, my housemate that lives downstairs, has early mornings on Tuesday and Thursdays. I usually hear him and wake up just enough to glance at the clock, confirming he's not late for work - and then shut them tight and fall right back to sleep as I hear him lock the front door.

But today was different. Today, I headed to hot yoga. The 6am class.

Yep, I'm crazy. Even Makiah thought so when she barely lifted her head sensing I was up way earlier then normal.

It has been down right chilly the past couple of days. Last night it snowed in Bellevue (just east of Seattle). Which makes the 105 degree room and steady sweat that much more appealing. Fortunately it wasn't raining when I left the house at 5:45, so I walked the ten blocks to Bikrams.

Inside, I found warmth, clarity and balance. I let go of any attachments I had to the weather, to any emotional turmoil (thankfully there are none!), to thinking about what has happened or what will, to being up way earlier then normal. For 90 minutes, I consciously focused on the here and now. Bringing the mind back to the breath. I entered the flow.

"The more efficient you are of letting go, the more energy will return," our instructor guided.

Amen, sister. Amen.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011



On the morning's news Kurt cobains untimely suicide was mentioned. Seventeen years ago to the day. This afternoon I rode by the house he committed the act- it's along the bike route down to lake washington. The park bench adjacent to the mansion was covered in memorabilia. And fans loitered in the area paying their respects.

I remember that day. I was in high school, fresh to Seattle and mesmerized, along with the nation, by nirvanas music. Hundreds of fans flocked to the park next to his house, mourning the loss of a local grunge legend. Acquaintances from school made the front page of the P.I. with mascara streaming down their teared cheeks. Courtney lost her shit.

Seventeen years. Goes by quick if you forget that the world keeps spinning madly on. Need a reminder? Look up: Smells like teen spirit.....


Little pockets of blue sky and sun on the Olympics did wonders for my motivation to get going this morning. Blinds drawn, cuddling with my pooch (who is guilt tripping me by having Kyle and Laura watch her over the weekend) I admit hitting the snooze bar at least once this morning, which rolled into me being late into work later.

This week is all about getting strong. I'm throwing around some heavy boulders and making a lot of grunting noises. Not only do I get to wear muscle shirts and tight shorts, but I also intimidate everybody by blowing out hot air pssssst noises during every rep. Let me tell you - the gym is PACKED in the morning. A total of four people were there this morning.

During my early morning roller spin, I heard the Cascades got 20" of snow yesterday. 20 inches! Temps are way colder than average this time of year - hovering around 43 compared to a normal 55. And this is all anyone can talk about. Amanda was at the front desk of SM&B and told me we may see sun on Friday. My response: that's a week away!

Thankfully the sun continues to poke out through the clouds making the spring colors pop outside my office window along the canal. They should rephrase that saying "March and April showers bring May flowers!"