Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's still winter...

Snow storm: 2. Jennifer: 0.

This morning I headed out early to get a 3.5 hour ride in before work. I checked the weather and with a 20% chance of rain and wind in the afternoon, I figured my best chance of rolling on pavement was going to be with the early birds. Sure I'd be fighting a little bit of the morning commute. But this is Colorado Springs, after all and their traffic pales in comparison to Seattle. A few clouds hugged Cheyenne Mountain but didn't seem like anything to worry about.

I headed North, toward Black Forest and passed kids waiting for their school bus. I love riding early. Getting a massive workout done before 11am just starts the day off right. But this morning I could feel something lurking over my shoulder. A couple glances behind me revealed the same cloud patterns hugging the front range. I completed both lactic threshold intervals and debated lengthening my ride but then I realized what was lurking. Dark, omnious clouds that were only over Cheyenne were now along the entire front range. The wind was blowing something fierce and I had one option: RUN.

I ended up adding another Super LT interval as I pedaled as fast and furious south as I could. But the wall of clouds still hit, and instead of bringing rain, they brought snow. But not the wet stuff you'd find in Seattle. No, this is the light sugar stuff that dusted the roads. And just when I was ready to pull over, call a cab and finish the remainder of my workout on a trainer, the clouds blew overhead, heading East, and the sun popped out, the pavement dried up and overhead clear blue sky.  What the?

I shook my head, amazed at what just happened. I still had roughly two hours to complete, so I headed South toward Cheyenne. About 40 minutes from the end of my ride, more dark clouds started to build. I had two options: head home and call it a day or HTFU and ride through another squall. I know one way to keep warm: climb. So up the canyon I went. The wind pushed me hard, adding resistance and time to my ride. And while thoughts of giving up when the going got tough crossed my mind, I fought hard. And I came home, fired up a hot shower and promptly fell back asleep.

Some days you have to ride through storms to accomplish your goals. And those days, the ones where you struggle, face fears and prevail are the ones that make the journey worth it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Create the life you want.

Did you miss me?

Aw, shucks. I missed you too.

All I can say is, whoa! Where did the past ten days go? I know they happened. My training log proves it. But still, where did that time go? Don't worry, it was time well spent. I can assure you that. And although I haven't posted in the past several days, I certainly thought about it.

A quick recap: working, training, piloting a tandem, several days spent in the mountains with my sweetie, dog park visits, eating insanely delicious foods, going to the Olympic Training Center, mourning the loss of Nissa, using my library card, meditating... just to name a few. But more importantly, I am so content right now. This very moment. This spot.

Have you ever experienced a time when you thought, this is it. This is why I exist.

I have and I like what I feel and who I am. You know that cup half full saying? Well my cup is overflowing.

I wish I could sum it up a little better for you but this shit eating grin is getting in the way.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I love Colorado.

The mountains are calling to me again - urging me to explore and play in them. Each day I wake up in the shadow of Pikes Peak and smile inwardly and outwardly, its beauty striking. I absolutely love it here.  I've created a perfect balance of outward expression and inward reflection and the days pass with amazing harmony and clarity. To have this gift, to know how much I'm living in the present, embracing life as it happens, is so fulfilling.

It took ten years. Ten years of talking about moving to the mountains, being pulled and lured by its beauty, and now I have arrived. I am living life exactly how I want to be living it - simply, harmoniously, and with so much love. I am surrounded by beauty that reflects my soul and makes me feel so connected. I ride through its peaks and valleys and observe all that is going on around me. I am excited by all of the opportunities and experiences to live and still need to be pinched daily as a reminder that this isn't a dream. This is real.

May you all find that place and live there. I found it in Colorado.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bike Love

The sun shone brightly today. It lifted my spirits after a week of clouds and snow, and hours upon hours of trainer time in the basement. I did a little rearranging, a little planning and those lactic threshold repeats were completed outside on the shallow side of Gold Camp, in the bright warm sun. As I climbed, my smile spread, or at least on the inside it did. To the outside world, it was certainly a grimace. The deer along side the road my fan club, my computer showing my target power numbers and my mind willing my body to do it. Synchronicity.

If I can't spend the day with my sweetie, then spending on the bike is a nice alternative. And spending it outdoors, breathing fresh air, soaking in the views during my recovery between sets - ahhhhhh. The new bike is pretty sweet.

Things are busy right now. I'm working a random schedule at the Market, fitting in my three workouts a day, walking the dogs, getting some writing and reading done and staying busy as the days tick by. After a few short weeks at the Market they asked if I would be interested in a more serious role with the company... more details on that to come shortly.

Hopefully tomorrow the sun will poke out and I'll get some more quality time outdoors on the bike. I hope your day was full of love, like mine was. And with that, I leave you with some Moonli love.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Winter promises.

Winter's shawl wrapped tight as snow drifts through the air, landing with determination.

It is 9 degrees outside.

Finally, this is winter in Colorado. This is why leaves fall earlier than normal, color gone from the landscape and animals hibernating. This is why I have an enormous puffy coat collecting dust in the closet until today.

This is why man created the trainer. Four hours of fun.

We need this snow - to fill our reservoirs, to feed the land, to get me back to my grout project.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Miss Fix It

Signs it's about time to get back on the bike:

1. You actually start those nagging house projects.
2. You buy power tools to do said house projects.
3. You walk outside, oblivious to the cold, and yearn to be outside longer.
4. Try as you may to NOT eat like you were while riding 15+ hours a week on the bike you still are.... uh oh.
5. You're starting to enjoy the time off.

Yesterday I tackled the grout replacement project in our upstairs bathroom. A few longer showers than normal, a couple of calls to the plumber to pinpoint our leak and I find myself in Bob Villa mode visiting Home Depot to fix it and fix it right. When grout dries out (something that happens to all grout, and it seems to be accelerated in dry Colorado), it needs to be replaced, pronto. Ignore it and that water build up behind the walls will make things worse.

Finding guidance online and confident it was an easy remedy, I headed to the Depot to buy grout and sealant. Two employees were mulling around in the tile section and I got to drill them on what to do and the best way to fix it. Turns out my initial scraping it with a small screwdriver was only going to make it worse. Unless you remove ALL the old grout from between the tiles, it's just going to crack and dry again. Liken the process to tartar build up on your teeth. If you don't remove it all then the new tartar will build up on the old and cause problems: cavities. Or in this cause: water damage.

A couple of hand tools will do the job, but after explaining to fellas the size of the area (which really isn't that big), they recommended a Dremel. And not just any Dremel, the MULTI MAX. With versatility and a grout removing option, it's a homeowners dream tool. And it would cut my workload into less than half. $99 for the tool, $30 for a grout attachment and I was walking out the door confident I could do this myself. I admit, buying a power tool made me feel manly. Tim Allen would be proud. Arf, arf, arf.

I get home, ready to tackle the grout and what do I discover? I need more tools. Like a power cord, mask, gloves and the right adapter. I bought the 1/8 one, and my tiles are much closer together - 1/16". And my premixed grout is off in color. Come on, if I'm going to do this right then it's going to look professional. Ha!

The Dremel is loud. Put it in a ceramic tiled bathroom with acoustics that reflect my next day job singing voice and it is wicked loud. Ear plugs are certainly in order. Makiah and Moonli curious at first by what I was doing have retreated to the back bedroom downstairs, the furthest point from where I'm working.

I get about 30 minutes in and have to head to an appointment. And back to the Depot - turns out I need that grout removing hand tool after all for the right angle seams and caulking. But hey, at least I started! I hope to be regrouting before the weekend.... and before I get back on the bike. We all know once that happens then my spare time is gobbled up by lounging on the couch.

Got any experience with grout and tiles and want to share your tips? Please do!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Gut instincts.

I recently came across a website titled, "Advanced Riskology."

The author, Tyler, is from Portland, Oregon, 26 years old and a writer, adventurer and risk taker. He has thousands of hits a day on his website and comments galore as he talks about stepping outside of your comfort zone and doing something that is "risky."

He created a list that contains things on it that collectively less than 1% of the world do. Things like skydiving (check!), scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, flying an airplane (check), steer a ship (check), sell a business for $1,000,000, raise $250,000 for charity, found a non-profit (contradicts the other sale, no?) and on and on. If you want to check out the full list - go here.

It's funny reading the comments and how critical people are of other people's dreams and desires. Sometimes the comments are supportive and others point out the why you shouldn't do this - you should do that. Unfortunately, if you are willing to put your dreams out there then there's always going to be someone who will tell you can't do something.

Why is that?

I digress.

I posed Tyler a question in the comments. I asked if your intuition, hunch, dreams or whatever you want to label them point you in the direction of doing a so called risk, then is it really a risk? Or is it more about trusting yourself? And trusting yourself, to me, seems like the biggest risk of all.

Have you ever been faced with a situation and your gut immediately points you in a direction, only to be bombarded with rational thought and reason into another direction? How often do you follow that gut instinct? How many times have you made that rational decision, only to discover later that your initial hunch was spot on, then kicked yourself for not listening to yourself? How many times do you have to learn this lesson before you start listening to your gut?

"The greatest risk of all is the one not taken."

Personally, I've been listening to my gut more and more lately and it's opening up doors I never knew were closed.

Side note - it's been a LONG rest week. I'm starting to get antsy to get back on the bike (a good sign!). Can you tell by the subjects I bring up? Yeah, thought so.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Spoiler alert

Oh boy, big things are happening again. A surge of energy, of possibilities... doors opening and dreams followed.....

Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

My Secret...

Every now and then my body and mind craves mountain time. Being surrounded by peaks larger than life, with their unique weather systems and unmatched beauty brings a sense of calmness in my life. It grounds me in ways that some may not understand but others totally get. I could spend hours, if not days upon lifetimes staring out at their vistas. Spending time outdoors leaves me refreshed, clear headed and ready to tackle where ever my journey may take me next.

Today's drive to Keystone gave me 2.5 hours of uninterrupted listening of several podcasts.  I'm inquisitive about metaphysics, the unanswered questions in life, the big picture thinking and how to manifest your own destiny. I've always been, even as a kid. But lately I can't get enough on the subject. I'm whizzing through books, spending hours reading on the web, writing a ton and really doing some exploration on the subject. And I'm not the only one - weeding through the iTunes library of "intuitive" topics was a little overwhelming. But I immediately found some gems and they sparked fantastic trains of thought, affirmations and even "hey, that's exactly what I do!" comments. Funny, they just kind of came to me.

If you haven't heard about this guy, you have now. Dr. John DeMartini. He has inspired millions of people as a healer and was dyslexic as a child and now has authored hundreds of books. "You're the master of your destiny, the captain of your ship."

Sound familiar?


Oprah's on it too: http://youtu.be/KYFIN6Csr0k


Saturday, February 04, 2012

Just because

When Great Trees Fall
Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly.  Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed.  They existed.
We can be.  Be and be
better.  For they existed.