Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sinking In

I've been doing a lot of body self awareness lately. My motivation is in hope of alleviating the persistent lower back pain that resurfaced over the holidays and I've found it so much more rewarding. It's been eye opening to see how tight my quads, hamstrings, hip flexors and psoas are and how stretching them help tremendously.

One thing we noticed today (as I worked with Yoga Medicine extraordinary Allie Geer), is that my body is so used to quickly doing movements that I don't really let it sink in and let gravity do its magic. I'm so used to quickly getting on the bike, quickly moving into a pose, moving to get from point A to point B. In a way, that's my protective mechanism. A survival instinct. Do it quickly and efficiently and figure out how to fix things later. 

Which worked great for a long time. Until it didn't. 

So I started asking questions... Why would you willingly put myself in pain? What if sitting and feeling into those sensations was a way to move through them? What if you stop labeling something as hurtful or ouchie and just got curious about the tightness in one side verses the other?

What if you just let it sink in?

Ah... I think we stumbled upon something. I could see the lightbulb go off in Allie's eyes as she recognized that I understood exactly what she meant. 

So now instead of going through the universe without stopping to really feel into things, I'm going to slow it down, really let it sink in.









Yes, please. Try it on for yourself and see what happens.

Monday, January 29, 2018


Two summers ago we were riding on the Monon Trail in Indianapolis when I got stung be a bee on my forehead between my sunglasses and helmet. In the past I've had mild allergic reactions to stings - but nothing life threatening so while it hurt badly, we didn't go to the emergency room and drove from Indianapolis to Chicago for Intelligensia Cup.

Four hours later after napping in the back of our van, I woke up to a very swollen face. We arrived at the race venue and Ben started warming up. I decided to walk down toward registration and even with sunglasses and a hat on, my friends didn't recognize me. I was a little scared that my throat could close up so while Ben raced his race, I opted to skip mine and see if an ice compress and the benadryl I'd taken would make any difference.

The next morning I woke up even more puffy so we headed to a walk in clinic. I explained the situation to the medical staff and got a ration of shit for not coming in sooner. They administered an epi pen shot and prescribed a steroid to help with the inflammation. I checked the banned drug list and sure enough - not even a TUE (therapeutic use exemption) would make it okay to race.

I had a choice to make. And it was an easy one. I'm a coach and athlete and I believe in competing clean at all times. As a leader in my community, it's super important to lead by example. Even though medically I had a pretty good excuse, there's no way it would stand up in an arbitration and I made the easy choice of not racing. Yes we had traveled all that way - but that wouldn't make it right. Taking a prohibited drug and competing is never okay.

My experience came flooding back to me after a local female racer was handed a four year suspension this past week. You can read more about it here. She claimed she was taking testosterone for a medical reason and tried to file a TUE. But the drug she was on is on the prohibited list and she was caught with it in her system while competing. It's up to you as an athlete competing to know what's on the prohibited list and what's not.

To see if the medications or supplements you're taking are prohibited, visit The Global DRO is a great resource to see if the specific medications you're on are on the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List. A quick check is all it takes.

We all have choices to make. It is your duty as an athlete and coach to know the rules of play and to play by the rules.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Turning 40 and waking up.

I woke up startled this morning.

I've been having a deep sense that I'm curious if most people have who are about to turn 40 feel. The one that wakes you up and makes you ask - did I do everything I was supposed to in my life? Am I living the life that aligns with my values/hopes/dreams/beliefs? Is my time running out?

And sitting dormant, quieted down by days, months, years of routine is the simple fact that I've left one thing unresolved. One thing that I regret not doing. One thing that I know deep in the marrow of my bones needs to get out there: my story. My story about Ryan and how grief has shaped me into who I am. It's as though I've built an iceberg around those emotions and feelings, locking them away, forgotten about.

Then this week, I woke up to the unsettled uneasiness I have about turning 40 realizing that it's linked to my story. And I felt a crack deep into the heart of that berg, loosening up unresolved feelings.

Yet, I'm not scared. I'm not afraid of that ice melting, exposing a pain and feeling so real and urethral.  Grief is a journey that has so many layers that no wonder it isn't talked about. No wonder we have a hard time encompassing it's depth. But more than running straight into the unknown, I'm more afraid that I haven't shared my story with others so that it can help them with their ice bergs of humanness.

My time is running out. I've got to give this everything I've got. I've got to get my story out that's burning a hole into the middle of my iceberg.