Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Anyway, I got dropped for the first 40 miles, regrouped halfway, sneaked away before the rest of the group ventured out, and then proceeded to hammer my way home. I was feeling really great - nutrition was dead on, cadence was good... I dare say I was starting to feel my old cycling self (?!)
Then I biked through a pile of wet paint. Whatever, now I have Zebra tires - cool! Then I got a flat. On my back tire. At mile 76. Oh well, I clomped down the service road until I got to a parking lot. I was fully prepared to change my tire when this really sweet lady pulled up and offered me a ride. She had a bike rack on the back of her car and looked totally trustworthy. But I still had 4 miles to go...
"Thank you, but I'm on mile 76 of 80... I should probably finish out the final four."
She shoots me the most quizzical, are you out of your mind look that I've ever seen.
"Yeah, you're right. How about that ride?"
Fun day. Quite pleased to have this one in the bag. And man, that lady was awesome. Looking forward to paying this one forward.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The skill? Laughing at myself.
I've come to realize that this is a very useful skill. I do, say and think a lot of really stupid things. If I took myself seriously all the time, I would be a constant wreck.
Who was the girl who ran - hard - into a closed sliding glass door in front of 50 of her friends at a lock-in?
Who was the girl who fell down during a BBYO walkdown while making her way to the stage?
Who is the girl who would fall for no reason while walking through campus?
Who's the girl who loses her voice while talking to a room full of people?
Who's the girl that finds things like "this end up" on the side of a cardboard box hilarious?
Who's the girl who likes to play with finger puppets and robots?
I could go on, but I'd be writing all day. What brought this thought to fruition was something I was thinking yesterday while riding my bike. I was heading up a hill, and instead of gearing down just one gear, I went down three. I thought "I'm so extreme! I can't do just one, I have to do three!" Then I started thinking about other ways in my life that I'm extreme, composing a little essay in my mind. I could only think of one. I chew four pieces of gum instead of one. That was it. Then I started laughing at myself for having such a ridiculous thought. Extreme? Me? Whatever!
But... laughing at what a goofball I am? Well, yeah. That's pretty much a round the clock occurrence. I've had many years of practice!
Geez, I'm a dork today. This is what happens when I don't sleep, I guess!
Monday, February 23, 2009
Over the past year or so, I have been consciously watching people (including myself) move through situations and come out the other side completely different. The recurring themes are "how did I end up there?" or "how did I put up with that for so long?" or "how come I couldn't see what was on the other side?" Oftentimes, all of that is coupled with a massive fear of failure. If you can't make it work, no matter how hard you try, it's logical to feel like a failure... but I can tell you, since I have been there, the real failure is not making a change.
“Forget about the consequences of failure. Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.”
When you're in the midst of something (and oftentimes you don't even realize it's a "something"), being somewhere different - albeit physically and/or mentally -seems nearly impossible. But nothing ever stays the same. Everything changes. Good or bad, it changes.
When we don't change, we cope. I heard this quote at a lecture, and I won't ever forget it. "No one wants to be remembered as the World's Greatest Coper." It made me laugh at the time... I mean, how often do we pride ourselves on how well we cope? Look at me, I'm coping with this! I might not be changing, but at least I am coping! Inspiring, huh? Yeah... not so much.
We all know this at some level, but we forget. At least I do. Today was a tiny, but funny example of my "coping." I have gone over a year without a functional can opener. Today I bought one, and tonight it took me merely a second to open a can which previously would have taken me 5 minutes. I had to laugh at myself for "coping" with a non-working can opener for 12 months. Today I made a change, and I'm so much better for it. It was a small reminder of the big picture in which we live our lives.
So, tonight, I wish all of us the changes we need and want in our lives. Lessen the "coping" - more with being happy!
“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” ~Leo Buscaglia
I have the biggest single office in my company (i.e. space-wise, and I don't share it with anyone); however it is filled with desks, a copy machine that doesn't work, a mini fridge that doesn't work, and piles and piles of stuff to be recycled. So... the crew went to work and moved stuff around. But now I'm sitting amidst piles of junk, files, promotional items, etc... and I don't wanna do anything. I feel like Maggie with her move! Chaos! Chaos! Ahhh.... retreat!
So... why not procrastinate organizing and blog instead?!
Here's something fun to share - I framed my new art this weekend. Usually I take my stuff to this awesome framing studio, but Saturday I decided to go to Michael's and give it a go myself, within a tiny budget. Here's the finished product - I love them!!Unfortunately, I have no wall space right now. So these are sitting on my piano. This was about all I accomplished this weekend. (These plus a stable coffee table... yup, that was about it!)
Okay, I guess I should go make sense of my office. Happy Monday!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
The schedule: 70 mile ride (43 miles + 28 miles at Rosedale) + 40 min run off the bike
The setup: Perfect. Map/directions? Check. Appropriate nutrition? Check. Correct clothing? Check. Mental attitude? Good (for once!) Check. Riding partners? Check. And... so it was meant to be a great day.
The actual: Hooked up with Nancy and we were riding strong until... rain. At that point, Nancy remarked how slick the roads were. Within minutes we arrived upon a mass of the T3 fasties - surrounding poor Logan, who had crashed and perhaps broken his shoulder. Poor, poor guy. We restarted, tentatively, and BOOM - headwinds & crosswinds from hell. On slick roads. Our speeds dropped big time and my shoulders, back and triceps went into lockdown. We hit the parking lot, and even though I'd decided I was gonna go back out - most of the team decided to call it a day and move on with the run. When the coaches say "Bag it - just go run," I say "OK!"
I was disappointed, because I really felt like today was going to be a good mental hurdle. I tagged on to Elizabeth, Blythe, Yvonne & her friend and set out to run. I'm unsure why I was surprised at how painful it was - I mean, it's always painful. But being slow and hurting... that just did a number on me. By minute 23, I was walking and near tears. Seriously, what is my freaking problem? Everything negative thought that could possibly enter my mind showed up. I started jogging once I saw that Blythe & Elizabeth were waiting on the corner. For me. Crap. Better move it.
I ended up finishing 40 minutes with Elizabeth, and frankly - I'm exhausted. (Of course, I realize this pales in comparison to what Logan must be feeling.) However, I ended the workout smiling. Probably the combination of marking our territory in some bushes, being done and eating one of E's peanut butter squares.
I was bummed about this workout though. I alternate between getting upset that I didn't go back out and finish the ride with being upset about how poorly I'm running. So... time for the reframe...
The reframe: This is one hell of team effort. Nancy pushed me during the ride. Katherine (and many others) came through for Logan. Kevin helped me get ready to run when I couldn't feel my hands. Elizabeth got me through the run. But Blythe... man. What she said today was awesome:
E: "Why are you waiting for me? Go run! Let me be!"
B: "Are you okay, Erin?!"
E: "Yes, but it's much easier to have breakdowns when you guys can't see me!"
B: "And that's why you're sticking with us."
Ah yes, the subtle reminders of how awesome our T3 team is. (And people in general.)
Friday, February 20, 2009
1) 4:30am appears to be my new wake-up time. This is okay because I can't keep my eyes open past 10:00pm anymore, and I seem to be most productive first thing in the morning. Take this morning: I did laundry, the dishes and the crossword puzzle before going back to sleep at 5:30am.
2) I am recommitting to my IM training, which has been a great relief to me (and others!) That being said, I still ditched spin last night in favor of quality time outside. Totally worth it.
3) My favorite quote of the week: "I'm not sayin' it's a lie... I'm just sayin' it's not the truth!"
4) My second favorite quote of the week: "I'm just a group photo on a farm. What's the big deal?" (If you're, uh, privileged enough to be part of Mike's crazy photo tagging, then you'll get it.)
5) "Gang Leader for a Day" is a great book. I'm about halfway done, but already feel good about recommending it. Next up: Three Laws of Performance. Excited about that one too!
6) I need sunshine. Dreary days + shark week = crazy Erin.
7) Breakfast is quickly becoming my favorite time of day.
8) I wish I had about $10k that I had to spend in the next 24 hours, on things that had no value except that I just want them. Why? I love the show at Wally Workman Gallery right now. This guy not only paints beautiful, contemplative women, he paints ROBOTS too! (I have this robot, thanks to Michelle!) If anyone feels so inclined to buy me this painting, I've got a spot picked out already. Just sayin. I'll write a whole blog post about how awesome you are. :) Ha.
9) Scissors for Lefty is coming... Oh yeah. They are coming. To Austin. Soon. In my neighborhood, too. Uh.... HOW EXCITING!!!!!!!!!!!
10) Lesson of the week: Life is WAY too short to worry about the future all the time. Live NOW, I say! (And I shall try to practice that, too!)
TGIF!! I'm outta here! :)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
There is no such thing as perfection. We do the best we can do. If we're lucky, when we mess up, we get learn from it and move on.
The past few days have been a massive reframe. I'm feeling pretty damn lucky... and really happy to be getting back on track.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Their memorial service was tonight. It was a surreal experience.... without going into the details, I want to share one of the stories I heard on NPR's "This I Believe" a few years ago. It's one of those stories that I will never forget, and it has provided me guidance ever since I heard it.
Always Go to the Funeral
by Deirdre SullivanAll Things Considered, August 8, 2005 · I believe in always going to the funeral. My father taught me that.
The first time he said it directly to me, I was 16 and trying to get out of going to calling hours for Miss Emerson, my old fifth grade math teacher. I did not want to go. My father was unequivocal. "Dee," he said, "you're going. Always go to the funeral. Do it for the family."
So my dad waited outside while I went in. It was worse than I thought it would be: I was the only kid there. When the condolence line deposited me in front of Miss Emerson's shell-shocked parents, I stammered out, "Sorry about all this," and stalked away. But, for that deeply weird expression of sympathy delivered 20 years ago, Miss Emerson's mother still remembers my name and always says hello with tearing eyes.
That was the first time I went un-chaperoned, but my parents had been taking us kids to funerals and calling hours as a matter of course for years. By the time I was 16, I had been to five or six funerals. I remember two things from the funeral circuit: bottomless dishes of free mints and my father saying on the ride home, "You can't come in without going out, kids. Always go to the funeral."
Sounds simple -- when someone dies, get in your car and go to calling hours or the funeral. That, I can do. But I think a personal philosophy of going to funerals means more than that.
"Always go to the funeral" means that I have to do the right thing when I really, really don't feel like it. I have to remind myself of it when I could make some small gesture, but I don't really have to and I definitely don't want to. I'm talking about those things that represent only inconvenience to me, but the world to the other guy. You know, the painfully under-attended birthday party. The hospital visit during happy hour. The Shiva call for one of my ex's uncles. In my humdrum life, the daily battle hasn't been good versus evil. It's hardly so epic. Most days, my real battle is doing good versus doing nothing.
In going to funerals, I've come to believe that while I wait to make a grand heroic gesture, I should just stick to the small inconveniences that let me share in life's inevitable, occasional calamity.
On a cold April night three years ago, my father died a quiet death from cancer. His funeral was on a Wednesday, middle of the workweek. I had been numb for days when, for some reason, during the funeral, I turned and looked back at the folks in the church. The memory of it still takes my breath away. The most human, powerful and humbling thing I've ever seen was a church at 3:00 on a Wednesday full of inconvenienced people who believe in going to the funeral.
Monday, February 16, 2009
The reason I went home this weekend was because my mom won the "Rookie of the Year" award at the Food Bank where she volunteers. She alternates making centerpiece baskets for fundraisers with interviewing "clients" who are in need of food bank services. She's been doing this over the past year... and I couldn't be more proud of her.
The award ceremony was Sunday afternoon - and it was very cool. I was struck by 3 things:
1) Seeing where my mom works and the reality that she faces. Not only was I reminded how fortunate we are, but I was struck by how actively involved she is in helping people. She has a huge impact on people's lives... I wasn't as clear about how much she does until yesterday.
2) The obvious love and appreciation people feel for her. Of course my dad & I love her, but to hear others talk about how wonderful and caring she is was very heartwarming. She is a natural caregiver (hence her nursing career.) I'm so glad that she is in a place where she can nurture and help people AND be recognized. During the speech about her, it was said that my mom "goes way and above the call of duty to help people." Amen!
3) I am proud of my mom and wanted to be there to support her when she accepted her award. However, my mom - in her typical selfless fashion - wasn't concerned about her award at all. It was more important for her to show Dad and me where she worked, what she did and how her food bank helps people. I think that says wonders about her. The award was an afterthought; bringing us into her life and sharing what is so important for her was what mattered.
It was a great afternoon. It feels a little silly for a daughter to be exclaiming how proud she is of her parent, but... I am. My mom rocks!!! Here she is with her "rookie" ballcap. (Very clever!)
And here's the three of us.
I took some other really goofy pictures too, but I'll keep those offline... for now...
Way to go, Mom!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Recently I found an opportunity that looked perfect on paper.... it really seemed just perfect. But when I pulled it off the paper - and looked at in in 3D, so to speak - I realized it wasn't what I wanted at all. It seemed like such a great fit, but I hated the way it looked when I put it on.
It's funny how often things that seem like they should work just... don't. And what actually works is the piece of paper that at first glance, you should crumple it up, throw it away and never look back. But you never know, that mess on paper might actually be just what you're looking for.
So, with that, I'm staying put for now. I had a little wake up call and realized that I am happy as can be right where I am. (That being said, I still give myself permission for the occasional, frustration-filled pity party. I'll try to keep those to a minimum, though.)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Before I went to sleep, this thought kept repeating itself, almost as if it was screaming at me. What a strange question, one that has never materialized in such a strong and clear manner.
So, I shall answer it: "Yes. Yes, it's okay."
Wow, what a relief. I'm not sure I've ever allowed myself to say yes. (Fellow Type A's - you with me on this?) If I take something on, I want to do the best I can. If you're going to do something, do it right - right? Yet when did "right" equal "best you can?" Because I'm starting to realize that for me, "right" means "in such a way that you don't drive yourself crazy, but don't set yourself up for failure."
What sparked this? Last night, I was talking to Dionn & Elizabeth about how I won't meet my hours this week for Ironman training. D says, "Did you know we have a recovery bike ride too?" and I said, "Only for people following your "A" plan. I'm on the much easier "C" plan... in fact, make that the C minus plan." This is quite different from Longhorn training, in which I stuck steadfastly to Plan A. I pushed myself, created big goals and the thought of skipping workouts was rare. I had to reach my full half ironman potential. I had to. Right then. Don't fail. Go, go, go.
Where did all of that get me? Well, it got me across the finish line. And it was fun. And I enjoyed breaking my personal record. And then Monday came, and... then what?
I don't want to be one of those people chasing this sport year after year. I think those people are awesome, determined, committed, etc... I'm often jealous of them, to be honest. Their drive is impressive. But it's just not for me. I'm already thinking of taking ballet or belly dancing next year. Or not, who knows. I can tell you that I foresee a future with things far more important to me than this sport.
My long winded point: I am 100% okay with being a mediocre triathlete. By admitting this, I'm not trying to set myself up for failure. But it would take a lot of work to reach my full potential in this sport. For once, I am consciously saying "it's okay to stop short. Nothing says you have to reach your personal best here."
Wow. I've been feeling it all year, but it feels really good to publicly admit this... and be okay with it too.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Frankly, I've been so busy lately. That's a good thing, because I usually am better off when I'm juggling a lot of different things. Granted, I've been having some stressful "how will I ever cope with everything" moments... but those are scarce and usually pass quickly.
Work? Great! Busy as ever to the point where I'm working some nights again. I'm about to approach the really busy season for my company - my calendar is basically booked until mid-May. This is good, since I like my job, but also a bit overwhelming at times.
Training? Hmmmm. If I was to quantify success based on speed & progress, I would say things are not so good. Instead, I shall quantify it based on having fun and relaxing... so things are very good! I won't meet my goal hours this week, and I honestly don't even care. At this point, I'm very certain that Ironman is a one time goal - that consists of finishing - and I'm just going to have fun in the process.
Food? I'm cooking! This week I made chicken apple curry (YUM), breakfast cookies and blueberry pancakes. I'm also trying to eat meat once a day. Sometimes that's hard, but hopefully it is helping. I am not braving the 4 legged creatures yet - sticking to fish and chicken for now. One thing I have learned is that I love reading cookbooks and organizing my awesome, Jess-made recipe book far more than the actual process of cooking.
Family? I'm SO PROUD of my mom. She won a volunteer of the year award at the food bank she works for. I'm trying to figure out a way to go to her award ceremony next weekend, though it's looking more complicated each day. However, I'm so thrilled for her. She is an amazing, caring, thoughtful wonderful person, and I'm so happy she is being recognized.
Other stuff? Well... there really isn't time. No library, no crosswords, no movies.... Frankly, what I look forward to most all week is sitting on the couch on Saturdays. Oftentimes, there is no place I would rather be.
Oh, one thing... to clarify an earlier post, I wasn't actually dumped. By a guy. I was dumped by the sport of running. There have been so many people asking me how I'm coping. Uh... yeah. Sorry if that was a bit vague - I promise I am doing just fine!! "Running" (i.e. the actual sport of running, not a male) hasn't really taken me back yet. He's a tease, I tell ya!
Blog update... Check!
Sunday, February 01, 2009
1. I am an only child, a Gemini and a natural blonde. I fit all the stereotypes.
2. I love my parents more than anything. I hope my future children feel the same way about me.
3. I was meant to be a lawyer. I attended Texas’ only Law Magnet High School. By the time I graduated high school, I had completed my first year of law school, competed in the state championship for mock trial and worked at the police department and the ACLU. I worked at a law firm throughout college and competed nationally on the mock trial team. By my junior year, I realized I wanted nothing to do with law, and opted to major in marketing instead.
4. I graduated early from the UT’s business school. I sometimes feel like I took the easy road, and should have pursued a real major.
5. I have played the piano since third grade, yet I can’t play by ear. That frustrates me.
6. I couldn’t run a mile without stopping until I was 23 years old. The only reason I started running was to prove an ex-boyfriend wrong.
7. I always dreamed that I would live in NYC in a beautiful loft and spend all my free time at the Museum of Modern Art. After visiting the city twice, I realized I wouldn’t make it in the cold.
8. I did Landmark Education in September 2005. Thanks to that program, I now have a great relationship with my mother. (Until then, we couldn’t be together for more than 5 hours without fighting.)
9. Contrary to the Happy Bunny sign in my office, it’s NOT all about me. Sometimes I forget this.
10. I have three childhood best friends (Jenna, Rachel and Annie) and I miss them dearly. Yet I know we will always be in each other’s lives, and I feel blessed for that.
11. I spent 6 weeks in Israel when I was 16. One of my favorite experiences was hiking across the country, from the Sea of Galilee to the Mediterranean Sea.
12. I have a history of strange responses to stress. I was partially bald as I child because I pulled out my hair. In college, I had such bad hives that I couldn’t leave my apartment.
13. I was a vegetarian for 12 years. Recently I realized I didn’t know why anymore, so I ended the streak with a piece of shrimp tempura. YUM!
14. I am rather snobby about what hangs on my walls. I must have original art – prints and posters won’t do.
15. I was a great public speaker (see #3) until I randomly lost my voice while reading in one of my business classes. Since then, public speaking is a fear I have to overcome every week.
16. I am the marketing director at a disaster restoration company, and I think it is one of the best jobs in the world. Sometimes I feel like I should be doing something more prestigious, but at the end of the day, I realize I’m a perfect fit for this job.
17. Previously, I was the public relations director at a wind power company. I felt that was a more prestigious job, but I am far more satisfied now.
18. I have accountability issues in my training groups. I am terrified of being ranked against my training partners, so I do everything possible not to race or train with them. Joining T3 has helped.
19. I think my interest in triathlons is short lived. I’ll be doing something totally different in a few years; however, exercise will always be a big part of my life.
20. I miss my Grandmother dearly. I would do anything to bring her back for a day.
21. I will never forget all the art I saw during a family trip to Paris and Rome in 2000. In addition to being overwhelmed at seeing so many things in person, I was so proud that my parents were impressed by my knowledge of art and architecture.
22. I have lived alone for over one year. It has been one of the best things I have ever done, yet I’m now unsure how I could manage living with someone else again.
23. I have been a founding partner of two companies, Running Banana (which makes custom running shirts) and Grease Monkey Wipes (individually packaged wipes for cyclists). It is impossible to quantify everything I have learned by starting two businesses.
24. I’m getting over the need to have everyone like me. I have plenty of people in my life that I care about, and I will dedicate my energy and love to them.
25. At 28 years old, I feel like life is just starting for me.