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Archive for the ‘mind games’ Category

I’m back to juggling a bit, but that’s OK. Nothing to complain about . . . Just trying to fit it all in and stay on top of my training. My column, Livin’ the Dream, on Bicycling.com just got posted with it’s own url . . . check it out!

If you have a little ditty that keeps you going . . . on the bike, at work, in your marriage . . . give it up! I love hearing what keeps people going when the going gets tough.

If you want to know what a tough day at the office is for a bike racer, check out Dave Millar’s diary on Bicycling to get inside his head for a brilliant look at a long day on the bike. Talk about thrill of competition, . . . agony of defeat. I would’ve thrown my bike too.

In truth, I’ve got so much to be grateful for, I’ve been waking up to the beat of “I’m so lucky to be doing this every day . . . ”

now get it done.

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So I’m talking to my pal Amby this morning online. He and my other pal Cristina (his wife) are hosting Oscar festivities. We’re working on the menu, and Amby (who first introduced us to the Paleo Diet) echoed Michale Pollan’s dietary guidelines:

“Eat food. Not very much. Mostly plants.”

Amby’s a great mentor in so many ways. Not only is he just about the smartest guy I know besides my husband, he’s been covering running, training, nutrition & editing a magazine that inspires millions of people to run since sometime around 1968 when he won the Boston marathon. I would say since the dawn of time—that’s how much of a sage he is.

Amby then applied this less is more concept to training. Basically, whittle it down.

“There’s a new idiom developing here,” he explained, “It’s kinda fun. I mean, what’s your training program in 6-7 words?” His was: “Move. Keep going. Don’t ever stop.”

This is good. I’ve been feeling consumed lately by words (thus, my blog title). Here are some more . . . feel free to chime in with yours below . . .

  • More weight, more power, faster times.
  • Efficient pedal stroke, quicker legs, breathe.
  • Dream big, why not, it’s your life.

That’s all I got for now.

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I’m feeling all kinds of melancholy these days. That’s what happens, I think, when you stop moving long enough and your brain gets all restless. The last year has been like waking up in the middle of a foreign country where you don’t speak the language. First, it’s all exciting and new trying to learn it, . . . then people who’ve been speaking it all their lives start telling you how ignorant you are for not speaking it. I think it’s the difference between doing sport for the sake of personal fulfillment and doing sport when you’re competing for money, spots on a team, time, attention, and the only thing of value is the win.

I think this new language can be learned, and that there’s merit in the process and lessons. Learning how to survive and thrive in elite world class sport is probably way more applicable than, say . . . learning Swahili. But don’t kid yourself that there isn’t a healthy dose of culture shock for a 38 year old woman to leave house, home, husband and career to join a race against teens and twenty year olds. People who grow up with this, it’s all they know. People like me and maybe you, . . . let’s just say it’s a paradigm shift.

I started 2007 with a bunch of 20 and 30 year olds telling me I haven’t done shit in the sport of cycling. What they don’t realize is the fact that I’m still here and still in the game at this level—to me at least—means I’ve already won. Check out my latest column on Bicycling.com; . . . maybe you’ll agree.

beijing1.jpg

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I just sat down to read a chapter or two from David Sedaris’ collection of stories, Me Talk Pretty One Day. Tucked inside I found the crinkled up, tattered 10 spot drawn on the Banco Central De Venezuela I brought home as a souvenir from China.

How did I come to own this precious note worth 0.004660 of a US Dollar? Let me share . . .

Upon boarding the charter bus at the LaoShan velodrome that cold, wet, overcast morning post-Beijing World Cup, I sat down next to a man I presumed was the Venezuelan National Team doctor. We were seated in the back, and I was preoccupied with the men transporting our bikes to the airport—wondering if they would sell mine on the black market. (I’d been pegged for an interloper.)

Here, I thought I’d successfully interpreted the bus schedule (written in Chinese), thinking the organizers hadn’t listed my team on their schedule. I didn’t realize the organizing committee didn’t cover the cost of shuttling trade teams to the airport. So when i got to the velodrome and the American team wasn’t on the list, I was informed they would not take responsibility for my bags and couldn’t guarantee they’d make it to the Beijing Airport. The man preferred I vanish immediately, but fortunately, the Japanese coach is French and he stepped in to say ‘no problem.’ As the only American on a bus filled with Japanese and Venezuelan cyclists, I soon learned this was a vulnerable position.

Back to the Diez Bolivares. What do you do when a 50-something man opens his wallet and gestures madly at the idea of exchanging currencies in a brotherly love, the world is a beautiful place and we’re all family sort of way? If you’re quick on your feet, you say ‘no way, Man! What do I look like? Some kind of fool?” Or, if you’re like me, which is disoriented from the number of languages flying around your head, you don’t realize until you’re pulling out a President Lincoln that you’re in the middle of being taken.

Then you wonder if it’s possible to back out of the transaction gracefully, not knowing how long the drive to the Beijing Airport would be with an indignant Venezuelan man sitting next to you.

Then as you hand over what amounts to $10,729.0 Venezuelan Bolivares,  you figure it just cost you $5 bucks American for a momento that reminds you to stop being a gullible fool.

I have no idea what you can buy for $10, 729 Venezuelan Bolivares . . . but I hope it goes far. It bought me a bookmark. 

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