Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I had an epiphany in the pool today.

Somewhere around lap 15 I remembered that I'm in a very busy work week--getting caught up from vacation, prepping for staff flying in and client meetings and our party on Saturday, etc. As soon as it popped into my head, I felt weird.

And I realized: generally speaking, when I'm training, I don't think about work at ALL. In fact, I don't think about anything BUT training. I think about my breathing and I think about the fatigue (and sometimes pain) I feel in my body. I think about my triathlon, and how I'm going to get through it. If I'm running, I think about the song I'm listening to, and sometimes get so caught up I do a little dance move while I'm jogging (which I bet looks bizarre to the people around me at the Y). If I'm biking, I'm thinking about the cars around me, my speed, the pain in my butt, how thirsty I am (I don't have a bottle holder on my bike yet). Sometimes I just repeat a mantra over and over again in my head. Like, my swimming mantra used to be "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming." My new mantra is, "Long. Strong." One word for each stroke.

The weirdness passed quickly as I went back to repeating my mantra, breathing, and keeping count of my laps. And making sure I kept kicking. And paying attention to my form. There's actually quite a lot to think about when you're swimming. It doesn't leave room for any of my other usual thoughts or worries.

And I love it. I mean, as hard as all this training has been, I really love it. Not only am I in better shape than I was when I started this venture, but my workouts have become this precious me-time. I might even love swimming most of all, because it forces me out of my own head and makes me focus on the moment.

Starting this, everyone said it's best to work out with friends, and I believed them. I lamented that none of my friends go to my Y, and none of my fellow tri buddies are even in LA, and why does this city have to be so damn spread out so it's freaking impossible to get together to work out anyway?? Now I realize just how valuable all this me-time has been.

Aside from today's epiphany, I've also realized a couple other things. One, I love exercise. Go figure. When we were in Hawaii I went on 2 4-mile walks, swam laps in the ocean (I'm guessing about 600 yards?), lifted weights in the hotel exercise room, and went snorkeling. Which, fine, is basically just floating and probably didn't burn many calories. But still! Moving, playing outside--I love it. I don't know yet if I'm going to become one of those people who's addicted to triathlons, but I'm definitely making a list of all the other stuff I want to try. Like, scuba diving for sure, maybe surfing, maybe tennis? Definitely rock climbing.

Unrelated to my training (but just as healthy), I also realized last week when I was in Hawaii that I was missing the annual Ticketmaster marketing & operations conference in LA. Which, yeah, I don't work there anymore, but I still have friends there who live around the country, and it would have been fun to crash one of their parties and see some of my favorite people.

Nothing against any of those people, but in retrospect I'm actually glad I missed it. It's been almost one year exactly since I left TM after 7 years, and it's been one of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life. When I think about the positive ways in which I've changed my life since leaving, it really becomes clear that the most important change I made was the leaving itself. Those friends I didn't see last week will still be friends, and we'll see each other again some other, better way. For me, it's best not to move back, but keep on truckin' forward.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

my beaten, yet victorious, ass

I was going to go with "Shark Fight."

The story went like this: I was in Hawaii, enjoying my Big Island vacation and frolicking in the surf, when suddenly a shark swam up to me all, "I'm gonna EAT YOU!!" and he bit my ankle. So I punch him in the face and knocked his teeth out! But then he smacked me in the face with his tail and head-butted me in the shoulder, and then bit the back of my legs! Thank god he didn't have any teeth anymore, so he just gummed my legs and left big bruises. But it hurt!! So I kicked him in the nuts. And he was like, "Ow! Sonofa!" and he finally swam away. And I dragged my beaten, yet victorious, ass out of the water and collapsed face first on the sand. And when I awoke, my back, shoulders, & arms were all sun-burnt.

And then I got home from Hawaii, and read about this.

So I've decided to go with the other story, which is less fun and goes like this: First, I flayed over an inch of skin from my ankle in the shower with my cheap-as-shit Bic Soleil razor and bled all over the hotel bathroom, and worried about convincing the hotel staff that someone had been horribly murdered. Then I jumped off the high dive of a boat, and landed in the water in a seated position, and gave myself multiple contusions (that's when a bruise is also a bumpy welt) on the backs of my legs, one of them bigger then both of my hands end to end. Then, after applying and re-applying water and sweat-proof sunscreen religiously all week, I forgot to re-apply it after the boat trip, and sunburned the hell out of my back and shoulders in the convertible on the drive back to where we were staying. But none of these injuries would stop me from going back into the ocean on my last day of my trip, and when I saw the big wave coming I thought, "Um, that looks like it's going to kill me. What am I supposed to do?" The ocean, merciless bastard it is, gave me no time to figure out the right answer, and flipped me over until I pounded its sandy bottom with my shoulder and face.

So, yeah. Hawaii was awesome and we had an amazing vacation. We got to see whales, dolphins, sea turtles, a mongoose, brown geckos, green geckos, and countless birds, bugs and fish. We drank all the refreshing island cocktails ever invented and watched the sun set over the ocean. We got lomi lomi massages by the water. We bonded even more with my sister Amy and her husband Chip. We ate some of the most delicious fish you can imagine. I'm not complaining, it was a dreamy, relaxing vacation.

I'm just saying: I got beat to shit, dude. It's probably for the best that we're back.

Monday, April 14, 2008

our ducks

I'm pretty good at a lot of things. Marketing, baking, making mix CDs, what have you. Doing my taxes? Not so much.

I mean, I save all my receipts. I know how to go through my write-off worksheet, and I am very accurate when it comes to what expenses were business-related, and what were not. I'm even good at math, and consider myself to be reasonably well-organized.

But for some reason, every year I get completely overwhelmed by my taxes. I'm sitting in my CPAs office right now while she goes through all the crap we brought, and just feeling like an idiot.

Granted, going from easy-peasy corporate W2 paycheck to running a business with little to no prior accounting experience makes this whole endeavor a lot more brutal. Even our CPA was nervous before we showed up.

So, all we good do is organize and bring all the information we can. I feel confident that we have all our ducks. They're just not in a row yet. They're in more of a cluster. A complete and total cluster-duck.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Endurance Girl I am not

So I have 9 more weeks to train for this triathlon. I am beyond nervous about it, to the point that I've started having nightmares about it. Specifically, the swimming. Last night I had to swim a labyrinth of lake and my feet kept touching the primordial ooze at the bottom of the lake and grossing me out. And, I was the last one to finish swimming and everyone else was done with the race before I even got on my bike. Another time I had to swim in the ocean, only when I got to the beach the ocean was overflowing with all manner of creatures--whales, those crazy eels from the Little Mermaid, turtles, dolphins--and I was too scared to go in and had to forfeit.

Anxious? Me? Noooo.........

At any rate, here's where I'm at with my training:
Swimming - I went swimming three times last week and will do the same this week. I figure I need to continue swimming at LEAST three times a week for the next 9 weeks in order to be prepared for this event. The half mile distance equals about 900 yards, or 18 laps in my 25-yard-long pool at the Y.

Currently, I can swim 18 laps in about 40 minutes, and I have to take a break to breath after pretty much every lap. I often have to flip onto my back and just kick in order to catch my breath. Endurance Girl I am not.

The director at my Y recommended this class to help me train, but, well. I went to check it out and chat with the instructor, and he had me swim just one lap for him before turning me away. He told me that once I could swim 200 yards in 2 minutes, I could come back to the class. Which was humiliating and devastating and led to me crying in the shower until I did the math, and realized...200 yards in 2 minutes. That's 4 laps. That's 30 seconds per lap, or getting from one end of the pool to the other in just 15 seconds. If I could do that, then I'd be swimming all 18 of my laps in just 9 minutes. And if I could do that, I WOULDN'T NEED THE STUPID CLASS IN THE GODDAMN FIRST PLACE!!! Upon realizing this, of course, I stopped crying, logged the whole experience in my workout journal, and went home.

So, I'm back to training on my own. Swimming 18 laps, three times a week, and hoping I eventually learn how to keep going for the whole distance without stopping and panting in the shallow end.

Biking - I bought a bike! Oh, I love it. It's so pretty and shiny and fast. I want to name it and buy it presents and write it love songs.
New Bike!
I do not look cool on my bike. I do not care.

When I tried it out at the store, I pushed off and just felt like a little kid again. The wind in my face, the thrill of the speed. There may as well have been streamers coming off my handlebars, it was so awesome. I went for a 9 or 10 mile ride on Saturday, and while I felt it for sure, it wasn't impossible to get through. I feel fairly certain I could muddle my way through the other 2 - 3 miles come June. As long as the course is fairly flat. Ahem. At any rate, biking 1 - 2 times per week should have me in pretty good shape for this thing, I think.

Running - I'm running the full 5k about once a week now, and last week I shaved another 2 minutes off my time. I can walk 2 minutes then jog 3 minutes consistently for the whole distance. My time now is 45:40 for 3.2 miles. At this point with the running I'm just trying to get stronger, so my legs aren't all wrecked after finishing the distance. I don't mind switching from running to walking, as it really works for me. However, I would like to be able to jog the whole distance. We'll see how far I get.

So, that's where I'm at. Not bad, but not great either. I am certainly doing more now than I was when I started this endeavor, so I've made progress. However, with only 9 weeks left to train, I really need to start sticking to a more stringent schedule (swim x3, jog x1 or 2, bike x1 or 2, every week). And, of course, I haven't starting putting these things together really at all. On Saturday I swam my whole distance in the morning, then biked for 9 or 10 miles later in the afternoon, and then my body was totally wrecked for the next two days and I couldn't do anything without risking injury. Which throws off my schedule--not good. I'm hoping I can start putting at least two of the distances together starting in May. We shall see.

As always, tips and encouragement are totally welcome!!