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.

1 comment:

- The M.A.D. Hapa said...

Whoa, I can't believe it's been a year since you escaped!

I also think it's interesting that you focus on swimming when you're swimming. Barry says he counts laps. I just let my mind wander. One time I had some ad copy to write and it was taking me forever. I jumped in the pool because I knew the answer was in there somewhere if I'd . . . just keep swimming, just keep swimming.