Laying Down Superwoman.

Photo: SO 2014

Photo: SO 2014

I am secretly coming to love the late autumn and early winter. It’s in these months that I give myself permission to reduce my triathlon training mileage. To take a break from my intense personality and the regimented core workout–work for 8 hours–timed race pace run–nutrient dense dinner–stretch–ice–foam roll–nine hours of sleep–40 mile ride in the morning– schedule. To tame down the constant part of me that insatiably demands, “More, more, more,” always dreaming of being stronger and faster. To slow down in order to let my creative spirit take precedence over the athlete in me.

This lending over to the artistic spirit allows me to bask in awe of beauty, binging on new musicians via Spotify until 2 in the morning, musing over what experiences and stories led up to these lyrics being sung in this exact manner. I’m Skyping with old souls from all over the world. I’m owning my book project with far less hesitation and it’s leading me to people and organizations I’ve been dying to meet. I’m singing more than ever before with less reservation, in front of more and more people, not just my shower walls. I’m finding my way into local coffee shops, museums, libraries, and concert halls- the most recent being Lincoln Theater to see James Vincent McMorrow thanks to the generosity of a friend who offered me his tickets when he no longer could make it.

Sitting there in the audience Saturday night, I watched, captivated, mesmerized by the budding, expanding, blossoming of the human voice. His voice holding out into time and space, long, lengthened pitches, strong and resounding. Beats and questions and thoughts that float along steady into the atmosphere, a bit like bubbles coasting in the daylight, lingering, hovering a little, and then… a combustible, “Pop.” How vulnerable it must feel to put something out there like that.

What would the world look like, though, if we spoke in those soft, yet loaded, gentle, iridescent bubbles that pop in fits and spurts until something inside of our soul that once was trapped has become freed, so freed, it could just do it again and again and again and again? How empowering would it feel to finally find an expression that elucidates your innermost feelings of an experience? 

I think this gripping beauty mingled with freedom would get us to stop and nestle in deep into the heart of it all, ditching the fluff-and-stuff of life for the yes-and-yearn.

The yes-and-yearn is not easily won. In fact, it can be downright hard, can’t it? To live exposed like that, willingly putting yourself in front of the microphone, or name on the page, speaking those words and asking those questions that it feels like nobody else is asking, just wondering alone to themselves in the dark on some restless, sleepless night?
It can be hard to get in touch with every part of ourselves without sacrificing one part for the other.
But it’s worth it.
So worth it.

Spring will come again, my miles will expand, and I will fall in love with the beauty that ensues when running shoes hit shaded trails.

But today I will fall in love with the beauty that resounds in coffee shops and viewfinder eyepieces. I will fall in love with the full spectrum of the human experience by pondering what’s going inside the soul of a musician as he or she sings his or her truth. I will fall in love with color by popping out the screen window and taking copious amounts of sunset pictures from my third story window, chronicling its evening travels off the edge of the horizon. Maybe, even, one of these mornings, I will wander downstairs to make a warm cup of coffee, only to come back upstairs to take in the sunrise. And together, the light, the people, the connection, this spiritual world will leave us with no other option but to… 

Photo: MO 2014

Photo: MO 2014

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And Then I Remember. (Thoughts on Racing at Burnout’s Edge)

Late afternoon sunlight refracts off Lake Arrowhead, mountains hugging the park’s edges. I put my goggles on for a pre-race practice swim open to all athletes competing in tomorrow’s Olympic distance triathlon. My feet meet the squishy moss of the lake as … Continue reading

14 for 14: Chickens, Mindfulness, and Other New Year’s Goals

MO 2014

Some friends came over at the beginning of the year and each person wrote goals on our “dream wall.”

1. Go pescatarian/flexitarian. Time to ditch the meat, save the chickens, eat more veggies, and ensure environmental sustainability. But if you invite me over for dinner, and you’ve already made a dish containing meat, I won’t turn it down. 🙂

2. Submit one piece of writing per month for publication.

3. Begin backyard chicken farming.

4. Get back into composting regularly.

5. Learn how to do three more bike skills (like replacing parts, etc.) A big thanks to Bearings Bike Project for helping me learn how to replace cantilever brakes last fall!

6. Do another Ironman 70.3 (come on Eagleman waiting list…)

7. Ditch make up… for good.
Last year I came close- 360/365- and now it’s time to amp up. Make up is a choice and there is no right or wrong, just a personal decision about what’s best for you. I decided not to because I’d rather spend my time and money on things that mean more to me, and I believe it can perpetuate the notion that women need to look beautiful in ways other than what’s inside.

8. Do mindfulness meditation for 2 minutes at least 4x/week

9. Visit my 93-year-old Grammie and interview her about her life.

10. Begin collecting letters for my first book project: Letters to Future Sisters of the World 

11. Focus on reducing the amount of anxiety medication I take.

12. Go backpacking.

13. Visit at least two new states/countries.

14. Love Life. Be Brave. Play often. Forever and ever, Amen.

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Just a few thoughts before race day about not being silent and changing the world…

Opportunities in life don’t always come for the swift, the fastest. Sometimes opportunities come for those who are willing, who are looking, who are ready. And so, sitting here in this plane listening to the songs that guided me through … Continue reading

Boulder, 2013 ((Transforming Inequality Through Peaceful Rebellion))

“Swatting the air with the back of his hand, Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme says he has nothing to say to a group of female cyclists hoping to one day ride in the sport’s greatest race.” That familiar grit returned to … Continue reading

“This is the only time in your life…”

“This is the only time in your life when you can focus on your sport and your sport alone,” his stolid words echoed through the natatorium while writing today’s workout on the whiteboard. Sounds like hell, one side of me … Continue reading