Slow Time and Stay in Motion

Slow time and stay in motion. This is my mantra. It’s a deep rabbit hole that keeps one pondering.

The morning’s chiming alarm sang loud enough for me to reach and turn off quickly. In a relaxed state I grab my pulse oximeter and it shows my heart rate at 39 and my oxygen saturation at 98%. It suggests my recovery is going well. In the dark I put on my bike shorts and proceed blindly down 3 flights of stairs to our basement where my SCOTT Plasma awaits. Still in the dark and barely awake I start turning the crank. My mind is free, my body is in motion and my thoughts float excitedly in a myriad of directions. The only audible noise is my breathing and the SRAM groupo that is clean and lubed well. Calmness permeates while I focus on the never ending nuances of the pedal stroke.

Four hours later and I’ve regressed to external stimuli in the name of Netflix that gets me through the final hour. The three hours leading up to the final hour allow me to stay present and focus on form. There’s so much joy in this eternal moment. Slow time and stay in motion.

The early start allows for maximizing family time. Lola is 7 months today and she keeps me present to a level that is unsurpassed by anything else. She’s a treasure one can only fathom in dreams and then it’s real. She’s a lively bubbly little girl and is starting to speak, “Da, da. Da, da” I can’t help but hear my name every time.

Hortense and I started a run streak 80 days ago. I made it to 40 and now my wife has doubled me up! There’s been some ‘bad’ weather (bad weather is my favorite to go running in) running and late night jaunts but she’s ran at least a mile for the last 80 days and her goal is to get to 100. I think a few months ago she felt like getting back into shape was going to take forever…well; it’s safe to say her level of fitness is awesome. It is inspiring to see.

My training is going well and for the first time I’m attempting to give biking an honest go. The time consumption for biking is a challenge but it is motivating to maximize my ability here. My focus has been on form for all three sports and I feel all three have improved even my swimming. Being a month from 36 and swimming my whole life I have to wonder why it’s taken so long.

It’s thrilling to contemplate the 2011 season; full of hope and aspirations and looking to stay healthy while racing with my family as much as possible. I have not nailed down the schedule but have some crazy thoughts of doing three weeks of grand racing; Wildflower Half, Saint George Ironman, and then LeadMan’s 250k Epic…three of the toughest triathlons on the planet. We’ll see; the prospect is frightening which is also exhilarating. I’ll need to perfect my mantra to have good efforts at all three and still have fight for a long season.

Lola Belle

July 20, 2010 The Birth Day

Summer ripened like a mango bursting with sweet juices

The Golden Rain Drop Tree summoned pollen collectors for miles around

The tepid weather with its beaming sun rays surrendered to pleasant wafts of air

A bloom in yellow the rain drops to be, start a blaze in flame

The roar of bees humming from nectar to nectar dropping pedals like rain

A house calmly waiting for its new arrival; the sparrows approving the nest

A Father and Mothers loving embrace followed by an entire family

Emotions bordering on the other worldly, deep in the soul and profound

Time stops, a singularity is reached

Awe, pure and absolute wonder shakes the mind at its core

The minds reason impedes the moment and cascades to a quiet place

Now, one becomes centered as the essence of the soul

We’ve come through on the other side; breathe in the world fresh and newborn

We meet for the first time?  But we’ve always known you

Waltzing with us amongst the universe for millennia

Welcome Lola Annabelle Everett to the human race

Little Lola weighed in at 8.6 lbs and 21 in long and is the sweetest angel….Mom and Dad are thrilled!

Moonrise

Running along the dirt trail lifted my spirits; after twenty minutes I was in a rhythm.
Feeling light on my feet and alive in my soul I turned a bend, heading up an intimate ravine.
The scene was out of my dreams; a lucent sky in the twilight hours of mid winter.
Hearing snow melted water progress down the rocky creek bed gave life to the valley.
Following the sound of the water up the meandering gorge revealed a veritable delight.
Moonrise.
The glowing orb transfixed my eyes.  The gentle radiance created a perfect ambiance.
It seemed to be the pot of gold at the end of the path; snow capped mountains ablaze in moonshine.
Seeing my reflection in the full moon gave me supernatural powers; I ran up the valley to get closer.
Moving along the creek with ice accumulated boulders, the moon set, the moon rose, then set again.
The ebb and flow of mountain peaks dancing with the lunar rays shimmered my space and time.
It was time to turn back… to go home, alas, the orb was obstructed; I had to see another moonrise.
Running to a clearing higher up in the valley the auditorium’s spotlight was concealed.
Then, the audience came into view as the clouds parted.
The trees and desert fauna fox-trotted to sounds of rushing water.
I let the orb fashion its image in my mind as eternity washed away any thoughts.

Walking off some jetlag in Paris

Look the other way
Look the other way

Wanted to share some photos of our first night in Paris.  We arrived around 10:30 at Charles de Gaul.  Then, after lunch in Neuilly we took a ‘short’ nap that almost ended up being the rest of night.  When we awoke, it was time to go for a walk.  I posted some of my favorites.  Our first night was sureal to say the least.  Bodes well for a memorable trip.  There are more here.

Invigorating Wilderness

Seven days of inactivity left my body yearning for some self human propulsion.  The final race of the year ended and the impetus to plunge into sustained movement was back after three days.  Addiction, it seems, can be healthy when one’s physiological or psychological dependence is on a potentially healthy drug.  The natural endorphins encountered from nourishing exercise can be a powerful driving force.  The withdrawal is absolute; although the syndrome of often painful physical and psychological symptoms that follows discontinuance of an addicting drug is not ‘painful’.  Uncomfortable; yes, Discontent; sometimes, Restlessness; yes, Despondent; sometimes, Irritable; yes.  It is mostly, just plain awkward.  There is a lot of time and energy that suddenly needs to be replaced.  This is where a lot of house chores come into play…but that’s not fun.  How about something inspiring?

I lay in bed until I can stand it no longer.  There is no denying my body has acquired all the sleep it needs.  It is my first Saturday in over a year with no plans to train.  It seems daunting to have a full day with no workout.  I worry that my excess energy will be spent cleaning the house all day.  Augh, I lay in bed longer, contemplating how to handle my day.  Then, an idea formulates and I’m out of bed in a flash.

“C’mon Milo , let’s go running.”  The day’s brilliant sunshine warmed the air to a comfortable 50 degrees encouraging some outdoor happenstance in mid November.  I gulp down some pulpy orange juice and grab my running attire.  I’m wearing a short sleeve shirt and shorts with a hat and sun glasses to neutralize the bright sun.  Milo and I drive a quick 2 miles, the last ¼ mile on dirt road to the base of Hulls Gulch. 

We start climbing immediately.  The steady climb makes for slow going but warms us quickly, Milo is already panting.  The temperature couldn’t be more arousing for running with light beads of sweat forming around my hat in the brisk afternoon air.  It seemed Milo and I had beaten the rush of people that would surely take to the hills on this fine day.  As we continue to climb we encounter almost no one.   For long stretches we take the scene in while feeling alone in our serenity.  I meditate on the sound of my foot strikes hitting the hard packed sand.  Quick strikes against the earth as I dance up some craggy areas along our ascent. 

My mind is free to wonder.  This simple pleasure invigorates my spirit, partly due to my fitness.  My body feels good while I climb and climb up the side of a mountain.  Feeling good while ascending a mountain charges the brain with endorphins.  I find what I’ve been craving the last seven days.  Soak it up.  Experience the surrounding.  A transformation takes place.  Your senses are on alert.  Something basic takes over as if you’ve been transported through time.  Back to a time and place where survival is paramount…  You are now on a hunting expedition trying to cover vast amounts of land in search of prey.  Your tribe is hungry and they are counting on you to find them something to eat.  The water is rushing down the mountain side in the creek just below the trail.  Following a water source almost always ensures a successful hunt.  You smell the air and pick up sage brush, decomposing leaves, mud from drying out rain puddles and… a hint of your prey.  Scanning the hillside you notice movement up on a craggy outcropping.  Adrenalin spikes through your system and your body moves with stealthy efficiency.  In one fluid motion the spear raises above your head with your elbow pointing right at the target.  The speed of your attack startles the deer and they hesitate for an instant.  They take off up the hill but it’s already too late.  The thrust of your arrow rock meets the flesh of the deer’s neck.  It is a decisive blow.  Your tribe will feast tonight. 

We continue climbing the mountain.

The steady climb brings us high above the valley giving us a birds-eye view of our town.  The grade gets steeper as we reach the crest of the trail.  We have now been unremitting in our ascent for almost an hour.  It is rewarding to see your progress laid out before your eyes.  You have just ran away from the city… far into the wilderness under your own power.  It feels good to escape.  Peering off towards the valley below the city is a small model confined to a diminutive area far away.  The tranquility of the moment lures one to stay awhile as if the open space around you somehow empowers you.

The sheer joy of the descent is evident in my sore thighs as we near the bottom.  I fall down the mountain with delight; enjoying the speed and efficiency that my body thrust itself.  I am not a good example of this, yet, it is astounding how well balanced a two-legged human can fall down a mountain gracefully.  A crash at this angle and high speed would be harsh but the acceleration from falling is too much pleasure to have any kind of delimiter.  I fly down the mountain with all the grace and speed I can muster.  Forget about everything else…it is thrilling.

Lucid Dreams

I had one of those restless, excited, in-and-out of a dream state, while tossing and turning sleeps the other night.  Earlier in the day I had made a supremely satisfying purchase on E-Bay; one that causes Tri-Geeks to reminisce about the sleepless nights before Christmas when they were kids.  I felt like a kid.  Albeit, when I was 5, I would not catch a moment of shut-eye in anticipation of the next days plunder.  At least this time, I was getting some much needed sleep.  I know, because of the lucid dreams dancing in my mind.  In these dreams, I moved effortlessly; with power, poise and pace.  It was a basic vision, the ultimate in moving your body.  I had the healthy fitness capable of propelling your body over land and sea with efficient speed.  A daily ritual I tirelessly attempt to improve on.  Although improving all the time, perfection only gets farther and farther away.  In this dream, I was relaxed and feeling euphoric, yet I was racing at max effort.  Being in that fleeting state of mind where the task at hand flows with the body and focuses on seemingly nothing and everything to do with your movements; where your body and mind merge into that elevated state while your movements become beautiful and tranquil.  My mind was clear and calm and in a state of being contemplative.  Time slows down, allowing me to further enjoy the moment, as I race along with a slight grin; a small window for those watching to see and experience my internal pleasure.
Although I did not get the best night of sleep I was still cheerful from all the good visions of the previous night.  I had to wonder if the single act of purchasing a disc wheel triggered my lucid dreams.  “Maybe”, I thought, as I began to daydream about taking my first ever pedal stroke and having the huuumm, huuumm, huuumm sound of a disc wheel. 

Surely much of the lucid dreaming comes from the simple fact of enjoying my fitness.  I have been breathing a lot of air; healthy and consistent in my training while steadily improving.   Having a breakthrough workout is rewarding enough to have me in the clouds for several days.  Like last weeks BRIC workout at the Boise High Track.  It was 4x (10 minutes on the bike trainer then a mile run.)  I was not feeling up for this workout, tired and hungry after work and being just 3 days removed from the NYC Triathlon.  The east coast trip was disruptive on my sleep patterns.  I lightheartedly showed up at the track and began warming up.  Feeling lethargic and heavy I wasn’t sure that I would be able to hit my goal time of 5:15 per mile.  To my surprise I clocked a 5:07 first mile; then went 5:01, 5:07, 5:08.  That’s good stuff for me. 

Then, yesterday in the pool I felt strong and fast while swimming high in the water.    Swimming at the Downtown YMCA is awesome.  I started learning the intricacies of water in this very pool over 30 years ago!  However, it is not a fast pool; being a shallow 6 lane pool while having 4 guys in my lane with 3 guys in the wall lane and 5 or 6 on the other side causes a raucous.  But we like to think its good simulation for rough open water swimming.  The main set was 12 x 100’s on 1:40 going 75fr/25Fly descending in 3 sets of 4.  My times:
1:02, 1:01, 1:00, :58
1:03, 1:01, 1:00, :57
1:03, 1:01,  :59, :57

Solid, feel good swims, especially considering the wavy pool and negotiating butterfly with so many arms flying.  I had more than a few awkward recovery strokes in the butterfly to avoid smacking arms.  But the feeling strong and being high in the water is sheer joy for me.

Up next, the beautiful McCall Mountain Triathlon..

Inspired riding and tough days

First bike race of the season for me today. The Jason Broome Memorial 10 mile time trial had ferocious winds making it hard for me not to white knuckle my aero bars. It was a tough and fatigued ride. It put me in the mood to see some tough rides, some inspiring training, and the human spirit at its best:

Lance Armstrong Alpe D’Huez 2001

Lance Armstrong Nike Commercial

Lance Armstrong Training

Lance Armstrong Sestriere Climb 1999

Lance Armstrong-Hautacam Attack

Lance Armstrong Climbs Luz Ardiden 2003

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Surfer’s paradise; Mal Pais, Costa Rica

surfing buddies and babesufer’s paradise;  Mal Pais at sunset

After a splendid run near the Arenal Volcano I had several great runs at our next destination in Mal Pais; all on the beach with running shoes and shorts.  You could cover a lot more ground when the tide was out; running on flat hard packed sand.  I was spoiled with my first couple runs being with the tide out, allowing me to cover longer distances.  My next four runs all happened at high tide and that forced me to trudge through the soft dry sand.  It was slow going and made for a low impact strength workout.

warming up is overrated for surfingearly morning start/ Guillaume wins the award for style pointsGuigui le pro chewing some gum

But what stands out for our time at Mal Pais is all the surfing.  Most days we surfed twice a day starting anywhere from 7 to 9am and playing in the waves for hours.  Even early in the morning the day’s heat made a refreshing yearning for the water.  Lathered up in suntan lotion we would battle through the surf in an effort to reach the gentle giants beckoning us to come out.  The gentle giants could almost always be seen gathering momentum, darkening the water as they approached.  A rush of adrenalin spikes through the system.  Paddling into position, the peaceful, calming, power of these giants had to be respected.  Almost everyday, sometimes several times a day a wave would humble me; reminding me of its imposing might.  Others, I would seize just right, transferring its energy into graceful, pleasurable momentum.  At least, it felt this way and explains my unyielding need to spend endless hours playing in the surf.  It is an activity that always keeps me coming back for more.

Guillaume and KevHortie practicingHortie going for a big one under Patrick’s guidanceHortie, Patrick and Guillaume at play with a looming sunset developing

Hortense

Eventually, we became tired and hungry; making lunch impossible to deny.  The lunch break was a welcome reprieve from the hot sun and replenished the body for more surfing after a relaxing afternoon.

Guillaume setting himself up for a sweet ridewhooopie!Guigui staying in the green waterKev hanging onI can still feel the adrenalineGoing down in the white froth like a rag doll

The truly majestic time to surf was near sunset when the day’s inspiration came to a climatic end.  The blinding sun would yield to the perfect ambient lighting, the sky on fire with vibrancy that drew the eyes attention.  The colors formed wonderful hues of beautiful inspiration.  Looking back towards the beach from the water one would notice all the flashes going off from camera’s motivated owners.  While out there surfing, waiting for the next perfect wave, the water and air temperature luxurious with a sky reassuringly delightful; one couldn’t help but be thankful for the precious moment.  The sun would move quickly hovering just above, what looked like to the ancients, like the end of the world.  Looking for the flawless wave would take a back seat to the astounding display of colors while the sun began diving under the water.  The sun spiraling towards the ocean would morph through different shades of orange, red, pink and violet with its overwhelming brilliance turning into a pleasant glow.  Your eyes couldn’t help but linger on the last glimpse of luminosity before disappearing and surrendering to the night’s stars. 

a glowing crewLuminously striking display

With the sun’s remarkable display all but finished and the light melting away your attention turned back to finding that next wave, visualizing it appearing before you and using its energy for the most pleasurable of passages.  Ultimately, it would come and you’d zip across the water’s surface.  With darkness quickly approaching you always want to finish with that perfect ride; which always seems to be the next wave.   Often, all the surfers would disperse leaving me alone in the mighty Pacific, darkness cloaking me in the immense expanse before me.  I would settle for the next wave and the less than perfect ride, yet nourishing all the same.

last night surfingSun boils the oceangazing towards the sun almost always the last man in the waterenjoying the ambienceprecious moments; pelicans, waves, sunsets oh my

Later that night after filling my belly with Costa Rican food I would fall asleep dreaming of the Pacific, hearing its waves crashing near-by and wonder; how far out in the blue abyss is my first wave for tomorrow’s play.

Kev always waiting for the next waveThe best time to be in the waterthe sky on firesunset and waveOur last glimpse of sun in Mal Paismy last wave.

Inspired running

Cramped Car

My next run was amazingly pleasurable and a spiritual experience that left me fullfilled for weeks.

Swiss ChaletLaguna de Arenal and Swiss Chalet

We rented a car for the 6 of us and left San Jose at 6am heading north towards the Volcano de Arenal.  We had been driving and driving each of us wanting to continue ‘exploring’ when we arrived at our destination.  We finally decided we would take the scenic route around the massive Laguna de Arenal (reservoir).  It was lunch time as we pulled into this Swiss Chalet making the entire scene seem Swiss.  Everyone was ready for lunch but I wasn’t that hungry and decided that now, with the fertile landscape illustrating numerous shades of green and a storm brewing, was perfect for a run.  My compadres were already seated for lunch when I came in with my running shoes, socks and shorts on.  I told them that I was going to continue on the route we were heading until they ‘catch up’.

Steph, Remi, Patrick, and me (planning my run)My lovely wife

I fully expected to run 2 hours (my longest run is 1:35) the way most of our lunches had gone (Tico time is laid back).  As I headed out it was cool, raining steadily, and the wind was howling.  The wind was fierce and the storm around the volcano and enormous reservoir was dreamy.  Laguna de Arenal is world renowned for its wind surfing, and I would later find out that the day’s wind was unusually strong for a place that is used to strong winds. 

storm is brewingYou can see the wind blowing currents in Lac Arenal

In a matter of meters I was warm and soaked from head to toe.  The road followed close to the water and due to the low cloud cover and rain one couldn’t see across to the other side.  I felt like I was near the sea running in a lush environment more like Ireland or Iceland maybe.  The road was hilly as it snaked this way and that in a general northwest direction.  I felt effortless as I ran along getting smacked in the face by gusts of wind.  One couldn’t help but be curious, looking up to the right at trees towering as the mountain side disappeared into the clouds.  Looking down to the left was always the lake, usually a steep 5 to 15 meters below through impassible vegetation.  Again, I was the scout, encountering everything for the first time. 

The energy in the storm fueled me and it felt as though I could run forever.  My sensations were on full alert and I felt pleasure as I ran.  I felt right in my place in the universe; an uncanny calm and sense of purpose overcame me.  The combination of exploring alone, an enchanting landscape, and being in a storm in a novel environment combined to trigger a sensual experience.  It made me feel basic, human at the core, in touch with my instincts.  I was exposed to nature, feeling naked in the storm, and thriving. 

Laguna de Arenallush landscapes of Arenal

I continued along; the rain and wind gathering strength and intensity.  It was a fantastic feeling to open my mouth and have rain water hydrate me as I swallowed small amounts of the sweet tasting stuff.  I began to encounter fallen limbs, and then whole trees, and even power lines strewn about the road.  I was undeterred only a little leery of a tree falling on me or a live wire giving me a frightful jolt. 

I have said many times that I love to run in the rain.  Maybe it is because I preside in a desert where it is usually hot and dry.  Or maybe it is my love of the water.  For me it is a remarkable feeling to run in the rain, being drenched and refreshed.  It seems to have other benefits as well.  When I started the run my skin was burned, peeling, and aching.  By the end of the run, the amalgamation of sweating and rain water completely revitalized my skin. 

Running along, passing beautiful geography, excited to see what might appear next, I wanted to run, and run and run.  Alas, after only an hour and five minutes, the frenchies had managed the fastest lunch to date.  I heard the horn excitedly honk numerous times announcing the regrettable end to my run. 

One other thing to note about running in a down pour…I didn’t stink after my run.  It was like I took an hour long shower.  I’m lucky it rained otherwise I think the cramped conditions in the vehicle would have caused a mutiny, whereby the frenchies would have strapped me to the roof.

Just after my run, a roadblock.  We were the first on the sceneteamworkRoad Crew having funShe is describing the powerful men who actually moved the tree.

Charging the soul; Costa Rica

Cruising the CaribbeanCaribbean coastline

I had some memorable workouts while down in Costa Rica all of which charged my soul with sensations of fulfillment and purpose.

The first run came several days after we arrived and I was getting antsy to do some training/exploring.  We were in Puerto Viejo and the gang leisurely biked on our cruisers about an hour south towards Manzinillo.  We decided to cool off and play at the playa (beach) Cocles.  Feeling energized, I stripped down to just my bathing suit and headed off on a bare-footed run.  We were not far from the Panama boarder, so I thought I would head that direction, south along the Caribbean coastline.  My senses were elevated, being in such an unusual environment.  I felt like a scout, itemizing everything for the first time.  On my left the blue green turquoise waters of the sea crashed near shore into a white froth.  On my right the jungle fauna was thick, coming right up to the sand, the trees lunged over the sand competing for their share of sunlight.

Playa Cocles

I ran and ran, taking in the scene almost as though watching it through someone else’s eyes.  It was surreal and I was almost giddy with expectation at what would appear around each bend.  The beach was getting more and more remote as fewer and fewer people were encountered, eventually it was just me and nature.  I passed several river outlets pouring into the sea, the water cooling my feet.  Tide-pools, nestled between the sea and the sand, began to appear frequently.  Some of the waves bellowed up high, coming into view far out on the horizon.  Their water darkened by the shear mass of the wave.  Upon reaching the shallow waters, the crash seemed to resonate through the beach.

Caribbean Jungle

I was motivated to run for a long time.  I would come to a small bay and run the distance to the farthest point, turning the corner and coming to the next small bay.  I would in turn, want to get to that point eager to see the intricacies of the next bay.  Wearing no timing device allowed me to be lost in the moment, experiencing.  I crossed another bend and saw the beach meander far off towards Panama.  Suddenly, taking a mental note on how far I’d made it, the long trek back started to set in.  My senses focused on the external almost entirely switched to the internal and I began to appreciate running shorts!  I was only wearing a swimsuit, (totally feeling native), that caused a lot of chafing.  I reluctantly turned around. 

Turning around after a long exploration, it was tough to be back tracking.  The effortless, freedom of my run south, was slowed by the nagging chaffing pain as I headed north.  At some point the endorphins kicked in enough that I was back enjoying the scenery.  I was marveling at the comfortable heat and the long distance covered when the pain was beginning to be too much to ignore.  Mercifully, Hortense and Stephanie had headed out on a walk and I obliged to walk back with them.  Walking funny, like there was a coconut between my legs.  Getting back I could think of nothing more enjoyable than being in the sea.  Plunging into the refreshing ocean, I momentarily shrieked as the salt water stung me.  The pain quickly abated and the pleasures of the warm Caribbean soothed me.

Swimming in the CaribbeanPoseidon commanding his sea.