Sunday, April 16, 2017

We found love (and fun)

Earlier today I was riding my bike on the Silver Comet Trail, blasting my "Trainer Ride" playlist out loud from my phone through the speaker so I (and everyone else...) could listen as I rode. I don't think it is super kosher to be listening to music that way on the Silver Comet but today I didn't really care and decided to be "that girl" as I rode my bike. I was doing an easy one hour ride, by myself, and was enjoying a nice relaxed pace ride, on tired legs after a heavy weekend of swimming, biking and running. I was reflecting back on the weekend, and the past week, and feeling really happy and proud and my music played a nice backdrop for me.

When playing music from my phone in settings when others can hear, I always hold my breathe a little when a new song starts, wondering if it is going to be something weird or embarrassing or include profanity or something totally inappropriate. I randomly recently added the song "Bad Touch" by the Bloodhound Gang to this particular playlist, if that's any indication of the quality and tastefulness of some of my song choices.

As one song switched to the next, I held my breath waiting to hear what it would be but then felt my body not only relax, but a smile come across my face as the familiar intro beats to "We Found Love (In a Hopeless Place)" by Rihanna and Calvin Harris started to play.

"Yellow diamonds in the sky
and we're standing siiiide by side..."

I've listened to this song so many times over the years, in various settings and with various people. Yet every time I hear it, it immediately takes me back to one particular place. The GE Global Research fitness center, 2011, spin class led by Stacie with my friend ICT.  Every Tuesday and Thursday during lunch, ICT and I would walk down the hill to the fitness center and take Stacie's spin class. I remember it vividly because it marks an important time in my life for me. As I recall, it was the first time that working out and exercising was an important part of my life and something that was FUN for me. It was the first time I truly LOOKED FORWARD to going to the gym. The first time that I genuinely feeling DISAPPOINTED when I had a conflict and couldn't make it to class. It was the first time that I learned to love the burn that comes with a tough workout and therefore the mark of the beginning of a big journey for me.

That one song, "We Found Love" was one that Stacie would play in almost every class and I loved it for many reasons and every time it came on, it would hype me up and would burn the heck out of my lungs and legs pushing as hard as I could on the bike. I can still hear Stacie yelling, "CRANK IT CRANK IT CRANK ITTTTT!" as the song gained momentum and got louder and louder, eventually peaking and we would all be pushing into a hard climb on the bike.

I remember it so clearly and this song still gets me so hyped up every time I hear it.

Fast forward back to today, six years later, to a time when I actually own a bike that I ride outdoors for hours on end. Many miles of half marathons, triathlons, four marathons, and two half Ironmans later when I am riding on the Silver Comet and this song starts to play. I am immediately feeling nostalgic and thinking of how far I have come, how much I have accomplished, and how much fun I have had since I was back in that little windowless room in the GE fitness center riding a spin bike without bike shorts or clip in shoes or anything. It reminds me of why I even started this journey in the first place and really got me hooked into it - because it made me feel good, because it was something I shared with friends, and because it was FUN.

Last weekend, as I wrote my blog entry about the Tony Serrano ride and reflected back on the week before, I realized that my mind had been clouded in the week before and for a tiny bit I had lost sight of those things Just for a moment, I got wrapped up in chasing goals and wanting to be stronger and stressing if I was doing enough to reach my goals that I forgot about the goal of just having fun. I'd forgotten that regardless of all else, I do this all for fun, and that's what is what is important.

So this past week and in the coming weeks, I am setting out to have fun. To enjoy EVERY workout and go into each out with a smile. To not take things too seriously and laugh and meet new people. To not think so much about the numbers and metrics and times and just do the workouts to have fun.

Now don't get me wrong - it wasn't as if I wasn't having fun before and it isn't as if I am not going to be pushing myself or paying attention to my pace or speed. But I just need to trust the process is doing it's thing and make my thing be to enjoy it.

And let's be real here - this stuff is fun, so it's not like it's hard! And it isn't that I wasn't having fun or wasn't happy before - I just wasn't focusing on it. I work out and spend my time with some awesome, interesting, funny, fun people. And I genuinely enjoy everything I am doing. I just am focusing on removing some of the pressure from myself and keep fun at the forefront. Even in the past week, with making that slight change in mindset, I felt lighter going into my training and that felt good.

For the next month of training, I want to continue to relax, have fun and put my trust in my coach, in his plan, and in this process. My job is to execute and to have fun while doing it. There are 5 more weeks of training before my goal race for the spring and I'm excited because in addition to the long bike rides and runs, I've got some exciting and different things coming up that I will be taking part in! Plus, the weather is absolutely perfect right now so just being outside brings me joy!

On Saturday I did my first outdoor swim and found myself just relaxing in the water, cooling off after a long bike ride and run, surrounded by the beauty of nature, sunshine, and friends and just feeling so happy. That same feeling came back today as I rode my bike along the Silver Comet listening to Rihanna sing away.

"We found love in a hopeless place..."

I do this sport because it's fun. I do this sport because I found the love in being physically active, running, swimming, and riding my bike. I found the love in getting sweaty and feeling exhausted after pushing myself hard. It might sound crazy to some but I found the love in waking up at 5:00 a.m. vs. staying out late and seeing and laughing with my friends before I even go to work in the morning. I found the love in getting to know people over long conversations taking place while feet pound the pavement or push pedals. I found the love in all of this and found love FOR myself throughout the process. And that's why I do this.

Happy Easter everyone - hope you had a great weekend and can't wait for MARATHON MONDAY tomorrow!!!

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