TEAM USA: The Best of the Best

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Met a young man training to be on the US Olympic Archery Team. He let us know that he is ranked number 10 (not sure if that is national or world), but either way… it is damned impressive.

In fact, all of TEAM USA is damned impressive. As part of our “do everything now while we can” campaign, we had the opportunity to visit the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center (CVOTC).

The CVOTC is designed to train athletes in outdoor events such as soccer, track and field, biking, running, motocross, tennis, etc. The facilities are superb and we coincidentally got to see the women’s soccer “B” team practicing. The one thing that all the athletes have in common is the absolute knowledge that they will win. The young archer we met was preparing for an upcoming national competition. Apparently, archers must place in the top 3 to qualify for the Olympics. He said with confidence… “I’m ranked number 10 so I expect to make the top 3.”

As if they don’t already have enough confidence, the Center even has an obstacle course designed like American Ninja Warrior to push the athletes to do things they don’t know they can do. Since winning times are often seconds apart… its often the confidence that makes the difference.

It is amazing how one’s confidence grows when accomplishing the imtriathlon 2possible. I had that experience when I completed a triathlon, but that’s another story.

The US does not support our athletes, but these kids work hard for the United States… consider making a donation.

Stay tuned.

Good Job!

Knee 3An older woman walked into an exercise studio filled with women average age 30-something. Instructor demonstrated exercises that would be covered in the class. A helpful lady next to older woman introduced herself and re-explained what the instructor just went over. Twice during the hour-long exercise, the helpful lady told the older woman that she was doing a GOOD JOB! At the end of class, the helpful lady went out of her way to befriend the older woman and again told her what a GOOD JOB she did.

It is obvious that the helpful lady assumed that the older woman would need help understanding and doing the exercises. As you may have guessed…. I was the Older Woman. I was offended and found myself explaining that I had done a triathalon (my one big claim to fame) and that I was trying this class because I needed to step down from a bootcamp that I have been taking (which was true). Then I got angry with myself for being defensive.

I was defensive because I’ve been feeling my age lately. Because, I can no longer do what I once did. My body snaps, crackles, and pops like a box of Rice Krispies.  Occasionally, I wear a knee brace to stave off the knee replacement that I will need in the future. I sometimes need a heating pad for my back after a long bike ride. I refer to myself as an aging athlete, and It’s clear that I’m no longer a spring chicken, but I’m not ready to be written off. I’m disheartened that people look at me and see an “older woman”.

Then I remembered an “older woman” that I knew from a prior exercise class. She too was an aging athlete. She could no longer do century bike rides (100 miles), and had cut back to half centuries. I guess she was 10 years senior to me. I also remembered that, unbeknownst to her, she was a role-model for me.

I hope I can be a role-model for others.

Stay tuned

Take Small Bites…

Bayshore Bikeway 2“Real bicyclists” travel the 27-mile Bayshore Bikeway as a warmup to their century rides. My balcony overlooks part of the Bikeway so I cannot escape these energizer bunnies who I also see at the local coffee shop. They are all ages, shapes, and sizes. In fact, I’ve often wondered how someone can be fat and a bicyclist, but that’s another story.

The Bikeway is well known in the San Diego biking community, and watching the cyclists makes me nostalgic, because somewhere in me is a woman who would easily bike 25, 35, 50 miles or more. This woman, AthLEticA, was an avid racquetball player, bicyclist, so-so tennis player, and skier.

AthLEticA has been responsible for talking me into activities ending in knee surgery’s, back aches, foot sprains, and has caused many dollars in contributions to the medical industry. Therefore, I have told her that under no circumstance would I tackle the Bikeway, but yesterday, she and my husband conspired against me. He suggested that we do 5 miles of the route. At the 5-mile mark the ride turned into a challenge to see which one of us would cry uncle, and turn around.  Since both of us are extremely competitive, we ended up doing the entire 27-mile route.

Message 1… if you want to do something big, break it up into little pieces

Message 2 …. Push yourself to do what you thought you couldn’t

Next Stop…. Appalachian Trail!!

Stay tuned….

Adventure of a Lifetime

We were on our way back home from a bike ride, when my 10-year-old Grandson had taken the lead and went past our turn. We could have turned around and gone the way we knew or we could try a different path. We decided on the different path… and our adventure began.

First, I thought I knew how to cut through and get back on the bike path, but soon realized we were nowhere near the path and were in fact getting farther and farther away. We rode, talked, rested, and rode some more. On one hill, he told me he was tired and embarrassed to admit it. Then I reminded him that he never had to be embarrassed with G’Ma.

At one point we considered retracing our steps to the bike path, but it had gotten too dark (thank goodness G’Dad had put lights on our bikes). Unbeknownst to G’son, I had briefly considered calling G’Dad to come and get us, but even though it was late, dark, and we were tired, we were also enjoying the time together and the adventure of it all.

Our path took us along a quiet industrial, tree-lined street with wide sidewalks,  and a few UPS workers ending their day. We peddled up hills and coasted down all the while chatting away about mostly nothing, but how perfect the weather was.. and basking in our time together.  We don’t usually get much one-on-one time, so like our morning wake-up ritual, this was another  bonding opportunity.

We came into an area with small shops and a ubiquitous McDonalds, but chose a Dunkin Donuts for a rest, and doughnuts. The lady was about to close, but was kind and let us stay while she cleaned up.  Jordan and I talked, drank our sodas and prepared to get back out on our bikes. When we came out of the shop, we were faced with a steep hill and my tough little guy said “it’s okay Granma, we’ll just ride until we get tired and then we’ll walk.”

At one point along the way, we ran out of sidewalk and had to ride about 50 feet in the street across a bridge.  He said he was scared and I realized that as he became a “man”,  he wouldn’t be able to say that. He would have to hide his fears and tears so he could be a “man.” I assured  him I would make sure he was safe, and after we crossed, we laughed and laughed as we rode/coasted down another hill.

The last leg of our trip was across a pedestrian bridge over a highway and he said that was “really cool.”

When we arrived at home, we were both exhausted  and exhilarated. We had an adventure of a lifetime, that we will always remember.

Sometimes taking a wrong turn is the right thing to do.

Guerilla Biker

As part of my quest to “bring adventure into our lives” and “get out of our ruts” and to “do different things”, my hubby and I took a 14.5 mile round trip bike ride along the Potomac River enroute to Mount Vernon. Now this may not sound so adventurous or exciting for most, but we hadn’t been on a bike for two years. We had actually planned on biking with friends but we overslept and then discovered a flat tire on one of our bikes, which turned out to be fortuitous because our friends ended up riding 26 miles.

Twenty-six miles on a bike is not a big deal for those folk you see with the colorful bike shirts who are hunched over their bikes in the shape of a U (also known as guerilla riders), but when one hasn’t ridden for two years, even 14 miles is a long distance.

 I used to be a guerilla rider. In fact, I was training for a 300 mile ride until my father got sick. My husband reminded me that was at least six years ago.  I remember the first training session for the 300 miler was a 20-mile warm-up ride after a winter of inactivity. It was tough, but I was able to do it. My brain doesn’t acknowledge the passage of time. It says “yes I can”, but my body says “no you can’t.”

One day has passed now since the bike ride. The swelling in my knee has gone down and my back has just about stopped aching from bending over the handlebars, and we are preparing for a sunset, moonlight kayaking trip this evening. My brain is saying “you go girl!”, while my body is saying buy Bengay before you go.

Stay tuned.