So on one of the handouts, it says to do the longer distances you have to SKATE SKI. Uh oh, I can do the other kind (Striding), kind of, at least most of the time, if I don't have to go down a steep hill or do a turn all of a sudden. But how am I gonna do this new thing, which I thought was for the advanced people?
And I really want to do the 50K distance in Anchorage. I'm no wimp! I'm a triathlete! And a Masters swimmer! I have medals and ribbons on my cube! I have the stamina and the training, just not the skill (yet). I want the challenge.
OK, so I have to fall on my tush in the snow a little more this season, I can stand that. The only thing that really worries me is, here I've made all this noise about being such an athlete that they all think I really AM one, so I'm going to feel like a complete dufus if I find myself end-up in a snowbank in front of all these people. King Fear is raising his ugly head. Or better, King Ego.
The paradox of my personality: I go out and express myself to people, put myself hugely and outrageously "out there" ; and then I spend the next 3 days worrying about what people thought. What's up with that?
Yesterday was the big kickoff meeting for the San Francisco area Team in Training, at a hotel downtown. Huge crowd, hurried people in Team in Training regalia running around, squeals of delight as old friends found each other again, and many confused looking newbies like me wandering around looking nervous and nibbling on muffins from the hotel.
But once the program got underway, I was immediately impressed, and moved, by how well they do things in this organization; for example:
Starting with a movie that follows various patients through the many experiences of having cancer
Having someone who currently has the disease give a talk about her experiences
Organizing the teams within each sport into small groups, based on where you live, to facilitate carpooling with your friends (I was surprised not to be the only person coming from the South Bay - one even came from Santa Cruz)
Giving every person a "mentor" who has done the event before
Including numerous "honorees" who have cancer and are all doing the event along with us
Creating a detailed team website that includes news, photos of everyone on the team, links to books about people with cancer for inspiration, fundraising advice, and much more
Providing a packet with detailed bios of all the (5 or 6) coaches, team captains (another 4), and honorees
And last but not least, having each sport give a weekly "team spirit" award (won by ME!!!) and a periodic "top fundraiser" award (also won by...ME!!!). How can I not be motivated after winning 2 awards right off the bat!
I know there will be even more ingenious and heartwarming surprises from these people. It's truly a wonderful organization I already feel a part of. I wouldn't be surprised to find myself doing these events year after year.
So last night I got home from there and was so overwhelmed by all the positive energy that I had to crash on the couch, watch a couple episodes of "Dark Angel", and eat too many homemade chocolates from my friend Tien, (who sends them to all her donors for the Aids Lifecycle ride.) Had to balance all that altruism and self-sacrifice with some serious vegging and self-indulgence.
Off to write another post now, on another subject...read on. Or at least, I hope read on...I have a feeling I'm mostly talking to myself on this thing. And my big furry cat Purr, who's here in my lap as I write.
Our training starts in November (snow training in December) so there's a while yet before I'm going to have anything to say about that. I'm still doing the tail end of triathlon training, plus the usual Masters swim workouts. I also just started going to track with my triathlon club (and our new one-percent-body-fat coach, Kenrick) which is a blast, although hard; maybe I'll actually beat 10 minute miles one of these days.
So anyway, while I'm not training yet for the ski race, I *am* psyching myself for it by reading any number of inspiring tales of major athletes. Here are some of my favorites in case you're interested too:
*Number one best* of all time psych-yourself book for swimming, cycling and running:
Zendurance: A Spiritual Guide for Endurance Athletes (Paperback)
This guy has thought of reasons to love your workouts I'd never have imagined, and every one of the things he's come up with is 1000% true. (Plus I've been practicing Zen for 13 years now and it's a true joy to be able to so completely associate my practice with my athletic life). I fantasize about moving to Lake Placid to train with him and take his workshops.
Number one best book about both cross-country skiing (and the personal issues involved in endurance athletics ):
You haven't really lived until you've contemplated asking all your co-workers for money. Or rather, you haven't really visited your own vulnerable nature. Will I be rejected? How will that feel? Does not giving me any money mean they don't like me? Should I remind people, or just let it drop? Am I alone in the world with no support? Is this all my fault for working so much and training so much and therefore having no time to develop close friendships? Is God punishing me for screwing up in life?
But actually it's been easier than I thought, because while many don't, many more do give something to my cause. And each time somebody does, I feel so extremely happy and affirmed that it makes up for all the self-doubt.
It's teaching me to reach out, put myself on the line, and bravely watch what happens next. It's showing me that I do have people in my life who care, not just about me, but about humanity.
I'm starting to wonder whether this isn't its own kind of "training" for a whole other kind of "fitness".