Friday, September 28, 2012

An Anecdote for Your Friday

Have you ever felt totally on top of the world? Like a million bucks? Just 100% AWESOME!??
And then later you realize you had spinach stuck across your front teeth/ your pants were unzipped and you weren't wearing underwear/ you just called your bosses husband the wrong name?
Hmm. Well, I hope you have a minimal amount of these humbling experiences in your life. For the sake of your amusement and my reality check, I will now share a related anecdote.

Once upon a time there was a woman who trained and trained and trained for a big triathlon. The day of the event arrived, and she raced her little heart out. And loved it. And was proud. And happy with the experience. Days, weeks went by and she felt sure of her status as a bad ass athlete. Then, the race pictures arrived! She excitedly opened them, clicking through thumbnail after thumbnail- ready to relive that day of hardcore iron woman accomplishments. Oddly, the pictures seemed to capture something akin to a giddy child waking up on Christmas morning. "This can't be it." She thought. "These shots must've been before I really got in my groove." Fifty or so more shots later- more of the same. What was supposed to have looked like a shot from the cover of Runner's World instead looked like a crazy person frolicking through transition areas and onto the race course. Interesting. She decided-all in all it was still a pretty dang epic day, no matter how it looked to anyone else. So, the moral of the story is~

Be very thankful your cheering friends and family are not too embarrassed to claim you on such days.

YOLO! (hahaha)

And, photos from the race photographer HERE.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Not Indian Summer

The first day of fall, a chill in the air, dead leaves on the ground- it's not summer anymore. Last year, we had quite an indian summer in middle Tennessee but it looks like fall is moving in faster this year. I appreciate the smell of bonfires, exhilaratingly cool morning runs, and brightly colored fall foliage- but I am sad to say good bye to long, sunny summer days full of bike rides after work, kayaking on the river, swims at the lake, and poolside reading. 

With the shifting seasons I find my focus shifting back towards art- making. A couple experiences in particular have given momentum to this shift. 

1. East Side Story
My sweet friends, Chuck and Emily Beard opened a bookstore. They hatched a dream. It is a tiny space bursting with ideas, locally authored books and handmade book art. You can't walk in and not be inspired. 

2. Hillsboro Village Mural
Another dear friend, Andee Rudloff, is a mural painting force of nature. She has been creating multiple large scale murals in the region for the past couple years which are uniquely oriented to encourage community participation. See the video below to get a feel for the process, and the energy it generates (I'm in a pink tank top, zipping in and out of shots!).

3. Creative Capital 
I worked all through last weekend but didn't even care because in the process, I got to be a part of one of the most empowering creative workshops I've ever been to. The Arts & Business Council brought in a national organization, Creative Capital, to do a professional development weekend for artists in all genres. Out of a talented pool of applicants, 24 artists were chosen by panelists to participate in the workshop, and were subsidized by the Arts & Business Council. Marketing, funding, strategic planning, time management- so many tangible tools were given. It was energizing to see the this group of artists leave strengthened and better equipped to achieve their dreams. And, huge bonus, I was able to audit the whole thing and rounded out the weekend inspired by new knowledge and creative community.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

It Takes A Village to Make A 1/2 Ironwoman

Yesterday marked the completion of my first 1/2 iron distance triathlon, the Nashvegas Half in Ashland City, TN. Afterward while recovering at home, it all seemed kind of surreal. I commented to a friend, "I feel like I just came back from an epic journey." She said, "It WAS an epic journey!"- she was right!
It was an incredible experience, one that challenged every bit of me- mentally and physically. 

Here's how it went down:

4:30am. Wake up. Jon is up, and offers to drive me to the race. I say, "YES!". He drives, we talk, it's still pitch black out as we pull into the lot where I'll unload my gear.

6:00am. Check the air pressure in my tires, grab gear from car, head to transition area to set up and get body marked (my race number written on me).

7:00am. RACE START! The swim start goes in waves- men's age groups then women. This is a small race, but it's easy to see there is very small percentage of women competitors compared to men. The clouds are gray and heavily covering the sky. I swim, and swim pretty well thanks to the training I 've gotten lately at Open Water Swim clinics thanks to the guys at X3 Endurance.

I start to lose track of time at about this point and start breaking time down into the two upcoming segments: bike and run.

Bike. I hop on and take off in great spirits thanks to the sweet group of folks who are already out there cheering me on. Every time I hear them, it bumps up my energy level just a little bit more. Right off the bat, it starts raining. Slow and steady at first, then the sky opens up and it POURS. The first couple hours of the ride basically consist of getting pummeled by wind and rain. Thankfully, no one wrecked on the course and we never had lighting- two of my biggest fears for the ride were totally fine. I felt good (as good as you can after 56 miles), physically and mentally. I rode cautiously around traffic, followed my plan for taking in nutrition and hydration, and kept a steady pace. In the final 15 miles the sky began to clear. By the time I rolled into the bike/run transition the sun had come out! And my buddies were there to cheer me on again!!!

Run. I yank on my shoes and head out onto the road. The first couple miles, I take it pretty easy to get my legs adjusted. The course takes me out onto a flat, shady greenway- so nice! I feel strong so I pick up the pace a little. Four miles or so into the course, I see my buddy and training partner, Meg. Yay for an encouraging face! By mile 7, I 'm feeling it. All over. Tired legs, lagging energy, and feet that feel like concrete blocks. I start doubting my ability to finish strong.

Then, bless her sweet, sweet heart- I see Meg waiting at the start of the final mile. She rocks. I am so thankful for her choosing to come out on the course and support me like this. I kind of want to cry but don't want to be weird. Instead I just lose my breath and start wheezing which was kind of weird anyway. I know I can't talk so I ask Meg to say things, just talk to me. She quickly tells me how the morning was, and that she thinks I'm making great time. I focus on what she is telling me, and let it distract me from my horribly heavy legs. Coming into the final 1/4 mile I hear her say "there's a chick behind you", so I pick my pace back up. Ahead are Jon, Daniel, Mardie, Mike, Cristina, Seth and Emmit cheering me in! That's when Jon took the above pic. Then I follow the advice I've been given: finish with nothing left in the tank. So I did! And here's what that looks like:

                                         And here's what my medal looks like:

And here's the sticker I proudly added to my car this morning:

70.3 miles is quite a journey, and yes an "epic" one at that. For me it was about time spent training hard with people I love and respect, as well as making new friends along the way. It was about seeing more experienced people be gracious, kind, and willing to help me- a relative newcomer. It was about facing fears and choosing to move through them. It was about seeing that this seemingly solo race is not about me, but rather- community. It took a village to make this half iron woman, and I am so incredibly grateful to my "village".


Friday, September 7, 2012

Nashvegas 1/2 or Bust

So it looks like I will get up in the wee hours of the morning, jump in river for a long swim then ride a super hilly 56 miles and then top that off with a jaunty little half marathon (13.1 miles). I am racing in the Nashvegas triathlon tomorrow morning; it will be my first half ironman distance tri!
I'm thrilled, and also incredibly anxious- typical me before any major event (art show, big races, etc). My mind is racing (punsies). Seriously though, my mind is going crazy right now. I decided to get it all down in the blog because this stuff is so random I may not remember it to it's fullest extent if I wait till later. Here are the basics:

 I am so anxious. What if I do terribly and am a disappointment to my friends and family who come out to watch? What if I suck and my training buddies don't want to train with me anymore? Of course, none of those people have ever given me a reason to think that way- I came up with it on my own.

What if I hurt myself? As an obsessive weather observer, it did not escape me that all week the forecast for tomorrow morning called for 60- 70% thunderstorms. The bike course is hilly, curvy, and not closed to traffic. I am not super comfortable biking on slippery roads. This means I will likely be very cautious on my ride. Fine, but not exactly ideal. I'll stick with my general attitude towards accidents, which is "be smart, but don't stop doing what your doing. accidents happen to even the most prepared."
Here are some of the more jumbled/ less logical thoughts bouncing around:

  • Maybe I should eat a whole bag of gum drops because I'll be burning a lot of calories tomorrow.
  • Maybe I should just eat a large soft pretzel tonight.
  • Maybe I should research budgeting software and develop a new system for my spending/saving. 
  • Maybe I should donate 50% of my clothes to charity because I have too many material goods.
  • Maybe I should start a career in a totally new field.
  • Maybe I should do an extreme home make- over on my house tonight.
  • Maybe I should make an appointment to get my hair done with either dark blue or pale purple shades.
  • Maybe I should drop out of this race and not be competitive.
  • Maybe I should get a pair of fringed moccasins.
  • Maybe I should be nonchalant about race preparation and just wake up and throw my stuff together.
You may notice some of these are contradictory and none of them are actually helpful in this instance. This is me realizing that my biggest weakness when faced with pressure may very well be psychological. 
I have never been intimidated by a practice workout, I am prepared, I am physically trained to have no problem with this race- yet here I am questioning why I'm even doing it. Maybe you're wondering "Why DOES she chose to do races if this is the effect it has on her?" Let's revisit that tomorrow :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fiery Red,Torrid Orange, Sizzling Pink & Snow White

A little labor on Labor Day isn't so bad- especially if it means breaking out some brand new paint! Determining the focus -bold painted lettering on glass paired with product display- of the new window design for Rodney Mitchell Salon called for a couple preliminary tests. 

Happily, my studio has huge glass windows! Friend and studio neighbor, Liz Streight, stopped in a took a couple pics of the process. While there Liz played with paint, threw out creative suggestions (many of which I incorporated into the final piece), and was generally lovely company.
Thanks Liz!!!


A couple bottles of "Fiery Red", "Torrid Orange", "Sizzling Pink" and "Snow White" later, and there you have it. Do it. Wake up and just be your fabulous self!