Thursday, March 8, 2012


Tomorrow is recommitment day. That means that I have to tell Team In Training that I am definitely in, no matter what. If I re-commit, it means that if I don't meet my fundraising minimum, then I have to pay the difference out of my own pocket. You will notice that I am not close to having raised enough money. Help, please. And help doesn't only mean "give money", though of course that too. It also means give suggestions on plausible ways to raise money, tell your friends they should donate, maybe offer to stand outside a grocery store with me rattling a tin can, et cetera. (Note that my wonderful nieces have volunteered to do this last thing, with the tin can, for me. People can easily say no to me, but I dare anyone to say no to those two adorable faces.)

Anyway, recommitment is scary and I've been hesitating. It is truly signing on the bottom line, and aside from the money issue, there is the whole I Still Can Only Kind Of Ride An Actual Bike issue. I am so far from being comfortable on a bike that the idea of zooming through the hills of Tahoe in a mere 3 months is downright comical. Imagine your 15-year-old kid getting his learner's permit today and declaring that now he's ready for the Indy 500, just a couple of months away - when meanwhile, he still has trouble actually turning corners and has only the vaguest idea what a clutch is. That's about my level, okay. That's about how absurd this seems to me.

Honestly, the only reason I'm not backing out of this and opting for some easier ride later on (I believe Team In Training allows that) - and I mean the only reason  - is my brother Dan. He's so enthusiastic, and he really believes in me. Not that other people aren't the same, of course, but it matters more for me with Dan. After all, he's donating monthly - he's in it as long as I am too. And weirdly enough, I am suddenly hugely invested in making him proud. This is slightly hilarious, since I don't think I've ever given a damn about making anyone proud in my life. Certainly not my adult life. But there you go. Thanks a LOT, Dan, going around making shit important to me, you bastard.

So the fundraising part is the bigger worry. As much as I angst about the physical challenge, I am learning. Like just last night I learned how to be a little less dumb about food. I didn't eat before I went to training, see. Not even a snack. This turned out to be a mistake since not only was I positively ravenous afterwards and capable of eating a proverbial horse (or even non-proverbial, I wasn't picky), when I did eat, all the afterglow-awesome-invincible feel from a terrific workout just disappeared into exhaustion and lethargy. I only had a sandwich, but it may as well have been play-dough, the way it left me feeling. So okay, lesson learned. Other lessons include:

  • Concentrate on breathing. This was shared with me by Christopher O'Connor, a great guy on our board who is like a SuperAthlete (compared to me, anyway), and I immediately found the wisdom in his words. During cardio exercise, I tend to be fine with the breathing, though focusing on it really helps there too. But it's in weight training that this has made the biggest difference. Any time I am reallllly working my muscles, I just stop breathing. It's some natural involuntary thing. It's whack, this instinct. But now I constantly remind myself to inhale and exhale in nice even breaths. Thanks, Chris!
  • Sore muscles will not ALWAYS happen. I have been doing these core exercises - initially I did them in a totally lame-ass manner, but then I pushed myself on them, doing them for realsies. And ohmygod, the next day was like I was wearing a girdle of pain and sorrow. It so hurt. But I gave it a couple of days and did the exercises again, and it hurt a little less afterwards. Now I can do them full-tilt and there is no pain at all. And that's progress over the course of just a week. I mean, I was prepared to do them no matter the pain they caused, but it was such a pleasant surprise to realize that my muscles could get used to it so very quickly. Yay muscles!
  • Twenty minutes is the magical marker. I have long suspected it, but have decided that it's a Life Truth: if you're working out, get your heart rate up for twenty minutes straight, nice and steady - and then all of a sudden the workout becomes less work and more fun. I bet there's some medical reason, but whatever - all I know is, for 19 full minutes, I just slog along and whine to myself about how much I don't wanna do this, I don't like it, waaaah. Then at minute 20, I suddenly stop looking at the clock and feel like I could go forever. Every single time. Elspeth (training for a half-marathon) says it's the same thing with her. So just remember, people: Minute Twenty is magic.
  • I love peanut butter. Okay, I already knew that, but I mean I lurrrrrrrrrrve it now. After a super-intense session of physical exertion, I have learned that protein is the key to actually satisfying the hunger. If I eat something with little or no protein, then I just stay hungry, like a bottomless pit. But a handful of peanuts takes care of it. Even better, a glob of peanut butter smeared on bread. Man, I dream about peanut butter sometimes now. Gloppy and sticky and GLORIOUS, oh my beloved peanut butter.
  • I need a new sports bra. Let's not go into detail on that, just trust me: the girls need more restraint. I will go to some awesome running store for apparel and advice, and plop down a fat wad of cash because the good ones always cost oodles. Being a girl can seriously suck sometimes, jeez.
Um, okay, that's my update for now. On Saturday - as in THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW OH MY DEAR SWEET LORD HELP ME - we will be going on our first team ride at last. It is 25 miles. That's twenty-five. 

Twenty. Five. 

[wordless gestures of helpless terror]

So I'll let you know how that goes, okay?


Anonymous said...

I am proud to be your inspiration, but PLEASE... find the motivation within yourself! When it's all said and done, you will cross the finish line and the reward of knowing that YOU made it happen will be an inexplicable feeling. Prepare yourself though... once you have the feeling, you will want it again and again (Maybe run a Marathon??).
To help with cash, in addition to my monthly donation, let's do a garage sale this spring. I have PLENTY of things around the house to sell and the boys will be willing to help too. All proceeds will go towards your century ride!
Love you sis. Keep it up!!


kviz said...

You go girl!!! I am sending a small donation just to show you that I believe in you. You can do this, but Dan is right about finding it inside yourself. You are tougher than you know, but your own determination to succeed is more important than any other factor. Dig deep and don't give up. That Sterett blood is pretty damn stubborn - use it to your advantage!
I am so proud of you!
Aunt Kathy

Beth said...

Well Dan, I suppose instead I should call you my Inspiration Of Last Resort. See, I usually start off with "Of course I want to do this, it's so cool! Quitting would mean I can never reach maximum coolness!" If that isn't working, I think of the people who will benefit from the funds I raise and think "I can't let them down. Look what they go through - this is just a bike ride, don't be a wuss." If that's not working, THEN I think "Well, shit, Dan would never let me live it down if I give up. I want him to tell stories for years of how awesome I am, not about how I wimped out when it mattered!" So see, it's like your my pride check. ;-)

THANK YOU AUNT CATHY!!! You're right about the Sterett stubborn streak. I can do this, it's in my genetic code! It's a long line of tough birds, and I can't let the line end with me. :-D

Beth said...

Oh, and I LOVE the garage sale idea! I'll start clearing out the closets now. Spring cleaning + fundraising - WIN.

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