March 25, 2011

Cougar Town In Boulder

I wasn't going to put this out there for public consumption.  Sometimes these little nuggets are best kept among a small circle of friends.  But a few of my friends who I told were all like, "You gotta put this one on your blog!!"  

Ummmm... ok...

 A few weeks ago my good friend from Atlanta, Patrick, was in town visiting his CU son, Kevin.  We trolled (yes) on over to "The Dark Horse" CU bar for dinner (eugh?), which was a dark, hollowed out canyon saloon which reeked of bad beer and stale puke.  (Good memories of college days came flooding back!)  We all sat in the bar area to eat - the usual scenario where you strike up conversations with those around you.   I ended up in some flirtacious banter with a CU Rugby Freshman .... c'mon, let Sharpie have a little fun ....... Homeboy most certainly did NOT look 19 - he did look young though - but then I don't look 25 either!  (Ahem!)   Patrick and Kevin were eavesdropping on our conversation the whole time .... I would occasionally look over and wink at them as they were laughing and shaking their heads at me.

By the end of my burger and 50-cent Monday-Night-Ladies-Night-Beer-Pitcher-Special, my little friend was warm for my form, for sure.  I get invited back to his "dorm".  (Oh, the memories!)  Romantic and compelling offer, for sure, but I'm thinking probably not.  (Understood we're talking a 19 year old male in college - dude would have taken home anything with a PULSE - this bears no compliment to me.  But at least the offer was when he was sober.  Beer goggles were not involved. *score!*)  

Homeboy was all about the wooing.  Demonstrating his mastery of the art of seduction, he skillfully tosses out the "you're hot" descriptor.    Damn right I'm hot, little boy.  And it only requires one roll of duct tape to keep these boobs up too!

Alas, I had to turn him down with the reality check.  Cougar / Mrs Robinson aside, he's got to at least be able to legally rent a car.  I have standards.

Carole: "Honey, I am old enough to be your mother..."

Here comes the comeback of the century.  Ready?
Little Friend: "Good - then it will be familiar to you."

Ummmmmmmmm... HUH??   Clever comeback --- but EUGH????!!!!!!!!   I can't even describe the look of confusion plus utter gross-out that I shot him.

I thought about following up with something about "spotting due to premenopause" (gotta teach the young lad a thing or two!) but thought I'd just leave it alone...

Throughout this evening I'd been texting my good friends, Anthony and Michele Beeson, about the scene.  Michele sent me a great text:  "Embrace it.  You're hot.  Rugby hunk wants you!"

 I've still got it.  ;)

March 20, 2011

Running New Routes

I had a long run for today and wanted to try a different route. Although I think I am most definitely spontaneous in certain situations, most times I am simply a creature of habit. I usually eat the same thing for breakfast, drink coffee each morning out of my favorite mug, run the same routes, get up at the same time each day, order the same thing off the menu each time I go to that restaurant, etc. It sounds sort of pathetic when I write it down, but for me it is far from pathetic. I like consistency. I like routine.  I like things I can count on. I like things I know to be true. As I discovered (long ago on a therapists couch), for me sameness represents security. When potential change evokes the memory of disaster - indeed, sameness represents security. Carole psyche 101.

I fight this need for consistency sometimes and force myself to change things up. It's good for me to challenge myself in ways that yank me from my comfort zone and require me to grow, to adapt.

There are a million renowned running routes in Boulder I've never even been to. I know, I know... This morning was going to be my morning. Trying something a little different - game on, baby!

At 8:30am I texted my friend Brandon (i.e. BDC) to get a run route suggestion from him.
We had the following text conversation transcribed below:

8:32am Carole: "Want to run this morning? I want to try something new."

8:34am BDC: "Mark and I are walking the dogs at Chautauqua, come with us."

8:35am Carole: "Thanks but I need to run."

8:36am BDC: "Well come meet us at Chautauqua and go do Mesa Trail".

8:38am Carole: "I've never done Mesa Trail."

8:39am BDC: "How long have you lived here????"

8:41am Carole: "I know...... I hear that trail is very rocky."

8:41am BDC: "I run it all the time."

8:42am Carole: "Will I get lost??"

8:44am BDC: "Not unless you're a retard!"

:) Ha! 

8:46am  Carole: "When are you guys starting?"

8:47am BDC: "In 15 minutes - meet you there!"

8:48am Carole: Arrrrrrrrrgh!! I can't be there in 15 min, I am finishing my coffee, I need to get ready!"

8:51am BDC: "Hurry your ass up! We'll be waiting."

With the speed we throw down in T2 in triathlon, I get ready in record time.......I gulp the final bit of coffee, yank up my tights, throw on my running shirt, fill some water bottles, grab my visor and First Endurance Flask and fly out the door with a bagel dangling out of my mouth....and meet BDC and Mark (JZ's husband) at the base of Chautauqua in 17 minutes. Pretty good considering 9 of that was driving. I am fast.

I hiked with them up the hill until their trail went one way and the Mesa Trail went the other, and we said our goodbyes.

I hear BDC yell out, "Watch your footing, Sharps!"

Yea, no kidding. I get maybe 5 minutes into the run and I am cussing Brandon out. This trail is ROCKY...loose rocks too, not just big things to have to angle over. Gggrrr. I am definitely going to fall on my butt out here - but I stay determined and keep the fight. I have to walk up most of the steep climbs to keep my heart rate manageable .... thankfully the views were gorgeous... but I really couldn't take my eyes off the terrain much or I feared I would fall.

Soon I come to a sign that reads: "Area wildlife includes deer, coyote, fox, bear, mountain lion, bobcat, bats, rattlesnakes and numerous raptor species. Be cognizant of wildlife activity updates, warnings and resulting trail closures or usage limitations."

Great, I'm going to get mauled out here by a jungle cat.

As I continue on, the trail splits a lot to take hikers/runners various ways - I try to pay attention to ensure I go the correct route. "Stay on Mesa Trail, Sharpie".

The trail winds, and goes up stairs, and across tiny bridges, over rocks, and along ridges.......... I keep going...... staying focused......

....... 40+ minutes in I come to a sign that reads: Skunk Canyon Trail.   Uh-oh.   Oh man, not only am I lost, I know it's just the name of the trail but if I'm running right into a skunk farm Brandon is getting his butt kicked! I run a bit on Skunk Canyon until it's time to head back...........

I pray I am not going to be lost out here.........
The way back is worse than the first half - man this route is tough!

I make it back to my car in almost complete muscular failure. My legs are shot and shaking with fatigue. I realize how WEAK I am to have not been able to endure this terrain legs just do not have the power. This is incredibly good feedback for me physically.

I've always said there are no short cuts in athletics - fitness, or lack thereof, always reveals itself. You can't fake fitness. Today it left in its wake a shocking display of mediocrity... :)

But at least the route was beautiful.........I encountered no mountain lions or bears that wanted to eat me, no snakes that wanted to bite me, no bats to suck my blood, and I made it back to my car before the sun went down. That's a good day in my book! :)

March 17, 2011

The Right Voice

"Surely, whoever speaks to me in the right voice, him or her I shall follow,
  as the water follows the moon, silently, with fluid steps ...."
            - Walt Whitman:  Leaves of Grass -

A couple days ago I received a really impactful email from my good friend, Kyle.   I'd been sharing with him recently some of the struggles I'd been having (mostly mental) trying to re-engage in the sport.

It's amazing to me how we're all motivated by different contrasts.   Some people find fierce determination in being discarded, finding fight in "proving people wrong".   Lance Armstrong has always been the supreme example of this: if you pissed him off, he'd pretty much make it his life mission to destroy you and make you eat your words.  In many ways I admire people like that and wish I had some of that flame.  To be able to direct your fire at something predictable, something specific - what a lightening bolt target.  To be fueled by rage in sport?  Wow - what adrenaline that must be.  I wish I had that in me.  (Really.)   If I could find motivation ignited by revenge, pushed by defying people who didn't believe in me, I'd probably be a much better athlete.  Especially this year.  But my point is, this is exactly what kills my spirit instead of thinking, "I'll show 'em".     

Revenge just isn't what does it for me.  It isn't.   I have always found the greatest source of motivation within euphoria;  I'm profoundly moved and boosted by people I respect/love/admire who believe in me, who support me.  The random person who says "You can do it" when they really have no idea what my journey has been, well it's a nice statement, but it's not attached to anything real.  It's completely vacuous.  But someone who KNOWS me, who I really care about, who has some perspective with what I'm doing (or trying to do) and what obstacles I'm facing, if this person says, "I know you can do this", and this is someone I respect in turn, well, it's a whole new ballgame.  That helps me fight; that motivates me.

So I get this great email from Kyle.  It's worth noting, Kyle is one of the few people who totally inspires ME.  (This doesn't happen to me often.)  Ok, he's not battling leukemia, he's not without a limb, nor does he have some sort of disfiguring disease with which he is trying to manage.  Certainly, those battles are beyond Herculean to consider.   But he did something that, to me, is a whole different level of bravery. The dude quit his lucrative job in medical sales, sold his house and set forth on a year long quest to literally "travel the world", from which he just recently returned.  Wow. 

Now before anyone starts saying, "C'mon. That's not brave!  Who wouldn't love to go on a year long vacation!" ........ before you blurt that out, really consider what you're saying.  Clearly, yes, it's not like he thrust himself into a year long prison camp.  Even Kyle would agree with that.  He did this for fun, to fulfill a dream he had.  But before you seem certain this sort of thing doesn't require some guts, and you'd love to do that too -- make no mistake -- YOU COULD DO THAT!   The point is --- WOULD YOU?  Would you have the courage to do it.  To include all the needed sacrifices something like that would require?  Would you really do it?   Because I am the first to admit I have "talked" for years about traveling the world, but I frankly would never really have the balls to.  I'd be too scared.  Quit my job for a year (in this economy)?   The language barriers?  The unknowns?  Forget it.  We all talk about it - but Kyle did it.  Totally alone.  Different countries, continents, trying to figure it all out on his own.  He encountered some scary, crazy crap too.  Uggg.  Good for him!   I'm pretty tough, but I could never, ever do that.

Our mutual friend, Anthony (AB's Blog ) , and I were talking about Kyle a couple weeks ago.  I said, "No way I would be brave enough to do that."  Anthony nodded and said, "Ppppffft, me neither! I still can't believe he did it!"

So anyway, Kyle's email contained lots of things for me to think about - but he ended it with: "You coming back from all the setbacks you've encountered is a true inspiration to me."    The fact that there would be ANYTHING I could do that would be in any way inspirational to THAT guy is beyond humbling - and frankly, shocking....  

...and ... *poof* ... there it was: some new found inspiration.   I was really moved by being even a slight inspiration to someone who I perceive as being completely off-the-charts inspirational to all of us --- and all of a sudden I found myself bolting to the pool.  (I never "bolt" to the pool. I procrastinate and slowly wander like a dead woman walking, but I don't bolt.  Here I was BOLTING!)

Alas, I arrived at Jane Scott's Masters practice 15minute late.  EEEK!!!!   Being late for practice is never allowed, but I realized en route (at 9:07am) that practice is at 9am, not 9:15 (clearly I am not going enough).  I considered returning for 12:30p practice instead but decided to just take my scolding and keep moving forward on task.  I get to Flatirons Gym and run full throttle to the pool deck.  Jane is just as tough as her brother, Dave, but the difference is that normally you can still sneak your way into her practice late. :)   Dave boots you out upon sight.  

So I'm running across the pool deck, stuffing my hair in its cap and tossing my flip flops as I breathlessly yell, "Jaaaaannne!!!  I'm sorrrrrrrrrry, Jane!!!"

Jane: <sternly> "Don't try to sweet talk me, Carole!  You're late!"   I love how I can feel 13 again in these situations...

Carole: "I know.... sorry!" ... and I quickly jump in a lane, everyone warming up already, before she can yell at me any more.  :)

I stayed in the pool for a little over 3k, which for me is quite a jump.  These days I'm lucky if I stay in for 2k, and I'm usually not back to the pool for another 5+ days after it.  On this day, I stayed in for a solid 3k, and I started getting my butt in gear.   I even worked the last set. ?

So........I have no idea what's next - but I definitely feel like the push I needed to get back in the fight has happened.  If nothing else, that's a start.
Thanks, Kyle!  You rock!

March 13, 2011

Getting through it

Yesterday I was emailing one of the athletes I coach. He was having a lot of anxiety about the long run I'd given him for today. People who know me know I thrive off the mental component to most everything. I'm all about the mental connection to our bodies, to people ... If you can engage someone mentally (to include yourself), this is when the journey takes on a whole new level of sophistication and intensity; the commitment just is different.

I thought I'd include an excerpt from my email to him. Who can't stand a little motivation from time to time? My words were about his long run, but really, it's about anything:

It’s like anything. If you mentally prepare, you can usually persevere. It’s all in your head. For me it’s about settling into the rhythm of the run and not buying into those moments when my body starts to hurt or when it says, “you’re tired.” You’ve just got to keep moving. The great thing about long runs is there are highs and lows. That means sometimes you will feel incredible and other times you will feel like dog shit. Both will pass. The point is to stay in the game long enough to let the tough times pass and to move into the higher points. Then you learn that you can move through anything. Nothing will frighten you. Go get 'em!

March 3, 2011

Love The Old Fashioned Way

Big news here, guys. It’s official. I’m blown away yet again by another season of “The Bachelor.”

I’ve watched a lot of shows, from MacGyver to Ultimate Fighting, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as shocked by a show as I am by what I continue to witness, each season, on “The Bachelor."

To summarize:
Hot 38-year old guy wants to get married and start having kids ASAP. (“Hey, Life? This is Fun. Just wanted to say it was nice knowing you, and good luck with everything.”) He doesn’t want to go through the normal channels (e.g. dirty bars, temp jobs, eHarmony, “mishaps” with VD, etc.), so he goes on a nationally televised program pitting 25 women against one another to win his heart through contests and tests of commitment like “opening up.”
I have many complaints about the show (number one being that kicking and punching amongst the bachelorettes is not allowed), but overall, in a deeply philosophical and life-redeferring way, my qualm is this: That out one side of his mouth, all Brad does is talk about finding true love and spending his life with someone and making that magical connection that only soul mates can share ... and out of the other side of his penis he’s decided that the pool from which he will find this soul mate is a subset of twenty-five hot women. That’s it. Twenty-five. When you consider how many women there are in the world, doesn’t twenty-five seem like a small percentage? Especially when you’re a hot guy who can basically break up relationships at will and shop for girlfriends like XBOX games at Toys R’ Us?
Now here’s something that might surprise you. Fundamentally, I think this is a sound premise. In fact, it’s something I’ve thought for a long time now. In college I called it the “Packed Elevator Theory"; the premise being that if I was on my way to class in an elevator packed full of guys, there was a very good chance that I could have a long, happy relationship (or a drawn out, cat and mouse game of who cheated on who the most) with at least one of them. No need to accidentally trip over each other in the cafeteria only to find out that we’re both English majors who secretly (shhh, it’s so embarrassing!) liked that song from the Volkswagen commercial. Just a simple, “Oh, you’re going to ‘Basic Plot Summation’ class too? We should start dating and ruin each other’s lives.”
But here’s The Bachelor’s Brad going on and on about the opportunity to find the soul mate of his dreams, when really he has just as much of a chance of finding his future wife at the local grocery store. (Or, more appropriately, the local gym. I haven’t seen that many six packs since my last trip to the beer distributor. AM I RIGHT???)

And what really sticks in my craw is the sincerity of the show: that we’re supposed to believe that while Brad will only find one soul mate from the crop of twenty-five, that all twenty-five of those women think he is their soul mate. I would do the math on that to prove how ridiculous it is, but I don’t think that that’s what math is used for.
Listen, I’m not saying that the “natural” order of the male/female mating game isn’t without its flaws. Women date men exclusively based on net worth (you have a private jet? cha-chiiing!), guys sleep with their housekeepers – heck, I even have a friend who dated a girl solely because she worked at a chocolate shop. But the point is, the way they do it on The Bachelor doesn’t work. You can’t just go kissing every woman who looks “wow” in a cocktail dress to further the “connection” while enjoying extravagant meals in private mausoleums or whatever the hell they do. Bottom line – it just doesn’t work.
Until now.
That’s right, The South Africa episode this week was THE BIG NIGHT. It’s down to three bachelorettes, and they each were presented with what I affectionately refer to as a “Bang Card.” Basically, a Bang Card is an invitation to learn more about their special relationship by spending the night with do Brad in his “fantasy suite” in South Africa. Depending on how each date would go, Brad had the discretion to offer the Bang Card or not.
Needless to say, I think this is a brilliant turn of events. I can’t tell you how many times in my life (four) I could have used such a clear-cut signal as a piece of paper (which could be considered a written contract and used as evidence in a court of law) for the guy to let me know he wanted to get it on. No more of this, “She touched my hand when she laughed” or “She ordered dessert, so she owes me anyway.” Just a black and white token of intentions. It doesn’t even matter what’s written inside. It could be a drawing of a bear cub sliding down a rainbow. The deal’s done.
The only question I have left, then, is this: If you were the father of any of those bachelorette’s watching that night’s episode, observing on national television how properly and honorably you raised your little girl, how many bottles of Jim Beam would you drink:
a) 1
b) 2
c) 3
d) forget the drink – buy a gun