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20 Years of Epic!

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BirdsCloudsThis month marks my 20th year of mountain biking!  I’ll never forget the first time I rode up Palisades Drive on my mountain bike–my former husband was way ahead of me and all I could do in my mind was beat myself up!

“Sure, he’s way ahead of me, his father was a 9 Letterman in high school so he’s got the genes.  My father was a bowler!”  Not that there’s anything wrong with bowlers, it’s just that the sport doesn’t lend itself to huffing and puffing up a hill.

My lungs and my legs were burning–I was sweating profusely and my head felt like it was about to explode!

I did find out that Sean’s legs and lungs were burning too.   He felt pain and humiliation similar to me–his body was not functioning with ease.  It was hard!happy tara on voodoo

The good news is that today I rode up the same hill, instead of beating myself up, I was actually enjoying the ride.  My legs and lungs weren’t burning–it wasn’t easy but it was more of a pleasant ride up the hill, certainly not as bad as that first day 20 years ago!

Everything is a process.  I’ve learned how to just go with the flow and be in the middle of whatever fire may be burning.  I’ve ridden up that hill hundreds of times now and that alone takes the anxiety away.  Anything you do as a beginner, for the first time, can produce anxiety and just feel hugely hard to endure.

I caught the attention of another biker when I rode around the pole that separates  the dirt trail from the road,  “Wow, I saw you maneuver around that pole and I was very impressed,”  he said.  “I’ve been riding for a year now and I’m afraid my pedals will get all caught up and I’ll fall.”

“Ah yes, that pole,” I assured him,   “I was afraid of that pole for a very long time before I actually attempted to make my way around it.  I would get off my bike and walk the bike through and just notice how much room there was as I walked through.  Then, one day I had the guts to give it a try!”

I then shared that this month marks my 20th year riding.  “Wow, 20 years, can you give me any tips?”

I wanted to share more than a couple of tips but I also wanted to get on with my ride–two pieces of advice that worked for me–“keep your eyes on where you are wanting to go, not on the ruts because your bike will tend to follow your eyes.”  That tip works for life too!

The other tip is what one of my fellow racers told me after a race when I asked,  “how do you stay on the bike, I keep crashing?”  She said, “It’s just Time In The Saddle–you just gotta go through it, to get to it.”

I remember, at the time, I didn’t like hearing it.  I wanted to just be great now, be proficient now,  and not have to deal with the growing pains.  Now, 20 years later, I get it.  TIME IN THE SADDLE!

I continued on with my epic ride–after not being on the bike for about a month– I went a bit slower than I would normally pedal up the hills, but I was out there in the middle of all the wonder and the glory!IMG_0144a

I chose a loop that isn’t just up to the top then down, it was up then down and up and down and up some more.  Then the final descent was fast and technical and since it was a Saturday, there were lots of hikers out there, it took even more skill in handling the bike down those hills since my path was narrowed even more by the hikers!

EagleRock

People have always been supportive as I ride by them UP a hill–they say things like, “wow, you’re strong,”  and their mouths drop open in awe as I fly by them DOWN the hill and there is no time to speak.

Talk about EMPOWERING!  No, I don’t ride to get their approval or their admiration, but it is kind of nice to receive.

Yes, mountain biking is one of the hardest activities I’ve ever tackled.  I remember the first time we saw someone riding up a fire road on a mountain bike, we thought, “this guy is crazy.”  Not long after that, we became crazy!

It is fun reflecting, it is fun feeling a difference from the very first time up that hill.  It is so empowering being out in the day, flying through the air with a skill that took time to develop.

If there’s something you want to take on, go for it.  You’ll be able to look back one day and remember what it took to get to where you are and you’ll feel pride, you’ll feel freedom.  We are a force of energy, we might as well use it to bring us thrill, pleasure, and joy.  Namaste’

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Your Body–Built To Move!

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As I’ve been recovering from straining some ligaments in my foot, I haven’t been exercising very much at all.  My yoga practice is not happening because that involves lots of foot work.  I haven’t been huffing and puffing up the hiking trails and the biking I’ve done is pretty tame.  I’ve just really wanted to heal completely so I thought I’d give my body some serious time off.pacific palisades hike

While it has been good for healing my foot, the rest of me is really feeling a difference.  

I actually feel as if I’m aging–my muscles are tighter and achier than ever.

This goes along with a trend I see as a massage therapist.  Most of the people who complain about chronic pain are those who have NOT been exercising.

Today, I got on my mountain bike and could feel my legs burning.

They were gasping for more Oxygen! One of the ratings of an athlete’s ability to utilize oxygen is the VO2max test. When you are fit and efficient, it is high. This means your body has the ability to utilize MORE oxygen. This is so key.

When you keep the capillaries and veins pumping and working and exchanging healthy oxygenated blood on a regular basis, you create a smooth running system–more pathways.

Our bodies are BUILT TO MOVE and when they don’t, they get  dry and stiff and uninspired because there is no good stuff rushing through them!

Without the activities that increase the oxygen, we feel stiff, achey, irritable, and less than youthful.  In the same way, the synovial fluid in our joints needs to be stimulated to stay lubricated and flexible.

Currently my mom is in a nursing home, getting some therapy to get her body moving again. Several months ago when her back and knees hurt too much, she just started lying in her bed all day. She could only sit for 10 minutes at a time. Her back hurt just to sit and her legs hurt along with it.

After assessing her current condition, she is now being told she has the muscle tone of a newborn baby!

She has a long way to go to get to feeling good again.

Let this example urge you forth into your life with a desire to move your body.

Keep it moving and enjoy it moving and it will continue to serve you as long as you live and love it fully!

We need to use our bodies in a way that challenges them.  When we just walk through life with no vigorous movement, our bodies feel the lack of life and vitality. Your body deserves to move.

Simply, oxygen is life and a lack of it is a gasping for breath!

Oh–and the good news is my foot has healed completely and I am back to moving my body with vigor!

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can–don’t be afraid of it or what other people think about it, it is the greatest instrument you will ever own!