Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Be Open--Really Open!

Lately, I feel like I have been challenged in many ways: physically, emotionally, professionaly, and on and on. I have been on my own journey of taking on something that really seems impossible, and tackling it.

I am not sure how clearly I am expressing myself, but I have found it fascinating to watch people be challenged by ideas. Here are a few examples:

Example One:

Other Person: "Kacie, what are you up to lately?"
Kacie: "I am training for Race Across America on a two person team. We are trying to break the female record."
Other Person: "You know you're crazy, right"
Kacie: "Ummmm....I like to think of it more as ambitious, or dedicated, or even highly focused more than crazy."
Other Person: "No really, you ARE crazy."
Kacie: "Ok, fine. I'm crazy."
Other Person: "I mean, I do <fill in the blank with Ironman, marathons, 5ks, etc, etc>, and people say I'm crazy, you are REALLY crazy."

Why is it that because I want to do something that challenges people's ideas of "health,"excersise," "goals," "ambition," "use of time," it is uncomfortable for them? There was a point when that really bothered me. Now I feel a little bit of sadness for them. They are the ones missing out! Being uncomfortable with the possibilties of the human mind, body, soul is SO exciting. The fact that people can go stronger, faster, longer than me is awesome! I mean really! People are so cool, and I am just lucky to be on my own journey of discovery! I love hearing about other peoples, and certainly don't feel the need to knock them down for it!

Example Two:

There are always lots of people I know trying out TONS of different ways of eating. How cool is that? They are all realizing that their bodies are experimenting with it. I have been a "sometimes fish eating vegetarian" in many different forms for a long time. I adore reading, listening, experimenting, discussing different ways of eating.  Some people get really fired up about their way of eating and have hard core bandwagons. This drives me nuts (and that even includes people who eat like I do!), and I wasn't sure why it bothered me. Maybe it's an insecurity with being wrong, or a need to get other people on board their bandwagon. We are all on this human experiment together right now! Let's SHARE our journey, challenge each other, and become healthier people for it--how awesome is it that we are all thoughtful about our time here on earth!

Recently, my friend Jill posted a blog about her nutrition journey that I really admired. You can find it here. In it, she talks about how food has been a part of her life in her job, pregnancy, sports, family, allergies, fueling, and on and on. It is such an honest, emotional, intellectual, and thoughtful. I was really impressed, and I want to model my own mindset around this type of thinking.

Example Three:

In my life I am not only an athlete, I am also a teacher at an amazing school. I am married to an education proffessor. We both consider ourselves to be progressive educators. Seeing as George is the professor, he could define it better, but I see it as child centered, problem solving, and democratic. Much of this philosophy is founded in the writing of John Dewey. Here are a few gems from him:

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."
"The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action."

"Without some goals and some efforts to reach it, no man can live."
If you know either of us, you could see how he speaks to us and our way of thinking. Now, unfortunately, he is no longer alive, but there is a lively literature of progressive education out there today! One of these authors, Alfie Kohn came to my school yesterday. He spoke first to the faculty, and then to the entire community. It was thoughtful, provoking, and downright challenging to me. That was exciting! The kind of exciting the seeps into my dreams, and my thoughts. There are people (parents, teachers, students, and on and on) in my world who feel far too comfortable being good. Being safe. Not rocking the boat. There are people who are intimidated by being challenged! These ideas are "crazy." And by putting them in a box, they can dismiss these exciting and liberating ideas. They are "too hard" or "utopian" or "if only we had the time." Fascinating how I have heard the same excuses for stasis in my sports and in my profession.

I feel like you learn a lot about people when you see their beliefs being challenged. Think about it. How do you react if you are presented with ideas that don't feel like what you what you already know?!

 I like that challenge. Don't get me wrong. It's uncomfortable. It's scary to jump into something you don't know if you CAN do--whether it be RAAM or to stop giving tests and homework. But why not try?!? Why not see if your life is better, you are a better teacher, or you feel more fullfilled? Why not reach towards the utopia?! Why not try?

 I believe that I am a great athlete. I believe that I eat well and take my nutrition seriously. I believe that I am a strong progressive educator. But I am also not inherently scared of changing, getting better, reaching to larger goals, growing, or re-evaluating what it is I do and why I do it.

I challenge you to let go of those fears. Be thoughtful. Get uncomfortable. Be optimistic in a deep sense by believing that the world can change, that people can change, and that the best is yet to come--and then get busy making it happen!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

When it starts to come together...

A lot of preparing for RAAM is hard. I'm tired. I'm worried. I'm exhuasted. I have bad workouts. I'm worried about money. I have no balance in my life.

But sometimes, it really feels like it comes together. These are some short and fleeting moments, but when they happen, they are so good. Like, really really good. As in, the world is right good. As in, almost above myself good.

I have a couple of these moments in the last week.

First, Dani and I rode the Tour de Pike. It was a windy day, and we rode hard, and we were fast.  We were together for the entire 100 miles, and it just just right. Just hard enough, just challenging enough, and we both felt amazing about it at the end. I felt good about my own riding, and I felt phenomenal about my race parter. She is incredible, and I have total faith in her.

This week has been exciting with our fundraising. It seems like we might make progress. We are feeling some faith that we are going to make it. Things are happening.

I feel like my nutrition is coming together. I am getting leaner without starving all the time. I feel like it is finally in sync with my training. After some experimenting, I know that this is going in the right direction.

My next moment was this morning. I had a really tough time waking up. I just couldn't get up. The alarm was terrible. But, since this is my life, there isn't really an option. I get up. I get on my bike. That is just what I do, whether I want to or not. So, I dragged myself to my coffee pot and then on my bike in less than 10 minutes. I did my 10 minute warm up, and then dove right into the serious meat of my workout. And it was great. I killed it. It worked. Knowing that I can go from dead sleep to pumping out some killer watts in such a short period of time gives me faith in myself.

So, this morning, after my workout, I got into the car, cranked up the music, and grinned the whole way to work--knowing deep in my soul and my entire being that we ARE going to do this.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Strava "Train Like Taylor" Challenge

Strava volume challenges are FUN when you are training for RAAM!

Honestly, any little thing that is exciting, challenging, engaging is helping me right now! Training for RAAM is tough, and a little extra carrot is nice. Except, I certainly don't change my training because of the challenge at all! It's just what I am doing anyway!

Check it out! 5th woman in this challenge!


Monday, March 18, 2013

200 Mile Training Ride

In case you were wondering what I've been up to, the answer is probably just riding my bike!

After the crew retreat, George and I flew down to south florida again to train with my buddy Laura.

We had a great trip--and the big POINT of the trip was a 205 mile ride on Saturday.

We left the hotel in Fort Lauderdale at about 4:30 am. It was dark and windy, so George rode in the car behind me on my bike (like we will do in RAAM). He got pulled over by the police! Whoops! Apparently it's not normal to ride in your car at 4:30 am behind your wife on a bike. Who knew?

When we got to Palm Beach, George parked the car, and got on his bike. While getting ready, this total character came over and started talking to us. He told us that he would be running for president in a few years. He didn't seem to have a platform, but he was quick to tell us about the skeletons in his closet. We advised him not to lead with the skeletons. Oh the places you will go and people you will meet while on your bicycle!

George rode out to Fort Pierce with me. When we turned around, the tailwind was AWESOME (see how I didn't really talk about 100+ miles of headwind?!).

When we got back around Palm Beach, George got back in the car (I asked him to find me some fresh florida juice!), and Laura hopped out of a car and rode the remainder of the ride with me.

Not gonna lie, I was pretty happy to be done, BUT I felt better in the last 30 miles than I did earlier in the ride.

I am pretty lucky that I could do such a fun ride with friends and my awesome husband in a beautiful place!

The next day, we woke up and got a massage over looking the ocean. It hurt cause I was sore!

I know, no one actually feels bad for me.

Then it was about food....



And getting my nails done!

Then we headed home to Atlanta...more bike riding to come