There's an Op/Ed story in the NY Times today that I find to be particularly interesting and timely. It's titled "Is Any Job Better Than No Job?" It's a more complex question than it might first appear, but in my particular circumstance it's very timely right now.
I've talked in the past about how important it is to measure progress not by how far you have left to go but by how far you've come. I spent some time this morning reflecting on the many things that have already happened this year alone and it's pretty crazy. No wonder I'm needing naps. :)
I settled back into the Phoenix area in January. I spent several days in San Francisco and Napa with a friend in February, and my mother and sister came to visit for my birthday. I started to train seriously to do wrestling in March and competed at the US Nationals in Cleveland in April. Now I'm ranked 8th in the country and will participate in the National Team Trials later this week. I never expected any of that....
I went to the Easter Egg Roll at the White House in April. I had surgery on my jaw in last month and have been recovering slowly but surely from that. I have given talks at UCLA, Harrisburg PA, in Tulsa OK, at the University of Connecticut, and at Norwalk CT in recent weeks. Things in my personal and professional life have changed considerably - both of which have required some some significant readjustments. I'm sure I can think of several more big things but that's quite the load for less than 6 months. Funny thing is - I'm still not sure where it's all leading yet either.
Yesterday morning I met my friend Renee to hike Camelback Mountain. Camelback is one of those things I've heard that others have done but in all the years I've lived here I've passed it a hundred times but never took the time to hike it. Until yesterday. Thanks to Renee for her prompting to make that happen....
I often post photos of my hikes up Squaw Peak which is several miles from Camelback. But Camelback is in the middle of Scottsdale/Paradise Valley and is an icon for as far as the eye can see. Yesterday's hike was more physically demanding than I anticipated in that there were sections where you're actually scrambling up sections of steep rock more than you'd typically associate with a "hike". It was a mile and a half from the packed parking area at the base to the summit and very much a test of aerobic health and leg muscles. The key at this time of year is to get done before it gets to be anywhere near noon because getting stuck out there, with no shade, in 110+ heat would be dangerous.
Anyway, it was wonderful. I had a blast. Here's a photo of a sun-drenched, sweat-soaked me on the summit with the panorama of the Valley in the background.
And, there's a little video slideshow I posted on Facebook.
I think you need to be a "Friend" on FB to see it....
As for my training - the best news is that I'm already at my weight. YAAY! I was at the gym by 8am for what I'd consider a "light" 90-minute workout and weighed myself a little while ago. I'm almost 3 pounds under my limit which means I can indulge myself a little over these next few days. I envision some chicken, a little pasta, a small salad, and a glass of white wine for dinner. That's a big step ahead of last time when I was sucking water weight and energy on a treadmill in a plastic suit for two days. I was light-headed, energy drained, tired, and generally FAR from my best by the time I finally got to step on that scale (if you watch the video that Chloe did you'll see how relieved I was to realize I made weight). I was actually dreading having to do that again so I cautiously optimistic that I have avoided that fate this time around. Fingers crossed....
I fly to Omaha early on Wednesday. Registration, physicals and weigh-in is on Thursday afternoon. Then, wrestling in my division starts bright and early Friday and continues all day long. I got an email from the tournament officials indicating that they're considering a rule change that would only ensure only 15 minutes of rest between matches instead of 30. I hope that's not something I need to actually experience as the hardest part of being my age isn't running out of gas in the middle of a match - it's keeping reserves of energy for later. Wrestling 3 or 4 matches in a day is grueling - it really is - so getting as much time between them to recover would be important. And, maybe catching a short nap. :)
One thing I've learned from all of this is the value of energy drinks. Coach saw how much I was dragging when I'd come to practice after having already spent a couple of hours at the gym trying to sweat off weight so he said many of the athletes use them. They work.
I think I'm going to make a little video diary of this entire experience starting later today. Lord knows if I'll ever be this way again so at the very least it should be interesting to capture it all. Although I'm already at weight I've got 90 minutes of wrestling training and drills later today and again tomorrow in a building that gets God-awful-HOT when it's 110 degrees outside. Oy.
I've come to a sense of peace that whatever is going to happen is going to happen. Me training longer or harder than I can over these next few days won't change the outcomes. The thing that will affect outcomes is some combination of skill, strategy, heart, and some level of luck. And God. I'm as physically ready as I can be at this stage so the key for me is to nourish my heart and my mind.
I'll close this entry by re-iterating what an honor it is to be able to do this. How many times in life do we have opportunities to revisit passions from former times? In this case, to be physically and mentally prepared and able to compete at this level at this stage of my life continues to blow my mind. Whereas the safe thing would be to put my medal from Cleveland on my shelf and be satisfied with what happened there, that's just not my way. I've got some unfinished business to take care of. But more than that - to NOT do this would be a regret and for someone whose goal is to live a life without regrets, and who has sacrificed as much as I have in that pursuit, that would be unacceptable.
Most people have no idea of how difficult this is - to dedicate the time and the energy and emotion to step out there alone - one on one - as someone "different" who actually deserves to be there. It's overwhelming sometimes. It really is. Some of us are destined to take the road less travelled. We just are. It can be a lonely journey sometimes, but one well worth taking.
Let there be no question, though, that I'm doing this for me. I'm not making a big deal of many of the unique traits that make me unique, or that are "firsts". I don't need or want that attention as it's just more pressure. Lord knows I've already got enough of that. My coach and I had a discussion early on about how this was a personal quest and it is and I'll let my performance do the talking. But it's just like my writing in that it takes on a life of its own in others who read it or connect with it because there are many of us who feel as I do. The bottom line is that there is no reason to expect less out of ourselves or out of life because of circumstance and that's true here. Anything that happens will happen because I've taken the risk to get involved, because I've totally invested myself to prepare, and because in the bigger picture this brings something full circle in my life.
This is one of those times in life when you'll be called upon to prove to yourself that you truly believe some of the higher ideals that you think you do by putting them into action. Or not. Either way, these kinds of things are tests of character so regardless of the outcomes I'll be ready and I'll find a way to be a peace with it. I started something that's not finished yet, so I'll continue to do my part and see this through.
I've been including music videos that have pertinence to me for one reason or another in my blog entries lately. I'll include one today that won't allow me to embed it so if you want to see it you'll have to go thru the trouble of going to YouTube - it's worth the effort. I had a friend in town visiting over the past week and we watched Katy Perry Unplugged on MTV a couple of days ago and I was totally mesmerized by this side of her talent. One song in particular caught my attention, especially when compared to other versions of it I've heard. I just seems and "feels" so personal, so I'd like to feature it here. It's titled "Lost" (see it here).