This blog starts with a mouse. About three weeks ago, I woke up on a Friday morning to find the pear on my kitchen counter with a hole nibbled in it…and copious mouse droppings on my kitchen counter. YUCK. So I cleaned up the dishes and counter, put away everything except one banana and a bunch of winter squash, and went to work. That night, more droppings. The next morning, a hole eaten through the peel of the banana and into the flesh. And more droppings. This was going to END. So I found where the little guy was getting in, plugged the hole, and called my landlord to cover it. I also cleaned my kitchen to within an inch of its life. I even used the mop that still had the cardboard hanger tag on it from when I bought it about 4 months ago. Yeah; that’s gross.
And I looked at my kitchen and loved it! The counters were clean; they were clear palettes for cooking, and they made me feel both relaxed and proud. Since that day, I have done my dishes every single day (except Friday, because a single girl has to celebrate TGIF somehow). 🙂 I love it. Amazing how a little mouse and his foul, disease-ridden droppings can bring about such an awesome change. And having accomplished this, I’m trying to make other little changes to clear the various palettes in my life: the piles of paper at home and work, the piles of boxes that may someday be unpacked; and the most important, the palette between my ears. Gradually I’m even learning to wipe that clean rather than get frustrated about the mess, and I’m learning to do it as many times per hour or day as necessary.
Another benefit of this mouse experience was that I splurged on a really nice covered stainless steel trash can for the kitchen. It came in a big box with a flip-top lid that is – just in time for Halloween – big enough for me to fit inside. This combined with some craft store finds – and a hot glue gun – should yield a pretty amusing (read: festive, definitely silly, and potentially garish) costume for Monday. Stay tuned for photos. 🙂
In the world of training, lots of new leaves have been turning as well. At the beginning of October I started a new training program – same awesome coach, Mary Eggers, but now at QT2 Systems, a well-respected coaching group that coaches a spectrum of athletes from world-class pros to…relative beginners like me. As part of the new program, I’ve adjusted to new heart rate zones, come a long way with improving my swim form, and am starting to figure out better run form. Potentially after a while, I’ll no longer run like a peg-leg pirate. 🙂 Which makes me think that I should dress as a pirate for this morning’s 5K…probably not time enough to get swashbuckling this morning.
But adjusting form is not always a smooth process. When I first got the feel of the extra body rotation in my swim stroke, I felt like I was flying. I was swimming faster than ever at each perceived exertion pace…and then I got in the pool last Monday for a recovery swim. I just couldn’t find that feeling; couldn’t get the rotation to feel natural. And instead of resetting, revisiting a drill or two, and starting over…I got caught up in the idea that this was supposed to be a continuous 1200 (24 lap) swim – or actually two of them back to back. And I kept swimming, forced the rotation, and ended up with a really painful intercostal muscle strain that is just now healing up. Yesterday I did some light pulling in the pool and found that rotation again; hopefully next week I’ll be healed up enough to really swim again.
So in the midst of learning the new form, the most basic form still trumps all: Listen to your body, and don’t be afraid to reset.
And finally, this swim form experience is a perfect metaphor for the rest of my life right now. A lot has changed in the past eight months for me, and I’m in a totally new place as far as taking ownership of my choices – career, budget, relationships, training. Nothing can hold me back…except me. It’s daunting but ultimately so incredibly satisfying to be in this place. I’m learning to expect pain and scariness as part of the intentional changes I’m making. I feel like I’m rewiring my mind, and sometimes ripping out the old wires can hurt; sometimes the new wires aren’t strong enough to work every time. But the new habits do build over time; it does get easier. And if it’s possible for me to learn to do my dishes every day, ANYTHING is possible!
In about two and a half hours I’ll run the Pumpkins in the Park 5K in Rochester. Time to assess my layering options and strap on some pumpkin ribbon. I’m excited to see where my speed will be after the past month’s base phase runs. But it will be nowhere if I don’t get out of bed! Update later.