I'm really diggin' this weather.  I zipped up my Lulu scuba hoodie, threw on a beanie, lit my pumpkin spice candle and put some water on to boil.  Sipping some loose-leaf tea and listening to Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu in C# minor inspired a (no-pun intended) impromptu meal prep mania.  I was dancing around the kitchen stir-frying the bright magenta stalks of swiss chard with zucchini, while red quinoa was simmering on the stove and my food processor whirred the cauliflower to make curried cauliflower rice with mustard seeds and garam masala.  The carrots and cucumbers were meticulously chopped and nestled on top of the massaged kale salad.  Like a true OCD, type A planner, everything now is organized in its containers, all set to go.  Bring it on, Monday.

Pretty much the usual as of late… #plantpowered
This past week has been filled to the brim with meetings, appointments, and lots of face-to-face time with people.  Amazing stuff.  But draining. I traded my usual solo figure stuff out and clear the mind bike ride for an adrenaline-pumping, heart-pounding, Zone 5, 70 mile bike ride with fast peeps.  Instead of zoning out to podcasts, the main things running through my head, aside from "wow, nice calves" and "killer quads" were thoughts of "don't overlap their wheel" and "stay on that wheel!!"

It's funny how one moment can be all about feeling fresh and strong and how your nutrition is on point allowing you to ride fearlessly with your legs like pistons and pull the group like a true leader and keep a steady pace.  And suddenly, in a blink, your breath gets ragged, and your lungs burn, and the lactic acid starts creeping up into your quads, and you watch the numbers drop on the Garmin as your pace slows and your heart is pounding so fast and hard it's about to come up your throat.

And one-by-one, riders pass you as you helplessly struggle to keep your cadence up, and you question your fitness and your courage and wonder why you even had the audacity to think you were capable and strong enough to ride up here, in front of the men.  Suddenly, you forget about the crisp fall breeze kissing your rosy, sweaty cheeks and how freeing it feels to be out on the open road, and fail to notice the pink sunrise and how beautiful the clouds look at this hour in the morning.  Instead, you hate your bike, hate this whole stupid biking thing.  You question your outfit choice, you're so underdressed without toe covers and leg warmers.  You should've stayed home and slept in since you're undertrained and out of shape and just gone to the gym wearing makeup like all the other girls reading fashion magazines on the elliptical machine.

Yes, these are my thoughts.  And I bet they resembled the thoughts of other riders, as we all had spurts of feeling strong, and other moments where we got dropped like a sack of potatoes.

It's these negative thoughts that physically drain the energy from my legs.  On the bike, I am much more aware of the direct correlation of the quality of my thoughts and the quality of my energy output.  And how regardless of either, I am still moving.  I am still breathing.  There might have been 5 hours of climbing, but the hardest work I did was pulling myself back from those overly confident and overly agitated thoughts- to be that witness, that detached observer, realizing that they are ever-changing, impermanent, fleeting.

Sunday morning miracles. #trailtime #happylegs #happyheart
Even on today's run, seeing the silhouette of my running partner way up ahead, I had to embrace that same mentality.  Just enjoy it, don't judge yourself, your pace, your flat feet, your body.  Breathe in the aromatic trees, feel the damp earth underneath your feet, allow the forest to envelop you and all of your senses. 

I wonder why we all wait until sickness hits to appreciate the miracles that are our bodies.  Resolve to breathe more deeply into yours, see more clearly, move more consciously.  Sometimes some things as simple as a bike or a pair of running shoes can tangibly remind us of how it feels to be alive, to live fully- in our imperfect, sweaty, flat-footed, beautiful way.