"Weak Leg!"

On the way into the stadium on Christmas Eve. We were personally responsible for a missed kick thanks to Wes’s valiant holler of “Weak leg!” to Billy Cundiff, who was fired two days later. Still, the Panthers lost to the Cowboys. At least we looked good.

What Pedals?

Wes called from the bike store, where he’d gone to try a Cervelo P2 K with a 2004 frame and 2005 component set. I was jealous because it was similar to the P2 SL I rode and have been dying for since. (I know I said I wasn’t, but I was.)

“What pedals do you want on your bike?” he asked.

Wow. That is love, and a lot of his father’s generous and impulsive influence coming through. (Thank you.)

Here is his bike; it is in Duke colors, but is otherwise awesome. My bike made me feel like a rock star when I rode it. It’s anodized aluminum, very black and sinister. I plan to add some hot pink accents: seat bag, race tires, maybe saddle and bar tape. If I have a sophomore slump this year, it’s not because of my ride. I could work for years and not be as fast as the bike would let me.

My business plan–what to do with the pending coaching certification, my yoga work, my enthusiasm–is inchoate but starting to congeal. In the next few months it ought to come together. Meanwhile, I’m going to sit back (forward, in the aerobars) and enjoy my ride, my glorious new ride. May we ride them in safety.


Another amazing profile by my mother. This child announced last night that she wanted to be Lillian instead of Lily. This morning, she seems to have forgotten.

Banjo Holmes

My mother took this picture of my father today.

Day 3 Reflections

A short final day to the clinic. Poor foresight that the Panthers would be playing right now has me about to board a plane. We had a functional training strength session this morning that left me with quivering quads. Less of the eye-rolling dynamics today, because the room was reconfigured.

I’m glad to have done the clinic. It’s given me some good places to start further learning, and it was a good confirmation of things I already knew. I’m hoping it will help as I work on my book.

Go, Panthers!

Day 2 Reflections

A long day–a “marathon day”–at the clinic. More good information. More personality assertion. I got to unleash my full Leo performative side when the strength and flexibility presenter, also a Spinning and yoga teacher, had me demo poses. It felt to me like I was showing off, so I was glad to receive a number of “thanks for showing the poses!” afterward.

My tablemate is a lovely woman from Michigan who invited me out with her and her husband tonight. I wanted to save my energy, and I didn’t want to intrude. But it was very kind. After watching how people reacted when the two big question-askers kept asking questions over and over, she said simply, “I love watching body language.”

The clinic coordinator is doing a great job of keeping us on schedule. If anything, we’re starting sooner than she says after each break. But triathletes eat that stuff up. Discipline us!

On two breaks today, I strolled along a boardwalk over a nearby lake. Signs warned of snakes and alligators, but all I saw were turtles, funny little black ducks with red beaks, and a little heron. I watched him fish. During the second walk, it came to me that USA Triathlon should really hold one of these clinics at the UNC Wellness Center. The facility is perfect, Meadowmont is great for food and groceries, and there’s a decent hotel just across the street. We have coaches around town that can give wonderful presentations on par with what I’ve seen this weekend. I’ll pitch it to the coordinator sometime next week.

By the way, Mike Carey, the head ref for the Washington-Tampa Bay game, is a total fox. And a great official.

Day 1 Reflections

Today, the first day of the coaching certification workshop, played out like many of my previous workshop experiences. I learned a decent amount–well, not so much learned as had some of what I already know reiterated. I witnessed the usual play of egos: one participant who asked a question at every possible juncture (and some others); a few who were sure they knew more than whoever was presenting.

And just as in other workshop experiences, at times I had flashes of insight. Some had to do with adding coaching to my bag of tricks: a logo, a business name, and a plan (to be “boutique”). The biggest revelation relates in part to my writing here, to the horror I feel at seeming obsessed by capitalism, and the need for a nobler purpose. I love education, receiving it and passing it on. Can’t that be a noble purpose in itself? It might be one generation removed, but if I cultivate calmness and focus in my students (my clients), and then they use that for the common good, doesn’t that count? And given the kind of teaching (coaching) I’m doing now, could it possibly make a bigger difference than slightly helping freshmen write better, or sophomores meet a General College requirement by reading a few short plays?

Consuming Obsessions

I just washed dishes with bar soap. I’m at a Homestead Studio Suites hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida. I ate Chunky soup and a decent asiago-cheese bagel from the convenience store for dinner, with some of the wine that survived the trip in my suitcase. There’s a kitchenette in my room, so the soup was hot, but the supplies are pretty basic–no dish soap, no complimentary shampoo, no Kleenex, only one roll of toilet paper, and Showtime instead of HBO. (But there is wireless Internet access.)

For someone obsessed by capitalism, this is really slumming it.

It was my first time on a plane since the summer of 2000. I made a friend at the gate, a businessman (wealth management, no less) who’s a runner and triathlete. He said of triathlon, “It’s so consuming!” (This was in a positive way, as he described his $2,800 Guru bike, which he bought after his first race.)

Yes, it is–this is why I’m in Florida, for a level-one coaching certification workshop for USA Triathlon. Tomorrow, I meet thirty-nine other geeks like me. Tonight, I try to sleep through the buzz of the air conditioner and the stench of the room deodorizer. At least the dishes smell clean.

Goals vs. Intentions

As folks set new year’s resolutions (the parking lot of the UNC Wellness Center, which I overlook from my home office, is overflowing), and as my friends and I set our goals for the upcoming race season (making sure to keep them measurable, realistic but challenging, etc., as all the articles tell us), it’s good to devote some time to intentions as well.

In yoga, we often set an intention for each practice. It’s not a goal, even though we might remember it again at the end of practice. Goals are end results, measurable by external factors. Intentions describe where you’re coming from. That’s what makes them so great. You can always instantly realign with your intention, and only you can decide whether you’re meeting your intention.

A good intention would be to approach others with loving kindness. (This is part of the Buddhist practice of right intention.) Other good ones are linked to the yamas and niyamas of the eight-limbed path of yoga–concepts such as nonviolence, noncovetousness, nonstealing. Another good one is to be patient. (“Serenity now!” doesn’t quite cut it; that’s a goal.)

Phew, I met my stated goal of not obsessing about capitalism. Did I meet my intention? That’s for me to decide.

Diamonds and Pearl

I wrote a post a few days ago by this title but realized it was complete evidence of my obsession with capitalism and pulled it. It contained my ramblings about the wonderful bike store in Cary and the amazing bike I rode there. It also detailed the saga of my beautiful Christmas ring from Wes, which began as a pair of lovely pearl earrings but then became a ring reminiscent of one my grandmother lost at the hospital just before she died.

A few days after the test rides, I’m eager to return to the store when a certain bike in my size arrives. (I’ve provisionally named it Pearl.) But the false sense of immediacy has passed, and I’m feeling less in need of instant gratification. The best thing about the fun visit to the lovely store was being there with Wes, who has his eye on the Dual in yellow and has signed up for his first triathlon. I’m trying not to be too excited.

Meanwhile, a very generous friend let us tear through a box of Ironman line clothing samples and walk away with our arms full. This really helps, since tri race outfits are horribly tight and ugly and cost outrageous amounts. With any luck, I’ll get Wes to pose in one of his new race suits!

So not only am I obsessed by capitalism, I’m obsessed with physical beauty. Maybe I can find something more toward the common good to ramble about soon.

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