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On Bear Traps & Being with People

I drew that illustration a few days ago, on Christmas.

In my family, Christmas is about being with people. I have a large family, largely of Roman Catholic Irish ancestry, and I see a lot of them when I fly back to the east coast for Christmas. I find it an interesting challenge to be with them all. I don't mean that they're hard to be with in the sense that they're rude, or have poor hygiene, or run rapidly through the house or hide under tables. I just mean that it takes a lot of attention from me to really make the most of the time I have with each of them.

The ability to be with someone else is the ability to give them your attention - simple as that. I don't think I'm especially great at this, but I am writing about it because I have met people who do this very well, and it's obviously very important to do. I think practicing being with people is one of the most valuable ways that I spend my energy.

I also think that without role models, without having met people who do this well, I wouldn't "get it" even to the extent I do now. I think experiencing this is really important because, as an experience, it loses something in the retelling. If I can inspire you to do one thing in reading this post, I would like for it to be this: seek out people who are very good at being present with others. Experience it for yourself. I dare you to leave unmoved.

Tri For Fun #2 July 20th

On GoJoGo

My first triathlon this year!

Just over a month ago now, and supposedly 9 weeks into the Olympic Distance Training Program on trinewbies. Training has been spotty up to this point, but I felt comfortable enough entering this triathlon, though I had no great expectations for performance improvement over last year.

Tri For Fun really lives up to its name, but this year added a level of competition by introducing optional timing chips. There were approximately 850 starters, but only 220 of us chose to wear the chips. You have to get to Shadowcliffs Park quite early to get a comfortable place in transition and to get bodymarked before the 7 am kick off, but as a 50+ yr old woman, I get to start in the final wave with the kids, the disabled, those using flotation devices and couples who want to hold hands. Also competing and starting in the same wave were my partner-in-tri-crime, Norma (chipless), and husband, Philip, who was testing his injured shoulder.

As the gun went off for the first wave, Norma and I got in the water to warm up, you could swim in the roped off beach section of the lake. As a very weak swimmer, I did not actually warm up as much as maybe I should have done, I mostly lolled around chatting to other old women waiting for the last wave. Well over half the field were wearing wetsuits but the water was plenty warm enough to go without, good job really because I don't have a wetsuit! Norma and Philip do, but they both chose not to wear them.

The Swim Our time came around, and we were counted into the staging area into the lake proper. I began to get a little nervous but I am a better swimmer than last year and wanted to get a better start and just get on with it. I was still really tentative and got in quite gingerly. It's a simple course, swim out 75'ish yds to the first buoy, 250'ish yds along the lake to the next buoy, then 75'ish yds back to shore, and it was fine. I was as slow as ever, but I was steady and comfortable. It was a bit crowded going round the buoys and then I got tangled up with another swimmer for the 3rd quarter of the swim, but I realised I couldn't "let her go" and had to push past her. I had no idea how I was doing for time because I didn't know what time we started in the end, but I was very happy getting out of the water. I didn't have water in my ears making me giddy, I'd been breathing in a very relaxed fashion and felt great about the prospect of getting on the bike.

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