Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bike Lessons = Life Lessons

Last week as we rode around on the slickrock in Moab, I repeated a few mantras to myself. These lessons are so simple, but they have really helped me improve my skills and have a lot more fun biking. They are my mountain biking mantras, but as I repeated them, Andrew pointed out that bike lessons = life lessons.

Think about what you want to happen, not what you don't want to happen. Instead of thinking about not falling, I focus on how I want to ride - confident, calm and relaxed. I trust my understanding of my skills and my sense of judgement. It's a simple shift, but it helped me ride trails that I didn't even dream of trying a few months ago. When we focus energy on what we want to do, it's more likely to happen. 

Keep your eyes focused on where you want to go. If I try to avoid a particular rock, I always end up riding right toward it. If I keep my eyes focused on the route that I want to ride, I am much more likely to steer in my intended direction. This mantra has also helped me be smarter about the lines I pick because I'm looking for where I want to go rather than what I want to avoid. It's easier to look further down the trail and see the bigger picture beyond that one rock.

It's all about putting in the hours. Sometimes I feel discouraged because I can't ride a particular section of trail, and then I remind myself that I have only been riding seriously for a few months. I've put in a lot of hours this summer, and I have improved incredibly. To continue to do so, I just need to keep putting in the hours. It's easy to compare myself to other riders on the trail or to Andrew, who has been biking since he was a child, but when it comes down to it, those riders are better because they've put in more hours practicing. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Anniversary Trip to Moab

When we planned our anniversary trip this year, we picked Moab because we wanted a trip that was active and outdoors. We had talked about going to Oregon and driving up the coast, but after an invigorating summer of biking, we didn't want a vacation that involved so much sitting. 

Moab is special to Andrew because he grew up vacationing there, and Moab is special to me because it is the first place that made me love the Southwest, and Moab is special to us because it is where we took our first vacation together ten years ago. I like to think we were destined for this future after sharing a water bottle filled from Matrimony Springs on that first trip. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Death and Danger: My Various Breads and Various Butters

I crossed rappelling down a cliff off my Mondo Beyond list last week. A week later, I still can't believe I did it and that it ever ended up on the list to begin with. 

It all started this spring when I went through a phase where I obsessively binge-watched old seasons of the Amazing Race. The contestants are required to do challenges like bungee jumping off bridges and sky diving over Bora Bora, and there's always at least one team with someone who is desperately afraid of heights. The contestant panics while their partner, with varying levels of empathy depending on the relationship, encourages them to go for it. Eventually the contestant is often able to complete the task and they almost always declare that it was worth it. 

After watching several seasons, I decided that I needed to overcome my own fear of heights. I made a list of the scary height-related challenges on the show, I decided that rappelling seems like the least scary, followed by zip lining, followed by bungee jumping, followed by the ultimate challenge - sky diving. I don't even like hiking (or seeing other people hike) near the edge of high drop-offs so the thought of rappelling down the side of a cliff is enough to make my heart race and my palms feel sweaty. 

But I am committed to overcoming this fear so as we planned our anniversary trip to Moab, I quietly researched canyoneering trips. I picked the trip recommended for beginners that is family-friendly and watched youtube videos of children happily rappelling down Morning Glory Arch. I talked with the owner of the guide company who assured me that it was safe and that although it is unnatural to be hanging over a canyon by a rope, I would love it. I quizzed Andrew and other friends who have experience with this kind of thing. And then, I surprised myself by just doing it. I just did it

Well, that's not the whole story exactly. I booked the trip and then tried not to think about it until the night before when I could barely sleep and was so overcome by anxiety that I gave myself a painful cold sore. But when it came time to do it, I did, and that is an amazing feeling. The first rappel was just under 100 feet and the second, more exposed rappel was just over 100 feet. The second rappel was much scarier because it was exposed, and there was a moment after I had started when I looked up at the guide and told him, "I don't want to do this anymore." But he said, "well, you're doing it." And I really didn't have a choice except to keep going. 

The guide told me that it was good to get out of my comfort zone. Of course, every day of our trip I was outside of my comfort zone riding trails that pushed my abilities, but this was by far the scariest. No big deal though; if you know me, you know that death and danger are my various breads and various butters...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Five Years

Andrew and I are celebrating our five year wedding anniversary today, and our ten year anniversary of being together. I can still hardly believe how lucky we are.

Tonight we'll clink our glasses with Andrew's signature family toast: Boof, long life, happy living! So true!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Girls Weekend in Vegas in Photos

What we did when we weren't seeing Katy Perry:

 new york new york
 penny slots
 lipstick selfie
bellagio fountains
fun, fun, fun
glow bracelets
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