Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Cup of Coffee

I was going to preface this blog by stating that you might not quite get it if you don't drink coffee. And by "drink" I don't mean stop by Starbucks every blue moon and get a sugar-ladened, blended, milkshake tasting drink and call it coffee. I'm talking about die hards. People who probably prioritize their morning cup of joe right underneath oxygen. Or maybe above it. But when I thought about it a little longer I realized that this blog isn't really about coffee at all, even though it has a starring roll. I think it's about being a good neighbor, so to speak, and helping people when you can.

On Sunday I was rushing out my door on the way to church. Well… I was supposed to be on my way to church but I remembered that I promised I would drop off a bag at my training partners house before I went, so my rush was more about realizing I was going to be cutting it close for an on-time arrival at Church--which I happen to be a real stickler about. I pulled into her complex and hopped out of the car with the keys still in the ignition and was about to bound up the stairs when a lady called out to me from her balcony.

Lady: Can I ask you a favor?
Me: Sure.
Lady: Do you happen to have any coffee?
Me: I'm sorry, I don't.
Lady: Oh ok. Well thanks anyway.
Me: I really am so sorry. Believe me, I know how important coffee is. Is there any other way I can help you?
Lady: No. Thank you though.

I dropped off the bag and sped out of the parking lot and down the street. A few blocks later, I saw it. A place where I could buy the lady some coffee. I realized that isn't what she expected. She must've thought I lived in the complex and there would be a strong possibility that I had coffee inside my apartment. And she must've been out. And maybe she didn't have a car… or maybe she had a newborn baby sleeping inside and couldn't leave… or maybe she ran out of money for necessities like coffee until her next paycheck…I have no idea. All I know is that she asked me for coffee and so I stopped. I got the coffee, returned to the complex, woke up some other lady because I couldn't remember what apartment she had been in, and finally found my kindred spirit--the lady who needed her coffee in the morning.

She was far too thankful, incredibly gracious, and even had tears in her eyes. "Even though it may sound silly," she said, "it's things like this that remind you that there are incredibly kind people in the world." And I think that's when I realized it wasn't about coffee. What I did was absolutely no big deal. It took 2 minutes and cost me 2 bucks. But sometimes the result of what you do and how it affects others is far greater than what you actually did. I'm sure she was grateful for the coffee, but I think it mattered also that someone just cared enough to help. Period. I hope I can be that kind of person more often and even if you're late for church, I think God gives you a pass those times.

Monday, March 26, 2012

My New Ride

I opted not to drive across country when I moved to Florida. I didn't really have the time to waste, it was an expensive journey, and I hate driving, so basically it just didn't make much sense. For the past couple of weeks I've had a rental car but that was definitely a short-term solution because the rates were simply atrocious. Since Daytona Beach is a small, quiet town and I don't have much use for transportation besides going to the track for training, a good option seemed to be a scooter. You see them on the road all over the place out here, and if you get one that doesn't go fast you don't even need a special license, you just need to be 16 years old and they will let you right on the road. Supposedly it's just like riding a bike, and I knew how to ride a bike at one point in my life so I figured I was good since riding a bike is supposed to be one of those things you never forget. Turns out I was probably never that good of a bike rider because the first time I got on a scooter and tried to turn onto a quiet side street I ended up on the sidewalk and onto someones front yard. Oops.

I've been practicing the last couple of days and have finally mastered the art of turning, so now I feel confident venturing out of my neighborhood and not waiting until there isn't a single car in sight. I still plan on taking the back streets everywhere I go, but it really does seem quite simple once you get the hang of it. What also is simple after you get the hang of it is unlocking the fuel cap. Unfortunately for me though, I didn't practice this skill in the privacy of my own garage and so when I arrived at the gas station to fill up my brand new scooter, and stuck the key in, I was met with an unmoving cap and a key that seemed stuck. I tried to play it off and work on it secretly, but after what seemed to be 47 minutes and becoming drenched in sweat because of my anxiety, I finally mustered up the nerve to ask the shirtless biker filling up his Harley next to me. I admitted that I was new to the whole biker world and couldn't figure out how to remove my fuel cap. So, he graciously came and did it for me, then put it back on and made me do it while he supervised. Turns out if you line up the arrows and it pops right off. Easy Peasy. Fortunately for me, I did not die from my embarrassment, and $3 dollars later my tank was full.

So, this will be me putting around. If you see me, don't drive too close and maybe get off the sidewalk.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My First Week...

My first week in Daytona Beach, Florida was probably not the norm and was perhaps not very indicative of what my time here will be like. There was the whole issue of being homeless when I arrived, the fact that there were an extra 500,000 inhabitants on Harley's zipping past me, and the sad realization that I hadn't yet found a convenient Starbucks location close by, that all probably contributed to my feeling of unease. Slowly but surely though, I find myself settling in. I will have a lot more time on my hands here in Florida than I did in San Diego. At the training center, we made training a full time job and I would oftentimes be up there from morning till evening, taking my time fitting everything in and with no real reason to finish quickly. Out here I am finished by early afternoon every day and that leaves a whole lot of extra hours to try and fill. I don't really have friends (currently accepting applications) and this city is not very action-packed after the bikers leave, but the beach is two blocks away from where I'm staying and that is one very big positive if I can find myself a large enough shade umbrella. Here is what my first week has looked like though…

Bike Week:

I rode on the back of this bike and saw all the craziness first hand. It just so happened that on my shuttle down from Orlando I was chatted up by two seemingly normal bikers who agreed to be my buddy for my first few days in Daytona and happened to be staying in the hotel right next to mine. It was kind of a cool experience.

The Beach:

The beaches here are actually really nice and the sand is so hard packed that we even did a workout on it on Saturday. I have a feeling I will be spending lots of my free time here.


As of right now I don't have cable or internet unless I can steal a weak signal from the neighbor. So some of the time I would normally be wasting rotting my brain is spent reading in my backyard. It's actually not so bad, and a very new experience to even have a backyard!

Most important though, is that I feel incredibly affirmed that I am in the right place and am doing what I am supposed to do out here in regards to my training. It may take a little while to feel part of the group or to not look like a lost puppy during the warmup that is very unfamiliar to me, but I feel good about where I'm at and what I will be doing. That is what matters most.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Time for Change...

If you asked me how I'm feeling right now I wouldn't even know where to start. I feel everything. excited. nervous. scared. hopeful. optimistic. determined. inspired. fired up. calm. crazy. and basically so far out of my comfort zone it ain't even funny. And I think that's what is most important--that I'm not comfortable and that I am okay with it because something tells me I'm headed down the right path. I feel it in my gut. Granted, it is a somewhat scary and slightly unknown path, but that's kind of what makes it so awesome. I am choosing the road less traveled and taking a risk and I am proud of myself for doing so, because it is only with great risk that you reap great rewards.

Let's back up…

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Daytona Beach, Florida with a rental car parked out front packed full of suitcases filled with my most important belongings. Basically this means all my track stuff and far too many pairs of shoes I won't ever wear. Lord willing, I will find a more permanent residence for me and my shoes in the next few days, and then I will live in Daytona Beach for the remainder of the season and train here under a new coach. It's a move that many would call crazy, and they might be right. But sometimes crazy is good. And sometimes crazy is necessary.

I started off this season with a very specific goal in mind and the attitude that I would do everything in my power to achieve it. So here I am, taking a leap of faith in a totally different direction and believing that it is the right thing for me personally to do. Change isn't always easy. There was a part of me that wanted to continue to fight for what I knew and for what felt comfortable, but the more insistent part of me dared myself to go all in. The deep part of my soul that knows how badly I want to be my very best self this summer forced me to get uncomfortable and to make changes that I believe in my heart will be best for me.

I love California. I love training at the Olympic Training Center. I love the people I worked with on a daily basis and being near all my friends and family. But there was a key component I knew I was missing and it was up to me to finally go find it. My reason for being out here is simple: To be fully committed to what I am doing and have complete faith in everything I do. I feel that I am in a place where I can do that and I know that this shakeup is what I needed to make that happen. I have had so much change over the course of my career and have learned to become a healthy critic of everything I do, but now is not the time to doubt anything but to put all my eggs in one basket and just go for it. And so I am.