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"My So-Called (Athletic) Life

By Stacey Wagner (Guest Author)

Do you ever get mistaken for a movie star, television personality or political crusader? Me neither.  But I do get mistaken, occasionally, for an athlete.  Of course, that could be because I am often wearing branded cycling gear and riding a $3,000 road bike. And because I keep training for races even though I am not, in my mind, competitive.  And I stopped team racing several years ago

Yet I can't help myself – the thrill of defeat that follows my anticipation of victory has turned me into a woman of a certain age longing to become Evelyn Stevens, a star of the women's road racing circuit – a woman who, one year, was a Wall Street Associate and the next was a competitive cycling sensation.   I want to be like her or at least someone who looks like her, which in my case may be a bit more attainable.  After all, we are both women!

A decade ago, as my daily jog turned into a grinding symphony of flattening vertebrae and twisted ligaments, I cast about for a substitute exercise that would keep my serotonin high and my weight low.  Cycling was not, however, that substitute.  Instead, I chose weightlifting, which in hindsight was good for my cycling, but at the time made me feel like a “plump when you cook it” hot dog.  My muscles were bigger, but my clothes were tighter and that just wasn't working for me.

So, I decided to take a spinning class at the local gym. That seemed fun and made me sweat, but honestly, it felt a little silly – like trying to dance while on a bike that didn't take you anywhere or even get you on American Idol.  And then, one day, while I was getting ready to spin to yet another remix of “I Will Survive”, I ended up in a class taught by an actual cyclist, not an aerobics instructor. And she took us through a training routine to build strength and endurance for cycling.  Et voila!  I was on to my present obsession. 

Well, it took a few more years, but it was the start of my love affair with cycling.  And – truth be told – it mirrors the trajectory of all my other love affairs:  mad, passionate devotion only to become aware that if I wanted this to work, I was actually going to have to work at it.  And, there would be no guarantee of success.  But this instructor turned out to be just the person I needed then and who I need now.  Leticia Long, of Wired Cycling, has been my instructor for ten years now – through my own personal good times and bad – and the science behind her instruction and training have paid off.  My physician believes I am as fit as someone 20 years younger than myself.  And this means that as I age, I can continue to do the things I love – biking is one of those things but also traveling and working on my house.

I'm really not sure why I like biking so much, except maybe it’s the wind in your face that makes you feel as if you are going really fast, and a sense of freedom and power from knowing you are fit enough to ride the big hills.   So, while I'm not a real athlete, I like to play one every day, and if you see me out there on the road, or even in a Wired class, feel free to mistake me for Evelyn Stevens.

Spring: The Perfect Time to “Awaken” Your Symphony to Get a Better You

There’s nothing like the beauty of spring flowers or a warm, end-of-winter breeze to awaken your inner orchestra. This orchestra—your orchestra has many wonderful instruments such as determination, focus, and intention. Sometimes the shorter days and gray skies of winter keep our instruments dormant. This spring why not let the renewing powerfulness of nature awaken our instruments so that we can create a symphony of change; both within ourselves and in our communities.

5 Tips to Keep Your Instruments Tuned:

1.     Reboot your brain—Try to avoid decision fatigue by creating a schedule for your workouts. Then stick to it.

2.     Recharge your body—Get a relaxing massage; it will help you think better.

3.     Rest your mind—Turn off the screens—all of them; no cheating.

4.     Manage the effects of daylight savings—Get a good night’s rest.

5.     Be still—Absorb the beauty and energy of spring a mental extension of your daily thoughts.




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