While sitting at Whole Foods this afternoon reading the paper and enjoying one of the most beautiful days I've seen in a long time, I read an article that summarized "How to Be Happy." While I don't have the article in front of me, some of the main points I remember clearly:
1.) Simplify your life--you wouldn't believe how much stuff we have consolidated, sold, donated and just plain thrown away during this neverending move and transformation. Just today, I packed up about 20 old race t-shirts to take to Goodwill. Yes, many of them hold some special significance, but if they're dated 2003 and the tag is still on them, they are better suited for someone who truly needs a shirt on their back. Me? I've got plenty. Over the last two months, I've realized that all I need is a laptop (with free wireless) and an air mattress...and my bike...and my running shoes. Ok--not too much!
2.) Spend time with friends--I meet various friends every day for workouts, runs, happy hours, dinners, you name it. Admittedly, I'm more into nesting these days as my fiance and I want to spend time together. However, there is no substitute for a night out with the girls. On Friday night, my friend Genny and her new Hubby Shane were in town from Portland. A group of folks including Jill, Katy, Jen and Andrew all met on 2nd Street for dinner and a glass of wine. While I left fairly early (I had just run 20 miles that morning), I was still able to watch some of the criteirum bike race that was taking place on the streets of downtown.
3.) Treating Yourself to Nice Meals and Savoring Them--OK, so Firebowl ain't exactly topping the Zagat's list, but I definitely take pleasure in every meal and treat myself to "bad foods" when the need arises.
4.) Exercise--Nuff said. Above everything else, exercise has changed my life in more dramatic ways than I can ever imagine. It's filled my life with discipline, passion, education and self-respect.
On Saturday morning, I met the T3 gang for a 40+ Mile Bike Ride in South Austin. As usual, the group quickly broke up into smaller groups and I found myself right between the speed extremes. I averaged over 17 mph overall, which is great! I was very happy with this average in some wind and hills. Overall, it was a fast ride and some loops I'll definitely do again around Circle C and South Mopac. It's so cool to ride with a group because cars actually look out for you! Plus, the group mentally helps that "race mode" kick in a bit.
I followed this bike ride up with a 5.4 Mile Run (2 x 2.7 Mile Loops) around the Circle C hood. I averaged a very healthy 7:40 pace for this run off the bike. Again, I was very happy with this as I'm hoping to average right around 8min miles at my Half-Ironman. Plus, let's not forget that I was a mere 24 hours removed from a 20 mile run and about 5 minutes removed from a fast 40 mile bike ride.
On Sunday morning, I slept in. Yep, that's right. I let Mother Nature wake me up when she wanted. No alarm clocks... no swim class... just a pleasant quiet Sunday morning. I got up around 7:20am (damn), made coffee (after digging through a couple of boxes to find it!) and sat out on our balcony and read some of my "Anti-Bride Guide." Shawn and I then spent the next couple of hours doing what we do best--PACKING and consolidating. We went our separate ways for a while so that I could swim at Barton Springs. This was one of the most discouraging swims I've had in a while. I couldn't relax at all...My times for each lap sucked. 10+ minutes. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong, but it was terribly discouraging. My goal was to do 5 x 400m laps. I stopped at 3 laps and almost got out of the pool. I waited a couple of minutes and forced myself to do one more. I called it quits after 4 laps, which is one mile. Grrrr......
I gathered my senses after beating myself up for a few minutes, stopped by Jack and Adams to get some new goggles and pick up my wheel and then headed to Whole Foods to meet my future husband. That's when I read the article about how to be happy. And you know what??? I am...I REALLY AM.