Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On teaching Spinning - A student made my day today!

Last night I went into the Spin room to practice two of my WSSC sessions and test the music ( a nice 2-hr workout while it was pouring rain outside). I loved the way the music came out for How Big is Your Why, but I'm so glad I rode to my new playlist for The LT Field Test - it didn't work out as I had planned, so it's back to the drawing board for that one (I liked a lot of what I used last year, so I may use most of that again).

The How Big is Your Why profile and session is about goals, but not just setting them - it's about going in deep to uncover your most compelling reason for achieving them. Your "Why" must be BIG in order for you to overcome all the obstacles that get in your way - and all our goals, as in all our lives, are always beset by obstacles that try to pull us, or push us, off our paths. The deeper your passion, the bigger your "Why", the easier it will be to ignore those deterrents. Your "Why" is the embers that keeps that passion burning. If you aren't totally convinced, on a deep subconscious level, that you can and will achieve this goal, those embers will fizzle out and that's the reason we end up not achieving what we say we want in our lives.

And then we find an excuse, like, "oh, I guess it wasn't meant to happen", or "the economy sucks" or "I guess I don't have the willpower like those other people do" or "I'm not good enough".

(ooops, I'm revealing a little too much about this session. More later!)

On to the subject of this post...

This morning, I taught at 6 am. There is a fairly new woman in class who's been coming for about 4 months. She's adorable and is always smiling. Her name is Sophia and she is from Mexico, married to an American.

This morning as she came in, she grabbed my elbow and said, "Can I tell you, you inspire me to get up in the morning! Normally I hate getting up early. But I told my husband, 'You have to experience her class! She inspires me so much! She makes you want to do really well. I want to do what she is doing when she is teaching!' Thank you so much Jennifer!"

Wow, she made my day! In fact, she made my year. 

THAT is my "Why"! That is the reason I get up at 5:30 even when it's pouring rain as it was this morning and I was so comfortable in my my warm bed. That is why I love to teach, why I write this blog with all this free content, why I do interviews with John at the ICI Podcast, why I love to present at conferences. That is what motivates me. The fitness from teaching is nice, but it's a secondary benefit. The money...well, it pays for my music and perhaps a few other things. But hearing a comment like that, to know I've made a difference in someone's life as a student, or as an instructor, reading some of your comments, especially after my last post (special thanks to Le, Melissa and Shannon for your kind words) - that is why! You all are my "Why"!

So I thank you all. And I thank all my students. And I once again thank Johnny G from the bottom of my heart for creating this amazing program we call Spinning.

Stay tuned next week for updates on all my sessions, including the profile and more thoughts on How Big is Your Why.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Preparing for WSSC Miami - who wants to ride on stage with me?

I barely get back from Italy and take care of things I needed to catch up on, and I have had to totally switch gears and focus on WSSC, the World Spinning and Sports Conference. This will be my 10th year presenting at this conference - wow, it's amazing to me how far I've come. I remember when I was scared @#*%less about this time. I'm no longer scared....just incredibly energized.

I leave in 2 days for Miami, and only have one and a half more days to prepare.

Am I ready? Well, physically, I certainly hope so! Mentally, I am there as well. Logistically, well, I've got some work to do. (See previous post on disorganization...)

Actually, I've been preparing for the past 12 months. It always comes down to the wire when pulling everything together, but most of my lectures and profiles I've been working on in some form for quite some time. It's the same as when I was studying for exams in college - I excelled at last minute preparation and studying, and always did well. I'm counting on that karma to continue.

Only two of my sessions this year are new for this WSSC, The Suitcase of Courage (SOC), on attacks, breakaways, leadouts and sprints in a TDF stage, and How Big is Your Why? The others I can practically do blindfolded, but knowing me, I'll still spend the previous evening locked in my hotel room practicing.

The SOC I unveiled at ECA New York in February, and I had the chance to teach it to three separate classes this past week, so I feel very prepared for that one. I do have a few props to procure however...

How Big is Your Why is going to be a very special workshop. I won't reveal much right here, because I'll be telling you about it afterwards, but the profile I've selected is a great metaphor for what we'll be discussing, and I spent at least 5 hours on my music today, from a pool of songs I've been considering for several months. I am very excited for this playlist, and I think you will be too!

Here's an example of how it's engulfed me the past few days - I can barely sleep without practicing my lectures. About midnight last night, an idea popped into my head for my Big Why lecture. It was brilliant! At first I thought to myself, "I'll remember it in the morning." Then I remembered how many times I have said that in the past yet couldn't remember the next day, so I jumped out of bed and wrote it down. I read it this morning and was so grateful I did that! That one subconscious thought is now the cornerstone of this lecture.

Let that be a lesson to you. Pay close attention when your subconscious thoughts are speaking to you. They can work in your favor or against it; the key is to pay attention!

I'm on my way to the club to ride two sessions on my own, How Big is Your Why (so I can put my music to the test) and my new playlist for the Lactate Threshold Field Test. The latter is very high energy. 

But before I go, I want to extend an invitation to those coming to WSSC.

Are you enrolled in any of my sessions? If you have been to WSSC in the past, you know that I love to have a team up on stage with me. I draw energy from my team, and I know it is an amazing experience for anyone who gets the opportunity to ride up there, especially when the session is in the large ballroom with a room of full bikes. All but one of my sessions are in the ballroom!

Maybe you are interested in riding on stage with me? They are coveted spots and there is limited space, but here are the criteria for being selected:

[This is for my Moving Mountains session] 
1. You are mentally and physically prepared to ride a 2-hr climb without having to change positions much. This class requires a lot of focus. Even if you've never done it that long, you know deep inside if you can do it. 
2. You are pre-registered. The class is full - 128 bikes - so I can't pull anyone in who's not on the list. (Unless I can pull in a bike from a non-full session, which I've done in the past!)
3. You are willing to share your energy with me and the rest of the class! A big task!
4. You send me an email with a short paragraph on why you would like to ride up on stage for MM. What would it mean to you? I'm sure most of you have heard about this class, and it has been a defining moment for several people in the past who were up on stage (for me and for them) - so I want to create a team who has a deep desire to experience this.

I've already selected a team for Alpe d'Huez (although I might still take one more...) and most of my other sessions have at least one person selected. If you are in any of these sessions, please send me an email as well with the reasons why you would like to experience being on stage at WSSC.

I would prefer to give this honor to someone who hasn't had the chance before to ride on stage at WSSC, and who has been to at least one WSSC in the past, but this isn't a major criteria, your answer "Why" is more important.

If you are interested, please email me: jennifer@vivatravels.com 

Moving Mountains, Alpe d'Huez and Triple Threat are sold out sessions. 
To those not registered who are thinking of trying to get in: As a standby who gets in line very early, you still may get a bike depending on if people don't show up, but don't let not getting a bike keep you from coming. You'll still get a LOT out of it, my guarantee. Bring something to take notes with.

Suitcase of Courage, How Big is Your Why and LT Field Test still have some space, but they often fill quickly with standby riders.

ANYONE who is riding Moving Mountains: Achieving FLOW is our goal. For optimum enjoyment and maximum FLOW, bring 2 water bottles so you are not pulled out of FLOW to get yours filled up. Also, for best results, bring an energy bar or two, and for sure have a towel with you. And maybe a kleenex. There will be a short "intermission" half way through.

ANYONE who is riding the LT Field Test: As you know, a heart rate monitor with an average function is necessary. Make sure you know how to use the average function and that it has a fresh battery. Please be well-rested, fueled and pre-hydrated for optimal results. You will not get an accurate LT if you're fatigued, dehydrated or running low on fuel (carbs). It's early Friday morning (7am), so make sure to eat breakfast at least 20 minutes prior (we have a 30-minute lecture prior to the ride, so that should give you enough time to digest).

And now I'm off to Spin for two hours! It's fitting, since it's been raining for three days straight and I haven't been able to ride outside.

I hear it's been raining sideways in southern Florida this whole week. Drowning in fact. Please Mr. Sun, please come out by Sunday midday when I am done with all my sessions! I don't leave until late Monday so I am really relishing the thought of relaxing by the pool.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Giretto - harder than I ever imagined

It's 4:30 in the morning on Saturday and I can't sleep - jet lag - so I thought I'd update my readers on the Giretto.

One thing I've learned is that it is unrealistic to think you can ride 100 hard miles a day in a foreign country, AND eat and get enough rest and sleep and other logistics AND try to write blog posts. That's crazy thinking.

It's not that I minimized the difficulty of the challenge of riding the first 5 stages of the Giro d'Italia. I knew it would be very challenging. But I didn't realize how hard it would be to do that and do everything else. Eating was a very big challenge at times, in quality, quantity and timing, both during our ride and afterwards. The pro riders in a stage race have others who do everything for them - they don't have to think about anything else. Our greatest challenges, even beyond the miles we were pedaling were getting enough sleep and eating quickly after each stage. We were not very successful at those things.

I am preparing a series of posts on my Cycling in Europe blog, describing stages 3, 4 and 5, as well as some of the difficulties that we encountered, including a visit to the hospital in a small town in Italy by yours truly at 2:00 in the morning after stage 4. No, I didn't crash on my bike (thank God), but my body did "crash" and I overdid it. I will be analyzing how things went from bad to worse, and how to avoid this kind of problem in the future. Hopefully others can learn from my mistake. Make sure to go there and read the other blog (I'll let you know when I've posted).

On this blog I plan to write on how Spinning helped prepare me for this epic ride, especially the mental aspect. Everything I've preached to my students I used last week while cycling in Italy. 

Spinning helped me through the Giretto!

And so did music. I'll also let you know what music I played on my iPod. There were times that I even thought I wouldn't have made it without the music!

As of this writing, United has still not found my bicycle, which didn't arrive with me in Denver. I am grateful that it was not misplaced on the way out to Italy, but it is now over 24 hours and they usually locate things by now, and I'm getting a bit nervous. So cross your fingers for me!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Giretto has begun! Greetings from Italy

Buon Giorno tutti!

Greetings from the Adriatic coast of Italy. We completed Stage 2 of the Giretto today, a truly fantastic ride on a beautiful day - a quintessential cycling day of perfection. It's very late here (midnight) and we have a long early day tomorrow so I'm going to keep this very short. We've had difficulty finding internet service in the little time we have devoted to being able to blog. Hopefully tomorrow we'll have it so I can post more pics and even videos.

But, please check out my Cycling in Europe blog where I've described Stage 1, the Team Time Trial, and an amazing coincidental happenstance as we were getting off the ferry.

I am hoping to inspire you, all of my readers, through my journey in Italy on this challenging event, to set a goal for yourselves, one that is a little out of your reach. In fact, one that you never thought you could complete. Then JUST DO IT! Do what you know must be done to accomplish it, then DO IT! Because you know what? I know you can.

...and if I've inspired you at all, if you have enjoyed any of my profiles (there's been well over 10,000 downloads of my profiles!), if you've learned anything from me on the pages of this blog...then I'm hoping you'll be inspired to make a little donation to our efforts here in Italy at the Giretto. Every single one of us have been or will be affected by cancer - either personally or someone we care about, so this is a great time to "pay it forward".

As I've mentioned before, I know times are tough for everyone right now, so I'm not asking for much. If all my readers gave just $5 or $10, then we'd far surpass our goal and show the Livestrong organization that we are a force to reckon with! (Our plans are to take the Giretto and make it a yearly significant event for Livestrong).

If you would like to make a small donation, please click here. At the very least, go and read my motivation for doing an event like this!

I also want to thank those of you who have generously supported me. Mille Gratzie.

Check back soon. And follow me on Twitter - we're sending great LIVE updates and pics of our rides and the race.

Ciao amici!