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The blessings of a canceled practice

What's worse than getting up at 5 a.m. to get to a 6:30 a.m. swim practice on Saturday?

Getting there and having no coaches or lifeguards show up.

I normally swim on Tuesdays and Thursdays but decided to add a Saturday practice this week to compensate for Thanksgiving. In my mind, any time I can get in the water is time well spent.

If practice was canceled at least 50 of us didn't get the message. We waited half an hour then gave up hope that we would indeed get in a master's swim workout this morning.

Actually, it was OK. It gave me a chance to catch up with my friend Amy N. who is recovering from a nasty spill on her bike last summer. I got to chat with Liz, who did not one but two half marathons this fall which impresses and inspires me. And as usual I got to chat with Mark, who for once decided not to concern himself with my slow swim times but instead continued his latest trend of talking up Bikram Yoga. This is the "hot yoga" -- which consists of 26 poses and two breathing exercises in a heated room. (Like a really heated room.) Mark swears by it. While I've done more traditional yoga (hatha and ashtanga) I've never tried Bikram.

I'm intrigued. I may drop into a class this weekend.

In the meantime, I went back home and hopped on the trainer for an hour endurance bike ride then did 30 minutes of functional strength training and core work.

And I have to say for the first time in a long time, I felt really focused. I was hitting my target heart rate zones. I could visualize the end of my major races. I could imagine what it will feel like to finish them.

Oh, I have always felt better after a workout.

But it's been awhile since I felt such enjoyment in the workout.

Maybe it was a good thing that swim practice never happened.

Perhaps catching up with friends this week -- from pre-race pasta parties to the Turkey Trot to the hallway at Alumni Arena -- helped me refocus and center myself.

Gratitude has a way of coming back to you.

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