Greetings from the press corner at the World Dressage Masters! I'm here doing a live blog for the Chronicle - if you'd like to tune in, check it out here; the freestyle starts at 7:30 on Saturday night, and you can read the archives after the event.
My mother has spent the last few years exploring meditation as a means of relaxing her wound-tight mind. Mrs. Sprieser is an incredible, fierce and brilliant woman who has achieved much in her career by possessing, among other things, a tremendous type-A personality, by which I come honestly. I've never been a good sleeper. As a result, she's been on my case to try to get into meditation as well lately.
Way back in October, a call went out for riders for the USDF/FEI Trainers' Conference, held in Florida in January, at the McPhails' stunning farm right here in White Fences. I sent off videos and was told we'd all hear back in December.
In the meantime, I had to buy my plane tickets for my trips back to Virginia to teach. The only weekend in January that worked was the weekend right before the Monday-Tuesday of the Trainers' Conference. Perfect, I thought to myself as I clicked "Finalize Purchase." If I get picked, I'll fly in Sunday night and be set to ride Monday-Tuesday.
It's a seriously great place to be in your training, when your horses do everything you want them to do, and you're just kinda waiting around for them to get strong enough/quick enough/confirmed enough to move onto the next thing. But oh, is it ever boring.
My favorite teacher from high school, Mr. Bulak, says that there are four kinds of academic papers. The best is short and good, and the second best is long and good. Third best is short and bad, because while it's bad, at least it's over with quickly. And the one you don't want to write is long and bad.
Yesterday was my first day back with a personal trainer, a Christmas gift from my family. After really enjoying running last year, I've decided to try my hand at some sprint-length (that's usually 1/2 mile swim, 15 mile bike, 3 mile run) triathlons. Training for that is going well (I have a nifty app for my iPhone that tells me what to do each day for 12 weeks), but the personal trainer thing will add resistance training, and (I hope) complement the cardio work I'm doing.
The ponies and I have settled in Florida, where the weather is divine, and that is all I will say on the subject. While the horses remember where they packed their hind ends - the first few days always feel like garbage, as they recover from the long trip - I've had time to putter around. I've been running and biking and swimming; I've made a bajillion trips to Target for all the stuff I forgot.
And I've also gotten to hang out and watch some riding.
Christmas is, of course, not about the gifts. That doesn't stop me from being excited about the gizmo Allison and Molly gave me that clips my iPhone to my bike (so I can run the "MapMyRun" app, which sometimes gets a little confused and tells me I've jogged a 6:45 mile - not a prayer in the world of that ever happening, but I'll take it!), and my parents' gift of "Born To Run," a book on barefoot running, the combination of which makes me sound like I'm quite a jock, when really all I want to do right now is sit on the couch and eat crap and watch reruns of NCIS.