Celebrating the Red Lights

Celebrating the Red Lights

Last Monday, I got onto my electric bike and headed to the gym. It was 5:15 A.M. The streets were deserted with a slight chill in the air. There was erie pink/orange glow and buzz of the street lamps, a bus or two, and that’s about it. The light from my brightly flashing front LED was disturbing the peace more than anything else… rapidly flashing like a strobe in a night club. No one was on the streets. At that time of the morning, I can ride pretty fast (about 21 mph) with almost no stops since there are no cars at intersections, and if there are, I can see their lights from a long way off. 
 
On the way to the gym I made a stop at Peet’s for a coffee, then hopped back on my bike. It was then that the craziness began. The distance from Peet’s (at Westwood and Santa Monica Blvd.) and the gym is about 2.1 miles. And the number of street lights on Santa Monica Blvd in that 2.1 mile stretch… 12. 
 
In the first stretch, between Westwood and the 405, I hit every light… red. That’s 4 lights (a record for me at 5 in the morning). Crossing under the freeway, I hit the next red light at Beloit, and then the next, one block later, at Sawtelle. I proceeded to get stopped by 9 of the 12 red lights in those 2.1 miles – and the journey, that normally takes me about 8 minutes at 5am, easily took double that time. 
 
Over the course of the trip I found myself getting more and more anxious. I started nervously checking my watch at each stop. And each time I realized I was going to catch a red, I was cursing under my breath, “Are you F***ing kidding me?” Being Monday morning (the only day of the week I open the gym for the 6 AM class), I was on a pretty tight schedule since  my 6 AMers show up in masses at 5:45 to bring their work clothes in and prepare for class. I realized at the time that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it (other than to run the lights)… and found myself getting hopelessly stressed out. 
 
Later that morning, my red light bad luck continued. Seriously. 
 
But I was in a much different place mentally. I decided that instead of letting it get to me as it did before, wishing that this thing over which I had no control over was different, I would use the red lights as an opportunity to practice my 2 wheel, in-place balancing. Suddenly, instead of racing for greens and trying to avoid reds at all costs, I flipped it on it’s head, and started looking for red lights to stop at, to see how long I could hold my balance. It was fun (not easy), and it completely changed my perspective, turning the rest of my ride into an absolute pleasure, red light or not. 
 
Lots of takeaways for me from this experience… but the first, and most important, and the one that I hope you’ll take away too: When I encounter an obstacle about which I have no control that is obviously disturbing my peace, I have a choice: I can choose HOW I let it effect me, as well as WHAT actions I take  while it’s still having an impact. And… it actually doesn’t have to disturb my peace at all.
 
As I write this, it feels a bit unfair… that when armed with this insight, nothing can really negatively effect me. It’s like wearing impenetrable body armor while the bullets are flying in a gun fight. We’ll see how long it lasts… and how skillfully I’ll be able to implement this new-found perspective with issues that come up that are invariably more sneaky, elusive, and deep seeded.
 
For now, I’ll say that my successful practice of this perspective is simply remembering to celebrate the Red Lights!

Wednesday’s Workout
Practice

A) 3 Rounds for quality on the 3:00
200m Run
15 Kipping pull-ups
**2min cap each round**

B) 3 Rounds for quality on the 4:00
250m Row
10 HSPU
**2min cap each round**

C) EMOM 10
3 Power snatches
**Quick reset between reps**

And Coming Thursday
Practice

A) For time
800m Run
3min Rest
30 Sandbag front squats
3min Rest
800m Run

B) 5 Rounds for quality on the 4:00
Max Effort Bench press (BW / ⅔ BW)
**40sec cap each round**

 

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