Mindfulness – Part One

About a month ago, I began to live more mindfully.  Since then, I’ve attempted to write about it several times and found myself stuck every time, including now.  These changes have been so profound, even in a short amount of time, that I can say that it has changed my life.  Consider this the first of many posts about the topic.

Fundamentally, I am trying to be present in my mind and body at every moment.  Truly *being* where I am with no thought of what’s coming next, unless I’m purposefully planning.  The only unhappiness and anxiety I have in my lovely life is a product of worrying.  When we worry, we use our creative minds to remove ourselves from present contentment and place ourselves in an imagined future where something is going wrong.  Put that way, it sounds like a terrible way to live but it is so common!

Recognizing that in this moment everything is fine can be really powerful.  In the first few days of thinking this way, I noticed 2-3 times per day that I felt anything other than contentment.  That’s it!  They were fleeting moments that dissipated as quickly as I noticed them.  I was truly amazed by how content I was, even when sitting in traffic, waiting in lines, etc.  If you’re just *being* with your thoughts, your music, your podcasts, the sunshine…everything is pretty nice!  Of course, not every moment is fine.  Someone may say something hurtful, a driver might do something dangerous that frightens or angers you… Those are still realities of life but we can choose whether we let those moments pass quickly or dwell on them, forcing ourselves to re-experience the hurt/discomfort over and over again.  No thanks.

I can get daunted pretty easily and daunted typically equals very unhappy.  However, when I’m actually doing the daunting things, they always go well!  I love my job and whether I’m teaching a voice lesson, a Dailey Method class, or singing, I feel this amazing sense of flow.  I’m so fully engaged that time seems to speed up.  I leave each activity feeling more alive than before.   My motivation for actively seeking presence was to feel as engaged and positive outside of those activities as I feel when I’m doing them.

To eliminate feeling overwhelmed, I committed to stop looking at my calendar.  Instead, I take 5-10 minutes each day to sit down with the next day’s schedule and set an intention for each activity.  I think about what each student, class, or workout needs.  I make a little notation in my phone and boom, the day is handled.  I can spend the other 23 hours and 50 minutes of today being in today!  I’ve also noticed how much time I truly have when an activity is contained within it’s allotted time (instead of being thought about all day).  4 lessons and 2 DM classes isn’t ALL DAY, it’s only 6 hours.  That shift has allowed me to reclaim and enjoy a whole lot of previously squandered time.

Birthday Notes!

Birthday Notes!

Around the time this all started, I had a wonderful Dailey Method workshop with Lorna Samatas, owner of The Dailey Method – Elmhurst.  The topic was “Theming Your DM Class” but much of it was about mindfulness techniques.  One concept that I really took to was the idea of “arriving” in a space.  The idea is that when you cross a threshold into a new space, it’s a mindfulness trigger.  You take a moment to pause and consider why you’re there and what you hope to get from the experience in that space.  My Dailey Method students have responded well to this as a way to truly begin their practice.  I’m using it everywhere from entering a rehearsal to retreating to my bedroom at the end of the day.

Without question, this has significantly changed my running.  I will explore this in a subsequent post(s) but I want to tell you that last week’s 17 miler and yesterday’s TWENTY were both amazing runs.  I was *calm* the entire time.  I didn’t have any dread or fear of the distance.  At the beginning, I had no sense of how long I had to go.  I simply ran.  I noticed physical sensations, noticed ebbs and flows in my energy, noticed clouds, noticed my own happiness.  It was tremendous and couldn’t come at a better time.

Happy from beginning to end!

Happy from beginning to end!

There’s a lot more I want to share and now that I’ve gotten this first post through my fingers, more will come soon!

Please ask questions or share your favorite mindfulness tips and resources in the comments!

 

Tagged , , , , ,

Goin’ Galloway?!

Oh hey!  I’m running a marathon!

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 8.00.44 AM

A few weeks before I pulled the plug on Augusta 70.3, I registered for CIM.  To many, registering for a dovetailing marathon while struggling with my present goal would seem insane.  I considered it for months and didn’t discuss it much.  It felt like a really good idea and as I described to a few people, “I just needed a win.”  Obviously running 26.2 miles isn’t an easy win but it’s an endeavor that feels exciting.

One important consideration is overtraining.  70.3 training started in May and while it wasn’t run heavy, that’s a long time on the training train.  Since I’m genuinely looking forward to this race, my mind is cooperating well.

Body….is mostly cooperating well.  Two weeks ago, I had 15 miles on my plan and 5 miles in, my ITB rebelled. My knee joined the protest, and I had no choice but to turn around and head home after 5.  Ruh-roh.  Since then, I’ve rested when I felt like I should and backed off my mileage.  I travelled to Seattle to celebrate my stepmom’s 60th birthday (60’s themed party!) and then returned home to celebrate my own birthday.

Mad Men....with an iPhone.

Mad Men….with an iPhone.

Last Tuesday, I turned 32.  I celebrated with a fantastic spin class (BORN THIS WAY was the first song!!!  WHAT?) and Dailey Method with the always energetic and amazing Susan.

The next day, I embarked on my first 32 year old run: 10 miles.  I decided to employ the Galloway method (running 9 minutes/ walking 1) in the hopes that I would get through a longish run without discomfort.

It was absolute joy.  One of those runs where you can’t stop thinking how amazing you feel and how you wish you could bottle the feeling and HowCanEveryRunBeLikeThisEveryTimeForever!!!!

I never needed the walking breaks so they were a pleasant (and frequent) surprise!  I intended to keep a long run pace (10:30-10:45) but I could barely keep my running segments above 10.  It felt really good.  I kind of totally get why people favor this method.  My average pace was faster than it should have been but the run felt easier than it should have felt.  Maybe it was just the day?  Maybe it was the buoyant energy of a new, even age?

Maybe NOT.

IMG_0716

Yesterday, I ran 15 miles using the same method.  I felt FANTASTIC.  Same deal: all the running segments felt nearly effortless and hovered around 10mm.  Stupidly faster than I should be running my long runs but I absolutely could have had a full conversation (if another person on earth were insane enough to run 5 loops of the same lake).  Oh, and today?  NO PAIN OR STIFFNESS WHATSOEVER.  I took a spin class this morning.  Didn’t even feel like I ran yesterday.   Absurd.

So….maybe this method works really well for me?  Maybe my marathon goal should be faster?  Who knows.  I can tell you that I am absolutely not bothered by running “only” 90%.  That’s still a low A, thankyouverymuch.  I took a lot of pride in running my entire first marathon but using this method to get safely to both the starting line and a PR doesn’t bug me. I’m not sure at this point if I’m going to stay with Galloway but I will for my long run this weekend and continue to evaluate from there.

YAAAAAAAY MARATHON TRAINING!  It really is my favorite.

Ever do a run/walk method?  Thoughts?  

Tagged , , , , ,

Marathonaversary!

A year ago today was one of the best days of my life!

IMG_0672.PNG

There were certainly challenging moments but running 26.2 was one of my favorite things I’ve ever done.

So favorite that on 12/7, I’m going to do it again at California International Marathon (CIM).

Here’s hoping for another finisher picture that happy!

Race Recap: Drag N Fly

Well, this may be the most successful and wonderful race I’ve ever run.  BOOM.

No disrespect to my tremendous first marathon experience, but today was also very special.  With the 70.3 off my calendar, I’m free to race whatever the heck I want!  Brazen’s Drag N Fly was right up my alley: challenging elevation with gorgeous views at the top.  Since I’m trained up to half marathon distance, I went for it!  Yesterday, my calves were feeling a little crampy and hips felt slightly achy.  I contemplated dropping back to the 10k this morning and now I’m so glad I didn’t.

Pre-race went smoothly.  Up before dawn, waffle with prosciutto, easy drive, easy parking.  Bib pickup was super quick.  Brazen Racing is just the bomb.  Even the pre-race briefing is funny and fun.  Their organization, food, course marking, and energy are all top notch.  Highly recommended.

So, here’s what we’re dealing with:

My dad told me that the Space Needle is 600 feet.  So, extrapolate...

My dad told me that the Space Needle is 600 feet. So, extrapolate…

My race plan was to hike anything that resembled an incline, run anything that went down, and do my best on the flats (Drag N Fly.  Get it?).  Almost immediately, we faced the first major climb.  The sun was already shining and people were starting to suffer.  I felt really good and pumped, especially when I thought about how satisfying it would be to run back down that sucker at the end!  We were also rewarded with glorious views when we reached the top.

Climbing

View from the top.  Unreal.

View from the top. Unreal.

As we climbed higher and higher, I couldn’t stop looking back behind me.  It still completely blows my mind that I can travel that far and that high ON FOOT.  The novelty of trail running absolutely has not worn off and I was grinning from ear to ear.  Especially once we headed downhill!

Throughout the race, I felt happy and calm.  So weird.  I certainly recognized that the climbs were difficult.  The first three miles were really challenging but I only had a few moments where I was daunted by the distance.  I truly felt happy and overwhelmed with gratitude the entire time.

Brazen is excellent at marking the course with ribbons and flour. In the pre-race briefing, the race director joked that people would still go off course.  Today it was me!  Only for a moment and it was during the first downhill.  I was having so much fun, I missed a weird turn!  It cost me about a minute and made a couple folks laugh.  The race went so well, I wouldn’t change a single thing about it but you better believe I was much more aware of red ribbons for the rest of the run!

It’s hard to give a mile-by-mile report because I was running by feel and not married to hitting specific paces.  Throughout the entire race, I stuck to my strategy of climbing the hills and running the descents.  I was shocked to see 8:50-9:20 consistently on the downhill segments.  I was unconcerned with pace, only vaguely hoping to beat my time from Bear Creek last year.  The only descent that slowed me down was some really technical and steep single track.  I absolutely love that type of running though.  Brain firing, feet finding the perfect place to land.  LOVE IT.

Yes, that's THE TRAIL.

Yes, that’s THE TRAIL.

Before I knew it, it was time to fly down to the finish.  I had fueled well, hydrated well (cold water at the aid stations was heavenly) and had plenty of heart left to get me home.  I had passed many people and hadn’t been passed by anyone.  I also realized that I hadn’t seen any females around my age since the last one I passed.  I had a fleeting thought that maybe the cherry on this delicious sundae would be to place in my AG for the first time.  My trail times are not impressive and it wasn’t my goal so I didn’t take the thought seriously.

Foreshadowing!!!!!

As I cruised into the finish, I tearfully told a volunteer that I was having the best race ever.  It was tough to keep pushing through to the finish but I did with a huge smile.

Happy tears behind those hideous glasses!

Happy tears behind those hideous glasses!  Peace out, hills!!

Came in, walked around and had a delicious IT’S IT.  The true San Francisco treat.  Chatted with some folks and then headed over to see my place.  The results hadn’t been updated but only 1st and 2nd place in my AG had come in.  There was a chance for 3rd!  I didn’t get my hopes up since I’ve been 4th so many times but low and behold……

I FINALLY GOT A MEDAL THAT NOT EVERYONE GOT!  WHAAAAT?!

I FINALLY GOT A MEDAL THAT NOT EVERYONE GOT! WHAAAAT?!

SUPER STOKED.  There are several reasons why this is not an impressive accomplishment but F*CK THAT.  I’m thrilled.  This was a huge goal of mine and it’s both unbelievable and completely perfect that it happened after running this perfectly executed EPIC race.

Celebrated with Chairman Bao, a lovely lengthening Dailey Method class, Ici Ice Cream and then an unexpected salumi date night with my handsome husband at Adesso.

So basically, best day ever.

 

Tagged , ,

The Elephant in the Room

Note: This post may offend.

I went to college in 2000 a bit overweight and with a history of some depression and anxiety.  Early into my freshman year, I got into a relationship that would last four pizza-filled years.  My “freshman fifteen” was closer to fifty and by sophomore year, I was nearly two-hundred pounds for the first time.

#tbt

#tbt

During my sophomore year, my depression became untenable.  I was crying constantly.  I did not want to continue.  My poor boyfriend had no idea what to do.  He was very loving and complimentary but also had issues.  As we bonded and “coped” with food, I gained more weight which fueled my unhappiness.

My situation eventually got so desperate that I sought help.  I went to a small music conservatory that was serviced by the health center at Northeastern University.  The doctor I saw listened to me describe my debilitating sadness and anxiety.  Somehow in the conversation, I disclosed what I understood of my mother’s mental health issues, including the medication she took.  The doctor said that I likely had similar brain chemistry and after a ten minute conversation, prescribed me the same SSRI.  She did not ask me if I was on any other medications that might be affecting my brain chemistry (aka oral contraceptives.)  We did not know each other.  The doctor did not know how complicated my relationship was with my mother and how difficult it was for me at that time to be told that I had the same issues as her.  One of the sources of my anxiety and depression was the feeling that, like my mom, I would never be happy.  This prescription compounded those feelings and set me on a course of inconsistent self-medicating and new fears.

In the same year, I had instability in my right knee to the point where it felt like it would buckle with every step I took.  I went to the same health center and the doctor had me stand up and take a few steps.  He said: “You have probably ground off all the cartilage in your knee cap by standing hyperextended.  There’s nothing that can be done.”

Nailed that diagnosis, Doc.  F*cking lazy idiot.

Nailed that diagnosis, Doc. F*cking lazy idiot.

At no point in either of these appointments did either doctor address the elephant in the room: my obesity.  The simplest explanation is usually the right one.  How could these medical professionals look at my body and not ask me what I was eating and if I was ever moving around?

Near the end of college, I lost about 30 pounds with Atkins and felt much, much happier.  My knee didn’t bother me and my depression was much less intense.  The underlying issues were still there but by taking control of my eating and having success, I felt in control of my life for the first time in a long time.

The next year (around the time the top photo was taken), I had gained the weight back and more.  I was in graduate school in New Hampshire and my depression was more intense than ever.  The last thing I wanted was to talk to another person who would confirm that I was on the same lifelong miserable trajectory as my mom.  I did not want to keep going.  Self-preservation thankfully won out and I went to the University health center.  This doctor listened and patiently deciphered the occasional word between sobs.  He asked me if I was on any kind of medication.  I had recently switched birth control but I assured him that it wasn’t the birth control that was the problem, it was me.  He wasn’t condescending but he urged me to discontinue the birth control and see if I felt better.  If I didn’t, we would move forward with treatment.

Within a day, I was fine.  Well, as fine as I had been in five years.  It was miraculous.  And I was furious.  What if all those years ago, I had simply discontinued my birth control?  Why didn’t that doctor address my situation similarly and save me so much grief?  Relief revealed the strength I needed to pick up and move back to California.

Six more years of yo-yo dieting, depression, anxiety, self-discovery and gradual progress got me to the start of this blog and the start of a completely different life.

I tell this story for context.  What I’m actually interested in discussing is the culture in which medical professionals do not address the most obvious cause of health problems: obesity.

Did I have irreparable cartilage damage?  NO!  I WAS TOO HEAVY FOR MY JOINTS.  Did I have a mental illness that required medication?  NOOOOO.  I was short-circuiting my brain several times a day with massive amounts of refined sugar and as I gained more weight I was destroying my self-esteem by living my mother’s life instead of my own.

Both of these “diagnoses” were wildly inaccurate but they came from doctors so I believed them and folded them into my identity.  They impacted my self-esteem and choices for nearly a decade.  Perhaps the first doctor felt that discussing my body would be too damaging for me to bear at that time.  Well, you’re a doctor.  Figure out how to talk about nutrition to a depressed young woman so you can help her.  That’s your job.

Now, it should go without saying that nutrition and activity are not the only solution, nor are they easy to address.  There are all types of situations in which therapy, medication, and other interventions are necessary and helpful.  Also, changing your eating is hard work.  Facing your fears and becoming active is hard work, especially if you’ve never done it before.  Untangling a lifetime of experiences and issues to face yourself and eventually love yourself is possibly the hardest work of all.

If one of those doctors had told me to eat more healthily and become active, I probably would not have been ready to hear it.  I recognize that.  But I accepted what they did tell me so maybe I would have filed it away.  Maybe I would have come to a healthier lifestyle sooner if it had been suggested.  Especially if it had been suggested by every doctor I saw.

Everyone deserves love.  Everyone deserves self-love.  Everyone deserves a healthy, vibrant body to live their life in.  If someone isn’t healthy, if someone is obese, they absolutely deserve love and respect.  If they have health issues or low self-esteem and they’re obese, it is not unloving or unsafe to acknowledge that physical condition and address it.  It’s simple and vital.

Thoughts?

 

 

Tagged , , ,

Good.

It’s been a few days since I pulled the plug on Augusta and I feel good.

Early Tuesday morning, I took a tear-filled, sleep-deprived Dailey Method class.  It was emotional to connect to my strength as I fully came to terms with the decision to quit.  At that point, the blog post was just a draft that I had sent to my husband, dad, and a couple close friends.  A few of my Dailey buddies were in class.  I shared the news with them and they were nothing but supportive.  Shed some tears, got some hugs and headed home to face the logistics.  It was difficult to pull the trigger but once I did, I felt completely fine.  I got a partial flight credit and a nearly full refund on my TriBike Transport.  I was able to cancel my car rental and I also saved the money I would have spent on food and swag during the trip.  I lost the full race entry and the full cost of hotel because the person I was planning to share with is still racing.  Whatever.  It’s nice that I got anything back.

I was blown away by the readership of the blog post.  People sure are intrigued by a quitting story!  I got some lovely messages and support from folks in all areas of my life.  Some of them read a bit like a pet or dear, distant aunt had died: “would you like to take a walk?  would you like to go get ice cream?” which is sweet and funny.  I have to admit, I was a bit put off by the suggestion of having a party on race day.  Like, a quitting party?  No, I’m good.  At the risk of sounding ungrateful for some of the support I received, several folks started to talk about success and failure which I did not address in my post.  I agree that I successfully learned new things about my body and my preferences.  I also agree that “success” and “failure” can have broader definitions than just whether or not I completed the race.  But really, I trained for something for five months and quit three weeks before completion because I just didn’t want to do it.  I wouldn’t call that a success worthy of party.  I also don’t feel like a failure loserface.  I feel like me.  With a LOT more time.

My own little quitting party.

My own little quitting party.

At this point I don’t have even a single [smallest unit of measurement] of regret.  It was absolutely the right decision and I’m already barely thinking about it.  Do I have future plans?  Of course.  Not quite ready to share them but I assure you, all this fitness and hard work is not going to waste.

Ever quit anything significant only to find that it’s totally no big deal and it’s almost like none of it ever happened? :D

 

 

 

Why I’m Not Racing Augusta 70.3

Because I do not want to.

I know.  It’s three weeks away and I’ve been training for nearly five months.  I am fitter than I’ve ever been in my life and I’ve already invested countless hours and many, many dollars into this endeavor.  Everyone has pre-race anxiety.  Everyone experiences the crushing pressure of an important endurance goal.

This is not that.

When I cycle outdoors, I feel profoundly unsafe.  I have ridden outside four times in five months.  Without question, I would have come much further if I had pushed myself from the beginning and followed through on my goal to ride outside weekly.  I would have stronger handling skills and banked confidence to draw on.  It was just too scary.  On Sunday, I rode about 40 miles with 2,000 ft of climbing.  I could barely leave the parking lot, I was so afraid.  As I rode, I calmed down but I didn’t enjoy it for a single moment.  I just wanted it to end without incident.  By all accounts, it went very well (with the exception of a flat in the last 10 miles.)  I powered up the hills and held a pace that earned praise from my superstrong friend Jess but all I could think in the last five miles was “I don’t want to do this race.  I don’t want to do this race.”  I came home, mowed through 10 miles on the trainer and attended Dailey Method.  4 hours and 15 minutes of exercise and barely any soreness this morning when I woke up.  Did I feel strong?  Absolutely.  Did I feel any more confident or enthusiastic about the race?  Not an iota.

Today, I did an “easy” 35 minute run.  Felt good.  Legs were tired but I wasn’t daunted by the workout and completed it slightly faster than I should have.  Taught some lessons, had a snack, and headed to the pool for a race distance swim.

Got in and barely made it 700 meters before I was so nauseated that I had to get out of the pool.  This has been happening for 5 months and I don’t know what it is or how to fix it.  I’m pretty sure it has to do with my breathing but I just don’t care anymore.  I don’t care that you could “float a log down the Augusta swim course and it will arrive at the Swim In in 45 minutes.”  I don’t care that I could breast stroke and eventually make my way down there.  It sounds like a miserable, terrifying experience that would only be the brief precursor to a much longer miserable, terrifying experience.  And then if I were fortunate enough to make it to Bike In without some humiliating or painful debacle, I would have to run a half marathon.  A completely appealing distance in and of itself.  So appealing that I’m already researching which half marathon I would run in the coming weeks.

I don’t want to do this.  No part of me wants to do it.  I’ve read and reread recaps of wonderful women who have done this race.  The same ones that brought tears to my eyes and inspired me to register in the first place.  I feel nothing positive.  I find myself looking desperately for clues or insights that might sway me in one direction or another.  Every conversation I’ve had with friends has either been “you’re absolutely fine, you’ll be fine, just keep going” (from the athletes) or “it’s totally okay to quit” (from friends and family).  None of them have satisfied me.  Now it’s nearly 1 am and I’m wide awake, researching my flight change policy and imagining chucking my bike down a well.

This is the first blog post I’ve written in ages that feels honest.  This afternoon, I was discussing all of this with a very strong friend.  She falls into the athlete camp that is encouraging and believes I can complete the race and will be better for it.  I don’t disagree that September 28th might be a hard day with a kaleidoscope of emotions including regret.  If I saw it through, maybe I would have a great day.  Maybe I would have a horrible day but it would all feel worth it when I crossed the finish line.  I’m sure that moment would be amazing but I just don’t feel any pull towards it.  I have no desire.  I don’t want it enough to earn it. We discussed regret and the value of learning about myself by seeing this challenge through to completion.  Clearly what I’ve learned is that I have a much stronger work ethic than I ever knew and that I also have human limitations and human preferences.  Those limitations don’t make me weak or lazy, as I sought to prove to myself when I first started working out years ago.  I don’t need to prove anything to myself anymore.

On one hand, I wish I had decided this sooner.  It would have saved my poor husband and friends a LOT of whiny texts.  It would have saved me a lot of tears and anxiety.  It would have eliminated the “so close” element that might haunt me down the line.  On the other hand, I got that much stronger and laid a fantastic foundation for future challenges.  It’s clear what kinds of activities I love to do.  I’m all for 2 workouts a day and very hard work when it’s the kind that’s right for me.   And if I feel like I have unfinished business, I will climb down that well, retrieve my bike, sign up for master’s swim and try again.  I now know exactly what I would need to successfully train for a 70.3.

But I do NOT see that happening.  :D

Thank you for your support and love.

 

Tagged , , ,

Everything Great

I desperately want to quit today so it’s probably a good time to list EVERYTHING I like about all three sports:

Swim:

* It’s only 1.2 of 70.3 miles.

* I love being in the water.  There’s something incredibly soothing and appealing about being immersed in water.

* It’s incredibly low impact and takes virtually no leg power.  Such a nice break for quads, hammies, and glutes.

* I feel kind of sexy in my wetsuit.  Like Catwoman (if cats liked water)!

HEY EVERYONE!  COME SEE HOW GOOD I LOOK!

HEY EVERYONE! COME SEE HOW GOOD I LOOK!

 

Bike:

* Cycling is kind of….easy.  I mean, I have definitely SUFFERED on hills and in spin classes but you can basically go for a really, really, really long time and not feel that bad.  At the end of this weekend’s 50 miles, my hip flexors were ready to be done but it was nothing compared to running for multiple hours.

* To that end, I woke the morning after 50 miles and wasn’t sore.  AMAZING.  #NoImpactNoProblems

* When you ride outside, you don’t overheat because it’s so nice and breezy!

* When you ride downhill, you don’t have to do anything!

* You can eat food and not get all barfy!

* You get to zip by all the suckers who are out on foot and forgot their moving machines!

I forgot "looks cool." Because it doesn't "look cool."

I forgot “looks cool.” Because it doesn’t “look cool.”

Run:

* It’s cheap.  Shoes.  Gu.  Done.

* You can walk.  Or sit down.  It’s a very easy sport to calibrate.

* Nothing feels as badass as sprinting.

* Finishing a hard run and being flooded with endorphins is super satisfying.

Yeah, that's awesome.

Yeah, that’s awesome.

And I guess there’s that whole “satisfaction of pushing out of your comfort zone and seeing a goal through to completion” thing…..

What’s your favorite of the big three?  Favorite aspect of each sport?

 

Oh Dear.

This morning was supposed to be my big confidence-boosting race distance swim.  Just get in the water and keep pushing through.  It might be a slog but doable right?

WRONG.

F*CK.

I got in a breast stroked a couple laps to warm up.  Felt fine.  Began my main set at a conservative pace.  Felt fine until the second lap when my labored breathing told me to slow down.  I got through a few more laps reminding myself that I was still warming up and not to be concerned.  Mentally, I tried to think of it like a 3-4 mile run: first third is a warm up, I’ll find a nice groove in the middle, and nearing the finish would help me push through to the end.

NOPE.

F*CK.

After a few more laps, I had to switch to breast stroke to get my breath under control.  That was demoralizing and I began to hear “I can’t do this.  I can’t do this.”  Not helpful but sadly, I was right.  I found a nice groove for a couple laps after that but it was short lived.  After only 10 laps, I switched to breast stroke again briefly.

By lap 12 (less than half of the total distance) I was crying in my goggles and so nauseated that I had to get out of the pool.  Barely made it to the locker room.

I changed quickly, tears in my eyes.  Got to the car and just cried.  And texted expletives to my husband and super patient friend IronmanJess.  They were both encouraging and sweet as I questioned if today is the day to throw in the towel.

It isn’t.  I’m going to try again tomorrow but again, F*CK.  I have no one to blame but myself.  I avoided swimming and I’m paying for it now.  It’s only 30-40 minutes of a 6.5 hour race so I CANNOT let it wreck my entire experience.  Hopefully tomorrow goes a bit better so I get the boost I was seeking today.

Bright side: celebrated runner and badass lady Lauren Fleshman made my day:

#donkeylobby

#DonkeyLobby.  Tell your friends.

What do you do when you have a TRULY SHITTY WORKOUT WHEN YOU REALLY NEED A GOOD ONE?!

Adjustment and Acceptance

Since my most recent post, there has been some progress.

I’m so grateful for the comments and tweets from all you amazing folks who have experienced the same doubt and frustration.  There were some great suggestions, many of which I knew I should do but really appreciated hearing in a supportive (instead of self-critical) tone.

One of the suggestions was to potentially ride with a Camelbak.  For some reason, I thought this was verboten but I didn’t find anything to that effect on the Augusta 70.3 website.  In fact, I found numerous threads on different triathlon websites about their use.  Most triathletes on the boards were against it because it’s not aero (don’t give a sh*t), it’s dorky (super don’t give a sh*t), and it’s hot (fair enough).  The idea of being able to drink continuously at my leisure and only have to refill it once lifted a large weight off my shoulders.  Ironic!   Pulling over to gobble some food every half hour won’t add more than 5 min to my bike time and will surely save me 5 minutes on the run since I’m less likely to bonk the bonk of death.

I chose the smallest one.  It feels very comfortable and holds 1.5 liters.  And it’s pretty.

My new, pink friend who will save my life!

My new, pink friend who will save my life!

It was suggested that I just get in the pool and swim the whole distance.  Touché.  It’s on my training plan for this week.  So is a 3+ hour bike ride and a 9 mile run.  If I can successfully complete those three workouts, I will believe that I can do this.

This weekend, my wonderful parents visited from Seattle.  I discovered that my dad had some concerns about triathlon in general but specifically the swim.  As I explained to him about the kayaks AND safety folks out on the course AND the buoyancy of my wetsuit AND the speedy current AND the fact that I could always breast-stroke, I realized I’m fine.  It might be hard and scary but it will end.  Same with the bike.

The most significant progress I’ve made in the last few days is in the form of adjustment and acceptance.  Training for this 70.3 has not felt how I thought it would feel based on previous training.  It’s been fun and successful physically but draining and demoralizing emotionally.  I’ve been too focused on what I can’t do that I haven’t celebrated or trusted what I can.  That negativity has fed on itself week after week to the point where OF COURSE I WANTED TO QUIT.

It isn’t what I thought it would be but that’s okay.  I don’t feel like superwoman.  I’m unsure.  I’m disappointed with this whole endeavor and that in itself is disappointing but again, it’s okay.  I’m beginning to accept this for what it is and intend to make the most out of the next 4 weeks.

Tagged , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 497 other followers