... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pride Goeth Before the Fall

The first thing to do once I picked out a training schedule was to survey my equipment. I have in my possession an old 10-speed bike that was taken apart during my move to Hawaii and dubiously put back together by two people with no experience working with bikes. Its tires also look suspiciously deflated and I quickly decided that I could not trust it with my full body weight. A trip to the Honolulu Triathlon and Bike Shop, which happens to be conveniently located just blocks from my house, is going to be a necessity before my bike is going anywhere. Until then, I can use the stationary bikes at my gym. Biking- check!
The swimming portion was going to present more challenges in terms of gear. I live in Hawaii and thus spend time in the ocean nearly every day, but my swimwear was limited to a bikini and snorkeling mask. I have nothing that seems appropriate for more serious swimming- no goggles, swim cap, or sturdier bathing suit. This, I figured, could be easily remedied with a trip to a sporting goods store. I had given myself a week-long window until I officially began my training schedule to allow myself to gather the things I needed, including my mental fortitude. Swimming supplies could be taken care of soon.

Running was the one thing that could be started without any additional gear, and since I believed it to be my weakest area, I decided to begin immediately. The first week of the training schedule called only for walking twenty minutes, but I knew I could do better than that and so my first outing was a 1.78 mile jog around Kapiolani park. It didn't feel nearly as horrible as I feared it would and I was left feeling cautiously encouraged.
The next night after the sun dipped below the ocean I headed out again. The air was cool and I noticed a distinct difference in my breath. Rather than gasping for air, counting "in-2-out-2-in-2-out-2-"in constant repetition, air came easily and my chest felt open. Was this... a breakthrough? I noticed everything around me- how the trees rustled in the breeze and the birds grew quieter as night took over the sky, how my steps fell in rhythm that I could fit to any time signature. Were my steps a march? 1-2-1-2. Or a waltz? 1-2-3-1-2-3. I realized that this time my breaths were fitting better to a three-count than the two-count they had labored under in past runs. I liked that notion- a waltzing run. The music geek in me was happy. These were the thoughts skipping happily through my head, a welcome alternative to discomfort I had been so focused on in the past. In fact, I felt as though I was getting glimpse into why so many people who I had formerly categorized as collectively insane actually enjoy running.
I felt so strong that I expanded my route, stretching the distance to just over two miles and it was not until the last few blocks that I began to feel tired and winded. I couldn't help but think that maybe a sprint triathlon wouldn't be so difficult and maybe I should be training for a full length instead! Perhaps the fitness goddess I keep imagining was already showing herself!

Pouring myself into bed that night I was confident and ready to move forward. Tomorrow I will buy goggles and swim cap and conquer the water with the same success that I conquered the road.

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