... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Friday, February 22, 2013

Triathlon Trifecta: Determination, Patience, and Acceptance

Well, despite my best intentions and superfluous motivation, yesterday was a dismal showing.

I put off running hour by hour because it was raining, and by the time I was ready to go I realized it was 4pm and I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, causing me to feel sluggish and loopy.

"Oh well," I said to myself. "I'll eat a few raspberries before I go."

Now, for a normal person this plan may have worked, but here's a little factoid about me: I have a strange obsession with blueberries, tomatoes, and raspberries and very little control when it comes to these things. So instead of eating a few raspberries, I inhaled the entire pint and then set out running.

It took all of a mile for the food to catch up to me and I was hit with a side ache so bad I felt like a chef's knife was solidly lodged in my obliques, digging a little deeper with each breath. I tried to fight it for a few minutes but soon realized that I was running with the posture of an arthritic 85-year old and that my run would be better served by walking for a couple of minutes until the pain subsided. It took about four minutes -- a huge hit to my pace but certainly more productive and less dispiriting than limping along doubled over and struggling for breath. Sometimes, you just have to accept what is going on and take reasonable steps to make it better.

The run was astoundingly difficult (more so than any run I've done for weeks) for the first two miles, at which point it finally settled back into the not-so-hideously-uncomfortable "ease" that I've become accustomed to. By the time I got to mile 3, I was booking it and managed to get my average mile pace for the 3.3 miles down to a 10:40.

I guess what I learned is that while I ran the Great Aloha Run comfortably and surprised myself with my performance, I am equally surprised by how long it takes for my body to fully recover. Patience and acceptance are the only way to get through; I will not be running a long run any time in the weeks before the triathlon, that's for sure!

After my run I had procrastinated on the swim until I no longer had a choice -- it would be getting dark soon and no one wants to swim in the scary ocean in pitch black. Of course, my procrastination was rewarded by POURING rain that began immediately when I left the house. Great. I was finally ready to test out my new goggles, swim cap, and ear plugs and I was determined to get everything on in the car with the heat blasting so that I could run full speed across the beach and into the water, getting out of the deluge as quickly as possible. It didn't bode well for me that the older gentleman getting into his car as I got out of mine laughed and said, "you poor thing! Good luck!" as I ran by.

The water was cold.

Without my nose covered, I got a thorough saline sinus rinse in the first few minutes. My goggles fogged almost immediately, leaving me in a misty and mostly indecipherable world. I can report, however, that my new earplugs and swim cap make the process of getting ready a million times easier and more comfortable. My Ear Band-It headband now lays flat over the cap and goggles instead of folding over the snorkeling mask, providing a better fit and more protection from leakage, and I felt a lot more free with less of my face covered.

I also felt a lot more tired and awkward as I struggled to breathe and keep water out of my nose each time I plunged my face back into the ocean. It is difficult to know where you're going when your entire visual field is fogged up, and my path resembled a sine curve, weaving back and forth on either side of the straight path I sought to keep. It took about 200m to get comfortable, and although I cut my swim a little short, I was feeling great by the time I made it back to my home buoy. Now I'm actually kind of excited for the next swim so I can start stronger and see how I feel on the full 600m distance.

Yesterday was a study in patience and acceptance. You must find the balance between pushing yourself and realizing that sometimes your body is doing the best that it can, even when it isn't performing quite how you'd like it to. You must accept that some days are not going to go according to plan, and find peace in your best efforts.

No comments:

Post a Comment