... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I Can't... I Have to Train.

Well, week three has gone significantly better than week two, partially because my body is readjusting to the activity level, but mostly due to the fact that I am remembering how to stop making excuses. Non-exercising life, at least for me, is full of reasons why I am being sedentary. I am busy... I am tired... I need to watch the new episode of Dexter...

These things are all true, but no more true than the fact that if I don't get off my ass and train for the Lavaman Tri, I will be crawling across the finish line doused in my own tears. Last week, I let the excuses win. This week, I made a change.

Every time the thought "I don't feel like it" entered my mind, I quickly replaced it with "SHUT UP IT DOESN'T MATTER!" Busy? So is everyone. Tired? Go to bed early. Wondering if Hannah and Dexter will be able to make it work? Watch it after your hard-earned dinner. It doesn't matter.

If you are truly going to do a triathlon (and do it well, not just drag yourself to the finish), the training has to be a priority. End of story. And so I made it happen. On Thursday when I was tired, I told myself that I just had to get on the bike and ride a mile. Once I got going, it was so enjoyable that I rode 14. I started in Kawaihae and took the highway up the hill toward Hawi, riding along the water over ups and downs, looking at Maui rising out of the ocean on the horizon. I have to thank the M.S. fundraiser volunteers because left over from their bike race last weekend were words emblazoned in chalk along the roadside: "It's a hill! ... Keep Going! ... You did it!" and "What goes up? ... a BIKE!" They made me smile and kept by energy and motivation strong.

In fact, I rode until the sun was going down and it started to get dark, and when I got back to Kawaihae Harbor where I had parked the sunset was so beautiful that I was overtaken by the desire to be enveloped in the purples reflecting on the ocean; into the water I went -- bike shorts and all. Spontaneity is what makes things interesting, and the interesting and unexpected opportunities that present themselves during training are one of the things that keep me going. As I immersed myself in the velvety water, surrounded by sunset colors, I remembered that I hadn't even wanted to go on this ride. Because I was tired.

This week has been a success. On the bike, I got my mile time down to 3:48 per mile, a vast improvement over the 5:54 I started out at when I began my re-training. I took great strides in my running as well (no pun intended) running my fastest 5k since the foot injury and taking my mile time down to 12:58 -- horrible, really, but steadily improving and almost back to where I was when I first started running back in December of last year. Every run leaves me wanting more, and my foot isn't giving me any trouble.

Swimming is where I will be putting my focus in the upcoming week. My stroke feels choppy and ungainly, seemingly unable to get into a rhythm like I'm used to. I'm still using a snorkel in order to strengthen my arms without worrying about breathing, but I'm feeling like I've reached the point at which it is more of a hindrance than a help. As an added bonus, today I was stung by a jellyfish for the first time! After last week's shark adventure, I was extremely paranoid, but I was so busy looking out toward the open ocean and jumping at every shadow passing on the sand below me that I failed to see the tentacles in my path. Almost simultaneously I felt a prickly pain on my lips, then my arm, then my armpits. It wasn't as horribly painful as I had imagined and I never saw the jelly, so at first I thought that my body was acting up in some new and strange way, but as the stinging persisted and intensified I realized I'd been stung. I swam to shallow water and stood up, watching as welts raised on my arm. Somehow my face was spared despite being the first place I felt the sting.

Once I realized that I wasn't going to have horrible cramps or go into shock, and inspired by Leahi Camacho, the incredibly inspirational 17-year-old who just completed a 26-mile swim between Molokai and Oahu despite being stung by a Portugese Man of War in the middle of the swim, I headed back out to finish my swim. If she can swim for 15 hours, certainly I can suck it up and pull through for 29 minutes.

So all in all, a solid week. No more excuses, no more laziness. Want to lounge on the couch? Take a nap? Watch reruns on TV? I can't. I have to train.

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