Friendly Reminder: It’s All About the Journey

I thought I had my 2013 triathlon season all set:

  • Successfully register for two Half Ironman races (which is not always easy given how some of them, especially the two I wanted to race are hugely popular and sell out within days and in the case of one, minutes).  Check: I registered for Oceanside 70.3 and Vineman 70.3.
  • Albeit somewhat last-minute, sign up for my first Ironman.  Check: Registered for Ironman Lake Tahoe.
  • Begin base building in January.  Check: Changed workout focus and drafted training plan.

But then as with everyone life happened, and my plans changed.  Because of some scheduling issues I had to back out of Oceanside at the beginning of the year.  A couple of months later I learned about a new 70.3 race that fits my schedule better.  So I signed up for it, the Silicon Valley Long Course.

Then with just over three weeks until my first 70.3, my training was interrupted with a nasty cold that put me out for five days.

This past Tuesday I worked out for the first time since getting the cold and it was hard.  It was hard for lots of reasons:

  • Knowing that I can’t truly make up my lost training days, I struggled with what I should do on my first day back to training.
  • A new serving of angst emerged since I now have less than two weeks of training before I begin tapering.  A week ago I was pretty confident I’d finish the race with a decent time; now – not so much.
  • I decided to ride 47 miles for my first workout and boy did I struggle on many fronts: cardio, strength and mentally.  Especially knowing that I was much stronger and fitter just a week ago, I couldn’t help but be frustrated.

But as with everything else in life, I learned a lot over the past challenging week.  To help get me through each day I was sick I thought more and more about what’s important this season, this year, in my life.  I should be thankful I have just a cold and nothing more.  While triathlons are extremely important to me, they are just races.  I train to help me with my grief.  And while I race to help honor Noah, I need to maintain a healthier perspective.  By getting stressed and all worked up over the possibility of  not racing, I realized I’m probably taking something away from this special time with my son.  Moreover I need to focus on the bigger picture.  And the picture is pretty big with my son in a completely different world than me.

Noah’s presence on my ride provided a constant reminder that my cold, my struggle with my breathing, climbing and even at times pedaling (which should have not been the case) are really all petty issues.  As mentioned before, digging down some to get through a hard training segment is becoming more and more natural and Tuesday’s ride and yesterday’s workout were no exception.

Seeing wildlife during my training sessions isn’t new. I rode past a deer who was leisurely snacking on the side of the road. I also witnessed two squirrels attempt to cross a relatively busy road.  After an intense 3-5 seconds of questioning if a car would truly stop for it, one of them actually crossed.  (The other one appeared to not want to play Frogger at all and stayed on the other side of the road.)  Slowing down to observe these creatures as well as take in some of Mother Nature’s beautiful lushness was part of my journey on Tuesday.  I had several moments when I appreciated this.

Who knows how I’ll do at my first tri of the season.  But this week has already been a huge reminder that this is all about the process – the journey, if you will.  I’m sure I’ll feel some disappointment if I don’t do well at my first race.  I’ll wonder if I could have dug even deeper, pushed harder, listened to my body better and so on and so on.  Even if I’m fortunate to perform well, I’ll probably wonder about the same things as well as whether I trained too much and I pushed too hard given that this race is a B race (a warm up race) and I have two more to go.  Lots of questions.   I need to remind myself of days like this past week and this time, that time, another time and others and to be open to experiencing what they offer.

I’m on a journey, (and dare I say, just like you).  Since Noah my journey will always have a travel companion.  We’re on this journey together and while I think I know what my destination is for this tri season, Ironman Lake Tahoe, it may not be.  I don’t know what next year’s destination will be or the year after or my life’s ultimate destination.  I guess it doesn’t matter.  After all I thought MLH’s and my destination with Noah was to have him down here on earth with us but go figure.  As the cliché goes, it’s not about the destination.  I need to remind myself it’s all about the journey…

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Father+Daughter+Marathon=Inspiration

Father+Daughter+Marathon=Inspiration

I just learned about Iram Leon & his daughter, Kiana, this morning from my Daily Good newsletter…just amazing…

Tagged , , , ,

Training Playlist #19

  • It’s Time (Imagine Dragons)
Tagged

Triathlon + Work

I’m spending an increasing amount of time on work these days.  Yes, this development is positive and I’m truly excited about my work.  But since there’s a fixed number of hours in a day, I’m having to rethink my training sessions.  I’m trying to figure out how to focus more on quality than quantity.  Others already know how to do this, and I hope to learn from them.

Again I know in my heart and head that this is a very good chapter I’ve begun.  I’ve expanded my world to include my career.  I’m meeting with various vendors, networking, taking a couple of courses, collaborating with different specialists and next month I’ll attend a trade show.  I’m setting non-triathlon-related goals and making good progress towards meeting them.

For a while I was not comfortable with this change because I felt I was shortening my special time with Noah.  I’m either cutting back on the length of my training sessions and/or increasing my concentration on drills and new objectives to deliver higher quality workouts.  From preparing for the session to warming up to completing the workout to cooling down to showering to returning to work has me identifying ways to shave off time and become more efficient as well.  Before I had many more moments to just be in the present; to just be with Noah.  Now I don’t.

However I’ve begun to realize that while my special time may be shortened and I have fewer opportunities to just be with my son, my true connection probably — hopefully? —  has not been compromised.  In some ways I feel like my connection has deepened even more.  When I’m struggling with a climb, trying to maintain a higher pace, feeling pain somewhere in my body or thinking of stopping, he’s always right there.  I don’t find myself actually initiating thoughts of him as often.  His presence seems to be pervasive and constant; it’s much more natural than second nature.  Many times it feels like he’s my shadow (or I’m his) and we’re one.  I used to remind myself of all he went through – all of the poking, machines, pain, hunger…everything.  Now what he endured during his way-to-short-of-a-life can feel like it’s seeping through my body.  Sometimes I feel this in my heart, sometimes it’s an intellectual experience and many times it’s spiritual.  As odd as it may sound, when I’m having to engage my legs, my core or other muscles in my body during a climb, run or even strength training I can feel him there.  And of course there’s always my breathing and the beating of my heart.

Then there’s my work.  While the time I spend starting my business and building my first product is very different from training, this time is about Noah too.  He inspired me to start this company.  I believe our training and racing will always be our very special time together but I am greatly comforted by the fact that he’s still very much with me as I work on my — OUR — company.

In a twisted way I was fortunate to have a great amount of time to spend with Noah over the past two years as I trained and raced.  (I know!  What an odd statement!  All of these words should not be in the same sentence when talking about time after losing a loved one, should they?!)  I definitely miss this.  However, in many ways I do think he’s so much more a part of me and my daily life.  I love you, Noah.

—You can follow I Tri 4 You on Facebook.—

Tagged , , , , , , ,

That First Drop and Then the Storm

Clean.  Neat.  Orderly.  At least this is how I look when I’m just beginning a workout.  I don’t really put any effort into my appearance but I do try to ensure everything is more or less in place with my long hair pulled back and out of my face.  I need to make sure I put my clothes on correctly so nothing constrains, rubs or snags.  My heart rate monitor strap needs to be tight enough.  And I need to go down the rest of my mental checklist: Sunscreen?  Check.  Sunglasses? Check.  Hydration?  Check.  CLIF Shot?  Check.  Road ID?  Check.  Garmin watch?  Check.  I don’t want to have to worry about any of this once I begin my workout.  I don’t want to have to stop to adjust my heart rate strap or tighten my shoe laces.  Once I start running, cycling or swimming I want to be able to focus only on my body and what it needs to do for the next one to three or so hours.  I want to focus on properly stretching and warming — waking — up my muscles, mind and spirit.  I want to focus on entering into my zone, listening to my breathing, feeling my heart pound, improving my technique, hammering out the assigned drills and experiencing my special connection with Noah.

Once I’m warmed up and feeling the onset of entering the zone, It begins.  Moisture begins to seep through my skin.  My body starts perspiring.  Usually my head becomes damp first but sometimes I feel beads of sweat forming on my back.  And then that first bead rolls from my scalp down my cheek (or sometimes my back).  Sometimes it’ll linger for a second or two on my chin and sometimes it drops directly onto my bike or the ground.  After that first drop a storm of these beads quickly build up all over me.  Sweat pours out of me for most of my workout.

While riding indoors the other day I realized I really look forward to that first drop.  It’s almost like a mini-phase I’m eager to reach during every workout.  While I’m grateful for the physiological reasons that my body can perspire, I think I look forward to these first few drops for mainly cathartic reasons.  I feel as though I’ve begun to cleanse my entire body.  This sounds silly when one thinks about the real purpose of perspiration and the ill odor it creates.  But sweating during a training session is a catharsis for me.  I feel like I’m giving my body, mind and spirit a deep cleaning — a scrubbing if you will —  every time.

Once I’ve completed my workout I’m usually soaked with sweat dripping almost everywhere.  I’m exhausted and flat-out disgusting with that ill-odor, clothes drenched, remnants of an energy gel somewhere on my face or hands (and its used packaging stashed somewhere in my clothes),  bits of snot on my sleeves and most likely around my nose, and specks of dirt on my legs and shoes.  None of this matters because at the end of my training session my spirit, mind and body feel deeply cleansed.

—You can follow I Tri 4 You on Facebook.—

Tagged , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: