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…