Tag Archives: sick

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…

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A Bug, A Silver Lining and a Smile – What a Week!

When I woke up a week ago Sunday morning, I already felt a little off.  I figured it was from the previous night’s dinner when I succumbed to my pizza craving and dined at my local favorite pizza joint.  I should have known my workout wasn’t going to be a good one when I realized I forgot my Clif Shots as I was on my way to the running trail.  Luckily there’s a sporting goods store nearby so I ran over and picked up a couple of GU shots.  And then I was off and running…well I was sort of off and running.  I still wasn’t feeling great and by mile two I realized my upset stomach was determined to take over.  But my body should know by now that I only push myself harder when I begin to struggle.  And as rough and ugly as it was I managed to complete my entire run.  I kept telling myself just get through this and then I’ll decide if I can complete my assigned ride as well.  Well after the run my stomach felt even worse.  After taking a short break I felt somewhat better, so I told myself to just get on the bike and go for as long as I can.  It’s an easy ride; just shake out the legs.  Once on the bike I focused on keeping the legs moving.  I managed to complete my entire workout, albeit slowly and sloppily.  However afterwards I found myself with nausea on the couch where I pretty much stayed for the next two days.   By mid-day Monday, I realized that while I didn’t eat very well that Saturday night, I was dealing with something a little bit more serious; I picked up a bug from somewhere.

So, looking back, I admit I was guilty with doing exactly what Ilene and I discussed – ignoring my body’s signs.  I should have stopped at mile two.  I definitely should not have continued with the cycling session.  Shame on me!  However once I landed on my couch that Sunday I did start to listen to my body.  I guess I cheated a bit because Monday was an official recovery day so taking that day off was a no brainer.  But as upsetting as it was I did take all of Tuesday off as well.

Being sick stinks.  I really tried to maintain a positive attitude during this time.  I tried to not worry about how this will impact my training and ultimate race goals. I tried to distract myself by reading and watching videos on TED, PBS and Netflix.  But lying down for two days allows the mind to wander.  I found myself riding a very intense emotional roller coaster.  I missed Noah a lot.  I felt guilty, sad and at times even sorry for myself.  If I can’t train and be ready for my races then I’m a failure, right?  I was disappointed in myself for not training.  Noah dealt with major GI issues and much more pain and significantly more serious challenges than this and yet I can’t handle a little bug?  On the flip side I found myself thankful that it’s just a bug and nothing else.  Thank goodness I didn’t pass out on the trail or during my ride.  And I’m glad I experienced this earlier in my training and not right before a race.  I even managed to find a silver lining:  I ran eight miles and biked 15 while my stomach was wreaking havoc!   I’ve heard of athletes encountering major GI issues on race day.  Sometimes these issues force the athlete to slow down or even worse end up in the ER.  I now know what it feels like to endure such a problem.  I’d like to think I learned from this experience and I’ll handle it differently next time.

I felt a lot better by Wednesday.  Trying to find a balance between pushing myself and respecting my body, I opted to go on a very short, slow run (instead of my assigned swimming and speed work).  I felt even better on Thursday, so I completed my assigned workout.  I did maintain some discipline by holding back a bit though.  And by Friday I felt like I could resume my training in full force.

Being able to fully train again is wonderful!  During both of my long workouts this past Saturday and Sunday I felt reinvigorated.  During Saturday’s hilly 35 mile ride and two-mile run, I actually felt genuinely happy!  Chrissie Wellington is known for her big smiles during her races.  Well, I felt like her when I ran.  I was in a zone and found myself smiling to the very end.  Then on Sunday as I ran outside in 44 degree weather for nine miles I found myself in that same zone.

What a week!

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