Tag Archives: spirit

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.—

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Listening to the Body and the Spirit

I was so excited about last night.  My coach’s group here in the Bay area meets on Thursdays for track workouts.  Pete and I even incorporated this workout into this week’s training plan.  I went ahead and completed my assigned strength training first thing in the morning and planned the day around the fact that I’d need to head down to track workouts at 5:30 pm.  I packed sunscreen, Nuun, water bottles, sun glasses, and chocolate milk (a great recovery drink).  I changed into my running clothes, put on my Garmin heart rate monitor and pulled my hair back.  I fed Abigail and Madeleine their dinner.   Then I headed out.

I didn’t make it very far.  I think I was on the road for less than five minutes when I felt this strong urge to NOT go.  I wanted to stop my car right where I was in the midst of heavy traffic and turn around right there – I wanted a large hand to come down from the sky and pick up my car and turn it 180 degrees, like I was a little Hot Wheels car or something.  Part of me kept thinking, “Go, silly.  You need your interval training and it’ll be good to join this new group.”  But a bigger part of me wanted to return home.  The bigger part won.

Perhaps joining a new group during the first week of my cross-country move was too much for me to handle.  (I still don’t like meeting new people, and I find I need to continue giving myself a good amount of down time after being social.)  Perhaps I was over tired.  Perhaps I was nervous about running with a new group of accomplished athletes.  Perhaps my body just needed a break. Perhaps I was feeling a combination of all of this.

I’ve been trying to listen to my body AND spirit a bit more these days.  I experienced something similar about a month ago.  One Sunday I was getting ready for my long ride — I flipped my long workouts around that weekend —  but as I pumped air into my tires, I experienced the same feelings I had last night.  And I quickly felt sad and disappointed about those feelings.  I decided to turn that day into a recovery day and do my long ride the next day, Monday, (which is my usual recovery day).  I was worried I grew tired of training but as I rode on Monday that concern disappeared.  I felt amazing on the road.  I had a solid ride and felt really strong on the bike.

What I’ve learned since that Sunday (from my grief counselor) is the body which includes one’s spirit knows what’s best and will react accordingly if one doesn’t listen to it.  I’m familiar with my body physically breaking down (e.g. injuries, sickness, etc.) to tell me it needs a break.  But what I experienced on that Sunday and last night is my spirit telling me to listen to it; not over do it; and be kind to myself by taking a little break.  I do believe there’s a difference between this and lacking commitment/discipline or simply feeling lazy.  Believe me there’s been times when I’ve briefly thought about completing only half of my training session but I always ignored such thoughts and powered through.  (In some cases I found myself working even harder afterwards.)    What I felt last night and that Sunday were completely different, and the thoughts and emotions were so strong they felt truly physical.  I will tell you tears were involved both times.

I am somewhat disappointed in myself for not completing my interval training and joining the group last night.   Clearly I’m just learning about listening to my spirit and improving my self-care as I train.  At this point, I think it’s best to learn as much as possible from this and focus on today’s training session – a 1.8 mile swim and an hour on the bike.

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