I wrote in my last post that I wasn’t going to cry. But… yesterday I did indeed cry. I was doing my run workout and as I was running, these thoughts floated through my head.
“It’s a good thing that another commitment prevented me from running with the team because I know I’d be the slowest one AND I really need/want to run with music today.” I clutched my earbuds to my head a little more closely. It was like Linus’ security blanket, running with my comforting music.
“I kind of can’t wait for This to be over.” This meaning triathlon training, of course.
“I really miss some of the other things I used to do for exercise.” Like seeing my beloved trainer (not since July!), going to Nia class, going for beautiful hikes, just walking with friends or whatever.
“I feel like I’m 9 months pregnant.” This was a sort of amusing and sort of horrifying thought. I realized that I was looking at the upcoming triathlon the way I anticipated labor when I was pregnant: an extremely painful and difficult event that would end up with a great outcome. (although, I laughed to myself, I’ll still be able to sleep in! especially on weekends! after the tri)
“No wonder they call these ENDURANCE events.” Then it hit me: I am really just enduring this. I am enduring the workouts and the practices and I feel like I am going to be gritting my teeth and using every last fiber of determination to get through that event. Is that what it’s supposed to be about?
I know it’s supposed to be “fun.” I mean some things have been fun. The social part. Meeting my awesome workout buddy and other members of the team. But I can’t really say that most of the workouts have been “fun.” They’ve been hard, grueling, challenging and sometimes ultimately rewarding. But not fun.
I thought about what I say to new Weight Watchers members every single week when I talk about exercise. “Find something that you LIKE to do. Find something that is fun, that you really look forward to.”
It was then that I burst into huge sobs as I was running, and I was gulping, “Wh-wh-why are you DOING this to me?” (you meaning me AND me) I was all, “This is NOT FUN!”
Then I stood at the side of the beautiful Bay and sobbed a bunch of snotty sobs into the wind. I was feeling verrrrrrrrry sorry for myself.
Today I went back to the sports psychologist and rehashed the whole thing. She was very patient. She’s a great listener, and good at teasing out the little moments. She reminded me of several things to feel good about. And then she offered something which I truly think is going to be the make it or break it session: we’re going to meet IN OPEN WATER in the lake near my house. In wetsuits. She said, “I’m not going to be your kayak.” (meaning she won’t rescue me) She said she was going to be with me to see WHAT HAPPENS in those moments when/if I start being unable to breathe. I really feel like this is my last hope. I have only one weekend left, and then it’s showtime.
I am so incredibly grateful and scared and hopeful and freaked out.
October 24, 2011 at 11:46 pm
Hi, I’m a reader from Twitter. Just want you to know it’s definitely okay to cry sometimes – and can really help! You’re doing an awesome, admirable thing, and it totally makes sense that it’s hard and discouraging. But you’ll get through it and be awesome at it – and have another great story to tell. Keep it up!
October 24, 2011 at 11:48 pm
you WILL do this! you’ve trained. you’ve cried. you’ve celebrated. you’ve pushed.
you are STRONG!
you are PREPARED!
you are AMAZING!
October 25, 2011 at 12:03 am
Whatever happens is okay. I’ll be thinking of you,
October 25, 2011 at 1:39 am
You bring up a very important point. One that is crucial to whether you (the universal you) should be in the sport. Ask yourself the most important question: Do you love the training? When you are training alone, are you truly happy?
Training is 99% or more of triathlon. Racing is about 1%. You have to love the training to make all the hard work worth it in my opinion. Personally, I love the journey. I train 20+ hours a week and it makes me happy. Racing is the icing on the cake. I do love to race, I probably raced 12 triathlons this season.
If the whole thing is causing you too much stress then you may want to reevaluate your reasons for doing it. It’s supposed to be fun, at least the vast majority of the time (there are always rough patches of course).
I hope this helps. I know you already have lots of support but if you have any questions I’d be happy to try to help as a very experienced triathlete.
October 27, 2011 at 8:52 pm
Do I love the training? When I’m training alone, am I truly happy? Well, NO. But this was never my expectation. My goal was to overcome some long-held beliefs, fears and limitations. I hadn’t ridden a bike or swum laps in 15-20 years. I had a severe aversion to both of those things. So I was not expecting to “like” either one of them, but it’s been amazing accomplishment to be able to swim 2 lengths of pool in July and to now be able to swim 88 this week (!!!). To be absolutely terrified of bicycles and to transition to clipless pedals, traffic, hills, turns, all of it. Those things alone have been HUGE. I suspect that if I were to keep going I could move into the “happy” stage but at this point it was just about surviving and learning these two very new sports that carried a lot of emotional baggage.
October 25, 2011 at 9:36 am
I think that I have never commented before, so I guess that makes me a lurker, but I feel compelled to comment now, after this post. I have to say that I have been, more than anything else, impressed and filled with admiration in how you are progressing with this. If you were to go back to some of your initial posts when you were just beginning to think about doing this tri, you have come so incredibly far. The bike thing? You’ve kicked it in the butt and back then, you could barely get on the bike. The swim. Well this is tricky.
My husband has done some marathons, and you know what, it is astonishing watching him train, but when I go to the events, it is the people who come in after about the 4 hour mark that really truly impress me. They aren’t jack rabbits, they don’t look super fit, but they’re there and they’ve finished. I think that counts for more honestly. I really do.
The swim…you have to decide how to handle it, if you’re going to handle it, cause even if you decide right now that this isn’t for you, that you are hating every moment of it, and that you will never ever regret stopping, go for it.
For me, the swim would be the toughest, not that I have breathing issues like you get, though I have at times in the past (I HATE swimming down under things), but because there are just so many people. Personally, I would simply wait on shore till the maddened crowd had churned off and then get in. You’re not racing anyone else, this isn’t about making the national team, it’s about seeing what you can do…it seems to me. So wait till the crowd is cleared, get in and swim your own swim. Yeah, you’ll be near the back, but who cares. That’s not what it’s about, or at least I think that’s not what it’s about. Sure, everyone would like to see a fast time, but I think that the finishing of the thing is what’s really at issue…no. I take that back. I think that what is really at issue is that you have laid down a challenge to yourself and you have to decide what to do with it.
I think from here, far far away, that you can do it, you have overcome SO much and met SO many challenges, indeed exceeded so many challenges to get where you are, I think you will do what you need to do, and we’ll applaud you whatever you decide.
(but I think you can do it. GO GIRL!!!)
October 27, 2011 at 8:49 pm
Oreneta, yes. This is exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to stay away from the thrashing crowd, go at my own speed and just try and go as long as I can. And yes I just want to finish. Truly, the time doesn’t matter to me. At All. I just want to FINISH the damn thing. And: thank you for delurking. It means a lot to me.
October 25, 2011 at 3:27 pm
Like everyone else, I believe you can do this! You have done an incredible job tackling so much fear and gaining new strength in your training. However, like you said, I believe you need to enjoy what you are doing. I would not be in these sports if I didn’t get a thrill out of it and thoroughly enjoy it. So, if after you are done, you’re heart is truly not in it, then move on. You tried it and gave it your best shot!
October 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm
I just want to give you a nice big hug and say (in the words of my dear Dad), everything will work out the way it is supposed to and I will be proud of you and glad to call you friend no matter what happens. I know whole slew of others who feel the very same way. So go do it…or not. Revel in the lessons you’ve learned, the friends you’ve made, the things you’ve achieved that you thought you’d never be able to do…and drink it all in.
October 25, 2011 at 10:11 pm
A sports psychologist? I need one of those! I’m glad you have someone to talk to to work through your issues and I LOVE that you share them honestly so that we can all learn from your experiences and relate to them as well. I wish you nothing but the best whatever you decide. You continue to be an inspiration to us all. HUGS!
October 26, 2011 at 10:05 pm
Wow, you have some tough decisions…While part of me will suggest that you finish what you started, the newer (wiser, lol) me says otherwise. Orenta hit the nail on the head frankly. You really have to enjoy the process. The outcome is PURELY secondary. Now, this is a classic multiple stage process at hand. Just like we have to study things in school that we may not neccesarily like, in that situation, you have to take the good w/ bad (sorta). So you have to like the outcome ENOUGH that the unpleasant parts aren’t so bad. Ultimately, only you can decide who/what you’re doing it for and why.
I’ve been exercising for the last 25 years. It DEFINITELY helps that I enjoy parts of it. Sure certain things are more painful and difficult than others, but ultimately, we each have to bundle our own “mix” in the quantity/proportions that KEEP us coming BACK for more
October 26, 2011 at 10:58 pm
You’re doing so great. And honestly, some parts of triathlon felt like labor to me too! Haha! You are built to ENDURE though and you will. I promise.
You will be so proud.
Remember to take it one mile at a time.
October 26, 2011 at 11:01 pm
Holding you up in the light. . . now and always. FIGHTING. Love, p
October 28, 2011 at 2:47 pm
You are brave.
You are a warrior.
You want this. So you’ve got this.
I know it.
I’m so proud of you! (and I can’t wait to double high five you when we finally get to meet in person and tell you how amazing I think you are)
Go kick ass and take names (as T would tell us both). xo