Thursday, April 16, 2009

Admit it

Training isn't what you want it to be. Or what you want to be doing.
I love this sport. I love almost everything about it. I've been an athlete all my life but I feel that I am still a newbie in the world of triathlete.
That said, I have gone from 0 to 60 pretty fast. My first year I did only 2 races and then I crashed my bike. Hard. I wrecked my shoulder. I tore the rotator cuff, ended up in the OR, and was out for months and months.
The next year, 2007, I won my first race. Sweet revenge on the injury. The rest of the season was extremely rewarding and tons of fun. I even tackled my first Half Ironman. I was hooked.
2008 was another great year. I worked even harder. Put in more hours. Tackled my 2nd half ironman with an age group win and I was off to Worlds.
Here I am in 2009. I'm staring down the barrel at an Ironman. Uncharted territory. A huge daunting task.

Training is going well. It's hard. It's....always there. I'm always training. I knew this would be the case. But it's really hitting me. Some of the workouts are so long. So so long. I am really still learning how to stomach 5 hours on my bike. It's still so hard for me to swallow. My legs can handle the miles, my head goes Crazy after 3 hours.
But I have been doing pretty well with most of my workouts. I don't 'win' them all but I rarely fail. I am able to keep going when I'm tired. I don't over think the alarm at 4:33 a.m, I just get up and go. I don't look back. I am motivated. I am determined. And I do work hard. I know that about myself. I am able to grit my teeth and suck up the pain. I love the hard workouts that make me shake after. They give me a place to go back to when the pain comes on in a race.

But it's not all fun. Or easy. And sometimes the hurt is just a bit much. Or the fatigue is just too strong. I am learning and accepting that that is part of it.

I had a few days of bad triathlon feelings. Thoughts went through my head like, "I don't want to do this. Maybe I'll just pull out of the Ironman....oh shoot...too much money." "I hate long rides." "I am not sure if this is for me." "I just want to race short races."
Bad stuff. They come in my brain and I quickly shoo them away. How Dare I think those things!?? I love this sport! And I DO want to do this Ironman. I Really really do. But can I do it? I worry sometimes. When I'm feeling tired and weak, I worry that I am not cut out for it. I have to banish these worries. They can kill you.

So after a long ride that made me feel weak and a run on which my stomach felt queasy, I had to admit. There are bound to be days that I don't love the work. Days that I want to quit and crawl into a hole. I ended that day with a sore throat, the chills, a headache, and general malaise. I went to bed early, got up late, and emailed coach Jen with a few little complaints.

That's all it took. I am somehow rejuvinated again. I have fought off this cold bug. Somehow. Jen gave me some encouraging words. Hearing advice from those much more experienced always helps so much. Allowing myself to admit that it's not always the greateast thing on earth is what I needed.

This sport gives me so much. I can save those thoughts for another post. But I am so lucky to be able to do this. My body is in great shape at 39 and still allows me to beat it into the ground for 20 hours week. I love that. I am not a quitter. I am not even close to giving up this dream. I am however, willing to give myself a break. Willing to allow myself bad thoughts. To think them, then to think them through, and then to move on. A new day is ahead.
There are ups and downs. Highs and lows. There are great workouts that make you feel like superwoman and others that make you think you're incapable of riding or running fast ever again.

Now, it's out of my system and I am ready to tackle my hard weekend of training.


GetBackJoJo said...

What? You don't LOVE this every day of your freaking life?
hehe. just kidding... :)
It's all about getting mentally tough in terms of time out there. I'm convinced right now it may be more of a mental hurdle than a physical hurdle to spend so much time in the saddle. But hey--by the end of this season 5 hours will be like--What? a little 5 hour ride? pa--leaseeee.
But yeah, right now it's a pretty fucking long time to be out there.
But you will survive (and me too!)--and love it at least 65% (maybe even 75%) of the time until IM. Just like you like about 65% of a race... you know?

Pedergraham said... are so honest with yourself and that is great. It is also a wonderful example to your children that life has ups and downs, but to keep your eyes on the prize and YOU CAN DO IT!

Swimming for ME said...

That is called Accept and Commit in the clinical world. Recognize the bad thoughts .. say "hi guys I know you are there"... but I am movin' on! Not going to spend any more time on you. I'm movin' on to better thoughts.

You make it look easy, even though we all know it is not. You do it each day. Day by day.

Just like you'll crush that IM... mile by mile, step by step.

Rebecca DeWire said...

I think training for your first IM is by far the hardest. I was a mess training for my first one and was totally convinced that there is NO WAY a race can be worth this misery that I am experiencing. I think I swore off all endurance sports many times. But you have to believe that finishing your first IM is going to be one of the most amazing experiences of your life.

Laura said...

Hey Angela. Found you from Mary E. I just wanted to comment on this since I did my first IM last year along with a bunch of other IM newbies.

In my very unexperienced opinion, if you were training for your first IM and NOT thinking things like this than something was probably wrong. I think we (the newbies) all had these thoughts in training last year. It's a big deal, an IM, and you are bound to have doubts, but you learn soooooo much about you in the process. And at the end of race day, that kicks arse no matter where you finish!