Thursday, January 14, 2010

Making my way back




November 1st was the day I realized something was wrong with my foot. I stopped running. A few days later my orthopaedist confirmed that my pain couldn't be anything but a stress fracture. Bad news.


But the Good news was I had two other sports I could focus on. That's the cool thing about Triathlon. Of course I really wasn't too excited about my bike yet since I had just endured the Queen K oven ride a few weeks before.


So it was all about the pool. I have been focused on swimming swimming swimming. I have worked so hard to fit swims in the past few months. I wake up at 4:30 a.m. or I drive 1 hour in a snowstorm on a Saturday morning just so I can swim with some friends at a Masters practice. Worth it? Absolutely!!!! I'm even swimmming 5 days this week!!!! Since there is no pool in my town...that is very rare. I think back to when I first started triathlon. Finding a place and time to swim was the big hurdle. The pool I use opened later back then. Those first few years, I only had 30 minutes to swim twice a week!!! I think I did about 4-5000 yards/week! I can't believe it.


I dove in the pool yesterday (shhhh...not supposed to dive...but the guard wasn't looking and I knew I wouldn't hit the bottom. It makes it Much easier to get in the cold water that way..) and felt so good. I felt 'normal.' I felt like a swimmer. My arms were loose and I could grab the water. My stroke didn't wobble from side to side. Back in HS and College when I was practicing two times/day, 6 days/week.....I had special feel for the water. That is how I look at it. Occasionally, I get that feel back. I have it now and I am loving it. I'm not that much faster yet, but I know I will be. It's going to be a good year.


But the reality is...Triathlon is not all about swimming. Not even close. But it is my secret weapon. It is my strength. Sure, I can ride fairly well and run pretty well too...but I can swim even better. I constantly hear this, "Nobody wins a triathlon on the swim." I hear that, and I laugh a sinister laugh. I'll leave it at that.


Since swimming is Not the only sport...it's time to refocus on the other two. Running is coming along. Slowly slowly slowly but surely. And that is ok. It's not time for speed yet. We all love to feel the speed but it's not time. It's January. Patience. I will have patience.




Biking...well....it's fine. I guess. I'm on my trainer like the rest of the athletes in the Northeast. I work hard when I need to work hard and I spin when I need to spin. I do the time. I'm a firm believer in Nike's words: Just Do It. When it comes to the bike these days..I JUST DO IT!




In the water, I put my head down and savor the soundless workout. The sloshing of the water in my ears and the sound of my own breathing. I watch my hand entry and pull and concentrate on efficiency and strength. I concentrate on power. I think about the middle 10 minutes of a Half Ironman swim and find that pace. I envision my competitors in the one pool race I get to enjoy each spring. I'm finding that old swimmer within me again. That's right. At age 40. Bring. It. On.




When I run I feel each step. I feel the muscles in my legs getting used. I enjoy the cold air making my eyes water. I hear myself breathing in a rhythmic manner and smile to the point of tears because I am OUT THERE again!! Injuries are tough..they hurt and they slow us down. But for those of us who truly find their souls through sport it can be disabling. It can eat away at your heart and your confidence and cause you to change. I started to loose sight of myself while I was injured. Sport is not my life...my family is my true life. But I am part of that family and because of my sport, I can stay centered in myself. I run to race and to stay fit but running is also my time. It's therapeutic like nothing else to me. I have it back. And that feels great.








13 comments:

maryeggers said...

happy belated birthday by the way! way to go on maing your way back!

Laura said...

So glad that you are feeling better and getting to get out there again...I totally identify with it being your time! I think it is letting me give more back when I am with my family...it's too bad that there are so many people that just don't get that. It's so awesome to have something that helps you be better at your life!

Mary IronMatron said...

Hey, this is kind of poetic!! :)
I like it.
I love the sinister laugh part. THAT IS your weapon! You get so far ahead of the rest of us we can never catch up!! :)
xoxxoxo

Mama Simmons said...

I totally KNOW that feel for the water... Ahhhh. I'm missing it right now- you're right- you have to get in 4-5x/week to have it and I just can't make that happen right now. But I loved reading your words about how good it feels. :)))

Marni said...

keep staying positive. Small steps. I have been in the water 3 days a week for around 4000-6000 yrds each practice and I love being with my fellow swimmers. I feel swimming is so good for the body and we are super lucky that we enjoy being in the water.
glad running is coming back. Water jogging is great too! Looks like trainer is your bff right now with all that snow!
-marn

sallyaston said...

Oh, how I wish I had that feeling in the water! I am not a swimmer!
Good luck with the return to running! :-) Hope you have a successful year!

MaineSport said...

Glad to hear the swimming is going well. I know what you mean about feeling really good in the water. Now just don't go and break something.....

Swimming for ME said...

Swim. Ange. Swim!!
Love this post. I know exactly what you mean :)
Looking forward to some lake swimming soon - no flipturns and a new wetsuit.
Hooray!

healthyish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
healthyish said...

Ange, I'm so jealous of your feel for the water! I get that every once in a while. It comes out of the blue. All of a sudden I feel like a swimmer again...and then my legs get heavy and I remember that I'm not really a swimmer anymore (even if my shoulders don't fit in shirts!) I hope you join us for another saturday morning soon

Judi said...

you and jen are so dramatic when you talk about swimming, i love it.

glad you are back!! i'm excited for 2010!

Melissa said...

Hi Ange. You will have a GREAT year! I think that turning 40 can be the motivating factor.

Ryan said...

I missed your birthday but I'm sure you are over it by now...

Happy Late Birthday