Thursday, March 29, 2012

How does this work?

I haven't written a blog in a long long time. Life has been so busy lately. That's the story for all of us. Life is just too busy.  I keep looking ahead and thinking about my list and dreaming of a day when the big things are checked off. You know,  those extra things that aren't usually there. They are cluttering my brain. I think how peaceful and orderly I will feel once they are done. I dream about going through the day without  the frantic hurried feeling. I crave a period of time when my list for the day is completed without a little asteriks next to it, "do tomorrow..." 

I fear that time may not come. Every time I accomplish one of those 'extra' tasks , a new one appears.  Or even worse, I have to do one over. This happened a few weeks ago and threw me into a bona fide meltdown.  The result has been no blogging. Don't get me wrong. I have Thought through 5 or 6 different posts. I write them while I'm running.  But then I get home and I'm left with 26 minutes to shower, get dressed, eat and drive to school to pick up the 3 guys. 

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Today, the stars aligned and I have a few 'extra' minutes to accomplish more than just the must do everyday tasks.  And, I am racing on Sunday so my training is pretty light. 

Here's what I have been thinking about the most.


I love racing. I love training. But I would be lying if I didn't say that sometimes, I want to throw in the towel.  There are times when I think to myself, why? What is the point? I don't think I can or I don't think I should do this anymore.

This happens when I feel unbalanced. It happens when I can't even find the time to grocery shop without  tipping the full cart up on two wheels as I make a corner towards the yogurt because I only have 13 minutes to check out and then drive back to band practice to get my son.  Why am I running like this? Who knows what it was that day. But some days, it's because I rode my bike for 4 hours while the kids were at school. I know, gasp. 
Remember when you were younger, maybe it was High School, or maybe you were in college and you were trying to figure out what you would be when you grew up? I will always think that is about the toughest thing to figure out. First of all..when you grow up. I know for a fact I am still   working on that one. Part of the formula was to determine what you loved to do. And then to figure out what you were actually good at doing.  Don't forget, you need to earn money!  And then there is the question of time. Would your chosen profession allow you to raise a family if that's something you yearned to do? Big questions for a 19 year old!!! It is also pretty tough to figure out for a 25 year old if you ask me! Clearly it was tough for me,  since I have changed professions during my adult life.

Getting on with my point. As a grown up with three kids, I figured it out. My life allowed me to get back into a world that I loved as a child. I was given the chance to get back to what I love and where my talents lie. I figured out how to be true to myself and to do what made me happy.  It's a good feeling. It hasn't come easy. I have had to find peace with this change and accept that it's ok to stray off the planned course. It's ok to take risks.

Training and racing is what I love to do. I am not a professional athlete nor will I ever be. And yet, in some ways, racing is my job. Training is my job. Because I don't only talk the talk, I walk the walk. I am living what I help people do. I know first hand what it is like. I can relate.

My goals in sport are  personal. Sure, I have a goal to reach an Ironman finish line in xx:xx hours or to 'win' this or that race. That's not too personal. Those are just times and places.  But what IS personal, are my reasons. The drive behind it all. The motivation I have to set that little red alarm clock that I've had for years for 4:03 day after day after day after day so I can drive 30 miles to dive into  murky water that's  way too warm for real swimming. The thing inside me that convinces me that I DO want to go for the 4 hour bike ride even though I'm tired, my legs hurt, it's cold, my big race is 4 months away, I have work to do and errands to run, that's personal. Even if I could, I wouldn't write it all out for you. I'm sorry. I just feel that some of those  inner thoughts are best left alone.  After all, it doesn't really matter to anyone but me.  It shouldn't anyway.

You might be interested to know what's deep inside my head but it's safer in there. And actually, those 'secret' thoughts of mine are what help me push harder on race day, they are what help me through all the tough days. And there are many tough days. 

While my reasons for pushing day after day are my own, how I make it all work and how I reach success is for everyone. 

As a life long athlete and a coach I can give you a little formula to help you reach your goals. But never ever forget, your goals are your own. And your reasons for wanting to achieve them are personal. Hold that close. Make peace with it. Don't let anyone tell you why you shouldn't strive for what you want. But, if you really really want it, Go After it.

If the weather is warm, the roads are dry, the to-do list is under control, the kids are healthy, you had a little extra time before someone needed you and you're feeling rested, it's easy.
Wouldn't it be great if it was always like that?
Can you remember the last time all of that was the case? I can't.

I have hiccups in my training. I have obstacles and roadblocks. I have workouts that HURT! Some days I feel like my body weighs 60 lbs more than it really does and my feet are tied to the road with bricks. Some days the water feels like sludge and I am convinced. someone is grabbing my feet & pulling me backwards. There are so many hills in this town of mine and I can't count how many times I've stopped mid-climb to check my tire pressure because I was Convinced I had a flat. Nope. Full air. It was just me  and my lack of power that day. Now and then I am even  pulled off on the side of the road, leaning over my bike with a pain in my side that has me convinced an OR is in my future. I have wanted to poke my eyeballs out from boredom of pedaling away on my trainer for 3 hours in. the. same. spot.   I have run down the road with my eyes closed because my headache hurts so much or because I was stumbling with an imminent bonk in the next 5 minutes. Yeah, good times. I love training.
I do. I really love it. Because after all those sessions, I hop into a hot shower ( after a cold ice bath of course :0 ) and sigh  a big relief of , "okay...I did it. Move on. Not the best but tomorrow has to be better."

Here are my secrets: 
I do all my workouts, unless.....see below.  I plan ahead for the week with the weather and my personal schedule so I can fit it all in.Some days are tricky and so  I might be out running in little neighborhood circles in the dark while holding a little flashlight. But somehow, I will get it done. Even if that means running 12 miles before 7 a.m.  I know when the hard workouts will be and I prepare mentally and nutritionally. I also try to get to bed earlier the night before big days.  If I am sick, I know it's ok to miss something. But I need to be truly sick. A bit of a cold doesn't stop me. A fever does. If I am injured, I try to be honest about it. I do not run through pain in my knee or something that is new and sharp and that could possibly harm me long term.  I pat myself on the back for breakthroughs and cut myself some slack for the days that aren't so hot.  I think about the handful of days before those crummy runs or bikes or swims and try to figure out why. Or, I talk to my coach about those things. That is why he is there. I communicate with him a lot. I talk to my friend a lot. I use those close to me for that non- emotional advice.  I keep the end goal in mind. I train consistenly day after day after day. I embrace the weeks that leave me tattered. I fight the feeling of restlessness during light weeks that make me want more. I trust the plan. I work hard when it says to work hard and I go easy when it says to go easy.  I don't complain about hard workouts. I do the time. I do the work. .
I believe in myself.
I visualize success.
I picture the course, the competitors, what I am wearing, how I am feeling, How I will DO it on that day. 
I go after it. Every day. This is who I am and what I want right now. I have figured it out.
Figure out what you want. And then go after it.



Born To Endure said...

You are to be admired!!!

Mary IronMatron said...

This was a day a needed to read this! Thank you.
I did the run; I did the swim; then I flatted three times (my fault... broken valve and two pinched tubes) and missed the full bike workout.
And I as I was struggling to get the tire around the wheel on my third change, and the plastic lever I was using snapped in half, I thought.
THIS SUCKKKKKKSSSSSSSSS.....I could be working, drinking coffee, reading, taking a freaking nap!
This post helped me to come back to why. xoxoxoxoo

Marisa said...

Thank you.

Caratunk Girl said...

I freaking love you. Thank you for this...

Jennifer Harrison said...

Great blog, Ange! And yes, this is hard work ..but only a few get it & rise above all the fluff..and you're one of them surely.