Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Worst of Days-The Best of Days

January has been full of set-backs in my ironman training. At times, it seems, I have fallen apart nutritionally and eaten like a starving couch potato. There were missed workouts; times I felt sick and tired or tired and sick. It's hard to tell. There were times, I was ready to throw in the towel and any other linens which confirmed total withdrawal from this journey. I really don't know how I got through all this so far without going belly-up. But I did. I prayed a lot, and I guess my answered prayer was that I was basically just too tired and zoned-in to quit. Maybe being brain-dead with fatigue caused me to default to keep moving forward?

At any rate, I'm still standing - barely. Got in my 10 mile run yesterday - a major milestone. And, this morning I can actually get out of bed and make it to the bathroom without crawling. Good news! My bike miles remain good and my running miles are increasing. I have lost a few rounds in this fight but I have won enough to keep me plodding forward on this wonderful journey. Thanks God.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Longest Day

Ironman training has been an journey in self-discovery. In some areas I have found myself to be stronger and more resilient than I thought I was. For instance, I found I can hang with a tough indoor workout. I can do an extended strength session even though I dislike strength training. I can become severely discouraged by my slow times in training, yet I can keep going out there again the next day.

But, I have found weakness as well. I tend to let myself off the hook on hard training. It is so much easier to cruise for long periods of time during training rather than push myself. I tend to concentrate too much on my injuries almost as if I am holding on to them in case I fail and need them to hide behind. And, I fear recovery. Consequently, I do very little of it; just going from can to can't regardless of my schedule. Consequently, I often crash and burn and have to take time off. Even then I try to do physical jobs left undone by all the training. Previous recovery days have found me splitting firewood or felling dead trees, or hauling dirt, or building something. Makes me wonder why I am so afraid of complete rest.

Today, so far, I am doing well at taking a full recovery day. This is break-through stuff for me. And it could be growth, and it could be a step-up in my level of commitment. Today, I am committed to getting recovered. This is victory for me in the miles of the journey.

When I think about it; God rested on the seventh day. I don't think He was all that tired, but perhaps it was an example of what would be best for us? What a great journey this is. If I don't make the time cut-offs in my ironman, the journey itself has been worth the price of admission...thank you God.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Place I Love to Go

It rained all day. Despite my best plans, any training would have to be indoors. The indoor bike ride; not an appealing thought. What to do? Impulse was to get a movie and just piddle through the ride, nice and easy. Then the arm wrestling contest with oneself. This was supposed to be my long ride day. So how could I just do a “soft and easy” when I am supposed to be doing a long ride day?

OK, OK. I reluctantly decided to do a training dvd. This was a new one that I had never done. And, it didn’t look that hard and even if it was, I could just take it easy on the hard parts. I decided to warm up on the bike for five minutes before I turned the training video on. That felt pretty good. Five minutes came quickly. I didn’t want to stop the warm-up. I didn’t. Finally, after a fifteen minute warm-up, I had made a sort of peace with the indoor biking and felt ready to hit “play.”

It was much harder than I thought it would be. Standing climbs, intervals, tempo intervals; my heart rate was moving higher and higher. I wondered could I hold this? Can I hang on? Somewhere about the middle of the fifty-three minute session, a switch must have got flipped, and I was in. Something had clicked-in in my mind, heart, and body. I had stepped up and stepped past myself. Now I held the higher heart rate, the harder climbs, the higher tempos without feeling on the edge and about to lose grip. I had been counting down the minutes to the end of session but now I was hating to see it end.

This was not my first time to experience this track-switching to a different zone. However, it never fails to thrill me. That is a place I love to go; where limits are transgressed, walls are broken down, and the self extended past perception. And if this all be true, then what else. How far can we hope? Maybe not pushing myself enough is limiting the distance of my hopes. Perhaps, God has it all waiting for us; waiting for use to look beyond the horizon of our perceptions, and in faith believe there is more; in this life and the other.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Strange Feeling for Me

Almost fell in Walmart last night. People were here, there, everywhere, and a quick pivot left me off balance: strange feeling for me. However, earlier in the day I was helping bring a stove we bought in the house and on a step up, the load buckled my knee - backwards. It was all I could do to go down without dropping the brand new stove: strange feeling for me. And I want to do an Ironman? I want to bike 112 miles and get off the bike and run 26 miles on that knee? Serious doubts. How does one handle an unstable knee? How does one deal with the pain all day and half the night? So, to escape the "strange feelings for me," I just retreat to my comfort zone; that is, just keep moving forward; one unstable step after another.