Monday, April 30, 2007

When You Think You Can't -- You Trick Yourself

First of all, I should say that being a stay-at-home mom, I often get confused about the date.
I was rushing to post this yesterday, thinking that Tuesday was April 30th --the day set aside for One Day Blog Silence. Anyway, to make a long story short, I posted this entry yesterday, but took it off line as soon as I realized yesterday was April 30th.

I'd like to take a moment to remember the victims at Virginia Tech. Their lives were not lost in vain. We will remember them forever. We will remember to love others and to help lost souls when we encounter them. And keep those that we love nearer in our hearts. We never really no how long we will be here. So we struggle to make each day we live full and worthwhile. I often think of the Harvey's -- Stella and Ruby, Kathryn and Bryan....and they help me remember to have no regrets and to live each day the best that you can. Giving. Learning. Striving for more. And Thriving.

Here's the original post:

Almost all the Triathlon Blogs go silent on weekends. Especially beautiful weekends like this one. My Google Analytics readership plummets from a high of nearly 80 during the week to a measly 13 hits.
Everyone is out working out. No one is at home at their computer blogging about working out -- just as it should be.
Luckily, this weekends workouts were pretty unforgettable. So blogging about them 2 days later should be no problem. Saturday was a tough one. The second of 6 really intense workouts leading up to Eagleman. And with each one, I'm a little floored that I actually complete it. I'm never planning at the start of the workout to actually commit to doing the entire thing. It would be to devastating for me to commit to running each of the 12 miles -- for if I somehow failed, regardless of the reason, I'd have trouble looking at myself for the rest of the day. And regardless of how much I had done, I know I'd feel bad.

I figure if you are training for a race like Eagleman, you do it anyway you can. If that means playing tricks on your mind or your body to get it done -- then you do. Some people will need to use those tricks for the open water swim. I need to use my tricks to get through the long runs. And, on Saturday,that meant arriving early, and running a 6 mile loop before I started the transition clinic for the new TRIgirls at 8. Unfortunately, because I chose to spend a few extra minutes that morning with the kids, I only got in about 5 miles before the clinic -- but still, they went well enough that I had a huge head start mentally. Many of the Ironman Florida-Eagleman training group looked at me a little funny since I was running first, and that wasn't our workout....but you know, you do what you have to do. I also knew it wasn't really a head start since I stopped for about 50 minutes to do the transition clinic with Mark -- but I was hoping it would give me the feeling of an even start. I felt fresh after resting at the clinic, and that was my goal. To pretend that I was just doing your run-of-the-mill 28 bike and 6 run kinda' brick. Pretending like I hadn't run at all that day, but slept in later than usual.

The bike went OK. I drank my coffee and ate some low fat cheese during the clinic so I was feeling pretty good. But, I lost my riding partner when stopped to check on a newer TRIgirls bike that was malfunctioning, so I biked mostly alone. Seeing all the other girls (and boys) passing around the West Creek Circle made me smile. Although it wasn't very warm (maybe 60 degrees) it was sunny and it felt hot. I'd gotten sunburned on Thursday and this was the reminder I needed to pack sunscreen AND USE IT!

I was sweating alot. My new saddle was good and I was grateful for it. My new bike shorts worked fairly well, but absorbed all of the sweat that ran down my back. I was practicing my nutrition plan. I drank one bottle of Lemon-Lime Accelerade and half a bottle of water (should have been a full one). I unwrapped and ate a peanut butter Cliff bar while aero -- that was a feat in and of itself! Next time I'll unwrap it before the ride and cut it up (thanks for the tip Blake).

I know this sounds funny, but the whole time I was biking, I kept telling myself that I had run the 6 mile loop at West Creek that I had come to run in the morning. I'm not very good at lying to myself, but that is a lie that I needed to hear. I had skipped the "nub" as we call it -- the 1.3-some mile bit that reaches from the Xterra parking lot back out to Patterson and back. But I needed to think to myself...I've only got one loop to do -- only 6 more miles!

I finished the bike, changed shoes and grabbed my IPOD, my inhaler and drank some more water. I started the loop on the "nub." Something is not right. OUCH. This was not going to work. The new bike shorts SUCKED for running. The pad absorbed every bit of sweat from the previous run and the bike and I was running with a big diaper between my ample thighs. I couldn't run 6 more miles like this. What was I going to do? Well, yes I thought of giving up...but, well, not today and not that easy.

A huge smile crossed my race when I realized that I could change into the tri suit that I had brought to show the new girls what one was. I grabbed my transition towel and threw it around my waist. I convinced myself that really just a sports bra was not indecent -- it was really just a turbo top. I flung off my top and bottoms and slide the tri suit on. My legs were sticky and sweaty. It was not easy. The arms rolled up on themselves in a tangle of skin and sweat and then I was back out on the run. Slowly but surely. Mainly I was able to keep the 8:1 minute ratio of running and walking but sometimes I cut it short on the run if I needed to walk on the hill.

And I enjoyed that there was something more going on at West Creek than just the trees and the squirrels. I couldn't believe the number of fish people were pulling out of West Creek's lakes. There were almost as many fisherman there as triathletes. It must have been opening day of fishing season, and when I stopped to ask, they told me they were pulling out Bass and Crappie.

Now I was getting really HOT. Still it was only 65 degrees out. I need to work alot on heat acclimation, because I know Eagleman is known for its hot run with no shade. I swear when I went home I thought I'd been running in at least 85 degree heat. And my body started dragging for the last "2 miles". Trigirl Carmen was behind me and I knew very well she could and would catch me. I was dreading it.

I few key moments of emotion swept over me. I'm not sure why. Ironman Jeff shouted encouragement to me from across the loop. He was running 18. I was just so grateful for encouragement and it was like with each step the cover to my emotions was rubbed thiner and thiner. And then Coach Blake and Rick ran past also encouraging me. Good thing there was still someone out here running, I thought.

And there was that voice in my head again...

"Sucks to be the first to start and the last to finish." I told it to shut up.

As I started to approach the 288 interchange, I could see Carmen closing in. I kept running. There was a triathlete parked in one of the turnoffs at West Creek, she was loading up her car, packing up. I didn't even remember seeing her out on the loop. I looked right at her. Wasn't sure what to say, I was too out of breath. She looked me in the eye and said,
"Damn girl, you still out here?" and I'm sure she didn't mean it like this but it was like a "What's your problem?" sort of voice. And in an instant, my heart sank and my face burned. I felt like I was going to cry, but I didn't. I think she meant it as part awe and part sympathy but it came across at so many levels, I didn't know what to do with all of my emotion. I had to stop running. I couldn't go on. The emotion had triggered my asthma yet again. I walked, and pulled out my inhaler. I just didn't know how to respond. I felt like saying, "Well I am training for a half iron race. No one said it was easy. And if your still have to put in the workouts...they just take longer." I was mad, I don't know why.

I walked a few steps and then ran again. I looked back and Carmen was hot on my trail. I ran for another 6 or so minutes and then took my last walk break before the parking lot.

When I went to run again, there was something wrong with my foot. I was about 20 yards from the parking lot and I wanted to finish strong...(or at least look it). I limped it in. Happy I was "done" and Carmen hadn't managed to pass me because I made i made it safely to the lot before she did.

In my mind I was done, even though I wasn't really. I'd made it through 2 loops minus one nub.

I saw swim coach Som in the parking lot.

"Hey, How was the run?" he said (thinking I'd finished.)

"It sucked" I said.

He sort of laughed this awkward laugh.

"I mean it was great -- wonderful!" I said. Remembering that Mr. Preschool had just reminded me that I didn't have to do this if I didn't want to. I could drop out at any time he said...or just skip some workouts....I think he meant well...but no, well I couldn't. Not really.

I was in the parking lot at my car. I was chatting like I was done. I was drinking like I was done. I put my IPOD down like I was done. Then, TRIgirl Lynn came up. Someone said, "Lynn, you done?" She raised her hands over her head in a sort of victorious fashion and said something like "Yeah Baby, 28 and 12! I'm Soooo Done!"

And I thought, I want to have a finish like that! I am NOT DONE!

And the voice inside my head said

"No one will know. No one will find out!"

"You are practically done, anyway...basically"

But, I wasn't done. And I couldn't feel good about my workout until I was.

The foot "injury" and limping were miraculously gone. I felt great. I didn't feel out of breath or like I'd just done a 28 and 12 brick. And maybe that is the thing that motivated me most to get back out there. I felt like I should have been more beat. A few minutes of the "I'm done" mentality and I was refreshed.

I walked back to my car. I put on my IPOD. I was really hoping no one had really seen me stop. That no one had seem me waiver in my determination to really finish the brick. I headed back out for the nub. Coach Mark, who had started his workout a full hour behind me -- was walking up the drive.

"You done?" I asked

"Yep" he said.

I walked past him. Thinking about how he finished before me despite my hour-long head start.

I started to run the nub. I saw Carmen (who had continued on with out stopping) pass going back to the lot. It was the longest 1.3 miles I think I have ever run.

I heard footsteps behind me. Ironman Jeff, passed swiftly. "I thought you ran a loop before the clinic," he said.

"Well, I did" I said, "Except for the nub, and now I'm doing it."

And that is the story of how I ran 12 miles for the first time.

Sunday I took half a day off work to go to the open wate swim. We had a great time practicing in the James River. We looked like a bunch of seals. Thank God I love the open water. After Saturday, I needed an easy workout. Here's a photo of the gang.


Nancy Toby said...

Heat... yep. In 2005 Eagleman was 85 degrees and 85% humidity. Felt hotter!

Annn said...

That "no one said it would be easy" story stuck in my head too. I guess it must be true.

BTW, it doesn't matter what is going on in your head, your lil sis thinks you are a rockstar!

Jennifer said...

Jonah - I really admire you for getting back out there to finish your run even when others were finished. It would have been so easy just to be done, but you stuck it out til the very end. You're going to do great at Eagleman and I can't wait to be out there to cheer you on!


Cyndi said...

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” Marie Curie

You are AMAZING!!! I mean, really. Take a moment and really examine what you have done. Think of all of the people you have inspired. Your accomplishments are breathtaking!!! What an honest, raw and emotional post. Jonah, we have all been there -- mentally fighting our demons. You will continue to persevere like a true champion. And it doesn't matter when you start or when you finish, it's the journey that matters most. And, on my slow days (like tonight!!) the idea of seeing my teammates welcoming me into the finish line is enough to keep me moving forward. Great job, Jonah!


jones said...

you are such an inspiration and i love that blog post. seriously - congrats on making it around the nub, and staying true to yourself in your training. so motivating.

Melissa said...

i think it has been said, jonah. you are awesome! not only did you do your amazing workout and lognest run! but you also took the time to help newbies with a transition clinic! jonah - you're a badass!

Jenny said...

Wow, I just found your blog - what a way to start getting to know you and your story! I'm going to run my first-ever sprint Tri in a month and I'm loving finding other tri-blogs to get inspired by! (It's taken me over a year to get from "can't run a quarter mile w/o landing in the emergency room with and asthma attack" to the point where a triathlon seems within reach!

carmen said...

congrats on your first twelve miler
you looked really strong for the
time i could see you
but often you were too far ahead
and around a curve!
i skipped about two hundred yards
and rick called me on it
i love making it my workout!
hee hee

TriGirl 40 said...

This is a late comment. But I've been meaning to tell you just how much I admire you. It is hard enough to get through these weekend workouts - and when you add all that you GIVE others while you are trying to get through them - from clinics to encouraging words - you've earned way more than a PR in my book.