If the Good Lord is Willing and The Cri’k Don’t Rise

I was going through my checklist that I keep in my head (I’m odd … I know) during a recent long run (DeLand 10k) to try to get a grip on “lessons learned” for the past year since starting this journey. I consider November 5th as my start date, because that was my first official event, Cure on Wheels, and that was when I decided that I could do this, but not only that I could do it, but that I WANT to do it. So here are some of my lessons:

My Breathing Sucks and I Still Need Work     This relates to my favorite activity … swimming. I have damage in my throat due to cancer in 1994 so my breathing is very bad. Even with a snorkel I labor to get a full breath in the water. This is OK when I am training in the pool, but if anything puts me “off”, like …. oh …. getting pushed off course …. I get panicked trying to get back in line. Then the breathing gets labored and full panic sets in. I have tried the tricks, like backstroking, finding a mantra, deep breaths, but instead of helping it gets worse as the swim goes along. Due to the nerve damage my throat at times seizes up (a fun thing to happen in the middle of a deep sleep at 2 AM. A nice way to be jarred awake) and I think the fear of that happening in the middle of a swim is what is getting in my head. I am not sure how to handle this.

Bike Work Helps on the Run, but Run Work Does Not Help the Bike     This is a recent revelation. When the Tri season for me was over I started concentrating on runs I had scheduled. A few 5k’s, two half marathons (my first try at those) so I became consumed with getting my paces better and my endurance better in my run, and left the bike sitting for almost a month. Today I got on my bike again because I have the 22 mile Cure on Wheels in 21 days (Happy Anniversary) feeling like I may have lost some, but because I have been running I didn’t think I’d be too bad. I was wrong. Jenny will tell you I was OK, but I know how I felt making that loop and I felt weak. Cannot let that happen again.

When it Hurts … Stop     Jenny would find this funny because it is something I tell her all the time, but don’t follow it myself. She runs through pain, to the point that it becomes debilitating and injures her. I do too. The difference is I don’t tell her it hurts, or I don’t tell her how much it hurts. I have had a foot issue since before the Disney Half but it felt good during that run. On the 5k I did after that run the pain return … in the OTHER foot, along with a knot that forms on the inside of my shin. There is no pain in the muscle but when I press on the bone it hurts. I am thinking I might have a stress fracture, but no insurance until November 1. So I am not running this week and will spin every day (see #2 above) and try to run on Sunday (long run of 15 miles scheduled). If it hurts I will stop. Promise.

When Conditions are Perfect I Am Great … But if Not …     I notice this a lot on my weekly 5k runs. If the weather is nice, I ate well that day, I am tuned into the music on my iPod, I can KILL that run. But if ONE little thing is off … maybe an irritating day at work, or missing my running partner, that run can SUCK. I have a hard time working through adversity and using it to my advantage. There was an earlier post about that called Killer Instinct. Feel free to review. 🙂

So, these are the first few that come to mind as the main lessons I have learned. There are a lot more, but one important one I will end with is this:

It is Important to Surround Yourself With People Who Support You Effort     I wrote a blog entry ranting on the non-support I have received which I went a little over board on and have since removed. The BASIC message was correct, but the personal attacks in it were not totally true and was the result of being disappointed once again by one particular family member. I regretted publishing it as soon as I hit the button. I talked to my little brother Mike about it a few days later (when he called to put me in my place, which never happened) and he, because he is very athletic himself, understood what I was meaning and that I never meant to be as harsh as I was. He is not the type now, nor was he ever the type, to call and give encouragement, so I never should have expected it, but talking to him on the phone that day he was encouraging and was very vocal about the accomplishments I have made and the importance of not letting people get to you as much as I do. It’s a character flaw of mine … I do care about what people think of me … as much as I’d like to not care. I have found MUCH support from Jennifer, all of my TNT teammates (so many over the past two events but can mention Genna, Nicole, Joann for a few definite examples), my coaches Teresa, Lyle, Grace, Cindy …. those that I have “met” on Daily Mile (KC, Summer, Leah, Jen B., Jenn, P, and numerous others). Friends from years ago, especially Marie, who has been very vocal with me regarding the success I have had and will pull no punches if she feels I am straying off course. They are a special group and not sure where I would be on this journey without all of them.

I still have A LONG way to go until I am satisfied, if I ever will be totally satisfied. I need to lose another 40 pounds. I need to get my runs under 10:00 mile pace. I need to swim better.

But I feel like I am closer now than I was a year ago, and that is counted as success. I will share with you a part of a recent email I got from the aforementioned Marie (I hope she doesn’t mind) which was in answer to a recent blog that got lost somehow. It shows how those who KNOW me feel, and the support that can be given. I edited it (just removing, not rewording) some portions for space. Marie, if you read this, I hope you don’t mind me sharing.

John,

I am an invisible man.  No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of those Hollywood movie ectoplasms.  I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids–and I might even be said to possess a mind.  I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.  (Ralph Ellison)

I went with the classic literature version of the term because the invisibility is something that has both presence and lack of acknowledgement.  What you described in my once favorite blog meanderings, not only captured the essence of today’s work environment for many, but also detailed the often poignant chapters in many lives.   
I hate that you are feeling this way, because I know you as someone who deserves much more.
For as long as I have known you, you have struggled with invisibility in your personal life simply because you are “different” from your siblings — not the “only girl”, nor the “charming one” (although that has it’s place for debate) nor the “troublemaker” (hmmm….also open to debate) you shouldered a massive responsibility at a young age by sticking it out in the Navy for ten years, struggled through two marriages in that time, and never had the opportunity to foster a true father/son relationship with your firstborn due to your deployments, his being raised in an female dominant environment, and the general malaise that was directed your way from your family members – linked by blood and matrimony. 
You worked hard in those ten years, and everyone still saw it as you were “escaping” your real life duties, but in reality—how else would your child have food, clothing and shelter?  You were put in environments often hostile, sometimes friendly and never something you could explain to your landmates — for how could they understand the brotherhood that becomes friendships at sea as you were experiencing and often touched by tragedy. 
You were an achiever at “work” on ships, yet because of your slight propensity to defiance and questioning authority, full credit was never given to you.  Never one to jump for the sake of jumping, your cloak of invisibility began to descend upon you.   You returned….only to try to assimilate yourself into a life similar to your fun loving brothers had been living….and found out in a short time….that wasn’t you…so off you went to school…to pursue the excellence so prevalent within you…you lost your grandfather – one of a handful of people who truly could see the YOU under your invisible cloak….and you were not just happy to finish one degree….but took upon yourself to complete others.
In all this, you were son, brother, attentive husband, doting father, dedicated employee.  You moved your family to make more money…..and the more you gained in knowledge, the more you exhibited strength at work….the more you questioned….the more suffocating your cloak became.  Your knowledge at work was never taken seriously enough so you made a change for what was to be the better….and you rescued (again, swoops in our superhero) the work and some of the staff….but — you are in possession of a mind and you had to learn once more that a mind is not something today’s employers truly want us to have …. oh, they can say they do…but when you are smarter than “them” or you think of a “better way” or you show “them” up….you become more invisible….to the point where no matter how hard you try, how much you do, and how damn hard you work….you never get the acknowledgement deserved because your mind, John, is bigger than theirs. 
Your mind is better than theirs, and yes, your mind is smarter than theirs.  So, it becomes easier to sweep your statements to the side, to poo-poo your theories, or to completely disavow your knowledge, just because….you see through them, you know what lurks beneath. 
It was my hope you would not encounter this type of attitude in your next job, nor have family continue to be non-supportive, but reality is….it has…they do….and I think it is because less enlightened fear those who will call their bluff, who will out their bullshit, and who will call a spade a spade. 
You are a victim of your own intelligence. 
Seriously, I have told you the same thing personally and professionally…..don’t settle….keep your eyes and ears open to a better path, because eventually life will lead you to it.

(A note from a friend)

2 thoughts on “If the Good Lord is Willing and The Cri’k Don’t Rise

  • October 17, 2011 at 10:33 pm
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    “I still have A LONG way to go until I am satisfied, if I ever will be totally satisfied. I need to lose another 40 pounds. I need to get my runs under 10:00 mile pace. I need to swim better”

    We have the same goal pace!!

    Now myself like you, when are we ever going to be happy with who we are? our accomplishments we have made and the ones we know are coming.

    We (as in YOU) need to take the time every now and then and remind yourself of all that you have accomplished and think of those who you have touched or encouraged, me for example!! You are strong and a great supporter!! who can accomplish anything you set your mind to. I have seen it in the last few months I have known you.

  • October 17, 2011 at 11:38 pm
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    Thanks G 🙂

    You have been pretty supportive yourself …

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