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.
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)
(A note from a friend)