Outlast

I feel that I have been a bit of a brat about my performance at the tri this past weekend.  Let me explain.  I said I was humiliated, which I was, but I think more than anything I was just disappointed.  I expected so much from myself that when it didn’t happen I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

Since my previous blog and just speaking to people, the feedback has been overwhelming.  So many people have congratulated me on finishing despite my struggle and just having the guts to go out and do it.  They have also told me that I am being too hard on myself.  This is not what I was looking for…and I hope that no one thinks that.  I just come here to express my feelings and if you want to read, great, if not, then don’t.  You won’t hurt my feelings.

 
I was reading my Fitness magazine when I came across an ad with Alicia Sacramone, Olympic gymnast.  The ad says, “4 years ago, I fell in front of millions.  I could have stayed down on that mat – forever.  I say, it’s time to get back up.  I will outlast fear.”  It was a Secret deodorant ad…but who cares?!  It got the point across.  She cost the USA women the gold in 2008 with that fall on the balance beam.  Yet, she is getting back out there.  She’s not burying her head in the sand.  She’s standing tall and taking it on.  I applaud her for that.  And I think we could all take a little bit of that courage she has.  Chin up, buttercup! 

Hebrews 11:1 To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.

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A word of advice

I’m not one to go around giving advice, especially in this world of athletes that I have somehow infiltrated.  BUT, the least I can do is give some to those triathlete wannabes out there.  Bah, where to begin?  I am happy that I finished…but that is about all that I am happy with about this, my first, triathlon.

Where it all began…

Piece of advice #1: RESPECT THE SWIM
As I have learned many triathletes don’t really concentrate on the swim part of the race.  They kind of feel like that is just a warm-up for the bike and run.  I, on the other hand, have been taking Master Swim for over 2 months and know just how hard it is to swim.  This is the reason I almost backed out on the tri about a week ago.  In some ways, I wish I had.  As I said I had been taking swim class…so I should know how to swim, right? Well, maybe if I could have put that knowledge to use in the 800 meters I had to swim in a lake it would have been useful.  When they set us off and all I could see was green water and no buoy, my brain stopped functioning…kind of the way it does every time I have a teaching interview.  All I was thinking was – backstroke so you can breathe.  I panicked, plain and simple.  I know dang well that I could have swam that in 25-26 minutes, at the most, had I been actually swimming, rather than back kicking or whatever I was doing out there.  It was frustrating and morale-crushing.  By the time I reached shore, I was done (in tears).  Over it.  I told my friends who were there patiently waiting for me that I wasn’t going to finish.  They had ran the half-marathon the day before.  I, in hindsight, probably should have just done that instead.  They talked me into finishing.  They told me that I would be mad if I didn’t finish.  I would have been.  I’m not a quitter and I’m not sure if I actually would have quit or not.  Which brings me to #2.

Piece of advice #2: TRAIN AND PREPARE
Don’t depend on your sheer “athleticism” to get you through this kind of race.  Running, I could do allllll day, therefore, I expected to be able to complete a triathlon in a decent amount of time with very little training and preparation.  I had never swam in open water and had only had my bike for 2 1/2 weeks (with only 3 road rides under my belt) before Saturday.  What tha crap was I thinking??  I am a planner.  Period.  I knew the morning of the race that I was in for it.  I had no training to trust.  You live and learn.  Here’s my advice on this point.  Don’t sign up for a triathlon that takes place in 2 weeks.  Make a plan way ahead of time…like a few months at least.  If it’s an open water swim, swim in open water before the day of.  I signed up because it was put in front of me and “everyone else was doing it”.  Ha!  These people I went with are Ironmen and Ironwomen.  I’m an idiot. 

Piece of advice #3: ENJOY THE RACE
I was so embarrassed by my swim and bike that I couldn’t even enjoy the run and the finish.  I was just happy it was over with.  I was in over my head, literally, and I knew it.  I want to climb under a rock and forget it ever happened but all I can hope for is to improve from here.  Up is really the only way to go.

I plan on doing another one in about 2 months.  I’m going to follow a plan and do as it says.  I am also going to open water swim and take part in a skills clinic for my bike.  I knew better than to do this but I did it anyway.  I finished out of sheer stubbornness.  I wasn’t exhausted or incredibly sore.  No, I was hurt.  Mad at myself.  Frustrated and humbled.  But, most of all, humiliated.     

So, as we all must do, I will pick myself up from this and move forward.  I didn’t fall over on my bike and I successfully got unclipped at transition.  That made me happy. 

Fall seven times, stand up eight.
– Japanese Proverb

Persevere

I suppose it’s time to write a blog post considering I have so much going on.  I just finished my 6th half marathon, bought my first bike, aaannnnnddd signed up for a triathlon! Ahhhh!  I can’t believe I actually am going to do it.  Am I scared to death? Yes.  Am I having heart palipitations? Yes. Am I going to do it anyway?  Heck yes! (said in my best Napoleon Dynamite voice) 
The way I look at it I can’t expect my students to do things that are unfamiliar and scary to them unless I do that myself.  I started taking Master swim over 2 months ago just so I could do a tri.  Yes, swimming is hard, but the saying goes, “It never gets easier, you just get better” and I have found that I have gotten better.  Not mastered, but better.  I have found that to be true with many things in life so one must persevere. 

The half marathon was great.  It was a pretty run through the mountains.  It was a net downhill but there was quite a bit of uphill, as well.  I got a new PR, which is always good.  Now if I can just get under 1:50.  There’s always another goal, another mountain to climb.  That’s what keeps life exciting and keeps us going, isn’t it?  If you’re not an athlete, maybe it’s a new job, more kids, or a bigger house.

The bike was…interesting to say the least.  The first time I rode it I fell over about 4 times in a parking lot because I didn’t know how to get my shoe unclipped from the pedal.  It was stressful and frustrating.  Again, I remember kids at school, especially those who struggle.  It’s not a good feeling knowing that you are doing something wrong but can’t figure out how to do it right.

I was scared to get back on the bike after that but I knew that it hadn’t been that bad falling and was nothing I couldn’t handle.  So, I got back on it a few hours later.  My sweet, patient friend, Jenna, talked me through getting my shoes clipped in and clipped out.  Guess what?  I didn’t fall once and it was FUN!  I know that there will be more tumbles on down the road but for now I am comfortable riding the thing…and that’s just what I’ll have to do for 16.3 miles in Lenoir City!

Courage and perseverance have a magic talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into the air. ~ John Quincy Adams

Here’s my new bike 🙂