Wednesday, March 30, 2016

It's like apples and Mount Everest

Hi there!

It's been a while.

See, I had intentions of posting at least weekly, describing my training and writing witty anecdotes like I did ten years ago the first time around. I posted almost the last time around. Surely I could handle once a week, right?

Ha!  Ha ha ha ha haahahahhahahahahahahha that's cute.

So it's only March 30th but I have learned something already:

This time is much different. I can't expect it to be anything like the past Ironman, in training or in execution.  And there's some good to this and some bad, too.

For instance, twitter, instagram and facebook have all made it easier for me to post quick updates or pictures from training. Yay for that!  Back in the day, I feel like this blog was the only way for me to document the journey, and sometimes, you just don't have time for that.  Like, all the time, it seems for me.

But I will always keep this place as a digital record of thoughts that are more than 140 characters.  There is still a need for a place like this for me, so I'm not going anywhere...but you can definitely not hold your breath for my daily blog posts here, like I did last time.

One thing is true both last time and this time around:  Ironman is a big fat reminder that you think you are in control but you have no idea.

Case in point: the first week of February, Emery and Jackson both got a stomach bug. Then I got a MUTANT STOMACH BUG FROM HELL that had me unable to keep food in me for almost six days. And Matt did not get it because clearly he is a robot.  But, I was out of school for 5 days--an entire week--and I have way more responsibilities at work now than I did ten years ago.  Teaching AP US History and serving as department chair means more essays, more papers, and more meetings.

To say I was buried was a complete understatement. It took me almost 2-3 weeks to get completely un-buried.

Then, just as I started to get back into the swing of things, I screwed it up again. During the first week in March I took part in a charity fundraiser at school that required me to do something stupid to make the kids laugh.  No problem! I can do that! I do stupid things daily!  However, I took that a *little* too seriously and, long story short, ended up with self-induced whiplash due to headbanging on stage to make the kids laugh.  I ended up in the ER getting a CAT scan after I was passing out the following night at a restaurant scaring the entire establishment and one of my good friends who was with me.  So I lost some time training due to that stunt, too. To be honest, I'm still not 100% and am working on dealing with the fallout of this poor life decision (that was really funny, though).

I feel like I keep sending Coach Emily these ridiculous emails full of excuses and disappointments.  I remember last decade this time around I was doing much longer workouts, more consistently, and now I have the occasional sick kid or self-induced headbanging whiplash or meetings and a soccer practice and there goes another workout, again.

I looked at this week's workouts and about LOST my MIND.  There was a lot there, and I panicked.  How am I ever going to get any of this done? How am I ever going to get HALF of this done?


Maybe I have no business doing this.  It's not the same as it was ten years ago. I was 28, kid-less, with probably half the responsibilities that I have at work now.  I could wreck my body on long rides and runs and recover quickly.

Now I'm 38, with two kids who are busy and involved, and with a LOT more responsibilities at work than I ever had a decade ago.

I panicked and wrote to Coach Emily that I expected it to be different, but not this different. "It's not apples and oranges," I said. "It's apples and Mount Everest and I did not anticipate this."

As she always does, she pulled me back from the ledge a bit and reminded me that this time of year always sucks hard, and that I need to stay in the moment. I believe her first line of the email was:


If she could smack me across the head, I'm sure she would.  But that was left to Matt, who watched me burst into tears when I saw my schedule on and did the equivalent of a smacking for a triathlete.  He said,

"I think you need to go out for a ride. Just a little one."

And he pushed me out the door.

So I did.  I rode for 45 minutes in the sunshine and was reminded how good it feels to be on my bike OUTSIDE and NOT IN MY BASEMENT with laundry hanging around me and my kids Shopkins and Pokemon cards on the floor.

I won't be stuck in this basement--in this moment--for much longer.  And things will settle down, and I will get outside with my friends, and I will be able to swim more and it's going to be okay.

I may be ten years older with a hell of a lot less time to train, but I have 7-8 years of solid training under my belt in those ten years.  I am much stronger than I ever was at 28 (but, as my headbanging stunt proved, still probably not smarter) and that has got to count for something.

I'm not trying to get to Kona, so why am I doing this, ultimately?  I think to remind myself how it feels when you take away all the BS, all the stuff that doesn't matter, and just focus on what does. Family, health, friendship, training, nutrition. Repeat.   That's what Ironman reminds you.  That's all you really need--all you ever really needed, anyway.

It won't be the same as my last journey, but some things are universal.  I still have a lot to learn, and I think that's why I'm here.

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