The month of August is crunch time for training. My coach wasn’t kidding when he asked me if I had any vacation time during the month. I don’t of course. Still trying to keep the balance. I am now splitting longer workouts between morning and evening after work. 30 miles here, 30 miles there. The problem is, I am just getting very cranky — Trying to remain caught up on sleep and to eat well and do a good job at work…ahhh… Also, every once in a while, I snap at someone close to me and then I feel bad. I am lucky to have wonderful, supportive people around me who understand the stress and schedule – or at least they pretend to. Saints. So tonight I have chosen to just simmer down and reflect on my training thus far.
Elephants – On a particularly difficult training day, I was having some serious doubts about this Ironman thing. I had an awful bike ride and it was only 70 miles. I thought to myself…how am I ever going to ride 112 and then run a marathon? I turned to my wonderful coach who talked me down. “How do you eat an elephant?” he asked. ???????? “One bite at a time. Ironman is the same. One mile at a time.” It was what I needed to hear at that moment. The realization that not every training session is going to go great and that’s why we do them. We work on nutrition, pacing, heart rate, etc. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. Onward, revaluate what went right/what went wrong and hit it the next time. It sounds clichè, but really that’s all you can do. It’s not so bad. Learn, fix, try again.
Pickles – I have found a new love while biking long distances. Pickles. Thanks to wonderful Jen for THAT suggestion and Coach Dave for suggesting pickle juice. It’s the taste, the salt, the vinegar. It’s like sweet nectar of the gods – although not nearly enough calories. But a good little supplement. I eat one every 20 miles or so. That means a delicious 5 pickles during the Ironman. Also, pickle juice. I now do random pickle juice shots throughout the week. This is all an attempt to prevent some terrible cramping that I have been having on my brick runs. I have always struggled with cramping and it is frustrating and downright debilitating when they hit sometimes. We continue to practice nutrition and attempt to solve the problem. I don’t like it and it is stressing me out a lot because I am running out of time to fix this issue!
Stress – The most stress over the last couple of weeks has been the cadence/speed sensor on my bike while riding on the trainer. I am seriously going insane trying to get my speed up on that thing. I have decided to focus more on heart rate and intervals for a set amount of time instead of worry so much about how far I am going (Technically I am not going anywhere anyway.) I went to my coach’s cycle class this morning and it was a really nice change of pace. I also left with my sanity and realizing…yes, yes. I can bike indoors on bikes and it is doing something. There really is just something wrong with my sensor. It was a great class with a song dedication (thanks again coach!) for me that I also needed – listen here!!: Young the Giant: My Body
My body tells me no
But I won’t quit
Cause I want more
Cause I want more
Oh, it’s my road
It’s my road
And it’s my war
It’s my war
It was not only the motivation I needed to get through things like cramps, but it also made me think about how far I have come already!
Reflections – Hiring a coach was so smart! I don’t know what I would do without being able to bounce frustrations AND joys off of him. I have biked my first HUNDO! I have biked 80 miles and immediately ran 8 afterwards! I have swam 3600y straight. I train before work, after work, during lunch. I look forward to it. I have good days, I have bad days. I battle my demons and beat them. I beat them every single day. I am as strong as I have ever been – mentally and physically – I continue to get stronger. I am also reflecting on my apartment here as I am moving next weekend. I reflect on this little place. This little place where I took a risk and moved for a job with no guarantees. I took a leap of faith. And I am leaping again. I push myself mentally and physically every time I start a training session. I am leaping. I am leaping through life. Leaping in love. Trusting in the person that I am. Trusting in the person I have worked so hard to become – mentally, physically, occupationally, and this is just scratching the surface. It IS my war AND my road and I crave it. It’s not just the Ironman. It’s life. I am grabbing it full force and diving in. I may be cranky sometimes, but I love it. I love this life I have carved over the past several months. I love my support system. I have amazing cheerleaders who pick me up when I doubt. I am learning to trust them, to lean when I need to lean. To give up a little bit of my stubbornness and independence and just lean when I need to. And it’s wonderful.
I am a different person since I moved here. I am still me, but I think more – I respect people more. I am still a bit narcissistic (see Ironman training). I am still the same smiles and sunshine person, but there is more underneath now. I am learning to break down some of my walls. To really love. To really work. To really focus. I had always been the good student, but this is a different focus. A new drive. I have always had a love for life and people in general. A genuine care about people. This has grown 10-fold! But most importantly, I have learned to love myself. I’ve realized that I deserve the same love and respect I try to give others. That has not been easy. I have struggled to love and respect myself in the past. I feel like a new person. This has been such an amazing journey. The pushing myself physically. The opening up to love. A new trust. I can do it alone, but I can also hold the hands of others and there is nothing wrong with that either. The struggle is real. The training is difficult. But the journey is amazing. I am lucky. I am blessed. I live in the moment because who knows if there will be a tomorrow. But if there is one, I will always attempt to make it better than the yesterdays! Yesterday is already gone, today is always good and tomorrow is hope for even better.
Dream big. Do good. Work hard. Love fiercely. Life is good.
“Embrace the struggle and let it make you stronger. It won’t last forever.” – Tony Gaskins
Embrace it. Because, damn it!! Sometimes that struggle is real!! Hahahaha.