Sunday, May 16, 2010
The Wheels Are Turning
I'm giving the heads up this will be a pretty long post. I have a lot on my mind after last week & some things that went on this week. I've said this before, but there's really something to be said about training for an Ironman that's so much more then just the physical. Every time I feel like I'm getting to a good place in my training, something happens & knocks me off that positive pedestal. I try & appreciate the good things, but it's really difficult in the moment. After the fact though I'm able to reflect & not be so down on myself. It's not easy, but I'm trying.
After I crossed the finish line last week, I had to go back to my hotel, grab some things & then I made my way over to transition. @ this point it was probably a good 7.5 hours after the race started. There was a photographer close to the transition area waiting for people who were still on the course to take their photos. I asked him a quite obvious question, "Are there still runners on the course?" His response, somewhat snide & obnoxious, "Um, yeah, that's why I'm still out here." I felt such empathy for these athletes that in the end, they would be racing for 8 hours or so. My response to him was, "Well @ least they're out there getting it done". Seriously, these people deserve more credit then the athletes that finish in faster times. They are the ones that deserve a medal & to be on the podium. Maybe they're just not gifted athletes or they had issues on the bike or with nutrition. Whatever the case is, these athletes are out there doing what most people in the world couldn't even imagine. Most people probably don't even have a clue what a triathlon is (I know I didn't until about 5 years ago). This interaction really got me thinking about myself. Sometimes you have a shitty workout or race, but does it really matter if you're out there doing it? My legs are supposed to hurt. They're not always supposed to move at top speed. Who cares if they're not? What matters is that I'm getting the necessary training for IMLP. Like I said before, this is somewhat hard to do in the moment, but this is a place for me to keep track of not only my workouts, but my thoughts too.
Saturday I rode with the TNT cycling team. Usually before a ride Neil, the coach, will read a mission statement. This weekend there was a special guest, an AML survivor. She was on her second round of treatments after her AML came back. This is a woman who is a successful OB/GYN, who has a young son and has to battle this awful disease...AGAIN! One of the doctors at her practice is on the cycling team and he asked her to come speak. He told her about the group and she was expecting maybe 10 people. There were about 40-50 people riding. She was so moved by the amount of people who are out there training for something that will help save her life. She was so grateful for what TNT has done for her. This woman brought tears to my eyes and made me thankful for the organization that I've been a part of since 2006. This is the 1st year I haven't fundraised for TNT. I just didn't think it would work with Ironman training. With that being said, I love riding with the team because it makes me appreciate my life and what I can do, what I'm physically able to do because I'm a healthy 35 year old. I didn't have the most pleasant ride yesterday. My legs hurt, my body ached, I was hot, my stomach didn't feel right. There I was earlier appreciating the fact that I'm healthy and here I am thinking of how much my life was sucking during the ride. I gave myself a reality check and started thinking about this woman and what she's going through. I'm pretty sure chemo, radiation, stem cell transplants and any other aggressive treatments out there are worse then my legs feeling like crap on a ride. It kind of puts things into perspective, especially since I choose to do this to my body. Cancer patients have no choice. If they're not giving up, why should I because my body feels like shit?
I also thought about my coach Andrew a lot on my long ride this weekend. I have such an appreciation for this man. Not only of his talent as a coach and athlete, but as an individual too. He is always so positive and truly believes the glass is 1/2 full. I really wish I had it in me to be more like him. He is such an inspiration to me and I'm proud to say I know him. I think about how he had to drop out of IMLP with 10 miles to go because of something he thought was a leg injury. Oh and he was in 10th place coming off of the bike. This leg injury was way worse then he could've imagined, he was later diagnosed with Leukemia. A year after oral chemo put him in remission, Andrew began his journey as an elite athlete and conquered the same course that he pulled out of years earlier and qualified for Kona. Talk about never giving up!!!! Once again, how could I feel pity on myself for feeling crappy because my body is just tired? "Suck it up and just get it done Wiener!" is going to be by new phrase to myself.
My workouts this week didn't go exactly as planned. I unfortunately got the stomach flu on Tuesday and it kind of wiped me out for the remainder of the week. I only took Wednesday off, which was a run and weights, but since I really didn't eat for a couple of days it affected my energy level. I also think I might've pushed it too hard on Thursday because Friday night I started feeling sick again, which lasted through my ride on Saturday. I was scheduled to do a 4 hour ride and before I got sick I asked if I could do a 70 miler, which would add probably another hour to my schedule. Andrew was ok with that. It turns out, my body wasn't ready for 70. Between doing a 1/2 Ironman on Sunday and then getting the stomach flu on Tuesday, my body felt like a truck ran over it. It didn't help that it was beyond hot and humid out. I drank a ton on the bike, but didn't eat much throughout the ride.
There was also a slight encounter with a dog on our ride. My friend Heather and I dropped back slightly from the group we were riding with. We saw a dog about 100 feet ahead of us. It's always a scary thing when you're on the bike and you see a dog. Most of the places we do our long rides at are in the country so people leave their animals off a leash. Heather was a bike length or 2 in front of me, so she was the 1st one the dog saw. The 2 of us kind of swerved, but that crazy little shit, grabbed her by the leg and sunk his sharp teeth into her. He had her leg for 3-5 seconds (which seemed like 2 hours). Somehow Heather kicked her leg a few times and somehow managed to stay on the bike without falling. Needless to say, Heather was slightly hysterical moments after this happened. I wanted to get us as far away as possible, but we needed to stop so I could call for help and we could take a look at her leg. Luckily a group of bikers that weren't with us stopped and helped out while I was on the phone directing someone to where we were. 2 people that were a few minutes behind us are doctors, so they were able to help out with cleaning the wound, wrapping it up, etc. We called the police and they sent a fire truck, might I add with a couple of hottie firefighters. Heather ended up having to get 6 stitches, antibiotics and a round of rabies shots (8 of them to be exact). We weren't sure if the dog had tags and the police couldn't find him either. This all happened around mile 10. Needless to say, this round of excitement, put a damper on the rest of the ride. Plus I was stopped for more then 30 minutes, which didn't help my cause of my legs being fatigued.
This past week should be considered a wash for me and I'm looking forward to the big week of training I have ahead of me. I have about 1.5 months of real training before IMLP. I can't believe how soon it is. People keep asking me if I'm ready and my answer is FUCK NO!!!! I think even after I finish the race, I still won't think I'm ready. I am confident in myself completing all of the distances independent of each other, it's the putting it all together part that makes me nervous. I know that I will cross the finish line. It might not be pretty, but with the dedication I've put into this little adventure, there's no way I'm not going to finish!