Friday, January 18, 2008

Notes from The Journey

You know that you're behind on sleep when you fall asleep punching a new wake-up time into your alarm... Guilty as charged!

Nate got up at a relatively late 4 am today for his 6 am brief. (All this week he's been briefing at 5 am... you do the math. I get too tired even thinking about it!)When he got up, I distinctly remember thinking that I should try to stay awake until my swim - that I felt great, and that if I went back to sleep I would wake up mid-sleep-cycle. The practical side of me immediately dismissed that idea, as getting up at 4 am is not my piece of pie (anymore). I'll do it on occasion when it's completely necessary, but if I'm not in a schedule crunch or aren't racing, it's totally not necessary.

I do remember my alarm going off at 6. My cell phone beeped merrily away until I blindly depressed a few buttons and it shut off. In my haze, I must have thought something along the lines of, "if I could just get 10 more minutes, then I'll be okay to get up..."

Big surprise, I dozed off. In the middle of re-programming my alarm.

When I finally woke up, I realized (with a sickening sensation in my stomach) that I had missed my morning swim practice. Shit! I HATE missing a practice (this was especially bad when I rowed, as the boats would leave the dock at precisely 5:15 am. If you weren't at the boathouse by 5 am, you weren't give a seat assignment. You literally "missed the boat". I had one great teammate - a Master's sculler (someone over 27) - who just laughed and said "If you over slept, that's just your body telling you that you needed more sleep! It's okay!" Easy for her to say, as she rowed, well, a single.)

So I awoke, cell phone in hand, with the sick feeling of screwing up my day... all because I had tried to re-program my cell phone alarm during my intense sleep phase. I really don't remember much, if any of it - but it had to happen. I wasn't at the pool. My cell phone had a bunch of weird stuff on the screen... two and two do make four...

I think that's what I'm noticing the most about my Ironman training - is how much more fatigued I am. I'm following my coaches orders, doing the swim-bike-run-repeat thing, and loving just about every minute of the journey. But this tiredness, this fatigue is a new thing for me.

But with it, comes the sense of pride, of accomplishment.

And why was I so tired this morning? Perhaps it was because I swam 4600 meters at the pool the other day, or because I did high intensity pyramid work on the bike.

And yes, as you can tell, I'm pretty proud of my workouts. But that isn't the real heart of the matter.

I have gained a tremendous amount of satisfaction from setting this goal, and working my way steadily towards it. This isn't something I can get tomorrow, or the day afterwards. I can't go online and order an Ironman Finish for myself. I know that it won't be easy, nor am I expecting it to be. There will be good days, and there will be bad. But that's all part of the journey, of the experience.

I'm tired, because I'm working steadfast towards my goals, my dreams.

And it doesn't take an Ironman to do that. I think that's just part of life: when we set out to accomplish goas, fulfill dreams, work towards an end result - there's bound to be times where we're tired. Exhausted - both physically and mentally. But we do it, simply because this is who we are.

I've also learned that it takes a lot of flexibility.

And that my stomach is pretty sensitive before high-intensity workouts.

So the Black Bean Mexican salad with rice, corn, salsa, veggies, and sour cream probably isn't the best thing to eat two hours before bike pyramid sets...even if it is "healthy". Note to self: stick with easily digestible (but palatable) foods that won't cause massive stomach upheaval.

I swear to you: all during my ride, I was burping black beans and tasting the sour cream. Yuck. Well - we all know the meal I won't be consuming any time soon.

Next time I'll stick with oatmeal, bars, gels, smoothies, and stuff that won't cause digestive problems. But it's okay, and I'm fine with everything: because this is all part of the learning process, part of the Ironman initiation. And I want to experience it all.

The good. The bad. The funny. The happy. The sad. The plethora of emotions. The crabby days. The break through days. To feel everything, and know that I am doing this. This is my life. This is mine, and I am a part of this wonderful experience.

The journey.

And through it all, I'll remember to be a little more forgiving of myself if I fall asleep resetting the alarm. Sometimes, you just have to laugh. Something I never thought would happen to me - but it did. Then again, I signed up for an Ironman and that was a new thing too.

So far, so good. I like this stuff - even if I do funny things, or fall asleep at odd times. You never know what's around the next bend, waiting in store. So I feel lucky to have taken the road less travelled. And off on my journey I am.


Anonymous said...

Sometimes you NEED to do that, Yep, Marit! My alarm went off at 5am this morning and I could hear the wind whipping the windows at 30degrees below zero! I don't complain much, but it is brutal out there...ICK ICK ICK....but sometimes we just need to go back to sleep!! And, it is a good thing! I wanted to, but guess whose birthday it is today? Our twins are 6 today, so we are having 22 five-six years for a birthday party! :) HAHA! oh boy. :)JEN

Pedergraham said...

Aaah the fatigue of training for an ironman. So easy to forget... but your description was right on! I think this is the value of a having a pet--they think so highly of sleep--why don't we? I am sure Tabbitha would always wisely counsel you to turn OFF the alarm and catch a few more ZZZZs. And, look how content she is!