Monday, April 21, 2008

Training Peaks Dilemma

Lately, I have not been the good athlete that I like to be.


And no, not because my rear is out of commission. I assure you, it is working quite well! But not the rear, rather the entire lower-back-butt region. A broken sacrum is still a broken sacrum; however you want to look at it. Extendo-Crack and all.

So, broken sacrum aside, I have not kept a promise I made to my coach.

Rest assured, when you read what I’ve done (or more importantly – what I haven’t done), you’ll laugh. In the range of life, where a “big deal” would classify as having no money, no safe place to stay, no family or friends for love and support – this is nothing. Not even a blip on the radar.

But it has affected me.

You see, I am not keeping my Training Peaks Journal updated.

Okay – STOP the music! (Just kidding).

Actually, if you could pleas pick your jaw from off the table and hold in your laughter, it would be greatly appreciated.

Still laughing – okay, take a minute to recover from my “groundbreaking” confession.

No, I’m not the typical “good” athlete/pupil that I like to be, that I strive to be, because I’m not keeping a daily log online where Jen can see it.

But why? What is my aversion to this?

I needed time to think, and the pool was the perfect opportunity.

This is the question, the issue that I pondered during my 1:21:08 (not that I’m counting!!! : ) water-walking session today. Let’s face it, when there’s no need to count laps, to stick to a send-off time, to keep track of which set you’re on, the pool can be a great place to think, to release your mind.

As a side note, one of the most difficult aspects of my recovery at this stage is that I can’t do the long training that I fell in love with towards the end of my Ironman build. Jen’s workouts were perfect, just what I needed. And subsequently, I fell in love with. Fell in love with training for an Ironman. Call me crazy, think of me what you may – but I was happy, living my dream and training for the race of my life.

I was the happiest that I have ever been. Nathaniel was pursuing his dreams of helicopter flight, and I was chasing mine through session after grueling session swimming, biking, and running. I was grateful, I was happy, and I felt that I had really found something that completed me more than family and friends can do. I found my spirit, my passion, my drive, my desire. And she was beautiful.

Currently, I don’t have the ability to go out for a long ride or run, wake up early and watch the colors blend from the pre-dawn light through sunrise and into the early morning yellow sunshine. Oh – how I miss those early morning sunrises, where the colors are splashed across the sky, radically different from one morning to the next. Blues, purples, pinks, orange, yellow, and eventually bursting into the white-hot light of our sun, our star – my passion growing with each passing second.

During these moments – these one-of-a-kind moments to myself, I let my mind wander. Hours can pass in seemingly minutes, as my mind races from one topic to another. Other times, my mind just drifts, like a feather blowing on a current of wind.

The path is not yet chosen, but it keeps swirling up and down, around, and never landing or stopping where you expect it to.

Yes, minds and feathers are much alike in that aspect.

But today presented the perfect opportunity to mull over my recent aversion towards Training Peaks. Back and forth I walked, the cool water flowing over my shoulders, the bubbles rushing past my skin. The chlorine permeated the air, and I felt the smooth surface of the pool floor under my toes. My Short John wetsuit kept my core warm, and I enjoyed the tranquility of floating across from one side to the other.

Yes, I worked hard, my arms pumping in different directions, triggering my shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest, and upper back, while my legs moved forwards, backwards, and side-to-side. I enjoyed the feeling of resistance offered by the water, and felt my internal passion and drive triggered by the challenge of working hard. My legs worked powerfully against the push of the water’s resistance, but I felt unnaturally light with my wetsuit and the support of the water. My mind focused on technique – keeping my core tight, shoulders back, and making my form mimic a slow-motion-run. I bounded, slow-motion-like, keeping my knees high, pushing off the pool floor, and thoughts of moon-walking danced across my mind.

Time was passing, but I was unaware of how much.

Eventually my thoughts drifted from form and technique to my training log. While I’ve been keeping a diary of my recovery, jotting down nearly every detail about how I’m feeling, my workouts, my medications, my nutrient intake, and pain levels, I just haven’t been as meticulous with Training Peaks.

And I decided that there were several issues that I had, standing in my way.

For one thing, Training Peaks represents what I do when I’m healthy, when I’m training, when I’m doing what I love. For the past 15 months, until March 17th, I have updated my account daily – sometimes two or three times per day. I was fastidious about my training logs – knowing that my current coach Jen, and at first coach Memo, would view my reports and base my program partly on what I wrote.

But that’s all different now.

And it’s not about needing to keep myself accountable. My desire to train, to recover, to heal, and return stronger than before has never waned. If anything, I am more resolved than ever to pick up right where I left off and continue on my Path (of course, after successfully completing Physical Therapy and getting clearance from my doctors, physical therapists, and last but NOT least – the WONDERFUL Coach Jen).

So it would stand to reason that documenting my recovery on TP, would only help me in the long run. And not hinder my progress in any way.

But it’s hard. I wish I could say more, could describe what I’m feeling in more eloquent terms, but I find the words fuzzy in my mind – I know what I feel, but can’t quite grasp the concept. Like reaching for smoke: by the time your fingers close, the smoke has disappeared – is gone.

I can compare it to the Mullet Man Triathlon last weekend. I had a blast cheering everyone on, really loved seeing people achieve their goals, break through their own barriers, and succeed in any way possible – but after the race it was tough. I was a bit down, sad that I was not participating on the level that I’ve come to expect.

And, as I drifted back and forth across the pool, it stands to reason that I feel the same way about Training Peaks.

I’m taking small steps: I’m updating my own journal, being my usual pain-in-the-butt detailed, but facing the TP makes me sad and a little nervous. Now that I’ve started the dialogue, began questioning “why?” I’m not updating.

Just because I’m recovering, does not in any way, make me any less of an athlete. That, I know. But still – the TP thing kept pestering me. I still have the flame, the internal drive, and it will only be a matter of time until I’m better. I am no less intense, no less driven and still carry the same flame of passion. My butt is just, well, broken. Okay okay – sacrum (but butt sounds so much funnier).

I know that it’ll only be a matter of time. The race was nearly the same – I went, but had a bit of trepidation beforehand, had a great time, but at the end of the day was a little sad that I couldn’t do it the way I wanted to do it.

But each day that passes, is one day closer to my recovery, closer to healing, closer to watching the early morning sunrise paint her beautiful colors across the sky.

And acknowledging my feelings and emotions are a great first step. I am so happy that I’m in the pool, and more often than not, I am the happy-go-lucky person that I was pre-crash. I just have a few small things that need a little work.

But who doesn’t? That’s life.

And as Nathaniel likes to remind me, life is good. I have a husband, family, and House Monster who all love me, wonderful friends and support. I live in a safe place (safe environment are Nathaniel’s words), and am very lucky to have financial security. So there’s no reason to worry. And for that I AM grateful. So yes, the TP thing is a bit odd, I know.

But that’s how problems are – they vary from person to person. As long as we realize what our issues are, acknowledge our difficulty, face our fears, and find a way to cope – that’s okay. For some it will take longer than others. And that’s fine too, as there is absolutely no race, no need to rush through something that is difficult or that gives us fear.

When we are ready, we can move mountains, will conquer our fears, and pass through life’s journeys with flying colors. And I’m as sure about that as I am about the beautiful yet different colors painted across the sky each and every morning The sun will keep rising – just as we can move forward, overcoming our obstacles and growing with each and every new dawn.


Train-This said...

Well written sister. Well written. Just what I needed today. I can't wait to see you in 3 weeks!
:-) mary

Danni said...

It is very wise of you to do what makes you better. Like you said, everybody faces obstacles and is "forced" to make decisions. Even though you are not updating your TP does not mean that your coach doesn't know what is on your head/heart. You have this blog, and if at this moment this blog is what helps you heal then you are doing what's best for you. Updating TP will come when the moment is right. Keep on going, and you'll get there.

Anonymous said...

TP is a formality of the training - a place (for lack of a better place) to keep track of workouts and efforts and subjective/objective data...there is no need to fill it out until you are ready. Your water walking, PT and stuff is making you stronger and a better step at a time. And, your posts remind us all not to take anything for granted! :) We are getting there! Jen H.

CAMI said...

Marit, I loved your post today. The part about problems varying from person to person and the fact that there is no need to rush through (or into) something that is difficult or gives us fear. I sometimes forget that I don't have to make the decision today. Living in the moment is a rare and precious gift we so often deny ourselves. You are so good at it. Thanks for reminding me what is important.

Eileen Swanson said...

You are getting stronger each day. Keep it up, keep smiling, keep laughing, stay super positive!


Amber and Eric Rydholm said...

Marit, had the accident never happened and you had raced IM AZ, the Mullet Man would still have been a spectator activity for you and you would still be in recovery now. That may not be a helpful way to think about the whole situation, but respect your body, and you mind and spirit, as they grow and heal during this time.

In my own personal struggle, I am up for Lasik in two days, and I am most scared about the thought that I can't train for 1-2 weeks while my eyes heal. Small fry compared to you and your healing, but this is my current battle...I can't see through the loss of training and athletic progression for a few small weeks to focus on the fabulous end result of perfect vision for life!

keep smiling!

Bob Mitera said...

Write down what you did while rehabbing. When I was hit by the truck, I was glad to have what I did in recovery. I look at it today.

Cy said...

You are so mentally strong... Although some days you may cringe at all the 'missed' training time, you are currently training your mind in so many ways. I could not imagine lasting through 80 min of pool walking...That fortitude will serve you well when you go after your Ironman Dreams.

BTW-Indeed, Please spread the Jenny's Light Message!!