Monday, August 4, 2008

New Things

In Pre-school, my Montessori teacher was big on trying new things. Being the enthusiastic pupil that I was, I took Patti’s words of advice to heart. Which culminated in my consumption of an entire hard boiled egg, shells and all, during Easter break.

I remember the day as if it were yesterday.

I headed upstairs to the TV room, which later became my younger sister’s bedroom, hard-boiled snack in hand. I was very proud of myself, being able to use an actual plate – the kind that adults used. Quite a big deal to a three-year old.

While watching Sesame Street, I munched on my egg, slowly peeling off the shell, and then devouring the outer egg white and eventually the yellow yolk. I was fascinated that the outer part of the yolk matched (almost exactly) the carpet color in the hall.

Half-way through the show, I looked down to find an empty plate full of egg shells. And then it just dawned on me: I should eat the shells. So I did.

Later, after the show was over, I walked downstairs to return my plate to the kitchen. I was being very grown-up about taking care of my things; putting everything back in its place.

Just as I hopped off the bottom step and made the right-handed turn into the kitchen, my Mom greeted me at the doorway. She looked at me, looked at the nearly empty plate with only a few tell-tale egg shells left, and then back at me.

“Where did the egg shells go?” she asked.

She probably couldn’t have imagined that her three year-old would do something as silly as consume egg shells.

My response?

Not that I was hungry. Not that I was bored. And not that I fed them to the cat.

“Patti says to try new things.”

And I just left it at that.

I don’t really remember what Mom said. What could she have done?

In life, I’ve found that more often than not, I try to follow Patti’s words of wisdom. For the most part, I enjoy trying new things, enjoy (for the most part) the challenges and opportunities they present. Sometimes it turns out great – like the time I ordered Cambodian Rolls from Ichiban (the best sushi roll ever! from the best sushi place in Pensacola!)

And others, well, not so good. Like the bottle of sake that Nate and I ordered from the same restaurant. Absolutely awful.

But at least we tried.

Today on my swim workout, there was something very new. After my warm-up, my Uber Swimmer-of-a-coach Jen had written for me to do “press-ups, without feet.” And no – not once, and not only one set. For 7 minutes during one of my pieces, every time I hit the wall, I was supposed to do five (count them – f.i.v.e.!) press ups.

Unfortunately, the day that Long Course Meters would have been my friend, UWF pool is no longer doing the distance. Something about too many people and teams competing for space. (And I'm not interested in hopscotching between lanes from 6:30-7:10 am, and then again from 7:15-7:55 while teams and swimmers have to be moved. It's a zoo, I tell you!)

So instead, I drove up to Whiting Field, where Nathaniel does his helicopter training, to use their awesome outdoor pool. The problem? Lots of people witness to my antics.

And no – it’s not uncommon to see buff flight students or instructors pumping out push-ups or ab work on the pool deck. Meow! But very rarely do I see them swim 25 yards, complete their calisthenic sets, and then swim another 25 yards. And if I did see someone do something like that, I would seriously question their workout. Or their sanity.

Turns out today I was the goof ball.

Once I got going, it wasn’t that bad. At least the lifeguards didn’t say anything (that I was aware of – remember though, that I was swimming for at least part of the time), and my swimming counterparts seemed oblivious. But after 75 yards of 5 press-ups every 20 or 25 seconds, I could feel my arms, triceps, and shoulders begin to shake.

And it wasn’t just the press-ups that were affected. Somewhere after 100 yards, I began to seriously slow down. No matter how much I rotated my hips, or stretched out my stroke, my body felt – simply stated – sluggish in the water, as though weights had been attached to my limbs.

My coach, it seems, has a funky sense of humor.

But the press-ups were written on my schedule, and I’m all about the trying of new things – so I gave it a shot. And I learned that while I may not have (voluntarily) dome something like this on my own, the process of following my workout to the “T”, of gaining insight on my form from the accumulation of fatigue, and of completing a new challenge far outweighs any fear or anxiety about failure.

And then it hit me: this is exactly what I should think about for any and every race I do this season.

Yes, I’ve done many a triathlon.

But I’ve never done one after breaking my back, after going through a life-altering event.

And just because I haven’t done something, haven’t experienced it with the post-crash mentality doesn’t mean that I should fear it. Quite the opposite, in fact. I need to embrace the challenge and relish the opportunity to try something new.

So with that, I am very excited to do my first triathlon on August 17. I’ll be racing in Greenville, South Carolina, at the Greenville Sprint Triathlon. And I couldn’t be more excited. Thank you to Ashley Long and Jeremy from Setup Events. It seems fitting that I really discovered triathlon while racing the Setup series in North Carolina, that my first race back should be with this race production company. I feel like I’m coming full circle, in a way.

Back on familiar ground, I guess…

Earlier today I tried on my race kit for the first time since returning from California in March. And though it was a bit of a squeeze, I liked how it felt, liked the feeling I had while wearing my racing outfit.

This season truly is about trying new things. And that’s great, because I’ve been all about the new stuff for my entire life. Egg shells or not, I’ll give it a go. And while I may look a bit funny while doing it – press ups on the pool deck, every 25 yards for 7 minutes – at least I’m trying.

I’m not promising to go fast, I’m not guaranteeing any sort of speed like I was fortunate to have last season. But my heart will be out there with me on August 17th – exactly 5 months post crash. And I can’t wait to get started.


Danni said...

You will do awesome Marit!!!
The best of luck to you on this new phase of your recovery.
go get 'em girl!

Anonymous said...

Hee hee....I am secretly chuckling here for you! :) Can't wait until the 17th! Oh yeah! Jen H. :)

Ryan said...

So you are the one at whiting that I heard about! :)

Just so you know, last year in my racing kit, I looked like a marshmallow wrapped in a rubber band. Now though, I look like THOR!

Hi Nate, that haircut is mighty motivating Marine!

Also, Melissa and I will be at Ichiban on Thursday night, Sans Kid!!!! And, she is still on some heavy duty pain medication ;) Bow chica wow wow!

If you are interested,let me know.

You need to introduce me to your contact for setup events because I am going to be a local soon :(

August 17th will be TOTALLY AWESOME! I wish I could be there and yes I am from SoCal, that is where totally awesome originated!

Ashley said...

I'm so excited for you to get here!! Fun times in G'vegas!

Kim said...

Yum, egg shells. Although I'm all for new things, I don't think I'm going to run home and mash some nice egg shells up to munch on. In a pinch, I would do it in a heart beat though! Congrats on finishing your pull ups, or push ups, or wearing pull ups. I forget what you called them already but I think I might like to try them! I need a picture though because I don't think I get it! Very glad you are going to do the race too & thanks for checking up on me after this weekend! I needed it and the feeling was really good to know I could finish upright & standing!

TriGirl Kate O said...

I love that visual of you as a three year old casually informing your mom that "Patti says we need to try new things!" I'll be sure to think of you on the 17th as I watch the sprint race up at Timberman. You'll do GREAT!

Wes said...

I hope Jen never made Elizabeth do any of those things... Might give her some BAAAD ideas :-)

I am thrilled you are going to the Greenville Tri. That one wasn't on my radar this year, but you will have a blast.

Wave to me on the way through Atlanta. K?

kerri said...

YESSSSS, it's almost here!! You did it and will be stronger for it and MORE determined. One week and counting!!! Can't wait to hear how it goes. YEAHHH!

Anonymous said...

GO MARIT GO! You will do great! Remember to have fun girl!

Ashley said...

speaking of "new things"... how about a post ;) As if I have room to talk. See you SOON!

kerrie said...

hey marit, thanks so much for your nice words and your wisdom. You are truly an inspiration....


good luck at your race - it is also lucie's birthday, so it has to be a good day ;)

Steve Stenzel said...

What a great story! And way to KEEP trying new things! Good luck!

egan said...

I found your blog via the write-up in last month's Triathlete magazine. I like your mentality about next month's triathlon. Sometimes things do happen and we have to adjust our outlook. Good for you and kudos on your recovery progress.

Eileen Swanson said...

Hey Marit, awesome chick that you are......Cool post, so true, try new things always, take the risks, you will do awesome in your first race back! It's about the journey, have fun, learn, and most of all know how lucky you truly are.


rr said...

YEA YEA YEA!! I'm so excited you're going to do your first tri. It is time. And it might just be the lift in spirits that you need lately.

I love that you were the goofball at the pool :)