But, as of Tuesday, I'm back on the books (so to speak) with scheduled training sessions. And Jen - it seems - outdid herself with action-packed workouts meant to derive the best from my body. I should have known that it wasn't "any" treadmill run: there were (whispered) incline segments that made my glutes burn, calves ache, and left me gasping for breath.
If its physically possible to pull a butt muscle, I can safely say that I did.
But I still kept running, through the incline, past the discomfort, and well into my own (what felt like) decline.
Now, dear readers, its been quite some time since I ran on the treadmill. In fact, the last time I ran without going anywhere was...well...um...when we lived in Florida. Back in the summer of 2008 when I was recovering from my bike crash, I did a few easy easy easy runs on the treadmill - just in case I needed to GET OFF and STOP RUNNING, I could and I wouldn't find myself a mile or two from home. That would be bad.
And before that was well before my IM-training days when I enjoyed all the benefits of my fast-twitch fibers. Blessed were the days when my present-day "fast" was the speed of my "slow" (2007). But hey - we all need to start somewhere, right?
I scouted out the treadmills and selected one that didn't look too intimidating. I didn't need the i-pod holder, TV-screen, towel rack, or built-in fan-that seemed a bit excessive. Just the machine with belt, thank you very much. Yes - its been a while, and I'm old-fashioned. Unfortunately, the dinosaur that I selected was Out of Order.
Had I actually read the sign taped helpfully to the belt, I would have known to not even attempt to turn it on. Luckily, the Marine next to me sensed my befuddlement and responded, "It doesn't work."
Unwilling to be deterred, I walked up and down the rows of treadmills, looking for anything circa 2007.
Eventually I landed the 2100-version, not 2010, or even 2020. 2100 - with an iphone dock, tv, fans, towel holder, touch-screen, and not one, but TWO fans. Nothing else was available...and yes, I definitely felt out-dated. It took me several minutes just to power the darned thing up - but eventually we got moving. I opted for the simple screen, no tv (I get dizzy), held my ipod, turned on both fans and told my 2100-tready "no funny business" and started to run.
My first mistake was to watch my pace. Ye, I used to dwell on numbers - pace, watts, weight, heart rate, and everything else in between - but have since learned better. Life is much much MUCH more enjoyable without the constant stress of trying to control stuff that, at the end of the day, has little to no importance on my personal well being and happiness. Trust me. Its just not worth it to me, or my anxiety levels. I'll watch what I'm doing, maybe make an adjustment or two - but I don't dwell. Not anymore.
It was the gift I gave myself after my 2008 emotional recovery from the bike crash.
But I would be remiss to admit that I didn't freak out a little when I glanced at my warm-up pace. X:XX just doesn't give me that much confidence. BUT - I put the negative thoughts aside and rationalized that 1) I'm just recovering from sinus surgery 2) My training has been on-and-off-and-on-and-off-and-off-and-on since Kona and 3) My year 2100 treadmill is evil.
I won't go into details about the workout. It was hard, and I gradually upped the pace and incline together - which really made me feel swell. I relished the work, capitalized on the effort, and knew that each and every workout like THIS (year 2100 treadmill or not) will make me that much stronger and faster in the end.
It was towards the end of my workout that I noticed the girl on the elliptical, kitty corner from my person. She was wearing a tee-shirt that read,
"Glory comes when you lie exhausted on the field of victory."
And it made me wonder, while sweating my brains out, running at an incline akin to San Francisco, and cursing my coach under my breath - what it really meant?
What if we don't want glory? What if our aim, our goals, our ideals are different? And not that there's anything wrong with those who do. On a different level - if Personal Glory is what you seek, does it make you any less successful if you loose? If you don't lie exhausted on the field of victory?
What if (and this would probably be me) - you were just lying exhausted in the field of non-victory (but you had still accomplished something far bigger than you could have ever imagined). Just because we don't "win" does it mean there's no Glory in what we do? Does that mean I failed at Ironman Hawaii?
What does this mean?
As I cooled down, grateful and happy to have 1) finished my workout without throwing up and 2) survived on my year 2100 treadmill, I thought about the motto. On the surface, it seems simple. Glory (IF that is indeed what you seek) - is reserved for those who WIN, for those who are victorious.
But on a deeper level, it means so much more. And its just contingent on how YOU define VICTORY. Victory can mean crossing that line first...or just crossing that line. It can mean beating a rival or just setting a personal best. And my favorite - victory can be just putting yourself out there in the first place. Because that takes a lot of guts as well.
At the end of the day, how you define your workouts, what you do, and even yourself is up to YOU. I know that life is a lot easier when you don't put up barriers, are kind to yourself, and applaud yourself for the journey - not just the finale.
I thought I was going to the gym for a treadmill workout. Instead I learned a little more about myself, and what I value. And mastered the year 2100 treadmill - can't forget about that one.