Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Phoenix

While we were driving to San Diego, Lilac and I occupied ourselves with our usual road trip diversion – we sang the entire way to our favorite mutual and historical CD’s. We listened to Jamiroquai, Prodigy, a Girl’s Rule Mix that I put together several years ago, and definitely listened to Incubus – which is our road trip mainstay.

As we were listening to the Make Yourself disc, we started talking about the meaning behind the phrase “So pardon me while I burn and rise above the flame.” in ‘Pardon Me’. Lilac had felt that it meant getting above your anger, but I had always thought that it was more like a re-birth, and that the burn, and rising above the flame was like a phoenix coming alive from the ashes, and becoming new and better because of the experience from the burn. Maybe this has been because I’ve always felt that we learn far more from our mistakes and tough situations than we do from successes and positive situations.

I started thinking more about that conversation this week as I have been at a conference in absolutely beautiful Dana Point, CA. The resort that I’m staying at is on the cliffs looking over the ocean, and has a gorgeous park surrounding it. It’s been perfect weather, and I’ve had time both before and after work to get a great run in along the coast. So, guess how many times I’ve laced up my sneakers. No wait, guess how many times I’ve even looked at my sneakers and thought about going for a run? That’s right, zero. The best I’ve done is walked to the bottom of the cliff to get fast food each night, and then walk back up the cliff to get to the resort (at least it’s a REALLY steep hill). That and I have NOT dug into the free oreos sitting in my snack cabinet here. That has been a real challenge, but I’m not falling off the no-oreo wagon.

I’m not feeling physically fatigued as much as mentally burnt out – and for all of you training for SOMA, Ironman, or a marathon, I know you’re thinking – Get over yourself, you’re only doing sprints!! My only defense is the fact that I run twice to three times slower than most of you all – so for me running 6 miles is like a 12-18 mile adventure. I’ve been putting in 8 – 10 hours of training a week, so it’s not like I haven’t been working hard every day.

I’ve realized that I’m off the track mentally, and I need to get back on. In order to identify how to get back on and raring to go, I’ve felt like I need to identify what is pushing me off the track. To date I have:

- My immediate summer goals (first 10K, and Mission Bay Tri) have been completed, and there are no short term races on my agenda.

- My longer term goals (Princess Half, maybe an Olympic distance tri) are too far off to be urgent, and get me out of bed in the morning.

- I initially scheduled my training log for these dates back in April. I was so unsure of where I’d be that I actually wrote on it “Who the hell knows where I’ll be here”. Even though I’m quite proud of myself that I’ve basically followed the schedule for the last 6 months, there’s a part of me that feels like maybe I need to re-evaluate my goals and training – specifically with the swimming.

- I’ve really petered out the last 2-3 weeks, and it makes it harder to get back into gear. I start doubting myself and my abilities.

All of these things are manageable and correctable. I clearly need to find a race to motivate me. I need to re-evaluate the schedule, maybe backtracking to the 90 min mark, and working back up from there. I need to get back on the training horse. I’m not sure what I need to do with my swimming, but I need to do something that allows me to still use it for active recovery but not continue to be incredibly boring. I also need to recommit myself and remember why I am doing this. That list looks like this (yes, I think in lists):

- I am committed to a long term healthy lifestyle – not a flash in the pan or huge weight loss program.

- I want to be healthy and active when I am 80.

- Triathlon is a process to me. It is something that I want to build into over years.

- I feel great when I am outside experiencing life.

- My relationship with my friends improves when we share great running/tri-ing moments together.

- I am a more valuable person when I take time for and love myself.

With those things in mind, I want to take the next 8 weeks (the time between now and when I really need to dig in for ½ marathon training) and focus on two things:

1. Killing the goon.

2. Getting outside.

I think 2 will help lead to 1. On the weekends, I feel like I need to do more outdoor training, and that it will allow me to be more confident when it comes time to prepare for road races or triathlons. I still find value in spending time on gym equipment – not only because I have to work out very early when it’s dark during the week, but also because it helps me push myself to be getting feedback on a monitor while cycling or running. However, it can’t be all indoors. So, with that said -

- I vow that I will be spending my weekend bike/run time outside (weather permitting) – and if I’m swimming and biking/running, I will ride my bike to the gym, swim, and then ride wherever I’m going to be training.

- I vow that I will not allow the goon to consume me or change my plans in any workout, and that I will be ACTIVELY working on how to work through the goonage whenever it occurs.

This means toughening up, buttercup. There’s a feeling of satisfaction and confidence that you get from putting everything that you have out on the table. There’s also fear in totally letting yourself go too – and I’m someone who really struggles in letting go of the control factor. But I’ll be spending the next 8 weeks focusing on this.

- Reset schedule – check
- Remember WHY I do this – check
- Set specific training goals – check
- Enjoy the process of self-motivation and growth….
- Experience the burn, and rise above the flame, phoenix style…

1 comment:

  1. I like to incorporate trail running into my training schedule...outdoors and pretty scenery! Did I mention that I have planned to swim everyday since I got that training schedule from you..I have not ONCE splashed around. I need to commit! :) PS Backstreet Boys and Insync are my favorite road trip songs...nothing like belting out a silly tune with good friends! :)