Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Milestone!

Yesterday I had my one thousandth page view.  No, you are not allowed to ask if I count my own.  But, in honor of this amazing milestone I will regale you with a tale of perseverance in the face of almost unimaginable adversity.


Last week on my first trip to the pool, I took a deep breath, sucked in my gut and took my shirt off (yes, they should require a permit).  I put my head down, making eye contact with no one, and walked manfully to the edge of the pool.  The end of the pool where you enter the lap lanes is only 3'6" deep which barely comes up to my hips making me afraid to just cannonball in and start swimming.  So, instead, I eased my foot to the lip, squatted down until I could touch the apron, eased one foot out and gracefully fell into the pool.  As a friend of mine used to say, "Poetry in motion."




But, here's the deal: I didn't die of embarrassment.  I usually look around to see who saw me and who's laughing.  Now I'm wondering why I ever do that to myself.  I just kept my mind on what I was doing and let the rest of the world slip away and enjoyed myself like I never thought I would.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

I Did It

All day today, every time I thought about what I had planned this afternoon I broke into a sweat. "Hmm, that didn't compile... OMG I have to f'n swim in public this afternoon!!!" It wasn't the physical activity that worried me but the drills.  I even thought I was going to knock out the 500m my training plan had scheduled for me.  My wife tried to very gently tone down my expectations and it's a good thing she did.  I only made it 200m.

But the distance really means nothing.  I'm the king of finding excuses for not doing things that scare me.  For most of my life, having my plans messed up by the lap lane not being open would have been enough for me to roll up my towel and head home for a beer.  Tonight, I sucked it up, hopped in the pool as soon as the lane was open and started.

My form was terrible.  I was trying to remember 40 things at once and only got one of them right at any one time, if that.  But at the end of every lap, I turned around and started another one (well, almost every lap).  I even had an Ironman jump in the pool and start zipping around me and I kept going.

Those of you who haven't known me forever have no idea how huge this is.  I can't wait to get back in over the weekend and see if I can throw on another 25m.  I feel like I've been shot out of a gun.  This week I've done all three disciplines of the Tri and I feel fantastic.  And this is only the beginning!

WTF?!?!

I was thinking I'd be a good dad and bring my daughter and a friend to the fun pool while I used the lap lane. I put down my towel and take a step to the pool and see ten toddlers being put in the lap lane for swim lessons. They apparently don't police the lane well, anyway. There are kids playing in there and people just hanging out.

Maybe I expected too much.  I have no idea how these things work. I'm going to hang out for a while and see if I have any luck. Frustrated.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On My Way

Things are finally on the move.  I've now been on three 'runs' (30 seconds on, 90 seconds off for 20 minutes).  Each run has gotten a little easier and the only issue is making sure my legs can handle it.  I haven't gotten out of breath or even really broken a sweat on a run, yet.

Today, I finally made it out to our Legacy Trail and put in my first bike ride.

20 minutes at moderate pace including a small hill.  I could have gone longer but was worried about over doing it.  The bike rides a little rough, I think the crank is warped but it worked fine for what I was doing.

Not pretty but peoples likes the pics.
Looking at that pic it looks like I may need to invest in a new helmet, too.

Anywho, tomorrow I'm heading to the pool.  I've picked up some drills from the Total Immersion DVD  Andrea loaned me so I don't think I'll look too ridiculous and I should get something out of it.  The goal tomorrow is an easy (very easy) 500m.  Wish me luck, I need to go find my swim suit.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I've been paralyzed by the enormity of what I've signed up for.  A Sprint probably doesn't seem like much to someone who's done a Triathlon but it seems huge to me.  I've been combing through training plans looking for one that fits my fitness level.  This has calmed me down considerably.  Most of them start slowly and seem doable but for one thing:  I still don't know how running's going to work for me.

Wednesday night I went for my first 'run' in years and years.  I did 20 minutes doing 30 seconds running and 90 seconds walking.  Not surprisingly, it hurt.  The good thing is it hurt in both legs and by relaxing and concentrating on Chi Running, landing with my feet under me and on the mid to forefoot, I could 'cruise'.  Seriously, the worst part of the run was getting over looking like an out of shape beginner (yes, I know that's what I am; I don't have to like it).  The best part is that I woke up the next morning with no knee pain.  I'm hoping right now the pain was in all the little pieces in my joints I'll call 'ligaments and such' that need to acclimate to running.

This week I'll take my old 10-speed out to our local Trail of Tears to start biking.  All I want to do is remind myself what it feels like to be on a bike and get my legs broken in.  As I said, all of the beginner sprint plans I've looked at start out very slowly so I don't need to be on the bike long, I just need to get on it.

Some day this week I need to just suck it up and get in the pool.  I've learned some very simple drills I can do from Total Immersion videos.  I never realized how much of swim training is just working on your stroke and breathing.  They also seem like things I can do in front of strangers and not look too retarded.  I know I shouldn't care, and once I get into the pool the first day I won't care anymore.  The first time's always the hardest.

My sleep has been sucky so I've not felt like writing or exercising the last few days but I hope to get fully rested this weekend while my family pampers me and hit it hard Monday.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

OMG!

Well, I've done it.  I just registered for my first ever triathlon.  It's the Atomic Sprint Triathlon in Lenoir City, TN on September 29.  I'm a little sick to my stomach but I'm thrilled to have an event I'm aiming for.  If you'd like to join me you get a 10% discount on the entry fee by typing 'Race 4 Free' as the coupon code when you register.



Naturally, I didn't look at those profiles before I chose it but I'll survive.  I'm not trying to win the damned thing so I should be okay.  I entered as a Clydesdale (yay for fat people!)  Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A New Road

"Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself over to it."  -- Buddha 

Last week I wrote this long blog post about my disappointment in my family's lack of interest in what I'm doing.  It was deep and heart-felt and... it was beautiful.  You'd have loved it.  I had put it aside to soak before I edited and posted it.  Now I hope I never post it.

Thursday I had a long talk with my boss about my decision to look at other positions within the company.  I was telling him why I was leaving:  better working atmosphere, better process, a better fit for me in general.  But as our discussion progressed it started to dawn on me that sliding into something comfortable is the last thing I'm looking for in my life right now.

I tend to blame other people when I'm not happy


The more I described what I wanted in my career the more I wanted to get it for myself.  If I don't like the process in my department, I should work on gathering consensus to make the change I think we need.  If I can't get that consensus, I'll probably learn something and maybe get involved in something even better.  If I don't like the atmosphere, I can make it better pretty quickly by changing my own attitude.

Now, I'm not really good at putting myself out there to make mistakes and taking a stand at the risk of making people dislike me.  But in this short time I've been focused on becoming a triathlete I'm starting to realize that attaining meaningful achievements rarely happens easily and they wouldn't be as meaningful if it did.

I know at some point I'm going to have to get in a pool with fitter athletes in all my overweight glory.  It's killing me.  After this little epiphany, though, I'm realizing that that may be the best part.  I could have my eyes opened a little in to how wonderful and open other people can be.  Or I can learn that I can take a little snickering and still kick some ass.

I haven't even gotten on the bike, yet, and I've already learned so much from this journey.  I'm going to start applying this feeling to everything I do and see where it takes me.  I can't wait.