Saturday, October 4, 2014

If your dreams don't scare you they aren't big enough

Dreams can mean so many different things for so many people but for me a dream is a goal that I set for myself that seems unattainable. You don't want your dreams to be easy because going down an easy path doesn't make you grow as a person. If you don't face your fears you will never feel the euphoric feeling of accomplishment that comes when you do something that your brain was convinced you could NOT do. 

My next adventure will be long, grueling, exciting, and no doubt extremely life changing. On Monday, September 29th in a coordinated conference call effort, Jamie, Ladawn and I all signed up for the 2015 Little Debbie Chattanooga, Tennessee IRONMAN. Yes, we had a conference call, we are all very type A and had to ensure everyone got in since it sold out in minutes last year.  Turned out it took a few more days to sell out this year but we were all pretty excited anyway. We whipped out our credit cards and over $800 later I was ready to embark on the toughest physical challenge I have ever faced.  The business and cost of Ironman will come in a later post, but let's just say it is not for the faint of heart. 

The past month dealing with my injury and the countless appointments made me very much doubt my ability and mental capacity to continue my journey to a 140.6 race.  However, I had a brief come to jesus moment after I got back to NYC from Canada when I was walking down the street and having a particularly down day when I saw a Captain America shirt.  As you might know my cousin Packy loved Captain America and I took this is as sign from him, which I generally always do, well that and when I see bud light another favorite of his :)  Anyway, here I was feeling sorry for myself and complaining about my doctor's appointments to get my foot better when my foot clearly is not a life threatening injury. 

Perspective is a beautiful thing my friends.

Perspective that the whole reason I wanted to do Chattanooga is the charity is Crohns and Colitis foundation, a foundation that is searching for a cure to the disease that Packy fought.  A deeper meaning that going into this training is my testament that Packy truly did teach me to Never Give Up not to only do it if it was fun, or easy, or I wasn't hurt. I can handle a few doctor's appointments in order to get myself back in top shape for my upcoming 2015 race schedule if Packy could handle the countless appointments to try and stay with us. 

Don't get me wrong I will still have days I feel completely overwhelmed but those days I will make sure to remember I have my angel with me. Every mile of that 140.6 is to celebrate a person that changed the lives of countless people and impacted the world in his short time here.  Every mile of training is to reaffirm that I'm alive, that I have hopes and dreams and that I deserve to be at that level of race. 

Before Barrelman in my lucky Captain America Shirt with the people who always support my wacky adventures and let's face it sometimes are the cause...I'm looking at you in the background JAMIE!

Dream big, dance in the rain, smile at a stranger and remember life is one big adventure. 

Resetting the mile counters to 0 (until I'm cleared to really work out they will stay there)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The lost summer of 2014

I have majorly slacked on updating pretty much all summer which is mirrored by the fact I haven't trained or raced well either. Let's try our best to do a short, concise catch up post before starting into the new, fun stuff.

Long Island Triathlon
We signed up for the Long Island Triathlon as a relay team for All Women's Tri Team, I was running the 5K. I'm not a very good 5K runner, I am really more of a distance runner but I figure I need to get faster at some point. The course was a little weird you ran on pavement for about a quarter mile, three laps on grass, a quarter mile on sand and then finished up on pavement. I was pretty worried about the grass but that was only because I didn't know about the sand at the time! I managed to figure out the grass but when I was hit with the sand well let's just say we are lucky I didn't stop entirely.  I had to walk a bit, it felt like quicksand! Once I got back on solid ground I sprinted the heck out of that last part and ended up with a fabulous PR of 24:57. Our team even won the Women's Relay grouping!

After the Long Island Triathlon is when things got a bit out of control. I woke up unable to breathe with a racing heart rate and managed to drag myself to urgent care. After passing out during a breathing treatment it became pretty obvious I was in fact quite sick. Turns out I had a very serious lung infection which lead to a two week break from working out.

Sadly that break from working out cause the aches and pains to start coming to light and turned out my left foot was KILLING me.  Off to the dr I went rather begrudgingly to discover that I was in fact falling apart.  Do you know how to make a triathlete very sad?  Tell them that they have an injured rotator cuff due to a bike accident, asthma, allergies, a stress fracture in their foot as well as ligament and tendon damage. How about that for a lot to handle?  I went from on top of the world to completely down in the dumps.

Physical Therapy
I personally find that physical therapy is harder than training because you are in immense pain and it is mentally exhausting without the normal endorphins from working out. The stress fracture was complicated by the fact I trained on it for probably several months, oops someone has a high pain threshold. I have learned that tendons and ligaments are MUCH harder to heal then bones, well isn't that just peachy.  I spent most of the time very focused on getting ready for Barrelman because I refused to admit I couldn't do it. After months of painful physical therapy and no training I don't know why I even thought I could do the race but sometimes I can be stubborn. Ok, ok not sometimes.

I wasn't trained and I had no right to expect my body to perform to that level BUT well I'm a stubborn, pigheaded brat (thanks mom) and I couldn't quit. I do have to give myself some credit because I hadn't really swim in weeks, unless of course you count some leisure swimming in the Spain and France and let's face it that was hardly training. The practice swim the day before didn't go very well but the water wasn't too bad, cold but not terrible and it was really clear.  The swim was hard and I wanted to quit several times, maybe some day I will love swimming or hell even like swimming but today was  not that day. The water was so clear but I got kicked and hit more than any other swim.

Coming up from the swim I realized it was pretty on par with Eagleman which given my horrible lack of training was not awful  It was fabulous to see my parents when I was trying to "run" to transition.  I felt very light headed coming up out of the water only to discover that there were yellow jackets in my bento box.  YELLOW JACKETS.  You should have seen me in transition trying to spray water to get them out.  Eventually I realized one was going to stick with me and set off on the bike course.

The course was not too hilly which was good until I realized there was a constant headwind.  You actually had to pedal to go downhill, yes you read that correctly, I had to PEDAL to go DOWN hill.  Holy crap I was not prepared. About 10 miles in I had a completely meltdown yelling at myself 'This isn't even fun' 'WHY are you doing this?' 'This is STUPID'.  Of course I stuck with it because Packy was with me and well let's face it I'm stubborn (noticing a trend yet).  It was the hardest bike experience of my life, constant headwinds, dangerous crosswinds, wet roads, a foot that hurt and a hamstring that was aching due to compensation.  I really should have rejoiced when I pulled in to transition 6 MINUTES over the cut off but I didn't, I was extremely upset and disappointed.  6 freaken minutes, that was all and in reality given my lack of training and the tough conditions I should have been proud but instead I was pissed at myself, upset that I hadn't pushed through the pain to train, ticked off that I slacked on my vacation, angry that the foot wasn't improving.  You name a negative emotion and I felt it.

After I had time to eat, get some water in me, stretch, and some tears I realized it was for the best, if my day was going to end early it ended before I started the run and possibly caused set backs in my foot recovery. It was a win because I wanted to quit so many times and I didn't, I powered through and tried the best I could get from my body on that day.  That doesn't mean it is the best I can do ever it was just the best I could do given the exact conditions on that day.  Another day will be better and the best part of life is you just have to keep moving forward and you will come across those days that the stars align perfectly for you.

Now that you have fallen asleep I will leave you with a nice little quote that means a lot to me "'It's impossible,' said pride. 'It's risky,' said experience.'It's pointless,' said reason. 'Give it a try,' whispered heart."

Listen to your heart, try the impossible, take risks and realize nothing in life is every pointless you are always learning.