A few months ago, I wondered if I was going to make it to the re-commitment date for Team in Training’s Triathlon at Pacific Grove event.
On the day of the event, (some would say ‘race’), as I stood on the beach after having dog paddled around a bit in a safe area of the ocean to get used to feeling the cold and salty water upon my face, I waited for the horn to go off and start the cluster of purple-capped participants. Of which, I was one.
I took that time to reflect on the most current leg of my journey. I thought back to when I quickly spewed out ‘Sure!’ when asked if I wanted to try this event with TNT. I don’t think I even considered to what extent the training would take me, physically; didn’t even take a moment to ponder the challenges I surely had ahead of me during the training season, as well as up to and including the event, itself.
I blindly tumbled forward into and throughout this new adventure – at times, quite literally.
What I learned very quickly was I would not to be completing the swim portion without some major changes in my (lack of) freestyle form. My first foray into swimming with the team left me with extremely sore shoulders.
A few weeks earlier, I had an accident on my bicycle. I found out during this swim just how naïve I was for not having gone to the doctor directly after the accident and not going to any kind of physical therapy to help get motion and range back to my shoulders.
I soon went to a doctor and started physical therapy. I also got some coaching from the physical therapist on some different freestyle strategies that could save some wear and tear on the muscles and ligaments around the shoulder area. Those of you who know me (even slightly) well, won’t be surprised to hear I also researched everything I could about the correct freestyle form and how to help prevent injuring or causing further injury to the shoulders.
I was focused and I was determined to get that part down. I’m not a fan of pain, you see. And I do not like it when pain forces me to quit.
Let me rephrase that – I do not like it when pain makes me feel as if I should quit.
So, I turned most of my energy and focus and thoughts to swimming and working on doing this, and other activities, without causing further damage to my shoulders.
Because I concentrated so much on this, I may have ‘lacked’ focus on the other events.
I felt as if I could do the bike segment without too much of an issue. It was only 25 (ish) miles, after all. I’ve routinely ridden far more than that distance only recently. So I hopped on the bike and rode just long enough to remember what it is supposed to feel like, and to get used to transitioning from swim to bike to run.
That was there, too. There was no lying when I was told I had to complete this portion in order for me to say I’ve ‘completed the event’ and go about greedily grabbing my finisher’s medal from the nice ladies in the finishing chute amidst the festive balloons. After which, I was to be able to call myself a ‘triathlete’.
I knew going into this, the run would be a challenge. And if my past was any indication, I would lose the battle. I must admit, this knowledge ‘may have’ caused me to run away from running more often than face it. It is incredibly disheartening to want to be able to do something you feel you should be able to do, only to have certain limitations get in your way.
I mean, I’ve got all the right equipment, I’ve got the knowledge, and “I can.” But, at times, I couldn’t.
I may not have beaten this ‘run’ thing, but I have made huge strides in my training this season. I was able to log more consecutive running minutes and miles than ever before. More than I would have imagined on day one. My legs still won’t let me run pain free 100% of the time, and I’ve yet to find any steadfast remedy – whether it be stretching, taping, crying, complaining, walking – for the pain in order to ensure better odds of running pain free, but I’ve made progress.
I wanted to say thank you to all who have supported me, both by donating on my behalf to this great cause which will help to fund a cure, and by simply listening to me or reading my little entries here. None of the your support has gone unnoticed!
Stay tuned for the next chapter!