I write an email each week to my athletes. In this email, I updated them on a bunch of different things going on in Try a Tri. This session, I’ve added in a bit each week about how my Ironman training is going. I call this part of the email “Tales from Ironman training”.
The past two weeks have been monster weeks in terms of what I’ve learned as an athlete and as a Christ follower. I want to share w/ you my tale written on 4/11 and then the one written on 4/18. I’m so excited at the opportunity and the lesson and the experience. Romans 8:28 just keeps coming to mind.
“And we know that all things work together for those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
April 11, 2011
Tales from Ironman Training
First, so many of you regularly ask me how I am doing and how the achilles is doing – thank you for that. It truly means a lot. I believe that my achilles is healing and that I am balancing between playing it safe but also pushing it a little bit. Last week I had 4 30 minute runs. They each went well. The achilles no longer barks and yells but it is tight and sore the first 5-10 minutes running. After that it seems to loosen up .After training – whether biking or running the swelling increases and it is very, very tender. So, this week I am going to try 40 minute runs. I keep stretching and doing what I’m supposed to do so I’m hopeful. That being said, the truth is I did miss nearly 3 full weeks of running. Probably not the best thing but nor is it the worst thing. I plan to do the Easter Sun Run and the Johnston’s 1/2 marathon. Once these are over, I’ll have a good idea where I’m at with this injury and what impact it may have on my Ironman race. Right now, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to do the running training required to run a marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles. If, after these two races things don’t go well, then I may have to shift my focus and get my mind wrapped around walking the vast majority of the marathon on race day.
How do I feel about not knowing? Well, honestly it drives me crazy. I like to KNOW! :-). But alas, I don’t and I won’t for a few more weeks. Yes, I’m nervous about my run conditioning and no, I don’t particularly like the idea of walking to finish my first Ironman. I’ve even stupidly felt sorry for myself for awhile. I’ve also decided that even if I have to walk, then I’ll walk b/c I’m doing ALL 140.6 miles on race day! Unless, there is an indication that I can injure myself further – then of course I won’t run or walk.
Saturday, Robert and I went to see the movie Soul Surfer. Wow, what a movie and what a story. Most of you know about the teenage surfer that got attacked by a shark and lost her arm and then continued to surf…It’s very clear from watching that movie that God has used her to influence and motivate others….her impact has been far greater and far wider because of being attacked and because of losing her arm. Many, many people, including myself, after hearing her story and seeing her drive, are inspired to continue on, to press forward, to realize that they haven’t been given a challenge or a set back at all, that if she can do it, then I can do it..that truly, all things are possible…that perhaps doing this isn’t all about me…that perhaps, whatever the circumstance God will bring something remarkably positive out of it. That is my prayer and my request – I’ll leave it in God’s hands and wherever my body is that’s where He wants me to be and I’ll do my best – run or walk!
In the meantime, I do my swimming and biking w/ full throttle commitment and intensity. I work hard on my strength training and pilates. I run the best I can and pay attention to what my body is saying. I trust that God, my coach and Robert will advise me on how to best handle the third leg of my ironman. I know that run or walk…I’ll give it my best and not let any joy be taken from one minute of this training and racing experience that is Ironman.
Tales from Ironman Training
Well, last week was a deciding week for me! I ran a bit on Tuesday and ran a bit on Wednesday and well, I realized there is no way I can run any distance with my achilles right now. After consulting w/ my doctor and hearing her warning and advice about not making this worse, after listening to my coach, talking w/ Robert and consulting w/ an experienced friend – I have decided that I will train and prepare to walk the marathon portion of my Ironman.
Disappointment? yes. Relief? Yes, because I’m no longer in limbo on what I will be doing.
I’ve had people tell me “there’s no way I would ever walk, I just wouldn’t do it.” I had people look at me in horror as if I have no dignity b/c I do plan to walk it. I have people say they’d “die of boredom doing all the walking I’ll be required to do during my training”. I’ve had encouraging people say well, most everyone walks so much at the end anyway or go, walk your walk, do your 140.6.
But here’s where I fall on this. #1 I’m privileged to train for Ironman. #2 I plan to do the full 140.6 unless it’s can cause me further harm. #3 I’m grateful to know this early in so I can get all this walking in and get good at it. #4 I’m not really sure I’ll actually add a tremendous amount of time to my race time anyway. That run was gonna be s-l-o-w! #5 Perhaps there is someone out there who can be inspired by this. Someone I can set an example for. Someone who can’t run, or who isn’t good at running or who has not decided to do triathlon or even consider an Ironman b/c of the run. Oh that I can show them you CAN walk the marathon! I’m going to. Why on earth wouldn’t I? I’ve got these legs, I’ve got this health, I’ve got this inspiration to do an Ironman…so, I’m gonna do it the way my body says I need to do it!
I walked 90 minutes on Saturday after a 45 minute bike ride. I was able to hold a 12:30 -13:30 pace. I know zippo about race walking – I now have a book on order, I’ve read most of what’s on a couple of really good websites and I’ve asked the Go Run guys if they know of a coach in town that knows about race walking. I’m going to be the best race walker I can be.
Next, there’s this thing called deep water running. I’ve had to do it before. Not a lot of fun…but there is significant proof that athletes that deep water run while injured can keep up their run fitness and mostly this research points to them keeping improving their speed. So, I’ve got some research materials and I’m going to do a little deep water running too. Who knows..perhaps after this, my running may actually improve? I’m such an optimist aren’t I?
As many of you know, I saw the movie Soul Surfer a couple of weeks ago. This was such a God thing. That movie has impacted me so much I can’t begin to tell you. It was God’s way of preparing me for walking this marathon. I’m so grateful for that movie and it’s timing. Thank you God.
I plan to do the Easter Sun Run 10k and the Johnson’s half marathon and walk both of these. I have a bike ride to do before each race so I’ll get to experience tired legs and walking and a chance to work on my ability to walk fast on race day. There’s nothing like race day is there? It’ll feel a little weird and yes, there is a part of me that doesn’t like what my times will look like..so I have to park my pride and know that showing up for these races and walking is one of the best things I can do to see where I’m at and what’s possible for my Ironman on 7/30!
No, sometimes things don’t go as planned. No, sometimes things get taken away. But, that’s ok…when that happens we have to count our blessing, be grateful, dig deep, get creative and pursue the dream and achieve the goal!! Last week, I told you that I would leave this in God’s hands and whatever would be would be. And so, He graciously gave me an answer. Sometimes I think that once our hearts are softened and our attitudes adjusted, God gives us answers and we are ready for those answers. I certainly feel that way right now.
Isn’t it wild what can transpire in a few short weeks? So much is possible.
People tell me, “oh I’d love to do a triathlon but I can’t swim.” And I tell them, “Guess what? When I started I couldnt’ either.” And then I tell them where I started from as a swimmer and where God and good coaching has brought me as a swimmer.
Perhaps, in the not too distant future,someone will say to me, “oh I’d love to do triathlons but I can’t run.” And, I’ll have the journey I’m taking right now to share with them!!