This week started off pretty well. I’ve been trying to make sure I immediately identify whenever I am starting to doubt myself and turn that thought into a single actionable item that can change it. For example, I realized that based on the conditions in the ocean at the time of the triathlon, I could be swimming either north or south bound. That poses a problem for me because as much as I cannot turn left, I only breathe to my left when swimming. Swimming in the ocean includes waves and well, if those waves are on my left, I won’t be able to breathe in that direction. I started to do my internal freak out but as soon as I realized it, I replaced those thoughts with one actionable item. In my next swim set, I will breathe to my right for at least half the set. As bad as it may be, as unbalanced as I will be and look, I will do that to help me start breathing to that side in case I need to. Negative thought squashed by positive action. I love it! Great start.
Tuesday I woke up feeling really lousy. I didn’t sleep well and had a sore throat, not good. I knew that after work I had committed to attend a Special Compass training session and I didn’t want to miss it. I decided not to train in the morning and save my energy. I took a ton of vitamin c and headed to work. I felt ok as the day went on and by the evening I was tired but my spirits were high that I would kick this cold’s butt and be on my merry way. I attended the Special Compass training session where we learned how to properly run with the larger running wheelchairs. The training was very helpful. I’ve only pushed once, but plan to attend as many events as I can. I got my team shirt and it was great seeing Jessika, Rey, Darren, Michael, Jim and all the new folks I met. I even met Sandy, the president of the Fort Lauderdale Triathlon Team, which I have now become a member of. Good end to the day for sure!
Again, sleep wasn’t great and I felt really lousy when I woke up on Wednesday. I was frustrated and tried to weigh out my options. I could train or I could rest. Training would make me feel good that morning, but rest might help me feel better the rest of the week. I knew I had the 5k Saturday so I told myself to let go of the expectations and just take it easy a few days. I knew I would not lose any fitness, but could certainly cause issues if I over did it. I kinda felt like I was over training the week before. Guess I was right because now I had a full blown cold. <>
Saturday’s race was for Kids in Distress and was called the Hero 5k. Everyone is encouraged to wear their best super hero costume or accessories. We purchased capes and masks directly from the organization to donate more. Darin was Captain American, D2 was Spiderman and I was Superman. I politely declined the glaring pink Supergirl stuff. I don’t really do pink and neither does the real Supergirl, but I digress. While I joined the Special Compass team for the run, they had more power buddies than needed so I was excited to run the race at whatever pace I thought I could sustain.
It was pretty chilly out (for Florida), about 50-55 degrees. Dare I dream that today would be the day I break the 30 minute 5k curse? No, dare not, I thought. We lined up right at the front, a first for me, so that the team was featured in the photos. When the start horn rang out, I headed off at a pretty good pace, comfortable enough but something I also knew was faster than my previous starts. Cooler weather is fantastic for running. Some of my best times have been on cool days, especially living in South Florida where it’s almost always warm and humid. I was passed by many racers and while part of me wanted to speed up because I was feeling good, I wanted this run to be about how I was feeling about my own performance, and not about what other people were doing. That was a first for me too. I settled in and just kept going. I checked my pace and that messed me up a bit, I think. I saw that I was running under a nine minute mile. My brain immediately went into disaster mode. That’s way too fast for me, I am going to burn up, I thought. I started to slow way down and told myself it probably would not be the day I would break the curse, so just take it easy. Then I realized what I was doing and snapped out of it. I pushed my speed back up a bit, but not quite to under nine minutes this time to ensure that I didn’t burn out either.
I began passing some of the folks that passed me earlier. I decided not to look at the mile marker clocks. I turned away so I didn’t know where I was in time. I wanted to just push myself at a pace I could sustain and see what the result was. There was a kid, maybe about D2’s age, that was totally killing it. He was about ten feet ahead of me when his cape went flying off and landed in the grass. He didn’t notice, so as I got close to it, I veered over and grabbed it. He realized it was gone a moment later and I told him I had it and handed it to him. He thanked me and I smiled. Two seconds later, I thought “oh crap, what if going over and getting that cape cost me my time?!” Then I thought, well that’s what super heroes do and I am dawning the S today, and chuckled to myself.
On the third and final mile I was feeling pretty good, so I started to increase my pace a bit. I started to ache a little in my leg, and those thoughts of just walking for a couple seconds, or the last half mile started to creep in. I mean I did still have a little cold, so why not just take it easy? I pictured myself slapping myself in the face. Wake up and suck it up buttercup! I needed that virtual slap. I maintained my pace. As I came around for the last tenth of a mile or so I could see the clock.…… “OMG, I am going to do this!”, I thought. Sure enough, I crossed the finish line at 29:35. The weather was perfect for running, the course was flat and I was feeling good, dare I say even confident. The stars aligned and I finally broke the curse!….. Or maybe it was the cape!
While that was amazing, and truly something I have been waiting for, it wasn’t even the best part. I really enjoyed the run, I enjoyed the internal banter and the fact that the positive side won. I am getting better at defeating those negative thoughts and that helps me see how much all the training is paying off. I never really gave myself credit for being physically fitter. I never allowed that to give me any confidence whatsoever. And while I know that the same exact race on a different day could lend a different result, on this day, I did it. I accomplished one of my big goals for 2017 and it’s still January! That doesn’t make me any more prepared for the tri in March, but for the first time, I am actually excited for it. I am starting to feel the fun again. I didn’t beat myself up (too much) for the missed training and I was able to enjoy myself again. That was the best part, and who knows what the next few months will bring.