Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
- Romans 5:3
Perseverance. Character. Hope.
Saturday, Sept. 20th - Character pushed me out the door to meet Tim for a 13 mile run. Had I not known that Tim would have been waiting in the parking lot for someone to run with on that morning, I cannot guarantee that I would have gotten this run done. Not to mention, after 7 miles I became nauseous and threatened to puke my guts out, and Tim every-so-slightly changed the subject and somehow, without ever saying so, convinced me to carry on.
Saturday night I erased all ideas of swimming, biking, and running as J.T. and I took the boys to the Opry, spent the night across from Centennial Park, and attended the Titans game the next morning. What did this cost me? Aside from the precious cash that I'm having a hard time letting go of these days, it cost me a 1600yd swim on Saturday and a 1:45 bike ride that I really never had any intention of doing anyways. Believe me, it was well worth the cost. There is a time to follow the plan, and there is a time to kick the plan to the curb and catch your breath and enjoy the most precious thing you've got - your family. We had a seriously good time.
So, following the weekend in NashVegas, here's how the long antipicated recovery week went:
Monday - 4 mile run at lunch. This was supposed to be a 7 mile run, but work got in the way. It was supposed to be hill repeats, but I talked myself out of that too, considering I had to be back in 50 minutes for a meeting, and needed to still be able to think clearly. Besides, for some reason, my legs insisted that 4 miles was enough on this day. What is wrong with me???
Tuesday - 20 mile ride at lunch. 3200 yd swim that evening. You can't beat the weather these days...no matter how tired or how unmotivated I might find myself, riding 20 miles in 80 degrees with bright sunshine and an easy breeze is pure heaven. And the 3200 yds was my first swim IN 10 days due to the shoulder problems I've been having. The shoulder still hurt some, but I completed the swim set without much of a problem.
Wednesday - 6 mile run at lunch. Oh yeah, running 6 miles in those same weather conditions also qualifies as pure heaven.
Thursday - Rest.
Friday - 4500yd straight swim in 1:31:40. I had to do a double take on the watch when I finished. Then I had to contain myself to keep from dancing around the deck of the pool. The shoulder...well, it still hurt...but it hurts a lot less when I keep my stroke wide and long...which is what I'm suppose to be doing anyways. Following the swim, I rode 35 in a little over 2 hours. I'm feeling fast in the pool and slow on the bike...how do you explain that when I've barely swum lately, but I've been biking my ass off?? Little recovery, maybe? Low motivation, perhaps? I don't know, and I really don't care. If you only knew the convincing it took to even get me out there, you'd just be happy that I logged the miles/time.
Saturday - I got up to do my 2 hour bike/1:45 run around 6:30. I got dressed and sat down at the computer to check my plan and make sure I knew what I needed to do. Not a creature was stirring....then...footsteps...little ones...getting closer.
"Mom! Where are you going?"
It was Bo, rubbing his sleepy eyes...he caught me in time this time, and you could tell that he was proud of himself.
I said, "Goodmorning, Bo. I'm going to bike and run a little in a few minutes."
"No! No, you are not. You are staying here."
"I won't be gone all day this time, Bo."
"No, please, please, please stay here. Every time I wake up I look for you and you are gone biking or running."
Needless to say, I stayed. I had no idea what I would do or how I would possibly get the day's training in, but I felt like I was facing 4th and 20 in my own territory, and had no choice but to punt. Punt, I did, and we fixed pancakes, played with army men, played some Wii Bowling and some Power Pros Baseball. J.T., who is more nervous, I think, than I am about this Ironman thing, insisted that I had time to get it done in time for Briar's football game if I started at 11:00. Bo seemed to be tired of playing with me by then, anyways, so I took off. I rode for 2 hours, hopped off and ran 11.31 miles in 1:45. Nothing terribly fast, but my legs felt great.
Sunday - I took the opportunity to go see my grandmother that I haven't seen in way too long, and to finish up the mounds of laundry that were starting eat at my soul. In other words, I am doing what I need to do to stay sane right now, although I am buried in a sea of "I need to's" and "I should be's."
To sum it all up, I am still buried in this training plan and am having a hard time seeing the light at the end...but I know it's there...and I will perservere to the end. It will, although I wonder sometimes if it's worth it, build character. Character that I need to be complete. Character that generates hope in my soul. Hope that the limitations I have always put on myself are self-imposed piles of crap. Hope that the body is strong and the mind is stronger, and when you train them properly they will get you where you need to go. Hope that there is more to life than snooze buttons and chocolate cake. Hope that there are lessons in nature, lessons in suffering, and lessons in pain that God has still yet to teach me. Hope that my children will see that an ordinary person can be extraordinary with a little bit of dedication. Hope that on November 1st, I will take each and every mile of this training...each drop of sweat...each drop of blood...all of it, and it will carry me 2.4 miles in the ocean of perseverence, 112 miles of character on the bike, 26.2 miles of hope on the run...all the way to the finish line of Ironman Florida. Yeah.