Sunday, May 13, 2012

Here is the WORD - ignore me at your peril (sort of)

Being positive is hard some days.  Today is one of those days for me.  I feel a bit like Homer Simpson when he launches into one of his I'm-so-stupid-and-everything-is-going-wrong rants.  Maybe I need to be sitting down to a Duff's at Moe's Bar.  Today is the Tempe International Triathlon.  About three months ago I set a goal that I was going to place in the top 10 in my age group (40-44) today.  It was a big goal.  It is a particularly hard one to achieve when you aren't even there.  That is really hard to swallow (harder than a Duff's at Moe's in fact) when I am painfully aware that it is my own damn fault.  I have a stress fracture in my left hip.  I got it from trying to cram about 8 years of training into a few weeks.  What the hell was I thinking?  

Given the metal detector activating hardware that I already had in my back - this was exceptionally stupid.  When your spine is pinned back together... ease into running.  So no Tempe for me.  I am sitting this one out.  I would love to be able to say "I would so easily have hit my goal and placed in the top 10", but the truth is that I have no idea what would have happened.  I have not run more than 5 miles (total) since March 1st.  I am really bummed out about it.  I am embarrassed to say that I let it drag me down today.  

When you have set your sights on a fitness or lifestyle goal it is so easy to shoot yourself in the foot by trying to fast forward to the victory parade.  Everyone does it to one extent or another.  Relatively speaking I was lucky.  I did not do anything that permanently disabled me, or was super expensive to fix.  I know people who have fundamentally altered the course of their lives this way.  All I did was delay my debut into the elite triathlon category by a half a year.  The hard thing about something like this is to shake it off.  It is not the kiss of death to your plans and goals and dreams.  Like my very wise mom always says "progress ain't always linear".  There are lessons to be learned from days where it feels like you are moving backwards.  In the realm of training, of reinventing yourself, of life in general - those are often the most valuable lessons that there are.  

Let me tell you though - it is brutal hard work to shake off an I-suck-I-might-as-well-throw-in-the-towel-all-is-lost style funk.  With that kind of self-talk you get off the hook and you get sympathy from those in your circle.  Feel sorry for me and understand why I am giving up on my goal that I have publicly stated in the past.  It is perfectly understandable and totally natural to go there.  The courage comes in the next part - afterward.  The part where you don't stay there.  The next stage where you are looking it in eye and moving forward.  It is not the end of the world.  It is a sprain.  A fracture.  A concussion.  It is 5-10-12 pounds in the wrong direction.  A bag of corn chips.  A vacation where you ate too much.  A cigarette you swore to never have again.  Don't throw in the towel and go buy a pack.  You don't quit AA because you went to a bar.  It is a moment of human weakness that is all too normal and just a bump in the road less traveled.  Of course I feel like shit about Tempe - I screwed up.  I should have been in that race today.  So tomorrow no wallowing in self-loathing - I need to swim, ride my road bike, work in my shop, and be a great Dada.  My two oldest sons come home from college tomorrow.  The only thing they need to see from me is how happy I am to have them home.  The one effective treatment for feeling like you have failed is to wake up the next day and focus on moving forward.

I am particularly blessed.  Tempe was not the end of some program.  It was a part of long term plan.  there are lots of other opportunities ahead of me.  I have another triathlon coming up on the 3rd of June at Keuka Lake in New York.  I am doing it with one of my oldest and dearest friends.  He is in much better shape than I.  Having said that, I will be well rested and my hip will be fine, and he would be crazy not to pay attention to me on race day. I might not be as competitive as I would like to be, the 6 mile run will be my first since the injury, but I will be present.  At the end of the day that is all that any of us can do - dust off, get up, jump back in, and be present.  As for the other competitors in the race at Keuka... I know that it will be my first run in about 14 weeks - but you had better hope that you can pedal really fast.  Cuz I will smoke your asses in the water so badly that you will never be able to catch me on the run alone.  That is gospel.

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