Thursday, June 28, 2007

Outswimming the Storm

You know in those Charlie Brown cartoons where there's a little black cloud that follows Charlie around when he's having a rough day?

I feel like I've had that around me for the past week or two. Probably just general anxiety about me hitting the 7th month and only having a jogging stroller.

(It is a really sweet jogging stroller, BTW.)

That's part of it, but there's some other stuff, too. Essentially, I've been worrying about a few things quite a bit that I need to let go, and I've really been down and extra extra hard on myself lately.

(I'm always kind of hard on myself, so the extra extra part is not so good.)

I gave Wil a call to chat on Sunday as she was driving home from High Cliff 70.3 and then we finished our conversation up on Monday. It made me feel a lot better to talk to a like-minded individual about some of the dumb stuff I'm worrying about on all angles of my life. We also got talking specifically about tris and next year. She gave me some good advice.

She told me that Peter Reid gave her some advice (update--Okay, so he gave Melanie McQuaid the advice, who then passed it onto Wil...either way, STILL PRETTY SWEET!), which, is pretty damn cool that Peter Reid is giving her advice--holy shizz! I had to interrupt her and laugh at that. Anyhow, he said that at every race, he's not trying to WIN it. He goes out and tries to do the best he can for that possible day, and if he's done that, then he wins. Of course, this is a guy who, with that philosophy and mindset, has MULTIPLE Ironman WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS under his belt.

Maybe he's onto something.

I know I can't compare myself to others now, or even next year--that's not why I got into this sport anyways, and I need to remember that. It's the main reason why I think swimming was such a good sport for me as a little girl. You are on a team, but ultimately, you are competing against yourself. Next year will be harder than anything I've ever tried to do. The nervousness and anxiety I feel now trumps my sleepless nights worrying during my Ironman summer about 10 to 1, and I've still got 3 months to go. So I need to remember what Peter said now more than ever.

Will I win the Muncie 70.3 next year? Of course not.

Will I PR? I'd like to, but there are so many factors that I can't control.

The only thing I should worry about is what I can attitude, my training (to the extent that I can control it with a few-month-old at home--it will have to be flexible and efficient), my nutrition, and my knowledge of my gear and the course. If I can keep the right mindset, I may not win the 30-34 age group, but I will win the first overall female with an 8 month old baby at home who hasn't raced in a year category.

Life's too short to sweat too much about your time anymore, I think. I had several years of age group awards at sprints and olys, and that was fun....but I feel like long course suits my personality better. Putting in the training required to pick up hardware at one of those things for me is not totally impossible (I never like to say never), but at this point in my life, would require an amount of time that I just will not have and am unwiling to create.

So I will look to the countless other rewarding aspects of triathlon besides the trinkets.

I've got a whole shelf full of those collecting dust, anyway. They're on a dresser that will soon be the baby's, and I'm not even sure where to put them. I don't want to say they don't matter anymore, because they were and are an important reminder of who I am and how far I've come, but they might just be moved to a box somewhere upstairs for now. I think now, as I'm staring a new decade in the face, I'm realizing that they are overrated.

You know, kind of like waistlines. :)

Anyway, yesterday I couldn't help notice while I was banging out 3000 yards in the pool again (hey, it's the only thing I can really do right now, so I have a feeling we'll be doing a lot of those workouts these next few weeks), that a ominous black cloud was hovering over me--literally. I stopped to fix my goggles, and the wind blew some lady's newspaper into the pool as she sipped her iced mocha. Kids ran after hats and toys. "Oh, no you don't," I thought. "I'm not done swimming yet." So I pushed off again for my last 1000. There was a guy in the lane next to me with a gatorade endurance bottle and I figured he must be some kind of triathlete. He was pretty fast, and for once I just let him go so I could focus on my own sets. He did his short sets fast and stopped, while I just went steady...the opposite of what I did for so many years...the 50 and 100 free, sprinting. I've got trinkets for those, too, I thought. I'm not even sure I know where they are.

Steady, steady, I kept going and the black cloud still hovered. On my last 100, I noticed fast guy was right around me. I decided to try and keep his pace just for fun on the last 50. I "beat" him by a stroke.

Alright, so that's the closest I can come to racing this year. Cut me some slack. I've got to appease otherwise slow Competitive Sara somehow.

Victory is often in the eye of the beholder. That's what's so great about this sport, and now more than ever, I'm learning that as I sit on the sidelines and watch this season. My first tri season in 6 years without a tri.

I might just be learning more this season than in all the other seasons, combined.


Jodi said...

You have such a great attitude! What a great role model for your little one!



Wil said...
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Wil said...

WHOA baby, he didn't give that advice to ME, holy crap. I wouldn't be able to stand my own coolness then! :) It's just something Melanie McQuaid told me he said. Hehe. If his best performance is the best one of the day, then he wins. And if not, he still wins. Hard to argue with that!

I'm really glad it helped though, you're on track! Now please don't kick my ass too bad at Muncie huh? ;)

Wes said...

For those of us that may never reach the podium, that's what it has always been about. Doesn't mean we won't keep tri-in :-)

Catherine said...

do you know the serenity prayer? it is SUCH a good one.
god, grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change, the courage to change the things i can and the wisdom to know the difference.
put into practice it is really powerful. when you determine which things you cannot control you can begin to let go of them and when you know which things you can ... you can take the actions necessary to shift. having the wisdom to know the difference is critical because, i have found, that the real suffering comes when i am "stuck" between the two.

Run for Chocolate said...

It is so hard to be on the sidelines. I really hated being pregnant, but this time will pass so fast it will make your head spin and then your whole world changes.

Kim said...

7 months preggos and still pushing out (excuse the term) 3000 yards?! amazing sar! :) i cant see no stinkin black cloud!

JenC said...

I know this is a tough time, but just think of it as recovery time to get those muscles/joints back into great working order. You'll be back in full swing soon and I have no doubt that you will be a rock star like you were/are! Honestly, I'm looking forward to being pregnant and having a reason not to push myself so hard all the time (remind me of this comment if I do get pregnant).

anne727 said...

I am pregnant as well (just 4 months) and a runner, and I can relate to the Charlie Brown black cloud... I just wanted to thank you for your honesty. Being pregnant is great, but there is also the reality of fears and "black clouds" that people sometimes don't want to talk about. I am amazed at how active you have been during your pregnancy and am in awe of your determination! Thanks for not being afraid to share both the ups and downs, as it allows others like me to breathe a sigh of relief that I am not the only one!

anne727 said...
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DaisyDuc said...

Sweetie, seems to me as usual, you are being too hard on yourself.

You will be back next year and you will not only go out there and enjoy yourself and do well, but you will have a sweet little one to go home to.

Next year we can watch you come back just like our Tribe can! :-)

I still can't believe you have been doing this for 6 years already!!! You have many more wonderful years to come.