Thursday, July 10, 2008

Attitude Adjustment

Sometimes I hear parents say this to their kids, but today, I am saying it to myself. For the first time a few days ago, I was able to see my training schedule the entire way through October 11th, race day.

The way my training works is through the Mark Allen Online system where I log in and I can view my workouts, usually about a month or six weeks at a time. On Sunday I needed to be "loaded up" with more workouts to get me through the next period so I contacted my coach to ask him to hook the program up. It calculates these workouts based on previous training experience, current swim, run and bike mileage, age, and workouts that you would like to have per week. Yes, you can choose 9, 11 or 14 workouts per week based upon your scheduling needs. At the beginning, I talked to my good friend Beth about this, since she has been doing this program for a year, and really liked the training, In addition, her results showed wonderful improvement. We discussed how the 14 per week might be challenging at times, but considering our situations (no children right now), and how to get the most from the program, I decided I wanted to try 14. If it was too much, I would back off to 11 workouts per week. I also liked having a day off completely from training on Fridays, no workouts, no thinking about workouts, just sleeping in and being "normal" for one day per week.

This seemed to work very well for me during my half-iron training. Thursday's were a little rough with a speed run session of about an hour, 3000-3500 yards of swimming (1 hr 15 mins) and then a long bike in the evening (2 hrs) of course, still working my 8 hour day in between 2 morning & 1 evening workout. It was tight, but fine.

Getting back to my coach releasing the workouts, he let me know in an email that day that he had released ALL the workouts right up until Kona. To an athlete, that is in some ways a double edge sword. You mind goes something like this.. "do I want to know, NO, I don't want to know, one week at a time, no peeking, I HAVE to peek, seriously, what will I be doing on say... August 27th.. WHAT!!! 7 hours of biking.. that must be a typo. Shoot, this program (unlike me) doesn't do typos! How will I ever do that!!"

So, I looked, that's right.. I was a peeker. I now know what I will be doing for the next 13 weeks of my life, every day... Thursdays will get longer and more intense, Saturdays will be longer, training wise, than my average work day. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it.

Then this morning I got the attitude adjustment that I needed. Here it is.

A Great Story A son asked his father, 'Dad, will you take part in a marathon with me?'. The father who, despite having a heart condition, says 'Yes'. They went on to complete the marathon together. Father and son went on to join other marathons, the father always saying 'Yes' to his son's request of going through the race together.One day, the son asked his father, 'Dad, let's join the Ironman together.' To which, his father said 'Yes' too. For those who don't know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever. The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4 mile (3.86 kilometer) ocean swim, followed by a 112 mile (180.2 kilometer) bike ride, and ending with a 26.2 mile (42.195 kilometer) marathon along the coast of the Big Island . Father and son went on to complete the race together.

I've seen this story different times associated with the Ironman, but you know how sometimes things seem to come at the most opportune (or sometimes what we feel is inopportune) times? My mother sent me this video and I almost didn't watch it because I had seen the story before, but then I did. Wow is all I can say. My eyes welled up with tears from start to finish, and I got goosebumps all over.

Until you have children, I doubt you can truly understand what it means to be selfless and fully willing to give everything up for someone else. Having a spouse is one thing, and it approaches this level. However, children are so young, so innocent, and rely on you for their very well-being. To think this man was not only willing to do the Ironman, but to endure the pain and joy that was brought about by pulling & pushing his son through the event makes me feel like a big baby. Who am I to complain or think that my training is too far, or might be too hard or too long. Who am I to have one negative though associated with the pain I will endure that day during 140.6 miles. This man, much like our savior, endured it all, for every one of us... and whom am I to ever question or bat an eye at the path he has chosen for me right now, this very second.

Not one more.. that's what I say. Not one more negative thought, not one more squint at the computer screen when I see something I've never done before. People train for the Ironman everyday. These people who have more responsibilities, with more constraints, with crazy jobs do it day in, day out, just like me. Every time we step up in distance, whether it's running a marathon or a even an Olympic distance tri, we do it with the confidence & fortitude to know the training is done, and though we have never done it before, we are prepared, we trust ourselves and our faith, and can handle it. We will finish. This man didn't even know know if it could be done, he did it anyway. The beauty of the human spirit... it shines like no other.

So, yes, I've got it now (speaking to the man upstairs). Thank you for my attitude adjustment, I needed that.

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