Friday, January 6, 2012

The hard part

I'm in the elevator down to the pool. It's not yet 7am. I've been up for an hour, but I'm still essentially asleep. I haven't really had to interact with any other human beings other than a wave to my garage attendant and a "thank you" to the friendly desk staff at the gym. I'm just on auto pilot. Must.Go.Swim.

On the elevator with me are 2 of the gym's maintenence staff, who tend to always strike up conversations in the elevator. [I don't know why. It can't be just me, because me in the morning isn't the person you see and think, Oh! I'll just start a conversation with her. She looks friendly.]

The maintenance staff guy smiled at me and said good morning and then he said, "So, are you going to swim like a mile or something?"

And I laughed and I said, "At least! I'm planning a bit more!"

And he said, "Wow! That would make me so tired!"

And I said, "Oh the swimming isn't the hard part! 2pm sitting at my desk, that's when I'm tired."

And it got me thinking. There are actually a lot of hard parts to all of this training I do. They range in levels of difficulty, but they can all get in your head and mess with you. Like, mornings, for example...

Difficultly level 5: The first moment you have to actually get out from under the covers in the morning. The moment you decide, ok, let's do this thing. Especially if it's dark outside (which is always now.) Or cold outside (which is almost always now.) Or you are tired. (right.) Or you are warm (well, geez.) Or you are just not interested in what you're getting up early to do (sigh.)

Difficulty level 3: The first 5 seconds of a swim - those seconds you have to submerge yourself into water that's colder than your body and your heart kind of jumps for just a second and you realize that you have to swim now, and that's fine, but gah, could the water be a little more polite about it?

Difficulty level 8.5: It's 2pm and you've just eaten a nice lunch full of protein and carbs, (probably certainly followed by something chocolate) and a nice bottle of water and there's not much going on at work, so you are reading the news and keeping up with emails but really every ounce of your body just wants to sleep and so you start thinking of ways you can go and do that, including sneaking downstairs to your car in the garage and putting the seats down and closing your eyes. That's one of the worst feelings.

Difficulty level 1: Keeping enough clean sportz clothes on hand.

 Difficulty level 6: The only food available in the house is uncooked or frozen and while 20 minutes to prepare a nice dinner seems like a reasonable amount of time for a normal person to wait to eat dinner, it's entirely unreasonable to your post workout self because you need food rightnow, because you are starving, but also because you need to immediately unpack and repack a gym bag for tomorrow's sportz, and work clothes (and not forget a bra), shower, and go straight to sleep so you don't fall asleep in your soup. So, some weird dinner appears, with Cinnamon Life cereal and cheese often make appearances, but rarely together.

Difficulty level 4: Breaking out in a cold sweat when you think about the workout you are assigned, because you know you are going to do it, but man, is it going to be hard, and gosh, so many things can go wrong, and worst of all, you are going to have to be inside your own head the whole time, telling yourself, "You've got this! You can do this! You are a tough guy! People have told you so! Other people can do this, so you should be able to do this! You like doing things that are difficult!" and other ridiculous motivational phrases. Except, in the end, you know it's true, that you like doing things that are difficult, because that's what's fun, and man, after it's over it's like, WHOA. That was awesome. I am awesome! Everyone is awesome! I love this stuff! SPORTZ!!!

Difficulty level 10: Changing a flat tire. I know, that's terrible. I'm just bad at it. Give me a break. I always get my little sister to handle mechanical problems for me. Unfortunately, she lives too far away to be of any use to me on a day-to-day basis, so I'm left changing my own flats.

Difficulty level 7: Choosing healthy foods. I *know* the right things to eat. I don't always do it. I've been really beating myself up about this one lately. [For the record: I had a turkey burger, greenbeans, and potatoes for lunch. +1. I immediately followed it by a piece of cake in the break room. -1.]

My sister might change flat tires, but she also makes me eat cookies.
Difficulty level 2: Feeling bad when I don't execute workouts properly. I've been having some trouble lately with a particular bike workout that I can't seem to master. It's driving me crazy. I'm often in all sort of disrepair after because I am indeed working as hard as I can (Zone 5 Sportz FTW!), but I sometimes feel like a bit of a failure because the numbers are not quite right (Data is fun!) and my method of pedaling is more akin to weight lifting than smooth graceful biking. In a way, it makes me sad, but in another way it makes me want to keep doing it, and figure out exactly how to CRUSH it.

Difficulty level 9: Not overtraining. I soooo want to check stuff off of the training plan, get in all kinds of great workouts, do strength training, do yoga, do all of my PT exercises, get better, faster, stronger, and go out and play with my friends, that every once in a while I get to the breaking point. I've fallen asleep in meetings before, I've bonked during afternoon swims, I've forgotten to pack a bra in my gym bag, I've cancelled fun events that I've looked forward to, and it's usually because of too many sportz. Sleep is good for you, and sometimes it's hard to figure out the fine line between loading the necessary miles and recovering to be prepared for more miles.

But I do it. I do all of it. I don't usually whine or anything. (Although that is sort of fun.) If I say that I'm tired or I'm hurting or I'm broken or I haven't got any clean clothes or enough food in my house, it's really just me stating a fact like, hey, it looks like it's going to rain. While rain may be kind of annoying, it's not really commentary, it's just what's happening right now. So, the fact that my legs spmetimes hurt and I'd seriously love a nap and I've gone through $100 worth of groceries somehow in about 4 days and this morning I couldn't find a clean sports bra...those are all just facts. But it's all worth it because...
this stuff is fun!

Look at me! I'm doing an Ironman!!!

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm.... chocolate cookies. Keeping all the balls in the air is difficult. But indeed, the most difficult thing sometimes is figuring out which one won't break if you let it bounce on the ground.