Thursday, January 25, 2007

Perserverance, or knowing when not to quit

Training-wise this could have been a bit of a cruddy week. I intended to run 10km on Monday, but got caught up in enjoying the public holiday. I should have run in the morning, but spent it shopping in the sales. In the afternoon I was put off by the wind and the heat and lay around in the garden instead. By evening I was just being lazy.

On Tuesday I did at least manage a swim and a run with Women's Multis. Us learner-types splashed around in Oriental Bay, which rewarded us by being wonderfully flat and clear. When it came time for the run I didn't want to get out, but managed 20 minutes at a good pace, with no stitch. I discovered a potential new running buddy in the form of Julia, who seems to be a strong runner, slightly faster than me.

On Wednesday I had what will be my last lesson with Lesleigh for a while. Swimming without flippers continued to be a cardiovascular challenge, although I managed six lengths with a floaty without stopping or drowning. I would have run in the evening, but Duck and Ingrid had organised a cycle-maintenance workshop at Cyco that didn't finish until nearly 8.30. By the time I got home I was tired, hungry and grumpy. My lovely husband solved that problem quickly enough by placing a chilli-tequila cocktail under my nose while I cooked up some pasta.

So by the end of Wednesday night? Well, I can change a tyre, but swim 300m in a pool without flippers or a floaty? I didn't like my chances, and I wasn't about to ask the magic 8 ball for its opinion (we actually have a magic 8 ball, waiting for Fi to reclaim it on her return). Who did I think I was anyway, thinking I could complete the swim component of a triathlon?

Today, however, has been a training uber-highlight. Today was one of those days that reminds me of why I'm doing this and restores my faith in my ability to actually do this stuff. Tonight felt like the sessions with the Special K squad when my body suddenly developed some fitness, or one of those golden Jog Squad runs.

First, an early-morning session with Duck. Hard, as usual. Good, as usual. Pain? Yes, of course. Was I complaining? Nope.

A busy day at work came to a shuddering halt earlier than it should have done due to a deep fatigue brought about by stress, a lack of sleep and a good hard weights session. However I still met the Women's Multis squad at 6 as planned. I knew I was tired, but it was also important to me not to melt down again. I knew I had to suck it in and just do what I was told. So hey, I did!

The sea was fantastically flat again and I swam. I mean, I ACTUALLY swam. No freestyle correction, no rock-and-roll. I went out there, breathed to each side, didn't sink, didn't drown and I swam. I even ended up in water over my head at one point, and just calmly paddled my way back to the beach.

Then it was the cycle. Of course I knew what Duck was going to say before the words even came out of her mouth. Up Carlton Gore Rd and the side of Mt Vic to the turnoff to the lookout, then back down via Hataitai. So guess what Sarah? I didn't throw my toys. I got on my bike and I rode that hill. I even overtook most of the other squad, including a girl on a road bike, and caught up with the road bikes at the front of the pack.

The worst bit wasn't the legs, which felt relatively fine. It was listening to the rasping of my breathing, so different from hard-running breathing. But I got there. I even survived being overtaken by a bus on a hairpin bend, and narrowly missing slamming into a braking car on the downwards phase of the journey. Then there were the two pedestrians blinding ambling into my lane round the bays, forcing me to ride out into the middle of the road. I obviously have a label saying 'inexperienced rider - get in her way' taped to my forehead.

Maryanne and her friend worked hard on convincing me to do the triathlon on Saturday. I'm still reserving judgement. I'm going to try another swim at Thorndon tomorrow and see how I feel. No pressure - there's plenty of other beginner tri's coming up, most of which are in the sea. Why is it that I find breathing easier in the sea?

Anyway, for tonight at least, I totally rock!


Rethabile said...

You run 10 kms? Wow.

Catherine said...

You probably find breathing easier in the sea because you are more buoyant in salt water, so you float higher.
Hope you do a triathlon soon. It is great fun. But I'm not planning on doing another one for quite a while, I'm concentrating on off-road running so I can go orienteering again. Had my first event of the year yesterday, and it was very steep - I found myself stopping to rest on the way back up the hill (I much prefer it when the uphill is the first part and I can finish downhill). Still, at least I am competing again this year, I didn't do much last year.
By the end of the year we will both be super-athletes :)

Pip said...

You're right of course - it is the extra buoyancy I get from the sea and wetsuit that make it so much easier. We had a good swim tonight in Oriental Bay, and I'm feeling a bit more confident now. Congrats on your first event! I too prefer to finish downhill - tonight we ran half-way up Mt Victoria, then back home around the bays. I love being this fit...

Sass said...

Yay for not throwing toys! You is Hard Core :)