Friday, January 19, 2007

What's It All About?

This has been an interesting week, with distinctly tidal moods. I've been back at work of course, which, after a long break, is always a shock to the system. I've had times where I've felt a definite tension in my chest - the ghost of anxiety long-past returned to force me to take another look at things. I know, for example, that I can't keep going at the pace I was trying to maintain before Christmas. I won't just crash and burn - I'll spontaneously combust.

There have also been waves of feeling that I'm in the middle of nowhere - that my running fitness is out the window, that I'm hopeless on a cycle and a less-than-novice swimmer, and what the heck do I think I'm doing anyway?

On the other hand, there have been significant achievements and moments of sublime happiness. Contributing to Poetry Thursday this week has been amazing for my sense of myself as a writer. I typically regard myself as middle-of-the-road at best - a writing hobbiest and nothing more. So it's extremely flattering to receive feedback on my poetry from complete strangers, who claim to admire and be inspired by my work. It's been fantastic for my motivation.

Back into the training, and various bits of me hurt today. I know a lot of the tension I've felt this week has simply come from the recommencement of Women's Multis and being pushed out of my comfort zone. Plus there's the aforementioned logistical challenges of multisport.

Following Monday's weights session, run and swim the momentum continued. On Tuesday I enjoyed an excellent but hard Bodybalance class. The holiday has allowed some of the tension in my right glute to subside, and that helped immensely in the balance poses. I pushed all of the extensions, and revelled in those areas that have improved over the last few months.

On Tuesday night we had the first Women's Multis session for the year. I ran around on Monday night frantically trying to pack everything I needed for cycling, running and swimming. There was no way everything was going to fit into one bag, so Hamish had to drop Lola and I off in town. As we unloaded her I realised I'd left my cycle shoes at home. Hamish offered to return home during the day and pick them up, but thankfully Duck confirmed that the fine weather meant we'd be swimming and running and not cycling.

Nevertheless, I was distinctly frazzled, and, having narrowly been outbid on a Trademe wetsuit auction, I was concerned I was going to freeze. As I was desperately trying to convince myself I could tough it out Duck called to let me know that the Swim Shop hired out wetsuits. Saved! However that just left more space to worry about swimming out to the Pontoon without drowning. I felt more nervous about a training session than I could remember feeling since forever.

Thankfully we had a beautiful evening for our first session, and I walked down and met the other girls at Freyberg at 6pm. We started out by running 15 minutes along the waterfront. I went out waayyyy too fast, and on the return got a revolting stitch. By the end of the run I was feeling overheated and queasy and disgusted with myself.

At least I could follow that up with the swim, so that afterwards I didn't feel too discouraged. Ingrid took us beginners for a swim across the beach, rather than the swim out to the pontoon that had been haunting me all day. I was feeling so uncertain that I chose to use my floaty, and concentrated on swimming on my side, with a little freestyle correction. I fell in love with my wetsuit, which kept me toasty warm. I could have stayed in the water forever, but felt extremely daunted about ever being able to finish a sea swim. I could very easily have started to doubt the sanity of my triathlon goals.

I had enough sense to know that I needed to take things a little easier on Wednesday, so limited my exercise for the day to a lesson with Lesleigh. All of my practice over the last few weeks has been driven by a fear of displaying a lack of progress, but thankfully all the hard work paid off. Under Lesleigh's watchful eye I swam lengths on my side, I swam lengths of freestyle correction, and I swam a couple of lengths of kick without flippers. My kick was improved, my breathing was improved. Lesleigh was happy, and I was ecstatic. My new goal - to ditch the flippers.

Wednesday night saw me again trying to pack for a swim, run and cycle. Lola was still in town following the Tuesday session, but it took a couple of bags to fit everything else in. This time I managed to remember the bike shoes.

On Thursday morning I had my first session for the year with Duck, and it was back into the nasty weights. Pain - such a good pain! I spent Thursday lunchtime crashed out on the lawn in Parliament grounds with Sarah under the scorching sun. Then it was 5.00 and time to head to Freyberg again.

I gave up the idea of cycling straight to the pool from the Terrace, and lugged three bags and Lola all the way to Xtreme, where I was able to ditch all but the bare essentials. Everything JUST managed to fit into one backpack, but, relying on Duck's comment that we wouldn't be running, the trainers were left behind. Worst-case scenario they would have been carried over my handlebars, as there was sand-only space in the bag.

Wellington put on another beautiful evening, but there was slightly more chop in the Bay. I ditched the floaty and practiced a little freestyle correction up and down the beach for a while. It was a challenge to accept that I was going to continue being slapped around by the swell, and that swallowing a certain amount of sea water was inevitable. Oh, and then there was the moment that I put my hand through a jelly fish, and felt VERY grateful for the wetsuit...

Without Ingrid shouting instructions it was more of a mess-around opportunity than a genuine training session. By the end I felt much more comfortable in the sea, and more optomistic that I could get a handle on things. Oh, and I discovered that it's almost impossible to sink in a wetsuit. This was fun!

Before too long it was time to get out of the water and strip off the (now very sandy) wetsuit. We left our gear with Ingrid, pulled on shorts and t-shirts, and jumped on our bikes. I started at the back of the pack, but by the time we arrived at the Zephometer I had caught the two road bikes at the front. We stopped briefly to discuss our ride, then as I was riding out of the car park I failed to clip in properly with my right foot and crashed over sideways, swearing loudly in the process. No major damage, so it was quickly back on the bike and off to catch the others.

The return leg was not so joyful, with the Northerly headwind causing me to seriously doubt my bike fitness, particularly with Duck's powerful legs propelling her past me again like I was going nowhere at all. And then I managed to somehow mess up the dismount, fail to unclip, and come smashing down again. For the second time. On the same ride. Like a complete dork.

Oh well, at least I got the 'fear of falling off' thing out of the way I guess. And I still cycled back to the gym. By the time I got there it was 7.30. I was wet, cold, sandy and salty. I had chafing from wearing the swimsuit while cycling, I was tired, and I had a huge amount of gear. The inevitable happened, and the thought of meeting up with Nic and Leonie at the Botanical Gardens became too much of a stress-inducing logistical nightmare. I bribed Hamish into coming to get me by offering to order Burger Fuel for dinner, and the evening was spent at home.

11pm saw me hosing the wetsuit off in the shower and packing my bag yet again for a 6.30am RPM class. The RPM class was hard - the first for the year. As I mentioned at the start of this post, bits of me now hurt! No Body Balance as I had to take my wetsuit back to The Swim Shop. The effort of bussing then walking over there was richly rewarded. I enquired into the price of a new wetsuit and was told that the normal price was $295. However there was a 15% sale on. Plus they would discount the $50 I'd just paid in wetsuit hireage.

I had just missed out on an Ironman wetsuit on Trademe. It had sold for $170, second-hand. It seemed like a no-brainer. The wetsuit I had just returned (which was brand-new when I hired it) was taken back out of the storage room and put back into my bag. I walked out with a $195 wetsuit.

It was such a beautiful evening tonight that I nearly celebrated my new purchase with another swim in the Bay. I'm loving the freedom of being able to go down and swim in the sea any time I like, without having to worry about getting cold. And I'm loving the idea that I'm now someone who loves going down to swim in the sea.

So again - I have to stop being so hard on myself. Maybe I need to tattoo that on my hand!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What do you think about these poems?