I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘Endurance’

The Big Picture: Race Report, Part II

You should know before continuing that I’m getting married. All right, back to racing. 

I wrote in my previous post that I was quite miserable as I was racing. Along the course, I was whining to the man who had not been my fiancé for 24 hours yet about how I wanted it to be over. He was being sickeningly positive. “I think we’re doing really well!” “We’re getting closer with every step!” You know. Annoying crap like that. I was completely absorbed in my own self-pity as I lambasted myself for not being stronger and faster.

Somewhere along the way – like, damn near the end, I remembered that I wasn’t alone. Seriously, guys. I’m…not…alone. I was overcome with guilt for not being more encouraging to the man who says he wants to grow with me and spend the rest of his life with me. It was his first race! I thought about how I would feel if I were running my first race and someone were alongside me, complaining about how much better he should be doing as I was working my hardest. I would be so sad if someone were to have flooded a day still so special to me with negative energy. 

Whoops. 

As soon as I realized what I was doing, I apologized. In apologizing, I not only corrected my attitude toward the day but also was able to see how much I accomplished by crossing the finish line. He, of course, graciously forgave me. That’s what good-looking fiancés do, I suppose. He actually wants to race with me again! 

There’s probably a life lesson somewhere in here aside from “sign up for more races.” I’ll keep you posted. Heh. See what I did there? 



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“I am over this *bleep.* Race Report, Part I 

Some races go better than others. What can I say. 

I registered for a Spartan Race back in September 2014. Since my 2013 New Year’s Resolution to do things that scare me, I’ve been doing just that. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to finish an obstacle race such as this, so I figured this was the time to prove myself wrong. Between September and February, I found me a man to race alongside me, heh heh heh. Spending Valentine’s Day with my boo in a race – what more could a Lady J ask for? 

To be able to do everything perfectly and with great ease, of course. Why are you even asking? 

24 obstacles over 4 + miles. Sigh. The penalty for not completing any of the obstacles was 30 burpees. I was (and still am) battling some bizarre shoulder and foot injury and was trying to get out of it the morning of the race, but the man told me to suck it up. It was his first race, after all. I pretended that it’s not all about me and we showed up at the starting line. Running up and down the stadium steps was the (relatively) easy part for this endurance athlete, but the climbing and the lifting and all the other random crap? 



Do not be fooled by how photogenic I can be. I fell off of this wall shortly after this picture was taken, which basically sums up how my day went. Adonis definitely had the edge over me when it came to the obstacle completion (thank God for that, who could date someone who isn’t strong?) and I was OVER being faced with weakness in my physical capability. The title of this post basically was my mantra after the first hour of the race. I climbed things. I went under things. I faced fears. I said, “screw this!” and went straight to burpees for some of the obstacles. 

I did finish, but I was so annoyed that I couldn’t really enjoy anything except the fact that it was over and now I had a cute picture to take with Adonis. That’s something, I guess. 



Weddings aren’t stupid and World Triathlon Corporation is right

If you got married between 2011 and early 2014 and I was in attendance at your wedding, chances are I was sitting in the back, rolling my eyes. Don’t get it twisted – the super single Lady J is no hater. Nor is it that I don’t have good examples of healthy, long-lasting marriages; my parents just celebrated their 35th anniversary. I believe it was a function of having reached my late twenties and starting to see the marriages of some of my friends who got married when I was in my early twenties start to fall apart. The infamous 50% divorce rate bounced around in my head as I watched people exchange vows. “Wonder which one of them will take the gift I brought in 5 years? Hard to split a toaster in half.” Either way, I would dutifully follow social protocol and feign excitement. “Why are people crying? Anyone can buy a dress, hire makeup artists and say some words.
Talk to me when you’re still married in ten years. Then you’ll have earned that toaster, for reals.”

Of course, this naturally leads me to registering for my first Ironman. Just hear me out, y’all.

Immediately after registering, I checked my email to ensure that everything had processed correctly.

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“Congratulations.” For what? I haven’t done anything. No finish line. Not even a half hour of training. All I did was give you a sizable percentage of my paycheck and here you are congratulating me. Anybody can register for a stupid race. Apparently, my friends are on board with WTC.

Welcome to the journey.

Woo-hoo.

Well done.

What is wrong with everyone?

It is strange to think that I registered for my first race ever just 20 months ago. I remember how excited The Mentor was when I told her what I had done. I reflect upon how I have felt as I’ve registered for subsequent races – usually nervous, occasionally excited. It is only looking back that I see my bravery ended at the finish line but started when I clicked “submit.”

Ohhhhhhhhh.

So when you all have a wedding, it’s like you’re clicking submit! That IS a pretty big deal. We both may DNF, but I buy running shoes long before I cross the finish line. I suppose you can have a toaster and some other stuff to equip you for your epic journey.

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After Careful Analysis of the Data, I’ve Decided to be Giddy. Race Report, Part II

The Swim

I had been watching all of the waves previous to mine, so I knew what was up. The athletes were hanging out by the first buoy until the loud guy shouted at them to go. It had been similar at St. Anthony’s. I could do that. The pink caps were called into the water and off I went. Sadly, I made the assumption that they were standing while waiting. Everyone looked so calm, right? How could they be treading? Come on, Joanie. You can tread. Don’t panic.

“GO GO GO!”

Guess that means I should start swimming.

I remembered what had been so effective in my previous race – don’t think about the whole distance. God is going to get me from buoy to buoy. The lake was so clear and the water felt so warm! Almost immediately I found myself having fun. I got into the rhythm of my strokes. I never realized that when my arm hits the water that it’s got a nice bass to it! I started adding words to the beat. Right, left. Right, left. I love to swim and Jesus loves me. Oh look, a buoy! Still feeling like a champ. Don’t forget to kick GUUUUURL don’t forget to kick! Note to Coachie: I’ve got to do better with swimming straight. Someone forgot to put the lines in the water AGAIN. A lifeguard (or three) caught my attention when I was a bit off course. No matter!

The water was so clear that I could see my arm underneath it. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something really strange looking. “What the hell is that?!” Oh. Bubbles from when my arm hit the water. Chill out, Joan. I was feeling so great that being among other athletes didn’t make me panic. I was actually bummed when I saw the last buoy. Time to go get Red Rocket!

Composing songs really makes the swim go faster.

Composing really makes the swim go faster.

The Bike 

I haven’t had any falls since September and I’m still leery every time I get on that bloody bike. The thing I love about races is that I won’t allow myself to look like the punk that I feel like. Normally, I’ll wait a second before I start to pedal. Not today, dammit! Off onto the speedway I went for the lap around the track before I went out onto the rest of the course. Knowing that I was on a speedway pushed me to go faster. “Don’t be an idiot, Joan. You kinda have 24 miles to go.” But I felt so good! I was trying to decide whether or not I would take a break to hydrate and eat as I had my previous race. Meh, I’ll deal with that at the turn around, I thought. Let’s just GO!

This course was so beautiful. In stark contrast to St. Anthony’s, it was mostly rural. I saw very few cars on the whole ride. “Hay trabajo aqui, (there is work here)” a sign read. “Estoy trabajando en mi bici ahora mismo! (I am working on my bike right now!)” I shouted. Tee hee. I noted that as I got passed, people were NOT saying “on your left.” Sigh. Manners. I reminded myself I was in Miami. I shouldn’t expect manners. :-p I still dutifully gave warning as I passed fellow athletes. I’m classy.

Let me tell you, I have never had so much fun on my bike as I did during this race. I don’t know what elements were in place but I need to make sure it happens again. I didn’t stop the whole time and just listened to my body. I thanked God for all the beauty around me. Apparently, nature found me beautiful as well, as a few bugs went straight for the girls. A butterfly decided to sit between them for a few moments. “GET THE F OUT OF HERE!” I yelled. Off it went. I got this.

As the speedway came into view, I knew it was almost time to run. I had forgotten that I had to do another lap before I got into transition. Someone “kindly” shouted out that I’ll never make it if I keep spinning like that. I narrowed my eyes but knew he was right. Then I passed him. Heh. And then – it happened.

I got that same feeling I get when I run. That high. That tingle all over my body. I didn’t know that was possible on my bike! Especially after 28 miles! Winning! All right, Red Rocket, great job – time to get my running shoes!

Red Rocket and I were One.

Red Rocket and I were One.

The Run

After quickly getting water, I was off running. Aaaaand it was about 11 AM in South Florida. A *tad* hot. I was soon regretting not having stopped on the bike – maybe I was just hungry. Maaaaan I had thought that running was my thaaaang. I felt like I wanted to do anything BUT run. What a switch, eh? After all that swimming and biking business, running just seems like a tease. The finish line was like, right there. “Nanny, nanny, boo, boo!” said the run course. “You can’t catch me!” said the finish line. “Imma get it!” I thought. “Eventually.”

I… I think I need to do longer bricks. Or fix my brain. That 6.6 miles was just…it took for bloody ever. I walked a lot more than I had intended. I begged God to help change my brain. “We were having such a good time! What happened? Heeeellllp!” I grabbed ice water from the aid station. Someone next to me said, “It really helps when you put ice in your chest. It keeps you cool.” I grinned and filed it away. I saw the Jamaican triathlete on the course, walking. I waved. She said “Go Jamaican! I’ve got 40 years on you – you better kick my ass!” I laughed and went a bit faster. I turned and saw cars on the speedway. “You p***ies* and your MOTORS and EQUIPMENT! You should try a REAL sport!” I shouted. Mile 2 passes. Dear Lord, it’s only been 2 miles? I tried to look for distractions. Nature. Cute boys. Anything. This run would just NOT end.

I tried my swim strategy. Get to the next aid station. Don’t think of everything ahead of you. It just – it wasn’t the same, man. I would get water and start to walk and ran when I got tired of everything going by so slowly. Two girls were shouting “U-turn, you betta U-turn!” Halfway through. Only about 7,000 steps to go. Someone next to me said, “This is a f***ing death march.” Thanks a lot, man. Way to put the Funeral March in my head. I love Chopin as much as the next triathlete but Sonata Op. 35 No. 2 (III) isn’t the best way to get TURNTUP. I pressed on.

I got ice water again and remembered what that dude had said. The good athlete said, “nothing new on race day!” The tired athlete said, “what the hell, how much worse could it get?” I dumped the ice into my Tri top. It felt pretty good, but that wasn’t the best part. The girls were making music! Caveat – they only made music when I ran. Dammit, I guess I better run. I named my new instrument the tetamaracas. Don’t tell me that’s not brilliant. Saw the Jamaican again and she yelled, “You’ve got a great rhythm! Don’t stop!” Heh. It really was a great rhythm. It amused me enough to make me smile.

I refilled my instrument at the next stop. The speedway was in sight again. I took note of the words “Champions Club.” “That’s my club!” I shouted. “THAT’S WHERE I’M GOING!” Come on, God. Every step brought me closer. I was finally back inside for the last lap on the speedway before the finish. I looked desperately for the chute and finally it was before my eyes. I heard my amazing parents cheering for me. I looked to the sky, smiled, and pointed to where credit is due.

Another one in the books!

Another one in the books!

The Liberty of Newness: My Second Endurance Sport

The fun I have had training and growing and surprising myself in the past year has not come without cost. I often feel guilty for not playing the piano more. Real talk – when I started teaching, I wasn’t practicing so much anyhow as I adjusted to having the FT, but it still bugs me. Yeah, I’m all up in the music on the daily, teaching the kiddos, enjoying what I’m doing, but I feel that I am learning things from endurance training that music has been trying to show me for…well, ever. Why am I willing and able to put so much time into something new when music has already done so much for me?

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Yup. You see, music and I have been together for damn near 25 years. We’ve had our ups and downs but I know we’ll always be together. But racing? Everything is new and fresh and I get surprised all the time! I am enjoying each new day, but with that comes the fear of my honeymoon ending.

What will that even look like?

I imagine that eventually I will hit a point where I am not progressing as quickly, if at all. Age will bring its challenges, as will injury and life interfering with training. How will I feel about racing then? Will I still love it even though I don’t feel it is being as good to me as it once was?

My mother recently commented that she has never seen me as happy as I am now that racing is in my life, but I know me. It is fulfilling a need to achieve. What happens when that need isn’t being met? Will I run off to the latest thing? Heh – run. Did I do that with music? I don’t think so, simply because I was too ignorant to realize all the ways music benefits me until, ironically, I began racing.

The fact that I am an advanced musician brings with it certain pressure that I am still working to relieve. While with racing, I push myself to achieve and grow, with music I push myself to not only achieve and grow but also be exceptional. Anything less than pristine performance is difficult for me to see as worth having. I know it is highly unlikely that I will attach my self-worth to being an athlete, but music has played such a huge part in my life that when I feel I’m not doing well as a musician, I’m not doing well period.

I guess what’s great about racing is that I allow myself to suck acknowledge my shortcomings without beating myself up because I know I am a beginner. A wise person would apply that lesson to other parts of her life – shouldn’t I acknowledge my shortcomings as a musician and just keep growing and enjoying? One can only hope, pray, and play.

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