Monday, September 23, 2013

Process

I often hear the phrase "trust the process" but what about enjoying the process?

I am a very goal directed person and the goal or outcome is what motivates me to work hard.  Whether it is at work or at play I usually like to have a goal to work towards and I trust the process to get to that goal.  What I am trying to do now is enjoy the process.

I have to be honest, I enjoy training.  For me the challenge is not being able to train as hard as I want.  I am not fit enough yet to push the way I like to and this causes me to get frustrated with the progress I am not making.  I find myself wondering if I will ever get to the point where I can push myself to total exhaustion and then complete another interval and then run home.  The process that I am trusting at the moment can quickly turn to torture when I ask my body to go and it just cannot.  I need to be kind to myself, smile and enjoy the process.

There is more to enjoying the process than just maintaining my sanity for the months it takes to get fit enough to train how I want to.  The last few races I competed in were not enjoyable for me.  I was focused on the outcome of the race to the exclusion of everything else I was doing.  I was not enjoying the training or appreciating the work I was doing.  I was not satisfied with blistering fast workouts as I was distracted by the prospect of upcoming big races.  I wanted to win and that was my focus.  I decided I would not be happy unless I won and when I did not win I was miserable.  I did not enjoy the process and when the outcome was not to my liking all the work I had done seemed pointless and stupid.  If I enjoy the process and appreciate what my body is able to do then by the time race day comes around I have already had success.  I still want to compete well and by enjoying the process the outcome will be the cherry on top of the delicious ice cream sundae.

I wish I could put process into other parts of my life however the concept is not necessarily universal.  After a couple years of making a concerted effort to get a boyfriend and facing failure at every turn I cannot think of a process to embark upon let alone one that I could enjoy.  Cleaning is a process I detest though the outcome is always satisfying.  Laundry is the worst chore ever.  That process is something that will never be enjoyable.  I am fortunate to love my job/profession so I can report I love the process of work.

I very much focused on enjoying the process this weekend with a 3 hour BRICK (2.5 hours cycle, .5 hour run), a great 3600 m swim workout Saturday night, spin and weights Sunday morning and 2500 m in the pool in the evening.  Today is my normal day off but I felt like running when I got home from work so I listened to my brain and went for a super 6 mile run.  I still run the same pace as always as I ran an old route and checked my watch at my normal pace spots.  I do not have the endurance but it is good to know I still have the easy pace for running.

I am getting into the rhythm and trying to enjoy the process!

Happy Training!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pool Time

Hard workout in the pool.

I swam 2600 meters of free and fly and I am tired.  Now that I look at that sentence it is a bit depressing that such a short workout made me this tired.  I cannot get discouraged yet as I am only 3 weeks into swimming after a considerable break.

Although the workout was not that long it certainly was intense.  This was my first real hard (I think I am going to drown) workout in a long time.  I made all the times easily and honestly pushed myself harder than the pace times dictated.  I am not swimming the hardest, fastest workouts yet but hopefully I will be close to the fast lanes in a few months.

I dropped my handlebars on my bike.  Time to get into race position while training.

Happy Training!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Peaks and Valleys

That darn bike!

All the time I did triathlon when I was younger I hated cycling.  It was something that broke up my two loves, swimming and running.  Now I find myself already bailing on rides, what gives?

I think the issue is, I am tired of training alone.  Most of the training I have done in my life has been alone.  Day in and day out I pounded the pavement, by myself, for all my long runs and off day runs.  Even while I was in university and living with runners I still ran alone for my long runs, especially during the summer and once in grad school.

Moving out to Vancouver meant that I knew not a single soul who could run with me for my long runs.  I run too fast for most people's comfort.  With cycling speed is not the issue.  Lack of speed is the issue.  I fall between the two types of cycling groups you will find in the city.  I'm faster and more competitive than the recreational groups while too slow for the cyclist groups.  I have a few friends who ride however getting anyone to commit to anything is difficult.  I continue to ride alone.

At one point in my life it was my dream to meet a gay man who could either swim open water, cycle or run.  In my pipe dream we would meet at a race and he would fall in love with me just as quickly as I would fall in love with him.  I cannot think of a more amazing thing than to be able to do what I love most with the person I love most.  The dream has mostly died (to be honest with my dating history the dream of a boyfriend has died too) though there is a flicker of a hope.  Of course there is no evidence for this hope but one must keep dreaming.

Tonight was my first short course swim workout in a really long time.  Backstroke and freestyle and lots of kick were on the menu tonight.  If my cycling is less than inspired I can report I am really enjoying being in the water and swimming with my club.  It is nice to be in the water with old friends and lots of gays!

Happy training!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

And It Begins!

Training weekend one is completed!

I have said goodbye to the average world and hello to world of a training athlete.  I am excited to have goals and workouts to look forward to.  I am mostly excited to be back to the person I am.  I feel like I am back to my true authentic gay athletic self, and it feels great!

There is the saying "you don't know what you've got till it's gone" and in my case it is my fitness.  I have not been kind to my health over the last couple of years living the gay life.  Going out and partying while concentrating on the beautiful body rather than the functional body has meant that what once was easy is now difficult.  My brain feels great but my body is tired!  Workouts are hard and running is very difficult.

My issue with running at the moment is that my muscle memory dictates that I am on my toes with quick turnover and a driving stride.  This alone is not an issue but since I do not have either the endurance nor the cardiovascular function to maintain the workload, my body starts to breakdown during my limited amount of running.  In my current 4 month block of training my focus is on cycling and swimming though I worry I will not have time to get my running ability back.  I need to trust that it will come back as the most pressing issue is learning to ride a bike fast.

I have had my Cannondale for less than a year now and he is going to be my steady boyfriend.  I am going to be getting on top of him for some hard and long rides.  It is a good thing I am in love.  Compared to my old bike my C Dog is like heaven.  I finally understand how people are willing to spend 5 or 6 hours on a bike.  I am not looking forward to those long rides however I know with my trusty two wheeled lover I will manage just fine, though it is a long way off.

I had a great mental moment in the pool tonight during cool down with my swim club, English Bay Swim Club.  As tonight was the first workout of the year it was low tempo with the focus on technique.  I was thinking to myself that I needed to do more and was contemplating going out for a ride after I got home.  The urge to work more after a workout is a sure sign that I have prepared well this summer to train hard but also that my mind is ready to go.  I have had a few false starts with training but I really believe that I am ready to work hard.

The first few months will be the most difficult as I will have ups and downs as my body and mind adjust.  As I push myself into the depths I need to go to be my best I will get sad and upset when my aging body does not respond as I think it should.  I will need to be gentle with myself (and patient with others) as I pursue my Ironman goal.

I had hoped that by now I would have a real boyfriend to help me through those moments when things do not feel right or are not going how I had hoped.  The dream has not happened and I continue to venture through this world without the support and love of a romantic relationship.  Being back into my bubble of selfish focus means the prospects are again going to be limited.  A prospective mate will have indulge my eccentric and alternative triathlete lifestyle.  In the gay world he will have to be truly one of a kind (just like me!).

Happy Training!