Thursday, June 08, 2006

It's the small things that count

The last 4-5 days have been HOT here in Dallas. Temps in the high 90's to nearly 100 degrees. We ran our usual 7 miles on Tuesday in the heat. I didn't feel too good for the first 3 miles but eventually found my legs and actually added on an extra mile at the end. I suppose the 3,000 meter swim immediately prior to running may have played a role. Ed ran extremely well and had a new personal best for the route. Way to go Ed!

I have been a little concerned recently about some left knee pain that has resurfaced. I suspect it is the same injury I had about 8 months ago (likely the IT band). Unfortunately I am 45 days away from my Ironman race and don't have alot of time to slow down and heal. Fortunately it has not really been painful--just stiff. Fingers crossed, it will work itself out.

Last night (Wednesday) was a brutal evening. Jason and I headed out for our usual 46 mile Wednesday evening ride. The temps were high and the winds were from every direction. He talked me into som kind of crazy interval pick-up set. We went hard for 3,4, 5, 9, 5, 4, 3 minutes with 30 seconds rest in between. I stayed with him for the 3 and the 4 minute sessions but he dropped in the middle of the 5 min session on a hill and then I did the rest on my own. Again, my legs felt heavy and sore. I have been feeling a "deep" ache in both quadriceps and hamstrings for awhile now. I had hoped that my relative reduction in training volume last week would have helped with this but apparently it did not. Of course my reduction was not as significant as I had planned considering we did a hard 70 mile ride/5 mile run on Sat and a 15 mile run on Sunday. Regardless of how I felt I pressed on and made it through the 46 miles. I began to get worried about running in the heat afterwards. It was close to 100 degrees by 6:30 pm when we finished the ride.

I decided to "suck it up" and get out and pound the pavement for at least a 30 minute but preferably a 45 minute brick session. After a quick stop in the garage to change clothes and hydrate I headed out. My legs felt pretty good but clearly the heat was going to slow me down. My breathing was too quick (a good indication that one is getting dehydrated). I made the decision to slow down my pace and just keep on moving forward. At the halfway point I was cooked (literally and figuratively thanks to the heat). I quickly rehydrated at a water fountain and then turned back for home. It was at this moment that I drew some strength from a very small "thing."

When I looked down at my feet at the water fountain I noticed a brightly colored, beaded bracelet. I had completely forgotten that before I left the garage I had tied a little bracelet Rachel made for me into the loop on my right shoe. I don't know what made me tie it in rather than leave it next to my keys. As I began to run I thought about her generosity and sweetness. This little trinket made of colorful beads on a pipecleaner now affixed to my right shoe was the best motivator I could have asked for at the time.

I started to remember one of the reasons I began this journey almost a year ago. I wanted my girls to someday look back at what had gone on during my summer of 2006 and realize that if they worked hard, remained dedicated and persevered they, too, could achieve anything they want in life. While training for an Ironman is perhaps not the greatest metaphor for life's struggles so far it has taught me so much about myself and my desire to succeed. And thanks to a little child's handmade bracelet (and the implied support brought with it) I made it through that run and finished with my head high, my feet fast, and confidence growing.

45 days to go....


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