This morning I “suffered” through a 1000 yard swim workout. “Suffered.” I used to swim a 1000 yard warmup! Of course, that was a different time in my life. I had no kids…and triathlon was my focus (outside of my wife and God, of course).
I ran into a older guy I hadn’t seen in years in the locker room. He’s uber-fit and super fast for any age – much less his own. He doesn’t race much anymore – maybe once a year. He’s wise now. He looked at me quizically and said “I haven’t seen you in a LONG time. You have a family now, right?” He’d seen it before. I told him that I have 3 kids now. He asked how everyone is doing, so I informed him of the last couple of years. He said “Wow, sounds like you’ve been through the ringer.” I agreed. I said “But everyone’s healthy now. So I’m here trying to get myself back together too.” I thought about that afterwards: “getting myself back together.” Alot of people would tell me to shut up – after all I still race near the front of my age group when I race (just 4 times in the last 2 years). It feels different though. I’m racing on whats left of my ability now and not on training.
I’m training for the Country Music Marathon in April. It’s only December and I’ve already dealt with achilles tendonitis, a sore hip flexor, and on- going knee pain. Some have suggested that the stress of the last couple of years have done a number on me both mentally…and physically. I think they’re right. I feel much older than 35. I wonder if I can ever be who I was before (melodrama alert). Mentally I know the answer is “no.” I’ll never erase some of the images in my head. Physically? I’m really beginning to wonder.
I’m a prideful guy (unfortunately). It’s difficult for me to train “right” and accept my new place in the pecking order athletically. This year I have no choice though. Everything is slow. I’ve slowed my running pace down to a “back of the pack” pace until I’ve built a base. We’ll see if the speed is there when the time is right. I get tired swimming 1000 yards. I’ll ramp up the distance very slowly towards summer. Cycling….doesn’t exist. Eventually I’ll get back on the bike. I have my eye on a new indoor trainer that will give me better feedback (speed, power, distance, etc).
I’m swallowing my pride for awhile and becoming “that slow guy.” I keep reminding myself of what Scott Tinley said about ultra-runners (what I eventually want to become): “Ultra runners have 2 speeds: slow and asleep.” For now, I can get with that.