Stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe

Back in the water this morning, first time in 6 months, I went with the goal of at least putting my face in the water, and best case scenario completing a length or two without a kickboard.  I far exceeded my own expectations. The water was cold  on my feet and even colder on my shins and thighs but then the windy day made staying out of the water worse than diving in, so in I went.

I borrowed Dawn’s kickboard as mine is lost somewhere in the interim off training and I did my first length swimming head waaaay above water and psyching myself off for face in the water breathing on the back length.  Fear fought back and the excuse wheel spun but I learned last year that the best way to push past my “face in water” phobia is to just do it, so I did. I turned, kicked off and face went in the water, breathed out all that useful air and panicked. No breathing back in that time. Kick, kick, kick, face in again and this time turn my head and take a breath. So far, so good.

Three laps with kick-board done my DIL had to get out of the pool so I pushed forward and asked her to take my kick-board to the far end of the pool, which meant I had to swim for it.

I created the need to swim and so I did. One length without pausing was a good three weeks into last years training but I nailed it first time in the pool, then back with kick-board; one full lap with kick-board. Then Phil took it where I needed to “fetch” it, so I again swam to other end and kick-boarded it back.

Time to go for broke, I was going to swim there and back again; I caved 3/4 of the way on the back again and I touched my toes down at one point because the phobia just needed to make sure the bottom of the pool was still there, but only touched and finished swimming.

So now I am at five kick-board laps and two full swim laps. Two more kick-board laps, one more swim lap, one more kick-board lap, and a final full swim lap means I completed 8 laps with my kickboard and 4 swim laps, that’s 600 meters or .37 miles.

After which I walked almost three miles.

It was fun. I am sore tonight and fully aware of how de-conditioned I am cardio-vascularly speaking but I am proud of myself. I showed up, I did me best, and I amazed  myself!

And that is the beginning of this years “try”athlon training!

Now gentle readers, go out there and amaze yourselves as well.  There are so many little ways to exceed your own expectations of yourself today.

Namaste.

Monday, monday….

I am chagrined to realize I do not have that song on my Ipod. In fact, I cannot even find my Mommas and the Poppas Greatest Hits in my CD’s. It has apparently joined various books, socks, articles of jewelry and clothing, CD’s and DVD’s in the Borderland or maybe the NeverNever. I am convinced that my own love of Wild Magic affects my belongings and that they animate at night and relocate themselves. Hence the inability to find my keys or a certain pair of socks, or in this case a much loved OooooLD CD.

Maybe there will be a wonderfully and reasonably priced used copy at Hoodlums this morning……

Ok, back in reality and the burning question *read in serious radio announcer voice, circa 1930 “Will this Slow Old Fat ‘Try’athlete actually achieve her preliminary goal of completing a Sprint Tri in October”

That is the burning question but on this front what’s burning this morning is my calves and feet. Yes I did swim last night. I swam two sets of 200 (4 laps), and did 150 on the board. No break between the first two laps, short break, lap, short break, length, break, length was the rhythm of it and I really worked my legs on the second and third board laps.  Didn’t get to the pool until 8ish, then not home till 10pm and tried to stay up to see the news. Fell asleep on the couch for about an hour. Into bed in the firmer guest room bed because I need to reconfigure the mattress situation in my room during my days off work this week. Slept until 6 AM, with only one bathroom trip so I give my sleep last night a five.

I give the pain I am in this morning a 9/10. Awoke to the long missing and not at all missed neuropathy in my feet.  The neuropathy is officially listed as a side effect of a long series of medications that allowed me to live long enough to complain about the side effects so I had pretty much determined it was just something with which I would have to live. This year I started going to Backfit Chiropractic for my “nurses back” and amazing bonus in the treatment box, my neuropathy disappeared.

I have done a lot of things over the years to minimize my chronic pain. It was a decision to shift paradigms and truly focus instead on maximizing my amazing and miraculous health that got me moving forward on this Triath journey and got my butt through into Backfits door.  Like a chemical catalyst, the massages and adjustments took to my organic, vegan food choices and increased exercise (which I had tried before by themselves in fits and starts always dragged back to the couch by fatigue, SOB and pain) and exploded them into a well being I couldn’t remember feeling in years.

Then I had a minor health glitch to the tune of ~1400$ (FTR, I am pretty much uninsurable at this time unless I become disabled so everything is out of pocket and triple cost) and my dog got sick and I am still glad I spent the money even though the answers were not the ones I wanted to hear (for another ~1300$ ) all out of pocket and I blessed the universe for the writing jobs that I thought would carry me through the chiro treatments for almost covering the two unexpected expenses. Bills got late and short story long, due to money constraints, I gradually decreased my trips to Backfit and now I have gone over two weeks without a massage or adjustment. What a difference it makes. All the little quirks and idiosyncrasies of surviving are back again, not as bad as before I started any treatments, but like my own little “check engine” light definitely here with a fitness moral.

The moral of the story for me is, even with continued exercise and stretching and good diet I need at minimum one massage and adjustment per week. Other moral is that I need to increase my willpower (more won’t power) for my Kryptonite – sugar, if I want to truly optimize the life I have been gifted. The neuron damage from the treatments are like frayed wires, so when they are all crossed and jumbled the shorts occur; adjustments and massage straighten and arrange my frayed wires so they don’t cross and cause little fires. Animal products, sugar and white flour are little drops of water I sprinkle over the whole thing and fan the flame.

It’s not just the neuropathy and back ache that Backfit treatments improved, other things these adjustments have done for me besides just being the pain reducer/energy booster I have just discussed is decrease my dependence on poise pads, and decreased my embarrassing gas and “digestive disorders’.

I cannot recommend enough for someone reading this Blog and then thinking that if it wasn’t for their pain or their weight or their incontinence or *fill in blank* they would love to start an exercise program, maybe just walk, or swim or run, to start it by going to a local reputable Chiropractic office that offers massage,physical therapy and adjustments (bonus if they have a homeopathic doctor also) and start there. If you live in the Mesa/Gilbert/Chandler area I TOTALLY recommend Backfit at ValVista and Warner. http://www.facebook.com/BackfitGilbert

And no, I don’t work for them; they worked for me!

Anyway back to today’s training diary I am having a bowl of oatmeal with mixed berries for breakfast and coffee with organic honey and soy milk, 6 oz cranberry juice and multi-vitamin.

I will walk the dogs. Shower and stretch.

Write two or three stories for Thursday deadline. Have a salad lunch.

Go to the bank. Reward myself for doing my plan with a trip to Hoodlum’s and Changing Hands and Trader Joe’s.

Backfit apt.

Home to write some more for my Thursday deadline.

Run 2 miles.

Watch Ashton Kutcher in Two and a Half Men and knit and go to bed. Yes, Virginia, my life has gotten small. All I talk about these days are training and television. I am reading and meditating still but no one wants to talk about that and otherwise, my life has become very, very small…..hmmm, I think I prefer the word “focused”.

Now I lay me down to sleep…

 Short blog about my training progress and then off to bed. I am incredibly exhausted and plan to try to sleep a little later tomorrow morning as it is a training rest day. 

My big accomplishment this morning at swim practice was completing eight full lengths (or 1/2 lap, 200 yds) of the pool face down in my free form breast stroke. They were not consecutive. Every length down I did non-stop face down but the lengths back were riddled with pauses and pretty much backstroke or dog paddle. My weakness, fear and  rudimentary skill awaken my impatience today more than my doubt. 

 
I am digging my progress. Five weeks ago I couldn’t make a full face in water length with the kickboard. As of this morning I have accomplished the lengths I need to complete the October race. I just need to complete them without lunch breaks. LOL.

Progress, progress. Oh, I also think I found a bike I want for my starter bike. Its a hybrid and about 200$ at Target, and I found the training wheels on Amazon. Though if I can start doing the gym regularly maybe I can skip the training wheel phase as my strength and balance improve.

Noien, my dear canine friend and subject of my last blog, is also doing better today. She is still very low energy and coughing her CHF chuff at any excitement or exertion but she ate a scrambled egg and a Milk-Bone. I am very much concentrating on living in the now with her, and I stand corrected by my youngest son that she is actually 12.5 years old. As a pup, her life span was predicted at 8 to 10 years max due to puppy mill health issues;  I think I started mentally making her younger and younger hoping to stop time’s progress.

 
Speaking of time progressing quickly, I can’t believe 28 years ago I was giving birth to Richard. I did make the Jello for the birthday party, and ate it and the steak my son cooked. He is an awesome cook. It was nice to share his birthday and I am glad I went. 
 
Also pretty much sure it will be the last meat I ever eat. My conscience is bothering me and so is my used to tofu tummy. Just like it takes all kinds of beliefs to make up the world, it takes all kinds of diets. Mine needs to be meat,  milk and wheat free. Sometimes I am a slow learner. I don’t need anyone else to eat that way, but my whole body and soul tonight are reminding me that I do, now it is up to me to take care of me and learn to just say no.
 
 Still the tummy tussle is a small price to pay for a great meal and to hang with them all and make Rick smile. I hope they all finally went swimming. I went home cause I knew I was gonna throw up and well, somethings are better done at home, alone, and I am such an early riser/bed goer no one thought a thing of it.
 
And now once again this Slow, Old, Fat Triathlete is off to dreamland and star catching, if the tennis match in my tummy will just finish.
 
Namaste.
 

Progress achieved…slowly

 My day started right with meditation. I forget sometimes how much of a difference that makes in my day. Still, even after meditation, I was a bit bluish.

 
Then I cancelled all my appointments for the week, including Chiropractic and massage (boo hoo, means I better do all my stretches everyday or buy more Tylenol). I thoroughly cleaned the kitchen (it needed it), and did my laundry.  
 
Meanwhile, I began my next very important task. I am reluctant to say I am returning to my old way of making money as a backup to my nursing career. I came to this decision because I really need more money, I love the job I have as a nurse but an extra 500$ to 1000$ a month would allow me to get out of debt completely, set aside enough to finish my B.S. and I don’t see a way to continue where I am and achieve my financial goals. I definitely want to stay where I am so I need something in addition to it. My now somewhat rusty verbal skills always came through while i was raising my children, can be done on my own schedule and anyway, the universe keeps pushing me in that direction. And that is all the information on that I am giving here, let’s just say I began and if nothing else I am going to have fun trying. 
 
So that’s how I spent my day, working to keep a clean and solvent roof over my and my roommate’s head. All this had me headed well towards Indigo, and then I got a text from my Daughter-in-law. She was out of work for the day and did I want to go do our swim practice.
 
Want was a strong term to apply to doing my triath training, as my inability to complete the assigned workout was demoralizing me. I went a little further each time I practiced through the week-end, but still had not completed the new homework. It was more than twice as long as our previous workouts. I did not want to go fail again, I did however, need to go practice. 
 
So before I could formulate a stalling technique, I went.
The evening went splendidly. With Dawn and Rick’s encouragement, I actually completed the training outline set by Phil for the first time. I am still pausing more between laps than recommended but it was my first time to complete ALL laps, and I am keeping my face in the water with the kick-board consistently. I still really struggle with the breathing portion of the breast stroke and can’t yet make a full half-lap without flipping to back stroke for a breathing break. Almost no panic tonight when blowing out under water, even make it a couple strokes past my first accidental mouthful of water but then I flip like a dead fish. Progress…. 
 
Anyway, practice complete, they took me to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes (do NOT try the sugar free Key Lime Mousse, it tastes like it should be used in someone’s hair, the pineapple upside-down cake on the other hand is VERY nommable….)Then sat out the giant dust storm with my son and daughter-in-law in their rec room and watched a sweet, funny movie on their awesome HD TV. 

Yes, it is true. My son and daughter-in-law have all the coolest techy stuff. In fact most of my way cool-to-me tech stuff is their hand-me-downs.  I am really proud of them both. My son only turns 28 this week and due to initiative and drive and doing the hard work he is a success professionally and personally. His wife is in graduate school. Their wedding anniversary is this week and they still obviously love and like each other. In fact they kind of remind me of  Lily and Marshall. Yup, it’s true. My son turned out awesome, in spite of me.

It really is about doing the work, not just talking the dream, believing the dream, and visualizing the dream; it is about getting your hands dirty, taking the risks and doing the work. It’s about being embarrassed and plowing through anyway. 

 
I said it before and will say it again, there are two kinds of people; those who make their dreams come true and those who make excuses.

 
That is why they make such good supporters right now. Rick and Dawn’s ability to set and meet goals is phenomenal.
 
Anyway, I will stop going on and on about how cool they are, but just had to express my gratitude publicly to them and to the universe for making them so awesome and all.  
 
Maybe a triathlon is not a goal anyone looking at me would suspect or suggest, but that is what makes it a goal, and not just showing off.
 
I shall finish tonight with a poem I wrote in grade school.
 
 
                         Star Catching  
I crouch, spring and grasp at the sky
Only to fall back down
And all the children point and laugh
At the way I jump around
It’s true, as yet, I’ve never caught a star
But at least my feet have left the ground.
                                                                          jm de biasi

 Good night star catchers!