Friday, July 15, 2016
Monday, June 13, 2011
When I began training again, the easiest activity to start was swimming, but the most exciting was biking! After strapping on my bike shoes, I literally dusted off the cobwebs and filled the near-flat tires with air. As I guided Optimus out from the darkness of my garage into the sunny outdoors, sweet (and sour) memories of bike workouts and races flooded my mind. Has it been 4 years since I first tri-ed? I set modest goals for biking – to just get reacquainted with my bike and reclaim the joy of biking.
Traffic was thin in my neighborhood and I used the opportunity to flout all kinds of road courtesy and safety rules. Don’t try this at home, folks. I smiled, recalling how Cha and I would sneak past Stop signs on Shoal Creek when there was no traffic just so that we wouldn’t have to unclip from our pedals. (I can see you shuddering, Coach A). When I wasn’t comfortable, I hopped off my bike and walked – and quickly remembered how hard it was to do so with clips, and was a big reason I refused to walk any portion of the bike leg of races. Arvind, who had gone for run, planned his route so that it intersected with mine (he refuses to admit that he was keeping tabs on me, but I know better). It was even more encouraging to see him running alongside. I called out, “I hope I will ride faster than you can run!” He replied supportively, “You’re blowing right past me, baby!” And off I went on my merry way, feeling the hot summer breeze against my face.
I had a modest start to tri-training last week (1K swim, 4 mile bike, 5 mile run) – but most importantly, I started.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
As I look back on my training this year, I've learnt quite a few hard lessons.
1. Overcoming fear of open water
2. Race nutrition
3. Reclaiming the joy of Tris
I've walked a long way on this path, and in some ways, I feel like I've come a full circle. But perhaps, that's best destination of all - to return to your Self and see the same world of Tris with new eyes.
I've set no timegoals for my first-ever Olympic Distance. And I'm already celebrating - I know how far I've come from my first season in 2007 (when I had initially thought about doing an OD), and feel so much better prepared for the race - that in itself is a great feeling!
And as Coach A put it, when you do a new distance for the first time, you already know you're going to PR. :)
Friday, August 28, 2009
Will you help me cross the finish line, my friend?
We’ve played together, trained together and ran many miles together.
Won’t you stay a while until I finish my race?
“I would if I could, dear friend... but this race is yours, and yours alone.”
Crossing the finish line, I felt a sense of freedom,
independence, and peace within..
that I had made it, and did it alone.
Will you journey on this Path with me, my teacher?
You’ve taught me, nurtured me and given me the strength to come this far.
Won’t you walk with me until I realize the transient nature of life?
“I can’t and I won't, dear student… my absence, not my presence will help you attain this knowledge. This Path is yours to walk, and yours alone.”
So I walked and walked,
reflecting on this wisdom,
Until I came across my own reflection in a lake,
And there I stood stunned, when I saw that I was truly alone.
Will you be with me forever, my love?
We’ve shared our joys and sorrows, trials and tribulations together.
Won’t you live this life with me for always?
“This moment is ours, and I can’t promise you more than this. This life is yours to live, and yours alone.”
Going through life, I began to see
the world seemed like an easier place to live in,
when I accepted being truly alone,
And I depended on myself, and myself alone.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Just as I got ready to get into the springs, I met a friend of mine and we chatted. As I expressed my trepidation at looking at the depth of the lake, my friend said something that struck me, "when you look inside and see the fish hanging out, it's really pretty cool! You'll feel like you're flying..." I thought about for sometime. The idea of flying held for me a great sense of freedom. It put me in a contemplative mood.
My plan was to swim 800m with the pull buoy and REALLY look into the clear springs. I had never dared to look inside (and usually got away with keeping my eyes closed or head straight ahead). With security of a floating device, I figured even if I panicked, I would not struggle in the water and feed my fear further. This plan worked like a charm. It really gave me an opportunity to peer into the depth of the springs. At one point, I just stopped stroking and floated.. observing the fish below. I was reminded of what Steph told me me last year, how amazing it was to watch life underwater when you really paid attention and observed. Most of the fish moved away from me hurriedly. A few others lay very still. I was calmed by their stillness. Some looked at me inquiringly. And it dawned on me that if such little fish could be so comfortable in the water, I did not have anything to fear. (except arguably my mind!)
After that, I did another 400m unassisted. I felt myself gliding through the Springs, using very little effort. I realized that the reason I had gasped and usually felt tired after open water swims was because I expended a lot of energy in the process of panicking - breathing deeply, irregularly, heart rate racing, all of it drained my energy. If I could stay calm, and just swim, I would not be as exhausted.
Towards the end of it, I still swam a little cautiously, no doubt. But I had learned from the fish. To be in the water as they were.. practicing stillness. Within.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I had created the mental picture of my goals and as I did them, I "checked" them off in my head and gave myself encouraging words on the tri. This kept my spirits up during the tri.
Since I did not have any specific time goals, just a general "hope-to-do-better-than-my-first-tri", I did not wear my watch. I usually avoid that anyway, because looking at the clock is more stressful and takes some of the fun out of it for me. ( I can see you Garmin-and-what-not users balking as I write this..) I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had shaved off about 8 minutes from my first tri. Considering I took a year-long break from training, I'm quite pleased with the result.
Here are some short notes:
I've said for the 100th time now, but the lake was DISGUSTING. A foul stench emanated from the lake as we jumped in. I was a little distracted by the smell and struggled a little initially to focus on swim. Fortunately, I was calm about swimming in the deep. I found myself veering off course when I did freestyle, so I used breast-stroke to re-navigate. There's still a lot of improvement but the important thing is that I finally put my head in the water and did free-style (and that too, in a filthy lake)! :) I took about 10min 23s to finish it.
What worked well is that during my swim practice the day before, I practiced my routine - mental & physical for how I would swim - how I would breathe, how I would mentally chant, and the rhythm of the two. Once I figured this plan, it was easy to execute on the actual day.
Gearing & hydrating on the bike were my two focal points, and I didn't care much about the speed (though I was happy to note later that my speed had improved). I took pains to find exactly the right gear for the moment, and stayed alert throughout the course to get a feel for gearing (as opposed to switching off mentally while coasting down the hills).
And yes, I hydrated on the bike - 3 times!!! I slowed down, reached for the bottle, pulled it quickly, took a few swigs, and put it back into the cage. It sounds very basic when I spell it out this way, but it does take quite a bit of balance to do this right. anyway, this made me particularly happy because it was an indication that both my balance and confidence had improved. As bike distances get longer, I know now that I can stay hydrated on the bike, and this will surely help me down the road when I train for my Olympic Distance tri.
Was not great. I didn't walk, thankfully. And frankly, the first mile for me is extremely tough but I warm up after 2 miles or so. The trouble with super sprint distances is that by the time you're actually warmed up, it's done. I'm not a sprinter and generally do better on long-distances rather than short ones. So this was tricky for me.
It did make me wake up to the fact that I need to pay more attention to my running and build my endurance over the summer. The heat and humidity are huge factors in one's performance, and I could have been definitely been better prepared. Admittedly I've gotten lazy about running. The challenges of swimming and biking tend to occupy most of my focus, so running has been on the back burner. Additionally, this past half-marathon season was so disaster-stricken that I did not really have a chance to train well - and it showed.
Overall, however, the Rookie was a great kick-off to my tri-season, and hopefully it sets the mood for the rest of the tris I'm planning for the season. (more about races soon.. dun dun dun dun...)