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Obstacle course and lessons learned

It’s been almost 2 full months since the last entry.  I know you might have been worried that maybe I got lost in the holiday shuffle or maybe I just decided not to continue on with training.  Maybe I forgot or maybe life just got in the way. The truth is that my mind is always busy pondering a little bit of everything of every part of life.  Based on my personality and ingrained traits, I am an analyst.  I analyze almost everything in my path.  Yes, it’s exhausting at times.  No, I cannot shut it off.  It is what I am.  It is my superpower and yet my kryptonite.

Where does that leave me with a 2-month gap in blogs? For starters prepare for a long-ass blog. Second, I have an opportunity to share my growth and transformation in that time.  This is a time to share what obstacles popped up and some challenges to my mental, physical, and emotional fortitude. Sharing my experiences and allowing you, the reader, to extrapolate what speaks to you.  And to share a word and its definition that stood out as powerful to me and what triggered it to be on my radar…that word is OBSTACLE

Ob1

I have learned that the sport of triathlon trains you for life.  Now remember, I am the analyst and as such I can make a correlation of the similarities and identify patterns, processes, and such.  With this in mind, I look for valuable data, data that I can extrapolate and use and apply.

Becoming a triathlete is not only tough working on three disciplines (especially when I only really knew how to do one of them…guess which one).  2014 is going to be an epic race year for me and I am realizing that being a triathlete is more than training.  It involves all the gear needed to race successfully.  There can be a steep start-up cost.  No one really prepares you for this.  As I become stressed about how in the world am I ever going to afford all this, a life experience pops up as an analogy.  It’s like preparing for a baby! During pregnancy parents-to-be often are consumed and overwhelmed by the supplies that are needed and how much it’ll cost.  But somehow most of us make it through, pulling out our creativity and awesome resources and in the end, we make it happen. This is my year of a lot of firsts! This is the year of my triathlon-pregnancy with the big prize being my Ironman Lake Tahoe Baby in September.

Another realization during the past few months as training has ramped up is that becoming a triathlete is not an easy journey. A tough journey especially when I went from couch spud (with deep roots and a long list of TV favorites) to an endurance athlete that would rather train than watch TV. There are a lot of growing pains, evolutionary stages, and what I like to simply refer to as “leveling-up”.

Such as in life!

Injuries…oh yes, injuries.  I have to say that I have been training extremely smart and cautious to avoid injuries.  I worked on all things that I can control.  These things include: stretching, foam rolling, chiropractic visits, massage therapy, and good old fashioned rest and sleep. I am very focused and passionate about these things.  They help! BUT…what about the things you cannot control?  Well, sometimes such things as a wrong foot strike in mid sprint can change up the mix and become the thing you cannot control.  During a sprint drill I landed a bad foot strike (it happens) on my left  and although I did not notice at the time, this incident would create a mental, emotional, and physical barrier…an inury! Enter tendonitis above the ankle…running along the tendons and the fascia intersection above my left ankle. No sprain…just a pain. Literally.

A decision must be made

A decision must be made

Day 1: the first day of awareness.  No inflammation yet, just a pain at the bottom of my toes under my foot.  I thought I busted a toe and it’s no big deal.

Day 2: after logging mileage, inflammation now enters the equation with slight pain.  Okay, it’s on the radar now.  A little massage and some BioFreeze and it’s time for bed.

Day 3: after logging more miles, swelling spreads like a virus across the top of my ankle and now there is considerably noticeable pain.  Hhmm…there is new data to process.  After assessing what I see and compare it to what I know so far as an athlete, I continued to apply ice/heat, raise the ankle, keep rotation moving, apply BioFreeze, and take Tylenol if needed.

Day 6: as the day for my longest run scheduled for my highest mileage week ever in my life approaches, I continue on with my own therapy and continue to accumulate mileage.  On the eve of my long run, I evaluate my ankle.  More swelling and the pain continues, now up my shin a bit. At this point Napa Marathon is just 4 weeks out.  I am at a critical decision point.  Do I push through log 22 miles and reach both milestones which would bring me great joy and sense of accomplishment…OR…do I listen to what my body is saying and evaluate the data, the facts, and create a new strategy plan?  Do I suffer now and risk the odds of creating a larger longer lasting injury or go hard and reach what once was impossible for me? Tough decision! Choice and consequence or action and reaction…a decision must be made. Such as in life!

After carefully evaluating the information and logically working it through my emotional, physical, and mental check points, I decided to hit pause and treat the injury with a bit more attention, respect, and re-evaluate in a few days.  I chose to deploy all my resources 1) the sage wisdom and experience of my Coach that shares the secret tips and tricks to rapid healing 2) my chiropractor to re-aligning my ankle and body after the injury 3) massage therapist to keep the entire body in tune and work on specific points around the injured area 4) and my own knowledge and resources of treating my body as a whole and not only focusing on the point of injury.  I focused on stretching, foam rolling, soaking, resting, icing, and making sure my nutrition and hydration were on track to aid in healing. And I had to dig deep to stay focused and balanced physically, mentally, and emotionally.  This derailed me. I lost the wind in my sail.  I was knocked down.  It’s ok to be knocked down…just don’t stay down!

As I am blogging this to you…I am on day 21 post injury and I can tell you that it seems to have been so long ago and forever that I have been dealing with the ankle.  This is where the mental and emotional strength pull ahead of physical strength.  My total down time with the injury included 5 days of total rest and yes, that includes NO RUNNING or CYCLING! I did swim but used it as therapeutic time using the buoy for assistance while working upper body and stroke technique.  Clever huh?

So how does this apply to life?  How can a running injury become a positive element in my training and in life?  I could have chosen to bring everything to a complete halt, treat the injury, drown in self sadness of not being able to train, and allow it to overwhelm my emotional and mental state of being.  Or, I could analyze the data, formulate a strategy based logical decision making skills to achieve a successful outcome.  I chose to use it to propel me forward and do what I can the best that I can while trying to maintain balance.  Well, for me, the analyst, it was simple.

Now let’s look at the word that was a powerful word for me this morning and that I’d like to share with you! OBSTACLE

Merriam-Webster defines obstacle as “something that impedes progress or achievement” or “something that makes it difficult to do something” or “an object that you have to go around or over: something that blocks your path.”

Let that sit and marinate for a moment but first read this:

Ob2

How you approach, address, and mitigate obstacles depends on how you perceive the worth of what it is your are trying to obtain.  For me, I place a high value worth on my goals this year!  I typically do not settle for less than giving my all and I certainly do not like to be told I cannot or should not do something.  It’s worth fighting for!

Ob3

How about you?  How do you deal with your obstacles?

“Obstacle.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obstacle&gt;.

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