The Double Anvil (4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike, 52.4 mile run.. 8% vision)
T-Minus 232 days: 20 hours: 33 minutes: 43 seconds...
I'm glad no one can see me at 4am. Nix that. I'm glad no one can hear me at 4am. Usually singing under my breath, usually daring to fart outloud, usually cursing on my foam roller when I hit the edge of that tight hamstring, usually.... emotionally naked. Definitely celebrating space and time with every ounce of the best lack of grace I possess. Walk into a wall, yep I knew that was there. Tripped on a teenagers shoe, OH MY GOD HE HAS BIG FEET. Spill coffee while pouring it and cry a little. Ponder licking it up off the counter. Wonder if cooking bacon now would wake up my house.
Let them sleep. I have stuff to do.
Week 2 Day 1
4:25am before I find myself self caring on the same over tight right hip flexor that annoyed me last week. And mmmmm cheerios. Be the Cheerio. Then it starts. All the 1980's TV commercials that plague my head... The unsinkable taste of cheerios. I'd like to be unsinkable. or something. Week 2. Be unsinkable. But I've looked ahead, I know this week will be tough. Clients every day, and two outside appointments, a specialist visit and a Birthday, plus transit. The thing about "appointments" that seems so normal when you read that sentence the first time; it takes orchestration. Not driving myself, not that 'moveable' in this big city life. Public transit, favours from friends, makes a one hour appointment that you might fit in a lunch break, an entire half day or more for me.
Aw well. Be the Cheerio.
Today - Bike 30 min, stretch 20 min, strength 35 min, core 11 min
Week 2 Day 2
4am and there's no freezing rain. A runners bane. Well yeah. Black ice everywhere. Every step a trust and faith balance of tangled hope and a toss up of bravery and cautious adventure. Close your eyes and run that. Wait, don't. You'll likely fall. And then blame me. I have convinced friends in the past to run blindfolded. I'm not certain it frightened them. I think they got this taste of "wow" that's different. Mostly I wish they'd stop the minute after the relief of removing the blind fold and think... man it's nice to have the choice to see again. Disability is a funny thing. I do not begrudge living in it. It makes me who I am. But there are times I begrudge living with a disability in an ablest world that cares very little. There is no choice, no removal of the blindfold. It's on. Etching it's permanence into my milliseconds of this life.
4:27am and out the door to brave this thankfully not frozen ground. An hour alone on the roads. An hour alone interpreting the landscape, the obstacles, the ... wait, is that a third grader? sending on the corner? At 5am? Should I wave? Debating... logic says a kid that age wouldn't be out here alone now. But what if? So I wave. Just as a car goes by; it's lights illuminating the truth. It's a paper box. Well perhaps the paper box was just as lonely as a third grader might have been? That's okay... I haven't said hello to any firehydrants recently.
Wow this is harder than it should be. I haven't been running enough. Is that ice? I haven't run enough. CAR. I hate running batman.... we must be on a hill. Wait, I must be on a hill. Stop talking to yourself. Okay. Up and up and up and up. Running. I feel like a hippo. Those deadlifts, those lunges, those squats. Sure I can lift a bit now, just not my arse up this hill! I love running... we must be on a downhill. Ugh stop talking to yourself. As oppose to singing? Right...
When I got home I dawdled. Stayed in the wet cold clothes too long. Ever done that? Oh man, it's hard to bounce back from that. The shiver down to your toes. The bottoms of my feet blanched white from standing on the chilled tile floor barefoot. I had a list. I had a list of things to do. The stretching, the core, the ... dammit.. teeth a chatter I clambered into the hot shower. Think I'll pay for this.
The freezing rain came later that afternoon. It started as rain. On run number two, thankfully guided, we zigged and zagged and jigged and jogged... on the road to avoid the icy sidewalks. And there were people. People everywhere. People and no darkness to hid in. I'm so much better at the hiding, at the slipping out into the world unexpected and unseen... There I go, putting myself on the edge again. Catherine kept talking. I love that about her. I don't have to think. The sound of her voice when it rises ever so slightly as a hazard arises. I feel it creeping up her spine, what should I call that? How should I word that? What if she dies on my watch? But yet, her story never stops, if anything it quickens. It rises in tone and pace. Next are the arms; hands flailing. That direction over there, and the movement of her body either further or closer to me. It's kinda scary. But highly entertaining. Road guiding offers me more time to interpret. Once the danger has passed, she congratulates herself by creating the circumstances in which I survived, under her watch. I love this. The only real life use of my linguistic anthropology studies. How articulate the syllables become when blood pressure is raised. How big of a jump does that pothole require? These details are intimately intertwined.
Don't ask me how to guide. I'd love to learn how to follow you though. Teach me your language. Show me how you see the world.
Today: 124 min of running. And sheets of ice everywhere.
Week 2 Day 3 -
Disheartened. Yesterday all I managed to fit in was the running. Not that I ran out of time, that I couldn't have done better. Appointments, company, chaos, weather and family. Today though... I am very aware, the settling stiffness reminds me, that I should not have skipped the stretching. After all it's in the spreadsheet. Never doubt the spread sheet.
The wind is howling outside, across ice patches that formed over my neglected driveway. Howling like the ghosts of stretches left undone. I hear it creeping up the fireplace. Day three is always hill repeats. I'm no physicist, as my grade 12 math teacher was kind enough to point out, but the wind is always worse on top of them there hills.
Hills and then a swim. (and when no one is looking, a nap please?) We run typically up and down the trash heap hills. I wonder if after yesterdays freezing rain it will be ice? I know it will be. I wonder if we will need to change our venue to fireman hills. These hills are so named after the fire station at the bottom of the hill. One time I actually saw a fireman running up and down it. Or perhaps just some random guy with big bold printed letters FIRE on the back of his shirt. It's a mile around the fireman hill block. One simple mile. Easy enough right?
Todays swim should be interesting as well, since day one's weight lifting DOMS have kicked in. Thank you bicep curls. I don't mind drinking coffee with a straw. No big deal ... unless you need your arms to, I don't know, stay above the water? However, I am still pretty excited to have found a pool with a swim time an hour earlier.
But back to the present, in search of balance in this hip stretch I should have done yesterday. Why yes, yes I do know exactly what regret feels like.
The run; Round and round the block we go. Round and round they run me. Firehall then up and up and up and round and round. It must be Wednesday Deb? Feels like fucking ground hog day. Firehall. Round and round. Water there, on top of the ice, by the bus stop. Don't forget that batgirl. Round and round. Ice on the right, the crunchy kind, four steps. Up and up. The trash heap was complete ice so we retreated to the fireman hill. One mile loop round and round. Up and up. Ice and up and water and bus stop and school kids escaping every which way and where. Make them stop. Dodging pompomed hats and stringed mittens. Bags swinging. They seem so unaware I can't see them. Unaware we are even there, invading their little walk home from school world. Not moving, unshifting, rhythm of what they know. Escaping, stampeding little booger faced munchkins. Round and round. The girls keep talking. They keep asking me questions. I can't talk, are you crazy? I manage to spit out 'gonna die no talking'. Ice there, four steps. round and round, bus stop, firehall. up and up.
Of course this day I feared boredom in the loop before we even started. Told them as we topped out on loop two we needed to do ladders, to you know, keep things fresh. What was I thinking? They're beasts. Two hills for loop two. Three hills loop three. Four hills for ... fuck me... loop four. Because heaven forbid we have a normal boring run. I can do this.. think about something else. Ground hogs. Hedgehogs. Pompoms. I walked the last maybe 15 meters of the second last hill. The girls were mad. Mad mad mad. Kindly friendly mad. Accountability can bite me. It wasn't lost on me I was then put in front of Catherine and beside Debbie on the last lap up.
I'm certain Catherine knows I'm very afraid of her. Oh look. Firehall. Grin. Last loop?
We came home and I ate everything. Popcorn, pepperettes, gluten free pasta with cheese and salt. Salt. You know, to stop toe cramps in the pool. There is a swim to do after all.
What was I thinking?
Today - stretching 30 min, swimming 70 min, running 85 min
Week 2 Day 4 -
Swollen Ass Syndrome
That's what I said. Sorry mom. Blog about redirecting your life around a passion has to be real right? Oh it will likely get worse.
Anyway, the SAS; I'm convinced that's what I have. I self diagnosed this a few days ago. The signs became obvious. My underoos are .. ahem... snugger? my yoga pants don't... ahem, move with the breeze as much. My stair climbing is easier with stronger legs (I assume). My deadlifts don't make me as dizzy. I'm adding pounds to my squats weekly. But what really gave it away? Well, truth be told, the law of averages.
Now wait, don't jump to conclusions. I'm not getting "math happy" here. But some things I make use of in my everyday life and stuff. Not like measuring baking ingredients, but the law of averages. Like for example, the percentile growth of the amount of times my BBF grabs a handful while walking through the room... Yup, self diagnoses, founded in scientific studies. That's my statistical analysis; ass-grab-squat-ratio. Take that Statistics 101...
In the meantime, I swear this is important. I took my swollen ass to the pool last night. I was dreading the cramps. They seem so unavoidable. I've been waiting to readjust to the whole swimming thing before starting to swim "drills" and practicing different strokes etc. The cramps have been winning. Off to the pool I went last night. BBF set to run loops outside while I swam. Love is... love is... postponing a run until your batgirlfriend (BGF) is ready to plunge into the chlorine for 70 mins. Oh and can we drive to a different town? They happen to have an hour earlier swim... I am a pain in the ass. The good news is, I have one of those amazing BBF's who's crazy enough to run loops for endless hours (and I mean endless)... just about anywhere. Love is being fully aware his love of running is way bigger than me?
So I'm swimming. I have to tell you the swimming in open water is so different. In open water I get to tie myself to you. I get to shut off completely and just be there. I get to lose myself to the boyancy and forgiving nature of the water. I get to trust you'll steer us. I get to, just, swim. And man I love that. I love that feeling of the push back the water gives against my fingertips. I love knowing that it's a relationship between me and oxygen and effort that keeps me afloat. I love knowing I can. For hours I can just... push back and glide through. Have you ever swam so long the water feels as heavy and thick as jello? Have you ever swam so far you can't remember how to make your legs work walking under gravity after returning to land? Have you ever just, meditatited with each stroke? It's a magical feeling. Anyway, I'm swimming. In the pool. I'm swimming. And not even 1000m in my feet and calves start to pull and twist. I'm more than angry. I even took a salt pill before getting in the water to try and prevent this.
Pay attention batgirl. Your body is talking here. Pay attention. The water is not your enemy. Think think think. Oh man I've been working so hard at building strength. I even brought my SAS to the swim with me, you'd think... wait a minute. Wait a minute! That's it! What's the point of having glute strength if you aren't going to use it? Coach's voices in my head... they whisper: If your kick isn't coming from the glute, stop swimming, plank more on land so you float higher in the water. This is the problem. This is my issue. Epiphany. I was so excited I nearly choked on the water, giggling to myself.
I have been swimming - like a runner.
I have been swimming, like a bloody ultra runner!
Once I corrected the kick, once I started floating my tush higher in the water, my cramps went away. My swim times were faster by the 100 meter measure and I was actually moving! Nearly out of breath by the end of my swim, but so so happy to have "solved" this issue.
Today - bike 70 min... yep that's it. no stretching AGAIN... this week is just too busy.
Week 2 day 5 -
The mat under me is laughing. I hear it laughing. Try to pull this off without stretching. Try. You're not 20 you know. I'm aware. It's my batcub2's 15th birthday today. Trust me, I'm aware. Stupid bendy stuff left me. Oh dear god what was I thinking... Muscle fibres screaming. They scream while the mat laughs. Surely this is worse than talking to myself? Shut up mat. Shut up mat, or I'll get my BBF to kick your ass. Shut up muscle spindles.
I gotta get out more.
Or lift stuff. Maybe I should lift stuff. Yeah. That will help.
Note to self; when lifting a snatch, double check ceiling height before starting.
today - stretching 30 min, strength 30 min, run 62 min.
Week 2 Day 6 -
I've been looking forward to this day. I've been craving it. A chance to take my batcub3, so eager eyed and hungry, out for a run. A chance for him to realize he's a superstar. 9 year old and 5k together. I hope he remembers this stuff. I hope he looks back and thinks wow... life skills... I did that. We did that. Maybe life gets hard, maybe it gets carried away, maybe it takes your breath away sometimes. But we can use that energy for something. All my cubs were with me in Boston in the bad year. They all have to deal with a different side of the coin we shared that day. I hope they don't forever associate running with "running away", with terror and fear. I hope they can join others and run together like this often. Or at least participate. Volunteer. Build community.
Today - 90 min of running. But more importantly watching my batcub3 smile and feel proud.
Week 2 day 7 -
family focus regroup day... unplanned rest day. It appears we're under attack by some plague... And man I shoulda stretched more.
End of week thoughts? Training is tough. Not the training part, the fitting it in part, the deciding if you're sick or just lazy and tired. The inner voice struggles are so present on a down week. Why did I pick such a crazy goal? What was I thinking? Listening to your body is key. Knowing that sometimes you need to push through and other times not. My biggest concern... learning is not as important these days as 'unlearning'. Unpacking old beliefs and baggage is going to be a big big issue for the next few months me thinks.
Do you have things to let go of?