So I dedicate the content of this post to sharing my adventures through my trials, the ways I have evolved in an effort to stay active through my own missteps. Perhaps the greatest change revolves around the significant number of miles I have accumulated to visit a gym I used to frequent as a kid with my dad, NorthPark Racquet Club. Bryan and I switched over from the YMCA when their management thought it made sense to take our membership fee to a new sky-high level with a $4+/month rate hike. Bryan and I felt we had nothing left to sacrifice to better afford their poor budgeting strategies that have occurred (apparently) each year we have been a member, especially when I considered my income would soon drop sharply in an effort to make more time for training.
As a result, my dad and I now spend a good chunk of time strength training together, which brings back memories from high school when we invested the same kind of time in developing strength for better performance in my high school weight lifting class. While our motives today differ from what drove us to lift weight into complete muscle soreness back then, I am beginning to slowly gain a better understanding of my strength deficits and muscle imbalances that likely have contributed to injury and cycling inefficiencies in the past. In addition, the pool at NorthPark does not leave me reeking of chlorine and sneezing out pool chemicals for the remainder of the day, which I have since learned indicates extremely high bacteria levels. The water looks clear, I can breathe the air in the natatorium, and the people with whom I swim seem just a bit more generous when we all share lanes.
Not running as much has afforded me the opportunity to get better acquainted with the stair master. I thought such a machine one for only the die-hard gym-goers, but when one of the two machines' belts broke a couple weeks ago, I realized quickly just how popular this particular form of fitness was to many others. Lines developed behind me, and I realized perhaps it time to slowly transition away from the stair master and toward running slow miles on an inclined treadmill. Apparently, others consider it bad form to spend a solid 45 minutes to an hour stepping onto one revolving step after another. So, I continue to keep my pace super slow (snail pace slow) to carefully attend to healing soft tissues that still beg for more down time. Hence my new appreciation for patience as I evolve into a new version of Type A personality, one in which timelines, overall miles, and fitness expectations do not serve to dictate my progress. Or else, I'll die.
Finally, I have taken this opportunity for evolution and walked myself right into the yoga room for class not once, but twice. I am enthralled with the level of concentration required to hold certain poses whose names I have come to learn are frequently inspired by animals: dogs, eagles, cows, cats, cobras, oh my! My favorite pose, however, involves a warrior who decided holding one posture did not quite fully expose the depth of stretch she could obtain in a series of three. The balance, the stretch, the coordination; I am intrigued. Not only can I stand as tall as Tree, balancing on one foot with arms up overhead, I can crouch low, arch my back look like Cow. If that does not exude evolution, I do not know what does.
This morning, I found a nugget of gold in the cool, chlorinated waters of NorthPark. Bryan and I shared a lane, and we swam until our arms hung flaccid at our sides. I saved this particular swim for today because I wanted it to serve as my last key workout for the week. After relative rest yesterday, I felt prepared to tackle my 100s with all the strength that Dad and I have worked on in the weight room, as well as mental fortitude to push harder when my head really wanted me to back off for fear of imploding. Well? With the motivation from posts by Lauren Brandon and Lucy Charles last week, as well as the stellar performance of Jocelyn McCauley at Ironman New Zealand yesterday, I not only found my 1:20/100yd pace, but I maintained it for the duration of my hour long swim. With that, I close on a note of optimism. My body does not always feel good, but the small victories I recognize each day make this journey into the deeper realm of triathlon all the more enjoyable. Evolve, my friends.