Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cracked ribs... What's our purpose

It's been now a couple of weeks since we did Challenge Atlantic City... Not going to say that have been the worse weeks ever, you might think that recovering when you are in pain can suck. In part is true, it does suck, and trust me you don't realize that you use certain muscles of your body until you have to do relively easy things like getting in and out of bed, sneezing, coughing or maybe even using the microwave (when is above your head). So over the last few weeks it has been more of a healing process. Both body and soul, for the body  I think the scars show that it has been going pretty well, and little by little I've been getting more movement on my shoulder, I can wash my hair now without that much pain. After going to the doctor and feeling really sore in my chest area, after further exams, it was determined that I just had a couple of cracked ribs, which if you have ever experienced that, you probably kmow how it hurts. The soul, while is not that it was a soul searching period or anything like that it was more of a mental break. A 140.6, long distance tri, ironman triathlon or whatever you want to call it is a pretty hard thing to do regardless of how trained you are for it. As it turns out, most pros who are the ones that can crush one of this in less than 9 hrs avg, actually are amazed how we the age groupers can hammer these in 15-16 hrs and come back for more by signing up to do more of these. The mental strength that you carry through a long day like this is probably greater than your body strength. Your body can take the beating, I think we proved that a few weeks ago and also last year during Ironman Texas. However your mind is really the one that is doing a lot of the work at that point, making you take that extra step, or go the extra mile to complete it. So the mind needs recovery time too.

Being an engineer and having to sit for my EIT and PE exams I compare it to those exams. A little background, before you graduate with your engineering degree some engineers elect to take a state exam that qualifies you to be an Engineer in Training, fast forward 4 years of gaining experience and you get to do it all over again to get your Professional Engineering license. Both are pretty hard exams and each is 8 hours. You prepare for months, similar to a 140.6 Tri, stop all sorts of social life, it's you the books, coffee and the library. A lot of people tell you while you are preparing for it or the day before the test, that they will wait for you at the closest bar for happy hour. Well... Guess what... Your body might want to have a beer or two... Your mind dictates otherwise, it is simply exhausted from all that thinking. 

So after that little engineering analogy, back to what we've been feeling... The first week post Challenge it was a zero training week. Coach even loaded it on TrainningPeaks like that. The second, well while Res could do some, I couldn't do much, rashes were still fresh, shoulder hurt, ribs couldn't let me breath hard so it was another week of do what you want, but not really do a whole lot. The third and forth weeks rolled in and little by little I started, the shoulder still sore didn't allow me to swim much and after a work trip to Denver I realized my ribs wouldn't let me swim either. Ribs won. Now I can say that I'm back to the pool, yet feel like I went backwards and I know is gong to take a few more weeks if not a month or two to get back to the swimming shape I was pre Challenge, but on the bright sight I'm swimming, biking and running again. 

We've been able to go on our long bike rides together, while I could've pushed out as usual with the fast group recently I've taken the approach of just staying back with Res. Not that we never did it before, I guess we didn't do it enough. We always knew we were there but rarely we were together. Now it's different, we've been riding together, we go on our 3 and 4 hour rides together and yes I'm still stronger than her, she is pushing her self and learning to not get frustrated because I drop her at the hills, on the contrary she pushes even harder so I don't drop her so badly. So it is a win win situation. We get to ride together, quality time and she is getting stronger and we are actually enjoying the rides. That's the one main reason we do this sport to begin with. The sport is an indivual effort on race day, but in reallity is a team effort to get you there and for us that's what matters. The team effort and spending time together. We are taking a similar approach on the runs. 

I guess walking for almost 7 hours and riding for close to 45 miles a month ago really taught us a good lesson.... 2 are stronger than 1 and no matter what happens if we are with each other we will cross any finish line we have in front of us, be it a race finish line or simply a life event.

With that thought... Always remember why you do this, what drives you to get up in the morning or go in the hot summer evening to train, or why you even begun your journey and reflect back on that. Sometimes we get sucked into the competitiveness of the sport and of course who doesn't want to be better and faster, but what really matter for us, is being there with each other and for each other,