Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Monday, August 22, 2011

Done for the Week: Crossing the Finish Line

Back from my day at the races.  But not back to earth.  Not yet.  And not for a while, if I can help it.

Here's the story of what I got done last week: 

Done for the Week:  Aug. 15-21, 2011
  1. Completed Week 15 of 15-week triathlon training program, resting for race; ran twice; biked once; swam twice
  2. Worked out and meditated several times with my training partner
  3. Attended second Open Water Swim class
  4. Swam across the lake--sort of 
  5. Rented new, larger, more life-sustaining wetsuit (unlike the one I own, this one permits breathing, which I've come to appreciate--the hard way!)
  6. Continued working on pre-race anxiety, mental training, pre-race nutrition and hydration
  7. Packed to leave town for the race
  8. Picked up race packet; bought stuff at the expo 
  9. Shared pre-race dinner with my husband and training partner
  10. Did gear check with my training partner
  11. Finished the race!!!  Beat even my stretch goal
  12. Celebrated with my training partner and friend, who also finished with strength and grace
  13. Attended triathlon camp reunion, post-race
  14. Helped youngest son prepare for first long-distance flight on his own
  15. Finished No Death, No Fear:  Comforting Wisdom for Life, by Thich Nhat Hanh
  16. Continued to work my two part-time jobs 
  17. Provided technical assistance to nonprofit organization
  18. Meditated four times
  19. Published 1 blog post
  20. Continued reading Elizabeth George's In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner aloud with my husband
  21. Continued work on current clients' projects
  22. Attended Issues Night
  23. Attended Jobs Prayer Vigil
  24. Paid the monthly bills
  25. Accomplished major cleaning/decluttering/rearrangement of main work room
  26. Did laundry

Last week's focus goal was to "finish my training using the less-is-more and self-nurturing approach appropriate to the final days before the race."  Did that. 

Tuesday evening's pre-race swim across the lake proved even more of a hurdle than I had anticipated.  Last Monday I wrote about this planned workout that "I intend to get to the other side by any means necessary."  And by Tuesday night, I had delivered on that prediction.  The "means necessary" turned out to include yelling "Help!" in the middle of the lake when my extra small wetsuit and this year's two additional pounds combined in a way that was literally breathtaking.  After the motor boat came to my rescue, and I had regained my breath, but not my cool, I transversed about a third of the race distance using a "noodle."  Thus I joined the ranks of what my partner referred to as the "noodle girls."  A humbling, and scary experience overall.

Subsequent race preparation made room for learning all I could about how wetsuits can restrict breathing and contribute to panic attacks in the open water swim portion of a triathlon.  This led to re-thinking my sausage casing of a wetsuit, and deciding to rent one a size larger.  I also crammed in a short session in the pool on Friday trying out the borrowed suit.  The result?  I could breathe on race day, and made it all the way across the lake , without stopping to rest, or switching from freestyle.    Spent my way out a dilemma, but it was soooo worth it.

Last week's most important accomplishment--hands down--was finishing the triathlon.  Once again, I surprised myself by doing better than I expected.  I took 4:44 off the swim; 1:03 off T1 (the time spent shedding the wetsuit; getting on shoes, socks, helmet, Camelbak, and sunglasses; and, unfortunately discovering I had forgotten to unlock my bike before the race); 1:06 off T2 (bike to run); and 2:22 off last year's run time.  I added 1:18 to my bike time, but race officials had added 1.5 miles to the course this year.  My pace was just shy of 2 mph faster.  My net gain put me at 2:00:35--36 seconds over my "dream" goal of breaking 2 hours, nearly 2-1/2 minutes under my stretch goal of 2:03:00, and 4-1/2 minutes under the 2:05:00 I thought I would do.

Needless to say, I am ecstatic!  In my second tri, I moved from the back of the back of the pack, to a position near the middle--and in the top third of my age group. 

For today, I'm resting on my . . . ahem, laurels.  

My goal for the week:  come down gently, and as little as possible, from Cloud 9-3/4.

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