Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pushing through Panic

My first sprint triathlon is coming up in 12 days.

During the triathlon, I have to swim 1/2 mile, bike for 12 miles and run for 3.

Last week, I swam 3/4 mile in 36 minutes without stopping!!

I don't know if that's fast or slow but it was something that I'd never done before. I actually swam further than I will need to swim in the triathlon.

Then I met with my tri-buddy, KK, who helped me even more by showing me a cleaner and faster stroke than I was already using. I was happy to have her assistance. We'll be hitting the lake this weekend for my first attempt at an open water swim.


Tonight I swam 1/2 mile using this new stroke and after 4 laps, I felt panicked.

Instead of reacting the way I initially reacted to panic in the water - flipping over on to my back or simply stopping altogether - I kept going. I tried to focus on my breathing, calmed myself and found a rhythm with my arms, legs and breaths.

I pushed through it.


When I returned home, I changed into my cycling gear and took the bike out for a ride. I am trying to see what sort of nutrition my body will require to get through all three disciplines consecutively. Apparently, I didn't eat enough or eat the right things.

My legs were starting to get tired at mile 10 when I hit the steepest hill of my route.

I felt like stopping. My speed decreased dramatically from an average of 17 - 20 mph to a measly 11 mph. I was panting and in dire need of rest.

I told myself that I was healthy and strong. I thanked my legs for the piston power that they provide for me while on my bike.

I pushed through it.


After my 11 mile bike ride, and somewhere in my 2 mile run, I had a revelation:

When I pushed through the panic in the pool, I found a comfort zone.

When I pushed myself up the steep hill during my bike ride, I found a comfort zone.

As I pushed myself to finish the last of my interval run before the rain came pouring down on me, I nearly found a comfort zone.
(Body was out of energy!)

I can push myself through the same panic that I'm feeling in this new relationship with Gentleman Jack!

I have actually learned this - this being gentle, calming my breathing, sending love and energy to the muscles of my body - from yoga. Most yoga students tend to panic in poses that feel uncomfortable to them.

A good teacher will help you to find comfort in the discomfort.

The discomfort only increases with the panic, therefore sending your breathing into overdrive and causing your muscles to tense up. This then causes even more discomfort and pain.

But if you can soothe your muscles with love, gently give gratitude for your strength, and focus on the stillness in between your breaths, you will relax into the yoga pose, the swim, the bike ride, the run...

The heart is a muscle too, isn't it?

Ah, lesson learned. I love how everything's connected.


  1. I think you will be great and complete this easily in 12 days... and panic is a great thing to master. :) Good Luck

  2. You can definitely push through your discomfort with Rascal. Good luck in the triatholon.

  3. Isnt that panic kinda what makes it exciting? Cos it isnt a horrible kind of panic?

    But yes you can push through it and come out succesfully and happy on the other end :)

  4. That's a great analogy, T.

    Good luck at your tri!

  5. T, you sound like an amazing athlete. One thought - because I know you do EFT - is to tap when you get tired or panic.

    On the other hand, I would absolutely not push through the panic in a new relationship. The emotional heart is a different muscle, works a different way and the panic is telling you to slow down. I would listen to it.

    What's the rush anyway?

  6. I always find it amazing when people are able to find parallels like this in their lives. You're right - everything IS connected. Good luck - on both fronts. :) xo

  7. Great post, T...and I will try to follow your advice next time I feel myself in a panic for personal/emotional or exercise reasons. (Shoot, and I'm not doing a triathlon, so what excuse do I have?!)

    So proud of you and can't wait to hear/read more about your tri experience next weekend!

  8. Great post T, and great analogy!

    So much of what I do and have accomplished in life is becuase I had to. I had to get up and "push through" the experience. There was no choice other than to persevere through the adversity. Otherwise I would be giving up and to me, giving up is not an option.

    It is all connected.

  9. I've done triathlons before. My best advice? Take it easy on the swim and during your transition to the bike munch on an energy bar. Biking is the least strenuous, so try to gain as much speed as you can on the bike. Snack again on an energy bar if you can during the end of the biking. Good Luck! They're fun

  10. Yay! Nice job on your mini-practice tri and pushing through the mental demons that like to invade, T. I'm so proud of you and know you're going to do great next weekend.

  11. great lesson! Yes the heart is a muscle too! Keeping creating new comfort zones!

  12. Ooo, T! I have no good advice for you, besides, you don't need any. You are an excellent coach for yourself. I am thinking really good thoughts for you, for courage and joy.

  13. Good analogy, especially to the swimming. The best way to push through emotional anxiety is to stay calm.

    Sore legs in a run or bike ride could mean you aren't hydrated enough, and your body is having trouble eliminating lactic acid. Are you drinking during your ride? Also, you can pre-drink - the day before a marathon, I will down a ton of Gatorade to "plump up" my cells with water and electrolytes.

    Love that you powered through the hill. Lance Armstrong used to say he would never let a hill kick his ass, and that motivated him to power up any climb!

    Good luck on your sprint tri! I think you'll do great!

  14. Oh my goodness, you're my hero. A triathlon! Girl! This is amazing. :) I'm sending the best of luck vibes.

    And yes, calm yourself with Rascal. He sounds like he's worth it.


  15. I'm with QT Mama: you're my hero, too. LOVE this post. You are incredibly strong: physically, emotionally, spiritually...

    I'm curious: Does Rascal read your blog? Know about it?

  16. Very nice post T. I love these types of analogies. I make them all the time.

    Your tired legs......can you tell me how fast you spin your legs? Efficient pedal spin is 90-100 RPM. This doesn't tax the large leg muscles as much as pushing a bigger gear. This could be causing the legs to get tired. The higher spinning will also make it easier to transition to the run .

  17. You know I'm rooting for you in all aspects of your life, T. Both with the athletic side of things and with the relationship side of things.

    And you know what? I truly believe you're strong enough to handle both with ease!

    'Cause you rock. :-)

  18. I know you will get out there and kick some butt. You can do it and we are all behind you!!!

  19. Congratulations on your accomplishments! Does pushing thru and tackling those moments of panic make you feel like you can take on about anything? That's how I feel when I come out on the other side of a challenge. Hmmmm. Funny thing, I'm suddenly feeling like taking on a challenge. :-)


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