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.