Keeping Perspective

My annual Lake Placid triathlon camp is this week, and we are up a few days ahead enjoying the Village and Adirondacks. This year, we rented a boat and went tubing on Lake Placid for Father’s Day. It was a great day, and both my kids and I were able to go tubing for the first time.

I must have been reliving a Mission Impossible moment when I decided to jump off the tube. Somehow I landed at an odd angle and (bruised/slipped/insert damage adjective here) my ribs. Having done something similar on a mountain bike crash in the past, I knew what in store as soon as I stopped skipping across the surface.

The next day I actually went to have them checked out, and already knowing what the doctor would say, there was not much they can do. They suggested a Tylenol and Aleve cocktail, but said it would heal on its own, and I was free to train. Heh.

A quick stop at the pharmacy, a pull of water, and three pills later I was about as close to pain free as it is going to get for a while. I took the rest of that day off, and tried out a few disciplines today with limited success.

The bike actually seems like it will be manageable. Bumps and climbing are painful, and deep breathing in aero is uncomfortable, but overall, I should be ok to ride. Now running, oh running. I did an ‘easy’ 30 minutes to test things out. Yes, this hurt considerably. The bounce of each step felt like a bad cramp, but when I moved my torso in the wrong way it is a wave of pain. Keep in mind, I was only able to muster 13:00/mi pace during this little shakeout.

It is disappointing to hit another snag after just healing up from an ankle fracture (I did get it checked before leaving for camp since it has been swollen over a month now), especially so close to the camp and the race. I have about 30 days before the race itself, and have already had to sit out a month of running. But, like last time, it is important to keep everything in perspective.

First, the benefit of being a Professional Amateur is that my career is not at risk. Second, I am still here in the ADK enjoying the outdoors, and PLAYING instead of working. Yes, it will be very painful to float, spin, and walk, but I will just make sure I have some good playlists to pass the time in the pain box. Lastly, training for an Ironman to me has always been about the journey. Crossing hard things off the list on days when you don’t want to. I think this meets that threshold.

While I may be suffering in my own way, it still beats what 99.9% of everyone else will be doing this week. As much as it may hurt, I will still finish my day with a smile, and get up the next day and do it all over again. No matter what the output looks like, just keep moving forward. Even small steps will eventually get me there.

That is my lesson to learn from this one. The worst day of training beats the best day of doing something you hate. Things don’t always go your way. That is ok. Realistically most of us are not in the running for much beyond a personal effort goal. There is not a big difference between 1200 and 1400 in the overall standings. Yes, we all want our best each time, but that is contextual. Injury, weather, outside stress are all big variables that we can’t always control. We can only hope to play the cards we get and drink the lemonade we make. Just do it with a smile and remember this is all supposed to be fun.

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