Sunday, April 29, 2007

Reality Check, Part 1

Whew. Hi. How's things? So. Maybe the Weirdest Spring Ever can finally start to...well, it's not going to slow down, I guess. But at least it's taking some concrete form.

I have alluded, I think, but let me reiterate my life for the last...oh, 6 or 7 weeks. First, it was a solid 4 weeks of home improvement projects. Little ones, mostly, nothing huge, but all time consuming. These projects, of course, take place when possible - after work and on weekends. And they were, and had to be, top priority, because we needed to have the house ready for market when primetime hit - early April - to get moving on our moving. After a great season of base training, and just when it was time to actually develop fitness and technical skills, training went completely out the window.

I just realized, I think this'll be a long one. S'okay, I haven't been able to write in awhile.

Then, the last 3+ weeks, our house has actually been on the market. This has been a far more surreal and stressful experience than I would have ever imagined, and I'm still not sure why. None of my usual tricks worked - educating myself completely of the complexities of home selling...limiting my expectations...working hard...doing "all I can do" and then trusting that I've done "all I can do" - still, I've been sleeping horribly and just in a general mental state of stress. Not good. And, I'm not a stressful person. Amy says, therefore, I lack skills to deal with stress. I disagree - I've dealt with all kinds of stress, and the kinds they make movies about - this is just different, and unique, and for whatever reason the stress of having our home in a constant, sterile state of ready has been a major burden on me. In addition, I've been always on call. My evenings have frequently meant leaving the house for a showing. My training was reduced to one, maybe two solid runs a week, no time in the pool, and very little time on the bike. And so added, my main outlet for dealing with stress largely removed, I've been about impossible to live with.

I realized last week or maybe the week before that I think I've hurt my right rotator cuff, and I think it's been injured for a long time, since before Ironman. I can only lift my right arm comfortably to just about my shoulder-height. Then, it hurts. I can wind it just fine, but it's the lifting, on kind of a 90 axis from my body, that hurts. I don't know where that comes from. Can anybody educate me on what a hurt rotator cuff actually feels like?

I went for a twenty mile run on Thursday - which was supposed to be my weekend run from 4 days previous but kept getting delayed - and I made it 10 miles. My left knee, about 7 miles in, started killing me. And my right achilles/calf felt strained, so that I was changing my form to accommodate the pain, which is the first step in progressing to serious injury. I was obviously asking my body to do more than it was prepared for. I simply can't expect sustained performance at long distances without frequent and sustained training. Triathlon 101.

My weight is okay, but I have, like, zero muscle tone.

So, I've been in something of a significant funk, but none of it had anything to do with attitude adjustment. I've certainly been ready to get on my bike when it's 65 and sunny outside, I just haven't really been able to, or have had to modify to mountain biking around the neighborhood, lest I get a call to have a showing when I'm 20 miles from home. The reality was that this house selling thing was what it was, and requires what it does, and I am subject to that. It's ripped my early season triathlon training to shreds. And that has sucked so much. One does not wait all winter to not finaly revel in a new season.


Last weekend we were in Stoughton. This is a little town some 13 miles from Madison, where I spend a few weeks each summer with my family - Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt & Uncle - who live there. It's also, by the way, is where Stu lives, and where I and others (Pharmie, Steve, TST, Wil, Chris, others) had dinner the night before Ironman last year. Just incidentally. Anyway, we were there on a dedicated home search. Our own house had had something like 13 showings in 2 weeks, and we were having an open house last weekend, so we figured it was a good time to get out of town and get proactive. I'll simplify a great deal of discriminating evaluation and many, many, many hours and conversations into manageable pieces here: We saw a lot of houses, and we found The One. And we love it. And it has a tiled exercise room in the basement where Ol' Blue will live in the wintertime. And a huge office for me. And a humongous master bedroom. It just kicks ass. We saw it on Saturday last week, and loved it. Then we spent Saturday night trying to find reasons to not love it. So we went back on Sunday - after seeing several others (this was one of 14 or something we'd look at over the weekend) and loved it more. So we made an offer on it. Contingent on the sale of our house. And they accepted. So we had, in theory, a home we loved and was ready to love more...if only we could sell our house.

Which, of course, ratcheted up the stress level.

Thursday of this week our house had a showing. A second showing by the same person on Friday. An offer late Friday night. A counter-offer. Haggling over the closing date.


Guys. We're moving. To Ironman Country. On June 15th.

Thank you Jesus.

It's hard to describe how I feel right now, because it's different than anything I've ever experienced. Relief isn't it, because it's not that simple. Today Jack had a nap on his favorite bed. He's not been allowed up there in 6 weeks. I left a dirty bowl on the counter. I didn't take off my shoes the second I walked in the house. I did not, as planned for today, have to haul my two dogs and a cat around for 2 hours to kill time while there was an open house. I didn't have to not make plans with friends because there were too many unknowns. I slept - hard - all night, and a nap in the afternoon. And I daydreamed about our new life. Still so many unknowns, still so many questions. But now - it's the adventure I was waiting for. This part, this part sucked the fun out of it. I feel a little like I got my life back.

And everyone around me is happy for us, and our house sold in, like, 25 days or something, which isn't happening a lot around here, and so I realize that things weren't as difficult as they could've been or maybe are for many, but thank God because I do not know how I would've coped. Mike says I would have, I would have just figured it out, and of course I would have, but I'm glad - so glad - I don't have to. I'm so happy about this. I can't even tell you.

But - part of its cost has come at my fitness. So, I adjusted my marathon registration to a half marathon on May 19th. I'm not beating myself up about it - it is what it is. My life hasn't allowed marathon caliber training, and part of being a triathlete - an Ironman - is respecting that, in light of the bigger picture. I still have time to get in shape and have a good summer, I think. Yet, I am moving in 6 weeks and I'm not going to kid myself about the realities facing me there with continued interruptions. I'll just have to deal with it, however. Make adjustements where I can. My goals for this season have become less about triathlon-related goals, and more about triathlon-minded goals. Find the balance in my life in this strange time. I have no idea how it'll go. I'll just do my best.

Meanwhile, I have my first race on Saturday, which is almost laughable I'm so unprepared. But, it's a Sprint, and an indoor swim, and I'm doing it with Todd (I've never done a race with friends, not counting Ironman, and those people were theretofore unmet and we were traversing hundreds of miles and most of a day, so I wasn't really doing a race with friends so much as sharing experiences on the same terrain, where perhaps this one Todd can pass my slow ass and I can shout Go Toddzilla Go! or the like) and our friends will be around to support, and I'm just going to go have fun. I'm going to enjoy myself and treat it as the official kickoff to my season - whatever my season is this year. That's the best I can do.

I should have, finally, some stillness to be back here more regularly now, so thanks for your patience, and thanks for the positive vibes, everybody. Keep 'em coming - there are many many more miles to ride.


Todd said...

Fire up the party bus, next stop is FunTown USA - aka - Alexandria, MN...woo woo!

Erin said...

I'm training for this year's IM-Moo, and am a long-time reader of your blog (which, in turn, inspired me to do my own blog to document my training experience: just wanted to wish you an early welcome to the Madison area. It's a great place to live. You'll love it for certain!

Steve S. said...

CONGRATS!! And there's nothing like having a room for Ol' Blue!

Triteacher said...

You were behind posting & I fell behind reading, but WOW, what news!! I cannot believe you had that many showings - that is insane. Happy it's over for you. And the best part...

The tri season is now at your feet. You'll be fine. Don't you know we get grandfathered-in fitness this year?