Sunday, March 27, 2016


I am just under a week away from the Beaver Freezer Sprint Triathlon.  I'm nervous and a bit excited.  I know it's not the big one that I'm working towards but it is part of the process.

We spent some time this past week in a cabin near Mt. Rainier, Washington.  It was beautiful. My coach accommodated the fact that we would be out of town so most of my workouts were walking, running and strength training.

On Tuesday I was supposed to do a 4 mile walk/run.  No pace set, no time to get done, just do 4 miles.  I walked the first mile with Joe since he was supposed to do a 30 minute walk and then did the rest running, mostly.

I didn't try and go fast.  I stopped a bunch of times to take pictures.  I enjoyed being out and moving.  It was nice to not have any pressure (self-inflicted usually) to do anything specific.

I was trotting along and began thinking about how I was on vacation and running.  Not too many years ago those two things together would not have sounded like a fun thing at all.  After all, vacations are about relaxing, taking naps and not exerting oneself too hard.

But I found my run to be awesome.  I got to be outside, no music, just listening to the creek I was running near and looking at the clouds move through the hills that were in view.  I looked down at my watch at one point and realized that I was running at a 12:30 pace and wasn't really trying to go fast.  A couple of years ago I would have had to work really hard to get that pace.

So that got me thinking about perspective.  I often get frustrated because I am working really, really hard and I don't feel that I am getting anywhere.  I'm running in place and getting nowhere fast. But the reality is I have made a lot of progress.  Some physically, a lot mentally but all of it progress.

Sunday morning at the start of Spring Break Joe and I headed out early for our weekly hike.  We would be taking off for a wedding in Washington later so we wanted to be sure to get our hike in.  Joe suggested we hike at the Peavy Arboretum and I thought that sounded great.  We haven't done that hike in a couple of years and there are lots of little side trails to take and explore.

The start of the hike is going up a steep hill and then there is another spot during the hike where we have to go up another big hill.  As we were going up the second hill I was thinking about the first time that I had done that hike.  I distinctly remember a very slow trudge.  One slow, legs aching, out of breath step at a time.  I also remember Joe walking backwards and holding my hand and pulling me along.  I was so frustrated.  I was never going to get faster, be able to breath better, do more than trudge up a hill like that.  That's how I felt at the time.

To be honest, that's how I still feel a lot of the time.  Slow, breathing is hard, I'm never going to be better or faster.  Why does it always have to be so hard?

But as we were hiking I realized that my legs weren't aching.  While I was working hard my breathing wasn't terrible.  Not great but not terrible.  My heart rate was staying below 150, which is really good for me going up a hill.  I wasn't running but I wasn't trudging either.  I was working hard but at a whole different level that working hard had been so long ago.  I suddenly thought of a quote that I see often online when I'm looking for motivation:

I often forget that while I still struggle, and things are still really hard it isn't because I haven't made progress.  It's actually that I HAVE made progress but I'm still working really hard.  I'm not settling for just getting better at the old level.  I'm always pushing to do better than I am today. This is a good thing unless you don't keep things in perspective.

Ran this single track for about 1/4 of a mile before turning around.  
The snow level had dropped overnight.  I loved the way the clouds moved around the hills.
We got to see a herd of elk when we were making a trip into the small town near our cabin.  They were grazing in a field by the road and then jumped the fence and crossed the highway.  It was awesome!
The elk were so cool to see.
I am not where I want to be yet.  I'm probably not ever going to be where I want to be.  That happens when you keep setting new goals and trying new things.  A few years ago the thought of doing one triathlon sent me spinning.  Here I am almost three years later and I'm signed up for FOUR triathlons and one of them is an Olympic. What the heck? And after I get through all of those I will have new goals and new challenges that will probably scare the crap out of me all over again.  lol  Keeps life interesting!

The new thing to work on for myself is to keep my perspective.  I may be traveling down this road slowly but looking back I realize that I have come a long, long way.  Glad I was willing to keep working at it.  Time to keep things in perspective and be proud of what I have done and what I am currently doing.  And be excited (terrified?!) about the challenges to come.

Look for a race report for the Beaver Freezer next weekend.  I start in the 4th wave on Saturday, 9:00 a.m.  The plan is to swim hard, not fall down on the bike and have a big smile on my face when I finish the run.  :-)

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