Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Catching Up

It's been awhile.

I decided not to write until I had something positive about which to write.  And I've actually had plenty of greatness to write about in the last few months, but I didn't want to declare myself "back" until I was absolutely sure I was actually back.

I am back.

What I mean by that is not that I am back to some former glory. I just mean I love training and racing like I did before the 2012 season once again. I did some great swim training and racing over the winter, but aside from that I really did nothing from about this time last year until about mid June of this year. I just did not want to train, and every time I started to train again I slacked off nearly immediately. I wasn't sure my love for training would ever come back.

But it has!

It started when I hired Kurt back as my coach. The truth is... I know what I need to do for training. The problem I have is that I simply don't do what I know I need to do.  I enjoy making plans for myself and for others and I relish keeping up to date on the latest training know-how. But I have learned that I can't be my own coach. I need someone to tell me what to do, and I need to be held accountable.

I really like to be in school, and I think it's for the same reason that I like to have a coach. I find it *fun* to be told what to do, and then to try and prove that I can do what's been assigned better than anyone else. This might be viewed as immature. It also might be viewed as a character flaw--and maybe even a flaw worthy of disdain. Shouldn't a competent, well-educated, middle-aged woman be beyond needing such carrots?

Probably. But I think it's time I just name the trait and then make provision to deal with it. For me, this means having Kurt tell me what to do. And he's good at that. He really doesn't give a shit that I think I know what's best for me to do. He just ignores me and assigns what he thinks I need to do.
It works. (Well, it works for me. I'm not sure how well it works for him!)

After I hired Kurt again, he put me to work. Neither of us knew how the remaining part of the season would go. I had some weight to lose, and I obviously was not in stellar shape. I also couldn't go from 0 to 60 overnight, so I would have to do less training than I had in the past as I tried to get back into real training again.

But the thing is, I felt great when training despite my lack of "fitness!" I could write a big, long hairy post on my thoughts, now, on rest. I trained for many years pretty consistently. Of course I didn't log the hours that some age groupers and most pros log. But I logged a lot of hours nevertheless, and I did so while working and raising three kids. I think after last season I was actually just really, really tired. My body was tired (and injured), and my mind was tired, and I just need to let go of all of it. I didn't want to let go. My identity is all wrapped up in this triathlon thing and not having training made me feel anchor-less and bad about myself. But I still needed all that time off. I have often thought that women who have babies come back stronger after giving birth, and I hold to that. I think it's because of the FORCED break. The body and mind are able to mend, and then the new mother can get back at it, often with more power and passion than before.

After just a few weeks of training under Kurt, I raced a small sprint in Norway, Maine. Ange was there, and a bunch of other good friends, and that made the day really fun. It was also fun because I enjoyed every moment of racing. I placed third overall, and I was pleased with that. My time wasn't great, but I didn't much mind. I just felt great being back at it.

Ange won the race, and my friend Anne placed second. (She later qualified for Kona at IMMT. Go Anne!) Here we are:

After this race I continued to train. I felt good. I spent a week in Maine with Alina's kids, and then a week on the Cape with my family and my father-in-law. When I got home I got caught up on business. Part of this business was having a mammogram. Over the last few months I have developed a lump in my right breast. It is a painless lump. Painless lumps are not good. This was taught to us at some point in the class "Having Boobs 101."After I had the mammogram my fear was confirmed. I was told I needed a needle biopsy to determine whether the lump contained cancerous cells.

I found the procedure mostly painless, but still absolutely terrifying. Still I hoped, and assumed, I would be told a few days later not to worry--that the lump was simply a benign mass. A few days later, however, that was not what I was told. Instead I was told that the mass was large (5cm) and apparently growing, and it had tiny cysts surrounding it. Though the samples they took from the biopsy were benign, the doctors and my OBGYN wanted me to go to Beth Israel for consultation.

At this point my training did not stop, but it took a back burner. They had me in at Beth Israel within the week. The urgency they showed in getting me to BI frightened me a great deal. I tried to remain calm and balanced. I'm not so good at calm and balanced. I was really scared.

The doctor with whom I met at BI thought the mass should come out, and soon. However, she decided it was prudent to bring her opinion to the whole oncology(breast) "group" at BI. I guess they have weekly pow-wows at which they discuss difficult or strange cases. I was such a case.

A week later I was told that the group consensus was to keep watch, but not to take the mass out--right now. I will have to have quarterly mammograms, and I will have to return to BI every 3 months for a check with the oncologist who first saw me.  I'm, obviously, relieved. I'm also still a bit scared, though. The mass is there, and it is not small. It's hard to forget its existence.

BUT ONWARD! Sorry, I have a lot of catching up to do here!
After hearing the news I resumed training (in earnest) again. My hopes for doing well at my next races were not dashed, but I was careful not to have great expectations.

I will write separate posts on my next two races.
Here is a very short recap:

I did Timberman 70.3 two weeks ago, and I had so much fun and I did really well (for me). I placed 3rd in my AG and I pulled off a five minute PR for that course. I was stunned. Really? After doing so little, how could I have had that kind of a breakthrough?

Then, last weekend I toed the line at the OOB REV Olympic Tri. I was still tired from the half the week before, but I was also just so thrilled--to be alive. to be racing. to be racing on my home turf. I was filled with so much appreciation and joy the morning of the race. I really feel words can't capture capture how I felt diving into the cold ocean water by the Pier--MY ocean by the Pier! And I was alive! And racing!

 I raced hard, and had a great swim, a great bike, and a *fine* run. :) I almost caught my uber fast and amazing friend Carrie on the run -- and I ended up placing just behind her (okay, by a good 50 seconds, but still! I'm proud! She's really, really good!). I placed 4th overall for amateurs. It was quite a day. As I was just finishing the run I saw Ange coming out of T2 for her 13.1 run for the half. (She destroyed the half--seriously. 4:45). Anyway, we saw each other and it was just awesome.  Our friend Mike caught us in the same picture.

Again, I'll write more about Timberman and OOB in separate posts, but here are a few pictures.