It has been quiet on this front for several good reasons. Launching this product, planning my wedding, recuperating from all of the activity.
Oh, and–running. I’ve been running again (!). Post-stress-fracture, the progress has been slow, but steady, with only a minor setback in the past week (well, what I hope is a minor setback!). I did a run on the treadmill with a 0% grade and this must have changed something about my gait, because immediately afterwards, I had a bruise around the area where the stress fracture was. I waited 90 days before returning to running, so I know that I gave the area plenty of time to heal and time for the bone to re-calcify, but this is how these things go (I guess) so it’s back to rest.
Except, it’s not back to resting, because as you might have figured out from the image above, I’m pursuing another half-brained idea:
You’re f***ing crazy
I actually already know this.
Reason #1 why this is a crazy idea: I’ve never done an actual triathlon. Wouldn’t it be better to start with a sprint or Olympic distance?
Reason #2 why this is a crazy idea: I’m not 100% back on my game from the stress fracture, given this minor setback from this past week.
Reason #3 why this is a crazy idea: Open water swimming with 2,299 other people. Enough said.
Reason #4 why this is a crazy idea: It’s a half-Ironman. The only thing crazier is a full Ironman.
So, okay, we’ve assessed the insanity of this plan. Here are my rebuttals:
#1: Even though I haven’t done an actual triathlon, I already know that I can do a sprint. I was doing 1/2-mile swims followed by 10 miles on the bike this summer, while I was waiting out the stress fracture healing process. After finishing those workouts this summer, I could have easily thrown a 3-mile run on top of that.
Endurance for a sprint triathlon is definitely something I think I’ve already got under my belt. I would agree with anyone who pointed out that the racing environment itself would wear on me more than going from a swim to the bike at my local gym. Nonetheless, I just know, based on how many of those “brick” workouts I logged this summer, that the endurance for a sprint would not really be a true challenge.
The Olympic distance, yes, would take some more training, but that goal holds far less allure, for me. It feels like a challenge, but not a nearly impossible, gargantuan challenge.
More on impossible challenges, in just a moment.
#2: I’ve looked into the 24-week 1/2 marathon training plan offered by Nicole at Nicole is Better. My half-Ironman is 40 weeks away, so I reason, if I followed that plan, I have until mid-January before I absolutely, positively, MUST start training for running. That means that all of November, all of December, and all of January–nearly another 90 days–could be cross-training and training in swimming (my weakest sport) and the bike.
That would put a full 6 months between me and The Stress Fracture, and if it ain’t healed up after 6 months, then hey–I gots bigger problems than how to complete an Ironman (paramount among my concerns is the possibility that, given my auto-immune disease, my bones are not getting enough calcium and iron to re-build).
#3: Clearly, I’ll have to practice some open water swimming with other people. This will mean that smaller sprint and Olympic distance triathlons will be in my future, in anticipation of the half-Ironman.
#4: So now I can touch base on the allure of the “impossible” challenge.
I do not know what it is within me that has been drawn to the BIG challenge, the one that feels hard and insurmountable, but there it is: I’ve always been this way.
I was a kid when I started declaring to the world that I wanted to write books. Then I started writing them. (Publishing? That’s harder. But I was never unwilling to put in the work on my end).
I played not just one instrument in high school, but several.
I had not just one major in college, but two (and a minor).
I don’t believe I’ve done any of this because I wanted to be “better” than anyone else. It’s never been like that. And sure, I think there have been times in my life when I’ve pursued ultimate limits because I felt inferior, and wanted to compensate.
But a half-Ironman doesn’t feel like that. It feels exciting. Hard work? GIVE IT TO ME. Lay the challenge before me, and I’m intrigued, rather than defeated.
When something intrigues me, I just have a natural proclivity to follow it to its end point, until it no longer intrigues me, any longer. I see this as a very natural passion for life and living.
I don’t want to sit on the periphery of most of what I pursue, in life–I want to be in the thick of it. I’m fascinated by being in the thick of life, in the muck and mess and glory and joy. And what I love most about running, or anything endurance-related, is the way that I push up against the “can I do this?” within me and then come out at the end.
Go ahead, push me until I almost want to puke. It’s more fun at the finish line, that way. There’s something primal about it.
This passionate desire to push it? It’s also my nemesis. It’s also the thing that shoots me in the foot (haha, no pun intended). I already know that I can “dig deep” as they say, and that’s exactly why I’ve been injured so chronically. I don’t always know when digging deep is a matter of spirit and will versus when it’s utter stupidity.
It’s not all a journey of “how badass can I be,” either. There are some things that I have zero desire to do. I love running, and want to run a marathon, but I have zero desire to do the Western States 100–even as I geek out and watch Unbreakable for the gazillionth time.
Besides, I think that at the end of the day, triathlon will probably be a safer option for me. When all of my energy is poured into running, I get running injuries. I’m seeing triathlon as an option that intrigues me yet will get me off of my feet. I’ll get that endurance rush that I love, and be able to take part in racing events (also a love) but without the sole focus being on my feet, potentially racking up ever-more running injuries.
So, there you have it.
Forty some-odd weeks from now, the goal is to make it to the starting line of the Vineman 1/2 Ironman in Sonoma county.
The second goal is to make it through a 1.2 mile swim without being kicked or punched, and the third is to make it through the swim without being kicked or punched so severely that I cannot compete in the rest of the legs of the race (you see how I’m setting this up?).
The fourth goal is simply to finish. 1.2 mile swim, 56 miles on the bike, and a 13-mile run.
I could give two shits about times, or being able to “podium” or any of that. Just making it to the starting line without being sidelined by an injury will be a huge accomplishment, in and of itself.
So that’s why I titled this post, crassly, ” ‘Holy Shit’ is the phrase that comes to mind.”
Because–wowza. Holy shit!