from Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
Okay, before you read any further do me a favor, go pee. While you're at it get yourself a beer, water, some vittles, put on some good tunes. . . Heck, maybe get yourself some Adderall. . .
Go, but come back.
Seriously, get comfortable--pretty sure this is going to be long. Such is the case when one doesn't update their blog for 3 months.
So that quote at the beginning? It has long taken up space in my head. But the past few months I've taken a risk and just let it go. I've been tired of struggling-- trying to force destiny's hand. And that was when I realized that I was like a swimmer, no unfortunately not a Dara Torres phenom but rather one who ignored the warnings signs, red flags and found that I was a swimmer caught in a rip current.
Here's what Wikapedia has to say about a swimmer caught in a rip current:
A swimmer caught in a rip current should not attempt to swim back to shore directly against the rip. This risks exhaustion and drowning. A rip does not pull a swimmer under water; it carries the swimmer away from the shore in a narrow channel of water. The rip is like a treadmill which the swimmer needs to step off. The swimmer should remain calm and swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. . .
A swimmer in a strong rip, who is unable to swim away from it, should relax and calmly float or tread water to conserve energy. Eventually the rip will lose strength, and the swimmer can swim at a leisurely pace, in a direction away from the rip but back to shore. . .
Like the panicked swimmer it took me awhile to realize that maybe I should just "relax" and go with the flow. And well, that is where the lemonade part comes into play. . .
I got thirsty.
What? With all that struggling and thrashing about in the strong rip. . .
Okay, I know, I know, horribly cliche and really, if we are being literal, I think lemonade would be pretty terrible mixed in with all that salt water I'd surely be swallowing if I was caught in a real live riptide; not this metaphorical one that I'm being spun about in. Nevertheless, I am sure you get the implication that I am just trying to make the best of the situation.
I had to let it go.
I had start over.
So I got myself a new bike and have tried to learn to love the bike; to be good on the bike. And well, that last part hasn't worked out so awesomely but I do love to ride my bike.
And yes, of course, I have still been running. But it hasn't been the same. It is most definitely not the marathon training that I love; that I have been logging for the past 4 years. So no more weekly 20 mile runs and definitely no 50, 60 or 70 miles per week. I have been logging 30 miles most weeks and the occasional, 40 mile week has happened but then some weeks I barely come in over 20 miles. . .
Sigh, it is what it is. I am chill. I am relaxing. Enjoying my lemonade. My pink sweet sweet lemonade . . .
When my injuries really started to get me down my friend Doug,( yep Steph's husband), told me to just do "little runs". So that is what I have been doing. It is crazy that some weeks I run all 7 days but still only total out at 25 miles. When I run 50+ miles per week I never run 7 days a week, heck, I've done 50 miles on just 4 days of running. See, see how I have lost my religion?
See how a person might think they are drowning when first faced with that?
No, well then that is probably because you don't have an insane love/addiction/passion for running. This is not to say less of you, but you just need to Madlib it where I say run/running and insert your love/addiction/passion and I think you'll understand. If not? Well, I guess you lead a sad soulless existence and are just a shell of a person who has no worries because you don't float or sink: you just blow around in the world like the empty husk you are. . .
It is what it is. . .
But never mind you, this is about me!
And I got my sinking head above water, finally. Currently I am floating along and I can see the shore again-- still going parallel to it for certain but once again; land is in sight and a little closer than it was a few months ago.
here and here ) Just having a race on my calendar instantly gives me the self discipline I naturally lack. But most importantly it also gives me a reason to tell people who aren't into endurance events why I run/bike/swim as much as I do.
In May I picked the Chattanooga Waterfront Olympic Triathlon. I picked this triathlon for many reasons. There is, despite surface appearances, method to my madness. First, I wanted to try the Olympic distance. In the past I have compared myself to Goldilocks so it should be no surprise that I felt the sprint triathlon was too small, the half ironman too big and well, I thought, the Olympic distance might be just right.
Ryan and I squirreled the kids away and drove up on Saturday for the race. We stopped in Chicamauga to take a short easy ride.
It was funny but as much as I know I loved that marathon most of the park was new to me, pretty, but new. Obviously I need to run that marathon again.
We made it to Chattanooga, picked up my packet, checked into the hotel and met some friends for dinner:
My friend Caroline and me. You might recognize Caroline from my blog post about GA ING. She ran the half.
I ♥ her.
Katie, Amy and Jerry. Part of the NAMC and my frequent riding friends.
Me and my friend Lisa. She is awesome.
Steve, Ryan and Jay. I ride Tuesday night Roswell ride with Steve and Jay. We do the extra loop.
Brian and Ryan. Brian is a high school friend of Ryan's who lives on Lookout Mountain.
We stopped by after dinner to have a beer with him and his wife Beth. I first met them a year after Ryan and I started dating at a Halloween party at their house. Ryan was Batman and I was the Tooth fairy. Good times. Always.
Me and Beth.
Okay, so I was more than a little cranky getting back to the hotel as late as we did and had more than a few words for Mr. Drunky. I tried, in vain, to explain that this was the Natalie Show, not the Ryan Show. Lost. Telling you. Lost.on.him. He would see though just how early 4:50 am was gonna come and just how not quiet I was gonna be.
Of course I got up before the alarm went off, before the other alarm went off and before the hotel wake up call came. I had exactly 2 minutes to spare to shut down all those noises. And I am sure a courteous wife would have done those things.
I had gotten my things together the night before and Drunky had filled my water bottles and who knows what else so I just had to eat, shower and get dressed. Our hotel was not next to the start but was still close enough to ride.
It was 6 am when we left the hotel. It was dark, the sun not yet up, and the air was still, thick with humidity. Ugh, I thought. It is going to be hot and sticky. But it would be that way for everyone. We rode the several blocks through downtown Chattanooga to the race area by the waterfront. The ride there was littered with triathletes in various stages of dress and burdened with their gear. Even before I reached transition I felt out of my league.
I was intimidated by all the hardcore athletes and their hardcore tri gear as I approached the body marking tent and transition area. I suddenly, out of no where, found myself singing in my head a song long forgotten from my youth. I changed the lyrics a little and the tune stayed with me all day. Especially on the bike when I would hear what I thought was a train coming up behind me but no, it was not a train. It would be some dude on time trial bike with the goofy looking aero helmet and solid wheels. They'd pass me like I was going backwards and I'd wave, smile and sing . . .
Hey Kids!One of these athletes is not like the others,
One of these athletes just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which one is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?
Did you guess which athlete was not like the others?
Did you guess which one just doesn't belong?
If you guessed Natalie is not like the others,
Then you're absolutely...right!
Things to entertain myself.
Picture of my rack in transition area the day before. Ryan has one of those wheel things that he uses to measure lawns. We got it out and determined that my rack was indeed the very center rack equally far from all entrances and exits!
Race day though I was happy to discover that when I found my smack in the middle rack that it was across from Lisa! I changed my set up like 15 times and ultimately decided it really didn't matter and that I was over thinking the whole thing. Here is one version. It don't think this is what I ultimately decided on though.