Friday, November 20, 2009

Things Happen...

For a reason.

I'm a firm believer in that. From small, everyday occurrences to big, life-changing events. Some things seem to be blessings, helping push us along, or succeed. Other things might seem to be destructive, or hindrances to our success. The truth is that almost always, the former is true.

Today I needed no convincing that a pretty "random occurrence" - my Dad accompanying me to my pool workout- was definitely a blessing.

I hate even admitting this...but, today was the first time I seriously considered quitting in a workout. After such a good week of swim workouts, I just felt "off" in the water. I felt heavy, unbalanced, unfocused, and unable to get rid of any of these feelings throughout my entire 600 meter warm-up.
A 300 aerobic pull next. Ok, a little better - more able to focus, staying conscious of stroke. But still can't shake that blahh feeling - just not into this. No idea why.
100 repeats - This should perk me up! Orrrrr.... frustrate me more. I feel like death. Huffing and puffing (hard) after each one. Only swimming 1:30's. After my fifth, I decided I was going to call it quits. I didn't have a swim scheduled for Sunday. I promised myself I would re-do entire workout then. I told myself, "I just don't have it in me today. This just isn't worth it." Then I told my Dad and ...

Thank goodnes.  He corrected me.

He asked me "What if you don't have it on a race day?" That's all I needed to hear.

I thought to myself - this is what training is for. Days like today are actually the days that matter most. They teach your body that it must obey your mind. And your body will. When your head is telling you that you are tired and you don't want to be doing what you are doing right now, as an athlete you have to be able to overcome those thoughts. You have to find a different thought - the thought that says on any given day, at any given time, this is what you want to be doing most. Or the thought that says when other people are stuck inside cubicles or watching and waiting for the clock to hit 5 so they can leave their job, I have the opportunity to pursue a job that will never leave me feeling confined or bored by. I want my job to be an adventure. I want my office to be outdoors on my bike some days. I want my desk to be a pool - or an ocean preferably. I want my time-card to be my watch.  And yes, like other "normal" jobs, there will be days (like today) that I don't feel like sitting at my desk (aka being in the pool)- but the difference with my job is that after forcing myself to go and do so, I will always leave "work" feeling better.

So, I flipped a switch in my brain and repeated these thoughts to myself. My body was still rebelling, but my mind was now in control. The last 10 100's didn't feel good. But they got done- and with some hard aerobic work.

That's when the second reason for my Dad being there proved to be a blessing.  Another 300 pull - this time with paddles. 
Dad told me I swam so much better with the paddles- turning my entire body in the water rather than struggling to pull harder and faster, like I was during the sprints.  So during my cool-down, without the paddles, I decided to try to mimic my stroke for the pull. 
I was honestly shocked after the first 300 of my cool down I stopped and he told me that I had just swam each 100 faster (mind you without rest between and in what I considered a cool-down/relaxed/easy pace) by 15 seconds.  I don't use my watch for my warm-up or cool down. If my Dad hadn't been there I would have had noooo idea, I was actually swimming faster???  I finished with another 100 of "easy" (yet again faster than my "sprint" pace, haha, still amazes me) swimming, and got out of the pool genuinely happy.

Not only did I finish my workout, but it was productive.  If schedules didn't randomly align, and my Dad didn't decide to replace his normal workout with a pool run, who knows what the outcome off today's swim session might have been.  But, you know what they say...
... things happen for a reason.

Thanks, Dad.

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