Everything in Balance

Tuesday, Oct 15, 2013 at 13:37

TriathlonOz - Michelle

My 2013/14 season seems ready to kick off to a great start with my rehab from knee troubles well behind me now and my body adapting well to the rigors of half ironman training.

When I look back over my training diary I see I've put in some solid work to hold my base over winter and I've been really sensible (for once) with my running. I rode all through the winter storms and rains - 3 days/week. And I kept up the swimming, but only once a week until mid August when I added a second session. Because I was away camping in July and August I ran mostly offroad trail running in light shoes. I kept my distances to under 10km and ran by feel instead of using my Garmin. It was liberating and fun. I note I've been running 3-4 times a week since the beginning of July which is a big change in my routine. I have also shifted my training priority to the run, allowing myself to skip a cycle session to allow for a better run session if things get messy with the routine. Plus, I do 2 sessions per week of weights/core - with emphasis on building strength and balance in my problem area.

And now, all that seems to be paying off as I head into that darker territory of long runs in preparation for the first of 3 upcoming Ironman 70.3 events ahead. The first is Ironman Mandurah 70.3 which is less than 4 weeks away now and I know I am in a very different place to where I've ever been before.

I love the feeling of being able to complete a long training run and not limp in the door and be swathed in ice-packs for the rest of the day. I love that I have confidence in myself again and am developing favourite run-routes that take me a long way from home - knowing that I can and will get home. I love the fact that I feel energized after these runs instead of shattered. I also love the fact that I am starting to trust my body again and feel hopeful that I can attempt to do something I've never done before - 3x 70.3 events in only 6 months.

I am so ready for this challenge!

This first one is very important - I have to go into this one fit but not overtrained or injured. I need to be strong enough that I can cope with a short recovery period and fast build up for the second race (Albany Half) - only 8 weeks after. Thankfully that ties in with the Sprint season so I'll do 1 or 2 of those. There is a much longer break of 25 weeks to the third of the 70.3 events in Busselton so that should allow a good 7 week recovery period before commencing an 18 week preparation to the last race of the 2013/14 season.

For me, its not about the competition with others but of the competition within myself. Of who I am racing against, doesn't matter. In fact race day is the final test of self - can you put all that training together and complete a 70.3 mile triathlon? It's a physical challenge to do the distance but a mental one to get the pace right, to not get over-excited amongst the throng of other excited athletes, to not get so wrapped up in the atmosphere that you blow up and collapse exhausted before you've covered the first half of the course. The mental discipline to hold back is what governs the first half of the race, and mental strength to push yourself through the inevitable pain of the second half.

The sense of achievement at the end is what I do it for. Challenging one's self is quite empowering. Once you've had a taste of it, you're hooked and that's what motivates me. The training is excellent within itself, but without the feedback of a race result, you don't get the same sense of satisfaction. And without that satisfaction, I can't face daily life the same way. It's like my therapy!

As a middle-age wanna-be triathlete, I realise now how critical it is to keep my body injury free so that I can continue to do what I love. Sometimes its hard when you're a wife, a mother, daughter, tutor, taxi driver, disciplinarian, house maid, cook, social organiser, and business owner (editor, writer, manager, administrator, creative designer). I get very tired often and my busy life sometimes becomes quite overwhelming - with the result that I suffer from information overload, and have memory blackouts and automatic sleep shutdowns.

The one thing in my life I crave when I get the chance to take a break from work and chores, is quiet time. I've always been this way. I love a fast-paced life with lots of activities going on and that's what I've got but I also must have my solitude. It's my balance. It's when I regenerate. Unfortunately, the only time that the chance for this ever eventuates is after dinner. I don't have a room where I can get away to sit still and not hear anything (unless I go to my bedroom, which makes my family worry that something is wrong with me). I try to sit with them in the loungeroom blaring out TV, Movies, Games etc, but the white noise accelerates my automatic shutdown program and I fall asleep. So my family, I hope that you read this and understand that I love you but sharing your white noise is not conducive to my healthy wellbeing!

Those that know me well, know that since the age of 24 (after a messy period of my life) I have worn the tattoo of a Yin-Yang symbol to remind me that there will always be positive and negative things to endure in life and that its up to me how I manage it. I have always strongly felt the dualism within me and I recall as a young teenager struggling with strong opposing "voices" of reason in my head! The first time it happenend I was running a high temperature and I think my family thought I was hallucinating, but I later realised I was just growing aware of the choices we can make in every part of our life.

The yin-yang symbol comes from Taoism, a Chinese philosophy that is used to describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. The yin-yang symbol illustrates a state of yin-yang balance, which can be found in all existence, from natural phenomena, social order, to functions of our body. The symbol is in the shape of a circle and consists of two colors. The black color represents the yin energy, and the white color represents the yang. They are opposing qualities of dualism. A challenge for us in life is to balance the yin and yang in things we do. The better we are in finding the equilibrium, the more effective we can be.

So to all those struggling with life's balance, may I give the message that we can't fight what happens around us but we can choose how we deal with it. Let us all measure our success by how we manage to keep everything in balance!

Some wish for it, others work for it!
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