Training Daze

I hurt today from yesterday’s weight training workout with the work trainers… and what did I do today?

25 min run (5 min warmup) followed by a 15 min swim. Came home and ate some baked sweet potato fries (rosemary paremesan!), chicken sausage, and cucumber slices.

I’m tuckered out.

I’m not sure how I’m still doing this. I think it just lends a nice structure and sense of purpose to my days. I feel a lot better, I’m stronger, less fuzzy headed. It gives me some direction.

I like that the swimming time is staying constant for a bit here, too. I don’t think it kicks up to 20 min until next week. It gives me a chance to concentrate on my form, which still sucks. Have I mentioned I sort of have this latent claustrophobia? It’s terrifying when you’re putting the breathing together with the strokes, and you’re going along just fine and then it’s like – BAM – I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! I’m going to die!

I was fine when I was keeping my head above water, but now that I’m doing proper strokes again – stroke, stroke, breathe – there at the beginning and the middle I lost it a couple of times and wondered what the hell was wrong with me.

Oh, yeah, I thought – that claustrophobia thing. Yeah.

See, I went down into the catacombs in Rome? Paris? when I was 17, and I flipped the fuck out. During the same trip, they packed six of us into one of those night train sleeper cars, and I was hysterical sobbing all night long.

I realized then that if I wanted to travel, if I wanted a big adventurous life, I would have to get over the claustrophobia thing.

I think that the secret to facing any fear is knowing that you’re not getting over it, getting past it it, or even overcoming it. You’re just facing it. You sit and acknowledge it and look it over clinically and go, “OK, I recognize what this is. This is a crazy thing. Now that I have acknowledged it and poked at it a bit I am going to move on.”

Then you take some deep, calming breathes and force yourself to think about other things.

This is why I love the fear mantra from Dune, and the “Pain is just a message” mantra from Griffith’s Aud books. You’re not ignoring your fear. I think that’s the misconception that kept me from being able to function before that. I thought that I could just ignore it and it would go away. But that’s not true. It just builds up then. It sneaks up behind you.

You’ve got to face it like a fighter. Hit it head on.

So I acknowledged my crazy swimming claustrophobia and kicked out those last two laps hard and fast. Then I came home and put hydrogen pyroxide in my ears to fend off the tricky infections. My ears don’t like me swimming, tho the new ear plugs sure do help.

And here’s the thing, you know?

This shit is not easy. It’s not pleasant. I’m scared of running. I’m scared of saying I’m doing Triathlon training, because how silly is that? I’m absolutely terrified of failure all the time. But the alternative is not to try. Never to try. And I could use any old excuse to not get to the gym – “Oh, I’m sore from working out yesterday,” “Oh, you know, I have a history of ear infections, I can’t swim,” “Oh, I’ve never been good at running,” “Oh, I’ve never really been an athletic person,” – these are all excuses I’ve used to not do things before. They seem like perfectly valid excuses to me. And they will seem like great excuses again.

But for now… for now…

Sometimes, when your life has calmed down and things are good, you realize you have the strength and courage to do things that paralyzed you before.

Going to Peru? By myself, even with my chosen tour group? Scares the living shit out of me. Publishing books that could totally fail and bomb? Scary shit. My job? The thought of losing my job? Scary shit. But you do it, because the life where you don’t do it is way fucking scarier.

Waaaay fucking scarier.

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