Saturday. Felt weak for the last three days. Couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and then had an epiphany — Iron!! I had fallen anemic, again. Geesh, what is wrong with me that I can’t take a freakin’ iron pill every day or at least remember when I start to feel that way it’s the lack of iron. It takes three days of feeling like I’m in a coma before I figure it out.
I went to my final ww meeting for 2005 and was down 1.2 making my total weight loss for 2005 only 22 pounds. At one point it was 31 pounds so I’m disappointed that I gained some back, but I’m proud of myself for staying in the fight. January 14th will be my 1 year anniversary with WW and if I lose 22 more pounds in 2006 I’ll be a happy camper.
One of the things Maggie said on Friday that stuck with me is she prefers to call it practicing skills instead of dieting. I liked that way of thinking. I’m starting to get the whole idea of life is just a bunch of decisions to be made — one after another. This idea of dieting is really, truly not about the food. It is about making healthful choices, listening to yourself and defining your goals. The food is just along for the ride. Writing down food journals, weighing and measuring, checking in with our hunger meter are all skill sets. We have to practice them over and over until we internalize them. I’m starting to understand it and it makes difference when I walk into the kitchen and instead of saying “NO YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT” saying “okay, what are you hungry for? What are my choices?” All the time, “what are my choices?”
Friday afternoon I worked out with Vanessa and I was just terrible. I was weak and tired and exhausted — and I hadn’t done anything since Tuesday night (when I had been tired and weak). I said to her, “gee maybe I need a vitamin or something.” DUH!!! I went swimming afterwards and lasted for 1/2 hour and then came home — exhausted. Around 6 p.m. it finally dawned on me — IRON!! I opened my medicine cabinet and saw the 14 boxes of Ferra Sequel Tabs (One box for every time this happens and I am away from home and have to buy another box). I popped a pill and passed out around 8 p.m. (that’s early to bed even for me!!!)
I woke up at 5 a.m. which is a lot of sleep for me and I was still feeling pretty bad. I was tired and groggy and felt like I was in a coma. There was no way I could go work out. I had a big argument with myself. Go. Don’t go. Go, you are mentor captain. Don’t go, you are human too. Go, you’ll feel better. Don’t go, you are supposed to rest when you feel tired. Go, damn it, you are lazy and you haven’t exercised since Tuesday and the other half-ironman members are already way past you in fitness you can’t afford to miss another workout. I went.
I popped another iron pill, had breakfast and walked the mile and a half to practice. Moving made me feel better. From 72nd and Riverside we ran to 100th and Riverside park where there is a nice little trail with hills. We did three ten minute out and backs with one minute recovery in between. We were supposed to go a little farther each time. I went a little shorter each time. I got progressively more and more exhausted. I was pushing myself as hard as I could but I was slow. Really slow, even slow for me slow. There was no blood in my veins. I couldn’t have stopped at any second, laid down and fallen asleep in the leaves in a flash. Coach Ken gave me an ‘atta girl for attacking the hills’ and in my mind I thought “man as soon as you are out of sight I am heading home.”
I finished my 3 out and backs and knew everyone else was probably doing the 4 option and I figured I would just run all the way home and be done with it. I started running back and then next thing I know I start seeing the other team members passing me on their way back to base and I realized “crap, none of them did 4 out and backs so now the coaches are going to be on my arse any second.” I did the best I could to try to pick up my pace but my legs were just lumps and there was no blood in my veins and I was miserable. “Just get up that hill into Riverside park and then it is all flat, all downhill and flat.” So I start to run up that hill and smack dab in the middle of the hill Coach Paul and Coach Jay come up alongside me “how’s it going?” Coach Paul is running and Coach Jay is riding along on his bike. Just shoot me, I thought. “Fine, slow but sure, slow but sure. Don’t feel like you have to stay back with me.” “No, no, we’re fine” they both say and if I didn’t want to be shot before I really wanted to be shot now, they were going to run the last mile back to base with me. Oh God, Oh God just put me out of my misery.
Soon Coach Jay takes off — and now I’m left with Coach Paul who I don’t even know. “Really, really” I say, “please go ahead; you don’t have to run with me.” “No problem” he says “we’re almost there.” ALMOST THERE? What is he crazy we have at least a half a mile and I.. CAN’T.. RUN.. A.. HALF.. MILE.. WITH.. YOU!!! I’m so tired and all I want to do is throw myself over the railing into the Hudson and swim home. If someone could have given me a syringe with heroine in it, I swear I would have taken it. My idea of a nightmare is having to run with a coach — never mind when I am running slower than slow and never for a half a mile. Just shoot me, PLEASE!
I do my best to make chit chat and, somehow, I make it back to base camp. I had planned to run home but now I knew I couldn’t. My coma was coming on full force and if I make it home walking I’ll be lucky. So I said my goodbyes, happy new years and started walking home. I don’t think I’ve ever walked slower in my life. I started to feel dizzy. I saw a bench and thought I should sit down but then I thought no — keep moving. It’s only 35 degrees out. If you sit down, you’ll fall asleep and you’ll be found dead — frozen like statue in the park. So I kept moving. My Achilles tendon started to hurt (an injury from 2 weeks ago), great, so now I’m limping and barely walking and feeling dizzy and I’m still a mile from home. I keep walking. Then all of a sudden there’s coach Jay riding next to me on his bike. He’s always so nice and encouraging to me, but even for him I was not going to start running. All he was going to get out of me was polite conversation as I limped home.
We started talking about training and cycling and running and soon we got onto the entire 90 rpm thing. I told him about my previous weekend ride with Peter and how even though I was doing the 90 rpm I felt I was going too slow. We talked for awhile about it and one of the things that I was left with is he said “the 90 rpm is not a natural cadence for your legs — you have to train your feet and legs to do that cadence. It is a skill set.” Little light bulbs started flashing (not because I had any realization — because I was dizzy and starting to go into a coma) Despite my blood-sapping anemia, I did vaguely recall what Maggie had said on Friday about practicing skills. Just keep practicing these skills and one day you wake up and you’ve mastered them. Food, running, cycling — all the same thing. Just keep practicing and then one day you’ll find yourself out there in a race and your legs will know what to do. Don’t worry about speed right now. Don’t worry about weight loss right now. Worry about practicing the skill set. Fake it until you make it.
Coach Jay rode/walked me all the way home. I thought he was just being an uber coach and giving me all kinds of advice. Sitting here today I realize he probably noticed that I wasn’t feeling that well and wanted to make sure I didn’t pass out on the way home. The other thing I liked about him is when I told him my secret dream to do ironman in 2007 — he didn’t roll his eyes or say something like “well you better lose a lot of weight before that happens” he just kept talking about the mathematics of the training. That the counting will help me later on when I’m doing the ironman — when I am fighting those little demons on my shoulder. I got home, changed and fell back into bed. Even lying there I couldn’t believe that I had pulled myself out of bed, ran for over an hour and a half including hills and made it there and back on top of it. I made it home alive in one piece and with some real lessons learned. I reveled in my recognition of the parallels of my life lessons — practicing skill sets. In what other areas of my life can use this concept? A multitude of options flooded back to me as I rested my head and went into a long, anemic coma for the afternoon.
For me there is some satisfaction ending the year on a note of learning. This is what it is about — finding the pieces of the puzzle, putting them together and seeing that there is symmetry, mirroring, interconnectivity in all aspects of our lives. I also liked the idea of ending 2005 with a great nap.
Namaste and here’s to taking vitamins in 2006
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Bruce Lee