Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Decongesting Myself

There are not many things that will wake me before 4 am. An early plane flight, a strange phone call, the urge to pee, Ironman.

But here’s a new one – not being able to breathe. No air passing through the nose at all. None. Not a good thing.

I have narrowed it down to a few things. Ruled out a cold (no fever). Not an infection (not yellow snot – not yet). More like an allergy.

For my entire life I have suffered from allergies. Simply put, I am allergic to everything. Lately my allergies have been bad. This frustrates me because winter is the one season where I am usually free of allergies.

Not this year.

In an effort to breathe free again, I have started making a list. Things I might be allergic to. Things that are ever present in my life:

1 – Boss
2 – Coffee
3 – My training schedule
4 – My coach
5 – Husband
6 – Swimming individual medley
7 – Dust
8 – Myself

Now, I will scratch off number one because even though I have been allergic to cats and dogs for my entire life I refuse to accept that something as small, furry and cute as my dog would make me this miserable. Plus I survived years with my mother’s dog which is ten times the size of Boss. So Boss, I christen you allergy-free. You are ok with me.

Coffee – I will never say bad things about my friend coffee and will not start now.

My training schedule. It is ambitious, rigorous and sometimes just plain nuts. I have a new rule – I will no longer look ahead. Chris asked me yesterday “what is your workout tomorrow.” I said I don’t know. I won’t know. I refuse to know. I take it day to day and wake up to look at it and think to myself - super - I get to run bike and run again today. I can’t wait.

My coach. I talk to her a lot so naturally I had to put her on the list. But she is probably at this point more allergic to me because I have been an itchy pain in the ass. I’ll admit it. But it’s not her. Besides I’ve known her for years and haven’t had any adverse reactions. Yet.

Husband. I may be on to something here. Not so much allergic to the physical presence of him but what he does. For example, I noticed yesterday while doing my 100th load of laundry in 3 days that the clothes I had just washed were back in the laundry basket. Impossible. Unless he wears three shirts at once. A pleasant confrontation (not really) and then an admission that someone may have put the clean clothes back into the laundry basket because…..they were on the floor? They were unsure? They didn’t want to put them away? Your call.

Dust. I am no longer a big fan of cleaning my house because I have a million other things to do (code for run – bike – run) but it is still within the limits of livable and I do use my husband’s clean socks to wipe dust away from time to time. So I strike this as not possible – or at least not my fault if it is possible.

Swimming individual medley. Call me the luckiest person in the world – but how do you arrive at a DISTANCE FREE workout to see this:

100 IM 400 negative split 100 IM 300 negative split 100 IM 200 negative split 100 IM 100 negative split

Let me do the math for you – that would be 400 yards of IM. Quite a distance and not exactly the freestyle workout I was looking for. And it’s enough to bring the water into any triathlete’s eyes. But still I’m not entirely sure it’s just the IM. You see, I have reason to believe I am highly allergic to the rubber glue on my goggles. You think I’m crazy for saying that. But for the past 4 months on and off I have gotten puffy, itchy, scaly red rings under my eyes. About a dozen trips to the dermatologist later, a prescription topical steroid cream (please –even if I rubbed it all over my legs it would make not make me any faster so all you naysayers that think the elf is on ‘roids just pipe down), changing everything I put near or on my face I finally realized yesterday after using my old goggles that it is the goggles just like the dermatologist said. Which means now I need another trip to the dermatologist and new goggles.

But even all of these things added up make me things it’s something more. Because all of that other stuff is easily cleared up with Claritin or topical creams. And so, since there really is no answer, I am left with…..

myself.

I think I am allergic to myself.

The incessant thinking, fretting, wondering, thinking thinking thinking….. about myself. When you take a big step to do something new (ie., train & race as pro) you start to think a lot about yourself. Because you realize your “self” is what you have. Your body is your temple. What you do with your body is your work. Training becomes…..your job.

And like any job you think a lot of what you are doing and what you have to do. And it seems like I have become allergic to myself and all of those thoughts in my head. I think all of this congestion is really just an overstuffing of my head ready to explode with thoughts, questions, stuff, and things. Things that I can’t put into words. Stuff that I shouldn’t be worried about anyways. Because I have a coach. And it is her job to think for me. And my job to do the work.

This is the hardest part, isn’t it. If you have a coach sometimes the hardest part is just letting go. Giving the control to someone else and just doing what they say. Not that you shouldn’t think through your workouts but there is a fine line between thinking through and overthinking.

And that is where I am at. I am overthinking myself. My head is so filled with over-thought-thoughts that it is going to take more than a box of tissues to blow them all out.

So I realize that lately I have been thinking too far ahead of myself. My anticipation is the allergen and it’s congesting my progress to just get past myself. I realize that it’s me. It’s time to stop thinking and just engage in the process. Let go of the outcome, don’t pour over the details and take it day to day. This is where the new rule comes into place – not looking far ahead. I have no idea what tomorrow brings workout-wise. I will find out when I wake up. Until then I know that today I am in for a very long run – bike – run. That’s all I need to think about for now.

Day to day things will one day connect. It’s easy to get caught up when you look too far ahead. You think to yourself there is now way I can possibly run 5 times this week. The other night I couldn’t fathom that idea. I had a million thoughts of why I could never do that. And they didn’t go anywhere except further up into my head.

So I’ve decided to let go. And take deep breaths. One day at a time, one workout at a time. I trust that when I string everything together it will lead me to my outcome. That I have the strength to get through each day and in doing so it will make me even stronger.

And now that I have reconciled that I suppose my day can begin. It is shortly after 6 am and already I have been up for 2 hours. And you know what that means – it’s going to take a lot of coffee to get through this day. Especially when I am going to run bike run swim lift swim run stretch. So it’s a good thing I scratched coffee off that possible allergen list. Because this morning I am drinking in full force, to gear up for the workout, to let go of too many thoughts and get over myself.

4 comments:

Kathy said...

A perfectly timed post for me to be reading. My first Ironman is only 3 weeks away, and I just can't stop thinking about stuff. I think about every workout, every day, every sleep, the actual day, the minute I might finish, what I will be like, will I cry, what will I do when this is over, will I get really really fat again, will I get lazy, will I go back to being a semi-alcoholic????? I can't stop THINKING and it's driving me crazy.

Deep breathe..... let go.... aaaahh

Love reading your posts - they are fantastic!!

Beth said...

Oh I am soooooo guilty of this too - TOOOOO much thinking! I drive myself crazy sometimes! So thanks for this post because it's perfect - just get past it, one day at a time, breathe...ahh...there...much better!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

I think you're brilliant! Just hang in there. I know the weather sucks, that the trainer is tough... but you're doing great! And there are a lot of wanna-bees that look up to you (including ME!) So just blow everything out... and go for it. And let's start a countdown to SC... :)

Alicia Parr said...

OK. First, there is no way you are allergic to more things than I am. Don't make me make a list. It would be depressing. As for new goggles -- Speedo Vanquishers. No kidding. Those things are pretty amazing and Jen uses them so they must be good. Also, make sure the dog isn't using your pillow case as a cuddle blanket. That could explain the nighttime congestion. Especially if it's after a day swimming in heavily chlorinated water. Just a thought.