Professional athlete and 3-time Ironman champion

From Wobble Legged Foal to Best Run Workout in a Day

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Ever have a morning where you wake up and wonder, “How in the H-E-Double L am I going to get out of bed; never mind, get thru this day?”

 

I had one on Thursday. (and again on Friday, but since I started this blog on Thursday, let’s deal with that one first….)

 

But somehow, I am less worried today because I’ve been having an awful lot of these lately.

 

Most mornings, including this one, either my alarm will sound or the really (and when I say really, I mean REALLY) loud birds that have done this to my car:

 

bird poop on car

 

….will chirp me out of bed.

 

The first thing that enters my mind is “Ugghhhh.”

 

I force myself from bed and into an actual standing position, looking mostly like a wobbly-legged foal.

 

Another groan.

 

A few stiff first steps (did it used to be this hard to get out of bed?) and I am hoping momentum just takes over.

 

How will I survive this day?

 

The first stop? The Culver City Plunge.

 

On the way to the pool, my roommate and very good friend Bek and I quietly speculate, “What do you think it will be today?”

 

“Well, Monday was sort of recovery.”

 

“Yeah. Doubt she’ll do that twice in a month,” I respond sarcastically.

 

“It might be the 200s.”

 

“Or it could be the 25s.   We haven’t done the 25s in a while,” I offer optimistically.

 

“We did them last week.”

 

“Oh. Crap.”

 

I quietly realize to myself that it will be what it will be. Knowing what it will be ahead of time doesn’t really help, and it for sure makes the dread factor a lot higher….

 

Warm up set. Not too bad, but mid way thru warm up, Hillary asks, “When this is over, are we going to die?”

 

“I am pretty sure. Yes.”

 

And sure enough; it’s the 200s.

 

Back in my Stanford days, we would swim workouts; endless workouts that would make you cry in your goggles before you even finished the warm up. We’d be warming up; some set that ended with intervals you knew you wouldn’t make. Meanwhile, our coach would be scribbling like madman on a large, white dry erase board. It’d take him the entirety of our warm up to scribble down our fate on that rickety white board.

 

We’d finish warm up, chests already heaving from intervals that better than half of us had missed. …in warm up. He’d slowly wheel around the board to reveal that session’s challenge. Sometimes, you’d look in disbelief. Sometimes, you’d straight up laugh at the absurdity of it. Other times, on the really hard days, you’d just pull your goggles back over your eyes, turn your back to the board and cry quietly in your goggles.

 

So when Siri rattled off the set, it probably should have been one of those “cry in your goggles” kind of days; but then I remembered Eva.

 

Eva was and remains one of my best and closest friends. A distance swimmer for Stanford and the Danish National team, Eva has swum a lot of laps in her life.

 

One night when we probably should have been studying, Eva rationalized these epic swims where we always seemed doomed to failure from the start. She said, “When you miss the interval? Well…then it’s just swimming laps. I can swim laps. I’ve swum lots of laps. What’s a few more?”

 

So hearing the day’s main set, I thought? Well, I’ll swim as hard as I can until I can’t swim any harder. And if I miss that interval? Well, then it’s just swimming laps.

 

And miss the interval I did…I made 80% of the set….OK, maybe 73%.....and then, I swam laps. I swam them as hard as I could, with an open turn at each 200.

 

When I’d finish a set like that in college, I’d be consumed with a sense of failure. Of disappointment. I’d beat myself up for not being good enough. And I’d carry that into the next session. And the next. And the next. That’s a whole lot of negativity snowballing!

 

But with age comes maturity. With maturity comes perspective. And at the end of that set? I had the perspective that while I didn’t make the set, I knew that even on a great day if I was fresh, that set would have been a challenge. And I was far from fresh on this day. And while the swim wasn’t a great one, I didn’t quit on it. Or get down on myself. Part of the joy of being an Ironman triathlete? In just a couple hours, I had another shot to be great.

 

And wouldn’t you know it? I hit my treadmill session, running further and faster than I have in my life. Again, on that same day when I was far from fresh.

 

So maybe that Forrest Gump was right; training is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are gonna get. But maturity and perspective have taught me that if you tell yourself you’re doomed before you even start? Well, the job becomes that much harder and you may be selling yourself out of an opportunity for greatness.

 

Only took me 20 years to figure that one out…..

 

Some other photos from the week:

 

Getting it done on the bike:

2159dab6bfe711e1b10e123138105d6b 7

 

Back home, DaveyG is at the beach with his family.  Here, Riley gets a bath from Uncle Jeff, Uncle Mike, Cousin Alex and Cousin Sara:

bath

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Crashing the Party – Dede Griesbauer (S3E20) – Live Feisty
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My Swim Buddy - Hillary Biscay
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