I had a very unexpected / unplanned epic moment today at the Y. First a little history. I work a very unconventional schedule that severely limits my access to a pool. The only time I have access is roughly one week a month and during that week of possible access, there are only two days that I can actually, feasibly access the pool. The other days, let's face it, the idea of being at the pool 18 miles away BY 630am after working afternoon shift and not getting to bed until almost 1am.... I'm determined but a guy has his limits. This area doesn't have many options for me so I have to work with what I have and hope things thaw out and warm up to get to open water as quickly as possible where I can swim according to my own timeline. Right now, if all goes well i swim about twice, maybe three times a month IF I can get my act together. Most times it is far less.
Why is this so important? For those that don't know, I have a big event coming up in August where I will be participating in a 70.3 mile triathlon and part of it is a 1.2 mile swim. The other thing is that recently, I have just recovered from a string of physical issues that left me either in pain or breathless and wheezing.
Big comebacks are totally epic.
I managed to shag myself up and get there by 840am. The time cut off before swim classes close the pool is 10 am. I gotta give it if I am going to meet any sort of distance goal. I hit the water by about 850am. My goal was to push out a mile. I met my one mile goal with about 10 minutes to spare so I decided I was going to go for broke and try to get as close to 1.25 miles as possible. At 10am I had 4 laps to go to meet my goal and looked around... not a soul in the pool.
Normally it is filled with seniors for an aqua aerobics class or kids for a swim lesson. I had the joint nearly to myself :)
I did something evil.... I said to myself that I will go until they give the the "reminder" that the pool is closing. I am only 4 laps away. 4 laps came and went and met the 1.25 mile bonus goal.
Still hardly a soul around except for the lifeguard. So I asked the big question..." how long is the pool open?"
I must have missed the memo.
Talk about a golden opportunity... like waving a 24oz steak in front of a Pit Bull. Eyes glazed over...ooooooooooooooooh......
I was going to run 5k after my swim but not now... change of plans.... let's see what you got Robert.. no time restriction, the world is my oyster, I am now only limited by ME. I dug in and focused on my form. I visualized myself right into the middle of the Ironman, feeling the fatigue, the adrenaline, the push, the urgency, I need to finish and meet the time cutoff and I gave it.
1.5 miles, 1.75 miles..... then 2miles!
The cool part is that I had the power to keep going and Iron distance was only .4 miles away... right within reach.. I WAS FOCUSED. I wanted it, wanted the Iron distance so bad I could taste it, but the feeling of caution kicked in because I had to work later today and my job can go from idle nothing to full bore crisis mode in a matter of a radio call. Not knowing what the physiological effects of that level of depletion would be because I really have not trained to that distance, I erred on the side of caution. There will be another time but for now...
I am only training to 1.2 miles not 2.4 but to almost touch the golden number was intoxicating to me.
The biggest thing is the comeback.. I mean talk about going from respiratory problems leaving me feeling like I was having a near death experience after a gentle 1 mile walk on the treadmill to this...
sorry but I am going to bask in the total coolness of it all for just a moment....
Ok, coolness break over....
My confidence is high, my fitness levels are really snapping back and then some. While in town, I stopped by my old workplace. They haven't seen me for a few years and I could see it in their faces... they lit up. You could FEEL the respect. I'm not sure what felt better, the swim or this. When I left I was 385 pounds, today, I felt like a returning hero. I could not have had a prouder moment.
As I get ready for work, I have no idea what crisis will befall... again. For now, life is good, I will live in this place of triumph, will savor it, then when I am done, I will put it into the trophy room of my heart. Like my race medals, every trophy be it a physical medal or a NSV tells a story, a reminder that situations or the opinions of others do not limit my personal greatness. They also do not limit how far I can go or my potential. I keep this room in my heart so I can visit it often. The handle on the door is worn and shiny because I have had to go to this place often in order to keep myself from being beat down when things are not-so-good.
Live for THESE moments, not those fleeting times where the scale co-operates. It is these moments that will sustain your spirit when the numbers threaten to crush your soul. Follow after fitness and the numbers will follow. It is the epic moments, the physical accomplishments, the breaking of limits that will define you and make you strong, not hanging on a number that will fluctuate from week to week. The NSV's keep you focused on the BIG picture.
What will YOU do today to make it EPIC? Will it be spending a few extra minutes on the treadmill or bike? Will it be jogging one phone pole further than you did a few days ago?
Is it reaching for a dumbbell that is 5 pounds heavier and giving it your last ounce of strength to squeeze out a few reps before leaving the gym?
What will you do today to earn a greater sense of personal pride and fitness?