I know it might be hard for you to imagine this, but I can be quite intense at times. I have been training so hard to this ultra-marathon, and now that my knee is giving up on me lately, it is really hard for me to dial back and not get too stressed about it. I am being good and resting like I know I need to, but that doesn't mean that my mind always lets it go.
Last week, I had a very telling dream. When I was a waitress before my teaching career, I used to have these dreams where I felt completely out of control. My restaurant had more than twenty tables, and I would have dreams where one by one the hostess would seat every table so that I couldn't possibly keep up. And when I did try to keep up, everything would go wrong. All the customers order complicated things like shakes, I can't find any silverware, and the customers are super needy and impatient. I wake up in a sweat. Stress brings these dreams out in me.
Last week I had an Ironman nightmare. I was an hour late to the event, after the swim I forgot to bike before my run, so I had to run back to my bike and start over. Then I realized I also failed to bring hydration or nutrition, and every time I would get back on track, someone would ask me to do something other than the race, and I would once again be going in the wrong direction.
I know that I am having this kind of dream because I am worried about my ultra marathon at the end of May. My knee is still not where it needs to be to put in that many miles, and I know I will need to revise my goal before the event. I am actually resigned to the fact that I probably will never be ready for the hundred-miler, but I have not completely given up hope of at least doing a shorter event on that day. As I mentioned, I am a little intense at times, and this is making me stress out over this event more than I probably should.
While I am not able to run right now, what is wrong with my knee is still allowing me to swim and to bike. In fact, last weekend, despite the fact that I haven't been on my racing bike in a few months, I was able to easily do a 30-mile bike ride without any knee pain. A funny story that came out of this bike ride again illustrates how intense I can be even when I am not trying. Once we got about halfway around our Lake Elsinore bike loop, I asked Sean to take the lead, and I noticed that Sean and my friend Karrie took off. I couldn't keep up with them no matter how hard I tried. Now I am used to actually being quick on my bike, and I was trying to dial back and go slowly because of my knee, but I still couldn't stand how far they were able to get ahead of me without a chance of me catching up. Once I arrived at our designated meeting point, I looked down and realized that I had been riding for almost two miles on a completely flat back tire. I was so focused on pushing myself to catch up, I didn't even notice the signs of a flat.
Today I went on my first open water swim since the Ironman event of a couple years ago. I tried to channel the spirit of Eoin and just take joy in the fact that I was out in the open water and in the beautiful sunshine with my buddies. No worrying about how my swimming is not quite what it was during my Ironman training, no worries about how this was not going to help me for my ultra-marathon, I just completely stayed in the moment and enjoyed being there. Now I am not saying that I am completely cured of my intensity affliction, but I do hope to remember Eoin going out there dancing on the field, so that I too can maintain joy in my exercising again. I need to dial back the intensity, because if I am in this for the long haul, I need to continue to be like Eoin and just enjoy every minute of being out there.