Life in the Slow Lane
Happy Superbowl Sunday! Though Im not into football, I do get caught up in the fever of it and watching great athletes do their thing. They work hard for it, really hard and they also have natural talent.
I don’t. I love being active and training for a sport. As of the past 5 or 6 years, its been triathlons and endurance sports. But (sigh) I am not a natural athlete. When it comes to learning something new physically, I’m often the last to “get it” . It pisses me off. I won’t lie. I act all yogic and laissez faire but in truth I’m internally seething with envy. I am competitive, I just keep it to myself.
So let me bitch. I feel like I work hard, put in a lot of hours, take lessons, as well as train with a group. Yet still I end up in the “slow” lane with novices or people just getting started. Its frustrating.
Case in point: I’ve been participating in triathlons for the past 6 years. I finish. I’m not an award winner. I’ve done all different size triathlons:
Here are some of them: Sprints, Olympics and Half Ironman.
Sprints are typically half a mile swim, 12-18 miles on a bike followed by a run 3.1. Typical finish time is anywhere from a little over an hour to 2 hours. Olympic Triathlons are a 1 mile swim, 26 mile bike, 6.2 mile run. Typical finish times can be 2.5 hours for the good athletes to 3.5-4 hours to the slower ones. A Half Ironman is 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run. The cutoff time is usually 8 hours and the last one I did, I was 25 minutes BEFORE the cutoff time. I’d like to do better this coming August in the next Half Ironman I signed up for and do better in all my events this year.
I am taking a Master Swim class to get faster at my swim . It starts at 5:45am and ends at 7am. The instructor puts us through drills that I would never do on my own let alone at that time of day. I started off the program with a buddy who was slightly above my level. At the start of the new session she and I were promoted to the faster lane as he checked out new students. The following week I got ‘demoted’ back to the slow lane.
I pretended like this was ok with me. (It wasn’t) but the truth was I still got a workout that kicked my ass. There was just me and this man in the slow lane. For the most part we were pretty even.
The next week HE got promoted to the fast lane. I did not. In fact that day was my birthday and a third of the way through the workout I got a hot flash, heart palpitations followed by a panic attack and I thought I was gonna puke. (Great. Happy Birthday Me). This cycled right into the following thoughts: Am I going to have a heart attack and die on my birthday? That would really suck. Then I’d REALLY be in the slow lane.
I eventually reasoned myself out of my destructive mind loop and finished the work out…. in the slow lane with two other new people relegated there.
Maybe I’ll end up in this lane alone I said as I plodded along. Maybe that will be ok. In fact, as I pushed through stroke after stroke I started to feel really peaceful. I was moving along. When class ended I found out I swam substantial yardage.
After class my friend and I continued our workouts on stationary bikes. Secretly I thought at least HERE Slow Lane doesn’t leave you behind in the dust. On our car ride home, I confessed that my “fast” is still “slow” compared to everyone else and this frustrates me. Her response? Im not a good swimmer, she said of herself, but the way I see it Im getting stronger and better.
Stronger. Better. I like it. I’m better than before. Maybe I’ll just work on my personal best, even if I AM stuck in the slow lane. Its better than NO lane.
I also have to remember I didn’t get into this to win awards and trophies although it would be nice. It’s the journey. I wanted the experience and the challenge. And I have to admit, I love the workout routine and the cross training. I recommend it to anyone, even if you don’t sign up for any triathlon. Routines are good habits to acquire. I personally work best with goals and deadlines.
Here’s the best way to get started or try it out.
- Half hour workouts 4-5x in one week
- Run/walk one day, Swim one day, Bike one day
- Try one day where you do two of the three — maybe swim/run and try different time lengths like 15 mins of each
- Alternate which two you try
Keep it moving! And maybe I’ll see you in the Slow Lane!