Demons and spirits within

Weekly Wrap. Week 30

20 hours. 20 hours which included waking up at ungodly hours, at questionable mornings, being outside on the hottest sun Vilnius has had this year, exposed to the wind. 20 hours which could have been spent elsewhere – or could they?

I am now within my tapering week – week, where I decrease the volume, but keep the intensity of training sessions and try to start resting. It is a bittersweet week, because I can workout less, however that conclusion comes with understanding that my go-to date is closer. At this point and time easy deduction of numbers tells me that I will be standing at Ironman Copenhagen 2017 start line in less than 3 weeks. 16 days. Am I ready? I definitely should be.

I was in moderation afraid of the discomfort which awaited me this week. I had the most difficult and longest sessions planned during the last month and as you know, rest day happened a long time ago. But I am past that week now and all that fear and discomfort of last week is way past behind me and I managed. It feels surreal, I have my own questions to myself, how did I managed, I am still trying to understand it. But there it is, the killer week is past behind me and it is casting less and less of a shadow on me:


Numbers in a breakdown would be:

a)  I swam 2:40 hrs, which accumulated into 5734 m (I would say in total it was over 7 km, because Wednesday I did some legwork and those swims are not counting the distances correctly. Longest one-shot distance was 4559m;

b) I biked for 11:28 hrs, which translates into 380 km (again difficult to calculate, because indoor workouts are not being calculated properly). Longest one-shot distance was 151 km;

c) Lastly, I run for 6:43 hrs, which got me to 77.9 km Longest one-shot distance was 28.9 km.

I am super happy to have it behind me, but I am even more happy that I was able to do it, that I have done it. When I was asking the question – could this time be spent elsewhere – I think it could, definitely, but I am tremendously excited and grateful to be able to engage in these 20+ hrs of sports during a week. Had a quick chat at work today with a colleague, who translated it to me, by saying – so that is 3 hours of sports a day! To some it seems crazy, to others it seems abnormal, to some – stupid and some of you will give me thumbs up. I myself, as I said, feel lucky to be able to do it. We chose ourselves what can and can not be done. This was my choice and I have done it.

Demons and where to find them

Obviously this week had me battling a lot of demons, which are located, I want to say within each one of us? It is a question and another choice – whether we want to expose them, find them and battle with them. In all honesty, I did not want to do it, but sometimes what we want is different from what we get.

My demon of the weekend was my planned 6 hour bike ride. I was pretty ready mentally, physically, had all my food prepare, everything planned for it – it was not supposed to be a breeze, but as close as 6 hour ride, while sitting on a log from a tree can get to a breeze. My previous 4  hour rides went quite smoothly and I thought I was more than ready for the 6 hour one. It is just additional 2 hours, I was thinking, and diminishing return of this exponential growth of training sessions suggests that those 2 hours would not put bigger discomfort that previous 4 taken all together.

What I was not ready for was wind. And this time wind was so strong, that it was reducing my efforts to minimum viable inputs. I felt as if I were in 6th grade and trying multiply any number by 0, getting 0 at the end and understanding that further tries are futile. But plan was to work and work harder than I was doing those winds.

I have gone through myriad of different ideas, yells out loud, disappointments, stops, thoughts to come back home and forget this training session. Luckily, something in me appeared, which resulted in an actual finished session. To draw some perspective – I did not have enough water during my cycles for 1h 30mintues, my stomach stopped working, but I had to keep chugging some food in, otherwise I would burn down and hit the wall – and I did not want that. Adding that ugly ugly wind on top of the stack, this session became much more about the endurance of my mind, rather than endurance of my legs. I had to push myself every 30 minutes for 8 minutes of hard intervals and that weather was just not allowing me to do so. I wanted to quit badly.

Then I figured one small thing, which was a topic within my mind for most of the week. It was about how important it is to simply show up and do the stuff and how many people do not do it or skip it, or think that everything just becomes, just appears, materializes. In reality, every forward movement that was made – was made because I was there, I showed up to that session, I woke up that morning earlier, I did not skip it, despite the fact I wanted to. And then I came to the following conclusion – even my worst input during this difficult training session is better than nothing. That is it – my absolute worst, is better than not doing it.

I sometimes want to be perfectionist, to do it the way I planned or even better, the way I envisioned – but it has another aspect to it, as a perfectionist it is just as easy to quit, because your output is not perfect enough. This Saturday bike session was about battling my perfectionist demon within me, which occurs from time to time. And it is not a good perfectionist, it is the one, which will try to put my ego on top of the task at hand. This perfectionist wants me to quit, because I am not the perfect self, which I thought I was. Luckily, I realized that showing up, doing my worst is better than allowing the perfectionist to be perfect. And I allowed myself to be imperfect, to have flaws, to feel the pain, to feel the anxiousness and to be a bit unhappy that I can not do, what I planned. But those small flaws, small problems and how I dealt with them gave a better result than going through a perfect session with perfect plan and having a perfect outcome.

Healthy spirits

I participated in a relay run, where I ran 5 km split of 3:41 min/km and the continued to do the rest and finished the whole distance of 35 km myself.

During past 2 weeks I have had a question pop-up here and there – why do I bother? Why do I do it? Why do I train? Participate in these triathlons? Why do I spend money to go to an Ironman? Is it healthy what I do? Wouldn’t it be better to sleep in on those Saturdays? To party on those Fridays?

I guess so. Some things are better than the others to different people. I would definitely not go advertising this, where it is not meant to be advertised, nor I would be trying to suck people into this. It is very personal and very individual. I myself found a lot of happiness in triathlon and training, because it gave me multiple things, which I was never expecting to get from it.

I am able to travel around Europe (and hopefully the world someday), to see different countries, to stay in them to see what passion do those countries and people living in them have for triathlon, for sports. I am able to meet so many interesting people, which I might not have met otherwise. Triathlon helped me have different discussions, whether good ones, or not, sports-related or not. I was exposed to so many challenges throughout my career, which helped me become stronger in my mind, that helped me change and adapt. I sincerely think that alltogether it helped me become a better person. I am delighted to have all these people met in my life, to have visited all those countries, to have those early morning runs, where I can see birds rocketing through the air. I like to lose myself in those trails around our hometown – I would never have found them, if it was not my running. I would not be able to overcome the difficulties, which come around every corner. My training sessions, where I push myself and find new limits, find new thoughts to control the stress, the anxiety, the way I deal with up and downs during trainings – all this is why I do it.

I do it for the travels, for the experiences, for the friendships, for all those crazy and interesting people I meet on my way, all that nature I can be in, all those views, that stay as pictures in my mind. Training and triathlon became something that forms itself into a big journey, which changes my life on daily basis. Sometimes I even hear that I inspired people to do something they did not think they can do. All this is amazing and mind-blowing. And I am grateful for that.


Song of the week: Ratatat – Loud Pipes
Reading: Andre Agassi “Open” (60% into it)
Game: Nioh completed. On to Transistor
Average Weight: 77.2
Average Suunto Recovery: Averaging 20-30% recovery

I am getting nervous more than last year before my Ironman race. This time I think I know what to expect from the race itself, but it is unclear, what can I expect from myself. All these training sessions are trying to draw the lines for what can I expect from myself, but it is difficult to give myself into them, to fully commit to those lines.

I understand that I have already connected all the dots and the picture should be there, but I do not dare to look at it fully. I am both curious and do not want to be disappointed. I am reluctant and interested. What a strange and long journey it has been.

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