Ancora imparo. These words were quoted by Michelangelo at the age of 87 in 1562. Translated “I am still learning” or “Yet still I learn.” I have a plaque hanging on my wall in my office with these words and I am amazed that I am still learning just how much these words mean.
While it is applicable to every aspect of life, it is hitting home with me in regard to my training. I have not hesitated to ask for help when it comes to my swimming. I am open for suggestions in cycling (to climb in or our of the saddle, that is the question). And my running is a work in progress that I continue to learn more about all of the time. Especially when my ankle strikes the crack in the pavement and puts me on the injured reserve list. With my body teaching me to take it a bit easier this week so my energy can focus on healing my ankle, I have more time to reflect.
As for training, it is important for athletes of all abilities to seek out instruction/coaching/guidance on an on going basis. The day a person thinks they know it all is the day they become stagnant. Even the best coaches have coaches. A friend of mine at the pool is a very gifted swimmer and will be competing in the US Masters Swimming Nationals at the end of the month in Greensboro, NC. He has been kind enough to give me a few pointers and told me that he also works with the Masters coach at our gym for improvement, and he swims the 200 free in 2:05 – my typical 100 time…
Beyond training tips, there is still so much I am learning. I have written about the importance of rest and nutrition, but until this injury I did not realize just how important rest is. My body is telling me. A doctor told me yesterday that a good physician who listens to a patient tell what is going on in their body will get the diagnosis from the patient. I have every intention to continue with my training, especially swimming right now. However I am moderating the intensity while my body uses more energy to heal my ankle. I swam this morning a total of 2,000 meters after a good night of rest. My workout was challenging enough for my lungs as I worked on endurance rather than speed. I did not have the lethargic feeling all day at all like yesterday. And I forgot my coffee at home when I left for the gym! I am also keeping track more than ever of my calories burned and calories consumed on myfitnesspal.com, a wonderful tool. With injury and reduced activity comes the fear of gaining weight. I will not let that happen.
One more thing I have learned – this set back is going to have its ups and downs with me emotionally. I love the endorphins I get from running, I have only missed one run so far and I can see a difference. The support I get from my training partner is wonderful, but she only knows what I am dealing with if I am willing to share. So I am learning that a certain level of vulnerability is okay. This experience will make me stronger in the end and I will continue to learn from it. One day at a time – seizing the day and its lessons.