Learning, Control, and Friends

Since I started blogging I have written on several topics that are near and dear to me. Over the past four months my life experiences have accentuated their importance – learning, control, and quality friends. Funny – three topics, the underlying theme of this blog is based on my triathlon training, and not one is swimming, cycling, or running.

I am back to my regular training routine and it looks like the two triathlons I have scheduled for June are on target. What has changed is my need for sleep. In the past I could get by on around six hours of sleep and 350 mg of caffeine during the day. Not anymore. I need at least seven hours on week nights and at least eight on the weekend. This explains my blogging absence, sleep is winning over typing. As for caffeine – I am down to two cups of coffee in the morning. It is rare when I have to crack open a Speed Stack with 250 mg of caffeine. Which leads to my first topic – learning.

I ran my first road race in 1999 and participated in my first triathlon in 2000. I have continued to learn much along the way about the disciplines I participate in. Not only have I learned a great deal about swimming, cycling, and running the past four months, I have learned much about life and myself. My confidence is improving as I see myself returning to, and even surpassing, the levels I was at before getting sick in February. Getting to this level was not easy. Physical challenges were there since I was weakened from a compromised diet as well as back to back bad colds. The mental/emotional struggle was just as hard though. I am used to a very active schedule. Not being able to do what I wanted to do was humbling to say the least. Of all the things I learned, just how much control I have over things was what I learned the most.

This is not the first time I have written the following – there is very little in life I have control over. Despite this knowledge, as a type A personality I have a tendency to attempt to prove it wrong. A true type A understands what I mean. Now I would not say I am a control freak – I only want control over what matters. (Snicker, snicker) No matter how I attempt to control – life happens. Yes, there are preventative measures when it comes to health, but I ate a very healthy diet, took plenty of vitamins, I exercise plenty, and I still came down with the norovirus that altered the course of three months at least. I also can not control genetics – and my father’s asthma gene ended up in my pool. He has a rare form of tracheal asthma, I have exercise induced asthma.

Earlier this month I went to a weekend triathlon training camp the Cleveland Tri Club puts on. Both learning and control came into play over the weekend. The first day, on my first ride, I experienced five asthma attacks. It was a very hilly course and along 36 miles were plenty of hills. The first one, at mile 3, gained 268 feet in the mile. That hill taught me that along with shortness of breath I lose my voice when an asthma attack happens. Four more hills all with elevations of 200 feet or more provoked my asthma. Elevations under 200 feet didn’t seem to cause a problem. Lessons – I can not control much about getting an asthma attack and now I have fears of big hills. Not good.

I shared with a friend today about my fears of riding a specific hill. She also has exercise induced asthma and she offered to ride it with me – a few times. I am fortunate to have many friends. I am blessed to have a few very wonderful friends who understand my trepidations and are willing to help me through the challenges. It is no secret I am not a fast athlete – I am improving and just getting to the “pack”. And yes I am unique – most of my friends in the sport are fast! I do not expect them to wait for me, I know I am working hard within my ability and that is what matters. When a friend takes the time to pace me, it is incredibly encouraging. It motivates me to push my limits.

The day I stop learning something about life experiences is the day I die. I refuse to think I know it all and no improvement is needed. One thing I learn over and over is I have very little control, other than my attitude. This is also something I am learning from a few dear friends – they have wonderful attitudes regardless of circumstances and I strive to emulate them. Sure, things will happen to disappoint me, people will let me down, circumstances will change I didn’t expect. I can not control it. But I won’t let it control me – that is where a good attitude is needed. Heck, I woke up today and I am breathing! (To an asthmatic, this is significant). As for my wonderful friends, I can only hope I am able to be a friend in return. So no matter what happens, there is always something to seize in the day.

Published by elisariva

I want to encourage everyone to follow your passions, not just what is easy. It is in overcoming hurdles and barriers that we truly test our limits and abilities. There is much more we are capable of if we only believe in ourselves.

12 thoughts on “Learning, Control, and Friends

  1. Aaaannnnddddd… She’s back! I missed you. And I think I might have something for you on the big hills. Assuming the road bike, climbing out of the saddle, one or two gears harder than spinning speed helps me to keep my breathing under control. While I don’t have asthma, I assume it’s brought on when you breathe too heavy or fast… The trouble with hills is that we have to maintain a certain speed to keep the crank going. I have a butter zone where I can climb forever – spin too fast and I burn out, too slow and I get stuck. Finally if I start to get winded, I downshift two gears and spin for a minute or two.

    Great post.

  2. This reminds me of my own dealing with a loss of control. Last June I was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease so now my diet excludes some of the foods I loved most – “normal” bagels, pasta, beer to name a few. However in the process of adapting my diet I’ve been touched when people go out of their way to keep gluten out of my food. Every time I see this it reminds me that people care and I feel very lucky. This “gluten free” thing has literally opened my eyes to an entirely new experience I never would have had otherwise. Loss of control? You bet. Gained much more than I lost? Absolutely!

  3. What a great reminder that this is all about the experiences, friends, and lessons learned. I’ve got a little (just a little) type A in me and sometimes obsess about the little things of training, eating, working out, and my first race season and way too often forget the bigger picture (which you frequently remind me of). Keep it up and I’m hoping at least some of the past uncontrollables are behind you…

  4. Thank you for your recent comment and I have felt bad that I haven’t been as diligent in reading many of the blogs I enjoy, including yours. However it is also good to know that I am not the only one who has had trouble managing family, work, and training with blogging. It’s all a matter of balance and while this is fun, it doesn’t always help our performance in the our races.

    1. Thank you Nick. Balance is the key word! Sometimes we know how to achieve it and sometimes life forces things into balance! I have been experiencing both for sure. Take care.

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