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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Poison Ivy, Posing and Perspective

My company offered free health screenings today (cholesterol, glucose, triglycerides and blood pressure), so we had to fast for at least 9 hours beforehand. Of course, I still went swimming. To keep my mind off my hunger, I started composing this blog post in my head. I'm really surprised at how much I'm enjoying writing. Growing up, I would have begged for a math problem over having to write something down. Without further ado, here's my alliterative post for today.

Poison Ivy
I now suspect that I have poison ivy and not bites from an ill-tempered spider. My legs actually itched while I was swimming today. Breast stroke was the worst and today is individual medley day at masters, so there was plenty of breast stroke. I showed my legs to a medical professional and fellow swimmer. She said it looked like poison ivy to her. I looked it up on-line and I think she's right. I did go running through tons of the stuff a few weeks ago. It is either a delayed reaction, which is possible according to the literature, or I picked it up off of my clothing, car, etc. after the fact. I thought I was immune, but I guess I need to be more careful. The good news is that I'm not contagious to others and I can't spread it anywhere else on my body. The spots that showed up later were on less sensitive areas or areas not as in contact with the plant. Phew! I probably still need to dry clean and wash a lot of the clothes I've been wearing the last few weeks.

I've been lurking on the forum for months now and finally requested a formal username last week. I don't think I could handle some of the posts if I were a new triathlete. Heck, it is hard to handle them as an experienced one. Many of the posts come out against the triathlete who is just in it to finish. This elitist attitude is troubling to me. I always had the optimistic viewpoint that all triathletes supported each other regardless of speed or talent. Maybe that is just the good people of the Cleveland Triathlon Club. I'm going to try to not let it bother me. I will still feel worthy when I stand at that start line in July regardless of how long the race will take me. Personally, I've always been most inspired by the athlete that struggles and takes 14-17 hours to complete the race (or sometimes DNFs like Ironwil did) than by the naturals who finish their first in under 10 hours. It is harder for those of us without natural talent, but we persevere to the finish line just the same!

While I was swimming today, I got the same discouraging thoughts that I frequently get. I'm so slow. Do the other swimmers hate having to go around me all the time? Will I ever be faster? Do I even deserve to swim with the masters group? I then have to put it all into perspective. Yes, I'm slow, but I'm still doing it and I can swim forever without getting tired. Heck, last year, I wouldn't have been able to swim as far as I did today. Sure, it is nothing compared to a real swimmer's yardage, but it is a lot for me. I didn't even know how to swim until the end of 2002. I've come a long way since then. I'm not prepared to go back to swimming by myself and not pushing myself. I just have to keep practicing good stroke mechanics, keep going the distance, keep pushing myself, get more swim lessons, wash, rinse, repeat...I will be a better swimmer and I will post a decent time in Lake Placid!

Have an enjoyable Wednesday!


Blogger E-Speed said...

I think this topic of posing is going to become pretty big. I have been thinking about it a lot the past two years. I think because I did my first tri with TNT I saw a bit of the elitist attitude that you have so far avoided being in CTC.

Interesting article on marathon posing.

I would say this attitude is typical among most good runners and triathletes.

While I understand some of their views, I also believe it is much harder for those without natural talent to do what they are doing.

I have been wanting to write a post about this, but it is such a touchy subject.

Just keep keeping on Jen, I don't think you are slow as far as triathletes are concerned. And I think all your help in our triathlon community that you give makes you so much more credible than any natural talent ever could.

11:23 AM

Blogger TriSaraTops said...

It's all about the journey to me. While I'm a decent sprint/oly girl who picks up the hardware sometimes, I am definitely a back of pack HIM and IM. And ya know what? Who cares. I feel the same way about you about slowtwitch...some great stuff out there, but some stuff that's just downright NOT my philosophy. Hey, to each his own, ya know?

12:09 PM

Anonymous Matt said...

Every hero faces obstacles on his or her journey. So recognize the naysayers and internal doubts for what they are - signs that you have embarked on a challenging, worthwhile and wonderful journey.

I've finally taken your suggestion to read "The Alchemist." Remember what the Alchemist taught Santiago? That anyone pursuing their true dream - their "Personal Legend" will meet up with obstacles, but will also enjoy overwhelming support of the people who truly care for them.

In a way, you are already doing Ironman. It's not a one day event - its months of preparation. I can tell you for sure that the people who truly know you and care for you and understand what the goal means to you give you their support - 100%.

12:13 PM

Blogger Jodi said...

So glad you'll be posting on Slowtwitch. Yes, there are a lot of big jerks out there, but you will soon see, there are a lot of good people. More likely than not they will PM you rather than post their encouraging words :)

Don't ever look down on yourself at swimming! You are absolutely amazing. With how fast you have progressed in such little time you'll be lapping everyone soon!



1:30 AM

Blogger Mallie said...

You should also check out I have never felt "looked down upon" in their forums. I may have to lurk at Slowtwitch to see what you're describing. Heal quickly and hope the itching goes away lickety-split

5:24 PM

Blogger qcmier said...

I too find inspiration from athletes who are not out there to win, but to challenge themselves. As for being discouraged, especially swimming, I have been there. I looked around and saw how fast everyone was swimming around me, but forgot to notice how I much I have improved. Keep up the good work!!!

1:54 AM


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