Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sure, it looks like nailpolish...

And OK, I guess technically it IS nailpolish. But it also happens to be part of my triathlon training regime. No really, it is.
But firstly a tangent! You know, it's funny; I would never, ever (like I'd-rather-chomp-out-my-own-tongue ever) say to someone who had just had their first swim lesson "OH HEY. Good job fatass, there's another thing you suck at". 
I wouldn't say it to someone I disliked. I wouldn't say it to a stranger and I sure as hell wouldn't say it to a friend.  
But it's actually the mild version of what I was telling myself after my first swim lesson (on Nov 1st). Was it true? Maybe.That first lesson was TOUGH; I like the water just fine and I could swim enough not to drown. I didn't however, like jamming my head under the water and exercising vigorously. Or even just putting my head under the water, period.
But I did it. I turned up, I learnt some stuff and I did the best I could. If you had done the same thing I would be telling you how awesome you are RIGHT NOW. In fact, consider yourself told.

But I spent three weeks dreading going to class and practice, and then having nightmares about the race. Not like subtle "and this giant anchor tattoo represents your fear" nightmares. Oh no. Like "I swim and swim as hard as I can but I still don't come in under my time and I get disqualified and all my friends and family are so NICE about it that I would rather have drowned". That kind of nightmare.
So, I did this mental exercise thing with my homegirl Ramona, where I had to talk myself through my swim like I was someone I liked, you know, "Hey! Good for us! We didn't drown and we're totally getting better! Woo. You go us-girl!".
So I've been doing that and tonight... I KICKED MY DISTANCE'S ASS. For seriously. And um, I've been a little slack over the holidays (OK REALLY slack) which leads me to believe that the problem before wasn't my fitness level or my breathing so much as it was my brain. And now I can officially tell my brain to SUCK IT.
How does this relate to nail polish? Well for me pretty toes help me get my head ready for the swim. I feel more comfortable and confident with red toe-claws. So I do that. Also with the shaving my legs. In fact I prepare for the gym kind of the way I prepare for a date with my sweetie. Only with less high heels and smooching. heh.

When I'm doing the actual swim, spin (bike) or run. I don't let myself give me a hard time. I bust out my internal soccermom (only not the scary kind) and she stands on the sidelines yelling encouragement (she's SO embarrassing!).
Seriously though, my deal is that if I wouldn't say it to my kid, I can't say it to me. And so far it's working out pretty well.
So, you guys? How do you get yourself psyched up to train/work out? Do you give yourself a hard time or are you "yay for me!"? Any pre-game rituals I should know about? 
(Oh and the oil stuff is for my face after the chlorine roshambo. It's the bomb.)


  1. Isn't it mad how hard we are on ourselves? I have to give myself a mental shake all the time when I'm learning something new. Sometimes it works and sometimes I burst into tears and have to go make a cup of tea.

    I like your polish routine though! Red toes rock

  2. I really like the way you put that (How we would never talk t even people we abhor like we talk to ourselves). I am really quite envious of all the things you do to better your health. I vowed this year I would start exercising again and I haven't.walked.a.step. but, I will, I swear. Until then, I'll live through your cardio. Also, I am totally on the same level of swimming as you, and it never occurred to me to take lessons, what a good idea. I mean I could keep from drowning if I fell out of a boat, and I like pools but diving and serious distance...not so much. Thanks for the idea seed.

  3. Okay, I know I don't *know* you know you, but I really just adore you. And you're right, it's amazing what we're willing to tell ourselves that we would never in a million years think of saying to/about someone else. Like--not even that we're stifling the urge to say it! Like, those thoughts would never even occur to us in reference to another human being.

    Us-girl is cracking me up. I will endeavor to think of myself more as "us-girl" in learning situations, and less as some "me" I'm allowed to be mean to.

    No particular advice on the psyching up front, but I think you and us-girl will go far.

  4. Excellent idea! I'm putting a gunmetal gray polish on my fingernails now for my first half-marathon tomorrow. When it takes me 4 hours to finish, I'm congratulate myself for always moving forward rather than berating myself for being so slow.

  5. EEEP!
    You go YOU! Sending you strong-girl-awesome wishes and a big hug for luck (that you won't need!)


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