Friday, September 3, 2010


Somewhere in everything there is a balance.  However right now it seems to be elluding me.

I started the day off nicely with a swim at GVP.  My plan this morning was to set my garmin to alert me as soon as I'd swam .6 miles at which point I'd turn around and swim back to shore for a 1.2 mile time trial.  I figure this swim can be a good benchmark for next year.  I'll do the same thing after a winter in the pool and see if I can better my time and keep an eye on my progress.

Also along for the swim today was my friend Chris.  My evil plan to draw him into the world of triathlon seems to have succeeded!  Chris did his first open water swim at GVP the other day.  I think he swam about a quarter mile that day.  Chris was a competitive swimmer in high school so he has a strong swimming background, but only one other day of open water time.  We chatted about our plans for distances and he mentioned he would follow me out and turn back in when he got tired thinking he would only do a 1/2 mile or so.

So I started the timer and headed out.  Around halfway to the turnaround point I noticed that Chris was still swimming alongside me.  Good for him I thought.  I wonder when he'll turn around.  When I was swimming past the dock I felt fingertips at my feet.  Somebody's drafting me!  And when my garmin vibrated on top of my head to signal I'd reached the .6 mile point there he was right next to me.  So I said "Ok!  Time to turn around" and we started to swim back.  My sighting on the way back was not all that great.  Chris mentioned I was weaving a lot too.  Not terribly efficient!  Sometimes I get bored and my mind wanders and I just sort of swim.  This is when I start to drift off course.  I was absent mindedly following the shore line and I ended up in one of the little cove areas instead of the straight line back to the beach.  Oops!  Time to focus on the swim and stop thinking about pleasant distractions.

As I was swimming into the beach it occured to me I hadn't seen Chris in a while.  I stopped very briefly to look around and couldn't see him.  Crap!  Did he get get tired somewhere and he's clinging to a tree branch on the side of the pond somewhere?  (there aren't a lot of spots to exit the water at GVP as its pretty well tree lined).  I decided there was nothing I could do about it until I was on shore so I kept swimming.  I popped up again to look and thought I might have seen some spray way in front of me at the beach that could be his kick.  But I couldn't make it out so I just kept swimming again thinking I couldn't do anything until I was out of the water.  I knew Chris was a strong swimmer so I wasn't worried that he was in trouble, just that he might have run out of gas before making it back to shore.  Chris was a short distance swimmer and I get the impression he's adjusting to longer more evenly paced efforts.  Anyway...   apparently he adjusts quickly.  As I exited the water there he is sitting comfortably on the wall waiting for me to get out.  He had beaten me back to shore by quite a margin and was patiently waiting for me.  Once Chris gets a little more used to open water he is going to CRUSH the swim portion.  With a little more time on the bike / run too he'll do quite well.

So in the end my time for the 1.2 mile time trial was an even 39 minutes.  Not bad...  but not great.  I was hoping for less than that by a minute or two.  Still though I can't not be pleased with it considering the progress I've made in a very short span of time.  But I need to keep at it and keep shaving time off my swim in the offseason and then I'll do the same swim time trial again next year and see what happens.

So that was the good part of the day.....

Again today a bunch of work stuff seems to continue to go horribly wrong and is really stressing me out.  Theres just a lot on my plate workwise lately.  The stress of it is making me want to resent it.  I really do think 2011 will be the year of a career change for me.  I was talking about this with another club member the other day.  About how nice it would be to find a career where you can leave the job at the office when you walk out the door.  I'm not saying I don't want to be passionate about my job, or care about it.  But I don't want to have to think and stress about it on my own time.  I want to do a fantastic focused job on it while I'm at work and then shift gears the second I walk out the door and focus on friends and loved ones and LIFE!  Not stress and deadlines and the constant need for forced creativity.  Artists create on their own timelines.  I create on other people's timelines.  Its quite stressfull when your staring at a blank CAD file on the computer knowing you have to turn a bunch of lines into a visually pleasing design that will make your client happy.  And its due in a week.  Forced creativity...  or creativity under duress.  I've just lost that loving feeling for it.  Maybe I need to find some more creatively rewarding work such as designing lighting for dance again, or some theater work.  Really though I think I just need to change things up.  Its time.

For the first time today I revealed that thought to a client and longtime friend of mine.  He wasn't thrilled about it but mentioned that he has noticed the trend in my priorities and can understand how I want to shift the balance of things around in my life.

Balance...  sounds so simple a concept and yet lately it seems so unreachable.  The further out it is the more it frustrates me.  The more it frustrates me the more I want to dissapear into my training.  The more I dissapear into my training the less I'm facing the issues.  And the less I face the issues the harder it becomes to find balance.  Balance will not find itself.  No other force in the world is going to move the pieces of my life around until they come into harmony.  I need to take charge of these things myself and act on them.  However this is much easier said than done.  And for now I need to put my head down and plow through the grueling months of work ahead until mid November when I'll have my window to change things up once my work season ends.

For now I take solace in a few thoughts...

-In just over a weeks time I'll cross the finish line of my first half ironman.  And I'm going to be FAST!
-In a day or two after crossing the finish line I'll start allowing myself to think about a full Ironman length race for 2011
-That I just need to make it to the end of November and then I can really focus on restoring the balance in my life.
-That my life is closer to being in balance now than it has been in the last 20 years.

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