Friday, August 19, 2011

Company is Cool...

Back when I first got into this sport there was a Little crew of 3 or 4 us that did nearly EVERY swim, bike, run together. Always. No matter our speeds we waited, pushed, pulled each other. That was how it went. Then we discovered Kona Aquatics and realized if we join we would have an entire swim group to train with at all different speeds. We became better swimmers. About a year later we discovered Hawaii Cycling Club and jumped into their Saturday ride, we became better on the bike. And of course the discovery of a treadmill and local run races soon helped us run better. Company helped in SO MANY WAYS!
Having training partners brings fresh life to sessions where routine has taken over. Motivation is sparked, and challenges bring about new paces, confidence, and of course that good ol' friendly rivalry that in return prepares us for race day. To have company though, often means getting out of your comfort zone. You have to be prepared to be humbled, be okay with not doing your own thing your way, and at the end of it all excuses have to be put aside as you thank your partners for kicking your okole and be okay with it, knowing it made you better in one way or another.
The beauty of living on an island is endless. In a small way it is also limited to the training squads, amount of partners, and the level of athletes that are found in bigger towns, (not saying it takes a big town to have fast people, small ones do too, you know what I'm talking about). In other words, some of us here are just big fish in a small pond, but swim over to the mainland or other countries and we are guppy's. We know that, it's island life. October and June is when we all do most of our, "ooooohing and ahhhhhhing" as we see speeds we never thought possible.
Of course throughout the year we get a little taste of that talent as athletes from around the world come here to train. Every so ofter they invite some of the locals to keep them company, er chase them. Everyone needs a chaser to push them right? Even the fast people feel thrills dropping someone. And of course, having someone so talented makes training more exciting than just a regular solo session. Here is where the time comes that you must be prepared for a little humble pie.
At the moment Amanda Stevens, Sam Warriner, and TJ Tollakson are on the island training for the big dance in October. I'll pretend you know who they all are, as their results surely accompany the name. Being as I'm never afraid to be humbled, that I like a challenge, and that I thankfully know my way around the island I'm not scared to get dropped, left behind, or lost. I know, in return for the speeds they serve up and opportunities to learn from some of the best, i'll have to find way to hold on and dig deep, in return that can only make me better.
Wednesday began with an ocean swim with Amanda. Thankfully she was still on recovery from the Philippines, I could tell at any given time her swim could compete with the dolphins. To even show up for that swim meant leaving my "ocean float" at home and being okay with being left solo swimming if she was going to "swim swim". Sometimes it's the very thought of some one's "swim swim" that creates that fear in us to ever train with anyone else. When an opportunity comes to train with someone better, faster, or stronger TAKE IT. It's not safe to compare yourself, that sets you up for that fear, instead welcome it and be okay to be left in the dust, it's not like you've never trained alone...
Yesterday was my day to drop comparisons. You have heard it all too often, THE SOUTH LOOP. It's my favorite part of every week, Thursday with the fast boys. I don't get to ride it often as I'm usually getting Kainoa off to school when they begin the ride, but when I do PAIN is my FRIEND. Biking has been a struggle for me lately and knowing the South Loop requires your biking to be on your "A" game to keep up, I went for it just because.
Sam Warriner joined us on this ride. Thankfully she was also on a tri-bike, when the boys on road bikes began their climbs I had her in the hunt with me. This ride never feels "easy" and there always comes that fork in the road when you decide how bad you want to hurt. Let me tell you, I've done this ride more times solo than with company and it's ALWAYS a better ride with company, you just get stronger. I don't know if it's possible if after yesterdays ride to all of a sudden be better on the bike, over night, but I feel so much better just that quick. That is why company is so cool. Confidence happens...
Well, its a good thing I'm not afraid of sharks. This morning TJ Tollakson, Sam, Amanda was invited too, are all joining the already fastest feet on the island for a swim. These 3, just in case you aren't familiar, are some of the best swimmers in the sport. First outs in most all their races. It's very fun to watch them, try swimming with them! It's off to the ocean with those 3 and another 3 of the best swimmers on the island, and me.
This is where the opportunity happens. Friday the squad I usually swim with is also swimming, well they started 21 minutes ago. And while I could jump in with them and enjoy it, (I love my team), I know the feet of those 3 combined with the 3 from Hawaii who hold records, I'd be in for a real challenge, one that will hurt worse. It's in that choice that lies an opportunity to get stronger, faster, better. Of course it requires getting out of my comfort zone, (that good feeling I have with my regular squad), and it means being okay with eating that humble pie!
I'll let you know how the swim goes. I'm taking this opportunity by the feet, (you know, drafting as if my life depended on it). One of the coolest things I've learned from all these fast people that visit throughout the year is this, it's not always about keeping up, sometimes it's just learning how to dig deep to attempt to keep up. I'm always on the "attempting" end and I do love the opportunity and appreciate these athletes that let us try...
Go find some company, it will make you love training even more!


Big Daddy Diesel said...

So true, not only does training with company make the miles melt away, training with faster people will make you faster as well, I was lucky enough to experience this on the bike. This year, I been riding with some new to the sport athletes, giving back what others gave me and I can see the major improvements in their level of riding, one of them even beat me off the bike at our last race.

elenareviews said...

I wish I have a team to run with...

Jill Costantino said...

great post lady! So - how did the swim workout? That pic of the geckos is cute!

Lucy Francis said...

I agree with you: training with others makes the sessions more fun and also take you out of the confort zone....I also like all the banter after training, usually over a cappucino or 2. What great company you have on the island. some of us may live in big cities but only a small percentage of its population actually trains for a sport...and we have to deal with mad car drivers, lack of or full swimming pools and tripping over dogs on our runs. so yah! i woudl swap my big city for your big island any time :-)