Saturday, May 23, 2009

Time Keeps On Slippin'

Well, it's been a quiet week in Spring, Texas, my home town, out on the edge of the Megalopolis.

The weather gave us a head fake this week. Last week, mother nature seemed to leap ahead into the dog days of July with temperatures in the 80s and 90% relative humidity before the sun came up. Windows all over the neighborhood sweated in the darkness, and everyone was required to out the trash or pick up the paper before taking a shower, lest the whole routine of morning ablutions become moot in the sweaty aftermath of merely walking to the curb.

Then, this past weekend, a line of storms came through with a cold front, and we were mercifully transported back into late march. Monday and Tuesday morning the air was cool and crisp and dry. The temperatures and calm conditions in the upper 50s before sun up during a morning ride or swim were pretty much how I imagine heaven will be one day. It was a weird inversion, because at the same time we were experiencing heaven on earth, Minnesota was having high humidity and temperatures in the 90s--call it Houston on earth.

But mother nature and father time were only playing a temporary trick on us, sort of an "Indian Spring," like Indian Summer, only in Houston, our severe weather is follows spring. Things are back to normal weather wise, if not with father time.

This morning, I felt completely out of sorts. It is the first Saturday morning in moths that I did not have to get up early for a bike ride or a run or a race. I went to bed at my normal "toddler hour," and my eyes clicked open like a dairy farmer with insomnia at 0400, but I rolled over and went back to sleep. After a total of 9.5 hours of sleep, I woke again, and I could not remember where I was or what day it was or what I had to do. Usually, I wake with a training peaks workout and a long list of work to-do's, and my little dog brain is synching with Mircosoft Outlook as surely as if my Blackberry connected to an electrode in my skull.

But today, nothing. And it was weird. I don't know what I did with my time before I was swim-bike-running 12 to19 hours a week.

And the time distortion will continue this weekend. On Monday, Memorial Day, I have a race. It's not the first race this season, but it's my first race. Like, EVER. In 2006, The Cap Tex Tri was my first triathlon ever, and now I will return to the race for the first time since. In weird ways, I have the same feelings I had three years ago.

Back then, I was afraid I might not finish, mostly because of the long 1500m swim. Two Ironman finishes later, I'm still scared, not of failure to finish, but simply of failure. I really love the winding, up and down bike course, and I know I can muddle through the run, but for the Love of God I'd finally like to swim decently in the open water. For me, this means just being able to pay attention to my form and swimming long and strong if not fast. But, I'm afraid I'll have my typical freak out and muddle through swim.

Which would put me right back in 2006, which would be weird.

And Father Time taunts and confuses me in all sorts of other ways. My parents arrive today, and when you no longer live with parents, time rushes in all at once. My mother assumes that everything that she has experienced since Christmas has been communicated to me, by telpethy if not by telephone. So while she will have told me fourteen times about an inconsequential event involving a remote acquaintance from our church, she will have neglected to say, "oh, by the way, your dad has had trouble walking. Didn't I tell you?"

That is the reason their trip is rescheduled--to accomodate testing on Tuesday concerning a ruptured lumbar disc that has been troubling him since February. In the last year, dad has gone on a medecine (prematurely in my view) for dementia, has decided to retire, unretire, and retire again, and has become more enfeebled than I think is stricly necessary. And my experience of it is even more rushed, for it happened in one visit in December and a couple of phone calls since. I want to tell him to fight it, but this is foreign to their experience. If the doctor says you need a pill, you take a pill. If the surgeon ways you need surgery, you have surgery. And if you feel old, you stop going to the gym.

Meanwhile, I wax and wane. When I ran with Scuba Steve this week, I felt no different than I remember feeling in my 20s--only I am fitter now. I felt like I had more in common with this 23 year old engineering student than with my 40 to 50 year old law partners. And looking in the mirror, sometimes I see a lean young man in top condition, and others I see a middle aged man in denial--one who is never going to podium or excel no matter how much training is involved.

And it is difficult to know what to feel or what to think. But right now, I feel like Father Time better learn how to swim, because if I see him, I'm going to kick his ass.

And that's the news from Spring, Texas, where all the schools are exemplary, all the food is fast, and all the commutes are below average.


MisheleK said...

Don't underestimate how far you've come in 3 years. It's your swim! Embrace it!

Captain Cactus said...

Don't say you'll never podium. Follow my plan ... in four or five decades, I plan on winning my age group by nothing more than attrition! I'm determined to be the last one left standing.