Thursday, August 15, 2013

Demons ~ Page 1

The last few weeks I have been chased by Demons.  The self imposed Demons of training.  The Demons of fear of failure.  The Demons of the unknown.  The Demons of excuses.  The Demons of Guilt.  The Demons of expressing these Demons publicly in this blog and allowing those who read my words to know of some of my weaknesses, fears and thoughts.  I've been struggling to write in here for over a month.  I guess I always envisioned writing in here would always be witty, a comical journey filled with funny stories and antidotes to the every day life.   I didn't wanted to "bore" people with just my stories of running, biking and swimming.  The last month or so, none of it has seemed worthy of a few chuckles or exciting enough for putting pen to paper or index finger to keypad as it may be.  Who wants to read about my Demons or more aptly do I want to share those Demons?  Ironically enough, isn't that what my last blog (Pages) was about?  One at a time, Baby steps, keep writing those pages and don't allow fear to control you, prohibit you, rob you of your life's exeriences no matter what.

In these next few pages, I'll attempt to catch you up on what has been going on over the last month or so.  More importantly, I will attempt to publicly face some of those Demons with you in hopes that perhaps we can rid or defeat or simply aknowledge that they exist but equally know that they don't have control over our lives.

The swimming Demon
Nokk....The swimming Demon
I have a swimming Demon.  I'll call him Nokk. Nokk, they tend to live in lakes, ponds, rivers, waterfalls and potentially in the Caribbean Sea. Nokk are known for drowning people who play too close to the water.   Here is part of my race report from The Steamboat Sprint Tri:   Swim ~ I'm having a real tough time with this.  I was relaxed and felt real good on warm ups.  Started the race nice and then after about 25 yards, I couldn't breath.  I felt like I was hyperventilating.  I tried to pry my wet suit away from my body to ensure I had enough room to breathe.  Finally I flipped myself onto my back trying to control my breath but being conscious to continue to move, started to do a pseudo back stroke.  I didn't think it was the elevation, I wasn't anxious about the race, I just couldn't breathe. This probably occurred for at least 3/4 of the swim.  I made a last attempt to "swim" regular and was able to bring myself in with a nice relaxed breath and stroke.  It was the most bizarre occurrence.  Obviously a billion things were running through my head at that time.  Most notably, How the hell am I ever going to get through this let alone an Iron Man?  I am very disappointed with this.  I realize now that Nokk is a big part of why I never published my race report. (more on Steamboat Sprint Tri later) I didn't want to aknowledge he existed.  I didn't want to admit outloud I was having trouble with my open water swim.  Hell, I swim 2 sometimes 3 times a week at the gym, in a Masters Class and I always feel prety strong.  Never a breathing issue.  What's wrong with me??  Steamboat like Boulder Sprint, I am able shake Nokk and to pull myself together about 3/4's of the way through the swim.  At this point I am still denying Nokk exists.  I'll figure it out.  I'll pull it together.  I always do and nobody has to know a thing about it.  Nobody but me..........and Nokk.  Fast forward two weeks later...BAM!  Boulder Aquatics Master...Bare Bones II.  It is a swimming race where you can do the 1/2, the mile or 2 miles.  (Notice how I didn't write about this experience either....Nokk)   Coach E suggest I sign up and do the 1 mile sans wetsuit.  This will be my longest swim to date, non stop.  No pushing off the wall in a pool.  No extra bouyancy of a wet suit.  I am so up for this, I even inquire if I can attempt the 2 mile.  No dice as I still have to do a 3 hour ride for training after this swim.
Moments before BAM
"One milers in the water"....I strategically position myself all the way to the right so that I am not surrounded by swimmers but just have to know the masses are on my left.  In Steamboat, I took a punch to the jaw that slightly rattled my cage, so I figured if I can avoid this type of contact the better I and the person who touches me is. "GO!"  First couple of strokes, not bad.  Then wait it is getting tough to breath. But I am not wearing a wet suit??  I convinced myself they may have been the reason in the past......aahhhhhhh SHIT.  Ok keep moving.  Breast Stroke kinda doggie paddle sorta.  This is going to be a long and miserable swim.  I could just swim to the right and take myself out of the water.  I could find a kayak or paddle board and take a siesta on them for a bit.  Nah, that'll just prolong the agony of finishing he swim.  Breast stroke, freestyle, doggie paddle complete with panting and gasping for air.  But hey there are still people in the 1 mile swim that are behind me.  So in all my struggles there are people even slower and perhaps worse off then myself.  A little consolation for myself.  Ok at the first bouy let's turn left.  Hey no zig zagging.  That was pretty damn straight though afterall I was looking pretty much up the entire time.  Let's try this freestyle thing again.  Stroke, stroke, breath. Stroke, stroke, breath. Stroke, stroke, breath. Stroke, stroke, breath. Stroke, stroke, breath. and so it goes...a rythm of sorts.  Let me see my watch.  9:52 into the swim. Boulder and Steamboat I struggled the first 3/4 of a 15 min swim.  That is the same time.  3 swims,  3 times having difficulty for approx 10 minutes before I gather myself into a rythm and can swim.  Difference is this time I am not swimming a 1/2 a mile but a full mile so only the first third has been troubled instead of 3/4 of it.  But why?  Nokk is my current answer.  My water demon.  I now know he exists.  I know he makes it tough to breath.  He rattles my confidence and attempts to sideline me.  He restricts my breathing and tries to mess with my mind.  I have shaken him off in my three races after 10 minutes in the past, without even knowing he existed.  Researching Nokk tonight I have learned that it is a demon who knowing it's name gives you some power over it. It is said saying it's name 3 times discourages the creature from getting too close.  This weekend when I step into the water for my first Olympic Distance Tri, I will have two things in my corner against Nokk.  1)  I now know he exists so I can concentrate on defeating him by attempting to settle into my breathing rythm from the start.  I will also continue to start in the rear or off to the side to avoid as much contact as possible. 2) I will have as my mantra...Stroke, stroke, breath (nokk), Stroke, stroke, breath (nokk), Stroke, stroke, breath (nokk), Stroke, stroke, breath (nokk).  I will repeat his name at each breath attempting to discourage him from getting too close.  I am not sure if it'll work but I will attempt to eliminate those 10 minutes of misery that I experience in the open water swim part of each race.


  1. Let's go Nokk hunting!

  2. Learn to embrace the chaos, you are getting to do stuff that many people can't or won't. Connect with the body of water you"re in. Good luck this weekend, just keep moving forward.

    1. Thanks Brother......I am embracing it. It is the only way I know how to go.


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