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The Day The Music Died

July 19, 2010

There are 6 days left until my sprint triathlon!  Where did the time go?  I felt like it was just the other day, that I signed up for the triathlon.  Turns out it wasn’t just the other day, it was 6 months ago!   I’ve read a lot of articles and blogs on triathlons and tri training, I’ve talked to friends and colleagues who have participated in tris.  I got a lot of advice at the end of the day… but I’ll admit, I didn’t follow all of it.  I didn’t even stick to my beautifully designed and well planned out tri training schedule.   BUT one thing I definitely wanted to adhere to without exception was not doing, wearing or using anything for the first time on the day of my triathlon.

So over the last few days… I’ve had a couple firsts, including wearing a sopping wet bathing suit and sports bra (underneath) while biking and running.   But the thing that really kicked my ass?  Not Listening to music during my swim and run.  It’s still unclear if I’ll be allowed to listen to music during any portion of the triathlon, so just to be safe… decided to train at least once without my beloved music to push me through.

For the swim portion, I had to buy ear plugs because turns out that the earbuds for my shuffle kept the water out of my ears and that was not a sensation I could adapt to in just a few days.  But what came as the biggest surprise was that I missed my music more in the swim than in the run.   I am not a runner.  In fact, I’m a runner/walker. 🙂  But I always believed that my music is what got me through my runs.   But over the weekend, with no mp3 player attached to my arm, I went on a 2 mile run and guess what?  I actually ran faster than I usually do.  Not by much, mind you… but my pace was definitely faster and there was something peaceful about running without music in my ears.

HOWEVER, swimming without my music was a near disaster.  Let me diverge on a tangential road for a moment.  I once had a dental procedure where the noise from the machine was deafening and the dentist suggested that I bring my mp3 player to drown out the noise.  The fact was that I would not feel any pain because of the Novocaine but because of the noise, many people got fidgety and anxious during the procedure.  For me, that’s what swimming is like.  Without my music, I could hear my breathing.  I could hear my heart pounding harder than it should.  I could hear the water around me.  I focused more on being in the water.  And all of this led to me getting fidgety and anxious during my swim.

I know there is no reason for me to be anxious because there’s nothing hurting me or causing me pain, but anxiety I still feel without my music.  I’m relatively new to this swimming phenomena (3 years new) and so even though I know better… without the music to drown out my thoughts, my mind drifted to me drowning instead (in 4 feet of water!!!).  Silly I know… but this is my current reality.

My tri is a 300 yard swim in a pool and on Friday without music, I finished a 300 yard swim just shy of 20 minutes (with my best personal time having been 17 minutes).  But you know what?  I finished it and that’s all that really matters come next Sunday… to finish the race… even if I’m the last woman standing. 🙂

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