Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Learning Compassion

I've always considered myself a compassionate person - except when it comes to how I treat myself. Training for a triathlon certainly taught me to respect myself and my body and what I'm capable of. It taught me to push myself when I thought I'd had enough and that my limits don't always end where I thought they did. These are good things. But it didn't really teach me to treat myself compassionately.

Pregnancy has given me a crash course in self-compassion. Its really a do or drop situation - you set compassionate limits on what you demand of yourself or you drop. You compassionately allow your body another hour or two of sleep or you drop. You compassionately allow yourself to slow down a little, quit watching the clock, quit counting miles or yards, even take an unplanned day off now and again - or, you guessed it, you drop. This stage of my journey is also teaching me to be flexible and creative when it comes to finding ways to get some activity in. After months of trying to force myself to adhere to my old 4:30 wake up call on swim days, occasionally succeeding, more often failing, I've finally accepted that my body needs what it needs and sleep is high on the list. Higher than a killer workout, apparently. However, I still feel better when I work out - its just no longer doable for it to be an either or situation - either sleep or exercise. I need both. So, I did some investigation and discovered that the YMCA that's just three minutes from my office has lap times every day during lunch and every day after work. The monthly membership fee is only about $10 more a month than swimming with my now-beloved masters group twice a week. And for that, I can swim as much as I want, lift weights, even get a run in on the treadmill when its icy outside or I just needed to sleep in that day. I'd say that's a win.

Today was my first lunch time swim and it went, well . . . swimmingly. The water is hot (85) but it keeps me from trying to hammer myself into the blue line at the bottom of the pool. There are only three lanes, but they're wide enough for three people - and I only had to share my lane with one person. I'm going to miss my masters buddies - but they'll be there when I come out on the other side of this adventure. I'm really looking forward to sleeping all the way to 6:30 on swim days without feeling guilty.

Another thing tris taught me - where there's a will, there's a way.


The One and Only Tigger said...

Glad you found a compromise with your sleep and workouts. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming

jeanne said...

aww good for you! that sounds like a great compromise.

Vickie said...

As always, where thereis a will, thereis a triathlete.

CAP said...

Your determination is fantastic. I love the Y. I keep looking at the pool and thinking that it's time to start swimming. I'm more of an aqua rock, and the memories bring back the Navy swimming classes. I swim a lap and am huffing and puffing on the side of the pool. Great job making fitness a priority for yourself.