Today's swim had to be completed in forty-five minutes - that was the time limit. My approach for my workout was nice and easy this morning, just see how much I could do and see how I felt at the end.
That's a tricky aspect to endurance training - when you're relatively new, you're not certain how much you have "in the tank". It's like getting into a car and driving with a broken fuel gauge. The one thing I have learned is I always have a lot more in the tank than I realized. Could have pushed myself a bit harder! So, I make a mental note to kick it up a notch at my next workout.
I pondered this on my ride home, and I found myself thinking about Jon Blais and Andrea Peet. With ALS - the "time limit" becomes your whole life. You're cognitively aware of the increasing limitations ALS places on the body. And much like the decision to participate in long-course training, you can either stop or you can keep searching for "just how much do I have?"
Jon did this every single day as a triathlete, even before being diagnosed with ALS. But he really kicked it into high gear after that diagnosis, and Andrea is exactly the same. They want their lives, their journeys, to mean something. And - my goodness - how they mean everything to so many people. To me.
The truth is none of us know how much "time" we have. Far too few of us figure out how much "life" we have. But those who do, the people who dig deep, the folks who work until their hands callous, those who run until they're exhausted, the people who swim until their shoulders burn - they search every day for how much.
It is about living, it's a gift, and they reclaim it each and every day.
This is what I love about triathlons and the training. It's about living so hard, pushing, feeling it all, hurting and recovering. Tears of joy, shudders toward the unknown, a broad smile at the newly found. Life. So much life.
As researchers make progress with treatments and eventually a cure for ALS, I want to make sure I don't focus on the time limit, but the life now - the "how much" can I swim, bike, run and everything else during that time.
It's a journey. Push yourself. Get up and go. No matter how you're moving your body, give yourself a chance to try something new. The strength you will find is inspiring and far-reaching.