Monday, August 06, 2012
As soon as I made the decision to go for a tri, I knew I'd love it. I have been swept away with the energy of running road races. It is such a positive, strong force. I know it's not for everyone, but I love racing. I had no doubts that I'd love tri just as much.
The girls I run with convinced me to sign up for a tri once they saw me swim this winter. They promised to help me with the bike. I was a little apprehensive because 1. I was in the midst of my first full marathon training program and isn't that enough for one summer?? and 2. road bikes are expensive.
Well, I had a few glasses of wine with these girls one night and made the decision. Don't worry, I didn't sign up drunk. I waited until the next morning and registered for an Olympic distance triathlon.
Luckily another friend was looking to do something much shorter, find a small Sprint distance. I signed up with her and thought of this as my practice tri. There are so many elements that need to be worked out. All that transition stuff! And if you've read any of my other blogs, all that bike stuff!
Anyway, this kinda snuck up on me. I didn't feel a lot of pressure or nerves or much of anything until last week. I started getting texts and emails from a few tri friends warning me not to freak out on the swim. I know the swim is the worst part for most people. There are plenty of people that just get through it. Doggy paddle gets the job done! But for me, the swim was what I was most excited for.
I'm pretty sure I was a fish in a former life. I've been comfortable in the water since forever and was on a competitive team for many years. Lakes don't freak me out and for whatever reason it didn't bother me to think of other swimmers kicking me in the face or swimming right over me. Call me crazy, but it just sounded like a part of the sport.
Our age group was the 5th wave so we got to watch a few groups go first, which was fun. I dismissed all the advice I was given and just walked into the front and middle of our group when it was our turn. And all of a sudden we were running through the water and diving in. Typical rookie mistake: I just started flying and didn't stick to my breathing pattern plan. I have very little open water practice and am horrible at swimming in a straight line. Constantly breathing to the same side makes it even worse for me. So what do I do? breathe to the same side, sight too often, let my legs fall down, zig zag all over the course. Hot mess right here!
When we reached the turn around buoy I realized I was in the front pack of our group's swimmers. (swim caps are color coded by age group) I repeatedly said to myself, "calm down, calm down" and started to think about my form. I still was not swimming very straight and cannot imagine how many extra meters I swam. By this time, I was swimming better and was pretty sure there were only 2 blue caps ahead of me. I concentrated on how it would feel to get out of the water first.
And I did it! I passed them both and ran out of the water first in my age group. First! What a feeling. I'm pretty sure that is a lifelong memory. Even if this was a small tri, 28 women in my age group. I still did it. I won!
Oh, but wait! Now I have to run up a sandy hill and find my bike and the race has really only just started. I pushed it pretty hard at the end of the swim so it was difficult to run and I struggled to get my swim cap & goggles off. I found my bike easily and quick got everything I needed. Then I just had to take a few seconds to stand and calm down. I was a little dizzy. maybe pushed it a wee bit much!! Hopped on my bike and I was off! Or so I thought. All these people started screaming at me because you can't mount your bike until you are out of the transition area. Missed that detail. I was so focused on making sure my helmet was on correctly. You get DQed if you mount without that on! So I hop off, run a few more steps, thank everyone for their help and hop back on.
And off I went for real this time! It took until mile 3 for my breathing to feel normal and to start to get some type of groove. But then the hills set in. I was holding back a bit because I am so unfamiliar on the bike that I just didn't know how much to push. I had very little idea what a 13.5 mile bike ride felt like. I liked being out on an open road and not afraid of cars. And I love how nice people are when they pass you. And some people pass you FAST. I was cheering for everyone and grinning like I'm Chrissie Wellington. I really started to feel good at mile 10. And then it was over. Averaged 17.7 mph
Transition this time went really well. The run was 3.3 miles, very pretty through this little park. I felt like I was going at a good pace, but had no idea. I was wearing a HRM but the time was overall so I was just going by how I felt. Only one woman passed me and she was cruising. I was sprinting at the end, which means I had some left in the tank and should've gone faster. And my pace was 8:02 which is hard to be upset about.
That's why I signed up for this. Triathlon seems to be about balance. How much to push? How much to save your legs? If I would've gone faster on the bike, would my legs have been spent for the run? How much faster could I have gone on the run? These are all things that experience will help with. There is much to learn and I love that.
My friend came in right behind me. After we got snacks we went to see the posted results. It said 3/15 by my name. (people were still on the course) One guy said, "You're on the podium! You'll get an award!" It was my split second of feeling like I was in the Olympics. We quickly found out that only 1st in age group got the trophies. oh well! Something to strive for! And it was fun to feel that if only for a bit.
Another friend asked what was my favorite part. It's too hard to choose. The whole experience was exciting.
From getting there early to set up your area, walking around and looking at all the beautiful bikes, people watching, etc.
sorry, I can't rotate pics from my iphone. That's my little area.
In a tri it's like you get the excitement of a finish line 3 times. That's pretty fun.
That sideways one in black is me.
This is long enough so I won't list all the little details that I enjoyed. But there were a lot. The body markings were a highlight for me.
Yes, I'm flexing there.
Such an experience. I want to do it again. And again and again. I smile just thinking about it. That's more important than the numbers. I don't want to get too obsessed with times and forget the fun. But it sure feels good to know that I'm actually pretty good at this. 17/189 women. I've always been athletic but I was never the best at anything. I was good, not great. After that tri, I felt great.
Thursday, August 02, 2012
Checking in on goals.
For the year I said 800-1,000 miles. So far I've run 622.65 miles for 2012. Super happy with that.
Run: goal was 10-20 miles/week and I ran 50 total. Low end of goal, but I made it. Pretty good considering the heat and 2 weeks of vacation.
Bike: goal was 40-80 miles/week. Ha! Not even close. I threw those numbers out there from looking at my training plan, but I didn't factor in heat, vacation and the fact that I knew basically nothing about the bike. I did manage 112 miles total plus 2 Spinervals workouts. My friend loaned me her indoor trainer. It's pretty sweet. I can ride my own bike in the basement!
Swim: 2 swims a week. Goal met 3/4 weeks. The Olympics bring back so many memories of pool workouts and drills. I wish I could get in the pool more often.
Weight: lose 1.5-2 lbs or 2 inches. Weight is up 1.2 and inches are the same. Not what I wanted, but not too bad considering how much time I spent at cabins eating bacon and s'mores.
I think the goals were high because I thought I had enough rest and recovery from the marathon in June and was ready for an intense training plan. I was wrong. In July I learned that I want a better balance. Which led me to give my notice at the Y. It was a very tough decision. I just can't do it all. I decided to put fitness priorities on triathlon instead of group fitness. I feel like it was a selfish decision, but a necessary one. I will miss it, but luckily I'll be able to sub.
Swim, bike, run: twice a week, but if it's only once make it the long workout
Complete my first sprint triathlon: this Saturday!!
Olympic tri: 8/25
Lose 2 lbs or 2 inches. Come on now! Stop mindlessly snacking at night.
I hope you're already on your way with August goals. Let's do this!
Tonight I did my own little mini tri to see how I felt during transitions and to trouble shoot all the gear. Preparing for any race is exciting and stressful. Tri prep is much more intense than a road race. I don't even have a lot of gear and it's a lot to remember! I spent last night reading checklists and transition pointers online. The practice went well, except that the chain fell off my bike again. It feels pretty dang good that I can actually fix it myself, but I wish I wouldn't have to. I may take it in to the shop tomorrow...
It also feels good to be OK when pictures are taken. We biked to a parade and had a blast.
I can see a calf muscle!
Saturday, July 28, 2012
I have eased up on tri training because it was making me crazy. That's the opposite of what I want it to do. Like my dad said, "it's not like you're going to win. What's the big deal?!" exactly. I am doing this for myself. Not to place in my age group. Everyone has different life circumstances that lead to different training options. I'm not racing the 33 year old single woman that can fit in 3 by 3s. I am racing myself. Can you tell that I have to type this out in order to convince myself?? Hey, whatever works.
So this week I chose family fitness. Not family over fitness. Just put my kids and husband and whole family first and did my best to workout WITH them.
S: swam across a lake, not sure of distance, DH rowed next to me
M: 5 mile run w/ dad and sister, yoga on a paddle board!
T: rest (did a few sprints in the lake, 20 minutes maybe)
W: 6 miles with the double jogger, holy crap! That's hard. Stopped at a park to play.
Th: ST at the park with kids, 10 mile family bike ride
F: 60 min HIIT class, 1 mile swim and then swam with the kids
S: teach tabata, Spinervals DVD
Now only in the triathlete world is this a light fitness week. No long bike, no speedwork run,no... I'm gonna stop that right now. I had a great week.
And even though the scale says exactly what it did on July 1, several people have made positive comments about how I look in the past few days. After class on Friday, one of my running friends even called me and said, "what, I haven't seen you in a week and you lose 5 pounds?!" That feels good. I guess I'm doing something right.
Something definitely feels right. I had been thinking about a half Ironman next summer. That's 70.3 miles. I know I could do it with the proper training. But what I'm starting to realize is that I may not WANT to. At least not right now. I said the same thing about marathon training: it's not just the time that training takes; it's how exhausted you are after those long workouts. I was wiped out after that swim yesterday. Swimming a mile is the equivalent of running 12 to me. I needed a nap!
No nap today, Olympic swimmers!! I made salt dough medals with the kids this morning (thank you Pinterest!). We are pumped. I'm going to do an Olympic theme at class today. Time to go!!
Saturday, July 21, 2012
I am saddened by the CO tradgedy. It's senseless and devastating and just plain sad. I made myself turn the news off last night and I went and watched my daughter sleep. All you parents know the beauty of a sleeping child. Especially a sun kissed summer girl with mosquito bites on her arms and cuts and bruises, the proof of hard play, all over her legs. I took some time to soak in my gratitude that she is healthy, that my whole family is healthy. And I said a prayer for those that have lost these simple moments. I even said a prayer for the killer's parents. Because there was a time that he was their joyful 3 year old and they watched him sleep. how did a life go so wrong? How can a child become that damaged? Such a complex sadness.
During our week at the lake, I unplugged from Internet and TV. It was wonderful. It was the epitome of a family vacation in MN. The patoon, sandcastles, s'mores, reading with coffee and listening to the water, swimming, swimming and more swimming. I slowed down and watched my kids. I listened more closely to them. I didn't work out as much as I had planned.
I ran 4 miles one morning and it was one of those cleansing, you get all the answers you need, kind of runs. When I got back to the cabin, I had a stressful problem resolved. I wrote the email that I composed in my head while running and sent it. Instantly felt like I lost weight! Ahhhhhh, exercise is so good for my soul.
I promised myself that I was going to find a better balance between tri training and life. I got rid of my 3 by 3 workout plan. The is no need for a beginner to be that intense. I convinced myself that it's OK not to spend the most time on my worst sport, the bike, even though all the magazines say I should.
And then what do I do? Go on a bike ride, can't keep up with my friend,get crazy mad at myself, bring my kids to daycare early the next day so I can go do sprints on the bike and then write a self deprecating blog. Hmmmm, does not sound like a healthy balance to me.
I am recommitting myself to searching for a balance. An amazing sparker, GODIVADSG, wrote a great blog saying that she wants to live a "meaningful life of movement.". Isn't that poetic? I wrote it across the top of my revised training plan. That's what I want.
That's what I am fortunate enough to have. I can move. Everyday. I am strong and able to participate in incredible endurance events. I am also silly and participate in chasing my kids around and around, an endurance event all of its own. I am grateful for my health.
Today we're leaving for another cabin. This time with all my siblings and their kids and my parents. It will be a very different kind of vacation. I will unplug again. I will enjoy the teeny moments of each day. I will get in an open water swim and I will run with my dad and sister. It is heart aching to feel all these fun possibilities while I know so many families are struggling to get out of bed today because of the depth of their sadness.
I will continue to pray for them. I will continue to move with meaning and joy. I hope you do the same!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
One thing I love about exercise is the options. Just when you think you're good at something, try something else and a whole new challenge is waiting for you.
Running came relatively easy to me. Don't get me wrong, there were horrible awful days when I cried. There are STILL horrible awful no good very bad runs. But, overall, running just feels right. I have worked very hard, but mostly I've logged lots of miles while having fun. I have yet to become too obsessed with pace or splits or speed work. I guess I'm naturally kinda fast. And of course that feels good. The marathon was a month ago and I continue to get compliments about my time. I feel strong and fast. I feel like an athlete. And I like it.
When does confidence turn that ugly corner into cockiness?
For me, that corner was jumping into the pool. I swam competitively when I was younger and again, it was something that came naturally. Getting back to swim workouts has been tons of fun. I love reading about technique and trying new workouts in the pool. And, again, I've gotten lots of compliments. Unfortunately, it's gone to my head. I don't want to be that girl.
Luckily a triathlon has 3 sports and that last one, that sneaky little bike, has been shoving humble pie in my face left andright. I figured I had this tri thing in the bag. I can run! I can swim! What could possibly be so hard about riding a bike? Every 5 year old does it. So i must be able to do it too. And I'll be good at it, right? And everyone will tell me how athletic and strong I am, right?
I hope you're smirking at me right now. We all know that there's always a heavier weight to lift, a more difficult yoga pose to hold, a further distance to run. I need to keep this all in perspective.
The bike is my new challenge. I feel slow. I cannot keep up with my friends. My quads scream at me early in a ride. It doesn't matter what gear I'm in. Hills kill me. I am a huffing puffing mess by the top. This is frustrating. I want to be good at it. I feel like I should be better than I am. My VO2 max is pretty high. I have cut muscle definition in my legs. Why am I not better at this??! Pout, pout, dramatic, annoying tantrum.
Because I just started taking the bike seriously a month ago. Because it takes different muscles than running. Because the bike is incredibly technical and I have a crap ton to learn. I need to calm the eff down.
So this training group I want to join has 2 groups: 17 mph and 20 mph. I'm not there yet. I average 14-16 on long rides. And I know that's not bad, but its not 17. I really want to join that 17 group.
I'll work at it and get there. With so many exercise options, it's hard to get bored. It's hard to get cocky. If you step into either of those danger zones, try something new! It's working for me. I promise that once I do reach that 17 mph goal, I won't be a cocky jerk about it.
And if I do, then it's time to try out for American Ninja Warrior!!
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