Saturday, January 01, 2011
I'm exhausted. I said on fb I wouldn't whine anymore, but can I please just get some of it out of my system here? I stayed home last night but didn't get much sleep, so at 5:30 this morning I wasn't thrilled that I had committed to this darn bike ride. We had planned to meet at a park about 10 miles down the trail, ride the 35 miles RT to the beach and then when we passed the park anyone who wanted to forgo the "small" 20+ mile leg go get in their car and go home. I planned to be one of those people! The small leg ends in Corona and its a part of the bike trail I don't like -- steep hills, isolated, not scenic -- I've taken to just skipping it entirely on my rides with Jo and driving to the park to start the trail there. Well, it was freezing this morning and I was outnumbered by people who wanted to do the short ride first, to warm up and get it out of the way. Out of the way??? I didn't want to do it at all! But I also didn't want to wait at the park for an hour until they came back, so off I went. These people were crazy!! They were so cold they were riding at full speed and my HR was up in the 160's for most of the time. I thought I would die from cold, asthma and exertion, but I survived. Quick change of jackets and we headed off again towards the beach. The wind was at our back so it didn't feel too bad in spite of my toes being numb... but I knew I was fatigued by the time I'd done 30 miles. My previous longest ride this season was 24 miles, so the extra 10k took its toll. Ingrid said I could turn around but I really didn't want to ride all the way back alone so I kept going... At the beach we were at mile 32 I think, and we headed back and directly into the wind. UGH!! I drafted as much as possible but then the lead 4 took off and I couldn't hang with them. Ingrid, Julie and I kept going, maintaining about a 14-15 mph pace (so long as I was drafting). All of a sudden Ingrid stops and says she needs to talk with Julie so I kept going. Turns out Julie was suffering back spasms and needed to slow down but I didn't know it at the time. By mile 40 I hit the wall. Yup. Just like in a marathon. I had no one to draft off, my speed had dropped to 10 mph and it took a monumental effort to keep going. I really wanted to sit down by the side of the road and just cry!! But I knew that this was fatigue talking and hoped that if I just kept going at my new, slower pace Ingrid would catch up and I could finally draft again... how I longed for that break from the wind! Unfortunately that was not to be. I rode the entire back side by myself, finishing in just over 4 hours for 57 miles. I am now lying in bed and dreaming of sleep but I'm so hungry I can't drift off. Ha!
I'm glad I more than doubled my distance today and I'm proud of that accomplishment, but I still kind of wish I hadn't pushed myself... I'll be paying for it tomorrow for sure.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Yesterday was my first open water race. Two weeks ago I went to the race site and participated in a clinic for the sole purpose of swimming the course once before race day. On that day the water temp was 63 degrees and I swam the 1/2 mile at a very leisurely pace, stopping to verify the course three or four times... and I finished in 24:19. I have been training, both in the pool and in open water, for nearly 2 months in preparation for this race, so I thought not only was I ready, but I felt sure I could beat my practice time. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.
What is it about triathlons and me? It seems that where a tri is concerned, everything that can go wrong will go wrong, and unlike my runs I just don't seem to be able to roll with it...
I couldn't sleep Saturday night, in spite of envisioning myself having a really good swim. I got up at 3 am instead of my planned 4:30 wake-up. I got thermos' ready with hot water to fill my wetsuit as the weather has been really cold this week. I ate my oatmeal and had my coffee. My car was loaded and I made sure not to forget anything. I took gloves for my hands pre/post race and reusable heat packs for everywhere else. I was totally ready.
I thought my coach had said to meet at registration at 6 a.m. so that my relay team could meet each other and all check in together... but I guess I misunderstood her as they didn't show up until after 7. I got to the race site at 5:45, parked, and walked to registration - in the dark. I checked out the transition area, tried to scope out the swim course (but the bouys weren't up yet) and basically hung around for 90 minutes doing nothing.
The tempurature was in the 40's, but I was dressed warmly.
Yes, that is snow on the mountain just north of the race site...
Once the others arrived and we checked in it was nearly 7:30 and the race started at 8, so I rushed back to my car to get into my wetsuit and booties. I was feeling rushed and somehow missed the course briefing... so at 7:50 we headed down to the shore. I got wet, swam a few yards and got out to talk to my coach for any last minute instructions. While she was chatting with me, the gun went off and my wave started without me!
For those who have never done a tri, your swim time starts when the gun goes off, since there are no mats to cross in the water.... By missing my wave start I was already behind the 8 ball, so to speak. I realized what had happened and took off running (I use that term loosely, but it was my best effort at a run) for the start, only to find my entrance blocked by fencing.
Up and around the fence, through the crowds of 20-25 year old men waiting for their wave to start and into the water I ran... the absolute last person to start my wave. Everyone else was way out ahead of me... and I was out of breath before I hit the estimated 57 degree water! The cold was a shock and I was already kind of stressed, so I had a real problem trying to get a stroke rhythm going. Notice how I'm the only swimmer in the picture? Yup, that's how far behind I was.
I swam about 100 yds and just couldn't get enough air into my lungs... I felt really asthmatic, and realized that the stress and the cold had caused me to have an asthma attack. I swam a head-up breaststroke for awhile trying to get my breathing under control when I realized that my scuba bootie had unzipped and was falling off! Its perfectly legal to hold onto a paddleboard during a tri so long as the boarder doesn't move you forward, so I got to the nearest board and fixed my bootie, and took a couple of minutes to do some deep breathing exercises in an attempt to relax and oxygenate myself. It didn't really work. Each time I put my face in the water I felt like my lungs were being squeezed... I know that this is a typical panic reaction for many people during open water swims. I know that people often think their wetsuit is too tight and that's why their chest is constricted. I know this and a lot more of these things, and I know that wasn't the case for me. I have NO fear of open water. I KNOW my wetsuit fits. For crying out loud, I'm a scuba instructor! I did a mental check and knew that what I was feeling was not panic. Stress, yes. But not panic. So I reduced my stress but my breathing never got any better.
I was frustrated. I was being passed by wave after wave of swimmers, and all I could do was alternate between head-up breaststroke (VERY slow) and backstroke the whole way in. I kept trying to freestyle but I just couldn't get it going. By the time I reached the beach I was wheezing like crazy and I had to walk up the beach, then up a hill to the transition area.
I handed off the chip to my teammate Raquel and while trying to catch my breath I burst into tears
I was so disappointed in myself. I worked so hard for this race and I just couldn't ever get it together. I felt like such a failure, and like I had let everyone down, although mostly myself. Why did I let other's interfere with my race prep? Why didn't I try to acclimate to the water sooner? Why didn't I use my inhaler before starting? Why didn't I swim more than a few yards before the race started to warm up? Why didn't I get into the corral with my wave? Why? Why? Why?
I guess these are all lessons to be learned for next time, but I felt just awful about this for most of the day. I put a smile on my face once I changed into warm clothes and used my inhaler, but I kept fighting my asthma for the rest of the day. My teammates were nothing but supportive - they are both accomplished triathletes already, and thanks to them we took 4th place for female relays. We didn't stick around for the awards ceremony, but that's ok as I don't feel like I deserved it anyway. I checked the race results last night and I was slower than all but about a dozen people for the swim. Not something to be proud of. Definitely something to improve upon.
I have a sprint reverse tri in two weeks and I'll be doing both the bike and the swim (in a heated pool) so I'm trying to look forward and prepare myself to do better next time.
I'm sorry to post such a "downer" blog, but the fact is that not every race goes well and for me, this was the worst swim of my life. I know my dear spark friends want to know how it went, so for you I'm baring my soul. Kind of ironic, isn't it, that my previous blog was about how nice it is to be an athlete? Go figure.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
It's Thanksgiving Day, and its cold and windy outside. We are due at a friend's house at 3 pm but my share of the meal is ready to go as I cooked yesterday. My plan for today was to get in a long bike ride (20 miles) in the morning, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch and then head over for Thanksgiving dinner with a food plan in mind.
When I awoke at 4 am the winds were howling and I could hear the rain... uh-oh. I went back to sleep thinking I could always go to the gym later. Then at 8 I got up and looked outside - the sun was shining brightly but the winds were definitely blowing. I really wanted to ride today since I figured traffic would be lighter this morning than on other days... Thinking of my friends in Wisconsin who were going to brave frigid temps, icy paths and howling winds in order to run in their local Turkey Trots I told myself a bit of wind shouldn't stop me from working out.
DH saw me dressing and looked at me with despair, as if to say "really"? I told him I needed to do this but he could stay home and watch football if he'd rather... his ego wouldn't allow that, so he joined me in donning cycling clothes. We got our bikes out and hit the road by 9... 46 degrees and who-knows-how-hard winds blowing, and off we went. 10 miles of rolling hills to the local farm stand, a short rest in the sunshine and back we headed. The winds were increasing, or maybe we were just feeling them more, mostly from our side but occasional head winds too... the hills seem much worse in this direction as there are more ups than downs when we head back, but we made it to our local Starbucks (at mile 17) and got warmed up.
It was here that I really felt good about being out on my bike on Thanksgiving day... Nearly every person who headed in or out of Starbucks had something nice to say to us about being out riding, particularly in this weather (OK, I admit it. We are spoiled rotten by the weather in SoCal and today was not ideal for us in spite of it being enviable to many of you). One couple started talking to us about last night's Biggest Loser special, about how the former contestants are now athletes, running marathons and entering triathlons. All I could do was smile... I've run marathons and I'm training for triathlons... and I'm an Athlete too!
Dang, that felt good. Something else to be thankful for!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I am feeling inspired. First, I was tasked by my triathlon coach to come up with a "race plan" for Thanksgiving day so that I don't just go into the holiday with a license to overeat. Then today I read PrincessNurse's blog, "My Thanksgiving Plan of Attack" www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
omments , followed by The Daily Spark blog "8 Ways to Trim the Fat (and Extra Calories) from Thanksgiving Dinner". www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=xx_
Seems like I'm getting the same message on all fronts... Make a plan and plan to stick to it!
So I've been thinking a lot about what I want from Thanksgiving Dinner. This year my family is invited over to friend's for the holiday. The husband is a chef so I know that the food will be good and the other families there are also friends... I want to be able to feel like I'm a part of the festivities but not feel sick to my stomach from overeating. I want to be able to have a cocktail or a glass of wine. I want to eat turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing (my favorite!!) but I realize that I can totally pass on the mashed potatoes, gravy and most other sides. I want a slice of pumpkin pie. I want some fresh vegetables but none of the sauced-up kinds.
With that in mind, I plan to eat a nutritious and filling breakfast and then work out. I will have a low calorie lunch (I'm thinking a large tossed salad with some low-fat protein tossed in ... maybe shrimp, so that I can feel special!) that will fill me up so that when I arrive at my friend's house at 3 pm I won't feel the need to start nibbling. I will allow myself a good helping of white meat turkey without the skin, stuffing (yes, even if it means I have 1.5 cups!) and cranberry sauce. I will wait at least 20 minutes from the time I finish eating before deciding if I really want seconds. I will have a slice of pie, but I will try to leave at least 2 bites of it on my plate. Oh, and if I have a cocktail or glass of wine, I will only have ONE.
This is a plan I think I can live with... and now I must implement it. However, I realize that just like on race day, plans must be flexible. The most important part of my plan is to keep my goal in mind -- to enjoy myself without feeling sick from over-eating!
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Last Monday I decided that I needed to start walking. Just as I decided to get rid of my boot (walking cast) two weeks prior and switch to running shoes (with mixed results), I decided that if I were ever going to be able to rejoin my running club and at least get out and walk with them then I needed to start walking. So at PT I got the go ahead to walk on the treadmill, on the condition that I held on and unweighted my injured foot at least partially, with each step.
I really struggled to not look at the speed (between 2.1 and 2.4 mph) but to just focus on my gait and the distance I was covering. The mile was my idea, my PT said to just try to walk "a bit". When I was finished I was filled with mixed emotions -- joy that I had really walked a mile tempered by that nagging voice in my head that kept trying to whisper nasty comments about how long it took me and the fact that I held on to the treadmill. I swear, that voice in my head will be the death of me someday!
From the treadmill I got on the rowing machine and in spite of wanting to quit, I rowed my heart out for 20 minutes! I forgot to note how far I went, but that 20 minutes set my benchmark for future workouts. On Thursday I was back at PT and my mile was much harder and 3 minutes slower, but my 20 minutes of rowing covered 4k!! Next week I'll shoot for rowing a 5k
My other big challenge this past week was footwear. I'm going to Hawaii in 11 days and the only shoes I've been able to wear are my Mizuno running shoes. There is no way I'm wearing sneakers for 2 weeks straight - to the pool, to the beach, with a sundress - uh-unh! So I asked my PT if I could try flip flops this week... he wasn't thrilled but he said OK, provided I get a pair with some arch support (part of my surgery involved lowering my arch, so that was of concern to him). Lucky for me, I knew exactly what flip flop I was going to get - KEEN's Waimea H2 www.keenfootwear.com/product/ss10/sh
in violet, which is actually kind of pink. My husband has had a pair for a few years now and he loves the arch support and the toe protection - a must for me since my big toe is still not fully fused. The best part? I got them below wholesale through my job!!
I have been walking around in my KEEN flip flops all week, and other than swelling my foot's been fine!!
Thank you to all my friends who have checked in with me and asked for updates... I've been scarce due to work, but I turned in my badge last night so I should be around a bit more often now. As you can see, I'm healing, but its never fast enough for me... that little voice has got to get gagged!
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