Thursday, August 9, 2012

Carrying on

I wrote a tiny bit here about my best friend who had cancer.  She passed away earlier this week.  She had been sick for two years and although we knew she was dying, I had not fully accepted that she would one day be gone forever.  The past couple of days have been very difficult.

The last time I saw her we just hung out and talked about so many things.  I told her that I was going to be doing a triathlon in a couple of weeks and she was so impressed and proud of me.  I'll be carrying that with me as an incentive to do this race and to give it my all.  I'm going to race for Lora.

I've been feeling very depressed and kind of lackadaisical all week, so I was not exactly enthusiastic about having to jump in the pool today.  But I suited up and got myself into the water and began my laps.  The more laps I did, the easier it felt and I really started to get into a place where only breathing was on my mind and it felt good to feel empty for a change.

I think all of those hours of watching Olympic swimming on tv have paid off a bit because after scrutinizing their techniques and kind of mimicking what I thought they did, I got into a groove that felt really natural today.  Gosh, I may have even felt like a swimmer.  Dare I say that?!

Oh!  And I really had to laugh at myself today...
There is a sign next to the pool with all kinds of reminders and rules.  It also states the distance of the pool:
Each lane is 25 yards.  33 laps or 66 lengths equals one mile. 
Guess who read that as 66 laps equals one mile???   This guy!
This whole time I've been thinking that I needed to do 33 laps to get in a half mile.  WUT??
And that is after I had calculated everything out at my desk at work weeks ago!  I had a cheat sheet on my desk that told me that I needed to do 17.6 laps for a half mile.  But I'd go to the pool, see that sign and somehow that cheat sheet was completely erased from memory.  I know, I'm a weirdo.  Sheesh.

Soooo - last week when I said that I had gone a little over a quarter mile...yah, I actually swam a half mile.  Doh.  Hello confidence booster!

I did the Tour de Tonka this weekend and ended up just sticking with the 26 miles.  It was for the best.  I was so ready to be off of my bike at ohhh...mile 11 that I knew I had made the right choice.  The weather was perfect for the ride - overcast, cooler and a bit rainy.  I had some technical problems though - my front tire was nearly completely flat for the first 5ish miles.  Thankfully they had bike mechanics at the rest stops who filled up the tire for me.  Then somewhere around mile 10, the screw came off of my shoe cleat so I couldn't clip in.  The same thing happened to me at the Saint Paul Classic last fall and I was able to get another screw at a rest stop.  I stopped at the rest stop around mile 16, but there was just one guy working on bikes there and he didn't have any extra screws.  He straightened out the cleat for me and tightened it the best he could, but at some point it became crooked again and I couldn't clip in for the rest of the ride.  It wasn't so bad, but I made a major mental note to pack an extra wrench and screws for my next ride (race)!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Half Mile

Today is one of those - oh my god, what am I thinking!?? - kind of days.
The triathlon I'm now racing includes a half mile swim.  I've been assured by others that I will be able to do this, but I haven't been convinced myself yet.  I swam a little over a quarter mile today at the pool and felt really great, but to do twice that?!  In open water?!  OH.BOY.

Aaaand we're back to being scared again...

This weekend I'm doing the Tour de Tonka, which is pretty much right out my parents' front door.  I am pretty sure I'm going to do the 26 mile route, but that 43 mile route keeps calling my name...might be a race-day decision (haven't registered yet).  I just keep thinking back to the last 40+ ride I did last fall, which was emotionally very tough on me.  I've no guarantee this ride will go the same way though.  That one could have just been a bad day for me.  I can't stop imagining how awesome it would feel to conquer that distance again with much less strife.  Darn my competitive nature!  Plus, those Olympians who I find on my tv constantly these days really make a girl want to kick some booty!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Aaaand we're trying this again...

(No pun intended) I am back on a training schedule after a tumultuous past couple of months. Long story short I was not able to finish training for or run the race in June. It is amazing how quickly life can smack you upside the head and suddenly you're spinning into a new atmosphere.

I've had to go through some big changes in my personal life, which make it even harder to find the time and energy to train for something like this. However, my motivation and my desire to do a multi-sport race this summer are still very strong. I'm not sure how much training I'll be able to get in before race day, but rest assured I will be at that start line (and finish line, hopefully). I can't have a third race turn out to be a DNS. Heck, I'd take a DNF over that this time around. But I won't DNF either. I'm going to finish this bad boy.

August 19th.
Saint Paul Triathlon sprint race.
I'm registered, my race outfit is being shipped and I am R-E-A-D-Y.

Oh boy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Training is coming along piece by piece.  I'm feeling faster and stronger lately and when I take a break, it doesn't feel as much of a distraction as it once did.  Of course, take anything I say with a grain of salt because tomorrow I might be in a lousy mood and might feel completely different.

Running on Monday nights has become a regular thing for my schedule lately, but last night when my husband came home from his own hill cycling workout, I just wasn't feeling it.  Luckily he's never been one to let me slide by without doing what I've promised I would and he forced me out the door.  Stepping out the door, my plan was to run for 20 minutes and be back to watch our dvr'd episode of Smash (our guilty pleasure show).  However, once I got out there, I felt myself being drawn to keep going forward.  So instead of my usual propensity for cutting the run short because I wasn't feeling it, I was encouraging myself to go just that much further.  This is sooo not like me, but I so desperately want this race to go smoothly and to walk away from my first triathlon wanting to do another one.  I ran 2.34 (or so) miles in 30 minutes for a 12:39 pace.  While it pleases me to see pace numbers other than 14 or 15, I can't help but feel like I am missing out on my potential to do better.  I want to see 11's and 10's and I know I need to do some work to get there.

My swim today was good as well.  I am a complete airhead in the water though.  I am never ever able to keep count of how much I am swimming.  I am completely distracted by other swimmers and things going on outside of the pool.  I am extremely self-conscious about myself in all things athletic, but there is something about the people swimming on either side of me that brings out that horrible voice of self-doubt in my head.  It isn't even about my body image since that is under the water.  I'm sizing up their stroke, their speed and how effortless they look in comparison to what I think I look like.  It gets inside my head and gets all twisted up until I'm convinced that I look like a cat in water and that I have no business swimming in this pool.  The thing I have no business doing is letting all of this garbage in my head.  Triathlons need to include emotional training as well.

This reminds me of this awesome comic from The Oatmeal:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Smelling the flowers

What's the old saying? "Stop and smell the roses?"

Life can be such a whirlwind.  Sometimes I (and I'm guessing actually most of us) get so wrapped up in everything that goes wrong in life, all of the stresses, all of the uncontrollable things that drive me crazy, that I forget to stop and appreciate all of the wonderful things.

A person that I love very very much has been dealt a very bad card.  It is something that is on my mind constantly, something that is so completely unfair and infuriating and I nearly always forget to see beyond the pain and sadness and realize that there is world out there moving forward in-spite of the cancer killing my best friend.

I used to ride my cruiser bike to work just for fun, fitness and to leave my car in the garage for a while.  Since I've been triathlon training my beautiful orange cruiser has been collecting dust in the garage and I've been finding my exercise elsewhere in the pool or on the trails.  My orange trek only has 3 gears.  It is a slow, heavy beast of a bike, but those things provide me with a slow, purposeful ride to work that allows me to "stop and smell the roses."  On this bike I am more likely to notice the gaggle of geese in the river making a racket as I ride by, the beautiful blossoms on the trees that blow in the wind like confetti and I tip my helmet to my cohorts on the trail with a smile.  It makes me feel better.  It brings me life.

I dusted her off today and tacked those additional 15 minutes onto my ride so that I could gain a little more perspective and feel just a little bit better.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Keep on Truckin'

Here I am in the ninth week of my training with six more weeks to go. Whenever I think about the race, I get a knot in my stomach and my heart rate goes way up. The "trust your training" mantra plays out in my head in response, but it does nothing to quell the nervousness. Last week I attended a beginner's triathlon clinic which was put on by the Trinona race people. There wasn't really anything in it that I hadn't heard or seen before, but it was fun to go and hear about the race.

Since I last blogged, I've done a couple long bike rides, a few swims and one run. My schedule with work and the kids hasn't been ideal for sticking to my schedule as much as I'd like, but I'm trying to make it work.

My husband bought me a bike computer and I used it for the first time on a ride this Sunday.  I am desperate to get faster on the bike and I have to say that this little fella was a big help in that quest.  I watched the mph like a hawk and tried very hard to keep it up as high as I could.  I rode for about 13 miles with a pretty strong tailwind on the way out, which means I had a pretty strong wind in my face the whole way home.  For my race my plan is to do the 11 mile ride in 50 minutes or less, so I'll need to average a pace of about 13mph.  I'm very confident I can do that at this point, but I'd honestly love to do much better.

Last Friday while swimming I noticed first some tightness and then pain in my shoulder while doing the front crawl. I continued on with my laps thinking it would work itself out, but it only continued to hurt more as I swam. I haven't been in the pool since then, so I am hoping I've given it enough time to heal. I plan to swim tonight if I can fit it in. It is a big day at our house, my son has a performance tonight at his school and we're all very excited!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It didn't suck

I ran last night.  Outside.  It didn't suck.
Workout(Run / Jog) : Distance 2.34 mi, Duration 30:00, Pace 12:49, Speed 4.7 mi/h

It was cold and windy and I didn't want to go.  I was either going to pack up my bag and drive to the gym for a workout that probably would have ended up being yet another swim because I wasn't in the mood to run or bike or I was going to throw on my running shoes and head out the door.  I chose wisely.

I have run this route many times in the past and it has been painful for me.  As soon as I settled into a jog, I had the feeling this run was going to be different.  My breathing was easy and I found myself running much further without a walk break than I had in a very very long time.  In fact, I would say that I definitely ran a greater percentage of the route than I had ever been able to before.  I can tell my overall fitness is so much better.  I took quick, short walk breaks and picked up with running again without needing to convince my brain to follow along.  I really prefer running in the dark not only because no one is watching me, but also because it gives me less distractions than daylight and I am able to concentrate on the task at hand so much better.

My shins didn't hurt one bit, but I did have a side cramp early on that I worked through and my left foot was slightly uncomfortable.  None of these issues were enough to keep me from moving forward.  It felt great.  I needed it.

Yesterday was a very rough day and this run not only let me pound out some of my aggression, but also gave me a way to end my day on a high note.