Friday, May 28, 2010
Usually my Memorial Day weekends are spent sitting poolside, tanning with a good book or a fruity drink. Not so much this year. Here are my weekend plans:
Wake up at 5:30 am. Drive to Coach Shawn's house in Austin. Ride 100+ miles. Then run 5.
Wake up at 6 am. Run 20 miles. Then head to Lake Pflugerville and swim 1500 meters.
Wake up at some point. Not super early. Ride 1 hour. Swim after that.
I also plan to eat a lot.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A lot of people have been asking me what I am going to do after Ironman? What will I do with my free time? What's next?? It's a question I've thought a lot about lately.
I've always imagined training for the Ironman is like pregnancy, the race to the birth and the depression you have afterwards to post-partum. Now, I've still never had a baby or completed an Ironman, so I can't say with certainty how these two compare (feel free to share if you've done both!), but I imagine the highs, lows, exhaustion, excitement and fear are similar.
The big difference between the two is that when you have a baby (and deal with post-partum or not) is that you get to continue to make goals. You now have this bigger (more exhausting) thing to do and take care of. You life now has MORE purpose, not less. However, after the Ironman, I imagine that you go through this depression, this waffling, this "what in the world am I supposed to do today?" thing. My goal is over...now what? and no, I'm not having a baby post-Ironman (mom)
My life has been rigidly scheduled for a year. Every minute of everyday. I rarely go out during the week because I needed to workout, eat healthy, get chores done, save money, and be in bed by 8pm...it's tough to do all that in one night! I sometimes go out on the weekends but I am always home by 9...our dinner reservations were at 5 pm when all the blue hairs eat. I was in bed by 8:30 pm both Friday and Saturday evening this past weekend just to give you insight on my exciting social life.
I can imagine that I will feel a bit lost post-Ironman. I've achieved a level of fitness I never imagined possible, and I won't know what to do with that post-Ironman. I've already signed up for some shorter triathlons for the rest of the summer to keep me semi-focused. I know a month of so of losing focus will be a good thing, but it's just hard for us goal oriented people. I will miss my schedule!!
In honor of being 30 (!) days out, here are 30 things I've learned (or would like to make note of) along the way:
- If I can do it, anyone can. No, seriously.
- Buy shoes regularly and don't skimp.
- If I am biking and yell "on your left", that means I am approaching you from behind, on your left. This typically means that moving to your right is your next move. Go ahead, try it.
- Everyone is fast enough to place in a race. You just have to find a race small enough…or slash the other girls tires.
- You don’t HAVE to do that really hard race, you GET to. The medal is your badge of honor.
- You know it’s been a perfect workout if when you finish that last set of intervals, you COULD do another one, but you don’t.
- We train to race. If there isn’t an ultimate goal in mind, what’s the point? Pick a race, set a goal, make a plan and execute.
- Never wait in line for a port-a-potty. Learn to squat, whip it out, or pee your pants…but don’t waste 5 minutes waiting in line. (I know others will disagree with me on this)
- Always say hello to a passing cyclist or runner. A simple wave is all you need…acknowledge their presence.
- Find your inspiration.
- Spend your time on your weakness, but don’t forget your strength.
- Athletes are not machines – you can’t go full steam ahead every day.
- When running or cycling in a group and you encounter a mad dog, you don’t need to outrun the dog, just the slowest person in the group. This is a lesson in pacing.
- Enjoy the crowd on race day…that’s what makes this different than your training runs.
- Find a group that you trust and enjoy and train with them. They will keep you accountable and make it fun.
- Be aware for your surroundings. If you run in the dark, in the ghetto, alone, with headphones, you are asking for it. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.
- Push yourself harder than you ever though possible…just to prove that you can.
- Leave it all on the race course. When you cross that finish line, you should know that you went as hard and as fast as you possibly could.
- Never try anything new on race day – no new clothes, no new food, nothing!
- Run no more than 2 abreast. And that does not mean 2 abreast with 5 feet in between you. That means almost shoulder to shoulder. You’re slow and I can’t get around you when you take up the whole trail.
- I can tell if you are doing fartleks off me, so please pick something else to measure your distance.
- Waking up early never gets easier. Ever. But if you have a goal, it at least seems worth it…most of the time.
- Someone needs to convince races to start giving our finishers SHORTS instead of shirts. I have more shirts than I can shake a stick at.
- If you don’t have the support of your family and friends, you will fail. Surround yourself with people who support you.
- Take the time to do an easy workout with a friend to catch up. You will still burn the calories…and it’s better for you than beer.
- Don’t ever give up. You can finish. You may not win, but you can always finish. Put your mind to it, go for it, get down and break a sweat.
- Listen to the advice of your friends. You don’t have to DO the advice, but it’s always good to hear the opinions.
- Increase your core strength. Not only to get a 6 pack, but it helps prevent injury.
- Cheer for your teammates.
- Don’t die until you cross that finish line.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
My two training buddies and I were out riding the IMCDA bike course Saturday and I took a water temp-- 45 degrees. We've had an unusually cold spring. Last night set a record low for Spokane--32 degrees.
HOLY CRAP, I AM GOING TO FREEZE MY BUTT OFF.
Monday, May 24, 2010
This was one of my biggest weeks yet, and man - I'm tired (that's the last time I'll say it in this post. I know you all are getting sick of hearing it).
Last week's totals:
Swim - 8,680 yards
Bike - 170.3 miles
Run - 50.84
Total of 254 miles. Damn.
As I’m winding down the big training weeks (this weekend is my biggest ride, next week is still pretty big, then gently I drop down into taper land) I know that Ironman isn’t physical. I know that physically, I can do it. But Ironman is mental. Ironman is your mind telling your body to go. Ironman is sucking it up, princess. Ironman is trusting the plan. Ironman is in your head. or; more to the point, getting outside of your head when your brain is asking you why you thought this whole Ironman thing was such a good idea.
34 days from today. June 27th. I will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, run 26.2 miles. I will breathe in the moment. I will put myself into the day. I will trust my training. I will suck it up, princess. I will listen to my body. I will ignore the voice of doubt in my head.
Tick tock, tick tock....
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
This I believe:
Physically, I am ready. I have put in the hours. I have done the training.
I have had great workouts, sessions I ended feeling confident and strong. I have had workouts where I just wanted to sit down and cry, and I have. I have felt the panic, the fear of feeling unable.
Now I believe now I am able.
Another big training weekend ahead, followed by a little bit lighter training schedule next week. Tomorrow morning I will be getting up at 4:15 am and departing the house at 5 am to drive to Blanco for the Real Ale Ride. 80 mile ride, followed by an 8 mile run.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Swim - 11,040.42 yards (4 workouts)
Bike - 124.50 miles (3 workouts)
Run - 50.24 miles (6 workouts)
I was supposed to ride the Dam Loop with Shawn early on Saturday morning. We were planning to run both before and after the ride, so it was at least a 6.5 hour workout and we needed to get started early. Woke up at 5:30 am to showers and thunderstorms. Crappity, crap, crap. I called Shawn and we looked at the weather forecast. At that point, it didn't look good, and Shawn thought the conditions were unsafe to ride. Deflated, I went back to bed. Woke up again at 8:45 am. By 9:30 am, it had cleared up, but it was too late to try to get that workout done. I ended up doing Sunday's workout, which was an 18 mile run and an open water swim. The extra sleep actually did wonders because I felt more rested than I had in awhile.
Shawn was headed out of town Sunday morning, so I decided to head out on the bike on my own. Ended up with 50 miles, followed by a 4 mile run.
Of all things, I just feel I shouldn’t be cutting my biking short. I could use all the bike preparation I can get. But then, I did get another 50 mile ride + 5 mile run done on Tuesday, and a 30 mile hard ride done on Wednesday. So it’s not all bad, right? Right? RIGHT? It’s okay that I cut my ride a bit. RIGHT?
I think too much. I’ve put in a lot of work. I can’t second guess my training. Anyway, another busy week ahead. Morning and evening workouts every day this week (even Friday, which I usually have the evenings off. And it's my birthday. Waa.) Saturday morning I am doing the Real Ale ride in Blanco, which means I'll be up at 4:30 am to get my bike loaded up for the 1.5 hour drive out there.
This week's workouts:
Monday: (AM) 7 mile recovery run; (PM) 2.5 hour ride
Tuesday: (AM) 8 mile fartlek run; (PM) Splash & Dash Race
Wednesday: (AM) Pool Swim; (PM) 2 hour ride
Thursday: (AM) Pool Swim; (PM) 55 mile ride*
Friday: (AM) 10 mile run; (PM) Open Water Swim
Saturday: Real Ale Ride - 80 miles; followed by 8 mi run off the bike
*going to have to take vacation time and leave early to get this done. otherwise I'll be biking well into the twilight hours.
Friday, May 14, 2010
This Friday I'm in love with:
- I am FINALLY getting my hair cut during lunch today. I can't wait. I haven't had it cut since October and it's a mess. Similar to a bird's nest. I'm getting it cut shorter, which is perfect for the summer heat and much easier to manage. Here is the look I am going for (but maybe a tad bit longer)
- My dogs slept until 4 am this morning, then didn't bark when I put them outside so I could go back to sleep. I've had problems with the dogs this week - waking me up at 2:30 am every day, refusing to go back to sleep, then barking when I put them outside. It's been like dealing with newborns. Last night was progress, and I was able to get a good night's sleep. Obviously, it's the little things that make me happy. :)
- Got a nice motivational card in the mail from my mom yesterday with a special treat inside. The cards always make my day.
- Friday Night Lights tonight!!
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I remember the run portion of the Galveston Half-Ironman a few weeks ago. I spotted a blind athlete who was running tethered to his guide during the race. I saw several varieties of paraplegic athletes or athletes missing limbs. And I remember thinking “what the hell do I have to complain about my race – I can see and I have four functioning limbs.” My racing and training problems are small. I can go out and ride without concern over logistics of someone being my eyes. I don’t have to worry about my prosthetic and I don’t give a second thought to how I’m going to get into or out of the pool. I just go and do.
But it’s more than that.
I’m lucky. I forget this sometimes, in the day-to-day of being overwhelmed and stressed; of focusing on the little things. I focus on my shortcomings and perceived failures. I focus on what I do not do well. I get frustrated. I forget.
I forget that I can see and I have four functioning limbs.
I forget how lucky I am to have a husband who supports me in my endeavor.
I forget how lucky I am to have a family who supports me, encourages me and cheers me on every chance they get.
I forget how lucky I am to live in a state without winter.
I forget how lucky I am to have a pretty flexible schedule and work close to home.
I forget how lucky I am to be essentially healthy, without physical limitations, restrictions, conditions or barriers.
I forget that I run for myself, for the simple pleasure of seeing how far I can go and how fast I can go without thinking about or comparing myself to anyone else.
I forget that I love the freedom of the bike, the things I see on the road, the joy of legs spinning madly.
I forget that the peace I feel in the water, even during the madness of a triathlon.
I forget how lucky I am to be able to afford bikes and shoes and race entry fees.
I forget that I love the sport for what it gives me and not the time it takes away.
I forget how lucky I am to be training for Ironman.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Swim - 11,490.42 yards
Bike - 138 miles
Run - 54.13 miles
This week has taken some very creative planning to get workouts done, but barring my open water swim getting rained out tomorrow evening, I should be able to get everything on my schedule done. It's late nights + early mornings, but I'll be tired anyways, so I might as well just suck it up and get it done.
Today I am 46 days out from race day. At this point I'm just ready to GO! I'm tired of waiting, tired of stressing over training, tired of planning. I'm tired of worrying about things out of my control, and the fear of the unknown.
I just want to get on the plane and get down to C'ouer D'Alene, Idaho. And become an Ironman.
I’m trying to remember life before Ironman. For over a year it was out there. It loomed even in the winter, before Ironman training began in earnest.
It was always in the room. Palpable. Breathing over there in the corner. Staring at me. Taunting me.
It needs a name, so let’s call it Travis. Travis the (sometimes terrible) Ironman training taskmaster.
We have had a love-hate relationship, Travis and I. Travis has stole my time and made me hurt. Travis made me cry and scream. But Travis made me strong. Travis has given me endurance. Travis taught me some stuff about myself. And, Travis will help turn me into an Ironman.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Wish me luck!
Friday, May 7, 2010
I'm tired and sore today. I've been in the pool every day this week, including two swims yesterday (one at lunch in case Dan backed out on me in the evening for our open water swim, and then an open water swim last night). My arms are so sore, I can barely lift them. I have an optional swim scheduled during my lunch hour today, but decided to skip it to have lunch with Dan. I had a short & sweet easy 3-mile run this morning (which meant I got to sleep in until 6 am - awesome), and that will be my only workout of the day as I need to rest up for a big training weekend ahead.
This Saturday will not consist of any crazy 3 am wake-up calls like last weekend...but I think I might prefer a 3 am wake up call as opposed to what I have on tap tomorrow: 105 miles on the bike, followed by a 60 min run. Ouch. This just sounds painful.
I'm riding in the Armadillo Classic put on by the Austin Cycling Association, so I won't be riding alone, as it is a local ride which is nice. It will just be a long day - around 7 hours on the bike, followed by an hour on the run = 8 hours of training, outside in the heat (although a few months ago I promised I would not complain about the heat). I just need to suck it up and do it and not get mentally discouraged thinking about it.
On another note, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all the mom's out there! And, a special thanks to my mom who has supported me in more ways I can count. Have a blessed Mother's Day!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
- The house. It's a disaster. I'm seriously considering hiring someone to come clean it. I'm trying to convince the husband it would be well worth the money.
- I've always been an avid bed maker. Make the bed every morning, as soon as I get up. This hasn't happened in months.
- Staying up to date on current events. Shamefully, I am in my own little world and have little to no idea what's going on in the world. I spent my time surfing triathlon websites and Ironman chat rooms, instead of on cnn.com. I feel very out of touch.
- My attention to my appearance or what I'm wearing. I tend to think that I am capable of going out in public without a paper bag over my head. However....looking at myself lately tends to make me believe otherwise. I used to pick out my outfit for work the night before, coordinate it with jewelry, fix my hair nicely and put on make up in the morning. This rarely happens anymore. Part of it time crunch - I always have a long workout in the morning, up at 4:45 am, done at 7:15 am then rushed to walk the dogs and get to work- part of it is knowing I am going to work out again at lunch so why waste time fixing myself up, and part of it is just general apathy (I've got bigger things to worry about. Like an Ironman). I pretty much always work out at lunch as well. In trying to maximize my workout during that period, I leave myself 45-50 min to work out and about 8 min to shower and get back to the office. Unfortunately, that eight minutes does not leave me time to dry my hair or apply much make-up, so I return to the office hair wet and in some sort of ponytail/braid, and usually with horrific goggle marks under my eyes since I usually use that time to swim. It's not pretty.
- Related to the aforementioned. My hair. It needs cut BAD. My feet. They need a pedicure BAD.
- Also related to the aforementioned. My wardrobe. I have a closet full of nice clothes, but I wear workout clothes 99% of the time. Even my work attire has probably gotten a bit too casual. There is no coordinating outfits for work. It now consists of grabbing what is closest to me in my closet, which I seem to be rotating the same outfits over and over because they always end up closest to me. This morning I pulled down a pair of wrinkled shorts and decided they would do. No need to iron them. Weekends? After I finish my workouts and shower I either a) put on a clean t-shirt and running shorts or b) put on my pj's. Post-workout in the evenings? Meet Dan at a restaurant on the way home wearing my sweating biking/running/swimming clothes TO THE RESTAURANT because I'm tired and hungry and it would take too much effort to go home and shower first. Seriously people, I am at hot mess.
- My dogs. I used to give them a bath once a week. I can't remember the last time I bathed them. Which probably makes them quite happy.
Dan and I are headed to Lake Pflugerville tonight to get in some open water swim practice. Then probably straight to dinner in our wet clothes.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
And, yes, that is an empty bowl of ice cream to my right.
Decided to move tonight's ride to tomorrow night; two nights of back to back biking has left me a bit sore!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
- I was supposed to have to attend a work meeting last night that would take up my evening, but yesterday afternoon my boss said that I didn't have to go unless I wanted too (I didn't). Upon finding myself with a free evening, I decided to hop on my bike and ride for 20 miles. Not much, but an unplanned bike workout pretty much never happens with me, so I was excited!
- Speaking of my bike, me and it are going to be BFF's by the end of the month. Coach Shawn has me on my bike a lot a lot a lot this month so that we can focus on my limiter. Which is good. I was reading some C'ouer D'Alene race reports on-line yesterday, and the bike course sounds like a cruel bitch. Hills and hills and hills. Oh my. Today, I am leaving work an hour early and heading out to Cedar Park for a 40 mile ride. Then tomorrow night is my usual Wednesday evening ride with friends. Saturday I have a 105 mile ride, and then Sunday is another 30-40 miler. Sounds like fun, no?
- My mom is the greatest. Seriously. Every week she sends me via snail mail a "weekly training card." It always has an inspirational message with words of encouragement. It totally pumps me up. I have them all affixed to my refrigerator, and look at them on a daily basis for inspiration.
- I really hope that it warms up some in C'ouer D'Alene before the race. I am seriously freaking out about how cold the water is going to be. I heard something about white caps??? This week I need to drag my buns out to Lake Pflugerville and swim. That's pretty cold but I am doubting it's as cold as C'ouer D'Alene.
- How is it already May????!!!!
Today's workouts: (AM) 8 mi run with speed work (run group); (Lunch) 1700 yds easy recovery swim; (PM) 40ish mi ride @ steady pace
Monday, May 3, 2010
Less than two months from today.
2.4 mile swim. 112 mile bike. 26.2 mile run.
Some days: I am wholly confident in my ability to do this, 140.6. I am capable. I can break it down, I can do each piece, I can take it apart, I can put it together. I’ve got this.
Some days: I am convinced I will be an utter failure. I don’t know why I registered. I don’t know what I’m thinking. My workouts are pathetic and feel so much harder than they should. I can’t do this, I can’t put it together.
I vascillate. It’s a trend, it’s seeping into my day. I am completely certain and even empowered… I am utterly unsure and questioning my capabilities.
This is my Ironman; more mental than physical. I’m not out there to qualify for kona; I’m not out there to put a mark of dominance on this race. I’m out there to finish. Without requiring medical assistance.
Today: 13.5 mile run; 2000 yds in the pool. baby steps.
**Mission getting-up-at-the-crack-of-dark-thirty on Saturday to run was a success. Woke up at 3:00 am, knocked out 14.5 miles, at work by 6 am. Am I glad I got it done before work? Yes. Was it fun? No.