Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I Just Gotta Have Faith....

There are many things I do not understand. To name a few:
  • ·         The stock market
  • ·         How to make Never Fail Fudge
  • ·         Quantum Physics or physics of any kind
  • ·         Calculus or any math past Algebra II
  • ·         Why when I get mad it looks like I’m crying
  • ·         The male thought process
  • ·         Why some of my toe nails won’t grow anymore
  • ·         Triathlon training

The only one that seems fair to discuss here is triathlon training. Here’s what I don’t get about it: I am running the least amount of miles EVER, yet when I do, I am running the strongest. For example, this morning I ran a nice strong 10 miles with my Running Husband. Could have run more. Varied our pace per the assignment. No problem, no sucking wind at the end. Heart rate was back down swiftly after we finished.
Since May 1st I have run a grand total of 46.1 miles. I run twice a week, sometimes.

5/1: 7 miles
5/4: 3.1 brick (this means I ran after I rode my bicycle) 
5/8: 10 miles
5/14: 7 miles
5/21: 6 miles
5/24: 3 brick
5/28: 10 miles

How does this happen? How am I able to run so little but yet so much? November doesn't count, I managed to be stupid and sprain my ankle.

My running in miles, by month, for the past year

The good news: I have a coach and not only is he an excellent photo bomber, he understands these things. 

Can you keep a secret? I usually set him up for it.
I will just keep on keepin’ on.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Just gotta do me....

I'm not fast. I'm not slow, but I'm not fast. My training friends, they all seem to be fast. My mother warned me about hanging around fast people, maybe I should have listened.

Monday nights are group swims. I'm either one of the slowest ones or I am the slowest. And it sucks. It sucks swimming to the other side of the lake knowing that everyone has been there 3-5 minutes ahead of you and is waiting on you. It brings back feelings of being picked last in school or not at all.

As long as the fast kids keep letting me play, I'll be there!
I always seem to be the slowest. Often, it is by design. I used to have a run group we referred to as Thursdays with the Fast Kids. I had put together a group of friends to run with me on Thursday mornings and it helped me get my pace work done. I know my running improved because I was always trying to keep up with someone else. I treasure my runs with those faster than me because if I feel like pushing pace, I know they will be right there beside me. When I don't feel like pushing pace, I often get a little encouragement to give just a little bit more.
There is this guy I ride with and he's been riding for YEARS! He just spins away, barely breaking a sweat. But he'll ride with me at my pace. He was on my 60 mile ride and I apologized for slowing down. He said not to be silly, I may be going slower, but I never give up. Can't get faster if you quit.

I'm hoping my swimming will improve as well as I chase their wakes on Monday nights. But this is the real truth as I was reminded last night by Matt who was manning the kayak: Don't worry a bit about them....this is Ironman, you worry about you.

I finished dead last Monday night, but check out my progress:

From my first open water swim last year in June to my last of the season I improved my pace per mile by 2 min 50 sec. From my last swim in 2013 to my first of this year I've improved my pace by 1:56. So from first to first that's a 4 min 45 sec IMPROVEMENT! (My seconds may be off, I've never been awesome at math.)

So as another friend reminded me,"You just gotta do you, and let everyone else worry about themselves." Happy training to you all. I'll see you at the finish line.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

No, I Don't Want to Come Out and Play....

I was on Facebook today and a friend posted a link to this blog: Once We Become Parents We Don't Want to Hang Out with you Anymore (But Not for the Reasons You Think) And while I'm single, never married, and don't have kids; I still tend to click on these types of posts.

As I was reading it, it dawned on me....

Now that I'm Training for a Long Distance Triathlon I Don't Want to Hang Out with you Anymore (But Not for the Reasons You Think).

I am not mocking Christine Skoutelas. I am COMPLETELY identifying with what she says, just in a different way.

***these opinions are mine and mine alone and it should be noted that I am in complete awe of those who train and have families. I can't even handle a dog.***

She says:
1. The kid's schedule is more important than one would think.
I say:
1. My training schedule is more important than you think. A group is meeting for an open water swim. It's just not smart to go swim in a lake or a river or an ocean by yourself so I swim when others do. I might be able to move my run around because running I can do before or after the sun rises/sets, but my bike, no, my bike needs to happen when the sun is up. I'm either smart or chicken, either way, that's my self-imposed rule. I could half-ass my training, but then there is no way I'm going to get to enjoy the race.

A pretty typical looking 3 weeks of training workouts.

She says:
2. Kids put their parents on a schedule of their own.
I say:
2. Tri training makes me schedule everything else. It isn't just the training that takes time, but getting ready for the training. Getting up early enough to eat. Prepping my bike for a long ride. Driving to where it is that I'm going to swim, bike or run. All of that has to be scheduled. Without having another human in the house to support me, EVERYTHING gets scheduled including when I cook my food for the week, when I'm doing laundry, when I can clean up the place. Last week it said I trained for about 8.5 hours. That was just the time I was actively in motion, not rest time on the ride, or travel time to get there, or time to clean up after. Captain Wonderful said that he didn't like that I planned social events a week ahead., lacrosse and tri training, if I wanted to see him, I HAD to schedule it.

She says:
3. We like hanging out with our kids.
I say:
3. I like training. Well, not always, but usually. It might be hard and it might be exhausting, but the sense of accomplishment I get when I finish a tough workout is better than any drug I've ever done. JUST KIDDING MOM!!! I've never done drugs. A great swim, a strong bike, a fast run...I can be buzzing for hours! I can relive it over and over and over again....(probably not a good day to call, because you WILL hear about.)

Feeling pretty happy with a 45 mile ride and 5k run.
She says:
4. "Just bring the kids" is an option.
I say
4. "Just come over after" is an option. Except it isn't. I'm exhausted after a long workout. Completely and utterly wiped out after an almost 60 mile ride. I'm amazed at my friends who are training for 70.3s and 140.6s that have families and have to continue to function after a long weekend workout. I need a nap. I'd love to come visit, but I'm probably going to fall asleep on your couch mid sentence.

Sitting in the car after my 60 mile ride.

She says:
5. Seemingly benign household chores suddenly seem to consume our lives.
I say:
5. Seemingly benign household chores suddenly seem to consume my life. I'm sorry, but I can't hang out Sunday night. Sunday is when I cook for the week. Yes, the entire week. I'm trying to get slimmer, toner, healthier, etc. that requires planning. And oh the never ends. I'm just one person and the laundry is crazy! Remember how I just said I cook for the week? It gets stored in plastic-ware. That stuff doesn't wash itself.

Lacrosse is almost over, I promise future roomie to keep the sink clear.
She says:
6. Kids go to sleep pretty damn early.
I say:
6. I need to go to sleep pretty damn early. Really, I do. My alarm goes off at 5am and I don't stop moving from that point forward. While I'm not sure if I would get in trouble for taking a nap at work, I hear that sort of behavior is frowned upon. If you know me then you know I'm no fun when I'm tired. Crab@ss party of one, your table is ready.

She says:
7. Leisure time is so limited that we tend to spend it on ourselves (often by ourselves).
I say:
7. Rest days are sacred. I get 1-2 days off from training a week. Coach insists and I have learned to love them. I get to sleep till 7:30 if it is a work day or until I wake up if it is a weekend day. If it is a workday, then that is my one night to meet up with a friend or (it could happen) a date. On the weekend I'm still trying to set up my home. Last Saturday I think was spent furniture shopping, but at this point it might have been 2 Saturdays ago as I can't remember. If I'm off on Saturday, that means a long workout on Sunday. No, I can't go see a 10pm movie with you or breathe in smoke at a bar or go out for a few drinks or spend the evening walking about in heels. I need to go to sleep early so I can go meet up with other crazy friends who will ride into the middle of no where with me.

I finally have a real couch to sit on. A first since 'the fire'.

She says:
8. Sometimes we just need to idly linger.
I say:
8. Sometimes I just need to idly linger. I run a pretty hectic schedule which, truth be told, is about to come to a grinding halt as lacrosse season ends on Saturday. With as packed as I tend to keep my schedule sometimes I just need quality time with my couch. I don't want to talk to anyone. I don't want to think. I just want to watch television. You are always welcome to come sit on the couch and watch TV with me, as long as you understand that conversation may be limited. It's dawned on me recently that I think this endurance training is turning me into an introvert. (more on this another time)

As I mentioned in a past post about birds of a feather and surrounding myself with like-minded and like-goaled people, I truly adore my non-tri friends. I get to do things with them that I don't do with my tri friends. I ask my tri friends to swim, bike or run. With my non tri friends I get to see a movie or go shopping, or things just non-tri related.

Just this afternoon I was speaking with a triathlon friend and we talked about the fact that we spend so much time thinking about or participating in tri-training, it always creeps into conversation. I often wonder if I'm boring my non-tri friends or over sharing with them. I know my brother has no interest in hearing about my issues with finding the correct saddle. In this conversation this afternoon, we discussed GI issues and things that impact when we run. These topics are not usual parts of conversation in everyday life (unless you are an endurance athlete). One date asked me what else I like to do besides train and I listed lots of things and then said, when I have the availability.

Here's the blunt truth:
Sometimes, the only time and energy I have to catch up with you, is if you are on a bike or run with  me. It isn't that I love my non tri friends any less. It isn't that I no longer like them because they didn't drink the same Kool-Aid I did. It is just that there are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in week. I don't want another hour in the day, because I know I would just cram something else in.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I'm three this month....

It's been three years since I put on my shoes to go for a run. Oh, if I had known then what I know now....

Let me paint you a picture of my first 'run': It was May, 2011 and I was wearing baggy knee length mesh shorts, a baggy cotton t-shirt and running shoes I had bought in 2008.
(The running shoes were from the summer when I had actually completed a 5k and 4 mile race. I planned on sticking with running but then it got hot. And treadmills were boring. And work took up a lot of time. And I was tired after work. Get the picture? They weren't used much.)

Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what this one simple question would lead to:
Do you want to run a half marathon?
 Laurie asked me that. I told her no. Then I told her yes. The rest, as they shall say, is history.

2011: Silver Comet Half, Anything is Possible 5k, Thanksgiving Half, RnR Miami Half
2012: Resolution Run, Mercedes Half, Publix Half, RnR Nashville Marathon, Harris Jacobs Dream Run 5K

2012: Dover AFB Half, Monster Dash Half, Thanksgiving Half, Huntersville Half, Biggest Loser Run/Walk (no pic)
2013: Resolution Run, Charleston Marathon, Hot Chocolate 15k (not pictured), Critz Tybee Run Festival, Super Hero 5k

2013: Mercedes Half, Publix Half, TriLatta Tri, Peachtree Road Race 10K, Acworth Women's Sprint Tri

2013: Tugallo Olympic, Tri,RnR Philadelphia Half (not pictured), Marine Corp Marathon, Thanksgiving Half

2014: Resolution Run, Disney Dopey Challenge, Critz Tybee Island Run Festival

2014: Chattahoochee Challenge 10k, Publix Half 
I hope you noticed I posted very few action shots. The picture are mostly with friends I have connected with over the course of my journey. That is what running, and now triathlon, has done for me. It has introduced me to people I might never have connected with. I have traveled to parts of states I might never have gone to. Some of the people pictured, I didn't meet until the middle of the race.
My favorite race of them all was the Super Hero 5k. I We completed it in just under an hour or so. How can a 5k that took me almost an hour to complete be my favorite? My dad did it with me. It was his FIRST RACE EVER! Two weeks after turning 70, he walked a 5k with me. He didn't complain, he thanked the volunteers, and we spent an hour together, uninterrupted by life or cell phones.
Each one of these races has a story behind it. Dover AFB Half I ran in Band-Aids. I wiped out on a run 5 days before and still managed a PR. The Monster Half was my first race after not running for 6 weeks due to an injury. I think this race convince Katie she needed to accept the suck and embrace hills. Now she runs them all the time. Thanksgiving 2012 I broke 2 hours on a half for the first time and Tiffany and I were stuck in horrible traffic getting there which totally messed with having a peaceful start. She PR'd as well. The Charleston Marathon was where I first met Keith after tracking each other's training on Daily Mile. He paced me through the whole thing even when I started crying at mile 18. I discovered the Critz Tybee Run Festival when I was dating another runner and told him I had one weekend free before lacrosse started, we should do something. He picked 5 races that total a marathon. 
Ironically, one of the races I didn't picture I placed 2nd in age group, the Biggest Loser Run/Walk in Panama City Beach 2012. It's never been about placing for me, but the journey this path has put me on.
And on that note:
Happy Runniversary to me, happy runniversary to me, happy runniversary You are Going to Be an Ironman.....Happy Runniversary to me!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Birds of a feather...

I work with a few different coaches as it takes a village to raise this child! Two of three coaches posted this on their Facebook profiles within days of each other.

As much as endurance training is an individual activity, having friends who understand why you are going to bed early, why you aren't going out drinking, why you need to nap in the middle of the afternoon (that might just be me after a long ride), etc; is very helpful.

When I first started running I posted each and every run on Facebook. It was new, exciting, life altering. But when running became my norm, I stopped. I figured posting about a run (unless there was something unique about it) on Facebook was like posting I ate lunch. It's just something I do.
This is supposed to be funny to all my friends who do post their workouts on FB!!!!
(I will have to see if my friend count drops after I publish this blog.)
My friend Bex introduced me to DailyMile. What's great about DailyMile is no one there makes a comment like, "I'm tired just reading about your run." or "I don't even like to drive that far." And when I have doubts about my ability to complete a new event or distance, no one says "You are smart for having doubts about doing, (insert event here). That is crazy." For me, it is my happy place to post when things go right and when things go wrong. You can see my posts or add me as a friends on DailyMile if you choose.

Don't mistake my intentions of this blog, my non-endurance friends have been incredibly supportive of my new (is new the right word since I've been running for almost 3 years now?) lifestyle. Truth be told, without their help, I wouldn't have won the Training Peaks contest and I wouldn't be training for IMFL. I think, hope, it is because I encourage anyone who want to get started but don't make them feel less for thinking I'm crazy. I still post about workouts on Facebook when a new milestone is hit or I look particularly rough after it. I just don't post each one. This is my personal decision, but I think it helps me get support when I need it.

I love and cherish all my friends for what they bring to my life. Those that will run, bike, and swim with me as well as my friends who are just as happy to not do any of those things with me are just as important.

I'm rambling. I think I need food. You know, cause everyone eats every 2-3 hours just like an infant!
P.S. I LOVE reading your comments either here or on Facebook.