Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Very Warm Serving of Self-Doubt...

Today was the Metro Atlanta Cycling Club's One Love Century. First of all, this was a class act operation. I was so impressed by everyone and everything. The course was marked perfectly. Volunteers were at key intersections. What I really loved was that there was a mark for the turn and another mark after assuring you that you were headed in the right direction. The volunteers at the aide stations where cheerful, helpful, genuine. I can't wait to not do the Century next year and do the Metric. Ha!

This was my first century. For those of you new to the game, I 'm training for Ironman Florida (IMFL). IMFL has an elevation gain of about 750 feet. Total. This ride today, 4000-5000 depending on who's Garmin you are looking at. I think there is a reason they don't publish an elevation profile for the event. Holy hills, Batman!

There was lots of chatter as to who I was going to ride with today. All plans fell through and luckily my friend Nathan rolled up. I haven't seen him since December. He offered to ride with me. We took off about 10 minutes early. Before we took off I got to chat with my friend Elizabeth who is training for IM Chattanooga.

Know what happens when you take off before the fast kids? They pass you. That was a surreal experience getting passed by 2 different pelotons! I just kept my eyes forward and tried to hold my line.

We (Nathan and I) rolled through the first aide station, but stopped at the second. I wasn't feeling well. Bumped into Elizabeth. She asked if it was physical or mental. Mental was a fair question as I was embarking on a new distance and we had just ridden 30 miles of hills. I told her both. I think I need to reevaluate my nutrition plan of relying heavily just on Infinit as I was a bit queasy for the first 30.

Nathan and Me at our first of many rest stops.
Heat, hills, and other issues, Nathan and I plugged on and ended up stopping at each rest stop.

I haven't been training on hills, I've been training to stay in aero for IMFL. I have come to the realization that I can climb. Just slow. So slow, that at one point I may have rolled backwards. Just kidding, sorta.

By mile 50 my knees and feet were not right. My hoo-ha was actually the least of my problems today, but it isn't resolved. I will go back to Curtis and Cannon Cyclery for another fit. I am so frustrated. I get that if it were easy, everyone would do it. I get that soreness and discomfort is part of the package. But sharp shooting pain? Really? I hate my bike.

I got through the ride. A few tears were shed (Sharp shooting pain makes me cry, just saying.) I wanted to quit. Oh so many times I wanted to quit. But damn it, I'm too stubborn.

Wanting to know where the self doubt comes in? Will my bike ever fit right. Do I need to throw in the towel on MP and replace him, fast. I only have 8 weeks till IMFL. Will I ever ride without pain? How the hell am I going to run a marathon after my ride if I can't get my feet and knees situated?

I finally finished and as another classy move: There was still a small party for us stragglers.

I haven't had a Coke in years. For some reason this training cycle, it tastes SO good!

On the drive home I talked with coach. Told him my pace. How upset I was. He was ecstatic. He reminded me that Florida is flat and he thought my pace in today's conditions was great. He also reminded me it was my first Century. The next one will be on the IMFL Course in a couple of weeks at tri camp. The 3rd will probably be October 14th and I'll figure out where later.

Let's revisit the knees: I hurt so bad I stopped and picked up ice for an ice bath. I NEVER take ice baths.

I did however have a life lesson moment on the course. I would roll up to a hill and I would think about how much it was going to suck. But then as I began, it wasn't so bad. I need to get better about not panicking about things until there is a reason too.

Now...more water. More water. More water. I have a long run tomorrow on these tired legs!

P.S. please pardon any typos or grammar issues. So many people have asked about the ride today, I wanted to get this published.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

100 WHAT!?!?!

I had this great blog post all written out. In my head. Not on paper. It's gone now. If you choose to read on, I do not promise any sort of greatness.

Yesterday started off great. I got to run with Adam and once again, we proved being safe and seen is sexy! We count how many runner and cyclists we pass who have no reflection or lights on them. Light up, people! The life you save may be your own!

The rest of the day, not so great. I couldn't focus. I was tired and no amount of coffee could fix it.

Today started off rough. I was determined not to let it get me. I had 2200 yards of swim intervals to complete. There is water aerobics at my pool of choice on Thursday evenings from 6-7 (The time I would swim after work). Easy fix, swim before work. Headed out the door this morning and when I got to the gym I grabbed my swim bag and my gym bag. I reached in to my gym bag and UGGGGGGGGGG! My watch is at home. Yes, I could have swam with out it. Yes, the work out would have counted. But damn it, I had intervals and I wanted my watch.

I climbed back into my car and drove home. When I got back to the gym, I didn't have time to swim, but I did have time to do one of my strength circuits. The swim got done at a different gym after work. I met Harold there. Hi Harold! Good luck at Choo!!!

Other random thoughts:

When rUnladylike interviewed me, she asked me what was the best part of triathlons. I told her the people. It's true. It is through running and tris that I made some of the most amazing people. I've also met a bunch of self absorbed egomaniacs. Back to the positive. You hear me kvell about Adam (RH) on a regular basis. Today I got a much much needed pep talked from Karen. Twice this week she has made my day. The first time was on Tuesday when she just wanted to check in on me. She said I looked really tired Monday night. (I was really tired Monday night.) Today, she just listened. Didn't solve. Didn't judge. Reminded me of things I knew but needed to be reminded of. Hugs Karen! And then tonight there was Keith. Keith put up with my crying mess for 8 miles in Charleston and he makes me laugh.

There are some friends I haven't even met yet. Justin just spent about 2.5 hours talking to me about my saddle and nutrition as I begin my panic for my first Century this Saturday. Thank you Justin for your patience in explaining everything an appreciating that I am completely and utterly in new uncharted territory (to me). Speaking of my saddle. Thank you Anne for suggesting this. Hopefully it will help on Saturday! I get to meet Anne and her husband Saturday at the ride.
A little extra cushion can't be a bad idea.
Food, glorious food. Awesome realization this week that I have a dysfunctional relationship with it. Nothing abusive or necessitating an intervention, just dysfunctional. If we look at my dating history, I know dysfunction I'm just slow to acknowledge it. I don't eat just to fuel. I eat to socialize. I eat to celebrate. I eat because I'm upset. I eat because it tastes good. I eat because I'm bored. I'm trying really, I am, but sometimes I just feel like I'm banging my head against a wall. I was all happy because I broke through my plateau. That lasted 2 weeks.
My absolute favorite summer time meal is a baked tomato. Mind you it is always better in Jersey with a Jersey tomato, but I digress. How mom made it: Take a beefsteak tomato and cut the core out, and scoop a bit out. Sprinkle the tomato with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Be mindful if you have daiquiri mix in a bottle that looks like lemon juice. They don't taste the same. Smoosh croutons in the tomato and around the outside. Melt A LOT of butter and pour over the croutons and tomato. Microwave until hot all the way through. How I make it...use just a little bit of butter, otherwise it's the same. I wanted to use one serving of croutons. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Did you know a serving of croutons is 2 tablespoons? So...2 croutons? This bag is supposed to have 20 servings....that's just funny!
My first century is on Saturday. I'm panicked. I'm nervous. I'm worried about getting lost. I'm worried about not being able to finish it. I'm terrified. But I guess this is true:
And this:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Hot Enough For Ya.....

For those who missed it, which apparently was most of you, I was challenged to the ALS ice bucket challenge. If you've lost sleep at night wonder what I sound like, here you go:

The point was not lost. My nephew talked about it with my brother. Then after the filming, my nephew who helped me out asked me questions about it. Donations were made and knowledge was shared.

Saturday morning I met up with this awesome crew at the Silver Comet Trail.
James, me, Ryan, Stephanie
James and Stephanie rode out 25 with me and Ryan. They then flipped and Ryan and I carried on. The plan was 70. I should tell you that these 2 guys are so great, they aren't training for anything, just keeping Stephanie and me company. Anyway....I had to put a note on my Training Peaks workout that if it looked like I was flying, it was because I was drafting James! For 3 miles or so he pulled me along. Then Ryan and Stephanie came zooming up! Neil was there too, but somehow between awkward breaks and Neil going super fast, we only saw him once.

About the ride: At 25 miles we stopped to say good bye to James and Stephanie. The plan was to go out another 10 miles, flip around and stop at the Coots Lake gas station. EXCEPT... I completely and utterly forgot about the stupid, freakin', steep, I hate you hill that brings you right up to mile 35 (from the bike depot, so mile 39 on the trail from 0). I was in the big ring, couldn't get to the little one and barely made it up the hill when my calf completely seized on me. I had to get off my bike and stretch. We got back on and stopped, as planned, at Coots Lake. We used the rest room, got water and chatted with some cool folks who will be at the MAAC One Love Century next week.

I wanted to then ride straight in for the last 29 miles. 6 miles out from the cars my feet (which had been numb for a while) shifted to sharp shooting pain and I could take it anymore. Ryan suggest we stop and unclip and stretch.

Back to the parking lot. And guess what?!?!?!
YUP! The fountain was on. Day made. Actually my day was made when Stephanie met Ryan and I at Waffled House! Ryan ate and then excused himself when he was saved by the bell (his phone rang). Stephanie and I ended up staying for about 2 hours chit-chatting away about dating, family, tri training, etc. Can't wait to head down to Panama City with her!

Remember when I talked about how I don't want to be friends with you anymore?? I went to my friend's place for a cook out Saturday night. By 9:15, Diana is kicking me under the table to wake me up. I lead such an exciting life these days. The ride and the heat took so much out of me.
Jim and Diana and me - Peachtree Road Race 7/4/14
This morning (Sunday) the awesome Lizzie and Sarah met me at the splash park in Roswell for a 15 mile run. Coach said aim for 10s on tired legs. Sarah is a much faster runner than I am. Lizzie is faster, but had some concerns about her fitness since she has had some health issues lately. Good news.... she hasn't lost any fitness! I was the pace keeper. Super proud of us, we nailed it! 1 stop at mile 8 for a bathroom and refill ice, that was it. Even picked a slightly challenging route. Lizzie kept saying how mentally strong and tough I was. That she quits (woman swam 12 miles around Key West...I think she has some mental fortitude to contend with.) I promised her the next time I had a temper tantrum, I would call her.
Negative splits for the last 4-5 miles
Thank you Frannie for chatting with me up the hill. And thank you Sarah and Lizzie for running with me. It is always so much more fun with friends! And of course...there was breakfast after.
What you can't see is the sweat dripping off us. We were soaked completely through.
Four weeks in the making were my lunch plans. As much as I wanted to crash out and skip it. I just couldn't. I finally was meeting up with friends from high school and middle school.

Just a little bit of a awkward camera angle!
Andrea, Cathy and I went to middle school and high school together. I hadn't seen Andrea since graduation and Cathy I saw briefly at our ## reunion a few summers ago. It was a brief visit, but we have vowed to get together again before Thanksgiving.

I pulled food out of the freezer for the first couple days of this week. Instead of cooking tonight, I conquered this monstrosity:
I'm not proud of this heap, just being honest. I need a household fairy.

SADDLE UPDATE: I think this one might work. A Facebook friend that I will get to meet this weekend at the MAAC One Love Century...holy crap I'm riding 100 miles on Saturday!...suggested a neoprene cover for a little extra padding with my tri shorts. It isn't here yet, but hopefully I'll get it next week. I also used a new-to-be glide. I'm not 100% sold on this saddle, but there is potential. Now we need to also fix the feet!

DATING UPDATE: Y'all, I think I'm too tired. I think I upset a guy friend I went out to dinner with on Friday night. We met at his place to drive over to the restaurant together. Before even agreeing to go out Friday night, I explained I only had time for dinner. I was tired and was getting up early on Saturday. Anyway, after dinner we get back to his place and he asks if I'm headed home or if I want to come in. Seeing how I had been yawning the whole way back after dinner, I told him I was heading home. I'm not sure if that annoyed him or not. I texted I was home and thanked him for dinner. Haven't heard from him all weekend. He had a VERY cool and busy weekend, so it might just be that. I don't know. Maybe men and women can't just be friends :(.

FOOD UPDATE: I'm trying. I'm not succeeding very well. I'm now logging all my food. You know: If you bite it you write it.

Thank you Kris for this:

 Have a great week! I'm off to stalk Training Peaks to see what this week's training looks like!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Oh Giggles How I Have Missed Thee!

There was a theme this week: Giggles. Lots and lots of giggles.

Every Monday night I meet up with the North Georgia Tri Club for an open water swim. Unfortunately storms rolled in and it wasn't safe. So we made the smart decision to get dinner instead. Thankfully this awesome crew agreed to meet me Tuesday night. I needed to get a 2 miles swim done. Would you like to take a guess as to how many laps that is in a 25 yard pool? No? I'll tell you: 70.4. Riiiiight. In the lake: 2.25. Easy decision.

Tuesday night I'm texting with Rich and he invited himself to crash my workout Wednesday morning. Who am I to turn down company for an 8 mile run at 6am? Not even a quarter mile into our run and I had a case of the giggles. I couldn't stop giggling. It was great! We laughed through much of the run. I think the tone was set when Rich pulled up and asked me if we were running or riding.
When we got back to my car I found a present lodged into the door handle on my car. After close inspection, we had no idea what it was.

I posted the picture on Facebook and Instagram and gave my friends a few hours to play: What is that? I think I mentioned I lost my cadence magnet last week. Coach had brought me a new one. More giggles when I finally picked it up and looked inside.

Thursday night a group of triathletes left off the spandex and met up for happy hour. (I've never seen so many salads in one place!)

A great time had by all especially after a random patron at the bar, bought the entire table shots.

I ended up staying with two others for another hour or so. Topics covered: peeing in your wetsuit, peeing on the bike, peeing while you run, not pooping, how to get poop to happen. More giggles, more ew-s! I have a habit if shredding bar coasters. I was quietly going about shredding a coaster when the 2 people I was hanging out with took notice. Oh did I get harassed about that! And more giggles!

Last week I was honored with a request from Jesica from to be featured on her Friday FITspiration post. It published today! You should check it out if you haven't already. She's a fantastic writer and she is amused by my dating antics.

I have been sitting back watching the #ALS #icebucketchallenge slightly surprised I hadn't been tagged yet, but also not complaining that I didn't have to dump a bucket of ice on my head. That streak ended yesterday. My nephew, Ryan, challenged me. After confirming that he was donating his own money and that he and his father had talked about what ALS was and why they were donating money, I accepted the challenge.

I can't think of a better way to call out my coaches than with a bucket of ice.....

Thank you to my nephew, Louis, for operating the video. Now I'm off to sleep as I have a long hot ride tomorrow with some of my favorite triathletes. Time for sleep to dream of cool thoughts.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Apparently I Didn't Ramble On Enough Yesterday.....

Whew! What a week and weekend. I wanted to write this last night, but my eyes wouldn't stay open. I'm not exaggerating. I was sitting up in bed wearing my triathlon lingerie (compression sleeves, duh!) with my laptop on my lap, and I couldn't focus on the screen. I caved. Laptop shut quickly followed by my eyes.

I must have needed it. My alarm went off at 6:30 like it always does on days I don't have a morning workout. I hit the snooze button for 9 more minutes and the next time I saw was 7:20. Oops!

I had some GREAT workouts this past week. I finally got to run with Adam, my running husband. We had been experiencing a forced separation that neither of us requested; it just happened. I know he still <3 me because not many people would wake up before sunrise to run intervals when they could just do them later. I would tell you we got to talk and catch up, but the run mostly consisted of Adam calling out time for me on my intervals. (I wrote the workout on  my hand. He programmed his watch.) We did have 10 minutes of warm up and cool down to catch up, but the middle 30 consisted of a lot of heavy breathing recovery breathing.

We finished before sunrise too.
I may have failed to mention, the reason we had to meet so early was because driving home from my usual OWS, I ran over truck tire tread on I75 and I needed to get my car to the dealer to get it repaired. $300 later, brand new car still looks brand new. Consensus is that had I hit that tread in my Mazda 3, the damage would have been much worse.

Also on the schedule was a trainer ride, but Curtis at Cannon Cyclery was finished with MP (my bike), so I asked to exchange the hour trainer ride for chasing Dean up some hills in Roswell. Trainer would have been easier, but the ride outside was definitely more fun.

There were some swimming intervals and some strength and then the big work out on Saturday. I had a 56 mile ride followed by a 10k run.

The good news: My pace is up a bit from when I first started doing this loop on the Silver Comet Trail. My knee and shoulder issues seem to be resolved. The numb to pain issues with my feet stopped at numb. I'm told I need to give this fit a few more rides before more tweaks are made. I also made a new friend. James is new to our North Georgia Tri Club and he contacted me about joining in on my ride for a bit. What a fantastic rabbit!

I only got to chase him for about 15 miles. I agree with his priorities, his 2 year old's bday party was more important!
The bad news: We still have plenty to discuss regarding my hoo-ha. You didn't think we'd get through a post about riding that didn't discuss my hoo-ha, did you? Actually, mostly I like to just creep my brother out. He had years of torturing me; I'm finally getting revenge. Did I tell you about the time he held me by my ankles and threatened to flush me down the toilet? Some memories just scar a girl for life! I digress. I've moved on from the Cobb JOF to the Cobb Plus. I've put about 80 miles on it. I have about 70 more this weekend. Desperately searching for a saddle that will allow me to ride pain free. I know. I know. 112 miles won't be pain free....but shouldn't the start of it be?

I just signed up for my first century. (Can you hear my heart beat thumping????) I'll be doing the MAAC One Love Century. I'm sure it will be lots of fun especially if my saddle issues aren't resolved. Oy vey!

After my ride I trotted out my brick. I really wanted to drink water so I didn't have my Infinit Run mix with me. I also didn't consume either the Gu or Roctaine packet I had with me. Dumbass, Party of 1, your table is ready. Even though I didn't feel like I needed it, in hindsight, I really needed to fuel that run.

And then....and then, I discovered the most horrible thing. I was devastated. I was floored. I almost cried. The fountain was off.

I don't have a river to jump into, but this fountain is plenty fun, when it is on!
Coach and I had a disagreement about my workouts on Saturday. He thought they were great, I thought they could have been better. I'm so frustrated with MP. I've been fighting with it since March! I do think Curtis is the one who will get it right, but seriously....My big race is in 2.5 months, this has got to be figured out soon or I'll be test driving a saddle on race day!

Being typical me, I went all in on the socializing this weekend also. Friday night I finally got to hang out with my friend Lisa. Saturday I finally made it to one of Tiffany's gatherings and we watched Sharknado2. It wasn't even so bad it was good. It was horrible. How are y'all watching this crap over and over again?

Sunday was a rest day. I was asked how I got a rest day on a weekend and I replied that I didn't know, I wasn't questioning it. Which is a complete lie. I immediately asked coach about it. And after a little back and forth via email I sent him one that read something like:
I know. I need to trust in my training. Trust that you know what you are doing. Put my blinders on and only worry about me. And just Do My Job!
Speaking of "doing my job"... I was able to use that free Sunday to meet up with Brian from Tri Coach Georgia. We met at the Ritz Carlton at Lake Oconee for lunch. OMG! GORGEOUS! Can't wait to go back. We joked about hosting a triathlon there or even just a camp. Sure it may be cost prohibitive, but it would be amazing!!!!

What? triathletes in real clothes???
Overall, a decent week: some good training, some good times with friends and only one really good temper tantrum.

I might suggest that if you approach me this week you come bearing baring with chocolate to share. It's week three... you have been warned. Hmmm.... with my first century next week, I wonder what next week will look like. You may want to have chocolate or ice cream available for the next 2 weeks.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I Own it, I was One of the First to Start Giggling....


I think I need one more cage.

It started Friday night when I was finally able to leave work and head over to visit with Curtis and his crew at Cannon Cyclery. I'd been working with another store about 2 months now trying to get my fit right. I'd heard Curtis was the best, so I made an appointment with him. 5 different people have looked at my bike (and me on it) and everyone has a different opinion. Curtis was no different.

Seat back up, handle bars up, aero bars turned a little....another paid fit. My bike finally has a name: M.P. (Money Pit). While it seems the knee pain may be gone it still needs to be tweaked, good thing Curtis is already expecting me back on Tuesday.

Best line on Facebook after I acknowledged the fit still wasn't perfect was from my friend who is NOT a triathlete: Wow. I can't believe that I am so into following your crotch.

Off to Augusta for the weekend to participate in a tri camp hosted by Tri Coach Georgia and Tri Augusta. I almost didn't go. After all, my reason for going was to ride the course and I had already seen it during my trip for the Gatorfest event. After chatting with coach a few weeks ago, we determined it would be a good ending to an easy week of training. So the event stayed on the calendar, and I'm very glad it did!

I couldn't get there until late Friday so I missed all the Friday activities, but jumped right in Saturday morning with some seminars.

Slayer talked about the run course. Brian broke down the ride. Ryan shared tips about swimming.
We also learned about injury prevention and stretching. I learned a few things: 1. If someone walks up behind me at the park while I'm stretching my calves, he's just adjusting my hips. 2. Go long and smooth for a bit and then find your spot and dig in.

My coach was there helping out and passing out PowerBar stuff also. And yes, we know this, but #mycoachisadork.

While in line for the bathroom, a trend began to take form:
You're Shawna, right? I read your blog.

I'm bit surprised because I really thought only my mom read my blog. (HI MOM!!!)

Off to the swim we go. Even in August, the river is wetsuit legal.

We were shuttled up river and as I'm hanging out, waiting for everyone to make it up, two women approach me from Greenville. You're Shawna, right? We read your blog. We chat. Rhonda's parting words before we go off to get our swim done, "Shawna, how are you still single?" Well Rhonda....that's a topic for when we aren't treading in 70 degree water.

After the swim we prepped to run the course. It is a double loop so options for distances we endless.

Rhonda, me, Lauren - Badass bookends!
We set off running. I told Maria I would run her 12-14 with her. We took it nice and easy and chatted with our new friend Allan. Allan, remember what gets said on the run, stays on the run!

There was a turn in the course at a restaurant. There was a family sitting outside, eating pizza and drinking beer and directing runners. Trying to stay in the theme of the weekend: have fun, train easy. I decided I needed a drink. I asked for one and they very willingly obliged!

Those eyeing me up from behind swiftly admitted they were jealous!
After running one loop that was about 7 miles, many pealed off but I continued on with Maria. Unfortunately, my Achilles decided to tie itself in a knot. It was a pain I knew I should NOT run through. Maria was very gracious and slowed down and even stopped a few times to stretch. We turned around before we hit the water stop and found ourselves out of water. We were running down Greene Street and a family was outside with their garden hose running. I asked if we could fill up our bottles. They insisted we take bottled water and then insisted we stay and have a beer.

Neither of us actually drank the beer, but who can pass up a great photo op?
I split with Maria and she went off to finish her mileage. We then reconvened at the river which instantly cools you off and acts like a ice bath.

Is that a gator behind me? No...just Maria!
I went to the river before Maria as she was finishing up her run. No big deal but my flip flops were in her car. As we walked back up the car I was faced with a gravel parking lot. As I tenderly started walking, Bill asked me if I wanted a lift. His friend, Russell, turned around and said, "You're Shawna, right? I read your blog." Bill is wearing an OSU shirts. I respond immediately with "Go Bucks!" Hey dad's a Buckeye and my aunt and uncle are retired professors. O-H.....

The first man to sweep me off my feet in forever!
Clean up, regroup, social time then dinner at Rhineharts.

So much fun hanging out with NGTC friends and new friends!
It was an early to bed kind of night and Maria and I tucked ourselves in for the last night of our weekend slumber party!

And then of was early to rise to get ready to participate in the course ride with Ride for a Reason. Cloudy skies, impending floods, bah hub bug! Mother Nature knew better than to mess with TriAugusta's event and the weather was perfect for the full ride.

There were plenty of rest/water stops. At the first one, Jody and I hooked up and proceeded to push and pull each other through the rest of the ride.

Jody's from Charlotte and knows the area I used to live in.
The ride went great. We stopped often for a moment or two and then rode on. We chatted, we leap frogged with a group and I had my butt grabbed by a guy from Chain Reaction. JUST KDDING. He fixed my jersey to that my flashing red light on my back would show.

For so many reasons I'm glad I decided to go. I loved seeing friends I had made early in the summer as well as meeting so many people from the August HIM Facebook group.

I could write more, but I'm sure you've stopped reading by now and my roommate just yelled at me that I haven't started my food prep yet for the week. Thank you all (even if unnamed here) for an amazing weekend and for encouraging me to keep up with  my blog.

See you awesome triathletes in about 6 weeks!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Can you relate......

In case you haven't heard, I'm training for an Ironman. About every three weeks, I get my panties twisted a little bit quicker than usual over things that just shouldn't bother me. This often coincides with week three of my training cycle: long work outs, less sleep.

Recently I allowed myself to get twisted over the use of some adjectives and adverbs: measly, only, slowly. This led to discussions about what can be coached, and what can't.

While you can be coached to get faster than you are now, I firmly believe that you need some sort of natural talent for extreme speed. For example: I was not blessed with speed. Growing up all I heard from coaches was that I was slow, but thankfully smart, so I could compensate for being slow. Is that right up there with: She's not much to look at, but she has a great personality?

I know if I set it as a goal, I could train to run a sub 24 5k (3 miles faster than 8 minutes). However, the reality is I don't think that with any training I could get to a sub 21. My reasoning behind this is two fold: I lack the physical ABILITY and more importantly the DESIRE to train for it.

?? Ability ( < / = / > ) Desire ??

I don't think you can coach either. You can't coach ability and you sure as hell can't coach desire.

While I'm not yet (stay tuned) an endurance coach, I have coached athletes since I was in high school. The ideal athlete is the one who has the desire to achieve to his/her greatest ability. Great rewards can be reaped from an athlete who desires to be better than s/he is. The most frustrating is the athlete who has ability but no desire.

An amazing woman I follow on Daily Mile just started working with a coach and she shared her thoughts about this: At first I thought my coach would do all the work and then I realized that while my coach will work hard, it is up to me to do the workouts. I have to put in the effort to improve.

She will be amazing because she was amazing without a coach. Now she has a coach who will get her to the next level. Her coach is lucky: She has ability and desire!

Then you have that athlete that says s/he wants it, but seemingly lacks desire. S/he half-asses workouts. S/he has more excuses than data to upload. With this athlete it doesn't matter how much work the coach puts in, it will never be enough. Why? You can't coach desire. This is very frustrating for a coach who is putting in effort and his/her athlete is not.

My coach has me. (I think the jury is still out whether he is lucky or not.) I have desire. I actually have a lot of desire to be better than I am. My desire greatly out weighs my natural ability. I have to work for it all! But I want it! This means I have to stay realistic in what I will achieve and what it will take to get there. Blinders on, focus on me.

So if I've been a little snippy or twisted or defensive, I apologize. Some of it's exhaustion, and some of it is envy. Damn it, I have got to stop hanging out with the fast kids!

Late addition: In one of the MANY tri groups I hang out in, a woman was discussing how a man told her she wasn't a real athlete because of her pace. Another member chimed and told her to memorize this line: I am not training for your approval. Amen.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

There is a First for Everything....

I did something today I have never done before. Sure, I've talked about it, but I have never quite followed through. I'm normally focused on me and what I need to get done. Today it was about others. Even as my alarm went off at 4:30am, it wasn't about me.

I volunteered at a race. I volunteered at an expo before, but not race day.

If you have not done this yet. YOU SHOULD! I've talked about it for a while. I should go cheer for a local race. I should volunteer. I need to give back to the sports that have given me so much. But I never did. Then my tri club, North Georgia Tri Club, put out a call to action. The Acworth Women's Sprint needed volunteers. PERFECT opportunity!

I agreed to volunteer and when the information came out that said I had to be there at 6am for a 7:30 start....I regretted it. Immediately. Not really, but there went any chance of sleeping past 5:30 this weekend.
what I didn't get this weekend
Faux Runner met me at 5:30 and away we went. Saw lots of people we knew. Checked in, got our volunteer shirts and then headed out to our water aide station.

So much fun with Lynn, Faux Runner (Smitha) and rUnladylike (Jessica). You should check out their blogs...really great stuff! We had a ton of fun cheering on the cyclist as they rolled by.

After the women rolled by we got ready for the runners...we poured the Gatorade and water and while the others got ready to hand out drinks at mile 2 of the run. I took my spot working the corner. Really... you went there? SMH!
I made sure the runners took the right turn back into the neighborhood and answered about 20 times "Where's the finish line?" for the spectators. I only had to catch 3 runners who really wanted to go straight.
Would I do it again? Wake up early for an event I'm not even racing in? HECK YEA! I had fun with the crew at the water stop. LOVED cheering on the athletes that were killing it and even more enjoyed offering words of encouragement to those who were struggling a little bit.
The strength of the leaders and the determination of those finishing at the back of the pack both show such wonders of the human spirit. Whether you participate in running races or tris or think running to the fridge is exhausting...try volunteering at one of these's AMAZING!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

It was HUGE.....

My training this week, anyway.

This was my first week of what felt like a HUGE week of training, like this IM stuff just got real. Leading up to this week was a 56 mile ride on Saturday and a 12 mile run on Sunday.

Monday I swam my farthest  furthest the longest I have ever done! 2.76 miles. It should have been closer to 2.7, but I wasn't swimming very straight in the beginning. I met up with some of the fast guys at 6pm to grab a lap in the lake before the usual crew showed up and coach kayaked for us. Then it was another lap with the North Georgia Tri Club OWS swim with a couple kayakers out on the lake providing support. Then Erin and I thought some of the guys were swimming all the way across for a 2nd/3rd lap, so we took off. Little did we know they were only going halfway across and no one was kayaking. Of course, Erin didn't realize this until we were all the way across. Being a much faster swimmer than I am, Erin did swim drills and such so we were able to stay much closer to each other for the return trip. About 400 yards from the end, I see 3 swimmers coming at us. Stacey and Thomas were getting a swim in with a friend of theirs. Stopped to say hi, and it was the just thing I needed to finish up.
Erin and I enjoying a much earned beer
Tuesday was supposed to be a 13.1 mile run. I just could do it. I shared that story the other day. After having a much needed rest day on Tuesday, I knocked out a perfectly executed run Wednesday morning before work. Yes, I ran a half marathon before work. I must be IM training, cause that's just nuts!

Thursday I was supposed to ride some hills with Dean, but we got rained out.

Dripping wet from getting poured on.
Friday morning was a bit of swim drills (Hey Erin, I tried that drill you showed me and Louis I did lots of finger dragging!) Then I reconvened after work with Dean. He promised to be kind and gentle, so I followed him out to farm country for 18 miles of hills. I think it's a good thing my Oakleys are mirrored so he couldn't see the daggers I threw at him at the top of some of the climbs. Oh and I lost my first water bottle. I would have stopped for it, but I didn't know I lost it till I went to drink from it. Yes, Dean....hills are good for me.

Today was another opportunity for a distance PR. I had a 5 hour ride. Neil agreed to ride with me again and thankfully Stephanie had a similar workout, just a little bit less time on her bike. We met up at 7am on the Silver Comet and off we rolled. We laughed, we rode, I found my new spot for OWS....

40 miles out from the Floyd Road trailhead
During the week a woman was attacked while running on the SCT. While I have always felt safe riding by myself, it was nice to have company. Neil was a great tour guide and gave some warnings about some hills and gearing. I also figured out how far out I can ride on my own before I need to turn around (safety reasons, not legs). On the way back (Stephanie turned around early), Neil dropped like a bad habit which was great! Ok, well he dropped me about 10 miles from the cars. The hardest part of the ride and I needed to do it on my own, just like race day.
I am still having major bike issues. Time to seek answers from other sources.
Tomorrow I am looking forward to volunteering at the Acworth Women's Sprint. Lots of friends are running and volunteering. It should be a fun morning. Actually, how could it not be, I'm hanging out with Faux Runner!
I've been told I don't blog enough. If you will read it I will try to write more often!