Thursday, April 16, 2015

When life gives you lemons...

I've been having a busy week.

Last week, my kids' dad left town because he makes three times my salary and can afford vacations and the kids have been with me ever since.

Which I LOVE.

But what this means is that I cannot go to the gym in the morning - because one cannot wake up at the crack of dawn and leave children under the age of 9 home alone to swim. It also means I cannot go to the gym after work - because one cannot leave children at after school care passed 6 p.m. and one cannot drop off her children under the age of 9 at home and leave them there alone.

So, on Monday I met with my beginner runner group, ran 3k (while my children sat in the car and played video games - well, one child ran 1k with me), and that's pretty much been it as far as training goes.

The kiddos go to their dad's Friday after school, which also happens to be the student art show. If I had two wits about me, I'd tell the kids I was going to skip their art show Friday night so I could go to the gym.

But in good conscious I cannot do that to them. So rather than being in the pool Friday after work, I'll be at a student art show.

Saturday morning I have plans to run with a friend who is coming in from Maryland (yay!). Sunday I'm leaving town to go camping until Tuesday. Wednesday I have off, but I'll be cleaning up from two days of camping. I hope to get a swim in and maybe a bike ride, but we'll see. Wednesday after school, the kiddos come back home to me.

And the cycle repeats.

Also, I've been taking a very hard look at my finances, and it turns out that over the last 6 months I have somehow managed to rack up close to $10,000 in credit card debt - paying for groceries, new sneakers, tri kits, club memberships, club wear, USAT memberships, gym memberships, chiropractors, tumbling classes, gas for my car, etc.

So, after May 17, race day, my gym membership will be canceled, and I will possibly be putting my bike up for sale.

Anyone want to buy a bike?

Turns out that while I am mentally ready to get this triathlon party restarted, I am not financially ready. And with two small children at home, there is no way I have the time needed to properly train for these races.

So, there is it in all it's glory. I have a college degree and a job that makes less than most college graduates, thanks to 13+ years of marriage in which my career was never important because my husband made money. **I am currently in a hard search for new employment, so I am trying to better my financial situation.

I also have two children I can barely afford to feed because all my money goes toward housing, because we chose to live and raise our children in an area that has high cost of living, so it's very hard to live with a single, paltry income that is too much to qualify for assistance. I also get dog shit for child support because when we divorced I didn't want the kids to live without their dad and I agreed to 50/50 split custody.

So when my triathlon friends use #doesntcarediane in posts about how I'm not training, it stings. I'd like to train, but I just can't. I put on a facade of having too many responsibilities, or simply trying to keep this race as something I'm doing for fun.

I want to compete. I want to do well. I also want to feed my children and be able to drive them to school.

But these are my problems, ones I created. So they are problems I will have to clean up - somehow.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

And how incredibly embarrassing it all is.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A lesson from the triathlon community

I've been sulking lately about how my attempt at finding people to train with me has been a huge and expensive failure when it hit me.

Like a ton of bricks. On the head.

People aren't going to find me, I need to branch out a bit. So, I pulled up my big her pants and headed to the interwebs to find a running partner.

Side note: I actually already had a running partner lined up for today (Friday), but she is one of those people who is notorious for bailing at the last minute and even though she hasn't bailed yet, I'm confident she will cancel tonight. But that's an entirely different blog.

First, I posted to the Philadelphia Triathlon Club Facebook group. Most clubbies organize group rides and runs, and swims for that matter, close to Philadelphia. There really isn't a club or organization closer to me. Anyway, I asked if anyone was in my area and wanted to meet for a run, this is where I'd be and this is the time I was planning on being there. 

Being that it was 8 p.m. Thursday and I was looking for a running buddy for the very next day, I knew it was long shot, but tried anyway. Early this morning, I got some interest from someone who said they couldn't run, but lived nearby and would be interested in a run another time.

Score 1 for me.

Next, I lead a very small group of beginner runners who I helped train for their first 5K last fall. I posted to that group also and got not one, but two people interested!! These two I know will show up, so I'll have at least two people to run with tonight!

Score 2!

Finally, I few weeks ago I volunteered during the Endurance Sports Expo with the club and one of the clubbies there gave me her card. I searched for this little piece of paper that I pretty much threw aside and emailed her as well. She responded (!!) and while she also can't run - it is the Friday before Easter - she said she was glad I contacted her because she lost my card. 

The lesson I learned was that sometimes you really just have to ask. You may not get a yes, but getting some attention is certainly a step in the right direction.

So, let's go on to my week in review:
Monday night, no worthwhile swim to speak of, followed by ... nothing. Fact: I have not done a damn thing all week. Tuesday I was exhausted, so I slept in. Tuesday night, the dog came home from hunting with some kind of infection that caused her paw to pretty much blow up with an infection - I will spare you the details and photo of that. So, Wednesday we dealt with that, which was exhausting. Thursday morning I woke up feeling fantastic, but I slept in. Thursday night I spent time with my kids because I won't see them for a full week.

I'm dying a little inside.

So, in true Diane fashion, tonight I will attempt to blow it up. On deck is a casual swim of at least 1000 yards. Period. No excuses. After my swim I'll meet my running group friends for an easy 3 mile run. It's supposed to rain, but I'm planning on running no matter what the weather, unless it becomes dangerous, but that's not supposed to be the case.

Saturday morning I'll be preparing the vegetable tray I have been asked to bring for Easter dinner at the boyfriend's family's home Saturday afternoon. I will eat and drink too much Saturday night and Sunday I have a date to go fishing with the boyfriend and spend the day with him. Monday night I'll be swimming again. The rest of the week I must get on my trainer. I have an unusual Wednesday night without the kids, so I might see if I can sneak a ride in outside Wednesday after work, even if it's just hill repeats at my house. Thursday and Friday my daughter is making her stage debut, so no workouts there. Weekend is yet to be determined.

Hope you all are doing well. See you on the flipside!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Headaches, creepy guys and triathlon race goals

I woke up Monday feeling like I was out drinking all night - I was not. My head was pounding and I felt terrible. Being the dedicated triathlete I am, I packed my swim stuff (but decided to forgo a swim) and went to work hoping the ache in my head would be gone by the end of the work day.

Whoever thinks a headache will disappear during a work day is a foolish optimist.

Yes, that is me.

When the shackles that keep me at my desk were finally unlocked my headache was still pounding. In the hopes of getting a free pass to skip my workout, I sent these:

These chicas are awesome because neither told me not to swim, but both gave me options they thought would be better. I headed to the pool with the intention of doing some kicking drills. 

When I walked into the pool area it was empty except for these two sketchy-looking guys creeping around the side of the pool. Both looked like they were in the late 20s. They kept reaching for each other and smacking each other. I walk to the end of a lane, hop in the pool and at about the same time the dudes get into the lane next to me. 

They began what looked like a race across the pool. I can only guess they were two dudes who made a bet with each other to see who was faster. Neither were traditional swimmers, but just two regular guys who wanted to race. 

OK, fine. It's cool. The pool is for everyone. I was ok with that. They went back and forth for a bit and then they both got out of the pool, walked creeped around the pool again and got in the hot tub for a bit until they finally left. 

With them out of the room, I felt a little more comfortable. My headache was still pounding, which made it hard to focus on my breathing. After 550 yards, which is actually pretty pathetic at this point, I threw in the towel and took my butt out of the pool and sat in the hot tub. I felt defeated, but had a stern conversation with myself about how it's important to listen to your body and take care of me. At the very moment I was starting to relax these two dudes come back to the pool!

By this time there were other people swimming so it wasn't as uncomfortable, but these guys still just hung out at the side of the pool standing there. After a few minutes they left the room again. I waited a few minutes and took myself out of the pool area to the safety of the locker room. 

Never thought I'd ever say words: "the safety of the locker room." 

Anyway, my workout was pretty much a bust. 

I am in a constant struggle to squeeze out some time to train for this race that's happening in 47 days. While working full-time and having my kids half the week, I only have half a week to train. The time I'm using to train happens to be time I would normally have to do laundry or clean the house or spend with my boyfriend. 

Sacrifice I must.

When illness gets in the way of a workout, it is kind of frustrating. I haven't run more than 1.5 miles. I have run outside just ONE time and I have yet to take my bike outside. The only thing I can say for sure is that I'm really feeling good about my swim. I feel like if the water temperatures manage to get above 60 degrees, my swim will be good. I'm hoping for a 15 min swim, 45 mins bike and a half hour run, which bring me well under my goal of under 2 hours for this race. 

We'll see how it goes.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Waking up is hard to do

© Matteo Ianeselli / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-3.0

This morning my alarm clock rang at 5 a.m. I hit the snooze button and fell back to sleep. Ten minutes later the alarm went off again and I turned it off.

Next think I know it's 6:15 a.m.

No workout for me this morning. Apparently I needed to sleep more than I needed to ride my trainer. Will try again tomorrow.

I have no idea why I am having so much trouble getting up in the morning. There was a time when I would jump out of bed at 4:30 a.m. so I could work out. These days, not so much.

Tomorrow is a new day, people. Let's hope it starts on the trainer!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekly training report and a few race thoughts

See how nervous No. 270 is? That's me before my last race. That's the look I have
before every race. Confidence does not come naturally.

This Sunday I ran outside for the first time this year. It felt good to be off the treadmill, but what didn't feel good was the cold!

I started my workout on the trainer, but I only road for 30 mins. I actually had a lot of things going on, so I had to compress this workout. It's summer camp sign up time, and I had to meet the ex and the kids to tour a local camp.


I've been panicking a bit about the hills involved in the French Creek Triathlon, which happens to be in just 55 days. So I did some hill repeats on the trainer and throughout the entire workout I kept thinking that the hills on the road are much harder than what I can do on the trainer.


But it snowed Friday and the roads were still a mess by Sunday and it's still cold. So, I will have to settle for the trainer.

This weather will break soon.


I got off the trainer, spent exactly 2 minutes "transitioning" to run and headed out the door.

Holy wind, Batman!

Seriously, it was so windy for the entire run. But I managed the 1.57 miles I planned and that was that.

Here are my latest thoughts regarding this race:

1) Water temperature
I own one sleeveless wetsuit. Period. If water temperatures are below 60-65 degrees, I will seriously reconsider doing this race at all. I fully understand this may seem like a cop-out, but the truth is that I'm not in it to win it and I'm most certainly not in it to get hypothermia. If the temperatures don't start getting warmer soon, this may very well be the situation I'm considering.

2) Hills
This race is very hilly. There is one giant hill that according to the cue sheet I will have to climb twice. Same with the run. Fortunately, during the run, the option to walk always exists. Clearly I would prefer not to walk, however, the option exists. This option does not exists on the bike. My very first attempt at an Olympic distance triathlon ended when I tried to tackle a hill I was not prepared to climb. I really need the weather to get a little bit warmer so I can ride the course a few times before race day.

3) Swimming with the fishes
I have to say I am really impressed with how well my swimming has improved since starting my training effort. As long as I can stand the water temperature, I believe the swim will be my strongest leg of the race.

4) Custody and training
I have to say, honestly, working full time and having my kids at home really makes training for a triathlon difficult. I wouldn't change anything, but it is really hard to do everything and keep track of everything while being a single mom.

So, here is my training plan for this week:
Monday (today): Swim 1200, followed by a soak in the hot tub and maybe some time in the sauna. I really need to destress.

Tuesday: Bike trainer + strength training at home

Wednesday: My schedule calls for a run, but I'm still tending to the early morning darkness issue, so I'm not sure how I will do this.

Thursday: Rest day or bike trainer if I can't run Wednesday.

Saturday: Rest day, with possible run outside with my son.

Sunday: Trainer

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Triathlon mojo is BACK!

Throwback to Eagleman... but it totally still applies.

I'm feeling really great today. I had a great workout Monday; swam 1350 yards followed by a 1.5 mile treadmill run, and on Wednesday I road the bike trainer and did a hill workout for 45 mins.

Today is 59 days until  my race.

But who's counting.

I am. Clearly.

But I have to say that I feel like I'm really getting my mojo back. I feel inspired and I feel like I'm really progressing. So, here are my plans for the rest of this week:

Saturday: I may try to wake up early and get in a short run, but it's more likely that I'll sleep in and help the boyfriend do the tree work we've put off doing all winter.

I'm ok with that.

Sunday: Bike + Run. I had full intentions of getting to the pool and swimming my butt off and then going for a ride, but the more I think about it, the more I realize I really need to bike and run. So, I'm going to get the cue sheet for the race and ride the course and try to run the rest. I heard the bike course is super hilly, so it's going to be a little bit of a challenge, but I'm feeling up to it.


Monday: To the pool! My swim goal for this week is 1500. I have no plans to run after since I'll be biking and running Sunday.

Overall, I feel really confident. Why? Because I'm in this to have fun. I want to do well and I'd really like to place first or second in my age group (there are only three of us, so my expectations are high), but I'll be ok if I don't. I think during my first go at triathlon I got very competitive with myself and with my friends. This time around, I want to do this because I want to do this. I want to be healthy, I want to be strong, but I also want to be present. This is not my profession or my life, so why not have fun?

Monday, March 16, 2015

A look behind forces a serious look ahead

I just spent more time than I care to admit re-reading this entire blog. A few things I want to note:

1. In the beginning of this blog, I had such grand ideas and plans and clearly not enough time because I hardly wrote. I wanted to go back and read about my training and about the things I was going through while I was training for some motivation now. Not the case at all. I'm not sure why I was so reluctant to write, but I didn't. I wish I had.

2. I've had several come backs on this site and it's actually pretty sad the number of times I've decided to get at it again and backed off. But it's also indicative of how hard it really is to comeback when the reason you stopped in the first place wasn't because I lost interest, but because I had lost the support needed to be able to juggle life and training.

3. I'm whiny with a severe self confidence issues.

I'm working on changing these things. My goal for bringing back this blog was to document my progression, not to complain about there not being enough time in the day, because guess what, there will never be more than 24 hours in any given day. No one is forcing me to do this. I'm not getting compensated in any way, shape or form for doing this. I'm doing it because I want to do it.

I really, really want to do it.

So, here's what I've got ahead:

Tonight I'm headed to the pool for what is quickly becoming my Monday night swim/run routine. I actually find a lot of comfort in the consistency of it. I know that after work every Monday I will be going to the pool and I will be on that treadmill, even if it's only for a short run.

Tuesday and Wednesday I'm still trying to figure out the perfect routine. I'm thinking this week Tuesday morning I'll get on the trainer and follow that with some weights.

Wednesday I would like to run in the morning, but the sun is just not up early enough yet. This may sound like an excuse, but in all reality, I live in a very rural area with no lights, no sidewalks and very little people. If it's dark, I'm at risk of getting hit by a car or running into wild animals that are still out roaming the streets and not at all excited to see me. Since I'm running alone, neither of these situations are ideal. It's likely that Wednesday will be a rest day. Thursday morning will be a great trainer morning and Friday night is date night at the pool, followed by a run on the treadmill.

Saturdays, I know, are when most people do long runs or rides, but Saturdays I have reserved to spend with my family. I make no apologies for it. If I were training for a longer distance, I would definitely put more stock in a Saturday workout than I am now.

Sunday I will swim. Another cold day with a high of 41 is set, but I might take a gander at running outside following my run. If it were set to be warm, like 50 or above, I'd be on my bike. But we aren't there yet.

We'll see how it goes.