Friday, May 1, 2015

For every uphill there is a downhill...

Alright, I took a few weeks off from writing because I needed to get out of my head for a bit. I've been having some issues dealing with some overwhelmingly heavy topics: money and time being at the top of that list.

I'm not giving up. I can't. It's just not in my blood. I do feel like my passion at this very moment is not at the level it should be because I have the whole time and money thing hanging over me, but I have a spark.

Saturday (tomorrow) I'm doing my first open water swim since 2012. My first race of the season is just two weeks away and getting in some open water is a really high priority.

Fingers crossed my wetsuit fits... It's been folded neatly in storage for quite some time.

But I'm getting ahead of myself....

Monday afternoon, I went to the pool for a swim. I managed about 1000 yards and felt a little sluggish. When I get stressed I stop eating and let's just say my stress level has been a little higher than normal.

I went home after my swim and had some food. About an hour later I decided I had some extra time so I drove to the park where my race will be held and drove the run course. I knew it was not going to be a flat run, but I did not anticipate how un-flat it really was.

I spent about 10 minutes sitting in my car gathering the courage to get out and start running. I thought to myself, "I'll never know if I don't do it."

So I got out of the car and started running very, very slow. The first third of the course is all uphill. It starts as a slow uphill grade and gets steeper as you climb. The middle third is pretty flat and runs along a lake. The last third is down the hills I climbed in the beginning.

I finished the run in 35 minutes. My toes hurt a bit from the steep downhill, and I will admit to walking a total of about 2 minutes.

This run helped reignite the fire. I'm ready. I know I can do this.

After the open water swim Saturday, I'm heading out with some friends who are racing with me to ride the bike course. Depending on the weather, I'm hoping to ride the course twice. Once to get a feel of it and a second to really get it.

Honestly, I don't know about you, but how often do you get to train on the course you're planning to race? Not very often in my experience, so having this course about 5 miles from my house is great.

Sunday I'm going out to run the course again, adding two flat miles at the end. After that, I'll probably head out a few more times and start my taper.

May 17 - countdown begins!

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?