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.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Smashing through my goal

As it turns out, I didn't need a mantra at all. I just needed to kick myself in the butt.

After work yesterday, I went to the pool with full intentions of swimming 1200. In my pocket, so to speak, I had a mantra I was going to repeat if I started getting anxious that I had something more important to do.

It was:

"Nothing is more important that taking care of yourself."

What I did instead came really natural throughout my entire swim. I counted. 1-2-3, breathe. Or, in my case, it was more often, 1-2-3-4-5, breathe. I really have to get out of that habit. I'm going to get lost during my swim or drown if I don't breathe more often. But that's a different post.

Not only was my swim the distance I planned, but my time was better than I expected. I swam 1200 yards in 23:44. Snail pace for many triathletes I know and love, but for me after my long and extended break from triathlon, I am really proud of it. It shows that practice does, in fact, work.

Whoo hoo! I did it!

Who would've guessed?

After my swim, I squeezed into my running tights and hit the treadmill.

Side note: If you ever see someone trying to put on running tights when their skin is still slightly damp from the pool, try not to laugh. Wait until you watch them struggle with a sports bra or a running top that is slightly too small. That laugh will be much more fulfilling.

I have a venomous hatred for the treadmill. Pretty sure it's because I have an unchecked case of ADD and after 5 mins I need to do something else. But, I managed 1.5 miles after my swim.

I'm mega happy with the workout.

I woke up this morning at 5 a.m., hopped on the trainer for 45 mins, followed by 3 sets of 8 bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder presses and squats.

Thanks for the encouragement, Andy! 

I would like to do a short run tomorrow morning, and I may attempt to run outside since temperatures will be in the low 40s by 5 a.m.

With just a few short weeks until my race, today, right now, I'm feeling like I will be ready.

**Also, if you look to the right of my page, you'll see my daily mile widget. It's not updating and I don't know why. If you really want to, you can follow me on dailymile if you click here.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Swim, bike, run, repeat

My training has mostly focused on swimming so far this winter. Because I hadn't had access to a pool for so long, getting back into it has been a bit of challenge. But once I got over the hump of remembering how to swim, things got easier. Now that I'm feeling better in the water, I have to start working on getting out of my own head.

That's what I feel like I'm up against now. It's not skill or training or time management or endurance, it's what is going on in my brain that I need to put in check.

For example, last time I was at the pool, I set a goal to swim 1200 yards. For you seasoned athletes, 1200 yards can be a warm up. For my comeback, 1200 yards is a completely obtainable goal. For whatever reason, once I hit the 1000 mark, my mind starts telling me to stop. Like seriously, what is another 200 yards? It would be a total of 4 minutes max, but I just can't get myself to shut up and just do it. This never used to be a problem.

In my head I have "other" things I have to do.
That load of wash that's been sitting in the dryer all day needs to be folded.
I need to go home and make dinner.
I need to get home.
I need to stop at the grocery store on my way home, so I better leave now.

Clearly these are little things I tell myself to talk myself out of doing what I want to do. Over the last two years I have conditioned myself to take my needs second over the needs of others, like my kids or my boyfriend. Whatever they need must come before me.

Well, that is exactly the reason why I decided to make a comeback. I was ready to start putting me in that No. 1 spot.

But it's not as easy as it seems.

I'm working on it.

In exactly 3.5 hours, I'll be headed to the gym for a 1200 yard swim, plus a 2 mile run. Tomorrow morning I'll be on my bike trainer bright and early, followed by a very short end of the day run outside if the weather cooperates.

I've come up with a plan on getting out of my head. I usually spend the time between laps thinking about the day or what I need to do. Today, I am going to try a little game with my brain. Each time I start saying to myself that something I "need" to do is more important than the thing I am currently doing, I will repeat a mantra until the the urge to stop disappears.

I also read somewhere a while ago that when you want to stop running, instead of stopping, start counting your steps until you get to 100 and by the time you get there, the urge to stop will be gone. Maybe I can try that also, I can count strokes until my brain stops.

I'll let you know what works and what doesn't the next time. In the meantime, if you have a mantra you repeat to yourself or have something you do, like count steps or strokes, to stave off the urge to stop, please share in the comments below. I can use all the help I can get.