triathlon

Holy Chaos!

“We live in a rainbow of chaos.”
Paul Cezanne

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Holy Chaos People!

If we truly do “live in a rainbow of chaos,” then I am getting more taste of the rainbow than a skittles commercial! Despite what it may seem, I’m not complaining. Instead, I’m just in awe of how busy life can get. Where does all the time go?

There has been A LOT going on since I last posted. I have had SO MANY things I’ve wanted to post about, but have had literally no time to get to it. I fully intended on setting time aside, but then my sister had I great report card so I celebrated with a movie night with her instead. I also spent quality time with the hubs and my mom… and my dogs. Basically, I have been preoccupied with LIVING and taking time out for the people I love.

Soooo that’s why I’ve been slacking on the writing. That and I have been super busy in general. For starters, I have been consumed with trying to find a roofer because mine is leaking and needs to be replaced. The good news is I found one, and they offer financing at a low interest rate. The bad news is taking out a loan means I won’t be able to afford to work with my personal trainer anymore. As much as I want to stay injury free, I can’t justify spending over $300 a month on training.

Initially, I was really upset devastated, but then I kept seeing posts about THRIVE Sports & Fitness in my Facebook newsfeed. I figured I owed it to myself to check it out, since it literally had my name on it. I am all about taking direction from the universe, so this one seemed pretty obvious. It turned out that THRIVE is brand new and the only MBSC licensed  facility in CT. Lucky me, that it happens to be right in my back yard.

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with MBSC (because you don’t happen to be a sports fanatic or read Men’s Health… guilty!), apparently, it is kind of a big deal.  At least, that’s what I’ve been told. It’s basically a strength and conditioning model that was developed by a guy named Mike Boyle and has been used by the likes of Olympic and professional teams, including the Red Sox and Bruins. The whole program is geared around injury prevention and training with proper form. Basically, it’s exactly what I need.

On Friday I went for my “free trial” session, and I was very impressed with the facility. First, I LOVED that they had motivational quotes up on the walls, including my favorite: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” They also had a great variety of equipment from free weights, to machines, to weighted sleds, to resistance bands for pull ups, to multipleTRX set ups (and that’s just from what I saw at quick glance).

For my first workout, we started with foam rolling and then progressed to several different circuits of exercises. Each circuit was comprised of 3 or 4 exercises (which we rotated through) and repeated 3 times. Like the equipment, the exercises were extremely varied in type and difficulty (For example, one exercise might be on the TRX while another involved using kettlebells, and another the cable machine). Each movement was explained and demonstrated, and because there were only 7 of us, we had plenty of feedback on our form.

The entire session lasted an hour, but it went by very quickly. I enjoyed the versatility of the workout and found it to be challenging without being completely exhausting. I also found the short circuits and wide diversity refreshing, which is HUGE for me given that I tend to get extremely bored with routines. In addition, I appreciated the fact that every movement and aspect of the workout from the start to finish had a purpose to help improve functionality. In my opinion, it was very well rounded. Furthermore, beyond the quality of the workout, both the owner and the rest of the group were extremely welcoming and helpful so I felt very much at home. The best part is, it’s only a fraction of the cost of a personal trainer which means it’s a much more affordable option for me.

Today I reached out to the owner about signing up for sessions twice a week, so we will see how things turn out. I may have found my new home for my 140.6 training!

Speaking of which, in other exciting news I have my Ironman distance race picked out for next year! They have officially opened registration for REV3 Cedar Point, and I intend to be there! What’s even better is that I have a training buddy who is crazy enough to do it with me (and no, it’s not the hubs…). Maybe I’ll even convince her to guest blog (in her free time between being a new mom, yoga instructor, and working full time as a primary care doctor… yes, she’s my hero).

On a similar note, I applied to be a part of Team Challenge (REV3) yesterday after some urging from my yogi friend. I am not sure I have the level of social media (or even triathlon) experience that they are looking for, but I DO HAVE a level of enthusiasm for the sport that is unmatched and a passion for sharing my experiences. Plus, I really enjoyed my experience of doing my first tri with REV3, and don’t think I would have a hard time selling how awesome their events are. Given the choice, I would really prefer to do all my distance events with them. Honestly, I think we could make it work. Plus, I think it would be INCREDIBLY AWESOME to be able to participate in all their events without having to second mortgage the house… which isn’t really an option with the loan for the new roof….

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So that is all my big news… at least what I can remember of it at the moment!

PS. You may have also noticed (if you follow my instagram) that I have been participating in a November Gratitude Challenge with some of my #SweatPink sisters called the “Proud To Be Me Campaign.” The movement was started by fellow blogger Kathy from mamamarathoner.com and challenges participants to respond to a different prompt each day about why you are #ProudToBeMe. All the prompts are listed in her original post which you can find here. Even though I’m not listed as a participant (I’m sure it was just an oversight), I am still encouraging all of you to join in the movement and share what makes you #ProudToBeMe. You can use any of your social media (twitter, instagram, facebook, blog, etc), just be sure to use the hashtag #ProudTobeMe. You can find all my responses on both instagram and twitter. I’m looking forward to reading yours!

No Room For Fear

“It’s less about the physical training, in the end, than it is about the mental preparation”
-Jimmy Smits

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I am officially less than one week away from the biggest race of my “career” and one of the biggest challenges if my life (thus far anyway). With the recent set back of my IT bands/knees acting up and the knowledge that I will likely not be 100% by race day, I feel fully entitled to be completely freaked out right now.

However, nothing useful has ever been accomplished by getting all worked up over stuff that can’t be controlled.  I mean it’s certainly not going to enhance my performance!  Rather, it will just exacerbate the situation and make for a miserable racing experience… which kind of defeats the purpose of signing up in the first place… unless you’re a masochist, which I am not (contrary to popular belief).

Instead I’ve decided to make “No room for fear” my mantra for the Timberman 70.3. Why? Because it’s absolutely true. There is no room for fear when you are taking on the biggest challenge of your life. Fear is a distraction and a hindrance. Ain’t nobody got time for that!  Not to mention that fear will suck every ounce of joy out of what otherwise could be an amazing day!  You can’t simultaneously live in the moment of race day while worrying about all the horrible things that might happen… or the terrible pain you may be in… at some point… probably hours from now…

That’s not to say I’m immune from the nagging fear and doubt that looms in the pre-race period. Tapering is enough to make anyone question your sanity, let alone tapering while nursing an injury. The thing is, while I fully acknowledge their presence, I refuse to let the pre-race jitters undo me.  I know I am going to be uncomfortable at some point during my HIM.  There is also a good possibility I will be in a fair amount of pain on my run.  It is even probable that I will be absolutely hating life by the time it’s over.  Of course, it is also possible that I may have a mind blowing endorphin rush and one of the best racing experiences of my life.  The best part is, they are not mutually exclusive.  I could have a gloriously miserable race experience and still come out as a win. (I may have lost a lot of you there, but I know my fellow ultra runners and endurance athletes understand what I’m saying… or maybe you don’t because it’s late and I’m rambling…)

The good news is my knee issue conveniently started at a point when I was supposed to be tapering anyway.  With just about all my training behind me, the most useful thing I could do was get it taken care asap and trust the work I put in over the past relaxyear. I was fortunate that a fellow Tri club member happens to be a chiropractor. She managed to squeeze me in almost immediately (Did I mention it was a weekend? How lucky am I to know great people!?!). Within a few visits she’s been able to break up the scar tissue along my IT bands and stretch my uber tight hips and hamstrings. With her help and lots of rest, ice, and elevation my knees are now pain free, but they aren’t 100%.

There is a good chance they still won’t be 100% on Sunday, but that is okay.  Yes, it is a set back.  Yes, it really stinks to have worked so hard and avoided injury so long just to blow up my knee on a short, flat run.  Absolutely yes, taking extra rest time pre-race completely sucks; but it also beats the alternative.  I would rather risk being undertrained the last couple weeks than overtrain and potentially develop a real injury.

Plus, there is always a silver lining.  Going into this event not 100% has actually given me an opportunity to step back and allow myself not to expect my absolute best.  Instead, I plan on being in the moment on race day.  I want to savor the whole experience and revel in just how lucky I am to be able to spend an entire day enjoying the outdoors while doing a sport I LOVE. So while I could wallow in how awful it is to have a setback two weeks out, I’d rather say ‘How lucky am I that I get to just race this one for fun?!?’

At the end of the day, it isn’t about the time or PR for me.  It’s about stepping out of my comfort zone and taking on a challenge SO BIG that I had to take on TWO NEW SPORTS to even attempt it.  It’s about pushing past my fear of swimming and cycling and failing and growing into a person strong enough to get to the starting line.  The real victory won’t be crossing the finish line.  The real victory came from overcoming every obstacle along the way.  To me, the Timberman 70.3 may be the biggest challenge yet on this journey, but it is also the icing on the cake.  It’s a whole day of doing something I truly love in good company with tons of support.  What could be better than that?

Now let me ask, when’s the last time you allowed yourself to race with no pressure?

 

Making Use of Downtime

“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself.

For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness

is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.”
Martha Washington

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Hi All!

I am pleased to report that as some of my activity restrictions are being lifting, life is starting to return to normal around here… which is a good thing because I was starting to go a little bonkers not being allowed to exercise (We’ll just say it didn’t agree with the PTSD and that I’m happy to be sleeping through the night again).  

Currently, I have returned to work and survived my first full week back including one hellish weekend shift.  I have also resumed swimming!  In fact, at the two week mark from surgery some super cool peeps from the tri club and I went to the lake to celebrate my first day off swimming restriction.  The only downside was that it was windy out and the water was choppy which definitely did not agree with my motion sickness.  The good news is, it definitely encouraged me to kick harder and swim faster!

Speaking of which, I also am thrilled to inform you that I have started an Open Water Swim Training Program through the Lake Quassapaug Sailing Center.  Now I get to swim on my Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings off with a bunch of swimmers who are far superior to me.  On the bright side, they give me a head start.  Plus, they are all really fun people… hilarious actaully…  I have gone out with them twice already, and I feel like it has helped a lot with getting used to the wetsuit.  In fact, I have to be honest that open water swimming has really grown on me.  *gasp*  I think I may even prefer it to the pool at this point.  The lake water is cool (ok COLD) and refreshing, and you can’t beat the scenery.  Today I swam in the pool for the first time since surgery and the water just felt really warm and gross in comparison (at least upon first getting in anyway…)

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My newest home for swimming… you can go ahead and be jealous now…

Aside from starting to swim again I also spent a little time on the bike trainer.  Then yesterday I went for my first post op run (more on that to come… I decided to just go big.  After all it was my three weeks out from surgery marker!)

For all of you wondering what I did with the rest of my free time (riiiight… you’re thinking What free time?!, but trust me, I had lots of it….)  So to keep from climbing the walls, I decided to finally order my wedding photos and redecorate the living room.  It all started because I found a great piece of furniture to hide all of Adam’s cycling gear… which has been slowly taking over the house, especially the dining room table.  Then I decided that instead of trying to hide of his stuff (because I’m realizing it’s futile… he’s never going to be the kind of guy who puts things away…ever… it’s just not who he is) I would try to camouflage it instead.  I know! Genius, right?

Here are my efforts:

ImageOur beachy wedding photos and newly wed pillows 🙂

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The hubby’s new bike gear storage with new bike themed decor…

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And our nifty new clock

I think the hubs was both touched and impressed by my efforts to incorporate his love of cycling into our living space.  Of course, he was not quite impressed enough to actually use his new storage area, but at least I have a place to put all his stuff when I clean up after him.  I also believe he was happy to see our wedding photos finally hanging… although I bet he was secretly sad to see all the photos of the dogs go.  

So apart from my run yesterday which we will discuss in a separate post, that is all the shenanigans I have to update you on for now.  I have surprisingly been doing a good job of laying low and keeping out of trouble… with the exception of yesterday’s run.  In my defense, though, I was told that my activity level should be dependent on my pain, and I really don’t have any.  Plus, it’s not like I have been lifting anything which is the really important restriction.  After all, as much as I love and adore The Bloggess, I don’t want a Who trying to escape from my belly button. 😉  

Stay tuned!

The Detour

“I used to have all these plans and think ‘Ah, I have my whole life figured out’,

but then I realized no matter how much I plan: life happens!

So I find myself living day to day trying to do my best, 

embracing every moment as a learning opportunity

and chance to get to know myself a little more.”
– Q’orianka Kilcher

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I’m guessing that after reading the title of this post, most of you have figured out the direction this is going.  No, I’m not pregnant.  Yes, I am temporarily out of commission.  It’s kind of a bummer, but I was really ready for a break anyway.  Besides, another week and change and I’ll be back to running, swimming, and cycling (on the trainer at least…)

Let me start by saying that I DID NOT over do it at the REV3.  I one hundred percent went easy that day and did not push myself.  I may be a glutton for punishment, but I’m not stupid (ok, not most of the time… at least when it comes to injury prevention anyway).  I knew I was in new territory, so I raced according to my goal- which was simply to finish.  I went slow and enjoyed the experience.  When I crossed the finish, I still had plenty of juice left in my legs.  I felt strong and knew I could have covered more mileage if I had to.  This was not particularly surprising considering I had actually trained for a half.

It was a nice feeling to cross a finish not completely spent for a change.  I didn’t want to end up sick or dehydrated so I was careful to get plenty of calories and liquid out on the course.  In all honestly, it was probably the best I had ever felt at the completion of a race.  

The hubs and our friend (who both biked out to meet me) made it home well ahead of me due to the post race traffic and had already ordered lunch when I arrived.  I still felt great after eating and showering.  It wasn’t until a few hours later after dinner that I started to feel really crummy.  At first, I thought I was simply getting a migraine from being out in the sun all day.  I tried taking a nap, but woke up overwhelming nausea and epigastic pain.  All I could think was “This is not going to be good”.  I sent the hubs to get some zofran hoping I could avoid a trip to the emergency room, but taste of the tabs almost sent me running back to the bathroom all over again.  I decided that if this is what morning sickness is like then there’s probably a good reason I’m not pregnant yet.

When the pain and nausea had not improved an hour later I finally broke down and had the hubs bring me to the hospital.  I gave the surgical team a heads up that I was headed in and pretty sure my gallbladder would need to come out.  I did have luck on my side in that the surgeon oncall that night was one the best that I work with. (Thank God for small favors!) 

As it turned out, I was right.  My gallbladder was the culprit and needed to go.  This was no great shock to me.  However, I was struck by whatImage a coincidence it was that my gallbladder attack happened only hours after completing my first tri.  Here I had worked my butt off over 10 months and managed to make it through the whole race feeling strong before my symptoms started.  That was an epic #WIN in my book! What’s more, had I not downgraded to the Olympic course, I would have raced on Sunday instead and would have missed out all together!  

Obviously I considered this the universe at work in my favor as repayment for every ounce of good karma in my life.  Can you even imagine how devastated I would have been to have invested all that time and energy only to miss out on my big chance?  It’s just too depressing to even think about.  I am so beyond grateful for whatever triathlon guardian angel hooked me up on this one.  I am forever in your debt!  

As far as the surgery itself, it may strike you as funny, but I was less nervous in pre-op than I was gearing up for the race!  With the timing of how I got sick and who the surgeon was on call, I just felt like the universe was looking out for me and it was going to be okay.  I can’t even describe the sensation, but I was completely at ease.  There was not even a little part of me that was worried going in.  In fact, I felt incredibly lucky to not only know exactly what was going to happen, but all the staff taking care of me as well. 

It’s hard to be scared when you are surrounded by people who know you and care about your well being.  Every person (ok almost every, but the Emergency Room was legitimately getting slammed so I have to cut them some slack) was so kind and caring throughout my stay.  I really feel blessed to receive the care I did.

The only part I was disappointed about was that I missed volunteering at the REV3 half and my niece’s first birthday.  I guess life happens though.  All I can do at this point is be grateful for everything that went right and just roll with it.  Luckily, my sister was ok with throwing another party for my niece with just immediate family this weekend.  Plus, now that I won’t be able to race in the Griskus Olympic, I should be able to volunteer that course instead.  In terms of taking time off from training, I feel like I have been handling it pretty well.  For one thing, it’s given me a chance to catch up on other things I’ve been neglecting… like writing. 😉  It’s also given me an excuse to slow down for a change.

So that is my story about my slight detour on the path to 70.3… and eventually 140.6.  Luckily I still have my whole life to get there!

#KeepDreaming #ThriveOn

Feeling Tri-Umphant

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

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You know how I’m always saying that “I will succeed because I am crazy enough to think I can”… Well this past weekend, I was crazy enough!   

That’s right! It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for: My REV3 Olympic Recap

It would be wrong for me to tell you that it started Friday night with the race expo because the truth is, it started loooooonnnnng before that.  It started as a little, tiny, glint-of-hope, pipe dream.  It was one of those crazy goals that I wanted to do someday.  It was so far out of my comfort zone, I never actually believed I would do it.  Yes I hoped and I dreamed, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around ever getting there.

Through countless hours of training (and regular public humiliation) I learned to swim and bike… from scratch.  Ten months later, I found myself at a safety briefing for my first real triathlon.  It would have been far too sensible to start with a sprint distance.  Instead, I had set my sights on a half and downgraded to the Olympic.  I was clearly smoking crack out of my mind.

ImageI am reasonably sure that the actual job of the race director who gave our briefing was to scare the bejesus out of all the newbie triathletes.  I found this both cruel and sadistic. I had visions of him knocking over the ice cream cones of small children for fun while he spoke.  After stressing how hilly and difficult the course was, he actually made it a point to say that the race officials would be focusing their attention on all the newbies who didn’t know what they were doing.  Well thank you so much Mr. Sunshine, because I wasn’t terrified enough already.

After his glorious pep talk, I went home and couldn’t sleep.  In fact, I called the hubs almost in tears on my way home.  He assured me I would be fine.  I made him promise that he would have told me if he thought I couldn’t do it.  I tried my best to calm my nerves, but it was no use.  I applied my race number tattoos (while second guessing where I was supposed to put them, convinced that it would invariably be wrong) and headed to bed.

By 3 am I was wide awake and still utterly terrified.  There was no peaceful calm, no get it done attitude- just sheer terror.  I forced down some water and sweet potato and headed back to the park and bike transition.  I hadn’t racked my bike ahead of time because it was raining when I left.  I did heed the advice of the director and arrived well ahead of check in only to find it completely empty.  This dramatically dropped his credibility in my book.  I tried to catch some sleep in between trying to cram last minute calories and frequent trips to the bathroom for that wonderful pre-race nervous pee ritual we all know and love (hate).  Thankfully, I was forward thinking enough the evening before to have asked one of the transition volunteers about the set up, so I was at least fairly confident arranging my transition area.

Before I knew it, it was time to head to the shore.  On my way, I saw my personal kayak escort from my open water swim!  It was like the heavens themselves opened up and smiled down on me I was so relieved to see her!  She told me I would be fine, and I actually believed her… for like 30 seconds before I hit the water.  I did take the advice of the director and do a warm up swim.  It definitely helped with calming my nerves.  Once I was confident that I could swim without having an all out panic attack, I headed over to watch the other waves start.

I distracted myself by making friendly conversation with some other first time triathletes which, thankfully, gave me a sense of ease.  In fact, I entered the water feeling relatively calm.  I knew my task for the swim would be to remain calm and conquer my nerves.  It is something I have had to do countless times being terrified of swimming from the beginning (who knew that’d turn out to be such a plus?).  I just kept repeating “I love to swim” over and over in my head and focused on my stroke.  The course went by fairly quickly, and I learned my first newbie lesson- wear tinted goggles when open water swimming.  For approximately one third (the backstretch) of the course, I could not see anything above water due to the sun.  Instead, I tried to follow the trail of bubbles in front of me and hoped that the people ahead of me knew where they were going.  Once we were back on the final stretch, it was smooth sailing.   I was complimented on my way out of the water for being the first to exit smiling- which is amusing when you consider I started in the 4th wave and got passed by a good part of the 5th (the last)… who literally swam over me.  Did I mention that was the Athena wave (ie. Amazonian sized women)?  Yea, that was not intimidating at all…

I took my time in transition because I knew I could.  I didn’t want to rush and forget something.  My goal for this race was simply to finish, and I knew I had enough people behind me in the water that I wouldn’t get pulled.  I had no idea what my swim time was when I headed out for the bike. (It turned out to be 38:59) I was so relieved that the hubs and I had done the course earlier in the week as a test ride.  I felt so much more confident knowing every turn and hill on the course.  More than that, I had enjoyed the ride, and looked forwarded to repeating it.  It was beautiful with rolling hills and picturesque scenery.  There were two steep sections and a couple sucky hills, but there were also some AWESOME downhills with nice wide roads.  The best part was that the bad uphills were in the middle of the course while the fun downhills were all in the second half.  In my mind, they were my reward for all the hard work I had put in up to that point.  I slid back on my seat, tucked in, and FLEW down those stretches (On the preview I clocked just shy of 40 mph!).  I barreled past other riders- despite the fact that I managed to drop my chain on the way down.  I had to stop twice to fix it at the bottom and toppled once unclipping, but none of that even remotely dampened my spirits.  Even with dropping my chain and the stops, my bike took 1:54:39.

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My free finisher photo. Thanks REV3!

My transition time between my bike and run was shorter than my first primarily because I ate while running out.  The run course was hilly but completely manageable; and the miles went by quickly.  Because I knew I was in no danger of getting pulled, I ran smart instead of fast.  I picked a comfortable pace.  When the hills got steep and I thought I could walk faster than run, I did.  If ultra running has taught me anything it’s that there’s no point or glory in running when all you are going to accomplish is burning out your legs.  It’s better to spare the energy and kill it on the downs and flats.

So that is what I did, and it worked for me.  I finished the run strong- blasting through the finish (It’s amazing how much faster I can move when the end is in sight!) with a total time of 3:43.  The hubs was there waiting with one of our friends.  They had actually ridden out to meet me on the bike course and cheer, though, in truth, they met me going up while I was headed down and were completely out of breath.  I was still happy to see their faces, nonetheless! I also was fortunate to have AMAZING support from the the Waterbury Tri Club peeps volunteering throughout the course.  It was definitely a HUGE boost every time I saw any of them- and especially when I hit the aid station at mile 5 of the run and they all erupted into cheers.  I would have stopped to hug each of them had I not been so ready to be finished!!!

I can’t even begin to explain what it feels like to work SO HARD for something and then FINALLY achieve it.  Even though I still have not reached my dream of a half or full ironman, I did accomplish my goal of becoming a triathlete- and that is HUGE!  I am now officially a woman who is too badass for just one sport.  I swim, bike, and run.  I will continue to swim, bike, and run until the day when I no longer can.  There may even be an Ironman Full REV at Cedar Point 2015 on the agenda.  Who knows what the future holds.

You can bet no matter where life takes me that I will keep pushing and challenging myself.  To me, that’s what really living is.  It’s taking risks, getting out of my comfort zone, and redefining myself everyday. #thriveon

Are you a triathlete?  Thinking of becoming one?  You may be interested in checking out the ladies below for some laughs and inspiration:

Brook’s Tri Sprint Recap: The raw, [uncensored] TRUTH about my race day mistakes. – Make sure you aren’t drinking anything when you read Brook’s blog or it may come out your nose.  You’ve been warned!  Also consider joining her Sole Sisterhood while you’re there! It’s completely free.

Swim Bike Mom’s  Journey to 140.6: Week 3 of 24– Really you should just read her WHOLE BLOG and her book.  In case you hadn’t noticed yet, I’m kind of a big fan.  She speaks my language, and by that I mean snarky… oh and she refers to her lady parts as “the queen”… This may make us soulmates, but I don’t think she’s realized that yet so we’ll keep it on the DL (That’s “down low” btw)

Norma Bastidas’ Record Triathlon Brings Awareness– I first heard of Norma in reference to her ultra running, which is pretty darn amazing in its own right.  I am not going to give you all the deets of what makes her such an awe inspiring individual because I really want you to read it yourself, but I will say that this women has truly persevered beyond just learning to swim for her Mega Triathlon (woman after my own heart…).

That is all for now my loves!!!! I hope you are having a wonderful week!

Go chase your dreams!!!!

Trust In Yourself and Your Training

“Never give up.

And most importantly, be true to yourself.

Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in.”

-Louise Brown

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Hello My Lovelies!

I meant to update you all sooner, but I had an unexpected detour.  Before I get into the details of my recent #EPIC adventures, let me update you on the preceding events.

The weekend prior to my BIG RACE, I decided to go for a ride with my tri club peeps.  I had originally hoped to do the Rev3 Olympic course for practice, but instead we did the local Griskus Olympic course.  I wasn’t terribly disappointed because I figured any time on the bike would be good for me.  Plus, I typically enjoy riding in groups more than riding on my own, so I thought it might be a good confidence boost.  Turns out, it was not my greatest ride.  In fact, it was my most disastrous in some time.  I think this was partly due my nerves about the upcoming race and partly because I was super intimated by the group of individuals who came out.

Normally when I meet up with people from the club, there tend to be one or two people at my skill level.   However, these people were all far more experienced than me not only with cycling, but triathlon in general.  A few of them seemed surprised that I had signed up for the Rev3 Olympic as my first tri, especially given my obvious lack of confidence (and skill) with the bike.  I did not even bother to mention to them that I had actually downgraded to Olympic and had originally planned on the half.  Given that they were already questioning my sanity, I didn’t want to go ahead and confirm their suspicions for them.

Needless to say, before we even started our ride I was feeling out of my league.  It only went downhill from there (cycling pun).  Despite my best efforts to relax and have fun, I just couldn’t find my groove.  I was fumbling with my pedals and even tipped over upclipping at the top of a hill.  Then, because I had dirt in my cleat (I HATE you Speedplays), I couldn’t get back in my pedals to get down the hill.  Everyone else was light-years ahead of me.  And just because that wasn’t bad enough, I managed to get my chain completely stuck between two gears during a steep climb.  For those of you unfamiliar with cycling, that means I had to dismount and fix it (not such a big deal)… and then try to get started again… uphill… on a steep incline… yea not so fun…

I can’t actually remember if I did anything else to embarrass myself on that ride.  The whole experience was rather mortifying.  I was frustrated because it was the mechanical stuff I was struggling with, not the actual riding.  I knew I could do better, but everyone assumed I was just struggling because I was new.  I did manage to run a few miles as part of a brick, but I still couldn’t relax.  I felt like I was being silently judged (and unfavorably judged at that!)…  I am sure that most of this angst was just my nerves and in my head; however, it was the little comments here and there I had trouble tuning out.  Things like how the Olympic Rev3 bike course was very similar to the half, how hard open water swimming is, and how I should be doing my bricks in order (instead of swimming last which I still stand by as more efficient in terms of showering and making me a stronger swimmer… I mean if I am statistically most likely to die on the swim then doesn’t it make sense to make sure I am comfortable swimming tired?  just saying…) kept working their way up into conversation.

So here’s the thing, I am just not a subscriber of the cookie cutter training method.  I truly fail to believe that one training noeasyregimen can work for everyone.  For example, what if I don’t feel up to a 10 mile run on the day it’s scheduled?  Am I supposed to just push through and do it anyway?  Where is the allowance for listening to your body?  Plus, I find a lot of those plans require significantly more mileage than I would do on my own.  Now that is not to say that they don’t work great for some people, but I just would rather do my own thing.  I feel like I have trained for enough endurance events to know what I need to do to be prepared.  Apparently, that makes other people a little nervous… especially Type A people.

The thing is, those people aren’t with me when I’m at the YMCA every Saturday morning doing 24-30 miles of spin, followed by a 7+ mile incline run, and a 1 to 2 mile swim.  They aren’t there for the other countless miles I swim, bike and run.  They aren’t with me when I’m running half marathons or ultras, and they have no idea that I’ve been cross training with a personal trainer twice a week.  Beyond that they aren’t aware of what kind of background or mental conditioning I have had up to this point in my life, and they don’t know me.

All that being said, it’d be silly of me to take it personally.  It’s not that I’m incapable in their eyes; it’s that they don’t understand where I’m coming from.  There are some people who would just never sign up for a race they weren’t sure they would do well at, let alone finish.  The way I train and challenge myself is scary to them, and that’s ok.  I don’t need them to believe in me.  I believe in myself.

Perhaps when those same people see me crossing those finish lines and chasing my dreams it might inspire them to break out of their comfort zones and do the same.

 

Why I’m Not Ready to Give Up

“I’m going to succeed because I’m crazy enough to think I can.”

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I’m not sure where exactly the crazy idea started that I needed to do a Half IM or why it had to be the REV 3 at Quassy.  I think it likely had to do with the desire to one day complete the ultimate test of endurace: A Full Ironman.  The REV 3 at Quassy just happened to be close to home.  In fact, the course is only a few miles from our house.  What’s more, the tri club we joined just happens to ride the routes in that area and race there.  It was beyond convenient.  It was meant to be.

In my mind, there are no coincidences in life.  Everything happens for a reason.  Therefore, the fact that I am not yet pregnant and the REV 3 is almost here is a clear sign that I am meant to break into the sport of triathlon this year.  I had no idea how to swim or bike when I first set out to do this race.  I have spent over 9 months training.  I learned to swim, trained countless hours, and now am focused on spending every spare moment honing my cycling abilities.  I’m not looking to set any records.  I just want to finish.

That is why, despite my utter terror of cycling, I am not ready to give up on my dream of completing the REV 3 Half IM this year.  I can’t help but think that if it wasn’t meant to be that the registration would have closed or I would already be pregnant.  I just can’t let it go and accept defeat, even if I don’t feel completely comfortable on the bike yet.  Yes, 56 miles is more than I have ever biked in one day.  Yes, riding on hills still scares me out of my mind.  Yes, I will most likely get annihilated out there.  But, not one of those things has any bearing on whether I can finish.

ImageI know I can swim the 1.2 miles and not get tired.  I also know I can run 13.1 miles when I’m utterly exhausted.  I am pretty sure I can muddle through 56 miles on the bike in between.  I have done other races that have required me to be on my feet and moving for 8 to 12 hrs.  I can run over 30 miles.  One would think that should translate over to have the endurance to complete a Half Ironman.  While I realize its not exactly the same thing, and that cycling involves some skill; I do know that I have managed to bike over 30 miles of hills and then run while sick.  Plus, I’m at a point where I can handle my bike well enough not to be a danger to those around me… as far as not being a danger to myself, well I’m not sure that we’ll ever get there… unless they’ve invented a cure for general clumsiness that I don’t know about.  

Anyway, I am not rushing to go sign up this minute, but I did take the time to map out the bike course into Map My Ride so I can test it and see how long it takes me.  I think I owe it to myself to at least try the course out on my own and see if it is doable.  If it seems like something I can manage, then I’ll come home and sign up.  Well, that is if registration is still open at that point.  If not, then I’ll know it wasn’t meant to be this time around.  

SIDE NOTE: my other task pre-race will be to attempt open water swimming.  Luckily, they have a session this weekend with the tri club.  Hopefully the lake water will be warm enough to swim without inducing hypothermia… and my new wetsuit will get here in time!  In the meantime, I am going to keep practicing my cycling.  In fact, I am meeting up with some peeps from the tri club tonight for a ride near the REV 3 course.  Wish me luck!