Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sprint Triathlon - or How NOT to train.

Part one... the training up to the event...  Part two...Race recap.

About 3 months ago,  I thought it would be fun to do a Sprint Triathlon.  I know most of you are saying what makes this "fun"? Lately I find that getting outside of my comfort zone is fun.  Because in my head,  I want to try a Half Iron man...and then if that went well ... a Full Iron Man.  This will take several years of work... so step 1.. a sprint Tri... or Baby Tri as I call it.  I can re-evaluate after that.

This particular one consisted of 1/2 mile swim,  12 mile bike,  3 mile run.    A half Iron man is a 1 mile swim,  56 mile bike,  13.1 mile run... so you can see a sprint is just a taste of what the real thing is like.   But heck you have to start somewhere.  Besides this was a woman's only event,  so it felt less intimidating.

12 weeks before the event..training begins.... I knew I would be okay on the run.  I run 2-3 times a week at least and I never do less than 3 miles,  so I really didn't worry about that.  I knew that would take care of itself.  

Bike.. I had been taking a spin class 1-2 times a week for over 9 months.  I know.. spinning is not really road cycling.  But it does get your legs in decent shape and more importantly.. your butt used to being in a bike saddle for an hour.  So,  in late May I thought,  I could start throwing in once a week ride on the road through out the summer and that would be enough.   Enter Mother Nature.....

June was the wettest on record,  July the hottest on record... and I did not head outside on a bike either month. I am a pussy so the result..in August I was feeling a little panicky.  My road work consisted of one 14 mile trip on the Loveland bike trail,  and one 8 mile trip to the local Farmers' market on a Saturday morning.   Not exactly what I was looking for...

And then there was the swim.   I started off swimming laps at LA Fitness.  First time out,  I could only do 8 without pausing... Okay... that is a problem.   1/2 mile swim is equal to 33-34 laps of LA's pool..  I had some work to do here.  So I worked in 2 swims a week ,  most weeks,  working on building my endurance.   2 weeks prior to the actual event,  I could do the laps in about 20 minutes time.   I was feeling better about the endurance,  but swimming in a pool is a whole different thing to swimming in a lake... with 200 + other people.    I did manage to make it up to Hueston Woods for a training swim hosted by the MOJO tri group here in the city.    That proved to be invaluable.   I learned about how to site so you swim straight,  and how to enter and exit the water.  Silly sounding,  but there are reasons why you do things a certain way,  and once you practice a few times,  it makes sense.   That one trip to a lake made me feel a little more confident and really doing one of these events is more mental than anything else.

Because at the end of the day,  I knew I had enough energy, and physical fitness to effectively work out for 2 hours ,  but would I let the little "you can't do this..."  demons get in my head.    They were there.. dancing on my shoulder and chanting in my ear... but I am learning more and more to ignore them.  Which is sometimes the hardest part of achieving anything at all.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Don't Give a Sh*t

Currently mom and I are in marathon training mode for the Fall. We are running the Indianapolis Marathon on October 15th - for her it will be the half, for me it will be a second crack at the marathon distance. As you all recall the first time didn't go so hot with stomach cramps, lots of porta potty stops, and maybe even some crying and general discomfort. This time I have sworn to myself that I will train smarter and this includes joining a local running group so that my weekly long runs can be done in the company and misery of others. So far this tactic seems to be working and we are now up to 15 miles for our long run this Saturday.

However, in running and talking with these individuals I have noticed one annoying habit that many of us seem to possess. Here we all are at 7 am on a Saturday morning in 90 degree heat successfully completing longer and longer distances and yet each of us seems to be battling a negative voice that tells us we are too slow, too old, too fat, or too something. I have heard more than one runner compare themselves to someone skinnier and faster and find themselves wanting. Rather than celebrate our abilities we choose to focus on unrealistic expectations which can only lead to unhappiness. Do I wish I could be a faster runner? Absolutely. Am I trying to shed those annoying 20 lbs? You betcha. But I also can remember a time not too long ago when running a mile would have been impossible much less 26. Yes the girl who cheated on the Presidential fitness test every year in high school (sorry gym teachers out there), can now run a mile with no problem. And for that I am grateful. So I will be trying to focus on that feeling over the course of the next few weeks. As my weekly miles steadily increase and race time approaches it is with gratitude that I will be running this marathon - thanking my body that it allows me to do such things...even when I am cursing and questioning why I have chosen to do so.

So like the narrator in this hilarious youtube video points out - be like the honey badger and try not to give a sh*t when the desire to negatively compare yourself to others creeps up. Because even when you may feel like you are running in slow motion, you are still pretty badass!