It All Works Out In My Favor

So with this broken leg still a’healing, and my free time at an absolute black market premium nowadays, I’ve considerably scaled back my Ironman goals this year. There is simply not enough time to get in the requisite base training at this point for me to comfortably tackle a full 140.6 event by year’s end.

So, what exactly does that mean?

As you may already know, I’m not really one to throw in the towel. The goal hasn’t changed…but perhaps the milestones and timeline have. Here’s the thing: triathlon is who I am. It’s in me. It’s like my little black dress: I wear it with pride, it looks great on me, and it makes me happy. It doesn’t matter what distance I get to swim, bike, and run, so long that I get to do it in succession and to finish with a smile on my face.

That said, I’ve scaled back my goals to the sprint distance for the rest of the year. Except for my last event, which is still the HITS Palm Springs Championship. Maybe I can work my way up to Olympic or Half-IM again. Not sure if it would be worth taking the time off and traveling with my bike for such a short event, but that’s neither here nor there right now.

I’ve had trouble wrapping my brain around racing sprints again, mostly because they don’t seem worth my time. But take a look at that sentence again. How arrogant and presumptuous of me. I used to aspire to a sprint! Since when am I beneath a sprint triathlon? There is so much room for improvement — my times could be way better, I could focus on form. A shorter race means less time for recovery, which will be great with my heavy workload. A shorter event gives me just enough time to train since, again, my free time is at a black market premium at the moment. I don’t even know the first thing about putting together a sprint tri plan. How many hours a week should I be training? What are the miles like? Shorter training times means less excuses to NOT go to the gym, easier to fit brick workouts into a workday. I can work on speed and form. And, for some reason, shorter distances also seem to get me into better shape. It’s at the longer distances that I seem to overcompensate for my training and I end up eating more than I burn anyways, which defeats a few of my purposes for racing and training for triathlons.

My broken leg isn’t the only reason for scaling back my Ironman goals though. Work will be guaranteed crazy through the end of the year, so I will be pretty swamped there. I also got in to the human-computer interaction graduate program over at Iowa State earlier today, so hopefully I’ll start classes in a few weeks. I’m already starting my marketing class (went back to another school too to finish my masters) so with two concurrent grad school programs and a full-time job, my free time is *really* at a premium. I need to spend my time wisely, so I think sprint tris are still the way to go. I’ll still get to do what I love, at the distance that I originally fell in love with. And I get to go to school. And I get to push my limits at work. It’s all this delicately amazing experience, when you think about it.

All I know is that there will always be another Ironman…another marathon…another ultramarathon. There will always be another lofty goal to chase. I guess it all works out in my favor.

Turning a Setback into a Comeback

When you’re off kilter, the name of the game is to build new habits.

I’m currently working on a new experiment. I’m aiming for 5 days a week of exercise and 2 salads a day. So far I’ve been successful a little over 50% of the time — I logged three workouts last week (3/5 = 60% completion rate) and I think I had salad for lunch and dinner about 4 days as well (4/5 = 80% completion rate).

Same goals for this week will apply. Hoping to have something more like an 80-100% completion rate for both. The light at the end of the tunnel is a FlyWheel and/or FlyBarre membership. My coworker is already peer pressuring me into joining so I have to hurry up and feel worthy of my reward! Also, I have a Tuesday afternoon appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. Hoping that my next set of x-rays give me some good news and that I could do some light running or something again. This lack of cardio is driving me absolutely bananas!

Week of 4/20/14 recap:

Monday, April 14, 2014:

1 set of Trunk Rotations Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Elbow-Shoulder Circles Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Cable Crossover Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Wrist Curl Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Shoulder Circles Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Neck Rotations Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Bicycle Kick Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Chair Pose Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of T-Push-ups Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Chair Pose Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
4 sets of Dips Max reps 15, max weight 0 lbs.
4 sets of Upright Row Max reps 15, max weight 20 lbs.
4 sets of Dumbbell Tricep Press Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of Upright Row Max reps 10, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of T-Push-ups Max reps 15, max weight 0 lbs.
3 sets of Bent-Over Row Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of Upright Row Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of Pushup Max reps 15, max weight 0 lbs.
3 sets of Side Lateral Raise Max reps 10, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of Dumbbell Fly Max reps 10, max weight 14 lbs.
1 set of Wall Chest Stretch Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Downward Dog Pose Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Shoulder Stretch Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Finger Flexor Stretch Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Elbow Across Stretch Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014:

1 set of Windmills Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Neck Rotations Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Shoulder Circles Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Chair Pose Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Reverse Crunch Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Elbow-Shoulder Circles Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Small Arm Circles Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Trunk Rotations Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Pushup Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Burpees Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
4 sets of Dips Max reps 10, max weight 0 lbs.
4 sets of Upright Row Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
4 sets of Dumbbell Tricep Press Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of Bent-Over Row Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of Pushup Max reps 15, max weight 0 lbs.
3 sets of Upright Row Max reps 15, max weight 7 lbs.
3 sets of Upright Row Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of Pushup Max reps 15, max weight 0 lbs.
3 sets of Dumbbell Curl Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of Side Lateral Raise Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
1 set of Doorframe Chest Stretch Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Back Raise Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Neck Stretch Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Overhead Press Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Shoulder Stretch Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.

Thursday, April 17:

1 set of Windmills Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Neck Rotations Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Shoulder Circles Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Chair Pose Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Reverse Crunch Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Elbow-Shoulder Circles Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Small Arm Circles Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Trunk Rotations Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Pushup Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Burpees Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
4 sets of Dips Max reps 10, max weight 0 lbs.
4 sets of Upright Row Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
4 sets of Dumbbell Tricep Press Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of Bent-Over Row Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of Pushup Max reps 15, max weight 0 lbs.
3 sets of Upright Row Max reps 15, max weight 7 lbs.
3 sets of Upright Row Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of Pushup Max reps 15, max weight 0 lbs.
3 sets of Dumbbell Curl Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
3 sets of Side Lateral Raise Max reps 15, max weight 14 lbs.
1 set of Doorframe Chest Stretch Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Back Raise Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Neck Stretch Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Overhead Press Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.
1 set of Shoulder Stretch Max reps 30, max weight 0 lbs.

I’ve also thrown another wrench into my schedule since I’ve decided to go back to school to finish up my program at Golden Gate University. I was about halfway through my masters a few years ago when I dropped out for the second time. I figured that since my next year or two will be heavily involved with strictly design (less marketing than what I’m used to) this will keep my non-design brain satiated for a bit. I’ve also decided to pull the trigger on applying for a complementary masters program in human-computer interaction. If my grand scheme works to plan, I’ll be able to go to school in two places at once, for two different degrees at once, and finish in about two years with two degrees. We’ll see how things work out.

Goals for the week:

1) 80-100% completion rate for 5 workouts this week
2) 80-100% completion rate for 10 salads this week
3) Wrap up my work for my old team
4) Start kicking serious butt on my new team
5) Finish reading 65-75% of the textbook of my upcoming class
6) Follow up with the HCI application

Short term reward: Flywheel/Flybarre membership in late May 2014

Long(ish) term reward: Hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim in late summer 2014

Mantra of the week: Respect the training. Honor the commitment. Cherish the results.

 

 

Resetting Expectations

The thing with injuries is that it allows me ample time to reflect. An injury pretty much grinds all of my training plans to a screeching halt. The Whidbey Island Marathon in April (which was downgraded to a half marathon, which was then downgraded to a 10K) is definitely out of the picture. I think I’ll still be on target for some Olympic tris this summer, but my 70.3 and 140.6 may be a bit at risk. It’s going to take some time to rehab this ankle and get my strength back to where it was last December. To think that so much could’ve gone right and wrong in the last three months…

Resetting expectations isn’t a bad thing. For someone like me who loves going at full throttle, there’s value in slowing down every once in awhile. It’s frustrating, but I think back to my rack of medals hanging in my living room and I remember that it’s all a process — I didn’t get to where I was overnight, and it’ll take a lot more than an annoying ankle injury to keep me away from the activities that I love.

These next few weeks will be a bit crazy with work deadlines, but I’ve given myself a stretch goal: Over the next 16 days I need to log 30 miles in the pool. I think it’s doable. The pool won’t aggravate my ankle. It’ll help me build some much needed conditioning. My long swim days (which are most of them) can be broken up into shorter day and night segments, or a long day/short night, or short day/long night segments. This will probably help cure some of my insomnia woes and will force me to manage my time a little better. What will be difficult will be juggling the long swims during the weekends, which is generally the time I go skiing. I guess if I can go skiing in the mornings I might be able to squeeze the swims in to the evenings. Maybe that’ll be too taxing. Now I’m just speculating…

Regardless, it’ll be nice getting back into training mode.

Here’s my schedule, for those of you who are curious what 30 miles over 16 days looks like:

Looking forward to knocking out this stretch goal…and if I don’t, I’m sure I’ll come close and at least get some swimming in. I’m certainly looking forward to some spring swimming with my tri group and some summer swimming in Lake Union. By the way, that cover image is one of me, swimming into the sunset in Lake Union. Best thing ever!

My 7-Week Training Forecast

Starts off at 13:30 a week. Tops out at 16:30 a week.

Clear your mind of can’t

The goal is to leave room for two consecutive rest days on the weekend, so that I may actually get a chance to enjoy my weekends doing non-training related stuff. Wednesdays by far are the hardest day since I stack all of my training on that day and I will be coming off of my long ride and going into my long run.

Okay, maybe it’s a bit overzealous. Now that I have a schedule I will probably do everything in my power to *not* follow it anyways…so this is a start.

Better head to bed so that I can get my training in and get to my 9:30am meeting!

(Click through to the calendar to see it in full size.)

My training plan for the next 7 weeks

Week 6+7 HITS 140.6 Palm Springs Training: Warrior, Not Worrier

Week 6 and 7 are in the books. Only 10 weeks left to go before the big day!

I’ve spent the last few weeks pretty stressed and exhausted. I never knew what it was like to be so tired that I couldn’t sleep. My legs and body would be sore but my mind would wander and race. (Typical me.)

In between week 6 and 7 I went tandem skydiving. It was really awesome. One of the only times this year that I actually found peace. Not having to really worry about equipment and such it was really nice going along for the ride. There’s nothing like falling out of a plane at 12,500 feet with a minute of freefall to give you a new perspective. When I was falling, all was calm in between the ears. I was mostly awe-stricken by the beautiful scenery. It was probably one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. The irony is that my father (and probably by proxy, mother) were horrified that I had made the jump. I got a few choice words, like “what were you thinking?” “you could do anything else, just not this” “you know everyone is talking about this”.

In life, be a warrior, not a worrier

Let me be clear — crystal clear — that I don’t do any of this to impress anyone. I do these things because I want to do them, plain and simple. And I don’t care if people gossip or talk ill about me behind my back. I could honestly care less. My goals have never been able to impress anyone. I’d rather befriend and motivate people to make changes in their lives for the better. Yes, I take risks…like swimming in open water, riding my bike in traffic, driving my car around, and okay, once jumping out of a plane. All of these things are calculated risks. No one ever expected life to be a safe ride, right? I’m tired of hearing that people are scared of doing things. Fear holds you back. Fear is what keeps people from learning about others, experiencing new things, exploring new places, or understanding themselves. I’ve spent my twenties conquering a lot of my fears — fear of success, fear of falling, fear of failing, fear of swimming, fear of responsibility, fear of commitment, fear of never being able to speak openly about the things that have happened to me. When you live in fear, you lower expectations. I never want to live that way. I could care less if it makes someone else uncomfortable, because frankly I think the positivity I bring to the world far outweighs the fear of naysayers.

Life doesn’t have to suck – do something about it

On a good note, I also had another win last week. My friend signed up for the Whidbey Island Marathon! Looks like I’ll be running another 26.2 after all in April. I’m really excited about getting him race-ready. I’ve put together a pretty sweet plan between the time he gets back from vacation. We’ll be running once or twice a week together. It’s going to be awwwweeesome! On a bad note, my coach cut his hand pretty deep with an ax during a camping trip and it looks like I’ll be doing my Ironman solo. Bahumbug. You win some, you lose some.

Week 6 HITS 140.6 Training: 9.9 hours, Swim: 1408 yds, Bike: 58.75 mi, Run: 10.43 mi

Monday, September 9: 50-minute swim, 50-minute tri team conditioning

Tuesday, September 10: Morning 10K around Seattle

Wednesday, September 11: 40-minute swim

Thursday, September 12: 1-hour ride, 50-minute evening run

Friday, September 13: 1-hour ride

Saturday, September 14: Skydiving! (but the day started out with a 1-hour ride)

Sunday, September 15: 2-hour ride

Week 7 HITS 140.6 Training: 16.7 hours, Swim: 6547.2 yds, Bike: 83.39 mi, Run: 27.17 mi

Monday, September 16: Rest day πŸ™‚

Tuesday, September 17: 1:15 ride

Wednesday, September 18: 8.35 mile sunrise run

Thursday, September 19: 1.32 mile swim, 12.63 mile ride, 5.24 mile run

Friday, September 20: 1.2 mile swim, 3.24 mile run

Saturday, September 21: 30.84 mile ride

Sunday, September 22: 1.2 mile swim, 26.25 mile ride, 10.34 mile run

Also, thanks to everyone who has donated to my fundraiser so far. $244 of my $1500 goal. I really appreciate it!

$244 down. $1,256 to go!

Week 4 HITS 140.6 Palm Springs Training: Inspire Through Example

Le sigh. SIGH SIGH SIGH.

I feel like I’ve made some good progress with swimming this summer. However, I’ve made almost zero progress with my cycling. I think I have actually digressed because at the beginning of spring I rocked a 56-ish mile ride and did great, and now I’m struggling through a 28 mile ride. That’s bad news for me since, well, as of today summer is kind of officially over here in Seattle. I mean, it doesn’t pour rain for days on end (I think? I can’t remember) but the outdoor training time that I so desperately need is dwindling down. Why oh why did I pick a winter race knowing that I’d be coming into a season of cycling training?! What was I thinking?! Do I have to go head-first into cycling in the rain? (I had better invest in a better helmet, if so.)

Bahumbug.

So this week I had one really good win — I finished my first 1.2 mile swim in open water. Granted it was lap intervals in the little dock near my place, and I took a few breather breaks in between, but I finished! That’s a good first step. I was hipping and hopping from such an awesome swim, thinking about how far I had come in conquering my fear of the open water, when I hopped on my bike on Sunday to realize that my planned ride of 60 miles seemed so physically out of reach. I timeboxed my saddle time to 3 hours and I only went 28.75 miles. UHG! Slowpoke much? To top it off I fell of my bike once at an intersection (hello neosporin) and wobbled off my bike at another intersection. I’m starting to feel that I’d feel a lot better about my rides if I didn’t ride with a GPS, but unfortunately it is a necessity in my training. I feel great when I am just riding along, but when I look at the data of how slow I am going, it is soul-crushing because I think of the cutoff times for my race:

Race starts at 7am
9:20am swim cutoff (max time 2:20 for 2.4 miles)
5:20pm bike cutoff (max time 10:20 for 112 miles = 10.84mph)
12:00am run cutoff (max time 6:40 marathon = 4mph roughly)

Okay, so maybe when I actually see it spelled out that way it doesn’t seem too bad. Still, I don’t want to finish off the skin of my teeth. My times are manageable at these snails paces at the half IM distance at best. I really need to rehab this ankle quickly and get a move on my training! And I need to get some good experience on the bike without wrecking my budget. Trying to budget my time, energy, and money simultaneously is exhausting. Remind me to never attempt so many different things all at the same time ever again. This might’ve been worse than that time I decided to train for a sprint tri and a marathon at the same time, where training for my first sprint tri included learning how to swim and bike. It looks like I’m still technically on that same path, right?

I was really, really down on myself after that bike ride on Sunday though. It was such a beautiful day too. Everything hurt. The saddle hurt. Falling off my bike hurt. Riding into the wind hurt. It wasn’t even that windy but I normally go a lot faster on the trail, so either my entire body was filled with lead, or I was tired, or there was wind that day. You know, I remember the days when it was a victory to even bike 1.5 miles to work. Then it was a victory to bike 3 miles to work. Those days are behind me, when a 15 mile ride was considered my long A-race ride. How will I manage 112 miles? And will my behind survive?

And did you hear about Diana Nyad swimming 103 miles from Cuba to Florida? That woman is extraordinary. I can’t even imagine cycling 103 miles at this point. She inspires people through example. I have that engraved on my RoadID but rides like the one I took on Sunday make me feel lower than low. I just have so much work to do on the bike.

Remember why you want to do this.

Also, embarking on a fundraising journey is very taxing. No donations yet but hopefully someone will toss a few dollars my way. I really want to do right by the charities that I am fundraising for. I will get to the $1500 mark somehow, hopefully through a mix of generosity of those around me and by my own giving.

Week 4 HITS 140.6 Palm Springs Training: 13.5 hours; Swim: 5496 yards; Bike: 73.75 miles; Run: 8.83 mi.

Monday, August 26: Swim + tri team strength training brick workout

Tuesday, August 27: Spin class in the morning

Wednesday, August 28: Swim + tri team strength training brick workout in the morning. Spin class in the evening. I feel like dying from exhaustion but apparently it isn’t my time yet.

Thursday, August 29: Spin class in the morning. I feel like dying still. I was so exhausted that I actually went home and took a 3 hour nap before work.

Friday, August 30: Long run on the elliptical because of a bum ankle. I really hope it doesn’t give me any grief during my race.

Saturday, August 31: 1.2 mile open water swim in the morning, 1 hour ride at a snail’s pace

Sunday, September 1: 3 hour ride at a snail’s pace πŸ™

My last official race before HITS is this Saturday. That’s a long break between races. I hope I do all right this weekend, considering that I’m still icing my ankle.

Week 2+3 HITS Palm Springs Training: A Twisted Ankle, and Then Some

Oh boy. I got one good training week in and then BAM — I was hit with another twist to the ankle on my morning run. I was down by half my training time this week (week #2), and I’ve reloaded it on week 3 hoping that it doesn’t overload my week 4 which, coincidentally, ends with my last “prep” race before the big 140.6, even though it is quite a ways out.

Making the time for training hasn’t been too much of a problem these last few weeks. It’s working around getting injured again. I’m icing and wrapping my ankle everyday. I might need to look into something like KT Tape to wear consistently. How paranoid is paranoid though? Can I really withstand 15 weeks of training with KT Tape on both of my ankles? And will I really know how to effectively wrap my ankle on my own? (I guess I could probably learn…)

Today was Ironman Louisville. A DNS. Blerg. Trying not to beat myself over it. I even grabbed a drink on Friday with a bunch of friends at work to help lessen the blow to my morale. It was followed up with a massive apartment makeover, along with lopping my hair off for charity this evening. (Hooray for knocking off something from my 30×30 list.)

Cutting my hair to donate to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program

I think I will be able to make it back to training tomorrow morning with a new appreciation for fresh beginnings. I’m trying not to let the baggage of my DNS at Louisville get to my training for Palm Springs. Most people seem more excited that the race is in Palm Springs anyways…I guess the weather will be in my favor, with exception of the ice cold swim. I’ve been getting my share of non-wetsuit open water swimming lately and I can feel the water temps dropping lower and lower. Polar plunge. I’m getting all of my training buddies together at the dock near my apartment, and it’s been fun swimming with more than just one other person (usually Shant, and he is of course very good company).

I’ve been looking at a few charities to race for as well. There’s lots of causes that I champion, but I want to make sure that my fundraising dollars make a great impact. I’ve been debating between a few causes — maybe 3 charities, $1000 each. It adds a different stress to my training. I remember when I trained for my first marathon I really wanted to focus on the training. It wasn’t until my second marathon that I added the charity element to it. I’ve thought about joining a charity team too but I’m not sure if anything is forming specifically for the HITS race. Hence, I may attempt to do it on my own. Look for an announcement about it soon. Training for myself is a pretty selfish endeavor and I’d like to balance it all out by doing it for some sort of greater good, rather than just to cross something off my bucket list.

I think the biggest win I had with training for Louisville was really getting over my fear of open water swimming. Sometimes on my first 100 yards I still get a bit choked up, but I’ve really learned to move beyond my fears and just push through and have faith in my abilities. I hope that I similarly learn how to do that with cycling this coming season. It will be difficult with the rainy season upon me, so I will need to look for ways to get some outdoor riding in when things get slushy. I can’t remember how bad the weather gets after Labor Day but…yeah, I will need to figure something out.

Anywho, on to some training recap. I need to be in the pool at 5:30am! (Which is less than 7 hours from now…)

Week 2+3 HITS Palm Springs Training:Β 

Monday, August 12: 50 minute swim, 50 minutes strength training with the team

Tuesday, August 13: Rest day!

Wednesday, August 14: 55 minute swim, 50 minute strength training, 35 minute open water swim.

Thursday, August 15: 1 hour cycling, 45 minute run

Friday, August 16: 1 hour cycling, 35 minute run

Saturday, August 17: 1:31:59 run (a rather sad 6.5 mile run, I was so exhausted!)

Sunday, August 18: 2:25:46 cycling, 24.1 miles. Lots of headwind and also rode with a few friends which called for an early stop.

Monday, August 19: Rest day

Tuesday, August 20: 55 minute run…and then I twisted my ankle! BOO! πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™

Wednesday, August 21: Nothing. Mostly pouting.

Thursday, August 22: 30 minute open water swim. Ankle is incredibly sore to start but feels a lot better after my swim.

Friday, August 23: 55 minute swim, 50 minute strength training

Saturday, August 24: 45 minute swim, open water, mostly helping teammate getting acquainted with the darkness that is LAKE SWIMMING

Sunday, August 25: 1:15/1.2 mile swim in the lap pool. Half the distance I originally wanted to do but oh well. There’s always next week.

Onwards to week 4!

Week 1 HITS Palm Springs 140.6 Training: Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy

With Ironman Louisville in my hypothetical rear-view mirror, I plodded along and laid down the plans for my new backup race in Palm Springs. This morning I thought about the last four weeks and how I’d been off my feet for three of them. This morning I didn’t feel any worse off having taken time off for my surgery or my family emergency. If anything, I think I came back stronger and more focused.

In celebration for…well, nothing in particular, I finally put up my medal rack. Well, I take that back. My boyfriend helped me hang it in my apartment. I figured that since I’m going to live here for at least another year I can dress up my pretty sparsely decorated apartment. It was a beautiful sign I ordered last year from York Sign Shop on Etsy. I will probably order another one soon for my upcoming bling.

All of my race bling!

My first week back at training was tougher than expected. I went a bit off schedule since my training group switched up our days so I ended up training 8 days in a row. Hopefully I can stay on track for the remainder of my weeks. πŸ™‚

Week 1 HITS Palm Springs 140.6 Training:
11.6 hours of training
Swim: 5855.97 yards
Bike: 54.55 miles
Run: 4.05 miles

Monday, August 5: An hour and 20 minutes in the pool with two different coaches. Lois (my open water swim coach) met me at my gym pool in Seattle. After my session ended I still had some energy so I stayed for another session with my tri team with my usual coach. A fun way to spend an evening.

Tuesday, August 6: Swim with the group in the morning, followed by team strength training.

Wednesday, August 7: Indoor ride followed by a run.

Thursday, August 8: Indoor ride followed by a very short outdoor run.

Friday, August 9: Early morning swim (no team this time) followed by a grueling strength training session.

Saturday, August 10: Impromptu team swim

Sunday, August 11: First ride since Seafair. 26 miles or so with one of my teammates. (Two people bailed) It was a really fun ride, a bit hillier than what I am used to. If I can get strong on this route I think I will be good to go for HITS Palm Springs. Maybe do 4 loops of this for my 100-mile training ride and make stops at the Leschi Starbucks on each loop πŸ™‚

At the behest of my teammate I have signed up for personal coaching through CycleU for some instructional 1:1 time on the bike. I definitely need it (and I need to be able to keep up with my teammates!).

Race Recap: Seafair Olympic Triathlon 2013

A new race distance only means one thing…an automatic PR!

So I wasn’t fast, but I finished with a smile on my face. That was the goal all along. The team (and then some) were at the finish chute cheering me along, which was really nice!

Anyways, let’s head back to the beginning.

The day before, I felt like I was going through the motions. I just got back in to town from a family emergency trip. The weight of the world felt (and still feels) like it is resting up on my shoulders. From time to time I’m able to break free from the shackles of the weight but then I’m reminded again of all the things still left to take care of. I have my timing chip and I put it on the night before — a 3x tradition at this point. I sticker my number on my helmet (not before trying to get the gunk off from my last race number almost two years ago), sticker my seat post, thread my number through my race belt. I lay out all the gear I require for each of my sports in small squares divided up on my bed. It’s like I’m heading in to training for the billionth time. No big deal. I search the apartment high and low for Body Glide (it was hiding in one of my many, many baggies of gear). Things get packed and repacked and repacked into my bag. Wetsuit or no wetsuit? I cram it in there anyways.

After packing, I head out for a quick indoor ride. Like, 1 or so miles. I’m just testing the brakes, the gears, everything. I ride along Eastlake, heading past the docks where I went swimming in the lake. I head past some homes and apartments. I wind around my neighborhood during golden hour and it was beautiful. I wished that I had spent more of my time outdoors than indoors — something I used to do more of when I was training for shorter distances and not so worried about time and efficiency. I get back home, feeling hopeful, and head to bed. Even though this was my first olympic distance race, I slept well. I sleep well now before half marathons because they don’t seem to play mind-games with my psyche anymore. Then again, I might’ve slept well because I was exhausted.

The next morning I rose at 4:30am. I slide in to my trisuit, left my arm warmers behind, but got everything else. I headed to Seward Park on Lake Washington and pulled in to the first residential parking spot I saw. Right across the street from me was my coach and a few teammates. How serendipitous! Andy helps me prep my bike, checking my tires (they are still new since I barely took it off my trainer), and we head on over to the transition area. This was one of the few things I had actually not rehearsed. Where does everything go again? I tried to visualize my first race…and my second race…to no avail. I end up just neatly arranging things as I saw fit. One thing I got right was putting my sunglasses and bike gloves in my helmet, which was hanging from my handlebars. My socks were individually placed in my shoes. I had a few water bottles around. Seemed like I had everything I needed.

Transition closed and some of my teammates were scattered around the start. The only other teammate who was doing a full race was Amy, and since she was doing a sprint tri she wasn’t starting for another hour. The rest of the teammates were doing a relay, and they would start later as well. I took the liberty of swimming out to the dock and back to get a quick warmup before the race officially started. The water was warm! It wasn’t just the wetsuit either, but the water felt great. I swam out with my eyes open underwater. The darkness and milfoil didn’t seem to phase me all too much like it did before. I headed back to shore and then waited to be called with my age group.

As the swim got started, I tried to relax into it. Kept my breathing under control. Tried not to care too much if I was being passed up. I took it at my own pace, no matter how slow I thought it was, and I kept going. I was with my orange swim caps for awhile before the water started mixing up with different colors, but I tried not to think about it too much. One loop eventually became two. I got caught in a few tangles in the water, but I stayed zen and kept going. Before I knew it, I was out of the water!

On my way out I was excited that 1) I had such an easy, breezy, enjoyable swim and 2) I wasn’t dead last. I headed back to the transition area to grab my bike and that’s where I spent a few minutes confused. Where do I put all of this stuff? Wriggling out of my wetsuit, grabbing my sunglasses and bike gloves, figuring out what to do with my drippy stuff and where to hang my beloved goggles without losing them. I ended up just throwing a bunch of stuff on the ground (very unlike me) and took off with my bike. I think I managed to get my goggles in my bag.

So the bike part was fun but slightly embarrassing. I ended up getting off my bike twice — once at the beginning, when I was stuck behind this man who had a tough time biking up a steep part of the race. I had trouble too but not as much trouble as this guy. He went so slow that I couldn’t keep my balance behind him, so I ended up wobbling off my bike and just trekking up the hill. (I trekked up as quickly as he biked, if that was any indicator.). Then, the second time I got off my bike was at the turnaround on the I-90. I zoomed past the turnaround since I was unable to stop/corner/turn in time. I flew by the cops and they started laughing, which is fine. People laughing at/with me is not a big deal, but being able to turn without falling is by far much more important. I was able to turn around eventually, not too far from the actual turnaround site, but then I was wobbly getting back on the course. I was so wobbly, in fact, that I wobbled right into the center divider. (The bike portion of the race was done on the express lanes of the highway.) That ended up fine too, and the rest of the bike went off without any issues.

The run was also very pretty and a bit quiet. The race started thinning out between the sprint distance and the olympic. A few hills that I ended up walking because I was feeling a bit sore at the end. (Racing after two weeks of downtime will do that to you I guess!) I finished the race with a smile on my face, which is always the goal.

Move Over Louisville…I'm heading to Palm Springs for my 140.6

So there’s been a lot of developments lately in my personal life, some of it good and some of it bad.

For many reasons — I didn’t have enough base training/fitness in the bank…because I was out for a week with a dislocated shoulder, and then was out again for another week and a half with a sprained ankle, and then again for another two weeks because of my wisdom teeth surgery, and then for another week and a half because my mom went missing — I am dropping out of Ironman Louisville.

Just like that. 6 weeks out of a 24 week training plan, gone. Not only is it the emotional stress as of late but part of it was physically too.

I wear my DNS badge with honor knowing that I did everything I could to get ready for this race. I gave up a lot of weekends, a lot of time with my loved ones, made sacrifices and even cut sleep to get my training in at wacky hours. Training for Louisville has given me a lot of perspective, lessons, and even friends that I will carry over into the rest of my training. In training for Louisville I learned a lot about myself, got over my fear of open water swimming, fell for the first (few) times off my bike, and ventured to new places alone.

I spent most of Saturday sulking and being annoyed with everything. Yes, it sucks that I’m dropping out even though I’ve been training diligently since last November. Thankfully I got over it pretty quickly and carried positive energy over to my first olympic distance race on Sunday. I’ve already began making my rounds and telling my support group (friends mostly) about my withdrawal from the race, with a promise to take a stab again at the big 1-4-0-point-6 in the near future.

In fact, I already had a backup race. This girl always has a backup plan. And a backup of a backup. (You should know that by now!)

HITS Palm Springs 2013, I’m coming for you!