Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Hurt Locker

It's that place where I don't often go.  When I open up the Locker, I see all of the ugly things, the excuses, the things that make me feel like I'm not good enough at this.  I'm too old to be good at this.  I'm so slow because I've gained weight.  If I hadn't smoked for all of those years, I could be faster.  If I go too hard, I'm going to screw up my hip again.

But I'm tired of being slow.  And I don't have to be slow.  So I opened up the Hurt Locker tonight and I looked at all of those things - the things I don't like to face.  And while I ran, I picked up that Locker and smashed them all.

I ran faster and it hurt.  And then suddenly it didn't hurt.  And I was running faster than I have in a long time.  And it felt really, really good.




Monday, March 25, 2013

Weekend Turnaround

I had such grand plans for Saturday morning.  The tri club was having an open water swim just about a mile from my house.  I was excited to get back in my wetsuit and into the water.  And then, Spring hit me upside the head with some major allergies.

I kept waking up Friday night/Saturday morning coughing .  I'd get that tickle in my throat that just wouldn't go away.  I didn't get much sleep, but when my alarm went off I figured since the swim was so close to home and would only last about an hour I'd get up and give it shot.  About ten minutes before I was set to leave, I had another coughing fit - the worst yet.  I was coughing so hard, I nearly threw up.  Sorry - TMI!  When it finally stopped, I was wiped out.  I realized between the lack of sleep and the coughing, I just didn't have the energy for the swim.  Plus I was worried I'd get out into the water and the coughing would start again.

Instead I decided to just pop an allergy pill and go back to bed.  I was disappointed, and I was worried that I wasn't going to be able to do any of my workouts this weekend - or I'd have to do them at the gym.  I'd never taken anything for allergies before, and was worried I'd be a zombie all weekend.  But when I woke up a little later, I felt much better.

Since I'd already pulled out my wetsuit, I decided I'd at least practice getting in and out of it.  With the right amount of tri-slide, it's not bad at all!

By Saturday afternoon, I felt good enough to tackle a run.  I loaded up with water, tissues, and cough drops.  Turns out I only needed the water.  It was a beautiful day and the miles went by quickly.  I felt strong and happy to be out there.

Sunday morning I was prepared for the pollen.  I woke up and popped that allergy pill right away.  I had a big breakfast with the husband, then headed out for a bike ride along the Bay Trail.

Apologies to my East Coast friends who got snowed on this morning.
The trail wasn't very crowded and I was able to get in a good ride for just over an hour.  It was the perfect day to ride.

Blue skies and calm water behind me.
I'm so happy that I was able to turn things around and get my workouts done.  With just barely over a month until my first triathlon, I can't afford to miss any.  Thanks to Claritin for saving my weekend!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

This is Getting More and More Real

I joined the Silicon Valley Triathlon Club (SVTC) this year in the hope of getting some guidance.  They have a New to the Sport (NTTS) program that is pretty much exactly what it's called - organized weekend workouts for newbies like me.  I made it to my first workout with them this past Saturday and all I can say is OMG!  These people are serious!

We did a continuous brick workout which consisted of a 1k run followed by a 3m bike.  We did this four time continuously with no breaks.  It was hard, but it was exactly the kind of ass kicking I needed to prepare me for what I'm attempting to do.  I know that I don't push myself as hard when I'm alone as I do when I workout with a group, so I'm going to try to make it to as many of these group workouts as I can.  Next up with the NTTS group, and open water swim on Saturday!  I get to wear my new wetsuit again.

And speaking of things getting real, I've been thinking about what I'm going to wear for my first triathlon in April.  I've got a couple of pairs of tri shorts and one tri top.  Since it's a pool swim, I won't need my wetsuit.  Of course, this has brought thoughts to mind like, "What if I'm swimming and my shorts fall down?"  Or, "What if my shirt starts riding up and my belly is hanging out?"  Don't ask me where these thoughts come from...it's just how my mind works sometime.

I've been spending a little too much time doing some online "browsing" lately, which led to a little online shopping.  I found a website called Chainlove (chainlove.com) that sells bike stuff at deep discounts.  The website offers one deal at a time for a limited amount of time (usually 15 minutes) or until that item sells out.  I picked up a couple of bike jerseys on the cheap when I started the Cinderella training.

Lately they have been offering some tri gear as well.  For example, last week they were selling ladies one-piece 2XU tri suits for some ridiculous price.  And while I didn't like the look of what they were offering, it gave me an idea.  If I could find a tri suit on sale, I could wear that for my first tri instead of the top/bottom combo.  So a little more online browsing led me to this.

Online shopping score!
It's a Zoot tri suit, found in my size online for only $42!  That's less than what I could pay for a good pair of tri shorts.

Fits perfectly.
I love the way it fits.  No more shirt riding up.  No more worrying about my shorts falling down.  The only downside is that you pretty much have to strip naked to use the bathroom...but for a short sprint tri it should work just fine.

So it seems like with this new sport I'm acquiring more and more gear.  I've done a couple of duathlons where I had to bring a few things to transition from bike to run - helmet, shoes, etc. - and could never find the right solution for carrying it all.  Add in a swim, and there is even more stuff.  Luckily people have been doing this triathlon thing long before me, and the triathlon transition bag has been created.  And lucky for me,  I found a Louis Garneau bag for only $50 - that's about half price.

This thing holds everything.
This bag looks small, but it really can hold a lot of stuff - they have thought of it all.  A compartment for your wetsuit after the swim; straps to hold you bike and run shoes in place; a spot for your helmet; room for nutrition and water bottles.  It's amazing how much stuff can fit in here.

So now I think I have pretty much everything I need to get me through this - my first - triathlon season.  There are a few things on my "want" list (like new bike shoes), but nothing that I absolutely feel like I need.  So could someone please hide my credit card from me?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Never Say Never

Training had been going so well.  I was plugging along and had found my groove.  And then...I hit the bump in the road in the form of a nasty cold.  It started with a feeling of exhaustion then quickly turned into a cough then a full blown cold.  It was inevitable - both my husband and a number of my coworkers were sick.  I was bound to get it.  What I wasn't ready for was how long it would last.  It's been over a week and I'm still battling the cough - I sound a bit like a seal when it comes on.  But I'm at the point where I'm sick of being sick, so I just have to suck it up and get back to training, even if I'm not able to go at 100%.

And so on that note, I did something yesterday that I never thought I would do.  Let me just start by saying that I saw the movie Jaws when I was about six years old and it left a huge impression.  Because of this movie, I am terrified of swimming in the ocean.  When I was in Hawaii in June, my family teased me because I would only go in the ocean just past my knees.  

The movie that instilled the fear.
But if I'm going to participate in triathlons, at some point I'm probably going to want to do a race that involves an ocean or a bay swim.  So yesterday I did something that I thought I'd never do - I went for a swim in the bay.

The site of the swim.


It was actually more than a swim.  It was an open water swim clinic.  We spent over an hour talking about open water swimming - what to expect, what we were afraid of (sharks!), the current, the cold.  And then we all put on wetsuits and headed down into the water.  The instructor and the volunteers were fantastic.  They took time to get us used to the cold - and it was COLD - and used to putting our faces in the water.  We swam a few yards back and forth, and then split up into two groups - those who were ready to take off and swim the entire 400 yards along the shoreline, and those who wanted to go at a slower pace.  I chose the slower group.  Having been sick, I just didn't have the lung capacity that I normally do, and since I'm so new to swimming I'm still pretty slow as it is.  Plus it was my first time in open water and in a wetsuit so I knew this was going to be a lot harder than swimming at the pool.

We never went in so deep that you couldn't stand up if you wanted to.  And there were volunteers lining the entire distance of the swim offering tips and encouragement.  Those of us in the slower group would swim along as far as we could, then flip over onto our backs if we needed a break.  I was never afraid or uncomfortable, but there were times when I was floating on my back that I could really feel the current.  It was definitely a lot harder than swimming in a pool.  But after all was said and done, I made it the entire 400 yards.  It took me a long time, but I did it - and so did everyone in our group.  I felt amazing!

And one additional great benefit of going to this clinic was the wetsuit rental.  They had a company at the event so I could rent one on the spot.  No going to a store ahead of time to try on suit after suit - I've heard this can be quite an experience.  Since I had such a great time and knew that I would be doing this again, I decided to go ahead and purchase the very suit I had worn that day.

It followed me home.
I've already got my next open water swim experience planned for this coming weekend.  This triathlon thing is suddenly becoming very real!