Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Revisionist Historian..

My husband tells me I am the queen of revisionist history, you know, not quite remembering things exactly the way they "really" happened.  Well...that might have been what happened the other day with my friend.  He told me after my post came out he NEVER said what I heard. And, I believe him.

The whole thing reminded me, once again, what I hear is filtered through my own beliefs about myself, both good and bad.  No matter what is actually said out loud...I typically hear what it is I already think.  Surely you know what I mean.  If your husband says "you look nice", you can take that to mean exactly what it says, or read into it all sorts of other things like "wow, you should really go change because that dress makes you look like my grandmother and your hair looks like you just stuck your finger in a socket".

I had a long post planned out, and was well into it....until I realized the most important thing I wanted to say is THANK YOU to all my sweet friends who lovingly reminded me how hard I am on myself.  You all got what I was saying--it wasn't what I thought my friend said that was tormenting me, it was my opinion of myself I was dealing with.  And THANK YOU for telling me I'm a good coach, a good athlete, and that I look amazing! :D  I promise I was NOT fishing for compliments...I was doing what it is I do-"verbally" processing.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Frantic Frog

((I am working on a retraction to my last post, but it's going to take a little longer to finish, so for now I want to write my race recap for the tri I had the pleasure of competing in last week.))

I had planned on racing the Frantic Frog sprint tri all season long.  Unexpected car issues, among other things, stretched our budget so thin this month I decided I needed to volunteer for this race instead of registering.  A sweet friend of mine, who signed up early and ended up not being able to race, talked to the director who let me take her spot!!  The day before however, my husband got so sick I thought I was going to have to take him to the ER.  All day Friday I was thinking there was no way I was going to be able go.  Miraculously Saturday morning he woke up feeling MUCH better so I grabbed all my stuff and headed to Scottsboro.

I think the fact I didn't believe I was actually going to race helped me be unusually calm.  I got there in plenty of time to set up my transition area, get my bib and timing chip and chat with friends.  Once again, I elected NOT to warm up which I think was NOT a mistake this time.  It was a little chilly outside and, as I found out when it was my turn to jump in, the water was even colder!!  I don't think "warming up" wouldn't have helped me swim any faster this time.

Obviously not me...

I realized how far I've come when I didn't immediately hyperventilate as I plunged into the cold water!!  I was able to pass several people and felt good until I made the turn around.  Because I had witnessed so many swimmers veering off course, I was paranoid about doing the same thing.  I have not perfected the art of siting (watching where I'm headed) as I swim, consequently I had to stop and breast stroke to look around every so often which SEVERELY impacted my rhythm.  I came in 9/23 in my age group with a time of 10:40.  I'm very happy with that especially considering I hadn't been in the water more than 20 minutes since Rocket Man.    One thing I definitely need to get better at is swimming with other people around me.  It completely freaks me out when I touch someone or vice versa!!  I have to get over that if I ever hope to compete in a larger race. (Watch any video of an IronMan swim and you'll understand why!)


I ran the whole way from the swim to my bike.  That's saying something since I had to run across a rough parking lot.  I have fairly tender feet, but I honestly didn't even think about it I was so focused on getting to my bike.  I had the second fastest T1 time in my age group (2:05).   

Lance's stolen bike...

I had planned before hand to do my best to PUSH the whole time.  My hope was to blow up on the run because I pushed so hard on the bike rather than telling myself I needed to save my legs.  I also decided to suck down a Gu as soon as I got going.  It wasn't hot out so I had to remind myself to drink, which was not easy.  Although I passed quite a few people, many others passed me.  There was one girl (who pretty much stayed in front of me the first eight miles) who rode on the left THE WHOLE TIME.  She obviously didn't know the rules.  It caused a couple of riders to CROSS THE CENTER LINE to pass her!!  I never could get up enough chutzpa to tell her she needed to get over....nor did I have the speed to stay in front of her (I passed her once and yelled "ON YOUR LEFT" trying to get my point across...she passed me right back as soon as I moved right!).

I tried to stay focused ONLY on ME and the one person directly in front of me, whomever that was at any given point in time (my "target").  Every time my watch beeped to let me know another mile had passed I would glance down to see my speed, but other than that I just peddled as hard and fast as I could trying to think of nothing else.  When I would see a hill I would tell myself, "you've done this before, you know what this feels like and you can do it."  I could hear Coach Eric's voice in my head, "We love hills!!  They make us strong!"

I ended up coming in 5th (for that leg of the race) with a time of 47:48 (average speed of 18.7--my fastest average speed in a tri to date!!!).  I'm VERY happy with this time.


I had set up my stuff close to the bike out/in area so I wouldn't have far to run in my bike shoes.  Perfect choice!  I tied with another girl for the second fastest time in our age group - 58 seconds (which was the 9th fastest time of all 128 women!).
Yes! That's ME!!

My goal was to run the whole time and push as hard as I could.  I knew this course had some steep but very short "hills" and some terrain changes (asphalt, grass, dirt); my goal was to keep plugging away.  I did run the whole time (except a couple of steps when I took a sip of water because my mouth felt like cotton half way through and I didn't want to be thinking about that for another 12 minutes or so).  I can say I didn't PUSH the whole time, although I didn't feel like I could run any harder.  I talked WAY more than I would have been able to if I was pushing as hard as I could.

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but I was passed by a 50-something year old man*.  I decided I would just hang on to him.  Toward the end, one of my Tri 201 buddies was standing on the course cheering.  He asked me if I was hurting yet and I realized I wasn't.  I was tired, but I wasn't hurting.  He asked me if I wanted him to run with me, an offer I quickly declined because I knew he would kick my tailend!!  But as my "target" (the 50-something year old man) and I neared the finish I decided I wasn't going to let him cross first so I kicked what little sprint I had left and finished the run in 28:44 (9:17 pace, 10/23).  I'm happy with that run time because my official 5K PR time is 27:37...and that's without the swim and bike "warm up".

(((Taking just a second to talk to myself...I need to remember I will be much happier if I PUSH the whole time.  Not everyone is out there to race, I get that...but I LOVE that aspect of it and truly do want to see what I can do if I give it all I have.  I AM doing much better and am NOT being too hard on myself.  I just know I gave up what I wanted MOST for what I thought I wanted in the moment. I felt tired so I talked to people, I cheered other runners, I chatted with the volunteers, I had a nice, comfortable run that felt GREAT---ALL VERY GOOD THINGS, don't get me wrong here.  BUT, that was the ONLY chance I had to do THAT RACE....and I have no doubt I could have done better if I could have kept that in mind.)))  ...even with all that said, I'm happy with my performance!!

My final time was 1:30:14, putting me in 9th out of 23 in my age group.  In order to make the podium I would have had to shave off five minutes and 12 seconds.  I think that's completely doable and winning a frog will certainly be my goal for next year!!

I had a genuinely good time at this race.  I felt good pretty much the whole time...maybe a little too good on the run, but that's okay.  I loved seeing so many friends out there, cheering for them and being cheered by them.  The course was fantastic.  I even won a tri bike fit from Blevins Bicycle Company.  I don't have a tri bike yet, but I can go get my newly acquired tri bars and seat post put on and fitted!!  (Thanks again!!!!!)  Next year though, I'm earning a FROG (the coolest trophies ever!)!!!

*In case you're wondering--in most tris they write your age on your calf--that way you know if the person is in your age group or not--LOVE THAT!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Someone Like Me

I was having coffee by chance with someone who I would call a dear friend the other day.  I say by chance because he was on his way out of Starbucks as I was on my way in and he sat down for a chat before he headed out.

I think he was giving me a compliment, but that part of me that can't seem to accept any form of praise has rewritten the intent most of me believes he had.  Basically he said he was proud of me, proud of what I had done at Rocket Man.  We talked about the training programs available through Fleet Feet, namely the Tri 201 program.  He said (and this almost a direct quote), "I love these programs because it allows someone like you to complete an Olympic distance triathlon."

It's the "someone like you" my Negative Nelly is having a field day with.  If I had been more like Daisy I would have said, "what do you mean 'someone like me'?"  But I'm not. 

My initial reaction was to chose to take it well.  He meant someone like your average person off the street.  I'm not a life-long athlete.  I'm not a spin class teacher.  I wasn't an athlete in high school, or college, and let's face it, I don't think I'm the average age of a first time Olympic distancer.  (Although, if you remember, the first and second place overall female winners were 41...but they have probably been athletes their whole lives, at least that's what I'm telling myself!)

But maybe he meant someone who has very little initiative to work out on my own.  I was re-reading Jane's posts about her husband's first Iron Man today.  It's funny because I remember reading these posts last year having no idea what it meant to be a triathlete and having no concept of the amount of training that goes into becoming an Ironman.  Granted, Jason is no stranger to hard work.  He's been an athlete his "whole life".  But he didn't own a bike, from what I understand he didn't swim at all...and he was coming off a running injury.  He had 316 days.  Someone like me needs a group.  Someone like me needs more direction than someone like me can get off the internet.  The training groups provide those things.

Maybe he really meant someone who's old, fat and out of shape.  Now...let me say, I know I'm not fat by a lot of people's standards.  I don't want hate mail here.  I'm not sitting in judgement...I'm just saying maybe he was.  Different people have different standards of what "fat" means.  It's no secret I have issues when it comes to my body so it's natural that I would (should I have said "could") take what he said in that way.  I don't think he really meant "old" because he's older than I am.  I'm fairly certain he did mean "out of shape"...he's about to be an Ironman...his recovery rides are at speeds faster than what I reach when I'm going down hill with a tail wind.  The man works out like eight hours a day, on his rest days.

I suppose it's even possible he meant someone who is not dedicated and unwilling to devote all my time to the betterment of my abilities.  I am not a member of a gym and I'm not about to pay $7-$10 in order to go to a class every week even if it would guarantee to cut my bike time in half.  I love this sport...or is it "these sports"?...but I just don't have all the extra money in the world to spend on my hobby.  I have actually considered getting a job to pay for my indulgences, however I'm afraid rejoining the workforce might also mean I wouldn't have time to work out.  So for the time being I have to be very careful of the money I spend on equipment and races and training groups.  I also have to be very careful of the time I spend away from home lest I lose my primary job of housewife!!  (My husband does expect to have clean clothes and dinner on most days of the week, even if I've trained for several hours...and I truly enjoy his company more than I enjoy training in the evenings.

I don't know...I wonder how other people see me and what they think.  Anyone who knew me in my younger years knows what a change I've been through.  It's unthinkable "someone like me" would be as active as I am now.  Sure, there's unbelievable room for improvement, however it's a continuum.  I'm nowhere close to where I was, and nowhere close to where I could be.  But where do I fall on that spectrum?  How do other people see "someone like me"? 

I think "someone like me" realizes the truth is it depends on "their" perspective.   In the eyes of a life-long athlete I'm closer to the couch than I am in the eyes of the couch dweller.  Some of my friends believe I work out all the time, whereas some of them see how much better I could be if I would just devote some time to training.  How "they" see "someone like me" says more about "them" than is does about "someone like me."

Thanks for stopping in...come again soon!! :D