Thursday, January 19, 2023

Three Weeks

 My first day at Iron Tribe this year was Jan 3rd. Dwayne and I had planned a vacation from the 8th to the 14th so I knew I would have to either skip workout or do them on my own somehow. I got "lucky" because the local YMCA where we went had an EXCELLENT gym that had pretty much all the equipment I needed for workout 1. (Side note: I go two days a week and have had 2 different workouts that have progressed each week in difficulty.) I planned to do workout 2 at home.

Week one I was super sore so I was nervous to do week two while on vacation! But I knew what I had to do...and I was super proud that I did it. I really intended to swim while we were gone too, but the pool was outdoors and it was too cold for me in the mornings...and we were there for VACATION so going in the afternoon was HIGHLY inconvenient!

I did (most of) workout 2 at home...there was one thing I didn't have the right equipment for.....

When I went back this week I noticed improvement! YAY! But of course that means Coach Ken will have all new workouts for me next week.

This week I also got back in the pool....I won't declare victory yet since it's only been once. I'm actually truly HATING to swim now. I feel AM SO SLOW. Slower than I have ever been. And I don't fully understand why. Yes, being out of the water is huge...but I can't help but think there's more to it than just that. I'm really hoping strength training and consistent pool time will turn the barge around!

I also ran TWICE this week. Well, walk-ran. Now I need to work in getting back on the trainer and I'll be in full on Ironman training mode! 

I'm seriously looking forward to long training. When I was training for IMChoo I would go teach spin at the Y at 5:30am and then get on my bike from the Y after class. I would ride 6-8 hours for my longest rides. I absolutely LOVED it. I had a couple of gas stations I would stop at to get refills on water and buy a snack but mostly I carried everything I needed. (And, no, I didn't listen to anything other than my own thoughts.) Then the next day I'd go out for my long runs, usually with Dwayne. He picked the hilliest routes he could find and then force me to keep running with NO WALK BREAKS. It was just the best time! I miss it and I'm just so glad to be working toward being able to do that again.

And, yes, I'm aware that kind of thinking is not "normal"....unless you are within the Ironman/endurance athlete bubble. I'm excited to be moving back toward that bubble.

I just have to ALSO make sure I'm actively recovering in addition to actively training!

34 weeks and counting until RACE DAY!

Saturday, January 7, 2023

New Year, Same Me...but not for long

 I signed up for IM Choo 23 and decided I would TRAIN for it... and then all my excuses started popping up...I'm SO BUSY. I'm SCARED of a brain disease relapse (this doesn't feel like an excuse, this feels VERY real), I'm SORE, I need to focus on teaching and coaching and race directing...the list goes on...

I basically stopped training the week before Thanksgiving....Okay, if I'm being really honest, I wasn't really training before then either. I was doing good to get 2 swims in a week, no running and the only biking has been when I teach Spin. But I did start going to Hotworx...and I LOVE it. REALLY LOVE IT!

But Hotworx doesn't really get me to the start line of IMChoo ready and prepared.

Then after the marathon was over (the one Dwayne and I direct) I got sick for a week. And then there was Christmas and New Years....

I kept telling myself I have plenty of time to get started. The race is in September. But I KNOW I NEED to at least be swimming. But swimming is SO FREAKING HARD. 

Then Blair told me about an Iron Tribe Prime program for triathletes he wanted to test out with me as one of his guinea pigs. The idea terrified me but I agreed, with the plan to start the first week in January.

In case you missed it...that was this week. (Insert picture of me at Iron Tribe on Tuesday)

Yes, I did start the program. Yes, it is "hard"...but somehow also (ridiculously) simple sounding on paper.

I "know" in my coach brain that swimming is the perfect adjunct to strength training, but my athlete brain said "NO WAY" this week.

And then I got a message from Coach Tom. I knew it was coming I just didn't know when. It's like when you are watching a scary movie and you KNOW the monster is going to jump out any second...but it doesn't so you exhale and relax...and then BAM there it is!

He called me out. 

He did it gently. And he was right to do it...but I won't lie...I called him some names in the last 24 hours. (Insert the pictures of me telling Dwayne that thanks to stupid Tom I'm going to swim today)

But I also got my butt to the pool this morning for an unplanned swim that I needed. (Insert photo of me telling Tom I hate him)


We are going out of town next I got on GoogleMaps and MIRACULOUSLY found a YMCA with like the most amazing pool of any YMCA EVER just FIVE MINUTES from our hotel. 


That sucks. It means there's no excuse for me to not swim this week.


This morning was funny...I did NOT want to get in the water. I did NOT want to swim. But when I started my music, song number one was "I'm Ready". I had to laugh. Then about the time I started thinking "I'm going to die right here in the pool"..."I Will Survive" came on. Then about the time I started thinking "This whole thing is dumb. I'm old and I've already done two full IMs...why do I care about doing another one?" the song that will forever be my IMLT13 song, "Anything Can Happen" came on. That song was playing the first moment I stepped into Lake Tahoe's Ironman village. I found myself in awe of how far I had come to get there. There's a part of the song that says "I'll give you everything you need but I don't think I need you"...that part always makes me think of my excuses and inner critic. I give them fuel. I give them life. I give them space in my head....but I do NOT NEED THEM. They are like cement blocks on my feet pulling me into the depths of agony and doubt. The end of the song has this part that says "I know it's going to be" several times then "OVER...but I don't think I need you". When I hear this song during a training session I always imagine the finish line. The training and the race will be will come to an end one way or another.... and I think to myself "I don't need that critical voice, or the excuses I make, to get there". 

But they just keep coming. 

My why: I am strong. I "believe" there's a strong athlete inside of me. I believe she has always been there. But she was never given space when I was a kid. She was squashed under doubt and fear, and some circumstances out of my control that I won't go into here. I hit young adulthood believing I was simply incapable. But God kept telling me I am strong because He made me strong. Strong-minded, strong-willed AND strong in body. But to live out that strength really does take work. It takes commitment. It takes consistency and effort.

I'm telling you--whoever may read this--I am committing to training this year. I'm committing to putting in the honest work. I'm committed to listening to my body with a very honest ear.

I can't promise that fears won't win the battle every now and then. I can't promise that the critical voice will be squashed (it sure as heck wasn't today after my swim today....Dwayne had to hear the self-hatred spewing out of my mouth like old faithful, and he did his very best to cap the geyser). But I can promise that I will face these challenges head-on and I will keep moving forward.

That is Ironman mentality. 

But, there is a BIG difference between "finishing" and "competing" an Ironman. 

I intend to compete. Against myself. Against my excuses. Against my self-critic (the hag in my head that lives like a non-rent-paying squatting bed of roaches!). I will run the race so as to win the prize.

Because God made gives me strength. Every. Single. Day.

I hope anyone who reads this will be willing to keep me accountable. Feel free to ask me how training is going. Feel free to ask me if I'm honestly listening to my body or if I'm listening to the excuses or the self-critic.

It's going to be an interesting year.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Rolling hills are NOT all created alike...

As I mentioned previously, I really expected the "rolling hills" of Memphis to be like the "rolling hills" of Chattanooga...

They. Were. NOT.

The rolling hills of Chattanooga are LOVELY...they climb a tiny bit, they descend easily and then immediately roll up the next get momentum from one hill to the next that carries you most of the way up the next hill. It really doesn't feel like a lot of climbing...except for the one hill on Andrews...that's a big climb.

When I did the Chatty 70.3 I was NOT trained. I had not ridden my real bike more than maybe 20 MILES leading up to race day! (Don't do was DUMB.) I wasn't teaching spin more often back then. I definitely wasn't running much then. All that to say I know I wasn't just in better shape fact I was in better shape this year (for sure). 

The morning of the race it was cool outside. I talked with a fellow racer as we were setting up who asked my thoughts on the temperature.....I said I was giving myself options with both a jacket and arm warmers at my transition spot. 

I actually got a little hot in my wetsuit during the swim (probably because I kept stopping!) so when I got to transition I decided I didn't need anything extra. I simply got my helmet, bike shoes and sunglasses on, grabbed my bike and headed out. As I started riding I thought I might have made a mistake because it was a tad chilly, but I just knew I would warm up quickly...and I was right.

As I think back on the bike course (now that it's been three LONG weeks since the race...) the things that really stand out to me are the sheer beauty of the course--it was SPECTACULAR! I thought Chatty 70.3 was a pretty course, but Memphis is even prettier! The hills were NOT wonderfully rolling ... they were hills that made me work just a bit to get up (but NOTHING major at all)...and then the downs were mostly slopes that lead to just enough flat road that zapped all the momentum out...which meant more work to get up the next incline! 

And then there was the road surface. It feels like it was mostly chip-seal (even though it really wasn't). The hardest part about that was that I was relying on fluid nutrition from my aero bullet bottle. It's HARD to drink from an aero bullet when the road surface is so bumpy!

For bike fuel, I had made up a very concentrated bottle of Tailwind (along with a regular bottle of it in the aero bottle to start). The plan was to drink the aero bottle in an hour, then squirt out 1/4 of the concentrated bottle every hour after that, mixing with water I got from aid stations. Thankfully it wasn't too hot early on so I didn't really need much extra water beyond that. 

That worked the first 2 hours...but the road surface being so bumpy (combined with my own fears) really thwarted those plans. So much so that I really got behind on fuel. I think I ended up taking in about 2/3 of what I had intended. And, it started getting VERY HOT toward the end of the bike.

My power plan was to keep my watts right around 115-120. I surprised myself and was just a tad over that. Not so much that I blew up my legs for the run, but enough that I felt like I had given about what I had to give!

When I got off the bike I asked the volunteer if she wanted to buy a bike! The person behind me said "I'll take it if you are giving it away for free!" I laughed and said I might change my mind after the run!

The aid stations seemed to be well spaced and well worked but just a tiny bit cramped. I only stopped once-for a VERY much-needed potty break.

When I finised the swim I was in 44th place in my age group (out of 71)...when I got off the bike I had moved up to 36th. (I moved up 58 places, from 287 to 229, for all females, and I moved up 88 spots, from 946 to 858, overall. I knew I had passed quite a few people but I also know I was passed by quite a few. And, as always, I played leap frog (without drafting) with a few as well.

If I hadn't stopped so much on the swim who knows how that might have shaken out...

Next up...the run...