Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Can't get enough

I've decided that I'm addicted to training. I never quite feel like I've done enough. TV doesn't interest me anymore, the internet bores me. It's a sickness, people. How many people in your lives think that you are totally nuts for doing this to yourself? They just don't understand ;)

So here's my training this week so far:

On Monday I skipped the Master's swim because I didn't sleep very well on Sunday night. That was probably a good call. I went in to work to hammer through a manuscript that we are in the middle of revising. During one of my many breaks I checked the CTC forum and saw a post for an open water swim. Perfect! It gets me out of work and I get to try out my awesome new wetsuit. (yeah, yeah, I just like it because it makes me look like a superhero). I met Mark at Columbia park for my very first open water swim. It was quite an experience. Awesome and a little scary all at the same time. I found that I had to breath a lot more than usual. I don't know if it was the tight neck on the wetsuit, the temperature, or the mild panic of being in the waves. Either way, is was a great experience to get out there, and I met another great CTC member (I think that they are all just awesome people). After the swim, I didn't go very long for my first time out- just about 1000 meters, I went for a short run to test out the legs and the knees. It was intensely hot and humid, and the 2.2 miles felt like 5. But nothing hurt, so that was a major bonus.

Tuesday I biked to work. Again, very hot and I was a little bit gross when I got there. The round trip is 10 miles- with a good amount of hills on the way home. Then at home, after inhaling a mountain of pasta, I did my Cindy Crawford Next Challenge workout. Guaranteed to make you want to cry for days (you really must try it. The toning is unmatched). That took me an hour and I went to sleep early for swim practice.

Wednesday- I went to a new master's swim practice. It is much closer to my house than the CSU team, and I can go swimming, and then go back to my house to get ready which is a big bonus. It was fun and kicked my butt. I think we did about 3000 meters. I am so slow compared to when I was 18 (when did that happen?).

Then at night I went down to meet Jen for the Newbies run downtown. It was my first weekly training session that I've made it to so far. It was a challenge to find parking (and it cost me $3.25), but it was totally worth it. It was a nice run and I met more really wonderful people. I think I'll try to make it to that run every week. It is the only regular training session that I can make it to and still get home in time to take care of my four legged furry friend.

Speaking of the Mad dog (short for Maddie, short for Madison, the best town in the world), I think I'll probably take her on a run around Shaker Lakes tomorrow morning. She loves that run because I let her go swimming in the middle. I'd put a picture of her up, but blogland isn't cooperating tonight. Maybe tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Why Tri? Why now?

I don't think that people are born triathletes. I think that for most people something happens that changes their perspective on life, or inspires them, or challenges them. For many it is watching the Ironman championships on TV (anyone who isn't inspired by that needs to have their head examined). For some it is a personal tragedy, or health problem. And some people have always looked for a new challenge and landed themselves in the world of triathlon. Why do you tri?

For me, I had always thought about it because of my background in swimming and a new interest in running and biking. But there was definitely something that pushed me into the sport head first. A couple of months ago I went through a break up that really shook me up. I realized that someone that I thought that I knew and loved and trusted was actually a very sick and deceitful person. At that point I knew that there were two things that I could do. I could lay in bed and be depressed and wonder how I could learn to trust people again, or I could go out there and kick some ass. I could meet some people that push themselves to be the best they can be; that look for the best in others; that believe in the power of the human spirit; that get satisfaction out of seeing their friends and competitors succeed; that I can be proud of. I could learn to see the best in myself; to think positively; to never give up; to set goals and not back down; to always see the best in everyone.

So far this has been such a great experience for me. I have met some really wonderful people and have gained a lot of confidence in myself. I can't wait to see what else the summer has to bring.

Sunday Saga

Sunday started well enough. It was the first truly hot day of the summer and I was looking forward to a nice long ride in Amish country. I've done the ride before and it was fantastic. 40 miles of rolling hills with a nice gas station at mile 20 to buy gatorade or water and rest the legs. We weren't scheduled to push off from Middlefield until 1 so I did a few errands. I wanted to replace my tires so I ran around town looking for a cycle shop open on Sundays. The only one that I found opened at 12. It would be tight, but possible. Matt and I were meeting Janet and our friend Adam at Gurney School at 12:45 so we got to the cycle shop when it opened and bought the tires. Matt put them on in the car on the way down and we made it on time. I also felt much better having the old tires off the bike because they had cuts all around them.

We all loaded up our water bottles and I tried my first Hammer gel and off we went. I have to admit I was a little fatigued from the Mentor training day. I definitely wasn't prepared for Matt to push off at 22 mph for the first 8 miles. By the time we got to the first turn I was a good 1/4 mile behind the group. I was already a little worried about maintaining that pace for 40 miles without keeling over. On top of that, the Hammer gel sat like a rock in my stomach. I don't think that I took it with enough water (and I was really grossed out by the consistency).

We slowed down a bit at that point and it was really enjoyable. I rode with Janet and we chatted a little bit. She's a really fun and nice person and I hope that we can train together again in the future. Before I knew it we were at the gas station. Thank goodness! I was already running dangerously low on water.

Oh, no.

Gas station was closed. This was not a good thing. I finished off my water, but didn't have anything to eat. The gel had me a little sick to my stomach and I didn't want to push my luck. I did have some Hammer drink left in one water bottle, but it was kind of gross. An acquired taste for sure.

We pushed off from there pretty quick for the longest 20 miles of my life. Around mile 25 I tried to shift my front derailer and I couldn't get it to shift. After playing with it for awhile I realized it wasn't the derailer, it was my hand. It was totally numb and I didn't have any strength in it. Okay, no problem. I can use my right hand to shift. I am fortunate that I didn't wreck at any point doing that because it totally throws off your balance.

At mile 30 I was really hurting. I was totally dehydrated and had hit the wall hard with my nutrition. I have very low blood pressure so when I get dehydrated I get very dizzy. When we got to a turn I got off my bike and put my head between my legs for awhile. My biggest fear is that I'll pass out on my bike someday. Adam stayed back with me (thank you!) and got me back on my bike. I don't even hold it against him that he lied to me (he told me it was all downhill from there, Ha!).

The next 10 miles were an exercise in mental strength, and my granny gears. But I finally made it. I got to the gas station (an open one at the beginning and end of our ride) about 5 minutes after the rest of the group. Which was nice because Matt already had a liter of water for me. I've never been happier to drink water!

The water actually really picked me up. I felt like a new woman! Just good enough to get in the car, drive to Max & Erma's, and eat a 10 ounce burger, fries, and a hot fudge Sunday. Sometimes it just feels so good to be bad!

So that night I just sat comatose on the couch until 8:30 when I moved to my bed. I was planning on going to the CSU Master's swim in the morning, but when I tossed and turned until 1am I decided a 4:45am wake up would be a bad choice.

The story of Monday later!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Mentor Training Day

Went down to Mentor Headlands training day yesterday with my roommmate Matt (AKA supertramp). Most people from the club were cycling the full course, so I didn't talk to a whole lot of people. But the training was awesome. We did the first loop of the sprint cycling course very fast (for my slow legs). We kept a pace of 20-24 mph throughout the 12 miles. We were with a group of about 7 people. Matt and I went back out for a second round and kept it a little slower- 18-22mph. I'm getting very antsy to start upgrading my bike. When I bought it I didn't know how serious I was going to get about cycling, so I bought a bike with a very nice frame but very crappy components so that I could upgrade if I got serious. But now I am realizing how expensive that is! I'd like to upgrade the shifters (the Sora shifters that I have I can't up-shift without changing positions on the bike), the brakes (which really suck), and the wheels. The one thing that I can't wait another day for, though is new tires. I looked yesterday and they aren't just bald, the back tires are cracked in about a dozen places. So I'm off to the bike shop before our 50 mile ride today so that I don't get myself stuck on the road 30 miles out in Amish country.
Enough of that rant. After the ride we ran the running portion of the course once (11k I believe). I felt pretty good until the 5th mile and then my calf started tightening up. The real bummer, though, is that I think I might have a case of runner's knee. I noticed it after the Half, but it went away. But now I have a pain right on top of my kneecap again. I am going to have to figure out what to do about that. I know that I won't be happy with what people tell me I have to do (rest, NSAIDs, ice, rest). Hopefully cycling won't be a problem.

Here are a couple stupid pictures we took.

My roommate Matt showing me his guns, wearing a jersey he wishes he had never bought.

Me looking like a hillbilly showing off my truck.

That's it for now. I'm off to do some errands- return a way overdue library book, go to a bike shop for new tires, and the dreaded trip to Home Depot.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Another Swimming Day

Another day in the pool this morning and I am totally exhausted. I haven't quite adjusted to the 4:45am wake up time. But I got in another 2800 meters and should have fresh legs for tomorrow's Greater Cleveland Triathlon training day. It will be my first run since last Sunday and I am hoping that it will go OK. I'm really looking forward to meeting a lot of new people from the club and enjoying the first real summer day of the year.

My biggest accomplishment of the day was figuring out how to post my races on the sidebar. I feel so computer savvy.

I'm off to the grocery store. If I don't buy some spf45 sunblock for this weekend I'm going to get an earful from the Dermatologist that I work for on Mondays!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Back in the Pool

The last time I swam with a team I was a freshman in college and it was UW water polo. Those crazy girls and 10pm practices (I am a serious morning person) were enough to keep me out of the pool for the past 8 years. But I knew it was time to go back. I really need a regimented practice schedule to build up my endurance. And I have to admit, very few things in my life make me happier than a nice hard swim practice to start my day (it's one of the things that makes us swimmers so crazy). So I went to the CSU Masters practice Wednesday morning. I didn't really know what to expect, but I knew that there were Tri Club members at all of the local Masters teams. I got there early and the first person I saw was a familiar face from the Cleve. Tri Club picnic. Ben is an ironman, and seeing the ironman tattoo on his back(which is pretty awesome, by the way) made me instantly intimidated. But he and all of the swimmers were really great and made me feel very comfortable (even though he told me that we weren't friends anymore when he found out that I was a swimmer :) ). I made it through 2800 yards of practice, which is 800 more than the last time I was in the pool. The 50 meter pool makes the practice fly by. The only downside of the swim is that I did slightly too much breaststroke (Wednesday is stroke day) and hurt my hip a little bit. But overall it was a great day. I did a 2 mile run at night which convinced me that I need a couple more run-free days to recover from the half marathon. And I finally got a good night's sleep!

My schedule for the rest of the week:

Friday: 6am swim practice- sprint day.
6pm If I feel up to it I'll bike to Squire Farm. I need to take care of my garden!

Saturday: Mentor Headlands training day! 25 mile bike, 750 meter open water swim, and 5 or 10k run depending on my legs. I am very excited to try out my new wetsuit.

Sunday- Middlefield bike ride. We'll do the 40 or 50 mile route. Then cool down with a beer and some bar food.

Monday- Back to swim practice. Distance day. Swimmers are pretty hard core to meet at 6am on a holiday. I love it!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Half Marathon?

This is my first post of my new blog. I did something I never thought possible on Sunday- I ran a half marathon! This is coming from a person who until a few years ago couldn't run more than a mile or two. And to be honest, I had never run more than 7 miles in my life. But I thought, why not? It turned out to be just about the best experience of my life. It was the first race I have ever run by myself and I am so proud of myself for keeping a positive attitute throughout the race. I even finished under my goal time of 2 hours! Now as soon as I can walk a straight line again I'll be back on the training trail for my real training goal: A strong olympic distance triathlon.

More later!