Sunday, February 19, 2012

Quick catch up

A short post to check in.

I've had a couple of good, mostly solid training weeks. I'm in the last phase of build before "official" Ironman training starts and in some ways I feel strong and prepared.

My endurance is good (meaning I can make it though a 5 hour ride on the bike trainer) and swim distance is going well.

In other ways, I'm wondering how much progress I'm really making. My running pace has slowed back down. I'm doing strength training but don't necessarily feel any stronger. My coach is having me do long runs on Thursday evenings so I'll be a little tired from the day and will run in the dark (similar to what will happen during the Ironman). I ran 8 last Thursday and still felt like I had lead in my legs on Saturday morning when I ran 6.5.

I'm just going to keep going and logging time in the pool, saddle, shoes and gym and have a little faith in my body to do what I'm asking it to do. (It may not LIKE it, but it can get though it!)

A observation I wanted to share:

I went to a swim technique and breakfast event about a week ago. The session was set up so the the first 45 minutes was a regular workout and the second 45 minutes was a set of technique drills. I swam in the slow lane with four other women.

The folks leading the class reorganized the lanes for the drill session in order to spread the entire group out a little more evenly. The other four women I was swimming with were moved over to different lanes and a bunch of the faster folks came in to my lane. There was no rhyme or reason to how the switches were made, the movement of people was very random.

The looks of horror on the faces of the faster swimmers being told to move down to my lane was pretty interesting. Most looked as if they had been sentenced to a Hard Labor Camp in Siberia. Or that they were being asked to swim where the water was contaminated with slow germs.

Most of the faster swimmers had not done the drill sets. I had taken a class led by the same instructors where all we DID were the drill sets. When the faster swimmers had questions about what to do, they asked each (equally as clueless) other rather than asking me or the instructor.

I found this fascinating.

I'm sort of "used" to this faster versus slower hierarchy from running. It is s funny how so many faster runners act like slower runners are "different" and not in a good way. (Well, we are different. We are slower.... yet, we still run the same way (right foot, left foot; right foot, left foot).

Yet, the great debate over whether or not folks that are slower runners or run/walkers "cheapen" events rages on. (Still don't quite understand how my taking 5 plus hours to run a marathon impacts in any way any one who runs marathons in less than 5 hours....).

I may be more aware of this now because I'm considering running with a running group again to help me prep for Fargo 1/2 marathon. This is the same running group I used to run with a few years ago, but without the slower pace group. (For a variety of reasons, the slower paced folks dropped out of this club -- so the club now is pretty speedy and talented.).

I know that I need the discipline of the group to push me. I'm excited to run with some new people that can challenge me. AND I'm concerned about looking and feeling like the old, fat slow person....with the Ironman dreams.

Time to just suck it up.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hello Cheryl!

Last night, Hubby and I shared a lovely dinner at Buca with some of our closest running friends. Buca is an Italian eatery known for its huge, family style portions.... deeeeelicious food, fun atmosphere. We don't go there a lot -- usually just for special occasions.

What was the occasion you ask?

Most of us that bellied up to the table were kicking off our 2012 triathlon seasons by doing the Tri U Mah indoor triathlon today.

Tri U Mah has been around for eight years. I've done it every year. In fact, it was my first triathlon ever! It consists of 30 minutes each of swimming, biking and running with 10 minute transitions. What ever distance you cover during the segments is your distance for the race. It is held at the University of Minnesota's Aquatic Center, which has a terrific pool.

Heats are small -- limited to for each, so athletes get their own swim lane (AWESOME) and then we ride on stationary bikes and run on treadmills.

It is a very welcoming event and -- because it is held in February -- it is a perfect reminder for us in Minnesota that triathlon season will indeed be here before we know it.

More about the event in a bit. First, back to Buca:

It had been a while since I'd seen some of my running/tri friends. Work, travel and the holidays kept us all busy since about November. I'd been running a bit with Gary and Marcia, but hadn't connected with Mary, Cheryl or Derek much since the end of 2011.

Everyone at dinner would be doing the tri --except Derek, who has become a CrossFit enthusiast, and Mary, who would be spending the morning today doing a run and yoga with her beaux, Jim.

It was great to share the meal and to catch up. If you've ever been part of a running group or trained with others over a long period of time, you know how important your partners become to you. You are all out there, day in and day out, good weather and bad weather, getting ready for great events and events that don't quite go your way.

The folks at dinner have been part of my core training group for many years. We've done marathons, triathlons, bike events and lots of training events over the years. They've encouraged me to go further than I thought I could and put up with me when I was in less than a happy mood at about mile 22 of a training run or event. I love them all.

At one point during dinner, Cheryl said to me: "So when are you going to update your blog?"

"Huh? Someone actually still reads my blog? Wow".

I've been very lackadaisical about updating my blog. Mostly because the end of last year was such a topsy turvy one, not knowing the outcome of my job; feeling a bit let down because I bailed on Iornman; and other just general 'blah' stuff.

I didn't have much to report and so I didn't. And, honestly, the behavior sort of lined up with another behavior habit I've acquired since last fall. I think the technical term is "half-assed". I've been training at a half-assed level; I've been logging my training on a half-assed basis; I've been watching my nutrition on a half-assed basis. I've been mentally challenging myself on a half-assed level.

So when Cheryl asked me the question, I perked up a little bit.

"Hmmmm.... Maybe I should get back at it".

So, here I am blogging.....and realizing that it's now only a few months until Liberty 1/2 iron and then only a few months to Ironman. So, accountability on all fronts (full-assed, maybe) is important now.

So thanks, Cheryl. I appreciate you more than you know.

Back to Tri U Mah: I did okay, but did not PR (see above for half-assed training efforts comment. You get what you train for and, although I was swimming, biking and riding, it was more leisurely (half-assed) than it should have been). I swim .848 miles, biked 8.08 miles and ran 2.59 miles for a total of 11.508. Not sure yet where this puts me in my Age Group. Definitely was an eye opener that it is time to actually put in the time.....

Chery, Marcia, Gary, Angel, Rick, Jumper, and Bev also did well today.

My biggest cheers, though, go to Hubby. This was his second Tri U Mah, fourth indoor triathlon. Truth be told, he isn't a big fan of the water. Or better said, being IN the water. (He loves boating and sailing. It is the swimming that he could take or leave). Once he is done with the swim, he is fine. He is a good biker and a good runner, so today, he once again, mastered the beast known as The Pool and had a great showing at Tri U Mah.

I'm so proud of him I could just squeeze him! I think I will.