Tuesday, November 27, 2007
"I ate too much."
"Yeah, me too." (heavy sigh)
"It was sooooo good though."
"I know." (wistful look)
"I probably didn't need to eat a whole pie myself. It was too much."
"Naw...you deserved it." (head shaking)
And truth be told, I'm feeling slightly relieved that my overindulgence - even when I am supposed to be training like a hamster in a wheel - is somehow ok. I'm not alone. It happens to everyone.
Then she casually drops this:
"Yeah, when I did my 17 mile run this weekend I was really dragging."
Noting my expression, she quickly followed up with:
"Well you know I have the Goofy Challenge in January."
I promptly did the only thing I could do when she was so obviously bummed by her recent athletic performance. I kicked her out of my cubicle. Yep, I sent her packing.
Friends, I know that triathletes/marathon runners/endurance cyclists are a very unique bunch. I get the desire to set the bar high. Setting big goals and getting big results. But you can't commiserate with me over our lack of self discipline at the most celebrated of U.S. holiday meals and follow up with how it impacted your 17 mile run.
Couldn't get off the couch? I hear you loud & clear. Had to change into your sweatpants and are still afraid to try on your jeans? Preaching to the choir. Starting a crash diet of water and cabbage just so you can squeeze back into your work clothes and come to the office? I'm with you.
I want to be a good friend, I really do, but please keep your 17 mile run recap to yourself...at least until I'm back up to my 5 miler that I was dragging on before I had a pound of turkey and a whole pie!
Monday, November 26, 2007
I'm sooooo excited! (can you just imagine the happy dance?)
I was actually on the phone with my husband (very generous bestower of the early Christmas gift) when I arrived home to find the box on the porch. In between my shrieks of glee as I opened the package he uttered, "Ok, now remember this is your Christmas present right? This is for Christmas. It's early, but it's a Christmas gift."
"Of course, yeah, sure, I know, I'll remember."
This is not the first year an early gift has been given. I have a tendency to forget about the early ones, and look a little forlorn in the sea of used wrapping paper on the morning of the present exchange. But this year - this year I will actually wear my present. And ask my family if they want to know my heart rate at any given point in time during the morning. Or what direction I'm facing. Or my pace around the kitchen table as I chase the forbidden powdered sugar cookie - you know, the one with the nuts inside that look like little snowballs? Even if I'm not moving, just nursing a cup of hot coffee, working on my 2nd danish...I'll still be wearing my Garmin. Because it's just that cool.
I played with it for an hour before the battery warning came on, then reluctantly gave it over to the recharging cradle where it's spent the rest of our first evening together.
So instead I read the owner's manual. Like it was a Pulitzer Prize winning novel.
And tomorrow? Well, tomorrow, me & the Garmin are going to take a little run around the 'hood. It's the start of a beautiful friendship.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
When I arrived we went for a run. He mapped out a route by his townhouse that's about 3.5 miles. It was nice to run together. We tried to talk a bit on the run but I'll admit, I'm not much for chatting while running. I get inside my head and veg out. But I did like the sound of his feet pitter-pattering next to me.
We've also lifted weights this week, ran a bit longer , and we're supposed to get on our trainers together too...after the turkey dinner settles of course. Which is going to be sometime tomorrow I'm guessing.
Even with the excitement of our joint workouts, I just haven't been on top of my game this week, so next week it's the restart of training. Or the start of consistent training, if you will. I've been hit and miss lately. One day on, one off, two on, one off, etc.
I think the secret is to focus on 1 day at a time. I can get pretty distracted by the big picture, and in terms of training it can equate to feeling overhwhelmed. For the next month, I"ll try to wake up and look at each day individually. Each day has it's own dragon to slay.
In the meantime, Mr. IronMin read the blog about the Garmin Forerunner and he thinks it's an excellent idea for a Christmas present. He even recommends I get it earlier, to take advantage of a rebate Garmin is offering until Nov. 30. He hinted he may even enjoy the Garmin Edge for his bike.
Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus lane...
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
For any somewhat wet-behind-the-ears triathletes like me, in case you don't know what you're looking at, it's an amazing little device that tracks your distance, pace, cadence, heart rate, plus it's a GPS. In fact (prepare to be wowed) it lets you track up to 12 data points at one time. It easily switches between multiple sports. It even has the option to train against a digital person. That's right boys and girls, a digital person.
Mr. IronMin, it's called the Garmin Forerunner 305. G-A-R-M-I-N...or hey, you can just click on the "where to buy" link from this page: https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=349&locale=en_US
Come on, Christmas is just around the corner. :-) Some girls want diamonds, some want pearls -
Just get me a GPS for my wrist and color me happy!
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
It feels good to know I have a plan. It feels even better to know I have some solid checkpoints on my way to September.
Brief recap of my thinking:
January 27: Austin, TX half marathon. Strategy: Early training milestone. I ran one in Detroit in 2004 and I think I remember what it entails. As I mentioned in a previous post it also coincides with a vacation for Mr. IronMin and myself, during which we'll be doing a lot of cycling without our trainers.
April 26: Crazylegs 8K in Madison. Strategy: Fun run. You can't live in Madison and not do this race, unless you want to covet the t-shirt all year long that everyone else in town will be sporting. You will feel like that day in the 1st grade when all of your friends took off to hit the monkey bars and left you standing by yourself next to the lunch lady because you have a cold and aren't allowed to play outside. And yes, you will spend the rest of the year reliving stories that always seem to start with "Oh that's right, that's the day you couldn't play on the monkey bars with us..."
May 17: Galena Triathlon in Illinois. Strategy: PR. My first tri ever last year! Repeat this year with a little more experience under my belt and a goal to crush my previous time. Plus it's the first tri of the season so let's get this party started!
May 25: Mad City half marathon, Madison. Strategy: PR. Use this to beat my time in Austin and get a handle on my training progress.
June 22: High Cliff half ironman. Strategy: Survive. For my first half ironman I want to soak it all in while testing my endurance, nutrition, and transition strategy.
July 27: Spirit of Racine half ironman. Strategy: PR. Correct any mistakes from High Cliff, build confidence in my race strategy, and set my sights on ironman.
So that's where I'm heading. Thanks to Rural Girl for the great info on the local tri's!
Bring on the winter training.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I went for that mountain bike ride I mentioned yesterday. I packed up my gear, cleaned & lubed my bike chain, pumped up my tires, and headed out to Blue Mounds State Park. It's about a 30 minute drive from Madison.
I arrived at 3pm, grabbed a map, and headed out onto the trail. The goal was to enjoy myself today. I wanted to breathe in the autumn season. Give my training a new dimension by going off-road. I was thinking wide fire roads, not technical singletrack.
I have a weak spot for the singletrack though. I like the challenges of the rocks and roots, and the way the trail weaves in between the trees. It makes me feel fast even when I'm not. So, when the trail split in the woods and the path to the left said "Holy Schist" technical trail...I thought "How tough can it be? Let's give it a try"
Folks, meet bad decision #1.
I started out dodging rock gardens and rolling over tree roots, then had to dismount to get over fallen trees and huge boulders. I felt like a wimp. Then I remembered my love-hate relationship with singletrack. It involves falling off the bike. I believe before you can really let yourself go on the mountain bike, you have to fall off it (or be ejected from it) at least once a year, preferably at the beginning of the season. Once you are catapulted from the saddle and find yourself stuck in a tree or brushing sand off your bloody knee, you're ready to be unafraid. It's a reminder - oh, that's how crashing feels - then the subsequent reminder - and it's not actually that bad - that gives you courage. At least it gives me courage. But that was before I started training for Ironman which of course demands that I stay as injury-free as I possibly can over the next year.
I realized I should turn back to the trailhead and pick an easier route. But I didn't.
Folks, meet bad decision #2.
As I stumbled around and occasionally over the obstacles and more frequently got off my bike to walk it through the rough spots, I came to realize it was getting dark. It was now 4:40pm.
Ahhhh, folks meet bad decision #3 - starting a trail before it gets dark without any indication of how long it is, how hard it is, or where you're actually at on it.
I think this bad decision is a two-parter. So here's #4 - and it's bow hunting season for deer. In the very woods you are now in at dusk.
Which quickly leads to bad decision #5 - you didn't bring a light.
I kept going because I just didn't know how deep I was into the trail - maybe it was almost to the end; I should just plunge ahead. Or maybe I'm a tenth of the way in and I should turn back. Where am I? It's so dark I can barely see the trail.
Now I'm getting scared.
It's 5:00pm. It's almost completely dark. I won't lie to you - an image or two from the Blair Witch Project crept in. But alas, I have bigger fish to fry. I am a leaf-rustling, moving target in hunting season. I start singing, humming, talking to myself loudly so hunters (if there are any) will realize I am not a deer. Just a stupid girl with her mountain bike in the middle of the woods.
At 5:10pm, in a moment of sheer frustration and anger, I started to cry. This doesn't make me look strong. How could I be so stupid? Will I ever get out of these woods? Is the DNR out here anywhere?
I scream out a few "Help"'s. Embarrassing to admit, but I figured if anyone was out there they would at least know I was trying to get out. And I was a human.
I stop crying.
At 5:20pm, the trail opens to a wider one that leads to the state park campground. Tears well up again in my eyes. I have made it out of the woods.
There isn't anyone in the campground. There isn't anybody anywhere in the state park. My 'helps' were certainly unheard.
In another 10 minutes I'm back at the car. I put my bike away and call my husband. I nearly called him while in the woods, but I figured - what could he do? I would only worry him and stress him out, because he is out of town and can't help me. I had to settle down and tell myself it was me vs. the woods and I needed to stand on my own 2 feet to get myself out of the trouble I had gotten myself into.
My husband was so relieved I was ok. He listened as I went through the whole bad decision-making process. He had put himself into a similar situation a few years ago and could relate. I could tell he wished he were home because then maybe I wouldn't have gotten myself into that mess in the first place. He's the level-headed one. He would've stopped us before we got onto that trail before dark.
We all make mistakes and I guess we just need to learn from them. I need to be more prepared. That's one of my lessons for this upcoming year. Be prepared for everything and anything. From stupid decisions to weather to anything life throws at me.
And in case my mom reads this I also learned this lesson - I won't do it again. I promise.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
...and make a guttural sound or two that represents my nasal/bronchial irritation.
So a rest day has turned into 2. But tomorrow I think I'm going to dust off the mountain bike and embrace the remaining days of fall before I turn around and realize I'm smack-dab in the midst of winter. I usually end up with a slight allergy issue when I ride in the fall anyway, so tomorrow I won't even notice the sneezing when I'm out on the trail.
Plus, today was the Iceman Cometh race in Traverse City, MI that Mr. IronMin and I had signed up for this year, have done before, but unfortunately had to make a game day decision to back out of given our work schedules. (it's quite a hike to get all the way there and back in one weekend without taking time off work) In honor of that race, otherwise affectionately known as "a pretty long day in the saddle", I think I'm taking the green monster (my awesome mountain bike) out for ride.
Maybe I'll have a cool fall picture or two to share!
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I'm finding this is especially true with Ironman. It's almost as if something that big requires it. If you're going to dedicate a year or year(s) hunting down that dream, you probably have a strong reason why you want it so bad.
Not everyone shares their story, and that's ok. But we appreciate those who do. It brings us closer together as a community and reminds us that as people, we really aren't that different. We pretty much all want the same things. Love, happiness, safety, among others. And we have shared experiences that remind us we're not alone. Someone else out there gets us too.
Today, Bold shared this story. And although I've been lurking on his blog for awhile and enjoying his posts, today it got personal. And I truly appreciate it. It's not easy to share our stories sometimes - but isn't it amazing when doing so brings so many others to their feet and makes them yell 'Me Too!'?
Go check it out. Are you in?
Monday, November 5, 2007
I know he will be just fine in his training. Even though he doesn't relish every second of the running experience, he cranks out miles faster & with less effort than I do. Yes, it is frustrating that I put the hours in and he just laces up the shoes and makes it look easy. But that's ok, because I'm just excited we're doing this together.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
But seriously, if I have to put on my headlights to drive somewhere before I've had my morning coffee, it is TOO EARLY to be up and WAY TOO EARLY to go swimming.
That was pre-Ironman hysteria.
I signed up for my next swim class. Three times a week, Mon, Wed, and Fri - from 5:45AM - 7:00AM. And I did this willingly.
Old class = 2 Days a week = slightly cranky IronMin on Mondays and Wednesdays. New class = 3 Days a week = Watch Out World. I pity those who may accidentally stand between me & my first cup of coffee when class lets out at 7AM.
I start February 5th.
All of this venting is fine & good, but do you know what really drives me crazy? My pal Valencia feels the same way I do about the rude wake-up time, but I can guarantee I will find her car in the parking lot before mine every class, and she will be in the pool before I even get through the locker room every single time. It's that kind of pure nuttiness that makes her a great friend and an awesome training partner. I aspire to find something in my regimen that will drive her crazy too, but for now I will just sigh loudly and curse myself when I pull into the parking lot next to her car and run to the pool and see her starting her 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th) lap of our warm-up. And I will secretly thank her for being who she is, because she is helping to bring out a better me.