Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Positively Practicing Pace

Got a race in a few days.  You know what that means……time to officially place the memory of my recent ½ marathon (AG win, did I mention??) where it belongs; in my memories.  That race jacked up my confidence and I’m really grateful for it.  But now I’ve got “Cape race #2 out of 3” on the horizon (Race Around the Cape 25K).  Longer distance, tougher course, and a brand new day.  Time to follow Bill Belichick‘s rule and focus on my next race.  What I ran a few weeks ago was just that – a few weeks ago.

I’ve always gone into races with a simple philosophy of running steady and finishing with a smile.  That’s still my core goal.  However, I’m using this next race to help me better manage my goal pace for my marathon.  Based on my training and my last race, I’ve determined that an 8:50 pace should be an attainable goal pace for Cape Cod.  With that said, I’m trying to practice my newly anointed goal pace on shorter runs.  It’s hard!!  Not that I’m super speedy, but you all know, a 5 mile run is very different from a 26.2 mile run.   

Yesterday’s 5 mile splits (focusing on 8:50) –

  1. 8:49    (Not bad..)
  2. 8:36
  3. 8:50    (BINGO!!)
  4. 8:26
  5. 8:30

Pace   8:38

I’ll continue to practice my pace through this next race and the remainder of my marathon training.  And I’m actually kind of excited about it.  After all, it mixes things up by giving me something new to focus on.  I’m as happy with meeting a goal of learning to better manage my pace as I am improving my pace or tackling a new distance (no, I didn’t just commit to a 50 miler…yet), so wish me luck.  I hear 8:50’s are the new 9’s……

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mental Toughness Training

Yesterday, I ran a 20 mile training run.  Alone.  Solo.  Just me, myself, and I.  Don’t get me wrong, I love training with friends and do so often.  But I also make sure I have some solo longer runs woven into my training plan.  Because in addition to increasing mileage, tempo runs, speedwork, and hill repeats, I believe training for mental toughness trumps them all.

Fortunately for me, I’ve never bought into the “loneliness of the distance runner” theme.  When I run by myself, I’m never lonely.  In fact, I look forward to the sound of my breathing, my footsteps, and my frequent internal conversations.  Although I love music, I’ve never run with an iPod and will likely not do so anytime soon.  During my bachelors and masters programs, my long runs provided a healthy flame that fueled my creativity.  During stressful times, long runs also remind me of perspective; things just don’t seem so bad when I return from my run.  So the quiet of a solo long run clears my head in a way no other activity can.

Some of the strategies that get me through a solo 20 miler –

  • I try to map out the most appropriate course
  • I visual the “before the run” and “during the run”
  • I eat/drink in preparation (in advance)
  • I get myself excited about it (fake it ‘til you make it!)
  • I break down the course in my head
  • I plan ahead with ample water stops
  • I plan ahead to have husband check on me (whenever possible!)
  • When I’m hurting, I dial it back and remind myself that pace is not the goal on a 20 miler
  • I stop when I have to – but also don’t beat myself up for it
  • I remind myself that solo training helps when I’m running solo on race day

When I’m alone with myself at mile 23 of a marathon, feeling like my legs have 50 lbs weights strapped to them, wishing I could just be done, and wondering why I’m there in the first place, I have my solo long run memories to get me through it.  It’s not enough to say “Dig deep Lisa”; the fact is, I gotta have something to dig from.  And because I have the memory to draw from in training, it comes a lot easier when I need to push myself in the actual marathon.

I’m no coach and I’m no elite runner.  What I am is a woman who tries to achieve balance in life and in running.  I have lots of things to practice and don’t always get them right.  But once my head’s in the game, my feet are happy to follow.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Company cleaning for Irene

Having company?  Stash the laundry….wipe the counters….produce fresh vacuum lines!  What?  They’re not coming?  And after all that “company cleaning”…..

That’s kinda how it feels with Hurricane, now Tropical Storm, Irene.  Many of us prepared for a hurricane we haven’t seen in 20+ years;  storing lawn furniture, pulling in bird feeders, buying 12 loaves of bread…  At least where I am, Hurricane Irene decided not to visit afterall.  And though we did a lot of company cleaning preparing, I am not complaining.

We’ve definitely got heavy rain and some decent wind gusts.  I was outside a little while ago throwing the Kong for Bella (no tropical storm will keep her from playing!).  Don’t you think I didn’t keep one eye on the big pine trees nearby.  In true Lisa style, I had an escape route planned, should it suddenly blow down.  The sound of a branch cracking somewhere in the woods was enough to let me know it was time to go inside.

We’ve also been lucky (thus far) with our power.  There were a couple of “dimming” moments this morning, but at time of this posting, we still have power.  No problem – I have some no-power activities up my sleeve –

  1. Finish the pair of pants I’m hemming (by hand, yes!)
  2. Take a nap – the effects of my 20 miler yesterday is lingering a little today
  3. Read a book
  4. Start my Christmas list
  5. Eat my Hostess cupcakes Scott bought me

I know Scott's dying to take a ride to the beach to watch the waves and check out the area.  He and Bella both look bored.  In fact, he called his sister to check in on her, when I heard him say, “Yeah, I might throw my chainsaw in my truck and drive around to see if anyone needs help”.  Love that guy.  Yet, I’d prefer he stay home and off the twig/leaf/branch littered roads, in case they become tree littered roads at some point. 

Or, maybe he can find some new company to come over, so all my “company cleaning” doesn’t go to waste.  For now, I'll skip to #5 on my no-power-activities list...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tornadoes, Earthquake, Hurricane…..are Locusts next?

Tonight, I spent some time preparing my house for hurricane Irene.  Not sure if it’s going to be a direct hit, but it does sound like we won’t escape unscathed.  Picking up shovels, rakes, watering cans and the like is pretty easy and produces a better result than having them turn into evil projectiles during the height of a storm.  It also produced the perfect excuse not to run tonight, though I consider all that lifting and packing away a form of cross training.  Please, just go with it.

Lots of folks are still talking about the East Coast earthquake that rumbled through yesterday afternoon.  I didn’t feel it, though I did have a weird vertigo type of moment later on that day.  I guess it could have been an aftershock, but I’m just guessing.  I ran post-earthquake and wondered what it would feel like if the earthquake or aftershocks hit while on my run.  Would I fall over?  Would I run crooked?  Just some random thoughts during a particularly witchy mood of Mother Nature.

The tornadoes didn’t impact my area of MA back in June, but unfortunately, many of those MA residents are still recovering.  Their homes are either condemned or a work-in-progress.  Although I have a fascination over tornadoes (and weather in general), I am thankful to not see one approaching my neighborhood.

Californians might be chuckling at our measly 5.8 earthquake.  Floridians might be (for once) breathing a sigh of relief as they watch hurricane Irene pass by them at a safe distance.  Me?  I’m doing what I can to ensure my garden tools don’t end up in my bathtub.  I’m also planning my long run around the potential rains and winds. 

So, please Mother Nature, is it too much to ask to chill a bit while I get my 20 miler in this weekend?  Pretty please?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lobster and laughs

Yesterday was an exceptionally trying day.  Nothing too dramatic or traumatic happened, except for the fact that I was trying to get through my Monday on just about 3 hours of sleep.  By the time I got home Monday night, I could barely string 2 sentences together and was finding my nerves were fraying.  And fast. 

This is what my wonderful husband prepared for me:
We actually had 2 courses:  starting with a piece of salmon, jasmine rice, and garden fresh zucchini (Scott doesn’t love lobster like I do); then finished with lobster for me and farm fresh corn on the cob for both of us.

The funny moment of the evening (again, remember I was exhausted) was when I brought the unopened bottle of wine outside for Scott to open.  I handed him the bottle and corkscrew and said, “I give up”.  It was a twist-off bottle.  Yep, one of my finer blonde moments.

We sat outside on our patio with Bella snoozing by our feet, eating, talking, and just enjoying a beautiful August evening and each other.  Best part?  Cleanup involved a hose down of the patio. 

I'm so lucky to have someone I can share lobster and laughs with – even when the laughs are at my own silly moments.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rainbows and puppy dogs

Nice weekend….20 mile long run, sleeping in, long walk with Bella, dinner out with Scott, strawberry lemonade, thunderstorm, pretty rainbow, impromptu neighborhood get-together with steamed clams that were dug up from Essex, MA just this morning - what a treat!

Or for your visual enjoyment….

I love clouds...especially the stormy ones

...and the reward of a rainbow

Bella knows a good thing....
So close....

Please pass the buttah (my best Boston accent for you!)

Not a lot checked off my “to do” list this weekend.  But I'll trade the checkmarks in for a great combination of running, relaxing, and being real.  Oh, and rainbows and puppy dogs too.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

20 miler, 20 ounces, 20 reasons to keep going…..

“20 miler” is pretty self explanatory.  “20 ounces” might need some context…

This morning was my first 20 miler of this training season and Meaghan’s second.  It was warm and humid early on, only to get hot and humid before we were done.  No worries though; for I planted two water stops along the way.  Turns out, we would need a bigger boat fluid source!

Halfway through the run, the heat was getting to us both.  You know that woozy feeling you get when your head decides that running is a terrible idea, even though your legs keep working.  Yep, that’s the feeling.  The 10 mile mark was the home of the first water stop.  The guardrail along the street was supposed to serve only as a good place to stash the badly needed water and Gatorade.  Today however, the guardrail also served as a chair.  For me.  Meaghan took the pavement.  What?  We’re sitting?  We got up and headed toward the second water stop at mile 15.

After our water stop at mile 15, Meaghan suddenly needed a Coke – or some soda with full sugar and bubbles.  Fortunately, we were running through Governer’s Academy at that point.  There has to be a coke machine somewhere, right?  Problem was, neither of us had a dime on us.  And clearly, we’d need at least $1.50.  Never fear, Meaghan’s here!  “Excuse me….”

Yep, as a girl rode by us on her bike, Meaghan waved her down.  “Excuse me, you’re going to think this is crazy, but….”  Our new friend Lisa-on-the-bicycle would save the day!  She dashed off to her apartment and fetched a dollar and some change and flew back to us.  She seemed stunned that we were running 20 miles.  I was stunned at how nice she was and how apologetic she seemed that she couldn’t give us more.  Really good karma over at Governer’s, really good karma.

We dashed into the air-conditioned Student Center (gotta remember that air-conditioned part next time) to find a glorious vending machine.  No Coke products, but plenty of 20 ounce bottles of Mountain Dew!  After filling Meaghan’s water bottle with the sugar-filled, highly caffeineted, bubblicious soda, I took a couple swigs myself and we were both feeling the jolt we needed.  Hats off to Lisa-on-the-bicycle.  You rock!!

We finished, and we got a good story out of it.

Lastly, the 20 reasons to keep going today –

  1. ‘Cuz we could
  2. We had nothing better to do
  3. We ate/drank to prepare for 20 miles
  4. 20’s are supposed to be hard
  5. We’re tough
  6. Our tans were fading before today
  7. There was a breeze during mile 20 (wouldn’t have wanted to miss that!)
  8. Good practice for gutting it out in our marathons
  9. Used enough body glide for 20 – wouldn’t want that to go to waste
  10. Good practice to identify where to apply future body glide (guess I missed a spot)
  11. Good mental practice
  12. Important for our confidence
  13. Important for our stamina
  14. Important for our sanity
  15. Scott would’ve gotten ultra worried if we hadn’t finished
  16. Blogging about a 17.5 mile long run just wouldn’t feel right
  17. Nothing better than the 20 mile feeling in your legs
  18. Nothing better than a 20 mile “therapy session” with a friend
  19. A Century cycle ride covered the same route as ours (couldn’t look bad in front of all those cyclists!)
  20. Our new friend Lisa-on-the-bicycle sacrificed $1+ for the Mountain Dew to ensure we keep going!  We had to keep going to make her proud :)

Here's wishing all of you either a Lisa-on-the-bike or a lemonade stand when you need it most!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Carpe Diem – Sieze the Day

Yesterday, Scott forwarded me an email from work.  No, not the kind that makes you laugh and makes you want to forward along to 112 of your closest friends.  This one was serious, and it was so, so sad to me.

The original email’s intention was to alert the coworkers of a girl who, sadly, had quite recently been diagnosed with cancer.  Not sure what kind, but it is late stage…...and really, aren’t all types evil?  The email trail then gave the distribution list of coworkers some hope, exclaiming that the girl was responding well and that the coworkers were asked to keep their thoughts and prayers coming.  The most recent portion of the email string revealed a complete turnaround from the last; that this girl has been given just days to live. 

The girl turns 45 today.  That is, if she survived the night.  I want to know, yet I don’t at the same time.

I don’t know this girl, but she’s my age and she deserves more than the hand she’s been dealt.  I don’t know if she’s married or if she has children.  I don’t know what her hopes and dreams are/were, but as a fellow 45 year old, woman, human being…..I’m deep down sad for this stranger and her family.  I’m sad for the dreams that won’t come true for her.  I’m sad for the lives she may have touched and now will not.

To this girl, I say ‘thank you’ for the real life reminder to not take today (or tomorrow, or the next day…) for granted.  We’re all allowed to get mired in the nonsense from time to time, but since we never know when our or our loved ones' time is up, we sometimes get reminders in the form of a dying stranger.  Duly noted.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dressing for success (a race report)

I never saw this coming….
Yep, that’s me in first place of my AG division!!!!  Holy #@^#!  I placed 2nd in my AG division two years ago at a local 5K, but this….this was a half-marathon

But let me go back to the beginning….

As you know, I’ve spent the last 3 weeks coaching my Achilles back to health by trying to provide a balance of TLC and workouts to keep me strong, yet not broken.  I signed up for this Cape Ann ½ Marathon as part of my training for the Cape Cod Marathon this Fall.  Knowing the course would include rolling hills, I looked forward to tackling them in order to best prepare for my marathon.  When the Achilles got cranky recently, I got a little worried.  Turns out my balance of TLC and workouts worked!  I felt no pain or tension – well, no more than one feels when one is pushing during a race of course.

The day started out cloudy and drizzly, but with a heavy humidity hanging in the air.  The course weaved through Rockport and Gloucester, so there were lots of pretty sights (i.e. vast marsh areas, the ocean, pretty homes) to keep me distracted.  When I started the race, I felt OK.  Not fantastic, but not terrible.  I certainly didn’t feel a PR or an AG win was in the humid air, that’s for sure.  I did notice that my outfit choice seemed fitting for the YuKanRun series colors (except for the rogue blue cap) and thought that must be a good omen, right? 

Here are my splits with the brief thought that I recall floating into my brain as the mile passed –

1                 7:55         (Seriously?)
2                 7:53         (OMG, I do NOT belong here - this I stated out loud)
3                 8:08         (Wait, maybe I DO belong here)
4                 8:08         (Must.Pull.Back)
5                 9:07         (Mile markers 4 & 5 seemed off)
6                 8:18         (Aaah, that’s better – and I saw Scott on the turnaround!)
7                 8:14         (OK, I can do this)
8                 8:15         (Steadyyyyy)
9                 8:27         (Out and backs make you realize you’re really NOT last)
10             8:38         (Hung with a younger chick until….)
11             8:06         (….I dropped her on this hill!)
12             8:47         (I might die and clearly, I will not run a sub-2 hour race)
13.1    9:13        (Is there really another hill, short but c'mon…yes, whining was coming)

Pace        8:20

Isn’t it funny how our heads can speak so loudly (good or bad) during a race?  Through those random thoughts, I kept repeating to myself a mantra just for today: 

It’s supposed to hurt when you push!

When the results started getting posted on the building wall nearby, Scott ran over to check them out.  When he returned to me, he looked….funny.  He hugged me and whispered to me that I had won my AG division.  I responded with “SHUT UP!”  I didn’t believe him.  Scott can play out a joke very well and this wouldn’t have been the first time!  So, he ushered me over to the results, but of course I couldn’t see because I didn’t have my glasses on.  He asked a couple who was also checking out results to validate my placement, since surely my husband couldn’t be trusted.  They validated it of course and then congratulated me.  Wow, was I stunned.

We hung around for the awards ceremony (duh) and I even got to stand up on a podium when I received my plaque! 

I’m so happy with today’s race!  The fact that I PR’d by ~ 2 minutes is very gratifying; add the AG win and you’ve got the icing on the cake!  More importantly, the fact that I felt good and strong during and after the race is the ultimate goal I strive for.  MOST importantly, my running outfit matched the YuKanRun color scheme of green, black, & white perfectly.  Slight faux pax on the cap color, but hey, that’s what I call dressing for success!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Grease is the word

(Sung to Grease’s “Summer Lovin”)

Summer running, had me a blast
Summer running, happened so fast
I found a pace
Perfect for me
Found a race
Finish line I can see

Summer run, hotter than hell
But AH, it’s a summer run!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Welcome back legs!

For a few weeks now, I’ve been having to baby my legs because of a bad combination of increased mileage, speed, and hills all in the same run.  Yeah, I’m brilliant, I know.  The rest, icing, and easing back into running has all helped.  I’ve been patient, though was disappointed to lose my momentum temporarily.

Tonight, after a particularly harrowing week, I had to go for a run.  I have my half-marathon this Sunday and want to make sure my legs remember what to do during the race.  After tonight’s 4 miler, I’m feeling much more confident –

1                 8:54
2                 8:27
3                 8:19
4                 7:47

Overall pace: 8:22

The last mile of my last two runs has been considerably faster.  That’s huge for me, since I tend to fade (even on shorter runs like this) during that last mile.  I’ll keep stretching and try to be smarter moving forward in my training, but for now, can retire my bag of ice….

Good thing, cuz tonight, I had to use it on poor Bella!  During her usual fetching of the Kong, she seems to have pulled something in her front leg.  Poor thing limped into the house, almost dragging that paw!  Dr. Lisa has administered one baby aspirin and a bag of ice.  We’ll see if she can walk on it when she has to; otherwise, she may have to visit the real doctor.  Good thing she doesn’t have a half-marathon this weekend!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cross Training...White Mountains style (a trip report)

This weekend was just what I needed.  After an early Saturday morning long run, Scott, Bella, and I jumped into the truck, camper in tow, and headed North.  We hadn’t been hiking/camping in two seasons, so were happily off to enjoy a long weekend with no electricity.  Aaaaahhhhh..

We had a little bit of a challenge finding available campsites.  We stay away from the family campgrounds (no offense, but when you don’t have young children…..), but also needed to stay with the pet-friendly campgrounds.  The Kancamagus Highway has a plethora of campgrounds that fit our needs, but most of them were full!  Yikes!  We had already driven 2+ hours with a slightly whiney Bella (she’s so not a car dog) and now we were finding nowhere to set up camp.  We ended up finding one that had a perfect site for us at a whopping $16 per night.  Can’t beat that. 

The rest of Saturday was spent setting up our camper with some supplemental tarps, since rain was in the forecast.  Warmed up some pre-prepared pulled pork (say THAT 10 times fast) and washed it down with Mike’s Hard Lemonade for me and a beer for Scott.  It being Bella’s first trip that included camping, she was definitely on guard/exploration duty from beginning to end.  She kept her eyes peeled for both bear and chipmunk.  It did rain that night, but only much later, so we were able to read, talk, and plan our Sunday hike while sitting by a roaring campfire.  No bears though…phew.
We started Sunday with the best camping breakfast ever:  fried eggs, bacon, homefries, and grilled English muffins.  I think the only time we cook bacon is when we go camping.  It’s just one of our camping staples.  We then packed some deli sandwiches, a pkg of Pringles, a handful of Vienna Finger cookies, some Kashi & Clif bars, and lots of water, and headed out for our hike.

Since the clouds were pretty low and heavy, we decided on a lower elevation hike.  In addition, Scott had run 18 miles and I had run 15 miles just the day before, so no need to punish ourselves (or my already sensitive Achilles) too much.  We intentionally chose trails that followed the Pemigwasset River, to allow Bella the ultimate hiking experience.  She lived in that river!  She has quite a fetish with fetching rocks.  And she sure had an abundance of them here!
For approximately 8 miles, we followed Black Pond Trail and then Franconia Falls Trail, where both dog and human can swim and/or slide down natural water slides.  Bella preferred just to swim around.

I preferred to ice my still sensitive achilles/calves in the biggest ice bath ever!

Then we headed back with dreams of a delicious dinner – American chop suey with garlic bread.  Yum.
After our hike, we drove further down the Kancamagus Highway to a hairpin turn that would normally afford us a beautiful, panoramic view.  This was a different beauty – a sort of Ansel Adams beauty, don’t you think?
En route back to our campground, many vehicles coming towards us were flashing their lights at us.  When at home, we assume there’s a cruiser waiting to pull speeders over, but I was more on the lookout for moose.  We got neither.  We happened right along a bad car accident shortly after it happened.  The car had apparently tried to pass someone (bad idea up there) and hit the shoulder, flipping her car completely on its roof.  We pulled over quickly and Scott ran over to see if they needed help, while I attempted to call 911.  What a creepy feeling to try to call for help and have absolutely no cell service.  Fortunately, no one was injured and at that point, all we could do is drive towards town to try to call for help for them.  Shortly after we left the scene, we saw emergency vehicles coming towards us.  So we knew they’d be OK.  Scary stuff.

Sunday night saw a great campfire, a glass red plastic “keg” cup of wine and a beer for Scott, and a great couple of rounds of Backgammon (another camping staple for us). 

Our drive home was when we hit some nasty weather and came across several motorcyclists waiting out the heavy rains under various overpasses.  This one guy did not wait out the rain, but kept going in his speedy little convertible - top down.  I couldn’t resist taking the picture…..and I tell ya, it was pouring!

It’s amazing what one extra day off and approximately 140 miles distance can do to clear your head.  We hiked, we camped, we played backgammon, we introduced Bella to the White Mountains, we played (and iced) in the river, we laughed, we talked.  

Wikipedia defines cross-training as - an athlete training in sports other that the one that athlete competes in with a goal of improving overall performance. It takes advantage of the particular effectiveness of each training method, while at the same time attempting to neglect the shortcomings of that method by combining it with other methods that address its weaknesses.

This weekend embraced a perfect combination of effectiveness and improving overall performance

Friday, August 5, 2011

The other woman

So we’ve all been there, right?  The moment you decide to try a different hair stylist than the one you’ve been visiting?  Maybe it’s due to cost (at my place, they get pricier as they climb the skill ladder), maybe it’s due to just a need for a change, or maybe she wasn’t available and you find yourself desperate for a foil highlight or a cut that will make you feel less a mess.  As you walk in, however, there she is.  You’ve been busted.  You’re there to see another stylist.  The ultimate sin of hair stylist cheating.  Oh the shame.

And you really can’t hide, since there are mirrors everywhere.  So you pretend to read a magazine so you don’t make eye contact.  And you pray that your chair is as far away as possible to avoid the awkward encounter.  You hope the rat’s nest that are your curls all bunched up in aluminum foil hide you from your old stylist.  You quietly congratulate her on playing her role as “the other woman” very well.  Never making eye contact, she continues on with her new, more loyal clients, as you tip your new stylist and quickly exit.  Lastly, you make a mental note to never take a Thursday evening appointment again…..

Note:  No hair stylists, clients, or split ends were harmed during the posting of this entry.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Random Happenings

What’s harder than having a running pre-injury?  Getting your head back into the game and convincing it not to be afraid to take the first step.  I still think my strategy of nipping this pre-injury in the…..achilles….is working.  I have almost no pain now and no tension in the calf.  Last week, I had such a tight sensation in my calf by the end of the day that I felt like it would snap.  On a good note, I discovered my rolling pin is more valuable to my muscles than it is for baking bread (sorry Mom!).  On a bad note, I feel tentative about getting back out on the roads.  And OK, I’m cranky too.

While mapping out a long run for the weekend, I’ve taken special care to avoid most hills.  After all, a combination of increased speed, distance, and ridiculous hills all in one run is what got me into this predicament.  So, calves/Achilles, fear not…..we’re going flat.  I have heard you loud and clear.

I spectated at Yankee Homecoming Road Race this week, cheering on my friend Meaghan and bumping into lots of friends and neighbors also running in either the 5K or the 10 Mile race.  It was unusually comfortable this year; only in the low 80’s without the searing heat to beat the runners into submission.  This is a first.  Every year I’ve run this race, it’s always the hottest evening of the season.  What’s great about this race is that it’s a big community event that is part of a week-long festival atmosphere.  Neighbors living along the race course generously run their sprinklers or hoses, and spectators are always in abundance.  I love running races, but I also enjoy being a spectator sometimes.  

I also spectated at my first bicycle race this week.  The cyclists performed lap after lap in a confined area of the town, while we were able to stand in a common area and watch, watch again, and again….. This race seemed so different from the running races I participate in.  The pace car for one was hilarious!  I’m accustomed to a pace car in a running race to drive maybe 15 mph.  Not in this race.  That pace car came whipping around each corner trying to stay ahead of the lead cyclists.  And apparently, cyclists use their elbows to gain or maintain position at turns.  And scratching (literally) to get into a better position in the pack?  Yikes!  I can’t imagine fellow runners in a race sticking their legs out to trip me just to get a better position on the road.  And although I didn’t witness the crashes, apparently there's a really good reason for the hay bales affixed to the poles along the course.  Go figure.

Lastly, I arrived home last night to see this visitor:

I swear he was trying to solicit business from us – to offer us a great deal on painting the door trim that so obviously needs painting.  Or, he wanted Bella to kiss him so he could become a Prince.  Hard to say.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I TRI never to say never

Lately, I’ve found myself wondering about the triathlon.  I’m astonished.  I don’t know where this is coming from.  I have a couple of friends who have gone the tri route, but until this very moment, I’ve never even had an itch for it.  Yet I find myself imagining donning a wetsuit and naming a bike!  What’s come over me???  I don’t feel like its something I should do or that it’s time for some expected next step – no peer pressure whatsoever.  I love running – the ease of it, the thrill of it, the peace from it.  Thinking about adding two additional components to it both excites me and scares the GU out of me!

Some of the things that excite me about the triathlon –
  • Something new…period.  (OK, and I’m slightly excited about being body marked.  There, I said it.)
  • A new degree of competitive intensity
  • An opportunity to conquer some fears (detailed below in the ‘what scares the GU out of me’ section)

Some of the things that scare the GU out of me –
  • The swim – everything about it!
  • Going fast on the bike
  • Any kind of equipment issue on the bike
  • The training time commitment

The good news about the ‘scary stuff’ is that it’s mostly trainable.  While I don’t have a pool or access to one presently, there are bodies of water very local to my home.  While I’ve never swam an "official" lap in my life, I have friends and family who I can 100% depend on to help and support me in this, the scariest part of the triathlon.  Same goes for the bike equipment issues that are a normal part of riding a bike.  The fear of riding the bike at greater than 5 mph or of getting thrashed among a mass of swimmers can only be squashed through practice, experience, and thus, confidence.

I also realize that most triathletes have a leg of the triathlon that they must work at.  For me, running would be the most natural part.  Secondly, other than my equipment/repair ignorance, the bike would be the next most natural part.  The swim is the hold out.  The swim is what keeps me respectfully creeping others’ triathlon race reports (the good, bad, and the ugly) without having one of my own to report.  I also realize that most, if not all, triathletes (or any athlete training for their sport) struggle with time management – fitting it all in while attempting to keep a balance. 

So here I sit, contemplating a possible flirtation with the triathlon.  I honestly don’t know where this will lead me – if anywhere past this blog entry!  Although I am currently training solely for my 9th marathon, I know it’s never too early to consider a strategy for conquering some of the fears listed above.  Conquering fears leads to a greater confidence in whatever you do.  This belief helped me conquer my fear/uncertainty of returning to school for my Bachelor’s, then again when I thought I would never return for my Master’s, and yet again, when I thought I would never be able to run a marathon….

Never say never.

Any triathletes out there have any words of wisdom?  How did YOU start?