Tuesday, May 08, 2012
For AlohaEv1 (Kelly) who said to please tell y'all I did something more for myself yesterday than the swim. Yes, I did...
Two things: I bought my own mother's day present, and e-mailed my son in AFG what he got me. Bicycle shorts with padding. Gonna need those the next few months, methinks.
And... here's the biggie. Bought myself a new car. Last car I bought for me was in 1999. Last NEW car I bought was in 1984. So yeah, for me, this is a HUGE reward, and I've been planning it for about two years, and socking the savings away to pay for it, too.
My decision as to what vehicle I would buy for my last pre-retirement vehicle was a see-saw affair of balancing practicality, frugality, lifestyle and self-image. And the winner (for me) was the Honda Fit. Yesterday I took it on a last test-drive and did a test-schlep of my mountain bike to the trailhead, making sure that *this* little old lady could do what she needed to do to support triathlon training without assistance of others: that the bike would indeed "fit" in the Fit, and that I could do the necessary lifting, positioning, etc.
And when I got it back to the dealer, somehow I ended up with it in my garage last night. And said farewell to the junker my 1999 purchase has now become... it served me well, and I let it go a few miles under 100,000. 80,000 of which I put on myself.
I still can't believe I did it, but I did. Tri training starts NOW.
Life is good. Spark on!
Monday, May 07, 2012
It's a very American thing... as soon as one goal is achieved, someone shoves a microphone in the face of the achiever and asks, "So what's next for you?"
Short of the cliche answer (going to Disney land)... it seems we always have to have a "what's next". Well, my what's next was actually defined *before* I signed up for that second half marathon. Since I'd already checked half marathon off the bucket list LAST year, this year's was to be a sprint distance triathlon.
I've already plunked my money down for it. Put it on the calendar. It's 12 weeks of training away.
I have found myself a beginner's training plan that is just the right length, too. www.trinewbies.com/tno_trainingprogr
Today? Oh, yeah... my body somehow is reminding me that I did something special with it yesterday... I am working at moving gently, and stretching. I have the thought in my head that the reason I joined a gym was for the pool, and today would be the perfect day to go use it. After all, I took today as a vacation day.
There are the normal life things too: check on the cats' vaccinations, see if they are due up, and get their licenses. See about getting the bike tuned up, possibly replace the tires for tri training & the race (I have a knobby tired mountain bike, and the goal is not to buy a new bike just for this event.)
Life is good. The half marathon was NOT a finish line... just the gateway to the NEXT adventure. Spark on, my friends!
Sunday, May 06, 2012
No action photos, this one is at home, after showering and stretching and having some lunch and letting the battle of endorphins versus the hamstrings play itself out.
So, here was how my day went: got up early, because I went to bed early. At 5 a.m., happened to check the weather outside and discovered a downpour. Altered my attire plans to add a trash bag with a neck hole cut to get myself to the starting line dry. I figured I could discard it if it was not needed, at any point.
As it turned out, it quit raining a little before 6, and we ended up running on wet streets, but we were only wet because we were sweating or we took advantage of the helpful spectators who offered to spray us down.
So, lined up at the back of the pack, with the rest of the walkers. I was keeping my eye on the 2:45 pacer group, since last year I finished in 2:47:48, and I wanted to beat it. Go figure, a competitive person wants to beat her last time.
HOWEVER, I had zippo, zero, nada for a race strategy, other than "start slow", don't start jogging too soon if you can help it, listen to your body. You see, in the end, for me, finishing = winning. Time is just one of those games I play that sometimes works against me.
I greeted others I knew who were participating at the back of the pack. Didn't even see the guys from work who ended up running it, they were so far in front of me... but I looked up their times afterward and am SOOOO proud of my healthy supportive work place!
I managed to hold myself to a speed walk for the first 5K. Then these little kids at the side of the road offered "free high fives", and I couldn't help myself, I started to jog. I then proceeded to take advantage of downhill grades to give myself a gravity assisted jog interval. The hamstrings started to complain ... hmmmm... not until about mile ten.
But then, as we were headed back up 10th street, not sure just what the mileage is... on the sidelines... my younger sister appeared (we were a few blocks from her home at this point), cheering me on... I paused for the most motivational hug of my life, then moved on with a quick explanation "I have to keep moving or I'll freeze up!"
The last mile was near agony for my hamstrings... I kept trying to change my stride to make them hurt less... I mostly walked that final mile. But then when I turned into the stadium and hit that green carpet? Sprinted (for me, you'd call it jogged) across the finish line. They hung the medal on my neck. I went to pick up water and low fat chocolate milk (I read it is one of the better recovery foods)... then slowed considerably, stretched and swapped race stories with some other runners... picked up my stuff bag (which I didn't even open 'til I got home... it had a towel and a change of clothing that I dropped off, anticipating being wet)... and slowly did a cool down walk to get my car and drive home.
Driving home, I go along the full marathon route. I could see the pacers for 5:15 and 5:30 still on their way out. By the way, if anybody on race day are my heroes? The folks who run a paced marathon or half for the duffers like me... they are probably fit enough to run a much better time, but they have committed themselves to providing this service.
In the end? The endorphins win every time. It's like child birth... the pains are forgotten in the joy of the result. This little medal? Will keep me grinning for a long, long time to come.
And to the spectators that come out and cheer us on, reading names from our bibs and shouting encouragement even when they do not know us personally? Thank you. You keep us going.
Wow! What a ride!
Saturday, May 05, 2012
Last year, then this year:
Got my packet this morning. This year they have your NAME on the tag... well, your first name, anyway. We shall see how that flies with the spectators. Weather man has lowered the predicted high for tomorrow to 76 F, and upped the chance of rain to 60%. WELL! That sure beats the 90 degrees and sun that's out there right now for a 13.1 mile effort.
I actually listened to the motivational speaker this year... a young man who pulled himself out of depression by starting to run (slowly), when he originally weighed 365 pounds... finishing an Ironman, in the end, 120 pounds lighter. He would fit right in at Spark - the message sounds familiar. The most important thing, from his perspective: he is now HAPPY!
Onward! I'll give the after-race report tomorrow.
Friday, May 04, 2012
The graph represents daily weighing for the past two years. Two years ago, when the graph starts, I had been "in maintenance" for about 3-4 months but my body was still defining its natural weight.
The bottom of the graph shows increasing athletic efforts. The rise that begins about last October and staggers up and down, but is truly a rise... represents decreasing athletic endeavors coupled with more trouble sticking to eating plan consistently. I.e. complacency and burnout.
Everything I have tried to cajole myself into keeping up the efforts, everything I am trying to do to analyze what's going on is trying to find the balance. I am attempting to determine what I need to change and what I need to keep... in my THOUGHT patterns and attitudes.
Because, Sparklers, that's where it all begins. With understanding what is important to each one of us. What the underlying motivation / values /goals are... and they have to be meaningful to the individual. Even if someone else lays a goal on you (like, say a boss, or a doctor) YOU have to buy into it, or find some way to make an internal goal of yours be in harmony with it. Otherwise your inner rebel will start playing that self-sabotage game!
All that said, a part of me has been sitting outside what's happening and observing: motivation for athletic events has been the same kind of roller coaster as you see on the graph. I have NOT had the same kind of drive and focus for this year's half marathon (in just two days, people)... as I did for last year's.
Even the triathlon coming up in July... hasn't been approached with the systematic effort. "What's wrong with me?" my observer self asks. "Maybe you took on too much..." one voice answers. "Maybe work is just more interesting right now..." another chimes in.
So back to the underlying motivation: health. To achieve health, I do not have to participate in a bunch of athletic events... but they do make for markers in the calendar that keep me preparing for the shorter term. If I *don't* have them, will I drop exercise entirely? Will I drop back to my "line in the sand" of 30 minutes of walking a day? And if I do, will it mean that that wiggly line above settles in a spot somewhat higher than the low level it was at? Will it still be a healthy BMI, but just a little higher? And will I be OK with that?
To be pondered, considered, and continued.
There is no finish line. This is life. It is worth living. Today and every day. Spark on!
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