Monday, June 25, 2012
The fresh fruits (blueberries and strawberries both) are in season here, and I just had to show off my breakfast, because it almost qualifies in the "food as art" category today.
It's a rest day on the training schedule, and I am ready for it. I have plans for the week ahead, part of which is doing my brick workout (Thursday) from my sister's house. I love my bike, you see. I don't want to change its tires. But my sister has a hybrid bike, that would be better for the tri... if it fits me and I can adapt to it.
So, Thursday after work, I'm going to go do the front half of my brick on her bike from her house, then run in her neighborhood. HINT: Changing things up also alleviates getting bored with the training workouts.
If things go well, I will borrow her bike the week of the race, get it tuned up, and ride it for my bike leg. For those of you who were wondering what happened to the plan to ride son's bike for that leg (also a hybrid, and one I've ridden before)... that's still a back up plan. But this one is a women's bike and there are slight differences. I figure I'm also exploring my options, getting information in case one day I might want to add a second bike to my garage. And as a bonus, I get to see my sister before she leaves to spend the 4th with her daughter's family.
Saw one of my other sisters and family yesterday afternoon (between my bike workout and my evening "active recovery" brisk walk). We went to the Melodramas, hosted by my brother in law. My sister was in an impish mood and taunted the villian. Warning: if you're gonna taunt the villian in a melodrama, be prepared by wearing washable clothing. You might just find yourself covered in popcorn when he retaliates! Short version: a good time was had by all.
The cream on top? E-mail and IM's from son. What more could a mom want from a weekend?
Life is good. Spark on!
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Cathy (Karidian1) commented on yesterday's blog: "So looking back say two years ago, would you ever thought you would be doing a triathlon, or all the other fun and exciting things you have done the last year or so? "
That is the inspiration for today's reverie! So, for you, Cathy, and anyone else who might be wondering or peeking into your own futures in terms of what you'll do / how your life will be in YOUR maintenance... fear not... you need not be QUITE as nuts as me, but you can have every bit as much fun in your maintenance, by simply doing it YOUR way!
Two years ago I was at the beginning of my maintenance phase. My son was deployed. His unit had suffered a significant loss. I wanted to participate in some way in the memorial that was going to happen on the one year anniversary of that loss, in November. The memorial event was to be a half marathon, a significant distance (13.1 miles), as it was to honor 13 service members and one unborn child whose lives were lost that day.
Two problems: one, there was NO WAY I was half marathon ready, or with my work schedule thought I could GET half marathon ready in time. And the event was several states away. Fortunately the event also had an attached 5K. I at least felt I could GET ready for that. By November, my son would be home. So, about two years ago, I was starting to think about participating in events. But did I envision all the way to a "real" triathlon, i.e. one with chips and timing? Heck no.
I achieved my goal of doing a 5K on the memorial race day, although I did it with my son, remote, right here in town. I added some elements to make it meaningful (balloon release with the names attached, wore the unit's number on my shirt even though it wasn't a real bib, etc.) And then it became a question of "what's next"?
Enter some Spark inspirations: JUST_TRI_IT (Diane) blogged her way to her first triathlon. In December HOT4FITNESS (Deanna) Spark-mailed me and challenged me to walk the Lincoln Half Marathon with her in May 2011... and suddenly that half marathon distance didn't seem quite so daunting. If I WALKED it. But Deanna is a fast walker... she doesn't just walk, she speed-walks!
I trained, and she trained, and we met for the first time at a local 10 mile prep race... and then did that half together. After that Half... I did the fun things... I had fun things among my goals for the year, you know the ones, the ice skates, the horseback ride...
Real life inspirations also contributed to my craziness: my son saying he thought I'd be able to pass the Army physical fitness test for my age and gender... so of course I had to set that as a goal and work my way up to it. Took me eight months to get to the point where I could pass the sit ups test (have I mentioned I hate abs workouts?), but the running and push-ups were not an issue.
Meeting other Sparkers in real life, KaliGirl (Becky), Loves_2_Laugh (Mary) also kept me inspired. I'm really no different from any other Sparker: we're all here because we have something we want to do or achieve, and Spark gives us the tools to work on it, and a place to find and inspire one another.
The tri? I've had a tri in my heart since the first time I saw the grand Hawaiian IronMan covered on television. NEVER thought I could do it... but once I found out they had shorter distances? Hee-hee...
Baby steps, Spark friends, baby steps! In 2007 I challenged my siblings to a private triathlon. We swam half a mile in the gym pool, then drove to our sister's home, biked a 10 mile out and back, then walked/jogged a 5K in the August heat. But I still have wanted to put a real one under my belt.
Two years ago did I have a clue? Heck no. But I had a private, deep in my heart desire... one I wouldn't even let out into the thought arena maybe... but waiting for the spark.
Thank you, Diane, for the Spark for the TRI. Thank you every Sparker for being here, for reading and commenting and writing your own stories. Because we all have dreams and hopes. Some we believe to be impossible; as we grow we find they are achievable.
Achieving those dreams is all about preparation, planning, and execution... one little step at at a time. Life IS good. Spark on!
Saturday, June 23, 2012
After having a conversation with a triathlete who has competed in his fair share last weekend, I decided to make sure 1) I knew the rules for the CSG triathlon I'm registered for, and 2) if allowed, rent myself a wetsuit for the event.
Today I covered those two items. I checked the event website and it says both wetsuits and disk wheels are allowed. I am NOT a hard-core biker, so no disk wheels for me, but based on the additional buoyancy my source told me a wetsuit gives, I'm investing in a rental. Online businesses make this easy. It is a place that if I like the wetsuit and fall in love with TRI as a sport for me, I can purchase the suit they picked for me to try out.
Meantime, training goes on. Thursday I did my brick by commuting to work via bicycle, leaving bits of Wisconsin that had been stuck in the tires along the bike trails in Lincoln, Nebraska. Then I made my commute home the front half of the brick, running after. Friday morning, my breathing was smooth and the swim was zen, but then again, it was 5 a.m. and quiet at the pool, lots of room to manuever.
This morning it was doing the thunder, lightning, rain thing and I opted to do the "long" run on the treadmill. Not my favorite, but a mandated workout is a mandated workout. Tomorrow it will be a morning bike ride and an evening "brisk walk". Five weeks to race day... it's ON!
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
As promised, after work I went to the gym to swim. I had originally thought to swim outside, and acclimate myself to having bodies around me in the water. Outside is where the kids congregate. I figured that would be good for me, to acclimate to swimming around others.
The weather, however, had other ideas, so I swam my laps indoors. Some of the kids came inside, so there certainly were other bodies around, a couple sharing my lane, and four or five one lane over.
I was a bit on the tired side... and it took until my 7th 100-yard stretch before my breathing evened out. While I was breathing ragged, I even did a half length as breast stroke, half a one crawl with my head up, and one of side stroke, trying to tamp down jitters.
The source of the jitters? An overactive imagination and the excitement of people around.
Last weekend I went to observe the triathlon, to scope out how intimidating a half ironman distance might look to me as a spectator. The one I'm doing next month is nowhere near that long, but one thinks about the future, you know?
The Spark page background is the start area of the race, while the swimmers were testing the depth and temperature, maybe ten or fifteen minutes before the actual start.
Two days after I got home, I had occasion to go look up the race online, because I wanted to confirm the distances (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run) of the half ironman. When I did so, I discovered a news story that disturbed me.
You see, about the time the first half iron participant was finishing his swim, emergency personnel, lifeguards, etc. were floating a participant out of the water, putting him on a stretcher, and sending him off in an ambulance. I saw this, did not think much of it, because obviously the man was being attended to by people who were calm and professional.
Turns out, the man died. As I started my swim, being me, I'm imagining what it is like to panic in the water. And I was not getting my breathing right. It was disconcerting. I was indoors, in standing depth water, surrounded by people who would be able to help.
I felt silly. When I feel silly, I often talk aloud to myself. That wasn't practical. So I tried breathing every stroke, and changing strokes, and those things... and THINKING my self pep talk, reminding myself to be calm, that it's OK to float, or side stroke or breast stroke, or hold onto a buoy...
And I toughed it out. Fear faced. I am not that man. I am me.
I came home, and looked up the latest news story on the incident, which suggests that the man's wife told the race director that he in fact had a massive heart attack, there in the water, and had died within 90 seconds. He was a fitness nut, and had done this sort of race before. No question of inadequate preparation. But sometimes athletes have undiagnosed conditions that show up when exerting themselves.
I have observed in myself that in a timed event like a 5K, I *do* get jittery, and I have to remind myself to calm down, and run easy at the start. I could see this evening, in the pool, it's going to be even more vital in the swim leg of the tri.
My thoughts are with that man's family. But at the same time, as I wrote my son... if anything horrid SHOULD happen to me when I participate in such an event... know that it was my choice, that I prepared myself as best I could... do NOT go blaming the organizers! It is my responsibility to recognize if I do not feel safe.
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