Monday, May 31, 2010

Swim Day

Wow, today was an absolute revelation! Do you remember the day you "became" a runner? I do. It was September 14, 2006. I had been walking in the mornings for almost a year, trying to lose some weight and not seeing any results. Somewhere around the first of September, I convinced myself to give running a little try. So I ran a few steps, then walked a lot of steps, and in about two weeks made it to about the half-and-half mark. But on the morning of September 14th, I just kept going. I wanted to walk, I thought about walking, but I also wanted to see just how far I could run. I made it a whole mile. This causes me to laugh now, but at the time it was huge! Bigger than huge, in fact. It was nothing short of life-changing.

Today's swim was that sort of a swim for me - revolutionary. I've been thinking a lot lately about my swimming, trying to figure out a way around my mental block. I've competed at triathlon before and I swim every summer, but the fact is, I pretty much half-ass my way through swim workouts. My mental talk goes something like this: "OMG, I'm going to drown. I can't breathe. When am I going to make it to the wall? Thank god! ONE. OMG, I'm going to drown. I can't breathe..." and so on. Not really conducive to a great swim, is it??

So item #1 on my list of How to Improve My Swimming was practicing constructive self-talk. I do this all the time when I'm running, why not while I'm swimming? Today's mantra was relax. And it totally worked!! Every time I started to feel myself thrashing or panicking, I just reminded myself to relax. My breathing came easier, my strokes were smoother, and even though I'm sure I was swimming slower (if that's even possible), I felt wonderful the whole time I was in the water. I made it 800 meters and actually wanted to go further but knew I had a day of furniture moving and painting ahead of me.

I'm so excited!! May 31, 2010: the day I became a swimmer.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Long Run Day

Ahhh, Sunday. My favorite day because it's Long Run Day!! I love a good long run. Sometimes I even love a crappy long run. Well, let's be honest, I just love to run.
Today's long run wasn't really all that long (8 miles) so I decided to see what I've got, speed-wise and I was pleasantly surprised that I've got an 8:06 pace in me! Not too long ago, that was my fastest 2-miler pace. And not so long before that, it was simply a dream to run that fast at all. A couple of things have happened in the last few months that have made me significantly faster than I used to be:


1. I turned 40. I gotta tell ya, I dreaded that number just like every other woman alive, but being 40 ROCKS! There's something very freeing about being "old." I let go of a lot of vanities I didn't even realize I had. And the older I get, the older my kids get, too. They're so much more independent now that I don't need to spend my run thinking about what I need to do for them.


2. I lost my job. Okay, this was not great news, but I'm trying to make lemonade here! I am a girl who really enjoys working, so I made athleticism my job. I don't actually run more mileage, per se, but my workouts are more focused.


3. I started doing core workouts. I used to dread core workouts. Anything but crunchies, please!! Blech. But with the sudden onslaught of free time (see above), I figured I might as well add a new dimension to my fitness, so core workouts it was. I made a deal with myself that on bike ride days, I would also spend a few minutes with the balance ball, doing planks and squats and whatnot. I looked up interesting and unusual exercises and I haven't done a crunchie yet! I started off with ten reps of three or four exercises. Now that I actually look forward to core work day, I do about 10 - 20 exercises (still only ten reps each). I'm pretty sure that the core work is the real secret to my recent speediness.


4. I ran a marathon. And once I did that, I realized that I can pretty much do ANYTHING. I had to work pretty hard on my mental game to complete a marathon. When the going gets tough, my mind says, "Hey, let's take a break!" so I had to learn how to override my inner quitter. Nowadays, especially on shorter distances, I don't even hear that little voice in my head suggesting that I walk or at least slow down. I am so glad that girl shut up!
:-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gotta Talk about Biggest Loser

Yesterday I biked and swam - they both went really well and I was very happy. Today I ran 5 miles at a sub-8 pace, which is awesome, yay! Got it? Good. Because what I really want to talk about is the Biggest Loser finale!! OMG, this is why I don't watch any more TV than I do, because I become completely emotionally involved and addicted and feel like I know these people (even though, clearly, I do not). I was seriously on edge all day long waiting for the finale last night. I know, get a grip P. But I was excited. I really, really, really wanted Ashley to win, even though I had a feeling that Michael would. I mean, honestly, he was soooo big to start, the odds were really in his favor once he made the final four.


Here were my thoughts on the evening:
Sherry looked so beautiful and thin and healthy!!! Wow!! I hope she has a boyfriend because she's hot!
I wish Darrell would have won the at-home prize because he looked amazing! And he did most of that work at home, I was so impressed.
John and James didn't look like they had lost very much weight at all! I felt bad that they were still so big and I was bummed that Subway or somebody didn't offer them a deal to lose more weight.
Speaking of that - wasn't Eric (the previous winner who gained it all back) supposed to weigh in??? He looked awesome and has obviously worked hard again to lose the weight.
I thought it was pretty funny of the producers to put the green team and the red team on stage at the same time - DRAMA!! And then Melissa did all the talking, ugh! I really liked her at first, but then she just got to be too much. She looked smokin' hot in that dress, though.
I totally love Daris and voted for him to be in the final three. I'm so glad he found a girlfriend.
I thought Sam's hair looked goofy. He was so sexy the whole time on the show and then last night he looked like a nerd. Like Ben Affleck when he was with J-Lo. Yuck.
Did you notice that Koli would have won the whole thing if he'd been voted into the top three???? His percentage was higher than Michael's and you know he's totally bitter about that!
Ashley looks so good but that girl is gonna need some plastic surgery to get rid of the extra skin. Wouldn't that just be the biggest bummer in the world, to lose so much weight and still not be able to show it off?
*whew* Okay, I think I got that all out of my system. Oh, no, wait, there's one more thing: I'm really looking forward to Losing it with Jillian. But why didn't Bob get his own show?????

Monday, May 24, 2010

Run/Swim Day

Technically, today was supposed to be a swim-only day, but I've been having a lot of "Monday blahs" lately and I know the best cure for that is running. I think it's ironic that when I worked, I used to LOVE Mondays and now that I'm underemployed, I get totally bummed when Monday rolls around. I am a girl who loves my routines and the return of Monday meant all my routines were in place again: coffee, shower, get the kids ready, get myself ready, and so on... Now, Monday morning sitting around the house means I still don't have a job. And today was a particularly emotional Monday: my 14th wedding anniversary (yay!!) and the day I sent my oldest kid off to camp for the first time (waaaaaaah!). My kids have been away before, but usually for 3 or 4 days at their grandparents' house, where I can call them 100 times a day if I want to. Other than emergencies, my kiddo is basically inaccessible to me this week, which has me feeling very edgy. So a quick 2-miler was definitely in order this morning! I managed a sub-8 pace, and it was a wonderful start to my day.
We've been having very un-springlike weather this year and today was more of the same: cloudy skies, a threat of rain, and a chilly wind. Blech! I put off my swim as long as I could, because getting into the cold pool did NOT seem like a good idea! I finally convinced myself to get a move-on this afternoon and I'm so glad I did. Today was another really good swim and I went even farther than last time - 600 meters!! Yay! I'm really pleased with the decision to stop timing my swims, it's taken all the pressure off and left me with the desire to try to swim longer. When I think about it, I didn't time my runs for probably the first six months that I ran. I didn't care! I was so excited that I could do it at all, it didn't occur to me to worry about my speed. Maybe I'll start timing my swims again later this summer, but maybe I won't. Until then, I'll just enjoy the water.
Happy Monday to us all!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

BRICK

Oh, yes, today was BRICK day and I was feelin' all migh-tay, migh-tay, just lettin' it all hang out. I love brick days. They're a real challenge for me, and it feels so terrific to meet (and sometimes even exceed) my expectations for myself. Here's what I loved about today's workout:
1. I was wearing a new Terry bike skirt, and don't new clothes make everything better?? The whole "bike skirt" concept is new to me, I have to admit, and while I love me some running skirts, I wondered how it would translate to a world on wheels. Don't wait for an answer, I'll tell you: it was AWESOME! The shorts stayed in place, the chamois was perfect and not too "diapery" for the run afterward, and the skirt made me feel all girly and kick-ass.
2. I was faster than I thought I might be. I fricken love it when that happens! I didn't fuel or hydrate particularly well yesterday, and it was VERY windy (15 mph according to weather.com. I am a total weather nerd and check it obsessively all day long. I should be a farmer, but I digress...). On the bike, I was struggling through the headwind only to turn a corner and find out I had been struggling through a crosswind - UGH! So, I made the most of the tailwind and thankfully hit only a few red lights, which always helps my overall pace (10 miles at 17.3 mph today, definitely a good ride). For the run, I did an out-and-back route that gave me a crosswind both ways and ended up with 3 miles at an 8'10" pace - yay!
3. Weekend traffic. Nobody rushing the kids to school or racing to work. It was just me and the donut shop workers on the road at 6 am...beautiful!
4. My excellent workout has segued into an overall excellent day, with me all relaxed and happy, the kids playing outside in the sunshine, and the laundry folding itself. Oh, wait, maybe I just dreamed that last one.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Run/Swim Day

So according to my training plan, I wasn't supposed to run today - whatever!! The plan doesn't include nearly enough running to suit my tastes, so I changed it. (Hey, I made the plan myself, so I can make the changes, too). I ran the kids to school, which doesn't count because I didn't turn on my Garmin, then cruised around the neighborhood for a lovely 5-miler. I felt pretty good, not great, and ended up with a pace of 8:05, which puts it firmly in the "Good Run" category. Yay, me.
Even today's swim made it into the "Good Swim" category, making it pretty much the only one in there...poor lonely swim, maybe I can have other Good Swims soon to keep it company. I left my Timex in the drawer and just let myself swim. I took a few breaks (such as when I accidently swallowed so much water I thought I would choke to death) and ended up comfortably swimming 500 meters! I'm well aware of the fact that 500 meters is nothing to brag about, but I'm bragging about it anyway. 500 meters is huge for me, like the first time I ran "a whole mile, honey, a WHOLE mile!" The lack of timing totally helped. I really, truly didn't care that I was slow or clumsy, I just wanted to swim as long as I could. And in a pool that's approximately 71 degrees right now, I think 500 meters was plenty long.
Tomorrow is a do-nothing day. That is to say, do nothing on the training plan...goodness knows I have plenty to do: help out at Relay for Life, attend a birthday party, get my kid packed for Science Camp and help the other kid with a book report project. Aaaaaaah, what a relaxing Saturday.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rest/Core Work Day

Yesterday was a bike and swim day and the bike part went really well, but the swimming? Not so much. I am a dreadfully slow swimmer. I'm slow and uncoordinated and I panic in the water, all of which tend to make swim days seem like "fail" days. So, knowing that today was just a rest and core work day, I thought maybe I could sneak in a little swim to feel better. My plan was to swim 100 meters, rest, swim 100 meters, rest and repeat, thinking that I would be able to go farther total distance because of the resting, which would help my swimming self-confidence. Totally makes sense, right? What I didn't account for was how much worse I would feel when I couldn't go further. Or when I swam slower than normal. Waaaaah!
I want to quit this training plan. Really, I want to quit swimming altogether because I suck at it so bad. My problem (well, one of them, at least...) is that I'm impatient to see progress. I'm swimming three days a week and I'd like to see some improvement in my time or distance after just three weeks of swimming and it ain't happnin. So this afternoon I went bra shopping and got a haircut. That might have seemed non-sequitory, but it's not. I cleared my head and made a mental list of all the reasons I should continue swim training:
1. Doing a TRI makes me badass.
2. And that's pretty much all the reason I need.
So I've decided to stop wearing my watch when I swim and just concentrate on distance and feeling comfortable in the water. Tomorrow is a run and swim day so we'll see how this works out for me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Very First Post

Ummm, hi. This is my first blog. Yes, ever. So welcome to it, it's nice to meet you. My name is P and I'm not an especially fast runner, nor a particularly speedy cyclist, and definitely not a quick swimmer! However, I'm an athlete. I train hard, I train consistently and I'm always training for something. Right now, I'm training for a Sprint distance TRI, with 5K and 10K races in the meantime. I've completed two marathons (and DNF'd one, but that's a story for another day), four half-marathons, two 10Ks, six 5Ks and one Super Sprint distance TRI in my almost four years of athletic averagosity (totally made that word up). I firmly and wholeheartedly believe in goal-setting and my current goal - aside from not drowning at my next TRI - is to qualify for Boston. These are my adventures along the way...thanks for joining me!