Swimming, biking and running – Oh my!

Well, I’m swimming.

How’s that for a surprise?  I’m guessing it’s 3 words you probably never thought you’d read!

I’m not swimming well and I’m not swimming far.  But I am swimming.

One day it just happened.  I’ve even done 3 open water swims.  I have my husband swimming next to me and I have a life buoy around my waist, but I’m swimming!  I’ve even been in open water, and water where I can’t touch the bottom.  And that’s in part to the magical wet suit I’m borrowing.  Man, that thing is buoyant and I LOVE it.  Long live the wet suit!

While I have done open water swims, I can’t go more than 20 yards without freaking myself out and popping out of the water.  I can’t seem to break through the mental hurdle that comes with swimming anything longer than a pool length.  It’s very frustrating.

And my lack of swimming endurance is also very frustrating.  I just ran a half marathon on Sunday, yet when I got in the pool on Monday, I could barely swim one length of the pool.  I complained about this to my Trainer and he said, he’s been there.  Apparently cardio strength in biking or running doesn’t translate into swimming cardio strength.  Great!  The one thing I thought I had going for me (cardio endurance) is now shot to hell.  So I have to start from scratch and start building cardio strength in the water.

My Coach, is still having me practice drills in the pool twice a week, but the other two days I  need to work on my endurance.  One day I have to do laps with rest breaks.  The other day I have to do laps with continuous movement.  He doesn’t care what strokes I do but I need to keep moving.  I can do the backstroke, side stroke or a crazy doggie paddle, if need be – he doesn’t care – he just wants forward movement.  This will not only help me gain endurance, but will also help me feel more secure on race day – knowing if I get fatigued I can flip over to the backstroke until I can lower my heart rate.

My Coach has also been talking to me about the fact that I only breathe to my right and what will happen if I’ve got another swimmer next to me splashing me or if waves are coming at me.  He’s trying to get me ready for the “what ifs” that come with a triathlon.  I’m extremely grateful that he’s talking me through these scenarios, but it’s also scaring the crap out of me.  I can’t even swim longer than 20 yards and now I have to worry about someone taking away my ability to breathe because they are splashing water in my face.  He also mentioned, “what if you get hit”?

What if I get hit?!?!  WHAT?!?!??!

I’m seriously not ready for these conversations yet.  Even though I’ve been having them with myself for months, the fact that my Coach is now bringing them up makes me realize that we are getting closer to race day, that not only could these things happen, but that they most likely will happen and that THIS SHIT IS REAL!

I am terrified to swim a .5 mile in calm, open water with no one around.  I don’t know how to swim .5 mile in choppy water, with people around who are splashing me, hitting me or swimming over the top of me. I want to vomit just thinking about that.  And even though I plan to start my swim at the back of my pack, I know the wave that starts after me will catch me and swim over me and I’m actually guessing more than one wave of swimmers will catch me, probably 2 or 3 of them.  How the hell do I survive?  When I’m not a confident and am not a strong swimmer, how do you get okay with getting hit in the water?  I am getting sick to my stomach just thinking about it.

UGH!


Because I’ve made progress swimming and have officially decided that there will not be a deferment this year, I figured I should actually get on my tri bike and get some miles in on Freddie.

OH HOLY HELL….

If you want to see something comical, you need to watch me on my tri bike.  Who knew biking in the aero position would be so fricken hard?  I CAN NOT bike in a straight line.  And it’s not just that I can’t bike in a straight line, I make sharp, unexpected and sudden swerves to the left or right for no apparent reason.  I can’t seem to transition from my aero bars to the regular handle bar position without almost wiping out.  The first time I road Freddie outside, Brian was with me and at one point he said, “just stop before you wipe out and hurt yourself”.

And speaking of hurting myself, I’m not even going to get into the fact that I was on a training ride yesterday and I was three miles away from my car (I went biking after work so I had my bike on my car and went biking on a nearby paved trail) when the tornado sirens starting blaring.  Let’s just say that was the 3 fastest miles I think I will ever ride in my life.  When I got to my car I had a hard time getting my bike on the rack because of the strong winds and when I a tree branch snapped and landed 20 yards behind me… I couldn’t help but think of the irony of the fact that I had just watched The Wizard of Oz two nights earlier.

So long story short, I need to work on my biking and I need to believe the weather reports when they say there’s a chance of storms!


So I’ve talked about my swimming and my biking – all that remains is running.

Brian and I did a marathon this past Sunday as a 2-person relay.  It was fricken hot.  Too hot for me.  I’m not warm weather runner and I haven’t been heat acclimated this year so I was not looking forward to the run.  Add in the fact that I’m still having problems with my sciatica pain, and I really wasn’t looking forward to the run.

Thankfully my hip pain was manageable, during my run, but what wasn’t manageable was the heat.  I was overheating and it came on quickly.  I was going downhill and fast.  When I saw Brian at mile 4 (yes, I overheated in 4 miles.  Actually it happened in two miles – I guess overheating rapidly is just one of my few gifts) I called an audible and asked him if he could be ready to run at mile 6, the first relay exchange.  Thankfully he said yes and he took over for me.  Our original plan was for me to run legs 1 and 2 back to back and run 13.1 before passing the baton to Brian.  But I knew I wouldn’t make it.

I’m happy to report that breaking up my run and instead of doing two legs back to back, that running legs 1 and 3 saved me.  I had an hour to cool down in the AC of my car, I got a lot of fluids in me and most importantly I ran the 3rd leg into a headwind and that helped cool me down.

A trick I learned while training for my ultra two years ago was to wet towels and freeze them and use them to cool down with while on the run.  Brian had given me one towel during leg 1, I used a second towel while I was resting during Brian’s leg and I had one more towel waiting for me during my final leg.  Brian was ready and waiting for me with the last frozen towel when I had 3 miles left to run.  But a few miles earlier a marathoner had started chatting with me a bit and I felt too guilty having a nice frozen towel when I only had 3 miles left to run and he had 9.  I gave him my towel instead of keeping it for myself and I think I made his day!  I can’t tell you have many times he thanked me and how he said it was a godsend!  He even thanked Brian when he saw Brian at the next relay exchange.  So I felt I did my good running deed for the day! 🙂

So, that’s where I stand with my swimming, biking and running.

I have a lot to do in 2.5 months but I’m going to keep trucking along the best I can, and hopefully I can find a suitable level of comfort with all that I yet need to do and learn.  As my Coach said to me on Wednesday, “you are head strong enough that I know you’ll find a way to figure it out and make it work”.

Never have truer words been spoken.

Until next time,

Gotta run (or bike and swim!)

Trying to swim isn’t all I do

I’ve done nothing but post about swimming lately, you probably think I gave up all other workouts – but that’s certainly not the case.  In fact, I’ve slowly been getting back into running.  In case you forgot, I really fell off the wagon the 2nd half of 2016.  The effects of training for an ultra in 2015 finally caught up with me and I wanted to do anything but run.

I’m once again running.  Not a lot, but I am running.  I still don’t have the same drive and motivation I did pre-Fall 50 solo, but that may have as much to do with the weather as it does my lack of motivation.  I truly dislike running in winter.  The darkness and icy/snowy conditions make me want to stay indoors.  And since I refuse to run on a treadmill, that means if I don’t run outside, I don’t run at all.

I’ve been going to the weekly training runs on Saturday mornings.  So far I’ve run the marathon training routes (compared to the half marathon routes), even though I don’t plan on running a marathon.  But I have to admit, just last week I started to get the itch to do another marathon.  It’s my 10-year anniversary since running my first marathon in 2007 and that really has me jazzed about running one this year.  But what doesn’t have me jazzed is training.  Even though I’m running again, I’m not sure if I’m ready to tackle the training required to run a marathon.  I’m still feeling a bit too lazy to commit to that.  But I will keep running the marathon training routes for a few more weeks and then I’ll reassess.  If I get more motivated and if I’m feeling good, maybe I’ll go for it.

Speaking of feeling good, my right leg is not feeling good.  It’s actually giving me a lot of problems.  I’ve got a whole bunch of crap going on with my leg.  I think part of my pain stems from my back, which is pinching nerves.  When that happens I alter my gait and then a whole new host of issues arise.  I have sciatic nerve pain, I have a pulled hamstring, I have hip pain, I have IT and knee pain and I have a serious case of restless leg going on too.  And yes, this is all in my right leg.  The restless leg, or if you’re a Seinfeld fan you probably know it as “jimmy leg”, is so unbelievably distracting.  I can’t sleep, I can’t sit and I just want to cut my leg off.  While I’m not exactly sure what triggered all of this now, I do know that it’s all still a by-product of Fall 50 training.  These are almost exactly the same issues I had during ultra training.  But then I accepted it because my body was going through a hell and a lot of stress.  But now? Why now?  I’m barely logging any miles.  So why am I already dealing with so many issues? Perhaps I’m just that lucky!

I sure hope the pain and issues subside.  I also hope my motivation continues to come back.  I’d really like to enjoy running again.  Here’s hoping!

Until next time,

Gotta run

Summer of no training

Labor Day is next weekend and that means summer is almost over and more importantly that means my #SummerOfNoTraining is almost over with too.  I did not set out to have a training free summer, actually just the opposite.  In February I had signed up for a fall marathon to keep me motivated and to keep me training.  I knew I’d need all the help I could get to keep running so I thought I fall marathon would do the trick.  Not so much.

I backed out of the marathon when I discovered that no matter how much I willed myself to go for a run, I just didn’t want to.  I wanted to do anything but run.  I haven’t exactly been sitting on the couch binge watching Netflix – but I have done that too.  I still workout.  I just don’t run.  Every once in a while I will go for a run but it’s nothing more than 3 miles and I dread it the whole time leading up to hitting the pavement and I’m pretty miserable the whole time I’m running too.  I would much rather bike, strength train, do yoga, go kayaking – anything but run.

I am just so burnt out.  This is my first summer in 5 years that I haven’t been training for a fall event.  And after training for the Fall 50 – solo last year, I simply need a break.

So what have I been doing if I haven’t been running?  Well, the answer is everything and nothing.  I’ve tried my hand at stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, mountain biking.  I’ve gone on a few distance bike rides, gotten back into yoga and set up my own circuit training stations on my deck, complete with TRX, kettle bells and resistance bands.

I’ve also slept in and skipped workouts completely.  I’ve sipped coffee on the deck and I have aimlessly walked the farmer’s market in search of the perfect bouquet of flowers.  I’ve gone to concerts, I’ve gone to Packers games and I’ve gone to happy hour.  All things I haven’t been able to do in the past 5 years.

And I have to say, I’ve been loving every latte laden second of it!  Now I know what the rest of you do with your summers while I’ve been carb loading, doing intervals, hill training and spending hours and hours and hours on long runs on weekends.  Who knew summer could be so fricken fabulous!?  And so fattening?  Good lord, how do people drink lattes, craft beer and eat 3 meals a day without logging 50-70 miles a week?  How do you keep the weight off?  Please tell me, I need to know because I have not been able to figure it out on my own.  And my tight pants are a testament to the fact that I’ve been failing miserably at it.

So, what is in store for me now that my #SummerOfNoTraining is coming to an end?  I’m not sure.  I have a busy fall, and none of it includes running or training.  But after my crazy busy fall is done and winter hits, then what?  Will I get the running bug again?  Or am I done?  Will I miss it or will I continue to dread it?  I hope I’m not done with running forever.  I hope I start to miss it soon.  But as of now, I don’t.  I don’t miss it a bit.  So while I hope to see you again in the future – running my dear friend – but for now, I’m enjoying my other less demanding friends I’ve made over the summer.  And to that I say, see you around!

Until next time,

Gotta (do anything – but) run!

 

 

 

What do I do with myself?

I’m struggling.  And the struggle is real, my friends.  This is not my normal struggle that involves fitting in training, figuring out how to run in the heat or finding a solution to a nagging injury.  Actually it’s just the opposite, I’m struggling with not running.  More specifically, not having a goal.

A lot of people go through a mini-depression after a big race or event.  The build up, excitement and constant dedication and discipline required to hit a goal is gone – just like that – it’s over.  Once the event is done, you get to ride a high for a while but eventually that high is gone.  People stop asking about it, you can no longer brag about it and everything goes back to normal.  Except things aren’t normal for the runner because their normal consisted of working out 25 hours a week, another 5 hours a week were dedicated to prepping for the workouts and add in 3 hours for chiropractor appointments and other miscellaneous things and a constant 24/7 focus on the end goal.  Seriously… 24/7.  And after the event, that focus is gone.  And in its place is a void.  A big gaping void.

At first the void is filled with blogging about the event, flipping through pictures and retelling the epic stories from the event.  Then comes a bit of relaxation.  The act of doing nothing or not having to go anywhere is a welcome change and it’s embraced.  Then your time is occupied by projects, projects that have been neglected for the past year while training took priority. But once the stories have all been told, the relaxation gets boring and projects are done, then the depression sets in.

Watching friends set goals and get their plans together to hit those goals is so exciting.  I was so looking forward to being a spectator this year and cheering on my friends from the sidelines.  But instead of embracing my year off, I’m antsy and jealous.

I realized I need that carrot at the end of the stick dangling in front of me to help motivate me.  Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t become a couch potato, I’m still working out.  But without an end goal driving me, I feel lost.  I feel aimless.

What the hell?

Why, oh why am I lost and aimless?  It doesn’t make sense.  I’m still working out, I will still take part in events, I still have more than enough work/and jobs to fill my time, so what is it?  What am I missing?

Is it the high of the “never-been”?  The new goal, the thing that seems unattainable… is that what’s pushing me?  Has upping the ante all these years pushed me to become “one of those people”?  Is the need for newer, bigger, badder what motivates me and makes me tick?

Lord I hope not.

But I think so.

I think the past 10 marathons – some incredibly icon marathons – followed by an epic ultra has led me to become a bit of an endurance junkie.  Granted of all the junkies there are – I’m thinking an endurance junkie is the best junkie to be!

But what happens when I can’t keep going bigger and badder?  What becomes of me?  Will this feeling of being lost and being without an identity eventually pass?

And more importantly, what will I blog about if I don’t have a goal race to train for? What will be become of my followers – all 20 of you – if I don’t post any updates for a year?!

Hmmmm….

Until next time,

Gotta run

Oh wait, actually I don’t have to run!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your “Movie Moment”?

We’ve all seen the movies where one moment in time – some words of praise from a boss, a teacher’s encouragement, a delayed flight or a missed phone call are the cause for the way the person’s life turns out, as they know it.  The person can trace back in time the reason they are – for good or bad – who they are.  Where they are in life can be attributed to some thing or some event.  I can actually trace back a “moment in time” for my husband’s career.  His participation in the music industry from being part of the crew for local bands, to booking bands as an agent and then transitioning out of that field and into radio and promotions can all be traced back to one incredibly innocent moment in time.  I believe it’s incredibly rare to be able to look into your past and find one moment that defines who you are today.  It’s not normally one moment but instead a collection of all experiences, good and bad that form who we are.  And I do believe this, but when one “moment” was the catalyst, that’s kind of cool.

I’ve always thought about my past and how it shaped me into who I am today and I always wished I had one Hollywood movie moment to thank or curse for who I am and where I am in my life.  My life is pretty boring and pretty low-key so a movie moment never jumped out at me.  Until now.

While I don’t know the exact day and time it happened, but the day I decided to try to run a few minutes is the day my life changed.  And I don’t mean this in a light shining from the sky, the world gives me new meaning and  I’m an all around better person, awe-inspiring way.  I’m still me for gosh sake, I’m not going that spiritual.  But I mean, a lot of really cool things in my life have happened because I started running.

Brian and I took trips to San Diego, New York (twice), Vermont, Boston and this fall we will be going to Maryland and these trips are all directly tied to running.  We’ve seen scenic sunrises, metro streets that are normally loud and busy quiet and vacant, we’ve run past luxurious indulgence and pretended to belong in places we had no business belonging, but as a runner we were tolerated. And we paid for these trips with money we made working running and endurance events.  Events we participated in as runners and then transitioned from participants to organizers.

I’ve met Olympians and Sports Legends.  I made new friends because of the runs we take part in and the events we work.  Friends who make me laugh and are always a good time.  And nothing beats the good times had with friends while running.  Some of the silliest conversations happened while running.  And some of the best belly busting laughs occurred while logging some miles.

And it’s not like I wouldn’t have had laughs with friends if I didn’t run.  But I wouldn’t have had NEARLY the amount of great and unique experiences and memories to look back on.

So the day in 2003, when I decided to try to run on the crappy treadmill we had in the bedroom of our duplex, set off a chain of events I NEVER would have expected.  I never dreamt I’d go from huffing and puffing and having to stop in less than 2 minutes, to training for a 50-mile solo run.

So thank you cheap treadmill and my 2003 self for being part of a defining “moment” for me.  I like what’s it’s done for my life so far and anxiously await to see what’s next.

Until next time,

Gotta run

Short update

1.  I hate tempos runs.  I hate the fact that I run my little heart out and feel like I can’t possibly move any faster and yet Brian is running alongside of me as casual as ever and looks as if he’s bored and could fall asleep at any moment.  For these reasons, I make him run behind me so I can’t see him.  If I see him, I want to kill him.  My shadow feels the same way about his shadow.  During our last temp run, the angle of the sun was such that even though I couldn’t see Brian, I could see his shadow.  And I was not digging his casual shadow because my shadow was about to burst.   I told him that at that moment, my shadow was going to stab his shadow and there was nothing I could do about it.  So he graciously ran directly behind me so his shadow was within mine and I could no longer  see it.  Whew, crisis averted!

2.  I had my first two mini- freak outs.  I didn’t actually freak out as much as I did the… “what the fuck have I gotten myself into?” self-discussion.  The latest being less than an hour ago while ago while I was at the local running store picking up new shoes.  There were two people in the store having a discussion about running the very same ultra that I’m running and the guy leading the conversation was a fit, buff and very athletic dude who’s run it in the past.  His comments scared the bejeezes out of me and I am second guessing my abilities.  Yikes… too damn early to already be second guessing myself.  Fuck!

Deep Breath…
Until next time,

Gotta run
#TooStubburnToQuit

What a wonderful world

NY Marathon is in two weeks!!  At this time, two weeks from now I will be enjoying a few post-marathon cocktails and sharing stories from the race.  But before then and before I get to toe the line I want to give a shout out to all of my fellow “back of the packers” starting in wave 4!!  Woot woot!  See you all in two weeks!!

As I think about NY, I am overcome with excitement.  And that’s got me a bit nostalgic for all that I’ve seen and done since I became a runner.  There’s a lot of cool places and cool things I’ve seen since I’ve taken up running, and for that I’m extremely grateful.  While so often I bitch and complain about running, I do appreciate what it’s given to me.  The good times, the great views and all the memories and miles in between.  So, I’m posting a few picturesque photos that were taken at races, or while on training runs as a way to share and remember what I’ve seen and where I’ve been.  And in the words of Louie Armstrong… what a wonderful world.

Until next time,

Gotta run!

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Spotted during a pre-dawn run in Denver.

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View on the Manitowoc Maritime Marathon Course.

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Sunrise before my last 22-mile run leading up to NY 2013.

snowfall

First measurable snow fall 2012.

Grass

Touch of beauty during a hill workout.

chicago

Stopped mid race to snap a photo of the Chicago skyline (and a stranger on my shoulder).

Baird's Creek

Creek, big – creek.

Door County, WI
Door County, WI

One of the many bridges on the Eau Claire Marathon route.

One of the many bridges on the Eau Claire Marathon route.

The military and palm tress created us in the final stretch of San Diego's RnR Marathon
The military and palm tress created us in the final stretch of San Diego’s RnR Marathonlambeau

Cattails, love them!
Cattails, love them!

Golden Gate