Working (out) on vacation

Today I fell off of my bike.

When I bought my new clip on bike shoes a few months back, I was warned that this would happen..

Oh no, no, no…not me!

It happened while I was stopping for a stop sign at a busy intersection. I unclipped my left foot and fell on my right side. I didn’t get seriously injured, just my pride. I caught the fall with my hip/right butt cheek and my hand. It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. But it have a little bruise on my butt and a bruised and swollen hand. I am so sore..

It hurts to use my mouse and type. Falling off the bike is better than getting hit by a car though..

Thankfully, I am taking next week off of work for a vacation. I will be partaking in the mass exodus of Wisconsinites (or Wisconsinners, if you prefer) up north.

So if you don’t hear from me for a couple of days it’s probably because I don’t have internet not that I got hit by a car..

This will be the first vacation I plan on working out. I have 3 days of swimming across the lake planned. People envy my determination. I envy those who relax wondering why I didn’t choose that as my hobby. Honestly though, it is very hard working out when others are having fun. But signing up for a half iron is very motivating.

But don’t worry, I will swim across the lake early in the morning before the drunks come out thicker than the mosquitoes.

Truth be told, I am planning on having some fun. I love the 4th of July weekend. The rich people on the lake have a fireworks contest every night to see who has the biggest and best. A free firework show on the lake without having to find a parking spot, a place to sit, crowds, and having to drive home. It really doesn’t get much better than that!

Plus we will visit with family around the campfire, play games, and pig out.

Paul is going to sail around the lake with us on his 12 ft Puffer sailboat. We will do some fishing and kayaking.

Then we are coming home for a few days and heading up north to Tom and Lisa’s new cabin. It seems like every time we got together with them that it winds up being like the movie The Hangover. (They were the other couple on the accidental overnight sail with us). They are very adventurous which tends to fuel the flames of our adventurousness. The next thing I know I am waking up on the roof in some strange town or something like that..

So, I will be swimming across the lake and working out over my time off. But I also have a lot of other fun things planned so don’t feel too sorry for me.

 

Half tri training

It is raining again..the temperature barely made it to 60 degrees..Will it be July this week or is it the beginning of April?

I could almost swim in my backyard puddles.

But I restrained myself and went to the gym instead.

My neighbors already think I am a little crazy anyway..

If I learned anything this month from the Olympic triathlon event, it was that I need to kick it up a few notches if I am ever going to finish the Half Iron.

Last week I spent a total of 3 hours swimming laps. All three days the pool was packed with kids (probably due to all of the rain). Twice I was waved down. “Hey lady…can I jump in right where you are swimming?” What?? Another kid waved me down to ask what time it was. I must have been giving off a please rescue me from doing another lap vibe or something.

I have come to the conclusion that I am not very coordinated. If I was I would not be into this triathlon and running crap. I would be a graceful dancer. I can barely walk without tripping on something. I cannot do the splits. Because I am athletic certainly does not mean that I am graceful or flexible by any means.

There is hope for everyone willing to take on this insanity!

I am a beginner swimmer in my 40’s! I find it a struggle to coordinate breathing, kicking, and moving my arms at the same time. I would probably look okay in the water if I was a dog. I heard it is really hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

I find myself resenting people that have been swimming since they were on the swim team in grade school. They complain about how horrible they are swimming but can complete it in half my time. Although I admit that I am guilty of saying similar things about running..

It took me over a year but I finally figured how to switch gears effectively on my bike. I don’t have the world’s greatest balance, but I am getting into the swing of it. This past weekend I logged about 45 miles on my bike and the weekend before 40. I had a hilly route all planned out. Then afterwards I told my family that I would be gone for a little while to retrace my route and ended up coming back almost an hour later.

I am not quite as afraid of speed on the bike and falling as I used to be. I bought the clip on biking shoes and they work great. I would recommend it highly. I haven’t fallen yet either.

I have been practicing my running too. Running is my strong suit. I am really good at outrunning things as well, my demons especially. It is funny because people are starting to seek me out to ask me for running advice. It took almost a decade of running for this to happen. Maybe I shouldn’t expect to be a great swimmer or biker overnight.

This past weekend I was tempted to sign up for a local half marathon. It was a small race so I knew that I could probably place. To tell you the truth, I am not a girl that is big into jewelry. But flash a couple of medals in my face and I am signing up for another race. It is not like I even end up wearing them for more than an hour after the race ends. Expensive bling for an hour of wear! Hey, don’t forget about the free banana!!

But I was good and did not sign up for another race just to have more time to focus on training for the Half Iron. I am big time into tapering and taking it easy the week before and after a big race. The first run after a big race, I feel like I’ve never ran before.

At this time, I think I will be able to complete the Half Iron. I have a lot of endurance and determination. It would absolutely crush me if I don’t finish. I am using that grueling Olympic triathlon as a learning tool. I am probably not doing everything right, but I am learning as I go.

I never in a million years thought I would be doing this 5 years ago.

 

 

 

Worth, an Olympic tri

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And just like that my confidence was swept away with the howling of the wind..

We arrived the night before the Olympic triathlon. We dipped our feet in the cold waters of the shore. I had one raspberry daiquiri that felt like four.

We dined at a table next to a family with 5 kids all looking to be under 7 years old. They were well behaved and received the envious stares of a couple with one rambunctious toddler.

I briefly thought of my teenagers who could care less about my race the following day while I glanced at my husband across the table. We were alone. My husband played peek-a-boo with the baby at the table next to us. I felt relief that the young years of parenting are over, but wished I could grasp their interest once more. How incredibly boring my children think I am…

We went to bed early the night before the race. I woke up several times during the night fearing that I would miss my alarm but I never do. I awoke to the sound of athletes outside my window. I felt the tug to get ready early even though I was in one of the last waves to go.

The weather conditions were brutal. It was very windy and hot. I was one of the last few people to start swimming. The first half of the swim was against the strong wind. I couldn’t put my face in the water. I was nervous, breathing fast with a racing heart. Every time I put my head in the water and came up for air, I was hit by the waves. It seemed like I sucked in more water than air. I struggled, sputtered, and coughed. But I did not panic nor did I give up.

The swimming was the hardest part. I felt exhausted before the rest of the race started.

The biking was also challenging. The course was very hilly. The wind blew with a sustained speed of ~25 mph with stronger gusts that were strong enough to take down branches and trees and blow the dirt from the nearby fields into my eyes.

I had to stop a man on a motorcycle for water. I didn’t care that I didn’t know him, that he already was drinking out of it, or that the water was warm.

I struggled up the steep hills against the wind. I hit the brakes going down the hills because the wind took my wheels like a kite and I drifted all over the road. Sometimes there were curves at the bottom of a steep hill. I’ve never road a bike on hills like that before nor did I train for it.

I had to be careful for cars since the roads weren’t closed. I almost got hit by a car going through an intersection that did not stop for the crossing guards. They threw up obscenities towards the reckless driver and mumbled apologies my way.

I was told to slow down on a hill because of loose gravel. A rodent dodged out of my path. My bike helmet was too big and painfully chafed the back of my neck. My skin scorched burning in the heat.

By the time I reached the second transition I was very tired. A man who was already done offered to lift my bike on the rack. He also offered me a pair of socks. I didn’t need the socks. I will remember to go without them next time. I looked and looked for my socks I didn’t need, but I was sitting on one. I left to run with one sock on and one sock off.

Running is my strong suit. I pride myself in not doing a lot of walking during a race. There were a few points that I broke down and walked. I walked under the beating burning sun against the wind up a hill. I prodded myself along by thinking that I was almost done. All the Gatorade and water did nothing to quench my thirst. With the exception of a little cup of ice, all of the drinks I was given were hot.

It took me over 4 hours to cross the finish line, but I didn’t give up. Unbeknownst to me, I signed up for an extremely challenging race under ideal weather conditions.

So far the recovery is going smoother than the marathon recovery last month. Marathon recovery is much more intense and painful. This time I feel more exhausted than I do sore. I spent a lot of time yesterday just bored out of my mind but I couldn’t find the energy to do anything. I couldn’t find the strength to grasp the words that were fluttering through my mind.

In the end, I feel more prepared for the Half Ironman next month. But on the flip side, I feel less confident.

 

Walking in a winter wonderland

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It’s snowing again in Wisconsin.

Or maybe I should say that it’s a raining, sleeting, windy, thundering, freezing rain kind of snow.

We’ve had it good the last couple of days with warm temperatures in the 50’s even up to 60. People wore shorts with a smile on their faces. People were out in droves on walks, runs, bikes, and motorcycles. People were out on drives with their windows down. I hung out my laundry on the line.

I can’t remember a February that was ever this warm..

Then this happened..

I awoke at 4:30 AM to the tapping on my window. It announced that winter was back in town. When winter left, it took the snow with him. Big ice chunks flowed down the river washing what remained of winter away.

For a few days, I was happy to see the sun.

Last Saturday I went on a 21 mile run with my friend Lisa. I felt great afterwards. Neither one of us were sore. I thought maybe it was because we took breaks after every 5 miles to stretch and re-hydrate. Or maybe it was because I took some time off from running for the funeral.

Then it occurred to me that this was the first long run that I’ve probably had outside without a heat advisory.

It boosted my confidence.

I think I can do a Half Iron now. I feel motivated.

Next week, I will start my swimming lessons.

I also booked the trip to Michigan to visit my cousin and run 18 miles on a trail race with him. We decided to take the train for this trip. It is something Paul and I have never done before. It has been such a long time since we got away that my credit card declined the Amtrak purchase due to a fraud alert.

For now I’ll be walking in a winter wonderland. But it won’t be long until I am outrunning again..

Extreme athlete? Who me?

Last weekend someone called me an extreme athlete.

I looked to the left of me. I looked to the right. I even did the Hokey Pokey and turned myself around. There was no one else there.

Extreme athlete?? Who me?? I never really thought of myself that way before.

I do eat, sleep, and breathe running.

Even the name of my blog has the word running in it.

Last night I had dreams of running and biking. I dreamed that I didn’t stretch, that I forgot to put on my running shoes, and my legs felt like lead. Then I got to my bike. It was a tiny little one with training wheels.

I also have dreams of racing. Usually in those dreams something goes wrong. Not unlike the unexpected things during race day.

I rolled my ankle three weeks before my first marathon. Despite that, I ended up running the first 18 miles in 3 hours. I had big dreams until I hurt my knee. It took many months for the pain to go away. I said I would never do another marathon again, then went back on my word.

Kind of like the time I said I would never have another child during childbirth.

Every single time I tried something new, I was terrified. I was afraid the first time that I ever ran. I thought I was going to die I was so out of breath. I was afraid during my first 10k, my first half marathon, my first marathon, and my first sprint triathlon. Now I am utterly terrified after signing up for my first half Iron and a very grueling racing season.

But I still did it.

Training for my first marathon was really tough. It was at this time that I realized that I suffered from GERD. The harder I trained, the less I wanted to eat because my stomach was so upset. I had to learn to run with stomach pain. I had to learn the very fine line between eating too much and not eating enough to prevent pain.

At times I thought I was going to be the runner puking on the side of the road. I worry about that while I am at the gym.

I get up on the only day I am able to sleep in to spend the morning at the gym.

(I did a long run this past Saturday and there was a woman next to me on her phone. With all of my heavy breathing I had to laugh because I wondered if the person on the other end thought she was on a porno set.) The things I think of to make running more exciting.

I have learned to run through exhaustion and boredom.

I pretend to race other people at the gym.

I choose what high risk behaviors to engage in. I WILL not do anything risky before a race that could produce an injury, such as down hill skiing. But I WILL do things for a race that others consider crazy.

I will train in the cold, in the rain, in the wind, and when there is a heat advisory.

I have misjudged how fast a storm would arrive and needed to find shelter.

I have been chased by dogs.

I have tripped over a dog and cut up my knee and hands. I had to run home with blood running down my legs and cleaned my wounds with rubbing alcohol to get out the gravel.

I ran with a really high fever. It was one of the toughest 6 miles I ever ran.

I ran through colds.

I ran when I felt zero motivation to do so.

I came very close to being hit by cars on bike and on foot.

I have a very hard time not running.

If this makes me an extreme athlete, so be it.

Why don’t you sign me up for the next race?

Running on the last leg

I think my treadmill is on its last leg.

We bought it used almost 2,000 miles ago.

The liner under the belt is starting to unravel. It is coming off in big chunks that look like dust. It almost looks like I don’t use my treadmill or am bad at cleaning my house.

Every time I step on it, the treadmill growls. Seriously, I didn’t gain that much weight over the holidays!

Now I have to hang on to the hand rails when I run because sometimes it stops without warning or catches which might propel me into a wall.

Hey, at least it didn’t start to smoke!

So, I am faced with having to buy a new treadmill or join a gym.

If I join the gym I would actually have to drive a half an hour, share machines with strangers, and shave once in awhile.

But I could bike and swim in the winter. It has been hard to train outside when the lakes are frozen and the roads are icy.

Plus, it would get rid of an ugly piece of furniture(?) in my small house.

There are so many pros and cons to each scenario. I liked having a gym membership, but found it harder to make it work out with my busy schedule.

What do you do to make training easier over the winter??

 

In too deep…again..

In 2016, I kept track of how many miles I ran and biked over the year. I’m sure glad that is over! Keeping track of it all was a lot of work.

Running: 794 miles

Biking: 298 miles

I also did Jillian Michael’s video No More Trouble Zones 15 times. I am happy to report that my trouble zones are now gone. Thanks Jillian!

This past year I achieved my goals of competing in one 5k, one 10k, a half marathon, a full marathon, and my first sprint triathlon.

Now I am looking forward to a new year with very challenging goals.

I tend to like to dip my feet in the water before jumping in all the way.

I am happy to start with a 10k or sprint because I have learned so much before moving on to bigger and better things. The first race I ever ran was a large 10k. The first mile that I ran I was so terrified that I wanted to run off the course and sit down with the spectators. I wasn’t expecting anxiety. I learned from that experience.

I also learned from my first sprint triathlon. I learned how to ride a race bike which is a lot different from the bike I tore around town in as a kid. I am still learning how and when to switch gears. I relearned balance and speed, but not without going into the ditch on a turn. I learned where to bike to avoid cars. I also learned not to hug the ditch after almost hitting a skunk.

I learned that I am not as good of a swimmer as I thought I was. My two months of lessons as an 8 year old never prepared me for this. At race speed, I had a hard time maintaining a rhythmic breathing pattern. I didn’t take into consideration needing to take breaths more often. I was the one floundering around doing the doggy paddle gasping for breath. I also noticed that my left arm is a lot stronger than my right and ended up taking myself into deep water versus staying on course. To go any further with this, I need swimming lessons and a lot more practice.

More lessons learned..

Yesterday, I signed up for my third marathon. I know that I told you to talk me out of it, but it is too late. I also signed up for my first trail half marathon. I am going to do these events with my cousin.

I also mentioned finding a wet suit for myself on clearance. While I was at the fitness store, I ran into the director of a triathlon on Lake Michigan. He said that last year the swimmers faced 1 to 2 foot waves. Half of the participants couldn’t do it. The ones that did felt like they were on a roller coaster ride and not in a good way. Then the participants had to bike in rainy conditions. It was very grueling and many didn’t make it. The sad part was that I didn’t cringe in terror. Something inside of me said sign up. Crazy!?!!

Yesterday I went on the triathlon’s website just for the heck of it. I noticed that the tri was open for less than 24 hours and was nearing full capacity. That is how I ended up signing up for my first half Iron. Now I am absolutely cringing in terror, but excited too.

Looks like I will have more adventures to share with you (lessons to learn)…