Monday, August 19, 2013

What started with a stupid decision brings back my racing mojo

I had a phenomenal weekend.

Among other things, I surprised myself today and now am confident that I can own the Wine Glass marathon Oct. 6.

After falling off for a couple days, I was determined to follow my training schedule through the weekend, a one hour run Saturday, and a one hour and 15 minute run Sunday.

But due to standing plans and some ickiness of varying natures, the Saturday run never happened, and I ran 18 miles Sunday in 3:34.

(Sorry for not listening to you, wonderful person who has helped me out considerably with my training, I will will will follow my schedule from now on. Oh and congrats on IMMT!)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Catching up, but losing heart

I have about four unfinished blog drafts to get done, including a recap of my absolutely awesome race Saturday and pondering whether I want to raise money for charity to compete in an Ironman.

It's just been one of those weeks. I've skipped a bunch of workouts, partly because I genuinely have been really busy, partly because I've felt really tired.

Some of it may have been residual, from the Summer Sizzler. I took it really hard. I haven't done a hard, intense workout like that in quite some time, so it's natural to feel the physical exhaustion for several days after.

I've come to the conclusion that I really shouldn't have signed up for this marathon. Completing Musselman was a huge thing for me. But I didn't consider the cycle. With every up comes a down, and you need to cycle through said down before taking on the next challenge.

With the deferral date past, I am going to make it through the wine glass, heck I may have to cross the finish line on a stretcher, but I'm going to do it. But then I'd need a real and honest break, so I can get excited for whatever comes next.

I have other personal goals I'm trying to accomplish, so it's fitting that I take some time to focus on them. I have some projects at work I'm really excited about, and want to see through. I'm trying to have more of a social life, and manage my money better (which isn't easy when you are constantly throwing down for races). I'm trying to do a better job keeping up my apartment. I'm trying to lose ten pounds.

But I'm committed to the Wine Glass, so I will see it through.

Maybe a long run with a couple new friends tomorrow will turn things around. I said that last week,

Have you ever signed up for a race, but lost the motivation to train? How did you make it through?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

That moment when you lose yourself

Earlier I wrote about the slump I've hit since my race.

But I forgot about one shining moment.

Monday I did my longest open water swim yet: 90 minutes. It was mostly nonstop though I did have to touch a few times since the sun made sighting very difficult.

Kershaw Park

Kershaw Park in Canandaigua is a haven for triathletes. They have buoys set up for open water swimming and any time of day you'll see people there swimming back and forth. It's very safe, the swimming area is in between a guarded beach and the boats/kayaks. The water is calm and you can always touch.

I'm not on a plan but knew I wanted to get a longer swim in. I had subbed a weights class and planned to jump in the pool after.

The problem was, ever since I started swimming in open water I've equated lap swimming to running on the dreadmill, and feeling like being a fish pinging back and forth in a tank that's too small surrounded by the silence that is the DFC pool in the late evening was not exactly the motivation I've been seeking. (If you're reading this John, I'll take the silence of your pool above the sound of screaming kids and inattentive parents any day, but some music would be nice :)!)

So I jumped in the car and headed east, listening to O.A.R. and Bob Dylan (I'm a weirdo) full blast and singing along to songs I didn't quite know the words to. The embarassing ones always seem to be playing just as I go through the toll booth. I should get one of those EZ Pass things.

(OK, given that I had thought to put my wetsuit and an extra towel in my car "just in case" maybe I did have it in the back of my mind, and the trip wasn't quite as spontaneous as I would have hoped).

"How's the water?" I asked a guy getting out of his wetsuit.

"Perfect," he said.

And it was.

Normally I'm the biggest baby about getting in the water. I inch in slowly. I'm nervous about Saturday's tri because it's a beach start! But getting in was easy Monday.

The swim started out tough because the sun was in my eyes. I had this problem at Musselman, I'm sure someone sells goggles that are better equipped to deal with glare.

It takes me about 16 minutes to go from one end of the buoys at Kershaw to the other. On the first lap, the sun was killer, and I kept touching to get myself back on track. I made it to the end and swam back easily. On the way out again I had a brilliant idea, why not just spot the sun? I found that if I aligned myself to just the left of the sun kept me pretty much on track. I made it out to the final buoy again, about 45 minutes in, realized I wasn't even remotely tired. That's when I decided to see if I could go for 90 minutes.

The lake was really crowded at this point. There were a ton of swimmers, people on the beach and people on boats. It was peaceful though, and I felt comfortable and at ease in the water. I got back to the beginning and like clockwork went out again.

I got back out, maybe a half hour after I noticed how crowded the beach was, and everyone was gone.

There was one other open water swimmer, one kayaker, and a bunch of people walking dogs and running along the beach. There was a slight moment of panic followed by an incredible calm. The sun was going down quick, but I only had 15 minutes left, plenty of time.

Coming back was an incredible, peaceful, serene feeling.

I got out of the water and dried off. Before I got into my car, this happened.

So beautiful.

I made it, a 90 minute swim. Sure I felt like my dogs were going to yank my shoulders out of their sockets when we went out after.


With the Wine Glass in two months, kicks in the ass are welcome and encouraged

In part 3 of my Musselman recap, I talked about the power of Facebook in training. Knowing you're not alone in whatever it is can be a very powerful thing.

I hit a major slump right after Musselman. After a year of training hard, post race I found it hard to dig up the motivation to do anything.

And that just doesn't include training. Leading up to Musselman I put a lot of things on the back burner, saying I'd get to them after the race. Three weeks later my apartment is still a mess, I haven't done any of the blogs or projects I've been meaning to get to, I've done exactly one long run, one long swim and one 20-mile bike (and a few shorter ones). I've also gotten through most of Prison Break, rewatched Breaking Bad and renewed my addictions to Words With Friends and jigsaw puzzles.

I told myself I'd try a real food/paleo diet. I have yet to make one week without slipping, in part due to a slight soda kick (perhaps the sparkling water I've been drinking lately was the gateway drug.) I've been slipping big time on the gluten factor as well.

The Wine Glass Marathon is in two months. I haven't run more than six miles since my half, yet I can't find the drive to get out there. I did hit a new record today though, I slept in until 10:30 on a weekday! (Working a later shift, it's debate season again!)

One thing I learned from my wonderful friends back in Ohio is that I needed to give myself time to rest, eat junk food and come around, complete the circle. I've done that.

I'm giving myself two more days. Saturday is the Summer Sizzler Formula 1 Triathlon, with shorter distances done twice. I should have done either a long run or a bike run brick this week but that didn't happen, with the primary in a month work is getting nutty. Me and early mornings haven't been getting along lately.

Then it's time to ramp up quickly for the Wine Glass. I'll have six weeks to get my long runs into the 20s. I'll train and race slow, I'll train at a 12-minute mile and probably race there too. Muscles have long memories so I'm hoping I can jump back up to the half level and progress from there, but I'll be seeking some expert advice first.

I'm hoping being around the excitement and race atmosphere will give me a boost Saturday. But kicks in the ass are welcome and encouraged.

EDIT: Realizing I need to give my blog a facelift. The title is no longer accurate!