My boss had a shirt on his bags this week that was very timely, I thought. It said:
“Triathlete: A Person who Doesn’t Understand that One Sport is Hard Enough”.
I totally have embraced this. I’m going to talk a little about all 3 part of triathlon today!
Swimming is HARD. It’s crazy hard. I do not understand why it’s so crazy hard. Finally, finally after about 5 months of swimming, I don’t dread going to the pool every time. I have had a couple of swims that were bad enough I wonder what the heck I’m doing, but it’s so much better than it was. Coach Nick told me “consistency is key” and I believe that with swimming, this is most definitely the case. Had I slacked off or missed swim workouts, I would still be struggling. It’s by no means easy, but I feel like I can swim 200-300 yards and not desperately need a break. PROGRESS is the name of the game here!
Biking. I took my bike out around my neighborhood this week with the clip-in pedals and I only fell over once. I literally fell over. Of course it was when my husband had stopped as he was pulling into the neighborhood…ah well. I can definitely feel a difference in the way I put power to the bike with the clip in shoes vs regular shoes. Interesting to see how transition goes with these though. Also, I rode 12 miles (on the trainer) in my tri shorts! Finally getting all the parts used to being on the bike for over an hour at a time. Also, I went a mile further on my time trial than I did last week. Progress again!!
Running. I never knew how much running could feel like “home”. I almost look forward to even the hard running workouts because at least I know I can do it. I know that I’m getting faster and that I’m going to be able to shave some time off hopefully both my 5k time this year and my half marathon time. Still trying to find that elusive sub 2 hr half! I’m signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon lottery this year. I have not ran a full marathon yet, but I would love for this one to be my first. We will see what the odds say! i have a trail half marathon in 2 weeks and I’m really looking forward to it. Barring any crazy Indiana weather, it should be a super fun time outside and a break from the treadmill. Also hoping to get in my long run outside this weekend.
I think the hardest part of trying to find my new triathlon normal is trying to truly make time in my day to finish every single workout. I’m doing double WODs at least 3 days a week, and for someone who HATES mornings, this can make life challenging now that the kids have so many activities and Jeremy is working over an hour away. Thankfully, there is a gym with a nice pool across the parking lot from my work, and my days are flexible enough to be able to get there.
I hope to race at least 3 sprint triathlons this year, with the last one (my A race) being an open water swim!
I’m an extrovert. I think calling myself an “extreme extrovert” is not an exaggeration. I make friends and trust very easily. I love being around people. I love meeting new people. I thrive in the middle of the crazy .. when everything is loud, moving and out of control, I’m at my best. When stressful or bad things happen, I want to tell the story about a million times. To anyone who will listen. Once you are my people, I will do anything to be there for you.
My worst nightmare? Dying alone. Hours and hours of seeing people in the ICU with multiple injuries, vented and sedated sitting alone didn’t help, but this has always been a huge fear of mine. Please, please don’t leave me alone. The thought is terrifying.
Running lots and lots of miles (over 100 miles/month) is hard. It’s hard in general. It’s REALLY hard when being alone is not your favorite thing. Some days, going out to run 8-10 miles alone is the LAST thing I want to do. I’ve been known to Netflix and treadmill my long run when the weather is perfectly acceptable to be outside, just because I can’t stand the thought of being out that long by myself. I struggle with the fact I need people. I can take care of myself. I can take care of my children. I’m fairly certain I would be able to run whatever team anyone ever gave me. But when it’s just me, I long to be surrounded by my people.
The whole month of June, I did a lot of miles alone. There has also been a lot going on in my life. New job, husband got a new job, my grandparent’s estate sale, etc. It’s been a really long 6ish weeks. On top of all that, both my running buddies are out of town. I ran a lot of miles alone. By the last week of the month, I was emotionally done. I didn’t want to go out. Even when the weather was perfect, I did not want to. I needed my people. I love being out on the roads or trails, but when I get to a certain point, all I want to do is run with others.
So. Running as an extrovert is hard. I’m very very thankful for my running buddies Adam and Bryan that run a LOT of miles with me. And my coach Nick who puts up with my whining when all I want to do is stay in, and he pushes me to go out. I need my people, and I want to run with people around me who are happy to also be running.
If you are an introvert runner, and can’t imagine running with people all the time, tell me about it! I’d love to hear it!
#MotherRunner. One of my favorite hashtags. I have been a mother runner since I started running. For me, this means a lot of things. Foremost, that hopefully I’m setting a good example of balance, activity and healthy (for the most part) eating. It also means compromise, creativity in how I get my workouts done and flexibility when it comes to life in general.
Being a mom isn’t easy. You learn very quickly that life has ceased to be about you. Since my kids were born, my life has revolved around them. This is good and bad, because it’s easy to lose a sense of who you are outside of “being a Mom”. That is your primary identity. It’s also hard to understand how taking time for yourself can actually make you a better Mom. For me, when I take time for myself, whether that’s 5 min locked in the pantry eating Oreos (balance, remember??) or 2 hours to do a long run on a Saturday morning, I’m a better mom. More patient, more tolerant, and less likely to yell or overreact to the little things, when the kids are just being kids.
It also means that I get my workouts in when I can. I would have loved to be outside running my long run but no childcare meant I was on the treadmill. 10 miles of Orange is the New Black while the kids also binge watched Netflix. I have ran circles around the football fields, ran while the kids are at lacrosse practice, ran on the treadmill at the Y when childcare was closed with a kid at my feet. Any way to get it done.
What dose all this mean in raising kids? Hopefully that they can see the example I’m setting and realize that you can fit things in when you want to. Also, I hope it shows them that they can do anything they want. I didn’t start running half marathons until Liam was born. I’ve always been a MotherRunner.
One of the other fun things is seeing your kids want to do it with you. My daughter has done a number of “fun runs” with me. Hopefully my passion for fitness will rub off on them!
Tips that I have for #MotherRuners out there?
Give yourself grace. It’s okay to miss a workout every now and again. Life happens.
Take your kids with you/include them!! Whether it’s taking them in the stroller, letting them ride their bike and “pace” you, or them sitting and reading homework to you while you are on the treadmill, include them if you can.
Meal plan. When I meal plan, and we all know what’s for supper and that the ingredients are easily accessible, meals come together quickly and then you can either work out before or after and not feel bad about it, and not feed your family takeout all the time.
Find someone to run with. Even thought I love to listen to Serial, AnotherMotherRunner, or music, sometimes I need a running buddy to keep me motivated!
Enjoy the ride. Don’t let running/training take over so much that it becomes another chore/activity to get to. If it’s stressing you out. .stop doing it! Maybe see if you can find an alternate activity (like a lunch class at your local gym). Don’t let something that started out for you turn out to be another task to complete.
This time last year, I was just starting to run again after a severe high ankle sprain that required a long amount of downtime. I was down from April-August. No impact. And I still wasn’t convinced I’d ever be able to build back up my endurance to run any sort of distance again. (Side note: this is hilarious coming from the girl who hated, I mean HATED anything longer than a 200m in high school. Never would I thought I’d be running half marathons in my 30’s but I digress.)
I’ve known Nick for quite a while. Over 5 years. I knew him as the brother of our babysitter that I was SO lucky to find when I started working 5 days a week. He approached me and said “You really should consider letting me train you so you don’t hurt yourself going back into running.” Well, okay. Seemed like a good idea for a short-term plan to not injure myself. A year later, I’m still training!
It’s been a year of crazy. A year of family chaos, loss, stress, anxiety, change, and grief. I have used running as a coping mechanism a LOT. I’ve ran when I was sad, angry, frustrated, happy, anxious, nervous, scared, and excited. I’ve ran when it was stupid cold, stupid hot, raining, snowing, sunny, humid. and everything in between. I’ve just RAN. Running has become the new normal. More so than anything, I have ran to keep something in my life consistent.
I consider myself part of the TS2 team and family, even if we don’t all run together, or do the same sports (they also coach triathletes). I love having accountability. It’s much harder for me to move stuff around or not do a workout when I know Nick is watching for it to pop up on Garmin. I enjoy following my teammates’ successes and know the time, effort and work they have put in to get those results. It’s also great to know there are others doing the same kind of workouts that you are, and it’s encouraging to see how far they have come and think that you are part of a really awesome group of athletes.
It’s been more than coaching. It’s been mentoring, partnership, friendship, and love/hate. Nick pushes me farther than I’d ever think I could. Hundred-mile-plus months. Forty plus mile weeks. Sub 9 min miles. Hill workouts. A 25 min PR. These are all things I have accomplished in the last year with the help and support of TS2, and Nick. Some days it’s super hard to make time to get the workout done. Some days my legs are angry. Some days I want to run FAST, to de-stress and just RUN and not think about heart rate intervals, how far I have to go, how long it’s going to take. But I know there is a reason behind the plan, and I know the successes I’ve had are because I follow the plan. I put in the work, and I see the results.
It’s all been worth it.
I’m humbled by the fact that six years ago after my son was born, it took me over 40 min to run 2.5 miles. I can run 3 miles now easily under 30 min. I’m faster than I’ve ever been. And that is because I have ran the plan. Trusted what was given me. Believed in myself and given something that I truly love to do into someone else’s hands to tell me how to execute. I have learned so much about myself and what is really important, and I have learned that when you get to a place where you can give up some control, awesome things can happen.
My One Little Word for 2015 has been Believe.
Believe you can. Believe you will. Believe that you did. Trust yourself. Trust others. Don’t give up. Believe.
I can’t wait to see what the next year holds. Thanks so much, Nick, for believing in me, pushing me, listening to me and being a great coach, mentor, friend, confidant, and cheerleader. I’m so lucky to be a part of TS2 Coaching.
What is Ragnar you ask? Ragnar Relay is an overnight running relay event. You have a team of either 12 or 6 (if you are super extra crazy) people who split up into 2 vans (for the 12 person teams) and run 200ish miles from Point A to Point B over approximately 24-36 hours. Fun right?!
So last year, I found an AWESOME team from Chicago who had a spot for 1 runner on their Ragnar team. I was so excited! And then injury struck. Ah well.
This year, I put myself as “available” on the Ragnar site. I figured why not! Bryan reached out to me about 2 months before the race. .. I was thrilled! Perfect timing, as I didn’t have anything to look forward to after the Mini Marathon. We corresponded via email a few times and text message closer to the race, but other than that, I didn’t know anyone on the team with me.
Fast forward to race weekend. I took Thursday and Friday off work, as we had to drive up on Thursday, and our start time was 5AM Friday (NOT me, thank goodness). I met Bryan and most of the rest of the team at his house on the northeast side of Indy, and got in a van with 8 people I had never met before to drive 8 hrs and run 200 miles. As I’ve told this story, some people look at me with their eyes bugging out. . but really it was great. Now that I look back on it; it could have been really bad. . what if there was someone in there that I just couldn’t STAND to be stuck with for 36 hours?! The good news: It’s only 36 hours and I would have never had to see them again. The REALLY good new is that totally didn’t happen and I got to meet some really awesome people. Also . .6 dudes, 2 girls. Andrea and I got along great and I was very glad to have another girl along for the ride!
If you don’t want to read my (pretty long!) race recap, you can watch this awesome YouTube video put together by my teammate Mitch.
Winona MN is 491.5 miles from Indianapolis. That’s about 7.5 hours. . and we had to stop in Chicago and pick up another runner at Midway. We left Indy at 11AM, and arrived in Winona at right around 7:50pm. (We had an hour in our favor when going from IN to IL with time zones too). We literally made it right at the end of the safety briefing time. Also. . we may have run out of gas, and had to push the Yukon XL about a half mile to a gas station. Team building, right?
The way the race works is that you split up into 2 vans, and switch off (if you have 12ish people). If you are an Ultra team, then you have one van/SUV that runs the whole time. THIS I think would be crazy. Rest time when you are cramming so many miles into a short amount of time was much needed (at least for me).
Van 1 started at 5AM on Friday. We asked for an early start time, as our average pace was going to be around 11 min/miles so we wanted to be sure to finish in enough time to enjoy the post-race party. My van had a late start, so we had time to get breakfast at the hotel, and make it to the first major exchange with time to decorate our Yukon!
The first van came into the exchange, handed off the 80’s era day glo orange slap bracelet and Andrea was on her way!
By the time it was FINALLY my turn to run my leg, I was SO ready to go. My first leg was my longest, and hardest. It also happened that it was 98ish degrees with a heat index of 100+. It was 8 miles, and it took me FOREVER. I had taken gels and water, and there were 3 water stops on the route, but it was just SO hot. I walked a lot. . even more than my walk/run intervals. I couldn’t get my HR down at all. Even walking was putting me over my range. At the 2nd water stop, the girl was like “take some ice and put it in your bra”. I thought “duh, why didn’t I think of this!” As a nurse, we put ice packs on people’s groin/neck/armpits to cool them off, and what I needed was to get my core temp down. After the ice in the bra, taking off my shirt and throwing it to another van (for real . .I told them my team # and REALLY hoped I’d get it back as it was my very fave running shirt), I negative split the last 4 miles. Also, I drank 50ish ounces of water. I filled my bottle up twice, and it was full when I went out. And I still didn’t have to pee when I got done.
We ran our legs, and finished up around 630pm. We had reserved a hotel for the middle of the race to share between the 2 vans, about halfway between the 2 major exchanges that were happening at night/early AM. Best. Thing. Ever. Shower, an actual bed to sleep for a couple hours, and peaceful downtime. I didn’t realize how really great this was until I saw lots of people asleep at the early AM exchange on the tennis courts, football field, grass (chiggers, people, CHIGGERS!!) at the local high school. This was probably the best extra $ spent all weekend, I would highly recommend this!
My 2nd leg was in the middle of the night. It was a nice 5 miles of city running. It was still VERY humid, but much cooler. My pace was almost 2 min faster per mile. Some of my teammates had great country road running which somehow I missed out on. HOWEVER they also had climbs of 500+ feet vertical gain, so I’m not sad I missed that(see #1 below). The night runs required headlamp, reflective vest and blinky tail light. Lots of blinking lights to follow, so that made it easier to make sure we were going the right way!
My 3rd leg was almost all downhill, and crossed and followed the Mississippi River. GREAT views. As I was coming up on the river, a bald eagle came from the left, crossed over in front of me and went down towards the water. Beautiful.
When you come in to the finish, the team all gets to join your runner and cross together!! Super fun. Also, one free beer, and it was Sierra Nevada. I chose the Oktoberfest, and it was excellent.
Ragnar is quite the experience. Once again, I have learned that I’m much more capable than I believed myself to be in the beginning. I ended up running almost 20 miles over the course of the 36 hours! It made me realize that a full marathon isn’t that far out of reach (did I just say that OUT LOUD?!). I would totally do this again. It was fun to do with people I’d never met before, and I can guarantee it would be a BLAST if you did it with people you knew (just make sure you are fine with being in VERY close quarters with them for 36+hrs!!). I was the navigator for most of the time (sort of default when you’re the one who needs to sit in the front or be carsick) and I LOVED it. My Dad would be proud of my map and direction abilities!
Some things we didn’t anticipate:
Lots of hills (and a couple of named mountains!! I had no idea that MN/WI was SO HILLY.
Small town=not as many places to stop and get ice/snacks as you’d think. It was better the 2nd half of the race (and I LOVED running thru the country!!) but we had a moment where we were worried we’d run out of water before we could fill up the cooler.
The heat. Wisconsin had 3 days of 90+ degree weather so far for 2015. 2 of those days, we were running in. Heat indexes were over 100 most of the mid-day running hours.
Otherwise the whole experience was awesome. Would you do a relay race with people you’d never met before?
Week 3 was rough. Not so much physically, but mentally. I did almost 17 miles again. I was feeling like 6 days a week is a lot of time, and then thinking about doing this for the next 9 months. . . was a lot. There is also a TON of stuff going on with my job right now, which is making it hard at home with a crazy schedule and a lot of additional work that I don’t usually have to do.
I started to realize that the kind of running I’m doing now is different in a few ways. It’s “active” running. Before, when I was ready to go out on a run, I put my headphones in, thought about how far I was going to go, about how long it would take me, and off I went. As I was running, I wasn’t thinking. I was totally zoned out, and thinking about life, the grocery list, what meetings I had tomorrow, how the kids were doing in school, etc. Not about what my body was doing while I was running. Now, I have to think about what my body is doing, how I’m feeling, where my HR is, etc. It’s a much more active process. I can’t just “click off” my brain. When I do that, I find that I’m not paying attention to what my body is doing. .I just start going and look down and then I have to catch up. Not good. So learning how to run “actively” is interesting.
My right kneecap (the top) is starting to ache. I’m fairly certain after a couple of runs paying close attention; that it’s my shoes. I need a 2nd pair of shoes. I might go and try some on this weekend, and try to decide if I’m going to stick with the Asics Tri Noosa 8s (they are still available on Amazon. .I would then have THREE pairs of the same shoe lol!) or do I want to try the Tri Noosa 9s or something totally different?
Those are some of the things I thought about last week. Stay tuned for the Week 4 update!
Week 2 is complete! I ran 16.95 miles (can I please round up to 17?!) and ran 6 days this week. I’m very glad today is a rest day!!
I finally figured out the heart rate monitor thing. PSA to all girls with larger breasts (and the bras to go with them): The HRM goes physically UNDER your bra. Not below it. I had been wearing it actually below the band on my bra. . apparently the correct placement is directly under the girls. I’ve had much better luck now after I moved it up, and then adding some electrode conductivity gel. SO much better readings! Here are all the things I had tried PRIOR to moving it up under the bra:
New battery (it’s less than a year old and Garmin says it should last 2 years)
Updating the firmwear on my Garmin 220
Wetting down my shirt (in case it was static caused by my “performance fabric” aka non-cotton workout wear)
Swapping to a Polar HR strap I had laying around.
Washing the strap (even though I’d washed it less than a week ago)
Super soaking my HR strap before I used it
**most of these tips I found from DC Rainmaker. . one of the “web gurus” on all things training gear related. Here is the link to his original post on this: Troubleshooting your Heart Rate Monitor
Here is what “bad” looks like:
And here is what “good” looks like:
I’m training with Nick from Tranbarger Training Systems. He also trains triathletes, not just runners. His plan is a bit different than I had been doing when I was training on my own. I’m trying to get used to the “new normal” of this type of training. I’m sure as the workouts get more challenging I will look back at these 2 build weeks and laugh. . and wish for them to repeat! So far so good though.
Other stuff going on this week: I went to the doctor Friday. I’ve been having some left upper quadrant abdominal pain after eating for about the last 3 weeks. It was getting to the point I couldn’t let it go any more. My Dr did labs, xrays and scheduled an ultrasound for next week. I’m hoping it’s something simple, and not something more complicated like gallbladder or ulcer. I will NOT be happy if I have to abandon my training because I have to have my gallbladder out! Or if my mesh from a previous abdominal surgery has moved and it has to be removed. Seriously, not happy. Please send no surgery vibes!!
We went as a family to a wedding on Saturday, after the kids had early morning football. It was a good day, but the kids were pretty tired by 9pm, so I took them and went home a bit early. Did I mention I’m so glad today is a rest day? I will be meal planning, grocery shopping and doing laundry. Ahh, all the glam work of a Mom :)!
•Writing the calendar down or printing it out. So I look at it before each run. I ended up shorting myself a mile on Saturday because I didn’t look at the calendar before I went to run. Oops. I think I’m going to put a calendar with my training schedule on our bathroom mirror where I can easily see what I’ve done and check off the workouts as they are complete(who doesn’t love to mark things off a list!)!
• To be helpful, technology must work. My Garmin is awesome. However, it’s never accurate for me on the treadmill. I think I need a footpod, it may be because my stride is short due to the fact I have a 27 inch inseam. Also, my HRM is acting crazy. I know while running a 11:45 mile, that my HR is not 70. I’m no Lance Armstrong!! Going today to get a new battery and some conductivity gel and hoping that fixes the problem.
•Trying to restructure an old habit (as opposed to starting a new one) is harder when you are away from home. Traveling for work is hard enough. Traveling out of the country, and trying to start a new habit while working is not fun either. Now that I’m home. . I have to start a new routine again!!
• I like knowing I have to be accountable to someone. Nick is making me log all my runs at logarun.com. I’ve never used this system, and am still getting used to it. But the fact I have to account for each run makes it easier to get motivated to do them!
•I still love running a lot and I’m so glad I’ve been able to get back into it after my injury. When I was injured, I was really afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to run the way I wanted again. I didn’t know if there would be any lasting tendon/ligament issues. Thankfully, so far it’s going well!!
Looking forward to what the next few weeks will bring. I’m in the “aerobic build” phase of training. . I think that is fancy-talk for “going easy on me in the beginning” !
This week has been much better. Very busy, but much better in the workout and sewing department.
My husband started with a trainer last week. He is going two days a week!! I’m so proud of him! He sort of hates me when he can’t lift his arms, but I keep telling him to stick with it; it will get better!
I have decided to give up Diet Coke. We will see how this goes. Replacing with hot and cold tea. . which has to be better for me, right? For my “bubble fix” I found that Nuun works really really well! I might try some more “natural” sodas, but for now, I’m going cold turkey. Mind you, I am NOT giving up caffeine. . my AM coffee is a must-have for me!
I was able to get in two runs and two days of strength training, and I might very well do a double workout today so I can get a run in while it’s warm. I guess “warm” is a relative term; it’s already 34 degrees this AM, and might get up to 45 tomorrow! As long as it’s not raining, you can bet I will be out there.
I ran on the treadmill Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday was windchills in the -30’s, so inside it was. Wednesday, I did BodyPump at lunch and abs class. The new release of BodyPump was tough! Good, but tough. I always struggle with how much weight, and end up adding or subtracting weight in the middle of the set. I think the instructor said we did 170+ reps for the triceps track, WOW!!
I think that my strength training is really paying off with my running. My 2 miles I did on the treadmill on Tuesday seemed “easy” to me. I walked out after doing that and planks/abs and felt really good, and was surprised. I’m exited to hopefully get to be a faster runner and stronger all around this year.
Thursday was a rest day. We went out to supper with a friend, and had a good time!
Today will be Strictly Strength at lunch, and then maybe a run tonight if the kids cooperate, if not maybe first thing in the AM tomorrow.
My running goal for the month of January was 30 miles. With the pretty serious snow and cold weather we have had, and my strong dislike for the treadmill, I was able to knock out almost 23 miles. Last year, I didn’t run over 20 miles in a month until August, so this is a great start!
I wasn’t able to get in as much sewing as I would have liked this week, but I did get the quilt as you go panel for my Sew Sew Modern 4 swap partner done, and all the pieces cut out and ready to interface and put together.
Thursday, I did Zumba at lunch with my favorite instructor, Stephanie. She had a new routine to the Pitt Bull and Ke$sha song “Timber” which is one of my current favorites! So fun. We also did “Apple Bottom Jeans”. . her routine leads to 100 jumping jacks in the song (yay!) and then “Push It” which is 4 min of squats (body weight) and then 4 min of arms/shoulders. It was a GREAT class!
Friday was Strictly Strength class at work.
Saturday, I went to the Y, and ran 3 mi on the treadmill. My IT band is still giving me fits, so I took it slow. It actually felt much better than after my 4 miles last week, so I’ll take it. My first race this year isn’t until May (the Indianapolis Mini Marathon) so I am feeling okay about having some low mile weeks. We are also STILL having snow, so it’s hard to get outside. Better safe than a broken anything!
Today, I will be shoveling the 3-4 inches of snow off the driveway, chasing children and taking the dogs to get their nails trimmed. I think that counts as #sweatnsew!
Oh, and hopefully piecing a little more of my Briar Rose quilt this afternoon! Here it is all laid out in my sewing room on the floor. Hoping for a design wall sometime soon!