Week 3

Those of you that have been on the triathlon journey with me for a while, know that week 3 of a new training plan is often a sign of how the rest of the training plan is going to go.

It’s that point where things start to break down and I miss training. Often blamed on my work schedule. While the traveling road show that is my professional life does make it hard to swim, bike, run – I am a planner by profession and when I focus I can do a damn good job planning in my personal life. So, this time around I have decided not to let the traveling be an excuse. I purposefully set aside time in week 3 to focus on the training plan and keep my goals in check.

Then a gem showed up in my inbox, Thank You Hannah Brencher!

“You are not going to punk out at mile 3 and write yourself an ending to this story that isn’t true. You’re going to finish.”

Mile 3 is a reference to a New Year’s run that I’ve done in Central Park for the last few years. It starts at midnight. You run the loop of the park at the stroke of the New Year. There are fireworks. It’s a 4-mile race.

If you are not a seasoned runner then you start to get tired at mile 3. Mile 3 is where you begin huffing and puffing. My friends and I who have run this race before and we know that mile 3 is actually the best mile mark because it’s where the sparkling apple cider in little Dixie cups is waiting for you.

You stop. You cheers one another. You say Happy New Year to the people passing out the Dixie Cups and you keep going because you know the real truth: you are going to make it. You are going to finish. You are capable.

Cheers friends! To whatever your mile 3 looks like. There’s a fire inside and a place you need to be, don’t give up.

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The Opener

Hello Friends!

I hope 2017 finds you well. Life has been full of a lot of change. Some of it intentional and some of it is just holding on for roller coaster we call life. I went silent on this space purposefully. I wasn’t ready to put my goals and potential failures “out there” but I found a new perspective along the way.

I started the 2017 Tri season with the St. Anthony’s Olympic Distance at the end of April. It came and went and I don’t want to dwell. The swim was a washing machine but I nailed it for me, the bike was windy and scary and I couldn’t get out of my own way, the run was an amazing accomplishment for me. I’ll take 2 outta 3 and happily move on.

The Crew at St. Anthony’sIMG_6155.JPG

The Huzz decided working out with me is fun again. So since January we have been hitting up the pavement running and riding together during the week and on the weekends. It has changed our relationship for the better and I it was wonderful to see him on the race course in St. Petersburg. It has also caused us to re-evaluate our professional lives. So, I took the 2 months after St. A’s off from structured tri training to work on the rest of my life. I know, I know, not the way you want to start your season but I knew something had to give. During May and June, after many months of too much screen time, I got intentional and so did the Huzz. We embraced the mantra “aimee the unicorn” and began to shed the things we didn’t need. (See this amazing Ted Talk for the backstory).

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Exploring The Real Florida

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With a better balance – and more support to keep it that way! – I can happily say I’ve returned to more structured training. Coach and I working toward a solid Miami Man in November and after much talking, debating, and closing my eyes and jumping, I am taking on another 70.3 in May of 2018! Cheers Friends!

The first 70.3 Finish – Yes, there were tears!

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Rising from the Ashes

I’m well into training for my first 70.3 and it has brought with it a lot of firsts, a lot of surprises, and many moments were I grit my teeth and grind it out.

The weather in the Sunshine State has been miserable. I know many of my Northern friends will tell me to shut my mouth but, the constant deluge has been a little rough. Last week I rode the trainer the 3 hours watching the rain streak down the windows and I couldn’t help but think “how do my Ironman distance friends in snow states do it?”

When I think about the journey triathlon has taken me on I can’t help but hear my rallying song:

“Put on your war paint…strike a match and I’ll burn you to the ground…setting fire to the sky…then I’ll raise you like a phoenix”

There have been many work outs the past few weeks where I put on my war paint and ended stronger and better than when I left the house. There a muscles forming I didn’t know I had. Hello, Calves!  Along with a mental grit I never thought I would find. I’m not sure why I’m just now finding this side of me but, I really don’t mind. I like this person that’s shining through the sunburn, sand and salt.

The best part about her? She’s with me all the time.

OWSOWS – There were actually waves!

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We got to swim with the dolphins

run shoes 2Ran through another pair

Sanibel bridge repeatsBridge Repeats on the Monster

Trainer Ride 3I now understand how people can binge watch NetFlix

Paradise Coast International

Well race day came and went. I am happy to report I finished! And thanks to the very small race and age group I got some hardware! It has been almost a week since the race and I’ve had some time to settle in from the day and receive a lot of feedback about the result. So on to my recap.

Paradise Coast

Sunday at 4:00 am my alarm started blaring. I was very happy when I realized it had jolted me awake since I had been counting bicycle spokes since around 1am when I just. could. not. get back to sleep! By 4:50 I was packed up, fueled up and on the road to Naples for packet pick up and transition set up. I realized upon arrival that this would be a very small race as there were only 8 bike racks and I was instantly OK with that. Every race I have completed since starting this crazy sport of triathlon has been what I would consider to be large with the smallest being 800 people. I had been looking forward to this smaller and local race. Hoping, it would give me a chance to meet people, connect with some new training partners, and have a good time. At 6:30, I realized the race was going to be even smaller than I thought. None of the bike racks were full and only a handful of triathletes were standing by the water’s edge. The remaining bikes belonged to the duathletes and that made me even more excited.

At this point, I had made some friends and as we stood at the water’s edge we were all wondering, where exactly was the swim course? The race was held at Sudgen Park which has a large lake in the middle. From the race website, we were supposed to do one loop around the edge of the lake for 1600 meters. But the sun was up and there were no buoys to be seen. Turns out there was some kind of problem anchoring them so we were just going to swim from one side of the lake and back. Twice. Under the permanent swim zone buoys. WTF was the only phrase that ran through my head. Planning things is my day job – that part of my personality is obsessive compulsive and doesn’t deal well with change. Upon hearing the news about the swim, my planner side took over and immediately threw a fit. Thankfully, one of my acquaintances, Michael Krisher saw I was having a mental freak out and started asking me random questions to distract me. Looking back it was quite comical and ridiculous on my part. The swim is my most comfortable event and I’m capable of swimming across a 25yd pool and back in one breath, surely I could swim under the buoys that marked the swim zone. The gun went off shortly after and I took off. I hung with the initial group of guys for quite awhile. It wasn’t until I had trouble siting that I started to lag behind – zig zagging really doesn’t help keep your time down. Thankfully it was the last lap of the swim so I just muscled through it. I was in and out of transition relatively quickly and off on the bike.

The bike course had only been posted for a week before the race. Once I noticed it had 4 u turns in it I got so focused on my sub-par handling skills I didn’t notice the roads we would be traveling on. Sudgen Park is in an area of Naples/Collier County that is under development, there are lot of Master Planned Communities witnessing a second construction boom. The race director had worked it out so that we would be riding through many of these communities. When I realized this I got excited as two of the projects we went through had landscape designs by my husband. Then I got grumpy – it also meant we were riding through active constructions zones. Guess who has two thumbs and got a flat? This girl! Immediately a number of explicates ran through my head, but I got off the bike and got to work changing it. Looking back I am very glad Coach Pat spent an entire Summer drilling tire changing into our heads. I didn’t complete the task quickly but I got it done and was off again. I rode my heart out in the hopes that I would catch somebody but it was tough. I felt like someone was standing over me with a leaf blower in my face. Oh. My. God. The wind! I hated every moment of it but I kept saying Jodi’s mantra over and over again: The wind makes me strong, the wind is my friend. Finally the course exited Lely and made it back to US 41 where the course crossed 41 – to finish the ride on the grass and sidewalk adjacent to 41 back toward the park. Another WTF moment. I have no idea what anybody was thinking there…another group of explicatives ran through my mind. But it was out of my control so I tried to let it go. I headed off through transition as fast as my legs would carry me and I was off on the run.

roofing nailTire change practice from last year

As you know from my last post, I had been dreading the run. I spent the entire run remembering a comment I received on my last post (Thank you Erin!) and I made a deal with myself – to believe that I could do this and to keep moving forward. It was slow and MF’ing hot but I did it. The run course was two loops so the first loop went by rather quick, I recognized a lot people so there were high fives, smiles, etc to keep me moving. The second loop was just lonely and MF’ing hot – have I mentioned that? So in addition to repeating my mantras outloud I decided to see how much wildlife I could spot. A squirrel, a German shepherd mix, and a Belgian malinois later I needed a new plan. So I just starting signing out loud. The guys at the water station probably thought I needed a Med tent but I didn’t care. It got me through.

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Thank you body for carrying me through this journey

Three and a half hours later I was finally finished. I was happy and frustrated at the same time. I had completed the race and I was uninjured! I wasn’t even limping slightly from the run! But I had gotten a flat and my finishing time wasn’t where I wanted it to be. Krisher was already at the finish line cheering and with a supportive word, which almost brought me to tears since this was my first race completely on my own. After seeing the time on the clock, I just went to transition to pack up. I figured even with such a small race there was no way I would get an award. I would just go to the award ceremony after to congratulate everyone. Then I heard my name over the loudspeaker. My immediate thought was Holy Sh!t and then the confusion set in. I ran over to pick up my award, turned around and saw a lot of familiar faces. Other triathletes I had met at club events, group trainings, etc came out to support the race and many of us in it. It was from their support and responses that I realize, while everything may not have gone as I planned, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t celebrate my accomplishments.

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Beer Steins for the win!

I felt a lot of emotions at once but mostly I was excited, this was just the boost I needed. Like most athletes, I sent messages after the race, posted to social media, and called the family after the race. This race was extremely difficult for me, not just because of the training and conditions but also because my entire support team was some place else. My Tri Sistas were racing on Captiva Island, my parents were in Orlando with family, and my husband was in Colorado. When I contacted all of them, they were overly supportive and excited for me. Then the word got around others, people that I would describe as friends and some fellow triathletes. That’s where the doubt crept in. It seems that there are some people out there that don’t think awards should be given if the finishing time isn’t competitive. Basically, my time wasn’t good enough for an award despite the size of the race. Admittedly, this hurt. A lot. I’m blonde, not stupid kids. I am fully aware that in a larger race I would not have a received an award. I am also aware that I can’t change a flat fast enough and my bike skills need work if I want an award in a large race. But what happened to supporting each other? What happened to celebrating accomplishments? I looked back at my training logs for the last year and half, I have come a long damn way since last year. Regardless of my time I have spent the past week celebrating this award, it was just the boost I needed to keep going and getting stronger everyday. So, to my naysayers out there – stay out of my way and watch me go, I am only just beginning.

Fears vs Dreams

Well the last 18 weeks have flown by. Come this Sunday I’ll be racing the Paradise Coast International Triathlon. I have to admit I’m more nervous than I would like to be coming into this race. The past few weeks my training has been significantly more sporadic than I would like. But when I signed up for this race months ago it was with two goals in mind.

1. Get to the start line uninjured.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve accomplished this one. Unless something drastic happens between now and Sunday. My knee hasn’t been overly happy with my long runs lately but it feels nothing like it did training for my last Olympic. So, I will place myself in the uninjured category.

2. Finish the race.

Since I first decided to take on the Olympic distance, I’ve always had a goal of one day racing in 3 hours or less. I know that it’s attainable and I probably could have reached that goal with this race. However because goal number 1 was more important than the 3 hour mark I decided it was better to get back into the swing of training and increasing volume than it was to push my body to the limits on a freshly rehabbed knee. Yes, I am overly analytical and therefore overly cautious.

Admittedly there was a point around weeks 6 to 8 in my training that I felt absolutely great and was ready to take on that 3 hour mark. I will also admit that around weeks 12 and 13 I spent many days in a hearing or at the office early in the morning and late at night. I knew that would be my schedule at the time since hearings are set so far in advance. So I did what any type A triathlete does, I reworked the training plan and completed as many sessions as I could. I didn’t see a slip in any of my progress but I didn’t see gains either, I just maintained. Given that I was already faster on the bike, breaking a long existing swimming plateau, and running 5 miles without pain I didn’t stress.

Then my entire office came down with the plague and passed it to me.

Twice.

I loathe being sick. With this nastiness I went down for the count hard and fast both times. I didn’t train much, I thought the best thing for me would be to rest. So weeks 14 and 15 were basically a bust.

At the start of week 16 I went back to it. Biking and swimming were fine, I was still maintaining. But running, Ugh! I felt like I had been hit by a bus. My legs wouldn’t turn over, my lungs were wheezing, my previous 5 mile jaunt turned into 3, and my average pace went through the floor.

Insert crying and wailing here.

At this point my dreams started to turn to fears. My thoughts turned to, what if it’s not just being sick that’s taking a toll, what if it’s a sign something is wrong? I have to run 6 miles in two weeks! WTF?!?! Thankfully for my husband’s sanity there was no crying by the time I got back to the house but there were more than a few moments of sadness, dwelling, and frustration during the next few training sessions. It wasn’t until this past week that I felt back to normal but I only logged 4 miles.

So, what am I doing to prepare for race day?

Positive thinking. I know it sounds bizarre but it has gotten me through every race day. Even injured a few years ago, I surprised myself during the race by keeping the negative at bay and covering more miles running than I thought I could. I am reminding myself that I signed up for this race to finish injury free and even with the lemons, that goal is attainable. And of course, I went to see Coach Pat. She might not be our Coach anymore but I find that just spending time with her makes me feel better. We didn’t even talk about the race this week when we had lunch but immediately I felt lighter.

Planning. I know I can definitely cover 4 to 5 miles and the adrenaline of the race will carry me after that. What I don’t know about is my knee and my mental state. I haven’t been in pain during any of my runs but there has been more soreness which of course keeps those fears around. So, my plan is run/jog the race with my mental focus being on breathing rather than 100% focused on form. I will check in every mile when the Garmin beeps buts that’s it. I’m hoping with the positive thinking and focusing on breathe I’ll keep the fear at bay.

Distraction. This will be my first race with no Sistas on the course with me and no cheering squad on the sidelines. The perfect storm of life has created a situation where my husband will be in Denver, my parents in Orlando, and my training partners at another race course in town. I’ve been trying to get right with this for about a month now and I still don’t really have a plan. I know the positive effect seeing my sistas on the course has. The mental negatively leaves and there is an immediate boost in my pedal/stride. Same thing when I hear “Pick it up Mayfield” from the cheering squad. So, I’m trying to come up  with something I can control myself. Why aren’t headphones allowed during the run?!?! Any tips from my loyal readers would be greatly appreciated!

A little fighter

Whether a blessing or a curse, I’ve always been a fighter. Always on my own terms and usually taking the most difficult route possible to get to the finish line. But as kid, I was never someone who pushed their limits athletically. Sure I had natural talent for some things and the events I enjoyed I would participate in but never drove myself to practice/train/improve. It was either fun or I wasn’t doing it.

I’ve noticed recently that all that has changed. Maybe it was being sidelined with an injury. Maybe it was being passed on the race course. Maybe it was finally realizing I was made for more. Or more likely making the conscious decision to have professional goals AND personal goals. This year’s training round has been a fight the whole way through. A fight for a balanced life, a faster ride, a painless run, a healthy leg, and more gills. I am loving it every minute of it. Admittedly not all of my workouts are fun, sometimes they are down right disappointing (long run time, I’m looking at you!) but I haven’t thrown in the towel. In year’s past I would adjust my goals and move on. Not this time. Not this year.

As a floated in the pool one night after training watching the sky turn from Orange to Black I realized what it all came down to.

I am finally healthy! I have been working on the weaknesses in my left leg and while I’m not at the end goal I set for myself I am well beyond where I was and getting better every week.

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I sorted out a schedule. This year I became a partner in my firm and thankfully the economy is turning around so that means more clients, more development, and more demands for my brain power. In year’s past I would have placed work first. After a long chat with my mentor – the company’s President, and reading The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castenada I realized that without me “the person” there is no me “the professional.” So, I still put work first – company partners do that by default. But I am also fighting to find a better balance. That includes varying start time hours, leaving by 5:30 two nights a week, and Sundays without powering up the work laptop. There is an exception for hearings but they happen with plenty of notice to make adjustments to the schedule and keep the balance.

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I found a training plan that works. For me anyway. While I am using a standard published plan and no coach this time around. I’ve been checking in with my body more frequently and making adjustments where I need it. It’s not perfect but my swim times are getting better and my average speed on the bike is creeping upward. While I’m not running the minutes per mile I thought I would be I am pain-free and that was the goal when I started the new year. Maybe I won’t average 10 minutes per mile on race day but I will finish without tears, pain, and disappointment. At this point, if I can improve the swim and bike and make it through the run I’ll have met my goals.

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I set goals beyond triathlon. Staring down the inability to run more than 20 minutes last winter was awful. I felt like I was right back where I started the winter before. But I worked at it little by little, stuck with a plan that worked for me, and focused on sticking with strength training. Somewhere along the way, I realized triathlon wasn’t the only type of racing I enjoyed nor the only sport I enjoyed. So, I geared up with my best friend (even though she lives 9 hours away) and signed up for a half marathon. It has kept me focused on improving my running but also from getting bored training. I also started planning the family ski trip to Park City. This year we will be joining my family’s annual vacation with a visit to my husband’s family. Oh, and of course we’ll all be tearing up the slopes!

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I have an insanely supportive husband/Sherpa. As training has increased over the past few weeks the refrigerator has been emptier, the laundry doesn’t get done as quickly, and I’m asleep on the couch by 10pm constantly. Yet the love of my life hasn’t uttered a single compliant. Instead, he always asks me how my most recent training session went, floats with me in the pool, finds a laundry basket to catch the extra clothes (he’s been forbidden from doing my laundry), and brings home Mexican food and beer just when I’m craving it.

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Sunshine and Two Wheels

My training has been a bit more intermittent than I would prefer but I’ll get there eventually, right?

While my work schedule has made it difficult for me to get in all the workouts on my training program I have been trying to squeeze in as many as the sunset and weather will allow.

bike shadows 2

I have missed a few sessions on two wheels but, I have also seen crazy gains. I am so excited, I can’t contain myself!!! I started noticing a difference 4th of July weekend. Before M and I took off for the weekend I went for long ride (mostly so I didn’t have to take my bike with me) and when I downloaded my Garmin data I saw it, more speed! It was so damn exciting!! More so than the Osprey, Alligators, and shrimp boats I saw while riding around.

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Takin’ a break

Now compared to all my IronSistas my speed is nothing, they still leave me in the dust, but I have been at such a steady (or worse state) on the bike for so long that I rejoice in all the small things. More miles per hour is always something to rejoice!

Between then and now I have kept up with the mini bridge repeats and interval rides. Finally, last weekend I saw it again. This time M and I were climbing the causeway and the rollers when I passed him. Yep! You read that right, I passed him while climbing! It was double fantastic!! He of course was grumpy the whole rest of the ride but I was all smiley, giddy, and doing the happy dance. When I loaded my Garmin data it had gotten even better, I gained more speed! Oh and I passed M more than once during the rest of the ride. In his defense he had a massive hangover but still I never used to be able to keep up either…

sanibel causeway in the rain

Causeway in the Rain

mangrove wall

Interval Ride through the Mangroves

mini bridge repeats

Mini Bridge Repeats

More happy dancing, clapping, and giddiness ensued. All of this of course leads me to wonder what sort of feats I could be pulling off if I struck to the training plan. But it won’t stop me from doing what I can…and adding some of those missed work outs back into the mix. So I’ve made myself a goal, despite the hearings, community meetings, and other such nonsense on my schedule after 5pm, I’m not going to skip anymore bike workouts. I’ve struggled for so long with riding, I can’t wait to see how far the bike love can go!

sunshine and two wheels

Hard Lessons to Learn

Well, I was doing really well sticking with a training plan, getting stronger, and breaking plateaus. Then I lost my mojo.

Last week was pretty rough for me mentally. We went to St. Augustine/Jacksonville area for the 4th of July Holiday. It was a fantastic trip. I got all my workouts in, except for a run before we left and Friday morning the husband I went for a 3 miler before setting out for St. Augustine for the day. Training, Score!

St. Augustine

Happy 4th!

We drove home Sunday and did some yoga to reset from the 6+ hour drive (thank you Florida thunderstorms) and that was it for me for the week. I had a great intentions every morning. Setting the alarm the night before, packing my gym, etc but, I just couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed and get the work done. I worked a lot of late hours last week at the office, at the house, and mentally I was just done. I beat myself up about it for a while but Friday night as I sat at Point Ybel with the two loves of my life I realized it just wasn’t worth all the stress and craziness.

Point Ybel Sunday Funday

We love having a local brewery down the street!

Now if one of my wonderful business partners happens to stumble across this particular post. Let’s get one thing straight, I am still completely stunned you chose me and I do love my job. I love watching raw dirt become a neighborhood and more than anything I love watching the words I write become policy. It was just a rough week.

So, I decided enough was enough. I work out because it keeps me sane. I race triathlons because it keeps me pushing for new heights. Morning runs and swims are time for me to problem solve and get organized for the day. Saturday I did just that. I knew after a week off I needed to schedule something that didn’t feel like work – of course I headed to the pool. It was the first swim in a long time where I just swam laps. No distance in mind, no time to meet, no dehydration headache. Just me, a tiled line, and the water. I did wear my garmin and ended up covering 1500. It was fabulous. And then I went to the office…but lets not focus on that. I was going to ride Sanibel afterward but again the thunderstorms got me. Any of my Florida peeps have any suggestions on how to get bridge repeats in with this damn weather??! So frustrating!

LA Fit swim

A lil swim, swim to start the weekend.

Sunday I had scheduled a run just to see where my fitness was. Admittedly I slept through my alarm (this is becoming more typical than I would like) so I didn’t even start out until 8:15. And when that little voice inside my head after a mile said – you should be at the gym on a dreadmill – I should have listened. But I didn’t. Instead I slogged through 60 minutes of hot, humid, sweating from my eyelashes, shuffling. Yes, shuffling. It was not a run at all. I was really trying for more than 60 minutes of running but my left knee was not having it. After a week off, I found the limit. I was frustrated by it, and then I realized the limit used to be 20 minutes. It’s always hard for me to realize I can’t just pick up where I left off after taking time away from running. But instead of allowing myself to be down about it, I tried to distract myself. So the husband took me stand up paddle boarding. Core work score!! The alligators and egrets came out to play and I quickly forgot my run time.

Shade!

Shade and no sidewalk. We do it right in Florida…sorta.

The on again off again has carried over a bit into this week but not as terrible. I managed to get in my schedule swim and strength training while I had to cancel my ride due to the weather. I’m really starting to hate the rain! I’ve also managed to reflect on a few things:

1. There really are no emergencies in land use planning. Sometimes I just need to take a deep breath and think back to volunteering in the Emergency Room and realize nothing in my professional life will ever be like that.

2. My time is what I chose to make of it. I can spend it stressing out and eating crap or use the stress to fuel the workout.

3. Let’s not pretend we are Wonder Woman while training. The body still has its limits. But! I am stronger than I was and weaker than I will be.

4. Thank you TriMarni for somehow knowing exactly what I need to see Monday morning (below) to get the week moving in the right direction.

TriMarni

Weekly Training

4 weeks down! I could not be happier that I made it through these past few weeks with no knee pain, only missing 2 workouts, an insane work schedule, conference travel and no sickness. WOOT WOOT!

WPB Sunrise

Sunrise Run

causeway

Finding the mojo to take on the Causeway

I won’t lie, its been a rough few weeks. My work schedule has been insane and of course I had a work conference in the middle of it all. But thanks to my amazing family, I was able to make it all work. So, I registered for the Paradise Coast International Distance in September!

Paradise Coast

I am looking forward to the next phase of training and seeing just how far I can go. Although, I finally got a computer with enough memory to upload my Garmin 910. Wow am I slooooow! I didn’t expect to be blown away by the data but I didn’t realize how much my cadence on the bike sucked or how I don’t run steady at all. So, in addition to crossing the finishing line September 14th, my goal is also to be a bit more steady during the ride and on the run. We’ll see how I do over the next few weeks.

 

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