Saturday, July 28, 2012

Breaking down walls

When I started running again, it was because I'd seen a picture of my fire chief crossing the finish line at IM Canada.  I saw it and thought "I could do that."  So I started running again.  One race after another, and I rediscovered my love of running.  And competition.

I soon found that in local races, I'd do well.  Usually well enough to place, or at least close.  But distance running, my first love from middle school, was my favorite (although, somewhat slower now than I was then).  I'd do well enough to make a ten minute mile average pace over the run, and could hold that.  By the time I ran my first marathon in 2009, I only had one goal: to run faster than a ten minute pace.  I did it.

Last year I made the transition to triathlon, and made a few breakthroughs.  With the addition of swimming and running to my training, I found both my 5k and long distance pace getting faster, incrementally.  While experts and veterans may argue whether or not the addition of other sports or simply the extra miles made the difference, I still found myself doing better.

Then, a month ago, Jeff at Apex Endurance started coaching me.  I've been self trained for the majority of my experience - picking up bits here and there, and mostly looking up to a few people who are good at endurance sports, without ever really understanding how to get better.  Prior to any formal coaching, my training usually involved running/cycling/swimming at whatever pace I could handle, for however long my training plan called for.

Suddenly, over the past week, I've started to see improvement.  Higher power numbers during cycling, faster swimming for some of the same drills.  But the best moment came for me during a hour and forty five minute run two days ago when I broke the mental and physical barriers of the nine minute mile average pace during that hour and forty five minutes. And I hold no illusions that this is a fast pace in the running world. But there came a moment when I realized I could do it, and that I was breaking down any preconceived notions about how fast I can run.  What is important, though, is that in my love of running, I'm seeing improvement.

Kirsten, at Awesomeness of You, taught me last season to break down "realistic expectations" I hold for myself.  The result is that I enjoy my sport so much more.  Essentially, Kirsten has taught me not to have limits for myself. She taught me to not believe that I can't do something, that a certain athletic capability is out of my reach, or that something is unrealistic to expect.  She taught me how to teach myself and believe that I can.  Race jitters are pretty much a thing of the past, when they used to tear up my stomach before a race.  Kirsten taught me to look beyond what my mind and body were telling me to do and find out what I really can do.

Jeff is teaching me what I'm capable of.  Every day, I look at what he has scheduled for me to do and think  "He's crazy! I won't be able to finish that!  Okay, I'll do what I can, and finish as strong as I can, and go from there.  I'll have to email him and let him know that it was too much."  And yet, every day, I find that I can finish the workouts, and finish them strong.

So here's to the future.  I don't hold any expectations, and I haven't found my limits.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Weekend Humor - Cycling Style!

I present this weekend's humor to you without comment.  Well, without much comment!

And finally, LMFAO and Jimmy Fallon in their Spin Class Song!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Adventures in tan lines...

Anyone who has spent a season doing triathlon probably reads the title of this post and smiles, knowingly, and partly in frustration.  There's one tan line for running, one tan line for cycling, one tan line for swimming (if you choose to swim outside), and another one for racing.  That's if you wear the same style of clothing for each sport.  You still wind up with a watch tan line, a chip strap tan line, a RoadID tan line, a sunglasses tan line (aka "reverse raccoon"), and a helmet strap tan line.  Of course, you could always choose to wear a tri suit for all sports, eliminating the eighteendifferenttanlines triathlon special.  But then, you wind up looking a bit like this:

or this:

or even this:

So, you could do this:

I don't recommend it since there are typically nudity laws.  And if you crash, well.....  And even if you don't crash, that might be bad too.

But back to the subject.  Mostly, lately I resemble this:

That's not me, just some other poor soul who has the same kind of dilemma I do.

But to further complicate the issue, you may have noticed I'm a redhead.  Which means I'm a little like this in the sun:

So getting some color without burning is typically, well, difficult.  I slather sunscreen on like I'm trying to paint my skin (and blind the other athletes), and hope for the best.

I. Still. Have. Ridiculous. Tan lines.

I've taken to doing my swim drills outdoors, in a tyr bikini (that's a whole 'nother post - yes I know it's tight, no it's not too tight, it's supposed to be this tight, yes I KNOW it's SQUEEZING ME OUT THE SIDE....) in 45-60 minute increments in the morning so I can get a gradual fix to my tan lines.  So that when I DO take my kids to the pool, well, I don't have to worry about sunburning in regions that would just make life miserable.  Welllllllll.  I didn't account for the tan line my swim cap would leave...

I need to break in to the story for a second here - My mother says that "Everyone has 5 minutes of stupid every day.  If you're lucky, it happens when you're sleeping.  Some people save theirs up..."  Well, I guess I saved mine up.

I realized that during my swim drills, I was only getting sun, for the most part, on my back.  AND apparently just enough on my face to leave the swim cap line and the reverse raccoon eyes line.  Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mind the reverse raccoon eyes.  But a forehead that is half white and half brown. Just. Isn't. Cool.  People aren't looking me in the eyes when they talk to me, they're looking me in the forehead. I have this huge white patch at the top of my face that makes it look like I have some kind of weird huge forehead and a receding hairline and coupled with the reverse raccoon eyes, I might as well ask you to take me to your leader.  Not that you'd notice what I was saying.  You'd be distracted/blinded by my forehead stripe.  I won't post a picture, because you would be so distracted by the picture, the rest of the post would get forgotten.

So in my infinite wisdom, I decided to take the kids to the gym daycare, and lay out by the pool for 45 minutes on my back to get some sun on my front.  I read a book.  I relaxed.  I didn't worry.  I spend 45-60 minutes 2-3 times a week in the pool in the sun and don't burn.

Yeah.  About that...

Several hours after getting out of the sun, I got my first indication something was wrong.  My tummy looked a bit pink and was warm.  An hour after that, I knew I had a problem.  My face, neck/chest, tummy, legs and shins were fire engine red!  And there were definite lines on the side. The worst part of it all is that I still have a swim cap tan line.

So it looks like I'll be wearing a hat for the rest of my life.  Or until I can "fix" the tan I have on my face.  And probably wearing pigtails (and no swim cap) in the water (I wonder how hydrodynamic I can get them...).    But if the "tramp stamp" tan line I'm still wearing from April of 2011 (it's currently July of 2012) is any indication, I'm going be wearing that hat for a long time.