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theunexpectedtriathlete

I never saw that coming!

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Training

My training experiences as I discover what it takes to be a triathlete

Maybe more than half crazy

My athletic therapist and I had a visit today. I was in pain. My hips were killing me and my knee started to hurt so much that I tapped out during a run (which I never do). She treated my injuries and we talked about my illness in October. 

Suddenly it all made sense.

My comments to friends about not feeling like I’d fully recovered are accurate. I’m not crazy!! (Well, at least not when it comes to that ūüėÜ)

I hurt because my body is fighting to stabilize. I’m burning out because my body is still working harder to balance as I run. It makes sense.

I have a half marathon coming up in two weeks and it’s scary. The finisher’s gift last year for that half marathon was a blanket. That blanket was with me in the hospital. It was a reminder that I am strong, even when I couldn’t stand up on my own. There is an importance to completing this half marathon: a year ago it was the first one I ever ran, my cousin helped start it, and it’s blanket comforted me when I was at my weakest. But, it’s scary to know that my body isn’t 100%. It’s scary to have to change the goals from personal bests to merely finishing. It’s scary to wonder if my body will fail or be strong. The unknown is frightening. 

I feel determined to finish, even if I have to crawl. 

6 months ago, I couldn’t stand on my own. It was months before I could run without tipping over.  In two weeks, I will challenge that same body to run 13.1. 

Undertrained

Wobbly.

Weaker than I’d like. 

But determined, and maybe stubborn enough to get through. 

The Land of Broken Training Sessions

Well, that was fun. And by fun I mean frustrating and annoying.

I have a race in a week so I figured before I started easing back, I’d better get a brick session in. I haven’t done one in a while and I should probably remember what that horrible jelly legs feels like.  So, off I go! And my cycle is feeling pretty good. I’m givin’er on the hills and they’re finally not feeling like death. I’m a happy camper and then WAIT! What was that???

RESCUE #1

I have a flat. On the side of the highway 4km in to my ride. The good news– at least I was down the hill before I ran in to the problem. The bad news– it was a terrible way to wreck the fabulous momentum I had. So, I get off the bike and call the husband for rescue because the last thing I want to be doing is fighting with changing a tire on the side of a busy highway.

We get back and find the hole and patch it because it turns out that the backup tube in my kit is way too large for my bike. Good thing we figured this out now and not mid-race when I was desperate.

Fixed up! Good to go!

Back on the road…

I’m not feeling quite as fabulous but I’m ready to go on attempt #2. I head out on the highway and I’m not flying at quite the speed I was, but hey, at least I’m going. Get to the turnaround spot, wait for the tons of traffic to pass and head on home. It’s a bit windy but overall beautiful and my patch is holding so yay!

All of a sudden I hear a noise and look up just in time to see a cooler lid come flying off the back of someones truck. ACK!

“please don’t hit me …please don’t hit me…”  whew! It lands on the highway. but WAIT! There’s another car about drive over it.  “please don’t fling it at me…please don’t fling it at me…” and it just stays put until the next car hits it and here comes the cooler lid flying right at me! And it just misses my back tire by a matter of inches. Yikes.

At this point I figure “that’s two”…I’d better get back before I end up with a third thing going wrong.

In the distance I can see them…the dark looming clouds. We’ll call it motivation  to pick up my pace and get going. I figure I have lots of time. I figure wrong. I feel the first few drops and sigh. Well, at least I won’t over heat

RESCUE #2

And then it hits. The WALL OF RAIN…awesome. I’m still more than 5km from home and I am getting pelted by rain. I chuckle a bit because rain seems to be the theme of this year’s tri season for me. And then I stop chucking. The rain has picked up and I can no longer see anything. It’s pouring and the semi-truck drivers are pulling over to the side for a minute. I realize that’s it. I can’t do this in this weather. I pull over in to the gas station parking lot and call again for rescue. A couple of flashes of lightening in front of me tell me I made the right decision. All I can do is laugh when the car pulls up to collect me. I look like a drowned rat. I’m completely soaked.


I give up. Today there will be no brick session.

And then the sun came back out.

You have got to be kidding me.

I still give up.

Today is not my day.

 

Set back again

So, wonderful, amazing, high-inducing run and then…crutches. Damn.  I blame the ice in my driveway and the spectacular fall I took. Spectacular because I managed to save my coffee, less than spectacular because, well, crutches.

I tried to tough it out and carry on but by the next day I couldn’t handle it. Too bad the hospital was useless ! The best I got from them was “not fractured. Take the crutches and see a physiotherapist or something if it still hurts in a few days.”  Helpful! Thanks. Going to the physio on Tuesday.

So, here I am, almost a week later and still hobbling around. I have discovered I can cycle without any extra pain so at least now I can do that but I am so frustrated!!! I want to run! 

Today, I figured I could go crutch free around the house. Yeah….not so much. By the time I was done making a lasagna and getting it in the oven, I was done. Couldn’t take any more…back to the crutch..and ice…and sulking on the couch.

So much for great training sessions and a rocking bikini body for my vacation in 11 days ‚ėĻÔłŹ

This seems to be the year of the injury. 
  

The good, the bad and the ugly training day

Today was one of those days. I just didn’t want to do anything. I’ve been having pain in my feet so I didn’t want to run, I’m tired so I didn’t want to swim and I’m stressed from trying to get the school play ready for performance so I just wanted to stress eat.

Today’s swim was not good. Ugly, even. I was slow and completely unmotivated. I did my sprint distance -barely- and was a good solid minute slower than usual. My lovely friend did her best to assure me that not every day has to be the best but I’m competitive and I hate not doing my best.

And then it came to the evening and I was supposed to run. And I didn’t want to. What I really wanted to do was drink wine and eat chocolate. But that same lovely friend reminded me that even a short run would be helpful- especially considering I had just ordered a new bikini. So, down I went to my treadmill.

And it was good. 

  

 My smile says it all. It was the right decision to go for a run.  And, as it turns out it wasn’t a short one.  I set a new distance record of 15.3km. The best part is that I know I could have kept going. I had more in the tank. That half marathon distance isn’t so far off after all. 

And now I need to go ice my very sore feet

Back in the saddle

It’s been a while. I’ve been slacking. I wish I had a good reason but the truth is, I don’t. The things that took up my time for training are done and have been for a couple weeks but I just didn’t get back to training. 

 

chain came off 20 seconds in
 
Part of me has been a little depressed and instead of taking advantage of the best anti-depressant, I avoided it.  So, today, I seized the opportunity to get back in the game. I couldn’t decide if I was going to run or bike. So, instead of picking one and doing the logical thing and easing myself back into training, I went for the dreaded brick session.  And not even a gentle one. Full sprint distance brick session. I really can’t do anything half way. Part of me is glad for that. Throwing myself head first in to things is something I really like about myself. I get to really get the most out of a lot of experiences. And while this feels amazing right now, I’m sure I’m going to regret this in the morning. The downside to my “all or nothing” tendency is that there’s usually a consequence. And this one is going to hurt a bit. At least it’s good pain. 

feeling good about those times
  
My times were decent, my body felt good and I was reminded that I really do enjoy this. 

Training is amazing therapy.  

finally smiling after an awesome session

Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned ¬† ¬†

This training thing is hard! Especially when you are busy as hell, have an active job and tend to overbook yourself (who? Me? Never!!!…well, ok, maybe).

Sometimes, for those of us who like to “push” ourselves, the days when your body refuses to cooperate are really frustrating. My body is exhausted! Yesterday, I actually skipped a run because I was pretty much down for the count at 6pm. Today, I had a brick session planned. I’ve got this new format where I alternate cycling and running for 20 mins, then 10, then 5. It keeps my short attention span from wandering. Today, I pretty much thought I was going ¬†to collapse in the first cycle session. My legs were screaming some at me, using colourful language, I’m sure and I just wanted to quit! But I didn’t, I kept going, whimpering and whining the whole time. I finished my brick session and then sat down, frustrated and annoyed that I couldn’t just do what I wanted. But guess what?? Sometimes it just doesn’t go as planned. I still did the workout. I have to remember that the only bad workout is the one you didn’t do. And right now, I’m working hard to remind myself because my legs are burning, they’re a little shakey and I feel like lead! And, of course, I have a play rehearsal to get to.

Sometimes “I trained and didn’t die” really is success.

New Year, New Goals?

Goals?

Yes, it’s formatted as a question. I know a lot of people who start of the New Year with a fresh set of goals and training plans and others who just plan to stick with the “same old”. Me, I find myself somewhere in the middle.

Last year brought some really great successes. 4th woman in the try-a-tri, 3rd in my age category in my first sprint tri, and I also took on my first 10k run where I also finished 3rd. Talk about beginner’s luck and setting the bar a little high. ¬†I’m very proud of those accomplishments but they make

IMG_1156
Moment of pride when my 10k medal came

 

me wonder if my goal for this year should be not to expect too much of myself. ¬†I have pulled off some pretty impressive finishes for a beginner and I hope I can cope with the disappointment if I’m not able to do the same thing during this season.

So, what are my actual goals in 2016? ¬†Keep the successes coming? Be ok with the disappointment if they don’t? I think it’s both. Keep working hard and pushing hard. Get stronger and faster. Maybe get rid of the “Holiday bloat” (mmmm….Christmas eating). ¬†I’d like to get my average 5k to 25 mins or under (I average about 27 right now on the treadmill)¬†and keep improving on my cycling (which is definitely my weak link). I tend to be very hard on myself and I have very high expectations of myself so I think I should also set the goal of being proud no matter what the final results of a race. ¬†Speaking of races, I think I’d like to take on a few more. Maybe 3 triathlons and, maybe an extra run or two depending on scheduling. My need to take on too much may hamper that goal but I can still aim to meet it.

AND– I think this year, I’d like to travel somewhere fun for a race. I’m not ready to travel too far for a triathlon yet, but maybe a 10k….maybe drag a friend or two along with me…

Setbacks…time to deal..

I have suffered a few set backs in the last few months. I actually did the 10k run with a torn hamstring (didn’t know it was torn until 2 days later). Healing time and physio definitely took me out of the game for a while.setback And then, I burnt out. I have been cast in a theatre production (which is my first love) and I am so excited to be a part of it! ¬†But, I tend push myself too hard. I pushed to workout at a heavier pace, I pushed to keep up with the demands of work and rehearsals. ¬†And I pushed myself to the point of illness. I lost my voice, I lost my energy and I lost my ability to continue training. I visited the doctor and there were some concerns that I may be developing Lupus. The good news is, that my doctor thinks that, at least for now, this isn’t the case. However, one of the markers was positive and so we will be monitoring. For now, my plan, is to keep myself as healthy as possible while we determine if my setback was merely burnout or a virus or something bigger going on.

So now what?

Well, the holidays are basically done. And I’m done with falling off the wagon. So, now what? I get myself back on track, that’s what!! I’ve set a calendar for workouts and man

IMG_2020
New Brick training format. Definitely ran out of steam by the end!! Not really my fastest times overall anyway, but the goal became “not dying”/

aged to stick to the first 3 days. And yes, the first 3 days is easy to get through but truthfully, I feel so yucky when I’m not training that I’m excited to get through the rest of the days. I’m a little uncertain about the ability to balance everything over the next 6 weeks while the rehearsals and show are at their highest demands, but because I feel so much better while training, I’m really going to do my best to stick to it.

So… friends, triathletes, fellow workout nerds… what are you goals? Did you make any?

 

 

The Frustration Effect

Brought on by serious sleep deprivation and functioning on about an hour and a half sleep, I spent a good deal of today’s training session feeling rather sorry for myself. Just after the 10km turn around, I looked at my time. I was slower than usual, slower than I wanted to be. I decided that I was an idiot for trying to do a full 20km while functioning on so little sleep. I told myself that the goal of today’s ride was just to get through it. Screw trying to improve on anything because it just wasn’t going to happen and I wallowed. I wallowed in the fact that it has been cool and windy and I was tired of fighting against the wind while cycling uphill. I felt sorry for myself that my calf muscle feels incredibly tight and no matter what I do I can’t seem to get it to release. I sulked because my friend was over to the cottage for a run on Sunday and she talked about how she had been steadily improving and yet I seem to be consistent and stuck. (How come she’s improving and I’m getting no better…maybe even getting worse!) ¬†I was annoyed that so many of the vehicles on the highway were riding close to the white line separating me from them (big jerks driving in their own lane). I resigned myself to the fact that the amount of time I spent fighting to training on the hills wasn’t going to give me a good “advantage” after all because I still couldn’t get up them any faster. Hell, I even pitied myself because my nose was itchy and I couldn’t get a hand off the handle bars to scratch it (I eventually did and what I relief that was!!). I had done some reading while my ¬†insomnia took over and had found a way to get up the hills faster by visualizing it in smaller chunks instead of an overwhelming hill (just get to that sign…good…now that post….good…) but in my head it just wasn’t working. ¬†. But wouldn’t you know it…somewhere in the middle of my pity party, I was so distracted that I didn’t notice the pain in my legs or the fact that I was moving at a reasonable speed up the “hill from hell”….and then in happened…. I saw two cyclists up ahead of me and realized that I might just be gaining on them and as I came around the final bend I looked at my phone and wouldn’t you know it….When that¬†20km mark hit, it was my fastest time so far: 44 mins and 41 seconds. Go figure. I guess sometimes a little frustration isn’t a bad thing. Time to end the pity party for Overview of today's ridetoday.image

QUITTER!!

Yup, that’s me. I’m a quitter. Or, at least that seems to be the case in the last week. This is probably not a good thing given the fact that my attempt at a sprint is two weeks away. But, in order to justify my quitting here we go with the explanations:

  • Last Saturday -> Quitter moment #1
    • Pop myself out of bed, head out for a run, get half way and call for a pick up. Why? It was 27C at 10am and like 90% humidity. I thought I was going to die. I was on the home stretch, mind you, and likely could have made it but I wondered if it was worth it. Is that last kilometer worth it if you end up passed out and sick for the rest of the day? No. Not it’s not. At least, not when you’re at the lake and have day of hanging out on the dock ahead of you. You need to be able to enjoy that. Or, at least I do. So I quit…for my health.
  • Today-> Quitter moment #2
    • The goal today was a brick training session with a 16km bike and then the 5km run but I flaked out 1km in to the run. There are a couple reasons for today’s quitter moment. The first is that the wind was just plain crazy today and my cycling session took three times as much energy because I’m pretty sure I was moving backwards the whole time. My cousin’s wife told me that the only time she has every crashed mid-race was because she was fighting with a strong wind and couldn’t unclip fast enough to stop herself and now I get it. The wind today was crazy and let’s face it, I’m not a huge fan of the hills out here in the first place. Add wind resistance to that and FORGET IT!!!!¬†The second reason¬†is that it’s the August long weekend, the highway was nuts and I was worried about being run over. Third, it was my first time doing a brick training sessions with my running belt. The added weight of that thing is crazy. I don’t think I like it (or I’m just not used to it yet) and while I’m sure it adds 3 lbs at most, it feels like 10. I feel heavy running with it. Now, this could be a good thing because I will feel all light an bouncy running without it but for today it was weight that seemed like too much.

So, there you have it. I’m a quitter. I realize that all of the things I faced could be realities on race day and I wonder if it would be beneficial to push through.¬†I’m sure others have plans to deal with this sort of thing…¬†but for now I will wear the title of “quitter” and deal with the shame of it.

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