Friday, October 26, 2012

I should have listened

My alarm buzzed at 4:06 a.m. today. After realizing that I actually planned that most annoying noise to yell at me at that hour, I wavered. Usually, I am UP. It hurts... but I am a robot and just Go. I don't think. My pile of sweats lays at the end of my bed on the floor, easy to grab without effort.  Not today. Today, I thought twice. Instead of changing instantly, I walked into the bathroom. I had a little pep talk, came back out and got dressed instead of crawling back in bed.
Onward. I "need" to swim at least 3x week in order to make any gains. I've been swimming my entire life and because of that, it takes more than two 3000yd or so workouts for me to see any progress. My progress is always quite minute but it is progress nonetheless.

I hit up the coffee maker, grabbed my back, my post- swim snack and drove away.

Five minutes into my ride ( ~40 min ) I was proud of myself and happy I went. I was awake and writing a good swim workout in my head.  10 x200 today. That was my plan.  I was ready to rip 'em out and end the week feeling good.  ( Well... I still, as we speak, have another doozie of a workout ahead of me so I wasn't really ending my week. More like, starting the weekend on a good note. )

Five minutes after that, in the middle of some song I remember enjoying, I felt it. The car was shaking.
Huh? It's a new car. It rides smoooooooooooth. Something was up.
I turned off the radio. Put down my coffee.

damndoubledamn. I know that feeling.  I've felt it before......

Now... I live in a Very remote area.  I often think about my car breaking down on this ride and therefore, keep my cell phone ON and in my lap while driving. In the winter, I keep a warm down coat, boots, mittens, and hat in my backseat- just in case.

The first 1/2 of my ride is a dark dark dark wooded road. Not a single street light ( ok , a few when I go by Hebron Academy) and not a single place to stop, safely. No shoulders on the roads either. It's just dark and quiet. I love that I am usually the ONLY car out there because it's a nice way to start the day. Just me, the stars ( maybe), my coffee and some tunes.

But it's not so great when the car starts shaking.  LUCKILY I was basically AT the halfway point of my ride and just about at a corner with THE only store. And a light. PHEW!
I pulled in and got out. I knew it, a flat tire.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.  Yes, I swore. I almost cried. And then thought.. what do I do?
It hadn't been shaking too much... I decided to drive home. I'd just go slow. I'll be there in 10-15 min, go back to bed, and deal with it after. How bad could that be???
I started back. I drove all of 10 sec, maybe. The car was NOT going to tolerate this. It was worse and absolutely not able to be driven.
I went back and parked. And called mark's cell. nothin'. Home. Nothin' huh...

I called. They had a place 6 miles away. Good! how long can that take?
Turns out, a long time when the station TURNS DOWN the call.  They wouldn't come!
I got up at 4:06. It was now 5:20 and I got a 2nd call from AAA saying they had to call another place and it would be 30 more min.
I was not happy.

Anyway...... you get the jist of my day thus far. I finally got home. I crawled in bed for 25 min.  I 'm not sure why. I was wide awake. I had already had a mug of coffee. I was wired and bummed out.  The kids were up.  It just made me feel a little better.

I knew this before, but today I really felt it.... Getting up at 4:00 just because and getting up at 4:00 to workout does NOT leave you feeling the same way.  In other words, I feel like I got run over by a truck. Usually, I run in the door at 6:30 after my swim days and feel ready to rock.  I always feel ready for bed at night after a 4:00 start but now, it's 9:40 and I feel ready for bed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

4.6, IM and 20 years strong

Two minutes after sitting down at the table for dinner last night... the house shook.  
Truly... it shook.  I have never experienced an earthquake in my life. After all, we live in Maine! Our weather is pretty tame. We are mostly spared by huge natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes.  So... a 4.6  earthquake took Us by surprise! It was strange.  
I was putting my first bite of food to my mouth when a Loud rumble started. Mark's water glass was shaking. The two of us just looked at each other with wide eyes as if saying to each other without words, "WHAT THE  &*(^* ???"   My mind went to the furnace. And our pellet boiler. Or.. ? SOMETHING down in the basement was blowing up. I was sure of it. Either that or a huge truck was running into something next to our house.  One of my boys made a wimper of panic. He was scared. I am not sure, but I think it lasted about 10 seconds? Not long. But long enough to be alarming. I think there were 3 distinct rumbles.  It was loud. Mark and I ran downstairs and started searching for evidence of a problem. Smoke? Fire? Anything?? Nothing. 
That was the first time it crossed our minds.. earthquake?? Here? 
So what does someone do here in 2012? I admit, first I did say, "Call your parents."  ( They live 1/2 mile up the road from us.) I did have a small moment of 'old fashion' communication/ inquiry there. 
But the next second, I grabbed my ipad and checked facebook. I was ready to ask if others in our town felt anything. I was late to the game. It appeared that nearly all my other friends had already posted, "Earthquake" on their page. 
Ok- that's it! Strange... apparently it was felt in Vermont, NH, NY, and MA.  But the epicenter was about an hour from where I live.
That is that! My first earthquake.  


I was up early today and in the water by 4:55. Geez... I am not sure if I am proud of myself for these mornings or if I'm slowly coming to grips with how crazy I am.  
Regardless.. I was in the water and excited for the workout. 
IM day!!!!  Blast from the past! I was an IMer  ( fly, back, breaststroke, free in one race)  and butterflier back in the day. I swam both ALL the time in practice. I could do fly for  nearly the whole workout without thinking twice. Not anymore... 99.9% of the time I swim free these days. After all, my days of racing 200fly and 200IM are long gone. Triathlon is all freestyle so, that is what I swim.  Except for the occasional backstroke during warm up and warm down. 

Yet today was 6 x 200IM!! oooeee!!!  Bring it!

That is one way to get the HR up and boost your cardiovascular fitness!!! Do something you never do and do it hard! Wow, it was hard. But I am proud to say, I did all 300 yards of fly with no 'scooter.' ( aka- 1 arm fly. we called it scooter in HS. I'm not sure why.)  I had fun with this set.  

I will definitely be mixing more 'strokes' into my weekly swimming now.  

Finally, 20 years ago this past spring, I graduated from College at UVM. 
TWENTY??? sigh.. yes, twenty. 

On Friday, I'll travel to Ohio to spend the weekend with 4 women who are truly the best girlfriends anyone could have.  They were my roommates, my co-swim team friends and captains and my partners in crime. :)  We rarely see each other. We rarely talk. But when we do, it is as if not a day has gone by since we were living together back in our Carriage house on South Union Street.  These friends are the real deal. We have each other's backs. We listen. We care. I know, without hesitation, that if I needed anything, they'd be there.  I truly cherish these rare  friendships and I can not WAIT to spend a few days with them.  

Friday, October 12, 2012

Week 2

I've decided to try a new approach.    I have run out of time in my days lately.  I now have a full time job that    feels  squished into half time hours ( school days have shortened lately ), I'm Mom to 3 busy busy boys and I also make time to train myself.   As a result, I am having  trouble sitting to write lengthy well thought out blog posts!!!  I hope to find time for that some more as time rolls along. But for now, I am trying to turn over  a new leaf to write short & frequent posts instead.  Sometimes that's a good  approach to follow with training!! Lots of short & easy runs... that's how I plan to blog for a bit.

I'm at the end of week 2 of my new training season.  And, I'm happy to say, things are getting just a wee bit better.  Other than my painful and mysterious calf incident last week, things weren't bad per se, but they sure weren't good.  

Let's talk about that for a minute though.
Good. What is good?? Oh no.. I'm digging myself a hole for a long post here. And I can't do that. It's 7:38 and I have until 7:45 to do this.

I'll have to come back to this because it is important and it's the theme of the month with my athletes it seems.

In short... it is muy importante that you take time off at the end of a season. I feel this VERY strongly. For many many reasons.  Your mind, your body, your family.... your mind.. did I say that already?  Take a Break folks!!!  It's OK and it's OK to get out of shape.  The Goal is to decondition!! It feels strange and sloppy and sometimes quite bad to those of us who strive to be fit and ready to rock at the drop of a hat. But in reality, you can't do that. You can't stay in perfect racing shape all year. Why not? For one thing, if you do, when the big race arrives next July for example, you will be flat.  The goal isn't to be race ready now but to be race ready then. 

In other words.. Patience everyone! Patience.

3 minutes left!!!

My first few swims were slooooooooooow. But more than that, they were sloppy. My arms were moving in strange directions. I have no idea what was going on under the water but a strong effective stroke was not how it would be described.
That's ok. I've been here before.
How to handle it?
Go back to the pool another day. And then another. And then another. And.. you get the point.

Today, I swam for the 3rd time this week. No big deal. Except, I haven't done that since... Early September??

It's slowly clicking.  I cant' take a lot of time off my swim splits anymore. I've been at it too long and I'm on that end of the age curve. But I can maintain and here and there, I pull out some long lost speed.  The 200s I swam 3 weeks ago were just a bit off. :) That's a nice way to put it. last week, not as bad. Today, I did 5.  The first one, at a moderate-easy effort, was decent. The time was faster than the best times 2 weeks ago. Ahh.. Keep in mind, we're talking about 4 seconds.  That's all I get these days. But #5, that was better. Of course, I was working my tail off. I was pushing and focusing on the underwater pull, kicking off the walls ( doesn't  always happen. Hope my old swim coaches aren't reading. ) , Not breathing off the walls ( again, don't tell the old coaches!) , and pushing that 3rd 50 that always seems to be the worst. And, hey! I dropped down to my in-season 'decent' time. Not even with my best times... but my good times.  There.  And again, that's 8-10 sec between my worst 200 a few weeks ago and today's good one.
Not a lot of time. But that's all I got.

I will go back to the pool Monday. And Wed. And Friday. And then again, the next week. No matter what. I will run and bike and run and bike and lift and stretch and roll and massage.

If I keep it up, in a few more weeks I might even drop 2-3 more seconds! :)

patience.... one of the keys to success.....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Oh How I've missed that feeling!!!!

I really needed a break after my last hoorah out in steamy Vegas. I was done mentally and physically.  I am not one who dreads the post- season time off like so many. I need that time. I love having an undefined period of time when I can get up in the morning, shower, get dressed and go through my busy day without figuring out how to fit in the run I must do. I enjoy deciding after 6-7 days that I want to go for a run or a swim ( notice I am not saying bike) so I just go. I don't wear a watch. I don't decide before I leave home how long I will run or even what road I will take. I just go. I look around. I go slow. And, I don't care.  I enjoy staying up a bit too late on a Tuesday because I don't need to set my alarm for 4:04 a.m. on Wednesday. Instead, I get to sleep in 'til 6:15.  ( funny how life changes as we get older huh? Sleeping late is now in the 6:xx hour on weekdays.)  I will stay up and watch a fav show with Mark or just mess around online or read some magazines. I enjoy that time!!!

But suddenly, without warning, or planning, it ends.

I STOP enjoying that feeling. Because instead, I start to feel, nothing.  No fatigue. No soreness. Just.. nothing.

I get a little restless. I start to feel lazy and ... weak. I slowly but surely move out of the 'I have been training   so hard for months I need a break' Ange to ' I think I've sat on my butt long enough I need to MOVE' Ange.  

I said to Mark one day,  I miss that feeling. I miss walking up the stairs and feeling my legs ache when I get to the top. I miss that whole body fatigue and eye burn because I rode my bike for 80 miles that day.

He just looked at me.  He knows by now. And, thankfully, he just accepts me.

Anyway.. it's BACK! My achy feeling is back. :) With a few unwanted pains I must admit.

Training kicked off a couple weeks ago. Slowly but surely I'm making my way back to the land of the wiped out Triathlete and I love it!!!  Swimming is slow and sloppy but this week, less so than last week. I had a super hard workout this morning that left me breathing heavy at the walls with my arms feeling heavy. I LOVED IT!!!!  There's no better way to start the day really.  I rode for 3 hours outside yesterday in very chilly Fall air but now, my quads are tired and I feel alive again!!!  Ahhh... It's all part of the cycle.  Work hard, rest & recovery, work hard again. Repeat. Over and over. Keep your head down and focus on the day to day details and jobs at hand and the big stuff will work it's way out when you get there. IF.. you stay focused and persistent with the details.  slightly off tangent there...

That leads me to my story about my 1 achy pain that is not welcome.  My calf. Details... I guess I was complacent and overlooked a few details that do matter.  Hard to know for sure but.. .I do have tight calves.
And finally, it came back to bite me.

Last Wed I was out for a relaxed 60 min run. It was slow and easy.  I was on the roads I always run... very hilly.  But again.. that's my norm. The weather was mild.. ~60F with some pretty heavy rain by the end. No worries. I love rainy runs.
So, about 3/4 mile from home , without warning ( ok, maybe a SLIGHT twinge 2 -5 sec before) my right calf SEIZED!!!!!   Oh it was bad. It was not a cramp cramp.. it was a painful baseball rock that formed in there. OUCH!! It hurt me SO so so much. There I was. Pouring rain, NOT that close to home, and on the clock to get my kids.  Damndoubledamn. 
I stepped out of the road and rubbed that knot as much as I could handle it. It hurt to touch. I couldn't even step on my leg. I really wasnt' sure what to do at that moment let alone what damage had just happened.  Alright... long story short, I got home. It hurt and I limped but I got there. I iced and stretched and rubbed. I was secretly a bit happy my son's away soccer game was cancelled because driving 90 min right then with that leg didnt' seem so comfortable or wise.  I limped around for a few days. It improved, but only a bit. And, no more running.
Until, today. Today I will try. It no longer hurts to walk or to rub or to go downstairs. I think it's safe to say I escaped something that could have been a lot worse. I guess I'll really know after I try to run today.

But... WHY??? Why did this happen??  I truly don't think I was dehydrated. I always drink a ton of water. I hadn't been completing any other long or hard workouts. (just started back... ) I am in Maine, in the Fall. It's not hot.  Hmm...??  Guesses?
All I know is that my calves are notoriously tight. I will and Have started rolling and massaging Diligently EVERYSINGLEDAY now. No matter what.

And that is that!!! The feeling is back and I love it.

Now.. to get back to this feeling... the Ironman Finish line joy.  That's my plan and I can't wait.