Friday, July 26, 2013

When I was a kid, summer was a huge endless block of time. I didn't think of it in terms of actual days or months. It was just "summer." School got out and we started playing. I'm sure there was more structure than I remember. I'm sure my Mom had swim meets to keep track of and packing to do to get us to Y camp. But in my mind, it was just unstructured fun. I have very fond memories of those years. We lived in a neighborhood with a dead-end road and bunches of friends to play with.  We'd "ride bikes" and build forts, we'd play kickball in the street after dinner and we'd have sleepovers all the time. I miss those days. I guess that's what being a kid is all about. Carefree living. In my head, I still want to be that kid. I want to play and have fun without thinking about work that needs to be done, who has what practice at what time and where, packing bags and doing laundry. I don't want to stare at the month of July on the calendar and think about the month of August and the short few weeks left before school starts. Yesterday, at a track meet we attended on our precious vacation ( insert sad face here...) , I was talking to another Mom about the frustration of our school district starting school before Labor day. Late August is still prime summertime in my eyes. The weather is better than June and there is still prime summer-fun to be had.  She told me that they have never sent their kids back to school until after labor day...even though it officially started on the calendar. Ha!! Love that. I'm not the only one out there hanging on to the good ole' days of just enjoying the short relaxed season that summer used to be.

Alright... enough on that.

What's been up?? Well... on the 4th of July I had the pleasure of running a 10K with my oldest son, Cameron. It was his first 10K. I was a proud proud Mamma.  This boy has recently developed into quite a runner. But 10K was far for him. He hadn't trained a lot because of a summer camp and other things.... so it was far. It was also very very hot and humid. However, he dug deep and did his very best and finished in 48:xx and an age group win! Not too shabby for his first go around at this hard distance!!! I had a blast.

Later that weekend, after spending two fun days out on the ocean on some ski friend's boat, I was home getting ready for bed. I walked across the living room floor and was Attacked by an evil pen. Yes, you heard me. A pen. I have this nice old pen that was engraved with my maiden name ( Angela Small ) for a HS graduation gift.  It's broken. It was on the floor. I have no idea why. Anyway, I stepped on the tip and it stabbed the arch of my foot. It hurt More than I can describe and it bled more than that. I nearly passed out from the pain of it. In the middle of the night, I woke in agony and drove my husband nuts moaning about the pain for at least an hour. In the morning, I was surprised when I put my foot on the floor and truly could Not walk. I couldn't bend the foot at the ankle, I couldn't move my toes, it was red and it was swollen. Not good. Antibiotics, a tetnus shot, and a few days later, it was somewhat better. I was patient. I couldn't run. Or bike. Or swim. Grr.....And then...
thanks to my healthy body ready to heal fast--- I ran an easy 20 min on Friday and decided I was ok and ready to go.  Just in time for a race.... the next day. :)

The Norway Tri was the 13th. It's always a fun day with a Triathlon right at home. I do not live in an area bursting with others addicted to this swimbikerun thing. This race was started a few years ago ( 7?) and it's been great. It draws beginners as well as strong competitors. This year, a few of my great friends even came to race!!!
I had to work my tail off for it, but I snagged the win that day. There's nothing quite like a sprint to keep you honest out there. After chatting too long in transition, I missed a chance for a warm up. So when the gun fires and you start swimming at 115% effort, it's a Shock to the ole' body!!!

By buoy #1 I was beyond my threshold. I took the next few minutes to settle down and try to catch up with my friend Steve's feet. I couldn't quite get there but I kept his arms in sight. I poured it on to finish up the swim and hit the long T run. After fumbling with my shoes as I tried to mount the bike on the Uphill start, I finally got rockin' and had a decent ride. Anne and Mary were hot on my tail so I kept my head down and pushed harder. I just crossed my fingers for the run. A week off doesn't usually leave me feeling too fresh or fast!!
T2 was pathetic. The speed laces were too tight so I fought with my shoes too long. I stepped on the heels and swore a few times. Finally, feet were in. But, out of the corner of my eye I could see Anne putting her bike on the rack. ( My friend Anne Wilkinson... fast fast and tough women ready to catch me! :)) I headed off and started the battle.
ooohhh.... nausea. I was Sure I was going to have to pull over to be sick. Yup. Gross. I know. I really never feel that way. But I was certain. It was over. My stomach was Not happy. Hmm...
Just keep running. Focus. You have no time to falter.

The run at this little sprint is tough!! You head out through trails that are easy to run on and then hit the road for a short stretch. Then you climb up a steep hill and into more trails. But these trails are uneven and grassy and very hilly! And, this day, very very wet and muddy.  I knew Anne was right behind me so I just kept moving the feet forward. Up up up and over the mud around the corner, up some more, jump! It wasn't your typical run. And, it's more than 5K. I'm not sure how much.
I was gasping for air and racing with all I had.  No self pity... no excuses. It's so easy to find 1000 reasons why you need to slow down during times like that. It Hurts after all!! It hurt a lot that day too.  But I decided I wanted it. I really did.  Around mile 2 or so (no idea where I was ) I felt things in my shoes that were not supposed to be there. Blisters. The fast running in wet shoes with no socks was haunting me. I knew it was bad...
Still... Go faster! I wanted the win.

As is the case with sprints, before things get too ugly, it's over. I crossed the line, smiled at my 1st place, and ripped the shoes off.   Four giant blisters I'm still dealing with, two weeks later. Oh well...they'll heal. :)

And that's that!!

Tomorrow I head to Lake Placid to cheer on our TriMoxie athletes, my brother, and a bunch of other friends.  I am excited for them and to watch.

But just last night it struck me. This one might be hard to watch. The last time I was in Lake Placid, I had the race of my life. I nailed that race.  I think of that day often as I train and as I prepare for more racing.  I'm sure the emotions are going to overwhelm me. I'm preparing for that... .

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

TriMoxie Training Camp 2103

Last week, seven TriMoxie athletes gathered in Paris, Maine for a small training camp.  While our small group traveled quietly on the hilly back roads of Maine instead of on athlete & vehicle crowded race courses, this group made a lot of noise. Each and every one of these athletes came ready to work.  When we were done, I closed the door to the house we rented and smiled. I knew I had a tough group, but these people all impressed me more than I could have imagined.

What did we do at camp?

We gathered as athletes, we talked things over and we trained. We bonded and developed new relationships.  As coach, I saw things from people that can't be seen through email or training peak's logs. I saw heart and soul and determination. I saw grit and toughness. I saw that these folks have what it takes. Whatever their goals, they will achieve. I believe it. And I hope they walked away believing it too.