Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Happily resting ......

I was feeling calm, cool, collected and focused until yesterday when I clicked on the www.ironmancozumel.com link and without my permission it flashed in Giant numbers 12 DAY LEFT along w/ the number of minutes and hours and so on. AHHH! I clicked X and left the page. I despise countdowns. I don't let my kids tell me the # of days until summer vacation or Christmas. I can't stand when people say, "Time to get going! My race is in 366 days!"  I can't explain it. It just bugs me. I think it's because I have my own personal mental calendar that works a certain way in my brain and when I see the countdown numbers, it just plays with my system. I know... I am crazy in my own special way. I've never denied that. That was yesterday, which means, it's now 11 days in counting. Personally, I prefer to say, "we leave in 1 week and then I have a few days to get settled, rest." Race day is in less than 2 weeks.

What does that mean? It's TAPER TIME!!!! For some people, it's not a happy place. However, I like taper. It means I can actually accomplish a few more things in my life! I'm not way way behind laundry. Bills are paid. I have started a few Christmas errands. AND... I can walk up the stairs without resting half way. I don't feel like I'm going to tip over in my dinner plate from exhaustion and I can hold my focus on conversations past 8:30 p.m.!!! I kind of like that!!!

I know how hard I have worked this fall. I have put in a LOT of hours ( hint... title of last blog...it's the # hours of training since.. ) and I have done the work. I deposited lots and lots of good stuff in that bank. I don't get worried about losing fitness because I know that if I show up with achy legs that are holding onto deep fatigue, I can kiss my goals goodbye.  Rest is good.

While I swam competitively all my life and experienced some pretty cool taper periods, I still remember one experience I had with Rest as a runner.

It was a long time ago, and I'm not sure if I had two kids at that point or all three. I was running every day. Sometimes I'd go alone, sometimes I'd push a single baby jogger, sometimes I'd push two boys in our double. I ran and ran and ran and basically had no purpose. I was just enjoying the air, having time alone ( sort of... note baby jogger comments :)), staying in shape, and probably entering a race or two here or there. I had very small kids and I wasn't doing Triathlons yet. However, I did keep a log book and write down my times and other details about the weather and how I felt. It was summer and we took off for a week of vacation. I didn't run. Or, if I did, it was Very minimal. I remember feeling guilty. The day we got home from our trip, I unpacked and quickly headed out for my routine 6.1 mile route. I FLEW!!!!!!!!!!!!! My legs were fast and fresh and I knocked that run off a solid 3 minutes FASTER than I had ever done it before!!!! I was blown away.
Hmm.... Guess a bit of rest freshened me up!!!!

It works.

Yesterday, I started to feel it. That extra zip. It was bedtime, and I wasn't really feeling it. I could have stayed up and watched the Patriots ( they lost, glad I didn't ) and just hung out. Instead... I was a good little athlete in taper and went to bed. However, 4 a.m. came along this morning and I was ready to go. Wide awake.  Grr...of course when I set my alarm for that tomorrow it'll be brutal.

I have more workouts to do and more sweat and hard efforts ahead. It's not time to stop yet. But it's close. And, I love it.

Friday, November 15, 2013


"Are we there yet?"
"How much longer?"

A few little sentences you have likely heard if you've driven in a car for more than 60 min with children. I feel a bit like a child myself right now. Is it TIME yet??? Oh please, let this race happen soon!!!!

Ha... I need to watch myself because really, the next two weeks will fly by and believe me, by about 4:00 p.m., 2 weeks from tomorrow, I will be wishing I could set the clock back just a few hours. Those last few hours get scary.

Here's the deal--
My 2013 race season started Early last year. My first A race was in March, in California. For a Maine girl who skis all winter, that's early. And, it was a challenge. I made sacrifices and stayed disciplined all winter, however, and nailed the race and took home the gold. From there, it was onto Ironman Texas. Again, I stepped out of my comfy summer training and raced a hot hot HOT humid race in early spring. Yup... crazy. That one was tough. Not a total crumble, but not a rock solid day for me.
After a bit of summer racing then two solid 70.3 events late summer/ early Fall, I got serious. Very serious.

I have put my heart into this one. I have crossed my Ts and dotted my Is. It hasn't been perfect and there are a few things I didn't quite accomplish, but I am not one to dwell on those things. Because, I never skipped a workout. I never quit when I was tired. I rode and rode and rode and rode that bike. I have logged more miles than ever. I endured a 100 miler with high winds, big hills and temps in the upper 30s and I have also endured a few more 100 milers without moving an inch. 5.5 hours on the trainer.. heat cranked... no fan... multiple pairs of shorts because they were 100% saturated with sweat. You get the point. And that's just the riding.  There were countless 4 a.m. mornings to the pool when Believe me, the bed was much more enticing. One morning when I got home from the pool, Mark laughed hard as he told me the swears I yelled at my alarm clock 3 hrs earlier. Oops.

Training for an Ironman isn't just the hours on the road, it's the details between the workouts. Your food choices, your drink choices, your bed time, and your choice of 'other' activities all matter. It can take over your world. If you let it.

That's why it's so exhausting and overwhelming at times. I can't let it take over. I am a mother and wife and have a job. And of course, my children trump all. My home filled with boys who are now into their teen, pre-teen and thankgoodness he's still under 10 year old lives is busybusybusy!!!!!! I am not afforded quiet weekends to regroup and prep meals for the week. Most of this training period was squished with mega-soccer. We had games and travel galore all weekend as well as practices & games most week nights.  Add in homework and meetings and and and....... My time between workouts wasn't allowed to be 'chill.' In my world, I squeeze in the training while the kids are at school and then typically end up with 20 min to shower and eat (often I have a gulp or two of Endurox IN the shower to make sure this part happens)  before I start the after-school scramble. If I'm lucky that is and if I don't stop too much while riding and suck up that time. So....it's hard! But I wouldn't change a thing. It's the life I have chosen and I enjoy it!

I take my training very seriously. I am not a pro. But I want to be the best I can be. It matters to me. I want to toe that line knowing I did all I could do.

I believe I have done that. I am ready for this race. Two more weeks with rest and sharpening and then I can JUST DO IT!

I am not nervous yet. I am not "freaking out."  I am calm and I am focused. Sure, big nerves and anxiousness will kick in. But there is still work to do and miles to travel.

And then, on  12/1/13 I will give it ALL I have. Of that I am certain.

I am also certain  that I can't Wait for 12/2 and the weeks / months to follow because I am READY for a rest, ready for more time for all the other important things in my life.

Good things ahead! I can feel it.

Oh... the # in my title. I'll let you guess.