Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Do you remember your first?

Yesterday, I read a post on Twitter.  The post brought back such vivid memories for me about all of my "firsts".

I can still remember my first race. It was a 10k. Being as it was 1985, I didn't follow a training plan other than RUN. I had no idea how fast I ran (other than what was on the clock). I didn't know my race number was supposed to be on front....except that....when you think about it....WHY would a number be on the back of your shirt? I had NO idea what those signs with numbers meant (pacing), and really had no idea why there were no women around me (maybe that had something to do with lining up in the 6 min mile crowd).

Then, I started thinking about "other" firsts. My sons were born in 94 and 95, and I was under doctor's instructions to not do any physical activity. I was on the borderline of being put under house arrest (bed rest) if I didn't oblige. Unfortunately, this meant that I gained a ton of weight while pregnant with my first.  Since my youngest was born the following year, I didn't have much time to lose weight before I was pregnant again. AND yet again, no physical activity. I wasn't even able to walk further than front door to couch.

When it was all said and done, I had to lose 60lbs.

After my youngest was born, I was busy with work. I had two babies at home. I started finishing up my bachelor degree 2 months after my youngest was born.

It had been over 2 years since I had run or done any kind of exercise.

I remember the day I caught a reflection of myself in the window. I couldn't figure out what I was looking at. I realized I was looking at a very flabby arm hanging loosely from my shoulder.

I ran upstairs and found an old pair of running shoes and immediately put them on.

I made it to the stop sign.

4 houses away.

You might think I'd be mad or frustrated or disappointed in how out of shape I'd become, but I had 2 healthy babies. I wasn't thinking about any of that.

Instead, I turned around and walked home.

Then next day, I ran to the stop light.

8 houses away (approximately .25 miles). Then, I turned around and walked home.

I did that every day. When I got to being able to run for 30minutes and run/walk home for about the same length of time, I wanted to know how far I was going.

I got in my car, and I drove the neighborhood. I found the 2.5 mile marker, made a right hand turn drove home and discovered that I had a 5 mile loop directly outside my front door.

My goal became to get to the 2.5 mile marker in 30 minutes.

It took me a long time to do it.

Running with an extra 60lbs didn't help either.

But the weight came off.

And one day, it was no longer an out and back. I ran right past the 2.5 mile marker in ever so slightly under 30 minutes, and I kept running.

It was the first time I'd run that far in years.

Soon after, I bought a running stroller and loaded up the boys.

Then, they got bigger, and I couldn't push them anymore.

So, I pulled them on my bike.

Then, they got bigger, and I couldn't pull them anymore.

Then we went to the pool. As Mr. Tea would watch them in the pool, I'd swim laps, badly and very loudly.

Then, I signed up the entire family for the Cherry creek sneak.

It was our first race as a family.

Then, the Turkey Trot.

We'd walk with the boys.

Then, they started running.

It was the first race that they ran on their own....not wanting help from mom or dad.

Then, things got crazy, and Jordan wanted to beat me.

Two years later was the first time he beat me.

Then, he started riding.

Then, he went to college.

And, I ran the Turkey Trot on my own.

It was the first time in three years that I beat his previous fastest time.

And I told him that I beat his previous time.

It was the first time in many years that I did the race by myself.

I started running in 1983. I'd always been a swimmer, and I started riding in the late 80's.

When the boys were born, being active was my only option for dealing with the stress of my life at that time.

And, it was the only way they knew me.

They've grown up knowing that Sunday is long run day. They've known what GU is from the first time I brought it home and let them taste it. They've seen horrible blisters. They've seen me cry over bad races. They've held up signs and cheered me on.

But they've never seen me stop. They've never seen me stop because I'm tired or crying or it's raining or it's hailing or it's freezing or it's snowing.

I didn't start running or swimming or biking to lose weight. I did it because it was my time.

After 20 years of seeing me get up early 6 days a week and going to bed early, and being teased relentlessly for going to bed at 9 and skipping dessert and making sure there was always fresh fruit and veggies around, why was I surprised when I found out that Jordan was doing all of the same stuff while he was at college?

He'd traded in frozen pizzas for healthy vegetarian meals. He'd researched running plans and started running.

He doesn't ever have to race again. My hope is that he uses the time like I did....for himself. I hope he runs and bikes and swims for the sheer enjoyment.

But I have a feeling that he's going to race.

I have a feeling that I have a target on my back.

And this year at the Turkey Trot, I won't be running alone.

It'll be the first time that Jordan and I race together and against each other as two adults on the course for the sheer enjoyment that running brings us.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Back to the drawing board

I have an admirer.


And it's not either of you.


It's someone new.

Someone who reads my blog. Then, gives me sh!t about it.

I know who you are.

I admit.

Admirer might be a leetle strong.

It's probably more appropriate to refer to said Admirer as "someone who likes to keep me grounded". (coughtrashtalkcough)

Of course, I'm TOTALLY cool with that or I wouldn't POST MY STUFF ON A PUBLIC FORUM.


I've had a rough time of it lately. With the "it" referring to say getting up in the morning and functioning like my old non-hormonal self used to act.  Would you rather me act all life is SO WONDERFUL and STRESSFREE and FULL OF FUN FUN FUN and CHALLENGE (of course we don't use like OBSTACLES!) and INSPIRATION!!

and heavens....don't forget that your excitement can be measured in EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!

Or do you want me to be me (and when I have a bad day or I'm pissed off because I can't get my ass to the pool OR that I mad because I've eaten too much and have more muffin tops than Hostess) and WRITE about it?

See? That's what I thought. It's considerably more fun to read about the times when things aren't quite going the way we'd plan.

On the other hand, that time is now officially over for me.

And I don't really have a muffin top. Although, it was a nice goal for the holiday season.

Now that sad, depressed me is gone (until this time next year!) I need to go back to the drawing board and figure out WHAT THE HELL I'M GOING TO DO THIS YEAR.

After having a great weekend of running....TWO PR's in ONE weekend.

O.M.G Becky.

AND a couple of rather (dare I say) pleasant swims. (Including instruction from that WONDERFUL coach on how to change my stroke to swim a faster sprint than say....ironman swim. Who wudda thunk? Swim differently?

And no. I'm not going to tell you. You're my competition, freak.

AND BFF got her assus on the bike today.

Did you just feel the earth shift?

If SHE's going to bike, you better believe I'M going to bike.

Of course, when Sherpa says to you "We HAVE to go back to a particular race" can I ignore the pleading?

After swearing up and down (during a highly hormonal rant) that I wasn't going to do triathlon I am faced with that very real probability.

I'm telling you. I really need SOMEONE ELSE to run my life. Someone to just tell me what to do. I get tired of making decisions all day long.

So dear reader. I ask you. Do I venture back to the sprint distance triathlon this year? Or do I crawl back under my rock, watch cartoon network and eat chocolate covered everythings?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wah Wah. You big baby.

It's been a rough couple of weeks for me. 

I felt like I was at a standstill in every way possible.

My life became this web of just nonsense. I guess.

It's been one of those times where I have a lot to do, but everything depends on something else. AND that something else can't be done until this other thing is done. This OTHER thing is dependent on the OTHER person. It's just a web of muck. The business is just growing so fast.

But ultimately, the last thing that needs to be done is THE MOST IMPORTANT AND HAS A DEADLINE THAT WILL NOT BE MOVED. CANNOT BE MOVED.

So, I've been a wee bit overwhelmed with NOTHING.

Scratch that. I've been a wee bit overwhelmed with IMPENDING DEADLINES.

I needed to take a step back.

After a week of being mad and frustrated AT MYSELF for getting into this mood....because it's all perception. It's all in how I perceive my environment, right, Mike?

Wednesday or Thursday were probably the worst days. That's when I went through and cleaned out my calendars. 

I needed to go back to basics. (Over the years, that phrase is a constant when things get out of control).

Whether I like it or not, I have step back with training. I have to step back with everything that is not a priority. Everything else can wait.

On Friday, I woke up with a renewed sense of being able to tackle everything in front of me. 

I decided to do the race after all; this after not running for a few weeks as I was going through my identity crisis.  

In fact, this race will HENCEFORTH BE KNOWN AS: DAY 1.

That's right. New focus or better focus on what is important and what I need to do to maintain my sanity....and not make everyone around me crazy.

With that said, I guess I better head off to my race!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

This is harder than I thought

At last writing, I'd ranted about not doing triathlon this year. Or more aptly stated: NO MULTI-SPORT.

Now, I'm at the point of trying to figure out what I do in regards to a few races coming up. I have a 10 mile race in about 4 weeks. There's just no way I'm going to be ready for it. Likewise, there is a race on Saturday (5 miles). I'm debating whether or not I should do it.

Why wouldn't I do it:
1.) I don't feel ready to race. Do I go to a race just to run casually?
2.) It's a 45 minute drive. I could run 5 miles from my house and save a 90 minute commute.

Why would I do it:
1.) Go to the race just to run casually.
2.) Give me a different route to run
3.) It's going to be a pretty nice day, and the race would be done by 11am.

My problem is that I sort of got wrapped up in this whole "swim focus" thing, which I stopped immediately after doing it for one week.

I realized:
1.) I am just not someone who has any desire to go to the pool 5 or 6 times a week.
2.) I HATED it. HATE it. This is from someone who loves (well used to love) swimming.

That's when I realized that I'm just not a cookie cutter athlete. Let everyone else fill their time with swim, bike, run focus.

Me? I need more variety.

By the way, this is precisely why I don't run marathons. I simply cannot run 5-6 times per week. The thought of taking up an entire Sunday with a run that lasts for hours? Well, that's just makes me want to hurl.

Different strokes.

But, I digress.

SO.....I cleared out my calendar, but now I'm quite stuck. I'm thinking 2 swims, 3 bikes and 3 runs per week  plus my strength workouts (5 days) should be good. With some maneuvering, I can make it so that I'm doing 2 activities a day, at about 2 hours in total, per day.

For me, that's just about perfect.

I can skip the 10 mile race, which will be disappointing, but what can you do? Then, I can really prepare to run my March 7k hard. I would like to beat last year's time.

There ya go. I think I just figured it out.

Monday, January 14, 2013

I love you, but we need time apart

For the past 2 months, maybe longer, I've been trying to figure out what I wanted to do in 2013. I've put work into my other personal goals, but I've really struggled with training. 

The fact is that I have to have training goals. Contrary to popular belief, those of us who are active, have times we struggle with it, just like everyone else.

If I don't have goals, I won't do anything. 

I've been struggling with it because something has been gnawing at me.

I am 45 years old. Over the past 6 months to a year, I've noticed that I am unable to do things that I was able to do in the past. The reason for this is that for the past year, I really focused on becoming a better triathlete.

In doing so, I let other things fall off. 

I'm paying for it now. I stopped doing yoga and strength training and mountain climbing. Granted I didn't stop them 100%, but I cut them back so much that my physical body was negatively affected. I've lost flexibility. I've lost balance. I've lost core strength.

These things are critical as you get older. 

It bothers me.

In December, I started doing things that I enjoyed again. Unfortunately, I didn't have a "plan" or goal, so I felt lost....and I couldn't figure out how to balance swimming, biking & running. 

Then I realized something quite obvious.

I don't have to swim, bike, run. 

AND if NOT doing those things meant that.....wait....

WHAT would happen?

I'll tell you what. NOTHING would happen.

I haven't even registered for a race. 

I don't even have the desire to do a race.

I've had all this stuff on my mind, trying to figure out what races to do. Trying to figure out how I want to train.

I realized that I don't want to race this year.

Well, I don't want to do multi-sport. 

What I want to do is focus on getting back into overall good shape....not triathlon shape. I don't want to stop swimming, biking, running.....but I can do them 1-2 times per week and be just fine. 

The fact is that I get bored if I'm not doing a lot of different things. Put the same old same old in front of me, and I can't handle it. I think that's what I'm afraid of this year. Registering for races, then feeling like I just don't want to do them. 

The most important thing for me is that I want to regain the lost flexibility, core strength and balance that I had a year ago. 

Last summer, I missed out on climbing. Unfortunately, right now, I'm not in the shape to do it. I had different goals last year. I knew I'd have to give up something in order to reach those goals. 

I'm tired of getting up and getting packed for triathlon races. I'm tired of giving up on things that I love just to get faster in one way or another.

I've spent time listening to some of the athletes at Master's, and you know what? I'm just not OCD enough....I have never been OCD enough to get into all those numbers. I'm perfectly happy ending a swim at 2900m or finishing a run at 4.67 miles. Trust me when I say that they are truly the nicest people to hang out with. I just feel lost when they talk about swimming the extra 100m or running the extra mileage to make it an even 5 miles. 

I don't want to measure my life in meters or miles or finish times or speed or ANY of that. 

I just need some time away for awhile to do things that I really enjoy and have more meaning.

I love the feeling of pushing myself in master's swim, but I equally enjoy going to breakfast with my friends at Master's after Saturday morning swims.

I like the feeling of running in the cold and knowing few people are out in the elements. But I don't like having to rush everywhere because I have to get something to eat before I rush out to do my next training. I like stopping in the middle of a freezing cold day after a crazy cold run to have a chai while sitting in my car....knowing that I can just enjoy the quiet moment.

I DO want to swim, but I only want to swim a little bit. It's more of a social event for me. 
I DO want to run. In fact, I want to run MORE.
I DO want to bike. I want to bike MORE.
But I also want to sleep in on Sunday mornings.
I want to climb the mountains that we were supposed to climb LAST year. 
I want to have a regular yoga practice, not just squeeze it in when I can. 
I want to be strong again. 

Those are the little things that I want to do more of. I don't want to click off mileage on a training plan.

I want to spend more time with the people that mean the most to me. That means climbing more mountains (this year) and taking trips with my very best friends.

There's the IM Tahoe ROAD TRIP with my friend to check out the course and cheer on all those athletes.

There's RNR Las Vegas. A getaway weekend with my girlfriends, where we support each other as much as we compete against each other. 

There's support several friends at the race.

As we get older there is a comfort that we find in doing what we want because we WANT to....not because we feel we have to....not because it's OUR IDENTITY...we do things that we enjoy.

It doesn't mean that I will NEVER race multi-sport again. I might not, but I doubt it. I enjoy it. I just don't want to do it this year.

At this point in my life, spending less time logging training miles, more quality exercise/activity and MORE time with my friends and with my family is the most important thing to me. 

It's what I want to do.

After all, when I show up at the pearly gates, I don't think I'm going to be asked to show my race medals or state my finish times, in order to get in.