Monday, July 8, 2013

Into the depths we go

I was already to write a re-cap of my weekend when I read LBTEPA's new blogpost. I know many of you already read her blog. I don't think she even realizes how many people she positively affects with her humor and honesty as she's been going through a very challenging year.

If you're reading this LBTEPA, you really are something special.

What did she do that affected me so much? She asked very simple questions:

What do you want? And how do you plan to get it?

I have a couple of new readers to my blog. For the rest of you, you can skip this part because you all have been reading this or my previous blog since 2005.

After struggling on my own for many years (since 2005), I decided to hire a coach. There are a lot of reasons to hire a coach. This was mine. I'd see very many (small as in seconds) improvements year to year in each event. I didn't want or need to be first or even top 10 in my age group. Why couldn't I even get to 50%? That's it. That's why I started looking into coaching.

When Mike and I first started working together, I guess I was naive as to what that really meant. To answer LBTEPA's question, I wanted to work on my speed then add distance to get me back to Ironman.

Beyond that, I had no idea what my strengths even were. I mean, how do you choose your best event when you suck at all three sports? I'm all about having fun. I'd be lying to you if I said that I was having "fun". It wasn't fun. What kept me going was the thought that maybe I *could* get faster and be stronger.

That brings us up to this weekend. Thursday was really hard workout day. I had Friday off. Saturday I had a sprint race planned, and Sunday was a 2.4 mile ows race and 70 minute run.

I need to go off on a tangent for a minute. Let me vent. I had THREE people, THREE, tell me that I was doing too much over those 4 days. I have a COACH. We talked about it. If he thought any of the workouts were a bad idea, he would have told me. I thought the workouts would be a good idea. If it was too much, I could just STOP.

Just because it's a volume that YOU couldn't do, don't assume that I can't.

I realize that it was a lot of swimming. I love open water. There are few things that I enjoy as much as open water swimming.

The nugget to all of this was that all THREE are currently training for IRONMAN.

uh whut?

Thanks for that vent.

On Saturday morning, I felt really good.I felt great. After Molly's race last week, I wanted to place. This is sort of funny. I've never placed in a sprint. This particular race (because of the set up) wasn't going to be in my favor. There is a lot of running. Three transitions and a half a mile run to the water (down a very steep hill and then back up the same hill).

Still, I wanted to place. Of course, I wanted to PR, but at this point in my training with my swim and bike speeds, I felt pretty confident that I'd PR.

My real goal was to go as hard as I could on the bike. I wanted to be number 1. I was last year in my last two races. I wanted to do it again by a bigger margin.

All of you reading this, you get special privileged information. That means when I'm feeling bad, you know.

But what you don't see is how I am at a race. It's all in good fun, and I have no problem being beat in a race. But I'm cocky as hell.

When I say, "You're going to have to have your best race to beat me on the bike". I mean it. I really feel that way. 

At the end the race, I knew by my garmin time that I PR'd across the board. What I didn't know is where I was. All I knew was that a woman in my ag passed me with less than a half a mile left on the run.

What I found out later was that she came in first. I had no idea that I was in first place the entire time. I beat her on the swim/bike/transitions. She caught me in the last half a mile of the run.

You might think that I'd be kicking myself, but I'm not. It was a last minute registration, and fair and square she beat me on the run and deserves the first place. I got something much bigger. I have a better idea of gauging my effort on the bike, and I know what I need to do on my run.

I got home, and Jordan asked me how I did. I told him that I killed the bike and came in an easy 6 minutes faster than the woman who came in first, and I beat her on the swim.

And he said, "How did you do that? You used to suck on the bike. How did you turn your bike around?"

I understood for the FIRST time that I can see my strengths now, but not in the sense of "speed".

I don't yet know if I am better at the bike or the swim. I haven't done a good job yet of really going hard on the swim. I have to work on that. On the other hand, I know I can go hard right from the start of the bike without worrying about running out of gas (for this distance).

What I do know, though, is that I'll be first or second on the bike and swim. I know that. For the swim, the ability is there, I just have to use it correctly....which I haven't done yet.

As for the run, it's still coming around. I executed better this time, and I got faster each mile. I just didn't start out fast enough.

In other words, I have to take the mentality that I have on the bike and just apply it to my swim and run.

I have a comfort on the bike. I have no fear. I don't think about being tired or out of breath. I just ride as hard as I can. I don't even look at my watch.

Believe it or not, all of this has a point.

Sunday morning rolls around, and I can feel my sprint race and thursday's workouts. My body is tired.

I'm standing on the shore looking at the course. It's 2 loops of 1.2 miles. I'm staring at the course, and I remembered standing at the start of my very first triathlon. It was Danskin. I looked over the 750m course, and I was shaking. I was so scared. The swim took me 25:13 to finish.

And then I thought of the last time that I lined up to swim 2.4 miles: at CDA.

And I thought about my race yesterday.

I thought, "I'm not even the same person that lined up at those races, anymore."

Sunday, my plan was "support system". I was there with a bunch of my masters swim team. Of the group, there were only 4 of us doing the 2.4 miles. Our Coach: Nicole, and then Suz, Shelle and me. This was going to be suzanne's first 2.4 mile ows. She was terrified. I could tell. She's a great swimmer. This was not going to be an issue for her. BUT....I remember Danskin.

I told her that I wasn't sure if I could keep up today, but for her to draft off of Shelle. I'd hang with them as long as I could.

Shelle asked how long I thought it would take. I told her: For you, 1:00-1:05. Suzanne 1;10-1:15. I'm going for 1:20. Of course, they looked at me like I was crazy. Don't we all do that? Of course, I started thinking about all of the times that Coach told me a pace or finish time, and I thought HE was nuts.

For the first loop, I wanted to go slow, and it sure felt SLOW. So slow, in fact, that I thought when I get to the halfway mark, I HAVE to look at my watch. This is ridiculous. I have to be moving backward, my biceps were starting to feel it. My legs were fine, but my goal was to only kick lightly until I get closer to the finish.  I just felt TIRED.

At halfway, I kept thinking, "It's gotta be 50 minutes." I know that's not realistic, but what can I say? No one was even around me. There were no markers to give us any idea how fast we were moving. I did 1.2 miles in 38 minutes. I was shocked. I was right on target. I stopped for a minute at the halfway mark to find out where everyone was. It was almost impossible to see anyone with the sun. We were all spread out.

The second loop was over before I realized it. I started kicking with a little less than a half mile left. I saw Shelle and Suz on shore screaming for me. Supposedly, there's a video of me getting out of the water. It's probably a sensation by now.

Shelle finished in 1:02
Suz finished in 1:12
I finished in 1:19:50

We all sat down and had some snacks, and then I had to leave to go do my run. I'm definitely no super-athlete because that run was HARD. REALLY hard. Maybe it was only hard in the beginning, but it was hot out.

I did, however, DO IT. Even though, I said I wouldn't do it.

Just so you all know....the last time I did a 2.4 mile swim was CDA, and my time was in the 1:43 range. Yesterday was a 24 minute PR.

THAT brings me back to LBTEPA's questions.

What do you want? And how do you plan to get it?


I have some goals, but they're random and not at all organized.

I know I could do a 1:10 2.4 mile swim, but I want to get to 1:05.

I want to run a half marathon in under 2 hours.

I want to do an Oly bike (40K) in 1:10.

I want to run a 5k (off the bike) in 28 minutes.

I think all of these goals are reasonable, some (like the half marathon and 5k) being quite a bit more difficult than others.

Since I've been training with Mike, my goals have changed, but I don't know what they've changed "to".

I don't know if I'll do Ironman again. I think I'll probably do a half though, but not until I break 2 hours on the half marathon.

In the long run, I guess it doesn't really matter what I do because now I'm having fun doing it.