Ironman Countdown

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Swim, Bike, Run, Work, Wife, Mom, Cook, Clean...

I've spent the last two weeks trying to really wrap my head around Ironman training, what I will need to do, the time I'll need to make for it, and starting to get use to more workouts in a week than my usual.  I'm not gonna lie:  I'm worried.  It is my nature, to worry.   Some days I look at my life and think, "I've totally got this."  Other times, I look at my life and think, "What the hell do you think you are doing?  You barely have time to do anything let alone train for this!"
so true!

my "bibles"
As with most things, thinking small and one step at a time does help bring everything back into perspective.  I try to reel myself back in when I feel my "crazy" starting to bubble to the surface.  I have a training plan, and my dear friend Tricia gave me an amazing training diary to help me plan and write out my goals and what I need to do.... a written journal is a great way to take "baby steps" and mark the progress being made.

("Baby steps" is the famous  life affirming program I learned from the movie "What About Bob?"  Thank you Bill Murray!)

my new running buddy, Camden
My training, so far in what is still technically the off-season, has been good.  I try to do three runs, two or three bike sessions, and one swim.  The running, at this point, is so ingrained into my routine that I almost don't have to plan that or think about it.  I work one "long" run in a week (anywhere from 8 to 10 miles), and the other two are 4 to 7 miles.  Usually these runs are in the cold and dark after work hours.  Sometimes I get to meet a friend on a trail nearby.  And sometimes I have to work around the kids and their schedules, and squeeze in time on an early morning of the weekend. 

I do a spin class every Tuesday.  "Real" triathletes will say that this is not a great use of training time, because spin class does not necessarily mirror the bike experience on the road.  But, guess what?  Its FUN!  I have a standing date with my friend Jen; the instructor is good and plays upbeat music that keeps me motivated; and its an hour on the bike that guarantees me about 20 miles and 500 calories to burn.  

But now I work a Thursday morning and one weekend-day on my bike into the week.  My bike is on a trainer (makes it into a stationary bike, if you didn't know what a "trainer" is) in the living room.  So I try to get in an hour to two hours on Thursday mornings.  I have only managed an hour and a half at the most so far, because my Thursday time is wholly dependent on my three year old daughter and whether I can sneak downstairs at 5 a.m. without waking her.  It doesn't always work, and one week I went home at lunch hour and did my trainer then... and went back to work. 

And swimming, as previously discussed, has been given my Friday night attention, before going home for wine and pizza with my family (the kids don't get wine... don't worry).

That all sounds so nice and planned out on paper.  But there are days and weeks where I have felt very rushed, and extremely sleep deprived.  Workouts are cut shorter than I had planned but are at least getting done. I worry that this is working for now, but how will I factor in long outdoor bike sessions in the summer, with swim team and everything else?   How much of the kids lives and James's life will I truly affect, despite my best efforts not to?   How the heck will I get it all done?

And then I return to my journal, my baby steps plan, and try to re-center.  We will eat leftovers some nights, or takeout. I'll sneak in a workout at lunch.  The house will be a wreck.  I will miss some fun events.  But the time will be found.  And I'll do it, because I have set my mind to do it.

For those who are counting, 225 DAYS TIL IMMD!  Here's what the start for the swim looked like this week:
The Choptank River, Cambridge, MD

And, my fundraising page is up and running!  I am racing IMMD for The Little Things for Cancer (see the link to their website to the right of my blog... or follow them on Facebook.)  Through the crazy generosity of family and friends, I am already a third of the way to my goal of $3000.  If you are interested in donating to TLT4C via my fundraising page, that link is also to the right on my blog. I have also created a link here:

 Colleen's Fundraising Page

If you are donating in memory of someone, or in honor of a current warrior, please let me know... I plan on taking a list of all your loved ones (and mine) with me during IMMD.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A (ex)Swimmer Looks at 40

(title credit to Jimmy Buffet and his "A Pirate Looks at 40" number.  Love it)

So, yes, I turned the big 4-0 two days ago.  No, I don't feel any different.  Yes, it was a good birthday.  I am blessed with a great group of friends, so the celebration seems to be lasting all week with lunch dates and cute presents... and more gatherings over the weekend.  But Monday itself was pretty low key in a good way, dealing with normal everyday things at work and with my children.  I had a great lunch with my mom and sister, and sister-in-law Kathryn... and a surprise drop-in by my dad.  But all in all, I just enjoyed the day.  Facebook is fun for all the messages and greetings; and my phone went off with a happy text every hour or so.  So, yes, just a happy day.  I enjoyed being with "my little family" and tried to notice that even though we have a lot of mundane tasks each week that seem to just repeat themselves over and over... I am so very blessed.

my babies

40 seems pretty cool.  I am healthier than I was ten years ago.  My life is fuller.  What's not to like?  It is very strange to me that I am 40, in that way I think all of us, as we age, feel like time goes by in a blink.  How was 20 half a lifetime ago, literally?   That's crazy!

And speaking of a half a lifetime ago, I've been swimming.  As part of my commitment to IMMD, I made a New Year's resolution to swim once a week.  I made Friday my day.  There's a gorgeous new pool just around the corner from the office; and being a government employee, I was able to join for only $10 for the whole year!  

For those who don't know, I was a swimmer growing up and through college.  I was a distance freestyler, for the most part.  My high school coach taught me everything I know about the sport.  I understand the nuances of training smart, swimming your own race, importance of technique, etc.  John was a tough coach, and he was hard on me.  But somehow I understood him, and I am a better human for it.

Like so many former swimmers I know, I loathe to swim now.  Its so BORING!  It was one thing when I was on my various teams with some of my best friends.  We had sets to do, a coach to train us... time to chat and moments of just pure happy silliness.  But swimming at an indoor pool by myself is like trying to stir concrete with my eyelashes.  It's boringly painful.  I don't mind as much in an outdoor pool, because at least the sun is shining.  For my last several triathlons, including Eagleman 70.3, I barely swam at all beforehand.  Seriously, maybe 3 times before Eagleman... and my time for that leg was totally acceptable.

But, a 2.4 mile swim for IMMD is a bit different.  I could tell after a mile at Eagleman that I was tiring, that my technique was terrible and inefficient.  I wouldn't be able to do another mile at the same speed.  And so I committed myself to swimming once a week, at a minimum.  It will be easier to go more in the summer time, but for now Fridays are good enough.

I have made the last three Fridays.  I am super proud of myself.  It helps that the pool is very pretty, with a glass wall that allows sunlight.  I'm sticking to about 2000 to 3000 yards at this point, making up some sets as I go.  Nothing fancy.  I am swarmed with memories of all my childhood and college friends each time I go, which has been fun.  I am also reminded of how a "normal" practice for me 20 years ago was 8,000 yards at a clip, if not more.  Amazing.  No wonder I ate my parents out of house and home!

And so, as I hit that 40 milestone, my life seems to be coming full circle as I hop back into the swim of things.  Not a bad place to be.  I'm a very lucky girl.