Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Runnin' long

Saturday's workout started out with just an hour on the trainer - but the starting hour happened to be 6:00 a.m. I can't say that I enjoy getting up that early on the weekends, but I love completing my long weekend workout before 10:15 a.m. Anyway, Mark was relatively good to us for the hour ride. However, he, like Ed, can be quite mean to us during our hour-long weekday rides (see Shawn's blog for confirmation of the meanness). Apparently, they want to get us in shape or something. It's kind of fun to start early - and then watch the 7:00 a.m. riders trickle in. We get to greet each victim - and catch up with them as they set-up their trainers, fill up water bottles, etc.
I was a little stressed about the 16-mile run to follow. Generally, I'm not too intimidated by long distances, but I was concerned about how my foot would feel half-way into the run. I really didn't want to be hobbling home from the other side of the river. However, I did notice that three of my training partners were all talking about one ailment or another (Mark - back, Rick - back, Jeff - knees/back). I figured I wouldn't be alone in my pain. Shelly designed an excellent course for us that involved heading through U of R, over the bridge, down Riverside Drive, over the Nickel Bridge, down into the Fan ("just 10 blocks to Vine Street"), and then back to Maramarc. We kept a relaxed pace for most of the run. I'm pretty sure that we do solve most of the world's problems on our runs. We also have a lovely time critiquing the different paint and landscaping choices of the houses we run by. Westover Hills remains one of the cutest neighborhoods I have ever seen. My foot did start to ache about half-way through the run, but I was able to work through it. It seems to be healing a bit. I'm going to take one more week off from weekday runs. Hopefully, by next week, I can incorporate at least one weekday run back into the schedule.
We did pick up the pace a bit as we approached the Malvern/Monument intersection. We knew we only had about a mile to go. What a feeling!
In case you're counting, 3 months 'til Boston, 4 months 'til Brazil....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Small victories

Yes - another post about swimming.
While my foot is healing (and it is healing - I'm willing it to feel better), I'm focusing a little more attention than usual on swimming. I forced myself to attend Master's swim practice twice this week. I almost didn't make it to Monday's swim workout due to some medical issues with my sweet dog, Josie (that post is coming soon - don't worry, she's okay). A sad, hurting dog is a good reason to miss a workout, right? Except that the workout is only for an hour - and I knew my dog just wanted to sleep.
I'm thinking that maybe - just maybe - this little foot soreness is a "blessing in disguise" in that it's forcing me to hit the pool more than I'd like. I'm even going to try to squeeze in one more swim workout on Friday. Can you believe that I'm getting used to the somewhat nauseating smell of chlorine?
For me, swimming is not easy. I feel myself stretched to the max in terms of VO2 - and there are times when my shoulders just want to surrender. And really, the crazy "head up" drill that Jon & Karen like to incorporate into our drills makes me wonder if I might drown on the spot.
And yet...I like the challenge of it. I like the fact that it doesn't come easily to me. It's been a real effort to learn the basic freestyle stroke (forget about the butterfly - that is not on my to-do list - ever). Two years ago, I couldn't swim one length of the pool without stopping. I certainly couldn't breathe from both sides.
So, even though I'm in the novice lane, it's really a small victory for me that I can actually swim quickly enough to fit into any master's lane. I never, ever would've considered myself "master's material" two years ago.
Hmmmm....maybe I should take up Fave's offer to learn flip turns.
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Deal with it

That is what I'm saying to myself.
Forgive me for one blog moment while I do a little whining. As many of you know, I (for some sick reason) like to run.
Lately, my right foot has been complaining to me about running. I've been dealing with right heel pain (as in plantar fasciitis) for over a year. It comes and goes - with no apparent pattern. I've been to two sports medicine doctors, endured a cortisone shot in the heel and even completed physical therapy.
Goodness gracious - I even sleep with a crazy-looking splint on it to keep the tendons stretched as I slumber.
And it still hurts.
It makes me a little crabby, too.

So, I've created a new injury-management plan to try to make myself feel like I have control over this situation.
Here it is....

Ice the injury at least 2x/day.
Eliminate the week day runs for a few weeks (and substitute in swimming or the elliptical machine.)
Stretch a bit more (maybe someday I'll join TriDi at yoga or pilates...maybe)
Stop moping.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Lance is following me.

I have been trying desperately to get Lance (as in Armstrong) to cease his endless stalking of me.
For instance, I ride a Trek, he rides a Trek. I drink water. He drinks water. I breathe air. He breathes air. I am a human. He is a human. Do you see the crazy pattern?

Well, it's gotten a little out of control. It seems that he is running the Boston Marathon, too.
(I sign up for Boston, he signs up for Boston).


Thursday, January 17, 2008


Wednesday night=the dreaded Master's swim practice...
But wait! One of my goals for 2008 is to no longer approach swimming like it's a root canal. We all know what a difference a positive attitude can make when dealing with workouts and other life events that we don't want to do. Does that mean I have to apply this philosophy to swimming?
Yes, it does.

So...Coach K let me choose which lane to swim in last night. She said I was a "tweener." In other words, I really don't fit into any lanes. (It's so hard to be the middle child). Sometimes, I swim in the Lane of Dread with DB, Fave, Kate O & Bethany - but not last night. Instead, I swam in the Lane of Joy with Lynn & Molly. I love that lane.
We ended up swimming close to 2100 meters, which is a solid swim workout. When I swim in the Lane of Joy, I find myself becoming more & more relaxed in the water. Rather than worrying about holding up everyone behind me (a la the Lane of Dread), I can focus on my stroke. I thought about gliding as much as I could. I even started breathing less frequently some of the time - every 5 strokes instead of every 3.
Perhaps my new strategy will be to spend half the time in the Lane of Joy and then force myself over to the Lane of Dread.
But on second thought, my word this year is joy. Maybe I'll stay in the Lane of Joy.
Time will tell.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

7 weird things...

I've been tagged by my blogging buddies to list 7 weird things about me. So, here goes...

1. Me - I'm weird. There's just no getting around that. Seriously, anyone who takes on the challenge of training for an Ironman has to be a little weird.
2. I like watching the Weather Channel. So does my brother. We share email exchanges where Jim Cantore's name comes up frequently.
3. I like a lot (but not all) of rap music. Don't know why - since I'm not your standard rapper material.
4. I watch Sportscenter before the local news.
5. I like to browse the aisles at CVS, but dread grocery shopping.
6. I don't like ice cream - unless it's August and I'm in Maine.
7. And...this is embarrassing...but I kinda like to watch reruns of The OC or Charmed while folding laundry.

See? I told you that I'm weird.

Monday, January 7, 2008


On the Trigirl blog, I read about how we should adopt a word or motto to guide our training. In 2007, my training word was believe. During rough training days or trying parts of a race, I willed myself into believing I could do it (whatever "it" happened to be on that day). A wise man (or should I call Rick a wise-ass?) even told me that "the body will do whatever your mind tells it to do." In other words, if you believe you can do something, your body will follow suit. And it's really true.

In 2008, my focus has shifted to the simple idea of joy. Many other wise people will tell me that they don't see how training for an Ironman even remotely qualifies as embodying joy.
Well now, you need to rearrange your thinking like this....

1. Getting up very early is joyful because....it's so quiet at 5:00 a.m. It's a time to reflect on what the day ahead holds. (And - it's really cute to see my dog looking so groggy).

2. Indoor cycling for many hours is joyful because...I get to see & meet so many quality people. I also enjoy hearing what Ed has cooked up on his iPod for us. Despite Lynn's protestations, there is nothing wrong with "Rock Me, Amadeus."

3. A long run after cycling on Saturday is joyful because...we see so many varied & beautiful neighborhoods. To date, we've run down Monument, along Riverside Drive, through Windsor Farms, and over to Forest Hill Avenue. What is even more joyful, however, are the conversations. If you run with Mark or Karen or Tim, the miles do seem to fly by. We also get to watch other runners (usually female) check out the IM tattoos of Rick & Jeff. Yes guys - chicks do seem to dig those tattoos.

4. Doing the "planks with rotations for 60 seconds" is joyful because...well...let me think about that one. Because they are good for my core? Because they make V-ups seem reasonable? Because 60 seconds isn't really that long?

5. Swimming is joyful because...sometimes my stroke actually works the way it should. It might just be for one 25 meter moment, but it's a moment of joy, nonetheless.

Here's to 2008 - I hope you find a moment of joy each day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Exercise the mind, too

Long before I ever thought about competing in triathlons, I read books. Lots of them. As a little girl, I devoured all books that focused on horses (yes, I was one of those girls). It actually got to the point where my 5th grade teacher told me I could not read any more books about horses. (Personally, as a literacy professor, I question the wisdom of ever telling a child not to read a book - unless it's completely inappropriate, of course). Luckily, my 5th grade teacher's ban on my favorite book topic didn't squelch my desire to read. Not surprisingly, I majored in English as an undergraduate - and even entertained the idea of going to grad school to get my doctorate in English. I think I made the better choice to focus on helping spread the literacy word via my undergraduate and graduate students.
At Christmas, I watched as one of my youngest nephews, Thomas, proudly showed off his favorite gift - stuffed animal versions of Frog and Toad. If you don't know Frog & Toad and you are a parent of a child under the age of 10, get to a book store ASAP! The simple joy Thomas showed in his smile as we discussed our favorite Frog and Toad stories (we both love "The Button") was one of my favorite Christmas presents. It reminded me that it is just as important to exercise your mind as it is to exercise your body.
And so - my other resolution is to take time each day to read. Student papers, websites, Facebook and blogs don't count in my resolution (although they can be wonderful reading). I'm going to try to read good literature - even if it's just for 5 minutes - every day.