Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sprint Tri Re-Cap

A little over 16 weeks ago I closed my eyes and jumped.  I registered for a sprint triathlon.  With about four months to prepare, I figured it was on the edge of do-able.  I immediately put together a training schedule and figured out a way to get swim workouts in.  Afterall, I knew I could bike 12 miles.  I knew I could run a 5K, the only unknown initially was how a 1/3mi swim would be.  Oh, and then combining all of those events. 
 
When I posted about registering for the sprint tri, I noted how typically registering for events like this has the opposite of the intended effect- instead of training dilligently and being at the top of my game, I tend to do nothing and then panic at the last moment.  This experience was slightly different, but I was still very panicked the last 3 weeks leading up to the event, and considered bailing on it altogether many times. 
 
I've lived in Seattle now for 13 years.  In my time here, I've done many events.  Too many 5K's to count, a half-marathon, a 69-flight stair climb, a mud/obstacle run, and now this sprint triathlon.  Of all the 5K's, I think I was in shape/properly trained for maaaybe 2 of them.  But, 5K's are short.  You can walk one in under an hour.  I've written before about my half-marathon disaster.  The stair climb was pure hell, and the mud run I badly sprained my ankle on the first obstacle and had to be carried off the course on a race volunteer's back.  Not my finest moment.  Of all the events I've done that I've been ill-prepared for, this was by far the most painless. 
 
The first 2 1/2 months of my training schedule went great.  I did everything as written, I was feeling good about my pool swims, my runs, and my bike. I just needed to put road tires on my bike, and then I would be good.  Around 4th of July or so, my scheule hit some bumps as I began traveling a lot for holidays and work.  Some other life stuff hit mid-July and continues now, so to say I had a lot on my plate is an understatement.  I still tried to find time to fit in workouts when I could, but I wasn't getting in all the elements evenly the last 3-4 weeks before the event.  This did a number on my confidence.  Also?  I hadn't lost a single pound.  Not one. 
 
I began to doubt myself, my training, I was worried about the size of my body and how I would look going into the water, coming out of the water, and along the course.  Just general stupid stuff.  I wrote before about the challenges I was having with swimming in open water vs. a pool.  I decided that a) I would just go through with it, b) just focus on one element at a time, c) realize that this is where I'm at right now and own it, and d) just get through the swim. 
 
The day before the event, I met my friend down at registration where we picked up our race packets, bibs, timing chips and racked our bikes.  As I was in line to get my stuff, I was blown away at all the shapes, sizes, and ages of the participants.  My self-consciousness began to fade.  I had to force myself to remember all the work I did leading up to this event, and not get caught up in the fact my body was still the same size it was prior to training.  I had been in a pool or lake at least once a week for 15 weeks leading up to the event.  I had run at least 2 twice a week for the 16 weeks leading up to the event.  I had biked enough to know I could do 12 miles just fine.  Could I have done more?  Maybe.  Was it possible for me to do more given all the circumstances?  Not likely.  I was as ready as I was going to be. 
 
Race day I woke up at 4am, made coffee, got all my stuff ready and headed for the shuttle.  I made it to the bike transition area a little before 6a, and set up my station.  My friends that were doing the race found me, and we chatted for a bit.  They began kicking us out of the transition area at 6:15, and herded us to the boat ramp for the swim entry.  The first wave (oldest) participants began at 6:45, and my start wasn't until 7:15.  So we had an hour to just hang out and wait to get in the water.  The sunrise was beautiful, and many friends/supporters were there to talk to.  Finally it was time to line up and start easing towards the water.  No turning back now.  As my group was called into the water, we waded in and listened to the countdown.  We were off.  I hit start on my watch.  It was a sea of bubbles and legs and arms.  I just gently breast-stroked my way along and got used to being in the water.  The remainder of the swim, I did a combination of breast stroke and free-style.  There were people doing all sorts of strokes, all different speeds.  I felt pretty good about the swim.  When I emerged from the water I checked my watch -16:24.  Not bad.  I jogged sopping wet to my bike, wrapped a towel around me, sat down on my other towel and dried my feet- putting my shoes and socks on.  I ripped off my swim cap, took off my wet tank top and put on my tech shirt with bib attached, stood up, put my helmet on, and walked my bike out of the transition area.  I looked at my watch, 22:00 so T1 took me 5 minutes.  Not bad. 
 
There was a sign marking where we were allowed to mount our bikes and start the ride.  Some competitors behind me were riding out of the transition area and were told to dismount until the proper riding area.  Ha.  I began the 12 mile ride and immediately started passing people, and people were passing me.  I felt good.  Just out for a bike ride.  The bike portion had a few good up hills and corresponding downhills, which were reversed on the way back.  I hit the turn around point at 46ish minutes according to my watch, so it took me 24 minutes to get there.  I figured I was on track for 48 minute total ride.  The ride back seemed a lot longer.  I remember the last mile or so thinking "it didn't seem this long on the way out."  I passed a girl really close to the end of the bike ride, and when I was in front of her I heard the distinct sound of a tire popping.  I felt bad for her, but at least she only had 1/4 mile to walk her bike.  I dismounted my bike where I was told, and walked into the transition area.  Holy cow, walking after all that biking?  My legs were like lead.  I racked my bike, took off my helmet, and headed out.  I didn't need to change shoes or anything in T2. 
 
My jog was slow and pained.  My lungs felt fine, it was my legs...they were so heavy.  I had done one training workout where I did a 30 minute bike ride, then a 15 minute run, so I sort of knew that after a bit my legs would feel better, but WOW, this was so much more intense.  By the time my legs felt better, my lungs were now struggling.  I just wanted to keep moving.  I was going slow, but jogging.  I was passing people/people were passing me.  The sun was hot on my face.  I had to keep reminding myself that I had swam for 15 minutes, then biked for 50 before doing this...of course it was going to be hard.  About 1/4 mile after passing the 2 mile mark, there was a short steep hill.  I jogged up as much of it as I could.  Husbands and boyfriends of other competitors I knew were BBQ'ing at the top of the hill.  I waved, they cheered me on.  It was nice.  Once I reached the top of the hill, I knew the rest of the race was all down hill- figuratively and literally.  I promised myself to jog the whole way, and that is what I did.  I looked at my watch when I crossed the line, 1:54and change.  I was very happy with that. 
 
Given the circumstances, I was calculating a 2:30ish worst case finish time, and was happy to come in under 2 hours.  I could possibly see myself doing another sprint triathlon.  The distances for each event were just right, and it is nice not just doing one thing for a long time- i.e. running for two hours.  If I do another one, I will for SURE get a road bike, and work on my bike-run workouts more.  I was happy I went through with the event, and didn't succumb to my insecurities. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Open Water Swims

My triathlon is 3 weeks and 3 days away.  I'm really feeling the crunch now and the doubt is creeping in.  Somehow I thought I'd be so much farther along at this point.  But, that is just my head getting the best of me because I know that I have been doing more exercise wise in the past 3 months because of this event than I would be if I hadn't signed up.  That's the whole point, right?
 
Last week my friend that talked me into this business wanted to go test out an open water swim.  I thought that would be a good idea since all of my swims so far had been in the pool.  Finding a time that worked for both of us was tough- she is ridiculously busy all the time, and I have a baby to watch pretty much whenever I'm not at work...so...yeah.  Anyway, we finally figured that5:30am on Fridays would work. 
 
We met at the swim spot last Friday on a cool morning when the previous days had been in the 90's (cruel trick, Seattle).  We found an entry point to the lake and discussed our plan of attack.  She was in a wetsuit, me in my mom speedo suit.  I could see the lake plants growing up from the bottom and pooling at the surface.  There were mosquitoes buzzing around.  I stepped into the water, and it was warm.  Like, bath tub warm.  So, that was nice.  I pushed out and we started to breast stroke out to deeper water.  The whole time plants were caressing my bare legs and arms and it was freaking me out.  We got to a place that was deeper and seemingly less plant-y.  "Alright.  On the count of three.  Let's try to make it to the end of that dock."  I put my head down and began to free-style.  When my head went into the murky water, I could see nothing but murkiness and plants below me.  It freaked me out.  I kept trying to swim, but now my breath was all out of sorts.  I stopped.  My friend had stopped.  "This is creepy" I said.  "Don't look underwater" she said.  Yeah, too late for that. 
 
We would swim a few strokes, stop, catch our panicked breath, and keep going.  We were never able to get away from the plants, and the whole thing was just hard without any sort of direction.  "I'm over this she said."  Thank god I was thinking.  "Me too!"  So we swam to the nearest dock, climbed up the ladder, and that was that.  I would hardly call it a workout, more of a fact finding mission.  I began to get really nervous for the swim portion of the race.  The part that I was least worried about suddenly became my biggest nightmare.   
 
A few hours after this first swim, we exchanged some text messages.  "I think we just need to suck it up" she said "next Friday try again?"  "Yes" I shot back.  I then asked her if she knew of a better area we could go from that maybe wouldn't be so inundated with water plants.  She said she would think about it.  A few days ago she messaged me that she had a new location to try, and let's meet on Friday (today) at 5:30am
 
That is just what we did.  The new location was on the other side of the bay from where we were last week.  The water was deeper (and much colder) but there were no plants.  It was pretty much iconic "Sleepless in Seattle" as we swam in front of the fancy houseboats.  Today was SO. MUCH. BETTER.  I don't know if it was because I knew what to expect?  Or if having a row of houseboats next to us was comforting and also gave us something to sight off of?  Or if it was the plant-less water?  Either way, we were able to get a solid workout in.  One that we could both be proud of. 
 
On the agenda for me this weekend is getting my mountain bike tires switched out to road tires, a run, and another lake swim on Sunday.  I will get through this event.  I will get through this event. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Oh, Look, a Toilet

Anyone else restrict their water drinking after squat day so they don't have to use the bathroom as much?  No...just me?  Ok...moving on.
 
Being a mom is hard.  It is not hard for any of the reasons I thought it would be though.  I always thought watching your kid, feeding your kid, changing diapers, clothing changes, disciplining; you know, general child care would be hard.  No.  The hard part is everything else.  Even when you are not physically caring for your child, you are still caring- thinking about schedules, milestones, development, sleep, and general well-being of your child.  Mom's have to do it all.  There are no breaks, no times when we get to slack off or check out (silly me thought I would get a break when baby is sleeping). 
 
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change it for anything, I just find this whole experience to be fascinating.  Things that are so OMG stressful and difficult and end of the world one day, are literally forgotten the next with a simple smile or babble from a tiny human.  I have no idea how it works.  I have to force myself to remember that there have been tough times.  Then, 3 hours later in the midst of a 20 minute over-tired scream fest, I can be back to questioning everything - am I doing something wrong?  Is there something wrong with my child?  How am I going to make it through this?  THIS. IS. HARD.  Magically, the 20 minutes of screaming (which is really an eternity) is forgotten seconds after tiny human falls heavy and deep into sleep.  If I didn't experience it myself, I would never believe it to be possible. 
 
I am amazed every day that somehow, someway, I create time to do it all.  The more I do, the more I do.  Yesterday, after 7 hours of sleep, I went to the gym located in the back room of my office and got in a 30 minute heavy lifting session before starting work at 5:30am.  I completed everything on my work to-do list and was bored by 11am.  Hubby met me at 1:30 to pass the kid off, and home we went.  We walked to the grocery store (3mi roundtrip), I watered the garden, I made dinner, loaded the dishwasher, emptied the diaper pail garbage, switched laundry, folded laundry, ate dinner while watching the baby eat some solid food, watched 30 minutes of OITNB while baby napped, put baby to bed, and packed up all my bags/lunches for the next day before retiring to bed at 8pm.  Oh, and there were diaper changes, bottles, and clothing changes sprinkled in as well.  I know, #humblebrag, right?  That is not my intention.  I'm just documenting for my own re-assurance. 
 
This morning I woke up with a little less sleep, didn't hit the work place gym, and have been at work for 3 hours with only a few replied-to e-mails under my belt.  I can't stop thinking that I'm not doing enough.  I haven't read a book to my baby in 3 days.  He needs to practice more with solid foods, and right now he only eats them sporadically.  Will he sleep better if he eats more real food?  Am I starving my baby?  It's bath night for him.  I need a shower.  The floors haven't been vacuumed in 4 days.  Kid is biting everything.  Is he going to be one of those weird biting kids?  I need to change his crib sheet, I think he peed on it a little last night.  Oh, and all his clean clothes are in a pile.  I need to put them away.  I should be getting these revised documents to my boss.  I'm hungry.  How can I be hungry?  I just had breakfast.  Oh, I'm going to make enchiladas for dinner tonight with the left-over chicken breast in the fridge.  Do I have vegetables?  Do I need to go to the store on the way home?  No.  We have salad.  I'm off schedule this week on my triathlon training.  I won't get to swim this week, and I haven't run any distance in a week.  I'll run today with the kid when I get home.  Then I'll read to him.  And make dinner.  And feed him some solids.  And give him a bath. And take a shower.  And hope that he sleeps well.  And hope that I sleep well.  Weights again tomorrow morning at 5am. I really need to get something done here today. 
 
Jesus.  I'm crazy.     
 
 
 
 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bye Lululemon, Hello Costco

Wait, what?  Before you all think that I've taken a high dive into complete momdom...let me explain.  I love to workout.  I have always loved to workout. This means I have owned LOTS of workout clothes, and by proxy, makes me an expert.  :)
 
For the longest time, Target was my go-to for workout gear.  It was cheap, relatively stylish, and did I mention cheap?  In my early 20's I just could NOT fathom spending more than $14.99 on some running capris.  However, I had to buy capri's every few months because the quality was so poor.  But, $14.99!!!  Can't beat that!  After a few years of CrossFitting and wanting to be accepted into the cult, I succumed to my first pair of $85 running tights with the reflecty circle thing on the calf.  There was no denying the quality.  I finally got the hype.  My lululemon collection grew, and my nasty threadbare Target collection got trashed. 
 
My expensive workout gear has far surpassed the test of time.  I've had my first pair of Lulu tights for over 2 years now, worn no less than 2x/week, washed at least 2x/week, and they are still good as new.  The might be a little see-through when I bend over, but that's just because my butt is bigger than what was designed for (ha). 
 
The other day I was at Costco, and they had a big display of Lulu looking capri's and tanks.  They were so cheap, I figured even if I didn't like them for working out, I could just wear them around the house.  When I got home, I decided to go for a long walk, and thought I would test out my newly purchased gear.  I slid on the pants and tank, and fell in love.  They were so comfortable!  I thought to myself, surely I can't look as good as I feel?  I went over the the mirror and was blown away!  The clothes fit amazing, and looked amazing too.  I don't wear tank tops in public.  My arms are just too big, and no one wants to see that.  But for some reason, I didn't mind how this tank looked on me.  So, out the door I went, in a tank top.  I even tested out running for a bit, and was happy that the pants didn't fall down, or roll, or do anything else annoying. 
 
I'll be going back next week to purchase more colors.  I still have my lulu's, but these are a great addition.  Yes, they still need to stand up to the test of time, but for now, I'm pretty happy!  Way to go Costco! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mom, Swim, Bike, Run

That pretty much sums up my week.  My mom came into town for Mother's Day weekend (to visit her grandson) so I've been busy getting ready for her visit, touring her around when she was visiting, and now decompressing after her visit.  My mom is an avid swimmer and participates in many open water swims.  She swims in San Francisco Bay (60ish?) degrees with no wetsuit.  She did the Escape from Alcatraz swim (it is possible to swim from Alcatraz to shore!), and most recently just swam 2 or 3 miles along the San Francisco city front.  Needless to say, she was pretty excited about the fact that I signed up for a sprint triathlon since that meant I would be getting in some pool workouts. 
 
The best possible Mother's Day gift I could give her was to take her to the public pool and swim.  On Sunday we did just that.  We had to take turns swimming so someone could watch the little guy.  Proud grandma was just happy to walk him around the pool and talk to anyone that would listen about her swimming.  After swimming, we took a little road trip east to a Bavarian themed town in WA, and spent the night out there.  It was beautiful weather and very relaxing. 
 
Monday we spent the day walking around the Bavarian town, ducking into shops, and then drove back to Seattle.  The weather was unreal as far as how perfect it was, and my mom was blown away by the beautiful drive back through the mountains to sea level.  I always try to show her something new since she visits pretty frequently.  Baby boy was a champ the whole trip.  He didn't mind the 2 hour car ride, he slept fine in the hotel, and he only fussed a little at dinner one night until I gave him a roasted baby carrot to chew on. 
 
My mom's flight was in the afternoon on Tuesday, it was another incredible day (we really take notice of the sunny days in the PNW), and the hubby and I decided to take advantage of the free baby-sitting to go for a bike ride before he had to go to work.  I pulled my bike and helmet out of storage, and holy dead spiders in my helmet.  Gross.  Once I got that all cleaned out, hubby pumped up my tires and off we went.  My first bike ride in over a year!  I figured I better start building up my butt callouses- I don't know why they make bike seats so damn uncomfortable.  We rode around the neighborhood, there are tons of hills, so it was a pretty decent workout.  I was just happy to get the cobwebs out and get back on my bike.  I think most of my training rides will be on the flat bike path pulling a bike trailer. 
 
Yesterday it was back to work, back to reality.  Wednesday is gym day, and they had a killer met-con (metabolic conditioning workout) in store for us.  But first, we had a warm up of running 1 mile.  But the route is actually 1.2 miles.  I really pushed myself and felt completely spent BEFORE we even started our 20 minute workout.  I just kept telling myself that the triathlon would be just like this.  Our 20 minute workout included KB snatches, sprints, and jump rope.  DYING.  Wednesday is also pool day.  I got home, played with the kiddo for a bit, and then got ready to swim.  Now that I have been in the pool a few times, I decided to work on some technique.  First I swam the 1/3 mile (20 laps) uninterrupted (13 minutes), and then practiced breathing every 4 strokes instead of 2.  I really think that will improve my speed, however, it is harder (duh). 
 
Scale is still holding firm, 9lbs to go till I meet my first goal.  There is room for improvement in my eating.  And I have NOT been drinking enough water.  Water intake will be my focus for a bit. 

I've been super busy at work lately, so apologies for the choppy facts only post. To make up for it, here is a pic from our stay in Leavenworth, WA.  


Monday, May 5, 2014

Training Updates

It has been roughly two weeks since I decided to train for a sprint triathlon, and I've been sticking to my self-created training schedule very closely.  Last Wednesday, my mission was to check out the public pool down the road from our house, get a feel for how crowded it is, how everything works, etc.  The hubs was a super sport and came along with me to check things out, and perhaps next time we will take turns swimming/watching the kid.  More on that later. 
 
At first glance, the pool was exactly what I was expecting.  Large Olympic size pool, smaller shallow pool filled with toddlers adjacent, lanes, flags, swim clocks, and bleachers for parents/on lookers.  I put my things into a locker and rinsed off before heading out to the pool.  When I got closer to the large pool, I noticed it had a crazy deep end and high dive.  This meant that I could jump in like a little kid, unlike the Y where the whole pool is 4ft deep or whatever.  It's the little things.  Not sure if it was a fluke day due to really nice weather outside, but the pool only had a few occupants and I was able to grab a whole lane to myself!
 
With a real size pool (25m), I could actually count my distance, and create benchmarks to train with.  My first goal was to swim 10 laps (250m) unbroken, and see how long that took me.  250m is about half of the distance in the sprint triathlon.  I put my goggles on, took note of the time, and off I went.  I swam and counted.  Swam and counted.  When I got to 10, I stopped at the end of the pool, could feel a little red faced, and looked at the clock.  Five minutes had passed.  I was pretty happy about that.  I was tired for sure, but I know I'll be able to build up to 600m no problem, and have a goal to swim that in 12 minutes or less.  I swam 10 or so more laps at a leisurely pace, and then was satisfied with my first real training swim.  The hubs and baby were enjoying watching the toddlers in the pool, and in a few weeks, infant swim lessons start up at the same time as lap swim, so, I can get my training in, and the hubs can be teaching baby to swim.  Everyone wins! 
 
Last Friday I had a 20 minute run scheduled, as I'm trying to slowly build up to a longer sustained run.  Our CrossFit workouts that week (Wednesday/Thursday) happened to be running heavy, so I was getting plenty of run time in.  I packed up the jogging stroller and drove down to the bike path by my house.  The kid and I hit the trail, and I was able to run for 20 minutes straight, pushing a stroller.  I was happy with that.  I wasn't paying attention to distance this time, but I will start.  After the 20 minute jog, I walked for a bit, and noticed the kid fell asleep, not wanting to wake a sleeping baby, I kept walking around the shopping mall next to the bike path (and maybe bought a few things).
 
Yesterday (Sunday) one of my friends that is doing the triathlon with me suggested we go for a swim.  She offered to watch baby while I swam, and then she could swim once I was done.  It worked out great.  I jumped in for a quick 20 minutes of swimming (got in 26+ laps), got out, hung out in the bleachers with baby while my friend swam.  As hard as it is to coordinate, I've always enjoyed working out with other people.  It is motivating, social, and holds me accountable.  I'm hoping we can get in as many of these Sunday swims as possible. 
 
Next on the agenda- bike ride.  I haven't been on a (non stationary) bike in probably a year or so.  Being super pregnant last summer, a bike was the last place I wanted to be.  Not sure when I can fit a ride in just yet, but hopefully soon. 

 
 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Burpees Cure All

Friday I woke up and it felt as if I slept on my shoulder wrong.  As the day went on, I kept wiggling and trying to move it around, it just felt like something was out of place.  Then I started getting these weird spasms across my upper back on the side of the shoulder in question that would take my breath away, and make me tense up in pain.  It was annoying, and I started wondering if I would need a chiropractic appointment (I've never been!). 
 
I rolled around on the floor in my cubicle trying to get things worked out.  I hung from doorway jams around the office.  While the stretches felt good during, as soon as I would move back to walking/standing, the spasms would hit.  I powered through the rest of my day, and was unsure how I'd feel carrying my son around, or how I was going to get in my scheduled workout that evening.  We were also headed out of town for the weekend, and I didn't want to be sitting in a car for 4 hours feeling like this! 
 
After the rendezvous with the hubs to pass off the kiddo, I headed home, still in random pain.  As soon as I was home, I took two advil, and went about normal after work activities- grocery shopping, picking up the house, playing with the baby, making dinner, packing for the trip, changing diapers, laundry, listening to tv in the background...I looked at my workout schedule, and I had my benchmark workout scheduled- 5min as many burpees as possible, rest 2 minutes, then repeat- 5min as many burpees as possible.  The advil was definitely helping, but I wasn't sure if I could do a burpee.
 
I waited until the kiddo was asleep (6:30p) and changed into workout clothes.  I set a mat down on the living room floor, set a timer for 5 minutes, and got my burpee on.  No pain.  I was moving slow, but no pain.  The 5 minutes went quick.  The rest time went SUPER quick.  I was determined to get at least one more burpee in my second set.  Not only did I get one more, I got 8 more!  I think I should have warmed up first.  The second set, I was in a good groove, and really pushing myself.  The best part?  Afterwards?  NO PAIN.  Gone. 
 
So, that settles it.  Burpees cure ALL. 
 
Our hotel over the weekend had a pool, so I used that as an opportunity to test my swimming in preparation for the sprint tri.  The hotel pool was tiny, but large enough to get a few solid strokes in before having to turn around.  My first couple of laps were rusty, I forgot that I like to breathe every 2 strokes on the same side instead of 3 switching sides.  I also forgot how much I hate getting water in my ears.  But.  BUUUUUTTTT...I fell back into a groove, remembered all my youth swim lesson instructions and was able to swim freestyle for 10 minutes? without stopping my first time in a lap pool in 6 years.  I could have kept going longer, but I was kinda skeeved out by the hotel pool, and I was getting bored since the pool was so small.  Petty, I know.  However, my main mission was to just get in a pool and see how it went.  Tomorrow I will be heading to a public pool here for a real swim, in a 25m pool, etc. 
 
Holding at the same weight this week, no change.  I have nothing more to say about that.