Sunday, May 26, 2013

TRI Training Week 1

My first week of triathlon training is officially OVER!

I logged right at 20 miles between the bike and running this week and started my swim training by swimming 200m (8 laps in the indoor pool at our rec center).

I'll start with my run on Monday. It was rough. I was sucking wind. Although I've lived in Colorado for almost 7 years, I am going to blame it in part on the altitude. It can be a little harder to get deep breaths when your house is at 5900 ft elevation. I always remember when I lived in North Carolina and Florida and would get on the treadmill (because its MUCH too hot and humid to run outside) and just run and run and run some more. I never felt winded like I do when I run here in Colorado. The only thing that got me through my run was the 90s hip-hop station on Pandora. The beats were just what I needed and each song was a total throwback to my high school days...and knowing pretty much every word helps. Yeah...

Tuesday I had to bike 7 miles. I went 7.55 and I was pulling Amery behind me in the trailer. We had to stop a few times - once when she was SCREAMING about a bee being in there with her. It was a little fruit fly. Everything is a bee when you're 3. Then she needed help with her water, etc, etc... you get the point. Not optimal as far as time goes, but it was a lot harder on my legs, especially on hills, with her behind me. I felt like I could have gone further, but the training plan I am on strongly suggests sticking to plan so you don't overwork your body and are ready for the next day's workout.

Wednesday is my off day and will be for the entire training plan. (Yay for off days!)

Thursday was my swim. I was most nervous about the swim because it'd been so long since I'd done it. To my surprise, it was the easiest of all my "first" workouts (I guess the bike doesn't really count since I'd been going on rides on the weekends prior to official training). Everything seemed to come back to me pretty quickly from my swim team days - my stroke, kick and my breathing rhythm all need some help. Years of voice lessons and being a singer help with the breathing - much of the focus in proper singing technique is breathing from your diaphragm and controlling your breath. Telling my body to breathe properly when exercising... a little more of a challenge. I'm workin' on it. ;)

Friday was another off day. The training plan starts off pretty slow to help avoid muscle injury early on. Each week I will increase my activity. I will talk about that in a minute.

Yesterday, I ran again. This run was MUCH better than the first, but still hard. The breathing is still the hardest part. I kept telling myself to focus on good, deep breaths from my diaphragm and not my chest - which is what people tend to do when exercising. We tend to raise our shoulders up into our necks, tense up, and take shallow breaths from our chest. This is not good. So I kept trying to be sure my shoulders were nice and relaxed and that I was breathing properly. It was still tough, but this helped. And of course, Slick Rick, Mase, and Biggie helped me out.

Today after we got home from church and ate lunch we loaded the kids in the trailer (Asher is way too big, but he came along) and headed south on the trails. I love that you can ride a paved trail to and from pretty much anywhere in and around Denver. It was overcast and windy and we hoped it wouldn't rain, but if the weather is crummy on August 31st, the race is still on. Chip pulled the kids like a beast and trying to pace with him shaved off 2 minutes per mile from my previous time! I still have difficulty with not wanting to brake coming downhill and around tight turns, but its getting better. I am going to invest in some cleats soon so that will help optimize activity once I get used to them. We did right at 8 miles and I felt pretty good when we got home. :)

Week One - COMPLETE.

Tomorrow starts some back to back workouts - Run 20 min followed immediately by a 200m swim. That should be interesting. I will tell you all about it after I finish out Week 2.

What have I learned this week? 
Although the journey ahead is a long one, when I focus on just one day at a time, it is doable. Seeing my plan even for the end of next week seems difficult right now, and it will be hard work when I get to it I'm sure, but taking it day by day instead of focusing on the mountain in the distance is HUGE. I think that can be applied to most any area of our lives. Life is a journey. Our relationship with God is a journey. If we focus on today, the big picture doesn't seem so intimidating.

What is happening in your life right now that seems extremely difficult when you try looking too far down the road?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Why Tri?

Well, it is official. I registered for my very first triathlon in Boulder, CO on 8/31. It is a sprint distance, so I will swim a half mile in the Boulder Reservoir, hop on my bike for a 17.3 mile bike ride over some hills, and end it with a 5k. If all goes well, it shouldn't take too long to complete. But, whether or not everything goes well is resting (for the most part) on my shoulders. 

So, Why Tri?

A few different reasons...

1. Asher's teacher this year is an Ironman. Yes, she has raced in FULL Ironman races (140 miles between swim/bike/run in one day). Talking to her one day stirred something inside of me. I started researching and wondering what it would be like to one day be able to do an Ironman (a half - 70.3 miles). She told me I should try to do a Sprint Triathlon this summer - so I am. Easy enough, right? Err.... 

2. I need goals. As far as exercise goes, although I like to ride my bike,  unless I am working towards a goal, I will not be consistent. I want to be consistent. I need the carrots dangling in front of me. 

3. My kids. They LOVED it when I did the 5k last year. I think it inspires them to see mom and dad active and setting big goals for themselves. I want them to see through me that they can anything they set their minds to. No matter what your age or ability is - you CAN achieve any goal. 

4. I found a triathlon that will allow me to raise money for a cause. My cause will be Heartwork - You can read about them in a previous post. Everything I raise will go to help feed orphans around the world. You can view my fundraising page here Traci Early Sprint Tri  

I have 15 weeks....

Preparation Matters...
Because if I attempted to do a sprint tri this weekend, I would fail. Miserably. Last weekend I logged 17 miles on my bike - over the course of two days- 10 miles Saturday and 7 on Sunday. I am still getting the feel for my road bike, as well as trying to get comfortable riding around other cyclists on bike paths. I get a little freaked out when a group of cyclists come towards me or come up behind me quickly saying "on your left". My first reaction is to pull my brake and slow down, and tell myself NOT to swerve. Sounds easy enough, but for me it isn't. Yet. There's also the whole taking a drink of water while you ride. And whats the deal with turning/leaning into those hard turns? Yeah... got some work ahead of me. 

The 5k should be the easiest part, SHOULD being key, except for the fact I will have to run it with bricks for legs by this point in the race. I ran a 5k last year and had a lot of fun. So much fun that I decided to always stay "5k ready" after the race so I could sign up for more of them. I didn't do it. Summer happened, then school started back up, and here I am. Not 5k ready almost a year later. 

But first, before the bike or the run, is the open water swim. Having grown up on the coast spending many, many days in the Atlantic ocean, having a pool in my backyard growing up, being on swim team, and being part fish... open water swims do not scare me. However, open water swims with people who are freaked out by open water swims and are potentially grabbing onto me while I'm in the water DO scare me a little. You know how as you get older your brain fully recalls how to perform a task that you did often when you were younger, such as flips on a trampoline or a roundoff? Age is a funny thing in that regard - our minds know the drill and tells our body what to do, but the old body just can't perform. This is me with swimming. In my mind, I am still able to swim a 400m free with ease (the tri is 750m), so I don't have far to go... in my mind. Reality is that I am going to struggle BIG TIME to swim my 200m in training this week.

Training is Key...
It is also the thing that scares me the most. I have a VERY strict training plan that I have to be diligent with and stick to in order to complete the race in August. How well I stick to the plan rests on me, not anyone else. It is going to mean early mornings - of which I am NOT a fan, and when I feel like sitting around and hanging out some evenings, I will have to make the choice to train each day. The last thing I want to do is get to the race in August and not be prepared. I know that even if I do this training plan to the best of my ability, it will be just enough to get me across the finish line as the terrain there is much different than the terrain and trails around my house.   

It is all on me. Will I do it? I better...

You can follow my training journey here. I will blog about it each week and talk about progress and setbacks... and probably learn quite a bit about myself along the way. 

Have you ever set out to something that terrified you? How did you feel after you completed the task?