Yes, lack of consistent blogs for awhile on my part. I guess this comes with the holidays and the ‘off season’. I am not sure if triathletes get much of a real ‘off-season’, simply because (I know personally) I enjoy swimming, cycling and running, and well we always have some type of variety in there! Nevertheless, I think it is SO important to force ourselves to have some down-time and simply a change of pace/routine for a good month or two out of the year.
Thus, after finishing with Clearwater 70.3 World Championships, I took some down time. I then made the decision to train for the Austin Marathon (see? we cannot stay away!). I did at least not ‘officially start’ the training until early December, and with the race being February 17th, this is more of a ‘crash training’ effort for the marathon. So I wrote up a decent training plan and have done my best to stick to it. I did a 2-hour run when I was up in Indiana visiting my parents over Christmas, and I then had (after a 3-week build) a recovery week. During this week, before New Years, I decided to kick a 10 lb. dumbell quite hard, either jamming badly or breaking my middle right toe. Stupid, I know, but it happened. I limped around for a weekend which fortunately coincided with our drive to Santa Fe, NM for New Years. Luckily, I was able to ski for 2 days (one day at Taos, one day at Santa Fe) and the toe didn’t hurt too much…plus, would have been pretty painful to run so it all worked out beautifully! We returned from New Mexico on January 2nd, and by Friday amazingly enough, I could run again. How nicely it all worked out! Almost like I ‘intentionally’ hurt my toe so I could enjoy skiing w/o the guilt of not running.
In any case, as I ramble away…the marathon training is going well, as I did my longest run ever this past Sunday of 16.5 miles. Whew~! I even took a gel at the 1:10 mark, and it seriously felt like I was on drugs for about 30 minutes. Those gels raelly work! I am keeping my cycling and swimming to a bare minimum, and even picked up Bikram Yoga (Davenport) here in Austin for a 30-day membership. Great! It is incredibly challenging, but with only running being my ‘key’ workouts right now, I think it is a great compliment to the run training, pounding and aches and pains which seem to crop up.
I’ll try to keep the updates coming a bit more regularly. Getting back to the beginning of this post, while at times I feel ‘guilty’ for the lack of cycling and triathlon preparation, well…’tis a long season, and I am staying fit! Sometimes, it is good to challenge ourselves in a different way. For me, it is a run focus/challenge. And no matter what happens, I will learn about myself, my capabilities, limitations and well…experience some new horizons in the process. Try something a bit different during the off-season! It will refresh and invigorate yourself, your training and I believe lengthen your season. 🙂 Thank you for listening to my rambling!
Nothing too exciting to report, today was a good Monday. I am trying to pack in some good, hard training before we leave for South Carolina on Thursday for Derick’s (twin) sister Kristin’s wedding on Saturday. I know that I will stress out if I can only run and I don’t feel I have done enough swimming and cycling this week, so I will ease my worries by pounding myself early in the week: Mon = Hard Swim/Hard Bike, Tues = Track Run/Hard Bike, Wed = Hard Swim/Longer Easy Bike.
The wedding will be a fun time, I got a DRESS on Saturday for it…a very pretty and somewhat pricey dress at that. Today, I did a trainer ride this morning which was somewhat tough as I usually take Mondays easy, no ‘legs’, only a swim. I could definitely feel yesterday’s long run. I then did a swim at Big Stacy pool, and I did 5,000 meters! I NEVER DO 5k. I have this ‘thing’ whereby I feel like at the 4,000 meter mark, I just ‘should’ get out. Enough. But today I was feeling pretty good and the time went by quickly. I am about to enjoy some salad and a BBQ chicken pizza. I could not live without pizza, it is a staple in this house. And of course, I am enjoying some New Belgium Beer…their seasonal, called ‘Never Summer Ale.’ (I apologize, but it is not on their website! Seems they skip from Summer’s Skinny Dip to Winters 2 Below..how dare they)…It is THE BEST. I am such a fan of good beers, leading into the question I will leave you with (if there is anyone out there reading this…)
If you could only have one for the rest of your life, which would it be…Coffee or Beer?
I was just reading over Lance’s ‘race report’ on the 3 Stories blog. He raced a half-marathon about 6 weeks (?) out from his Olympic Trials marathon. While he was somewhat bummed about his result (albeit a tough course and I am guessing in the midst of a heavy training load), he found himself wondering the infamous question, ‘Why do I do this’? I wrote a nice comment to him and then well, it disappeared. I found it interesting he was talking about this because this past weekend, on a long run I was doing, I began thinking the same thing.
I have often been asked, “Why do you do it?” Which is a completely understandable question…often days I do 2 workouts, often weekend days I am up by 8:00 or so to spend 3-4 hours riding or 1.5 hours running. Not that it ‘really’ seems all that amazing or impressive to me, it is just ‘what I do’. But Sunday I was feeling particularly good and I got to thinking, the reason I do it is for that ever-so-rare moment that you cross the finish line, smiling, and raise up your arm, thinking, “Finally! I KNEW I had that in me!”, usually followed by stopping, resting the hands on the knees, and then walking, with that elated and ‘everything is good’ feeling. Now this does not happen often. As a matter of fact, at least for me, this happens very rarely. Usually it is a ‘solid effort on the day, decent race, not perfect and a lot to improve upon.’
But that is precisely what makes these moments so unique, so sought after. They shouldn’t come easily. And I know I may not always say this, but, I don’t WANT them to come easily. I’d rather work my tail off and see the results than just breeze through it, never appreciating any victory. And since these ‘zone’ days do not occur often, yes, we work hard to achieve them but in the process, all of the expriences, the day in/day out dedication, the ups and downs of what we go through, this is all what makes us who we are. It gives us character. So even though we never know the end outcome, while I hope it is that elated feeling that I work so hard for, well…even if it isn’t I know that I put it all on the line, did so honestly and I am a better person for what I have endured. As cliche as it sounds, ultimately it really is all about the journey.