Wrapping up Week 1

07/31/2011

So week one of Chapter two has just closed it’s doors and I must say it’s been an invigorating week!  I have felt more excited for each workout this week than I have in quite some time and have completed each workout spot on as instructed.  And most importantly, it’s been fun again!

I swam five times this week…yes, FIVE.  That’s about as much as I was swimming in 11 or 12 days in Chapter 1 so clearly we are honing in on my limiters.  I swam a 500 meter test set on Thursday after a nice 2000 “warm up” and although the results were not “good” they were :45 seconds faster than my previous test set of this distance.  I have to feel “satisfied” with that (see previous post).  Long course 500 meters took me 9:20 or 1:52 per 100….slow, I know.  However, based on my previous race times of about 2:10-2:15 per 100 meters, its at least a step in the right direction.  Stacey hit the nail on the head with my lack of speed endurance in the water.  I could probably swim 100 meters alllll out in 1:30ish and I can swim forever distance wise, but what I can’t do is swim far and fast.  We’ll get there.  Patience my friend.

In addition to lots of swimming I had a few amazing runs this week and wrapped up Saturday with a long, disorganized, blazing hot century ride – Tour de Orange.  The ride took off in Hillsborough, just about 15 minutes from my parents house and it was nice to go home two weekends in a row with my pups.  The ride was a small given the other events going on this weekend, and the course was so poorly marked we made several wrong turns which was frustrating.  The turn arrows were literally 6″ long and about 3′ before each intersection with some intersections not market at all!  As we know, riding in a pace line at 25-30 mph 4-5″ from the person’s wheel ahead of you and having to cut a sharp turn is dangerous.  So, we spent lots of time turning around.  About 4 miles in to the ride, while turning around from the groups first wrong turn, I found myself on the wheel of two ex-European pro bike racers (team Shacklee)….and I hung there for the rest of the day.  The ride rolled out at a leisurely 17-18mph and it appeared it was going to maintain this pace.  If you know me, you know that’s not my style of riding so I was delighted to have found some guys early on who were ready to push the pace.  I rode with the two racers and one other guy for all but the last 10 miles when (surprisingly) the racers came unglued and fell off hard.  In their defense, it was their longest ride in quite some time but it still made me feel good to be pushing strong nearly 5 hours in to a ride while others were at their limit.

The worst part of my weekend also turned into the best ironically.  After a long hot ride, I locked my keys on the front seat of my car.  CRAP.  I was in a hurry to get back to my parents house as I had to get on the road back to Charlotte to meet a friend who’d been driving all day from NY all day.  So, I walk around the parking lot to find someone who had a wire hanger.  Oddly enough, first guy I asked did!?  No go on that though…hanger was too thick.  So I call mom who calls AAA for me and tells her it’ll be about 30 minutes.  Well, ok, 30 minutes wasn’t too bad but I honestly didn’t have even 30 minutes to wait.  I go inside, grab a quick bite to eat and venture back out to wait for AAA.  As I’m walking to my car, the guy driving the sag vehicle pulls up next to me.  He gets out and is like “someone said you are locked out of your car?  No problem, I’m a locksmith.”  I honestly didn’t believe him at first.  When I was in my car, heading to back to my parents house 5 minutes later, I finally believed him and I felt like he was an angel sent from heaven 🙂  He thought it was a trip when I cheered loudly and told him that when he opened my door.  So, luck was in my favor today and I was thankful, to say the least.

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening with my old friend Tim who I’ve known since 6th grade as he drove through Charlotte on his way to Florida.  I haven’t seen him since our 10 year HS reunion in 2008 so it was fun to catch up on each others lives and old times!  We watched the women’s Presby Crit in downtown and saw some pretty inspiring bike racing going on!  Awesome performances by Marianne, Robin and Addy out there in that heat.  Super impressed with those ladies.  I think my 2-3 year goal will be to race that race.  We shall see!

All in all, a great weekend.  Today ended with a short, relaxing 30 minute run with some drill work and I’ll be at the pool for the first time on a weekend in a loooooong time here after the nap that’s on deck!

Week 2 of Chapter 2, oddly enough, involves a 2 mile test set on the track on Tuesday, which, I’m both severely dreading and also very excited/anxious about.  My race teammates Chad and Danielle have agreed/offered to pace me and I’m very thankful for that.  Chad is a 5-something minute mile runner so it will be a breeze for him to pace me at (ideally) 6:30 for mile one and something less than that for mile two depending on what I have in the tank.  These test sets hurt so so bad but, when they go well, can be huge confidence boosters.  Still waiting for that swim-test confidence booster.  🙂

I hope all one or two people who’ve read this far down had a great weekend.  More to come after my test set Tuesday!  Here’s to 2 miles in something less than 13 minutes – I’d even take 12:59!


Satisfaction

07/27/2011

So if you know me, you know I am never “satisfied”.  If I won my age group at a race, in my mind, I failed because I didn’t place overall.  If I placed 2nd overall, I’ll focus on everything I did “wrong” and wish I’d finished first.

It’s a horrible trait and I realize that!

So…I have spent 2011 focusing on feeling more satisfied….but not content.  My attempt has to been to focus on the improvements I have made vs. everything that I could do better.  Racing my bike has been a great confidence booster, in one regard, because it has allowed me to show my cycling strength and talents.  But the stronger I get on my bike, the more exacerbated the less strong results on my swim (especially) and run.

Slowly (no pun intended) but surely however, my running speed is catching up to my cycling strength.  I’m pretty sure I’ll never be a sub 6:00 min runner but I hope to be closer one day than I am now!  I know my 44:08 10k (7:06/mile pace), albeit on a hilly course, was only the 11th fastest (or slowest?) female run of that day, but I have tried to focus on the fact that it was a 4 min PR from the previous years 10k on the same course!  No, a 21:13 (6:49/mile pace) 5k is nothing worth bragging about, but it’s 1:21 faster than my previous 5k PR….and I’m learning to be satisfied with that!

As I mentioned, Stacey and I will be focusing on my limiters – swimming and running.  As we know, the jury is still out on whether I’m really even a “good” triathlete with TWO limiters, but that’s a blog topic of its own.  So, I will continue to work hard to continue to focus on my speed which will hopefully translate into stronger results.  I realize my “never satisfied” trait is pretty horrible, but it’s also what makes me who I am and that gives me my continuous desire work hard!  Stay tuned for more 2011 PR’s!


Just in the First Day

07/26/2011

So today, July 25th marked my official “first day” with my new coach .  Aside from spending the entire weekend with her, picking her brain and learning countless training tips, tools and ideas from her, Stacey and I spent about 40 minutes on the phone tonight, literally, just “chatting”.

We discussed the McMillian pace guide for my 2-mile LT run test next Tuesday.  We discussed the rest of my schedule for this year.  We discussed more about the ins and outs of my daily life and what my life entails.  We just got to know each other better.  This was not part of my “bi-weekly” consult…it was not part of anything.  It was part of my coach being my buddy, my resource, my friend.  And it’s awesome!

My focus, as Stacey and I have discussed at great length is going to be my limiters.  That is miserable, sometimes.  When improvements are made, it can be extremely rewarding.  My swim is my biggest limiter right now.  Per my chat with Stacey tonight, I’ll be in the water 5 times this week.  That’s a lot.  I have no doubts she will totally push my buttons in the water.  Long 500+ yard test sets, 1000’s at a time.  I can just see it now.

When I’m not swimming, I’ll likely be running, my second biggest limiter.  Funny how that works.  I don’t want my riding to suffer or take a back seat, because I need to use the natural strengths I have, but I also need to be a more well rounded athlete.  I can’t continuously place in the top 33% in the water and expect top 5 results without absolutely killing myself on my bike time and time again.  We all know what happens to triathletes who continuously kill themselves on their bike…50% of the time, their run suffers terribly!  Hence my 2nd limiter!  Sometimes I wonder if I’m really a “good” triathlete at all, seeing as I’m not that good at two of the three sports!  Perhaps I’m just meant to be a bike racer.  That’s yet to be determined.

So, in a nutshell.  Like this weekend, today was again refreshing having an unscheduled, ad-hoc conversation with my coach.  I am looking forward to our weekend in Charlotte together in a couple weeks!  I promise this blog will get more exciting.


Hello Again Blog World

07/25/2011

This weekend marks a new start for me in many aspects of my athletic life!  I am sad to be leaving One2Tri from both ae employee and an athlete standpoint but I’m also delighted about what lies ahead for me.

I am thrilled to now be working with Stacey Richardson of Triangle Multisport Coaching!  Stacey and I will be working very closely together to reach my goals – she is hands on, full of life, knowledge, passion, and fire.  Most of all, she’s nurturing, yet bossy and I love it!  Seeing training from a new set of eyes and a new perspective excites me to no end and I’m anxious to see our friendship/coach/athlete relationship develop!

I spent the greater part of this weekend in Chapel Hill in hands on training sessions with Stacey and I feel invigorated and alive once again!  I have found my triathlon-spark again and my fire to want to go hard.  As you can easily see in my recent race results, my performance is continuously, well, lackluster in the water.  Before this weekend, I had essentially succumb to the mindset that “I’m just not a good swimmer and I have to accept that”.  I have spent many days frustrated with my inability to produce even mediocre results in the water and even more frustrated not knowing exactly why my stroke is clearly breaking down.  Meeting with and hearing Stacey tell me “you HAVE what it takes to be a good  swimmer…you don’t suck.  We will work together to make huge improvements” is exactly what I needed.  I have been in desperate need of someone to believe in me and want to spend the necessary time to help me along….and I have met my match!

 

This year has been a huge adjustment for me because it’s not all about me anymore…and that is good!  Having become a coach, in addition to being an athlete and working full-time, has been one of the most rewarding challenges I have ever taken on.  I learn new and exciting stuff daily from my athletes and am so delighted to them posting PR’s left and right (a shout out to Craig and Dana here!).  The gratification I get from seeing these athletes succeed often times overshadows any success I might be having myself.  Sharing the knowledge and experience I have learned in this sport is also extremely gratifying.  I strive to be, if nothing else, the most supportive and available coach I can be to my athletes.  If I can’t/don’t provide the most “scientific” workout or explanation to my athletes, if nothing else, I can provide real-life experience and advice.  I’ve had plenty of bad races and even more good ones and I hope that I can help my athletes learn from my bad experiences and strive for the same good ones I’ve had in this sport!  I found myself last weekend at Stumpy Creek thinking more about how my athletes and team members and how their race was going than focusing 100% on my own race.  It’s a great feeling, but can certainly be tricky at times!

I have decided to keep a blog because I think it helps me mentally throughout my training, but I am not even certain with who I will share this blog.   I blogged throughout my journey to my first IM in 2009, every single day, every single workout, and I felt it kept me honest and excited.  Though I won’t be blogging about every single workout, I hope to put my thoughts and heart into this blog so that someone, even if only one person, is inspired to make a change in their life in order to see results.  This week has been very hard for me with leaving a company and a coach that has been a big part of my life for quite some time….but I’m certain the change will lead to beautiful things!

Thank you for everything this weekend Stacey!