I figured that as I begin to embark on a 12 week journey to my first Olympic distance triathlon that cataloging my workouts each week would be good way to analyze progress and fitness and how things are going. In addition, starting tomorrow, I will do weekly weigh ins and let you all into this very personal aspect of my fitness struggle.
In between the program starting and coming off of not doing that much fitness wise during my break, I decided to use this past week to start gearing up and getting ready to begin hardcore training tomorrow. (eeek!!!)
Monday: Bike 19 miles (average 4:28/mile pace). I set off to try out a trail around me calling the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) trail which basically only goes up or only goes down in a steady incline or steady decline, nothing too exaggerated. Coming down on the way out was fantastic and I really pushed the pace to under 3:30 on average. Once I turned around to head back though, it set in how much of a help the decline was. I was struggling to get down around a 5 minute pace. It’s not a constant beating of up and downs, but the slow steady incline was wearing. It makes for great triathlon practice though!
Tuesday: Final moving of boxes. This meant the evening was consumed with traffic, packing, and moving boxes. A light weight workout if you will.
Wednesday: 50 minute run. Ooof. This run was hard. It was brutal and grueling and hot and sweaty and oh so wonderful. After taking some time off from running getting out to go running on a trail near the new apartment was wonderful. I slugged my way through 4 miles, and vowed to never go running at 6:30pm again because it was not worth it to feel like I was dying like that. The trail though, was wonderful.
Thursday: Open water swim at the National Harbor – 1200m. WaveOne Swimming hosts a “Happy Hour” open water swim on Thursday evenings an hour and 15 minutes before sunset. My friend Nicole over at Silver and Iron and I headed out to experience a weekday open water swim in the “gorgeous” Potomac River, a real rarity in the DC area where there aren’t a ton of local options for open water practice. I am going to do a post on the experience soon, but I ended up completing 4 laps of the 300m course, far exceeding my expectations.
Saturday: 2.5 mile run AKA the worst long run of my life. I decided to lie in for a bit and not rush getting up to go running, which meant that I started running at 9am. BIG MISTAKE. I took our dog Riley out running for a quick run before doing a second lap. She and I planned on doing a 5k but the heat started to get to her and so I cut it short. Then instead of doing a second loop I hosed her down and took care of her hydration needs to make sure that the run wasn’t too much for her. By the time I was done, it was too hot for me to attempt running, but at least a run was accomplished.
Now, time to plan out the workouts for the first week of olympic distance triathlon training.
Yesterday, I planned on going on a run then swimming. Then I realized the pool I wanted to swim in closed at 7, so it made more sense to swim first then run. Then literally walking around my apartment I lost the temporary guest pass to go to the pool, which meant no more swimming for me.
Instead I set out on a easy, slow run. Originally I was supposed to go for only 30 minutes but I figured that since I got rid of swimming I would go for 4 miles and see how long it took.
Spoiler alert: It took 50 minutes.
I started at 6:30pm, when it was about 85 degrees and humid. I haven’t run in awhile. The run was on trails. I wanted to take it easy. Enough with the excuses now, I got out there and I did it in the burning humidity and heat. I was very proud of myself for doing it and getting out there.
I am also in love with the trails near my new apartment. Apparently I live next to a cross country trail that spans 75 miles or so. And everyone there was super friendly. People kept smiling and waving and when I stopped to make sure a bug wasn’t eating my leg off, a guy shouted encouragement to me, telling me to “Keep it up!” I loved it. I loved the atmosphere and the woods and the shade. I think I have found a new favorite place.
And slowly, but surely, I am falling back in love with triathlon training and the sport.
After deciding that I was going to defer my entry to the Colonial Beach Olympic triathlon, I decided to take a break and really refocus. Instead of regretting skipping my workouts and feeling guilty, I decided to workout whenever I felt like it and relax when I wanted. I ended up walking more than anything else. Some days I walked upwards of 5+ miles. It was good for my soul and good for building new friendships and still helped my legs get some workouts in.
It was revitalizing to take the opportunity to refocus and decide what do I want? Why am I doing triathlons and running and doing more more more? Why do I want to wake up at the crack of dawn to take advantage of cool weather before the blistering sun takes over? Why do I want my Saturdays and Sundays to be consumed with a long bike and a long run and venturing out to find a place for an open water swim?
Because I want more. I want to be healthy and fit. I want to be proud of my body and what it can achieve. I want to push my body’s limits and be greeted with surprise and awe at just what it can do. I want confidence. I want to inspire others. I want to find myself and I do that every single time I take a stroke in the water, feel the wind in my face and burn in my thighs on the bike, and each stride my feet take with every laboring breath.
My body and mind needed the break to refocus and set my sights on what I want next. The Beast and I are happily living together and we are adjusting well to the move and the new circumstances. If anything, we are eating healthier and now trying to encourage each other to work out. I have 13 weeks until the Richmond Rox Olympic Triathlon in September with a sprint distance along the way and maybe a smattering of 5ks, and I intend to make every moment count. I want to be in the best shape of my life for the Olympic distance and then I want to turn around and crush my half marathon time at the Richmond Half in November. I am ready for the second half of race season. I am ready to concur.
The title of the post is something that the Beast says to me when I am trying to make a decision.
I love readin blogs. I love reading about the successes and the trials and tribulations (there are no failures in my book) that other runners and triathletes have. They are inspiring, give advice, and make me feel not so alone in a lot of the barriers I run up against.
However, I have noticed that many of the blogs I read are about people who are doing half marathons or marathons, and half Ironmans and full Ironmans. Not a whole lot of them have an Olympic distance triathlon as their “goal race” for the year. Sometimes, this is hard for me to remember. I am still at the beginning of my journey, and I am still learning to make triathlon and running and exercising part of my life. It is a conscious effort every single day for me to work out. It isn’t easy.
I struggle each and every day to make the right food choices and the right exercise choices (as in…exercise). Exercising in the morning makes me nervous about running/biking outside. I am extremely cautious and have to be out the door by 7am, which means workouts need to start around 5am. That means no sun outside really. Exercising in the evenings means it is sweltering, humidly hot, and I am tired, and want to eat dinner and spend time with the Beast. Oh and I don’t want to have my whole evenings filled with exercise. I like hanging out and relaxing, but I suppose some sacrifices are going to be made soon.
I began to feel a little burnt out after the wave of races that I planned (Monument 10k, Chasing Chicken Sprint Triathlon, Nike Women’s Half Marathon, Groundforce IT Sprint Triathlon), and I am glad that I moved my one at the end of June to August. I needed some time to relax and recuperate and to let me hip feel better. Taking off all this time has been mentally and physically good for me but it is hard to start back up again. It is hard to say no to the sweets and breads and to getting off the couch and turning off the latest crappy (or good) television.
I keep thinking, I should do more, I can do more, but with everything going on in my life (moving two households into one and figuring out that situation), I feel that it is enough for me to do the Olympic. I want to do more and I plan to do more, but that is in the future, and that will require me to crack down and be serious about training. I can’t keep goofing off and relaxing as I have been. My goal race is the Richmond Rox Olympic distance in September and I plan to start to train hardcore in a couple of weeks after the move settles down and I am not sore/exhausted from moving boxes and picking out a couch (which by the way, was the most difficult decision in the world for someone who hates spending money but likes comfy, nice things).
And with all of this, I have decided to defer my Colonial Beach Olympic Triathlon to next year. I don’t feel ready and I don’t want to kill myself whenever it would be better to train that weekend.
I am proud of a 9:30 pace 5k, and happy any day a long run averages a 10 minute pace. I am happy that my swim is improving but still 2 minutes/100m. I am ecstatic to see my bike times improving and hitting 15mph averages. I am not fast, and there is a lot of room for improvement, but I tri (see my pun!).
It’s been awhile. Both posting in my blog life and getting out there to get some quality workouts in. I ran once this week because National Running Day, duh. The last time I biked was last Friday. I think I swam last week. And I think that’s also the last time I touched a weight.
The past week has been hectic and a whirlwind, and oh so wonderful. The Beast and I moved in together last weekend, so we spent the entire weekend packing him up, packing me up (halfway), and moving it to our new place. I still have some stuff at my old place that we are working on, but about 80% of my stuff is in our new home and 100% of his stuff.
However, the exhaustion from the weekend has left me tired this week and unwilling to move a limb. To top it all off, we are couch hunting, which means hours upon hours spent looking for the perfect couch in the perfect fabric in the perfect color. When I think about it I think how silly it is, but when I think about a couch as a centerpiece of our home and a place to relax after all my future hard workouts and to hang out with friends, suddenly, I don’t feel quite so silly.
We have both been slacking and we know it. There is still a lot of work to do before my first Olympic triathlon next month, but I am getting back into the swing of things and finding my motivation again and the energy to be able to do anything besides sleep and organize.
The new place also comes with a lot of fitness advantages that I didn’t have at my old apartment.
1. Hills. My old apartment was surrounded by flat terrain and a root growing under a sidewalk was the biggest hill. I could easily do a 5 mile run without encountering a single hill, and I did that a lot because who choses hills. The only exception was when I did hill workouts on the very hilly neighborhood a mile away. Now, however, my new neighborhood is hills galore. When you reach the bottom of one there is another one already beginning. Rollers and rollers for miles. It made for a wicked hard run this week, but I imagine that I could easily get some short bike miles in. The bike trail closest to us is also much hillier than the one near my old place.
2. The proximity of the gym. My old gym was 4 miles away from my apartment, which obviously isn’t huge. However, my new gym is 2 miles away, and running 2 miles to the gym and two miles home is a very easy feat, so this is my plan for going to the gym some days.
3. My roommate/boyfriend loves to workout. My old roommate was a runner in college and biked for fun and most days worked out. She was really great to be around, but the Beast loves weights. I can talk to him more about my workouts and he can help me in the area that I struggle the most in. It’s also really nice to try to plan our workouts around the same time of day so we get home together and can eat dinner still.
4. My new complex has a community pool. While it still isn’t finished, I can only hope that I will be able to swim a few laps in an outdoor pool soon before all the kiddos jump in.
5. Eating habits. Since the Beast and I moved in, we have had to start our food from scratch, and while this makes it look like we don’t eat any food. Currently our fridge has a ribeye steak, eggs, and diet mountain dew (the Beast’s addiction). The freezer has broccoli, okra, crawfish, and another steak. Even our pantry has no sweets or bad things in it. It feels so great to start all over again and I can honestly say that I didn’t have any sweets from Saturday-Wednesday, which is quite a streak for me. We treated ourselves last night, but we plan on continuing our streak.
I promise to post more because one of the reasons I started the blog was so I could be help more accountable, and dammit I am going to do more and be more.
27 days until the Colonial Beach Olympic Triathlon