Closure

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2014 ended rather abruptly around here and so I’m going to put a bit of closure on that chapter before moving on to the next one.

Last year was a tough one. Good races and bad.

It was a battle, plain and simple.

Me vs Myself.

I had to face some harsh realities about my mental fortitude during difficult training sessions and how I race. It’s not all that fun to look deep within yourself and admit that while you may… “talk the talk, you’re not always… “walking the walk”!

I had to figure out a way to stop coddling myself like a mother would her child. I had to learn how to no longer accept the negotiations, that went on inside my head, as if I were writing a UN peace treaty. I had to truly embrace the challenge of a difficult training day and carry that with me to racing.

Was I successful? We should ask my coach, but I’ll go ahead and give my thoughts…

I made great strides. I’m closer now than ever before, but it’s constant work.¬†Some days are easier than others.

My last race of 2014 was River Roux 70.3 in the worst conditions I’d ever faced. Conditions I don’t think I could’ve imagined and I’ve got a pretty wild creative streak in me.

Nine months of hard physical and mental training got me to the finish line that day.

And when I got there, I cried. Hell, I started crying when I SAW the finish line.

And just so you know, I’m not a crier. I didn’t cry at my wedding, when my son was born, when I finished my first Ironman….I’m very practical and pragmatic. I typically don’t get that emotionally “spent”.

But on that afternoon I was fried. Sure I was tired physically, but mentally; it was the hardest thing I’d ever done.

Every now and then though, we get rewarded for our efforts.

My time was far from record-setting, but that was the nature of the day. Part of my battle was being able to “let go” of what my computers were telling me, keep the frustration at bay, and trust my training. All of it.

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I earned 1st place (40-44 women) at River Roux. I wanted more, but on that day…for the 1st time ever…I can honestly look at myself and say that I left everything out on that course.

I’ll carry this with me and continue to build upon the foundation that was laid, creating what I feel will be a remarkable 2015 season.

-Whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve…..Napoleon Hill

See y’all soon!

 

 

Ironman like life….It ain’t all Sunshine and Rainbows

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When I first decided to tackle IMFL I was warned, by several friends, that at some point my training would break me down to a worthless heap of human remnants.

I laughed….

and I trained.

Things went perfectly and ya’ know what, no breakdown. I swam, cycled, and ran hundreds…maybe thousands ūüėČ of miles, then cruised through Augusta 70.3. I recovered like a champ and headed into the last two weeks of training feeling pretty damn good.

I got through my epic long swim, leaving with the knowledge that the 2.4 miles in the Gulf would not be a problem.

Yesterday was the big one. A 6:45-7 hr ride with a 45 min run to follow.

And guess what???

“It” happened.

I woke up with a mild GI bug, but when you do the kind of stuff we do, a “mild bug” brings nothing short of chaos to the day. The ride was on the trainer due to the intermittent torrential downpours and so there was no “fun” in this….it was a “just get through it” kind of day. By the time I made it out to run, the sun was out, the roads were steamy, and yet it was still raining.

I thought I was going to suffocate from the humidity and have an ass blowout simultaneously.

Not a good time…

And so that’s when it all came crashing down.

Mentally and physically I was D-O-N-E.

I came to a screeching halt and then verbally declared the finality of my situation, to my neighborhood. Thank goodness everyone was inside watching the Saints game….what normal people do on Sunday’s in these parts.

I crouched down, by a stop sign, and begged for this process to just be over. A pity party for the record books for sure.

Then I thought about how ludicrous THAT¬†just sounded…for God’s sake, I’m training for a race that I signed up for voluntarily. Ohhh, poor me!

And so then, I got up and ran…(and walked) home. It wasn’t 45 minutes, but it was close. And despite wanting to shut off the Garmin and call it a day at 9 minutes, I found it within me to continue on.

It was a truly ugly day, but these days come…

In training and in life.

I think we often see them as failures instead of opportunities to learn and grow. I know I did.

It took the rest of the afternoon for me to really sit back and dissect the training and what I gained from it. Because there is ALWAYS something to learn….

Every single day…every single workout.

I came to the conclusion that it’s during THESE¬†kinds of struggles where we find out how much we can take and still keep on going. It gives us our reference points and helps provide clarity for the next obstacle we face.

And there will AWAYS be another….

One day, I’ll need to draw on today’s memory. When that day comes, I’ll be glad it’s in the bank!

I think he sums it up pretty well….

Run Happy, My Friends!

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Ironman Florida- 6 weeks and counting….

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It feels like an eternity since I’ve been here….

And in some ways, this summer HAS been about that long…

But it’s finally¬†time to see what all this work has done.

It’s race week!

I mentioned last week that Augusta 70.3 was going to be about testing the IMFL race-plan….

In addition to pacing and nutrition strategies, I’m also sharpening my mental focus quite a bit. In every race, there’s a point where the mind tells the body to stop.

This weekend, one of my primary goals is to dominate the mental aspect of the race…

Swim: Not much volume reduction here and my arms are finally getting tired. Go figure. Totals: 8500 yards/ 3 hrs

Bike: Big drop in volume and by the weekends “longish” ride, I was starting to see how a little rest was going to help me hit the numbers I needed. I was having serious doubts, the week prior, about racing a HIM as tired as I was….this week put those fears to rest. Totals: 7 hrs 15 mins

Run: The run is coming together nicely. We had a few cloudy days and it made a big difference in RPE. If the temps would drop to the mid 80s and humidity would follow suit, I would be a happy lady! For the 1st time in….forever….I’m excited for the run this weekend!! It just feels “good” right now! Totals: 3 hrs 5 mins

These past few days, as I get ready to head to Georgia, volume has taken a VERY steep drop. I guess this is what you’d call a 70.3 taper in the midst of Ironman training. The words of my coach keep replaying in my head, ” you’ll be rested, but not fresh.” Two very different perceptions indeed!

That rest, however, has been very nice and also productive enough that I’m starting to see my fitness peak its head out from under the exhaustion. And that’s a beautiful thing to rediscover after the weeks of cumulative fatigue had stolen it right out from under me!

And not a moment too soon either!

Race Happy, My Friends!

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Mad as a Hatter

5

Last weekend, limits were pushed to new levels…

More mentally than physically and I, personally, think that’s the core of long distance racing.

Conditions were unpleasant to say the least and by 9am this is what things looked like:

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I started early on the trainer, around 4:45am, before the sun came up so my heat exposure would be kept to a minimum. It was just as miserable at 7 am, 8 am, and 10 am, as it was at 9 am.

alice-have-i-gone-madThose little voices in my head were busy, busy, busy…

“This is crazy! You’ve gone mad! Why the hell are you doing this? Not one second of this is fun?!! Look at you, out here for hours all by yourself while everyone else is sleeping in, drinking beer, and eating french fries”

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah….

I’ve heard it all before…

Same shit, different day….

Eventually the voices grew tired and stopped, which was nice….maybe that means I’m NOT really crazy after all…

But then, perhaps being crazy really isn’t such a bad thing….

Throughout the entire 5:40 of riding and running,¬†there honestly was not 1 time where I felt like I physically could not go on…

Mentally, that’s a whole different story.

It was scorching and I despise being out in those conditions. And not only did I have to do it Saturday, I had another 3.5 hours on Sunday to tackle. For a few minutes on Saturday, I let THAT fact alone become very overwhelming. It took a few miles to bring myself back to the present and focus on the here and now.

My crazy self, like to chime in during these moments with things like:

  • “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.” and
  • “Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it” or
  • “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan not the goal”

“Crazy Self” actually has thousands of these and will use as many as needed to bring me back to reality. On this day, once I regrouped and began to notice the cars, the water tower, the silly dog chasing the sprinkler (lucky dog!), and oh yeah, my current wattage….the mantras ceased.

Long distance preparation is hard and we all have struggles, mine just happens to be the heat.

Come November, it’s not going to be 100+ degrees ( ohhh, I hope not), but I guarantee there will be some other obstacle that has to be overcome. I know when that moment arrives, I’ll have the ability to handle whatever it may be, because of the hurdles I’m climbing today.

So for now, I’ll keep on battling my nemesis, knowing my crazy self will always be there to pull me through, just when I need it most….

One mile at a time….

Train Happy, My Friends!

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Finding the Monday MoJo

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Its been a hard few weeks, down here,¬†battling the heat and humidity.¬†At times,¬†I think it’s getting the better of me.¬†

Wearing me down..bit by bit. Draining me…Sucking out every bit of want and desire that I have to succeed.

I know we all feel it, that mental struggle that weighs on us from time to time.

Those moments when we¬†ask ourselves, “what the hell am I doing¬†and why the hell am I doing it?”

Sometimes a little perspective is all that’s needed…

To help find the answer that lies within…

‚ÄúMental toughness is going out to train when your inner self screams not to: it is frigid outside, it is 100 degrees, you are tired, your muscles ache, and it‚Äôs too early in the morning or too late at night. You work through these urges to skip the workout and go out there and just smash it. Then you know when race day comes along, you have pushed the limit so when the race heats up you can squeeze out that extra little bit because you have done it before.‚ÄĚ -Joanna Zeiger Ph.D, Professional Triathlete, Scientist, and 2008 70.3 World Champion

Train Happy, My Friends!