Monday, May 4, 2015

A Fear to Start, A Goal Accomplished...Half Ironman Training Update!

During my lifetime, I'd say that many athletic type things have come fairly naturally. This whole biking and swimming piece was not exactly one of them. I had no experience and of course, a fear of the whole freestyle swimming. The skills, the endurance, and the abilities were much more of a steep climb to get where I am now...let me take you into my world of the last 4 months....

Nearly 4 months ago I swam laps with my head above water. I would panic if my head was under water for too long while attempting to free style swim. I never wore goggles, a swim cap, or ear plugs. Take a moment to envision the chick that shows up to lap swim and never gets her hair wet and breast strokes with her head above water for her entire training session. Trust me, I contemplated whether or not it was even worth trying to learn to freestyle for months. But I also realized I'd be the only one in a large half Ironman event that wasn't actually swimming like the rest. All that went on until the beginning of March and then, through March, I managed to do several laps without having to stop. April came and went and believe it or not...this lady can freestyle like she's never done before. By no means am I breaking records on my speed but I'm breaking records on my endurance! And now, instead of being a fear or a place I'd panic in, the pool is my place of peace. I look forward to every one of my swim workouts. It's where I have no thoughts, no projects building up in my mind, and where I zone in on gliding through the the water. It's where my back feels healthy and I leave feeling oh so good!

4 months ago I had only done one bike ride longer than 5-10 miles. I had never worn clip-in bike shoes nor did I have any interest in wearing them. I owned no biking gear other than bike shorts (mind you it was winter when I started all this) and a helmet that may or may not be a little bit small for my head. On top of it all, I had never gotten my bike fitted to me. I've since been fitted and feel a million times better during my rides! I can now bike for hours and hours, I wear clip in bike shoes (which are now my friend even after that accident), and I still own nothing other than the shoes, the shorts (I got by with wearing leggings underneath the shorts and a light rain jacket to help keep me semi-dry on the wet rides), and the same helmet. I've decided to be a biking minimalist, if that's even such a thing. Plus I don't want to invest in anything else. I figure I've managed this far, I can manage the rest. Biking isn't as bad as I once thought it to be and I thoroughly enjoy the places it takes me. When was the last time you biked around Vancouver and Portland/Gresham and back, used biking for not just training purposes but to stop and visit with family, and realized the views can be even better on a bike than in a car?! All of the above has me hooked. If only I could gain some speed, I would be one happy camper!

the REAL necessities of biking...forget the rest of the stuff!

There she is!...
in her helmet and not "biking approved" jacket, but doin' it!
Sometimes I take photos of the scenery and sometimes of myself to send to Ty so he
has updates as to where I'm at in case something happens. It's a great selfie game ;-)

All these bike riding views...they suck me into actually bike riding!

And 4 months ago I was coming back from nearly 2 months off of full on Crossfit, running minimally, and exercising lightly. Thank goodness the running never leaves me or else I would've given up on all this training. It's one thing to only be able to do 1/3 events in the race, but if the running wasn't there I'd be shit out of luck from the get go. And let me tell you, it sounds like a terrible place to start. BUT, what I will say is that running becomes an entirely differently thing after a bike ride...and for that matter, it becomes a whole new ball game for me following swimming and then biking. It's been interesting, difficult at times, but a good challenge. I needed that in my running game.

to the time this caught me running so fast ;-)

I'll be completely honest though...there are two things that make this all a bit difficult. One, training solo. I spend a lot of time, like many hours, alone on a bike or running or swimming with seeing more animals (mainly roadkill) than people. I've never had so many thoughts and projects that go on in my head while accomplishing each part of the training...all of which leave my brain by the end of it all so it was almost not worth thinking while training. Being such a people person, having to be silent for hours nearly kills me! The other difficult part are the days I can barely drag myself out and about to get the training done. I once heard someone say, some days you have to go to that dark place and train in that dark place. I have a hard time going to a dark place to train, especially after I biked and ran by the mural in downtown Vancouver that paints pictures of various wars. I realize I have no idea what a dark place is like, especially something like war. When you put it all into perspective, this training is nothing in comparison to what many have done or where many have been. Plus, a brighter place sounds so much better to train in anyway.

The mural in Vancouver...

Do you realize how amazing our bodies are?! Whether it be through exercise, aging, childbirth, leaves me in awe, always. Our bodies have always been an interesting thing to me. Probably one of the many reason I love nursing, but also why I love challenging my body in so many ways...mentally, physically, emotionally. My body has gone from being in Crossfit shape and toned to this less toned, but run/bike/swim for hours ability. I like to think my body can do whatever I want it to, which I think gets me through most anything I put my mind to. My dad said the other night, "nobody in this room is as motivated and driven as you are." However, the mental and emotional side to it all gets to be more rough than anything else. I haven't quite figured how I manage to get this training in some days, but it must be the motivation and drive my dad talks about. Whatever it is, I like it and hope it sticks around for my lifetime!

For those of you interested, here's a what a week's worth of training may look like. I randomly found the training document online, didn't do much research on anything else, and have stuck to majority of it. Essentially you build up for three weeks (similar to below) before you get one week's worth of what they call "rest." Although, you find yourself still in the pool, on your bike, and running during the week of rest. (not complaining because I love those weeks!) And mind you, I rearrange the days depending on my work schedule, kid watching, and normal life events...somehow it does get done!

One Week Training Schedule Example
Mon: swim 1500 yards in AM, bike 25 miles PM
Tues: swim 2500 yards in AM, run 60 min PM
Wed: bike 40 miles
Thurs: swim 1750 yards in AM, run 50 min PM
Fri: bike 20 miles
Sat: run 100 min in AM, swim 1000 yards (optional)
Sun: bike 60 miles in AM, walk 75 min PM

*In addition, I try to lift one day and WOD twice a week.

So what began as my fear and having no experience in the pool or on a bike, it became my goal. I like to think I've accomplished the goal for the most part, but now it's time to keep up the mileage and get after an event in a few months. Here's to many more miles...on bike, on foot, and in water!