Search

foodfoodbodybody

eat, move, think, feel

Tag

Team in Training

In Which I Biked On Hills, In Traffic, Without a Bike Lane, With Huge Wind and Hairpin Turns!

me and Tree

Yesterday was really special. I got to get together with my beloved workout buddy from my 2000 TNT marathon training. Back in the day, she and I were stuck together  like peanut butter and jelly. Treeeeeeeee! I just love her. I hadn’t seen her in like seven years  but something about being back in the TNT mode just made me miss her so much. So yesterday  we got together and tried to smush 7 years of conversation into about 90 minutes. It made me realize that even though I like being on the team, I need my One Person. Y’all know who that is for this time, because I don’t go anywhere without her!

Here’s me and Lily working out on our weekend vacation last week. (“triathlon means bike, run, and… hot tub, right?”) ANyway, it was awesome to have this little mini reunion from my BFF from TNT ’00.

I wasn't ACTUally drinking wine while training. I swear!

Today, many of our mentors headed down to participate in the Pacific Grove Triathlon (where they rocked it! Go team!!!!!!!!!!!!) so we had a smaller group do a “captains’ workout” of a bike and run.

Yesterday I prevailed upon my every kind and generous friend Mary to help me fix my flat tire. She was working at Weight Watchers all afternoon so I hauled the whole shebang over to the center and we got down and greasy in between people walking in to get weighed. I have to admit, after doing this process now for the 2nd time I’m probably more intimidated than ever. It involves so many intricate moves and decisions. Right away I jammed my finger in between the frame and the tire and I don’t know what I did but it is all bruised and swollen. (note: if you’re doing bike sports, don’t EVER EVER get a manicure because it is so not worth it. It will go to hell in about an hour) Even after the tire clinic, and watching the Youtube video half a dozen times, I still feel like if this ever happened to me, like in the middle of an event, (please NO) I would just sit on the curb and cry and wait for the SAG vehicle to come pick me up. (SAG = Support and… Grapefruit? Gummy bears? Giggles?)

Anyway, I got the new tube in my tire and got pumped up and I was all ready for this ride today. Again, I was sort of dreading it. OK, not sort of. I was really dreading it. I feel like every bike ride has had some new unknown bad thing I hadn’t even dreamed of before. So what was in store today? I had no idea what the course was like or how long or if there were hills or anything.

We met up at Blackie’s Pasture in Tiburon. From the chatter in the parking lot, I just picked up on random words like, “narrow, treacherous, rollers (rolling hills).” Uh HUH. Okay. I just love that word “treacherous.” NOT.

But what choice did I have? I clipped into my pedals (go me!) and we took off. At first we were on this bike trail (sort of nice, but also sort of an obstacle course around little kids with training wheels, strollers, runners and dogs) but pretty soon we were on a Real Road (stomach churning) with some semblance of an actual bike trail (OK nice!). That was good for a while. It was flat but there were also more cars than I really like to be around. Then we headed into some other area where there was: 1) no more bike trail; 2)fewer cars; 3) MORE HILLS, 4) hairpin turns, and 5) Wind! So windy! Like a few people almost got blown over it was so crazy windy. What was THAT.

The first big hill damn near killed me. I actually had to stop about 3/4 way to the top because I was panting and hyperventilating so hard and getting That Pukey Feeling. It was kind of ridiculous how short of breath I was. The sweep person stopped and hung out with me and said that maybe I was on too much of an easy gear and spinning my wheels (hahah) too much. So I took off again.

I swear, this road is exactly the kind of road that would turn Mr. McBody’s hair white if it wasn’t already. It is the kind of road we drove on to go out to the beach last weekend (ie DEATH TRAP) where we were cursing the cyclists at every blind turn. But it was different, and I mean way different doing it on a bicycle. For one thing, there’s not much I can do. I can stay as close to the edge of the road as I humanly can. Other than that, I’m just focusing on getting up the damn hill or getting around the hairpin turn or not flying out of control on the downhill. I am focused on the BIKE.

It is much, much harder and more annoying to be a car driver on a road than it is to be a cyclist. I pretty much seethe at all the bicycles who have the potential to ruin my life forever when I end up KILLING someone. But when you’re the one on the bicycle, there’s really no energy for being afraid. It’s the car’s job to stay away from you. They had these huge banners on the street poles that said, “Spandex is not armor.” Tell me about it.

That said, there are certain manners that I think most cyclists do not adhere to. Like there’s this thing on narrow, twisty, hilly windy roads called PULLOUTS. They are designed for slow vehicles (slow cars as well as two wheeled vehicles) to PULL OUT INTO when there is someone on your tail who would like to go ahead. We never, ever EVER witnessed a bicycle using a pullout on Highway 1. They just act like they own the place.

But I pulled out. I pulled out plenty today and I felt like in doing so I was being polite to cars, AND I was potentially saving my life.  And I noticed that the faces of the drivers passing me looked infinitely more upset/distraught/annoyed than I felt.

I couldn’t believe that I was actually riding a bicycle with my shoes clipped to the pedals, and I was going up and down hills and around crazy sharp turns on a narrow road with no bike lane and cars going past about six inches away. I managed to do the whole 90 minute ride and was feeling very “OMG I did that!” when I rode into the parking lot, all proud of myself and then promptly fell over. Right in front of my car. Niiiiiiiice!

After I got semi cleaned up I put on running shoes for our little (20 minute) run. Again, my feet and calves felt like absolute concrete. It was torture. I felt like I was about 90 years old and just shuffling, one foot in front of the other. And a few times I had to actually slow even more to a hobble (ie walk), it was so ridiculous. Only when I was close to being finished (about a mile plus) did my feet and legs start feeling like I might be able to run anywhere. So. Note to self: don’t freak if you can’t run. Hopefully this will come at around mile 2 or so.

So in spite of the embarrassing owie at the end, I feel insanely proud (and kind of shocked) at the ride I did today. It’s not something I could have even imagined a week ago. Or yesterday.

Next week: Wetsuit distribution! OPEN WATER SWIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Resistance

Resist by Stefano Pizzetti
Resist, a photo by Stefano Pizzetti on Flickr.

This triathlon training is teaching me so much about myself. Recently I’ve been learning about resistance. Yesterday was supposed to be a swim day. I was sort of planning to sandwich the swim in between work and this dinner party I really wanted to go to. But I got out of work late. I was tired (what else is new?). It was Juniorette’s first day back at crew practice and I knew she would really appreciate a good hearty dinner when she came home. So after work I went grocery shopping, went home and made chili and cornbread (one of her favorites). By that time it was after 7pm. Lily had just texted me saying she was sick and couldn’t make the workout.

Part of me was so, so, so tempted to just say “Oh, nevermind!” and just skip the workout and go straight to the party. Wouldn’t that have been nice? No. I would have felt maybe like I’d gotten away with something. But I would have also felt bad about myself.

I decided to go to the pool and do my workout. Again, I thought that 1) since Lily wasn’t there to push me, and 2) nobody was looking and 3) I wanted to get that party, I would do the shorter Sprint/Developing workout instead of the longer more challenging Fitness level workout. I studied them both pretty hard. The S/D was 1200 yards total, and the Fitness was 2300.

I was in a cranky mood already because I’d of the aforementioned long day, the lack of swim partner, missing the party and LOSING the 4th set of goggles I’ve had since the season began. Jeebus. What is wrong with me? I lose goggles like I lose hairs out of my head. I went to the gym’s front desk and bought the best pair of goggles they have, which are sufficient for keeping out water but also keep me blind as a bat. I need the goggles with the lens correction in them, or I’m hopeless.

I did find a pair of silicon earplugs in my purse, and decided to try them for the first time. This turned out to be a good thing. I liked that kind of insulated feeling, AND of course they did the trick of keeping water out of my ears. Recently I’ve been getting a lot of water in my ears and it HURTS. And is irritating.

Anyway, I got going and after the 12 lengths of warmup I pretty much decided I was going to go for the Fitness workout. I talked to myself underwater. I mean, who was I cheating if I skipped a workout or did the easy short one? ME. And what is my goal here exactly? My goal is to enjoy this triathlon if possible (of whatever length), to not drown or suffer too much during the swim portion of it. (or any portion) So in order to meet that goal it behooves me to do the best I can. As I say to my PT clients every day, “Give it your Safe Maximal Effort.” (ie do the best you possibly can without hurting yourself)

I did the Fitness workout. It took a little over an hour. I took the 10 second rests where dictated. But toward the end there was a 500 yard set, ie 20 lengths without stopping. I didn’t churn it out, but I kept it steady. I wasn’t going at a snail pace. I remember doing a 400 a few weeks ago that almost made me pass out. I do think I am getting stronger. Later I discovered that a mile is 1750 yards. So I did MORE than a mile, albeit with some rests. It felt just fine.

I went home, made some nice Pillsbury chocolate chip cookies (throw in pan, dry hair while they bake, then GO) and went to the party. It was more of a meeting than a party, of very fine Solo Performance minds, and people were taking notes and talking a mile a minute about the recent NY Fringe Festival. It was very stimulating and I was glad I’d gone.

Fast forward to today. Another long day at work. Went out to do hill repeats after 8:45. I was in a terrible, horrible mood! Feeling resistant again! Realizing how very hard it is to do these workouts when I already feel spent from working all day. Especially the days that end at 8:00pm. But I went out there, and I pushed myself up the hill 7x (Developing level tonight!) and done.

All I can say is, if I did not have this training to be accountable to, there is NO WAY IN THE UNIVERSE I would be doing these workouts. No way. So I am so thankful to this training for getting me out there, even when I realllllllllllllly don’t feel like it.

And I Thought I Could Run…

Running Track by www.mattdevino.com
Running Track, a photo by www.mattdevino.com on Flickr.

Today was my first solo (and REALLY solo) track run. The team was meeting up for a coached run tonight, but I couldn’t make it because of my WW meeting. So I asked the coach to email me the workout.

It started out all messed up. First, I drove to a nearby field with a sort of rough track around it. I was only a few yards into it when I realized it was super muddy, wet and almost swampy in parts. It was not going to work.

So then I drove to a not-as-nearby high school because I knew they had a track. It’s a huge campus and as it turned out I was like half a mile away from the track place. Finally I found it. It was huuuuge and fancy and was one of those bouncy rubber tracks.

But just being at a track brought back some minor PTSD from my high school track team days. Yeah, I was on the track team! Originally I was a sprinter but there were too many sprinters so I was placed on the 880 (half mile) team. UGH. That is the worse race ever. It’s so hard because it’s too short to be long distance (like the mile) but too long to be sprinting. You just have to be going at full speed for two whole laps. it was really hard for me and I ended up dropping out of several races and puking on the side and just not having a happy time at ALL (and losing the races to boot).

The workout involved doing intervals based on RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion). We were supposed to do 2-minute intervals at level 6-8 which was described as “threshold pace. This is moderate to hard pace where conversation is possible but labored.”

This RPE is a very tricky thing for me. It reminded me of when I tried to do it on the treadmill. I think in face I was going more like level 9 where conversation was NOT possible. It was also hard for me to maintain for an entire two minutes. And then I got so wiped out I had to walk instead of jog for the recovery intervals. All in all, I think I don’t really know or understand my running self well enough to get these intervals right. It’s a work in progress.

So as a result, I was either going too fast (and feeling freaked out by exertion) or having to walk to recover. It was not the combo we were supposed to be doing. So it felt kind of messed up to me. I wish I’d been able to do this with a coach but I’ll have to ask more about it on the weekend.

It left me feeling kind of unhappy because here I’d been feeling like running was the one tri discipline I had already accomplished, and I was feeling comfortable with it, and now all of a sudden it wasn’t comfortable or easy or familiar. It also dawned on me that in my regular running life, where I run 3-5 miles, I don’t end up feeling really in the groove until I’m well past the first mile or sometimes two. With these faster, interval workouts, I NEVER get to feeling any groove or like I’m physically comfortable. It’s a struggle, and then it’s over. Yuck.

The only good thing about these workouts is that if they feel like a struggle, well there’s always a chance to do it over again real soon. Haha.

OYO (On Your Own) Workout

swim team by getthebubbles
swim team, a photo by getthebubbles on Flickr.

Today was the first day we were to start our OYO (on your own) workouts for Team in Training. I was lucky enough that one of my teammates lives really close to me and she wanted to come swimming at my gym.

I think I just don’t feel confident enough in myself to know that I would complete these solo workouts if I were truly solo. So I was so glad to have company and to have someone to swim with. I’m gonna be honest. Back in the day, when I was training with TNT to do my (walking) marathon in 2000, I had a schedule of solo workouts for midweek. I didn’t do a lot of them. I figured I could “catch up” on the weekends during the coached workouts. And that was fine. But this time around, I feel like I don’t dare miss a single thing because if I don’t keep up, I’m just… screwed. So I’m sticking to this schedule no matter what.

I think the motto of this triathlon training is going to be, “This is no joke.” The workout started out manageable enough, with a couple of lengths of warmup, then 4 lengths (100 yds), then 2 laps (100 yds). That all went fine.

Then we were to do a timed swim of 15 minutes and write down how many yards it was.

Fifteen minutes without stopping is a long time.

It’s like never having run before, and trying to run for fifteen minutes straight.

It was a verrryyyyyy long 15 minutes. I took a couple half-lengths to breast stroke or side stroke because I was getting pretty wobbly with the freestyle. But the phrase, “there’s no wall to touch in open water” kept going through my head and I just did my best to keep going.

I did the dumb thing of trying to count by 25s in my head and add as I swam. My brain was fairly addled so I think I got it wrong.

Lily said she counted 30 lengths. I was a few behind her so I’m gonna say I did 24. Which is 600 yards. Plus the 300 we did (including the 50 yard cooldown) — whoa.

We sat in the hot tub for a while afterward.

Again, no joke. I survived it. It wasn’t easy. I keep wondering, is this going to get easier? (because I get more conditioned) Or harder? (because they’re going to keep adding distance and speed) Or just be the same degree of difficulty the whole time?

I can’t think about it. I have to just take each workout, each day as it comes and just do the best I can.

It didn’t kill me. I wasn’t dying. But it wasn’t easy. And I’m gonna reiterate that if I didn’t have Lily in that lane next to me, I can’t guarantee I wouldn’t have quit halfway.

GO TEAM.

2010: A Marathon year

I’ve signed up for two marathons in the next couple of months! Woot! Before you get all awed and excited, let me be clear. I am NOT GOING TO RUN A FULL MARATHON. My body is not ready for that, my mind is not ready, and my schedule does not have the time to train for such an endeavor. However, I plan to:

* Complete (in some combination of locomotion, but mostly walking) a half-marathon in San Francisco on February 7th.
* RUN as part of a 4-person relay team for the Oakland Marathon (historical event! first marathon in Oaktown in 25 yrs!!!) on March 28th. I just signed us up. Go, Team Penguin! We’ll waddle our way to the finish!!

I am excited about these events. Really excited. This morning I took a beautiful mini-run (2 miles) on the beach where we are staying. I felt so exhilarated and happy. Those two miles were slow, but easy, loping. I probably averaged about a 12 minute mile. Which is quite penguinesque. But I wasn’t trying to run fast or anything, I just wanted to see if I could run. I am hoping I can triple that for the relay in a few months.

One thing I am a little nervous about is that they state that no “musical devices” are allowed. Um. I am not sure I can run without one. In fact I am pretty sure I don’t even want to try. I am already scheming how I can put a little iPod shuffle in my hair and hide it. I NEED MY MUSIC: to keep my pace, and to keep the sound of my own heavy breathing out of my ears. There’s nothing that freaks me out more than the sound of my own labored breath.

I DID complete a full marathon back in 2000, the Country Music Marathon in Nashville Tennessee. I trained with Team in Training and had great fun. What I remember back then, though, is that I was almost 20 lbs heavier than I am now, and how I thought that in order to train, I need to EAT A LOT. Of pasta (carbo loading anyone) and Steak. Ha ha ha ha. I have photos of myself in my hotel room, porking out on creme brulee, spare ribs, Krispy Kreme donuts. Wow. I probably put on 5 lbs during the months I was training. Interesting, huh? I trained as a walker and did pretty well, but I never did anything BUT walk. Not any weight training or anything, except… lots of walking.

Things feel so different now! I’m excited for these marathons. I have to talk myself down from feeling somehow “less than” because I haven’t committed to running the full length. It’s just not in the cards for me right now, or rather, I’m not CHOOSING those cards. I don’t think I have anything to prove. I am just excited to participate in these two events in ways that feel healthy and good for me.

Ah, the wisdom of the aged. (snicker)

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑