Twenty Four

There are twenty four hours in a day.

168 hours in a week.

Twenty four weeks until the big race.

(4032 hours)

Fourteen weeks until the half marathon.

(2352 hours)

Twenty three weeks until the first tri of the season…And what will be my first tri ever.

It seems like a long time, but at the rate time goes at the moment, it will be here before I know it.

Now, I spend almost eight hrs a week building a foundation for the harder training which begins in February. Swimming is focused on technique and proper form. Biking is composed of interval training. For the first time in years, I spend time running around a track doing speed work…I found out that eight laps around a track is more than 800 meters (don’t judge, the track had snow on it and I was running in the dark and running on lack of sleep and thought one lap around the track was 100 meters…Eight laps is actually 3200meters, just incase you did not know. No wonder that “speed” workout took me forever.) Each week builds upon the previous one. There is no excuse for missing a session, since I can do all these activities inside if need be, like spending time on the dreaded trainer.

Yes, a friend caught me on my nemesis. Not only am I not a huge fan of the trainer, I’m not too fond of when people come to visit whilst I’m in the midst of a workout. I don’t think I’m ever in a good mood in the middle of a hot and sweaty date with Kurt, mostly, because I’m always drenched with sweat, and, there is no such thing as coasting whilst on a trainer. The only thing that seems to keep me sane is my ipod with really, really great music for indoor riding. My friend happened to stop by and thought it would be amusing to take a picture of me. I, on the other hand, was not as amused.

“You’re totally sporting spandex there, Mols.”

“Yeah. Didn’t expect visitors. I’ll never talk to you again if you dare take a picture.”

“Too late.You should see your legs.”

My friends are so considerate of my feelings.

On a similar yet different note, I cannot believe how accurate the below video is–I think anyone who is serious about racing can relate to some aspect of it.

I have to go to sleep now…

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Snow

Let me start by saying I’m not a huge fan of snow–the majority of my dislike towards the tiny frozen particulates stem from my inability to drive in it. When it snows, the roads get messy, making your car messy and more difficult to keep everything clean.

Tonight, however, I was reminded, how almost magical snow makes things.

Imagine this:

A clear, midnight blue dark sky, stars spattered across the sky, the moon out with no clouds to hide behind.

A farmers field, once the place of wheat or hay, now barren, except for a layer of crisp, white, snow, glittering from the moonlight.

A farmers road, never driven on or walked upon, with only the small traces of animal tracks criss-crossing all over the  fresh white layer of glistening layer of purity.

You don’t need your headlamp to run, because the snow reflects the sky.

You don’t need music. The whistling of the wind is enough to keep your mind at bay.

Your breathing is labored, but oddly that night, each breath comes without difficulty.

Everything is calm. You have no distractions. It’s only you, in a barren field, running, with the snow crunching under the force of each footstep.

You’re leaving your footprints; your mark in the world. No one may ever discover them. The snow may melt before they are seen. But you know they are there.

It is…Perfect.

Observations by a Land Mammal Turned Amphibian

Yes, this land mammal is returning to her water roots, and finding amphibian life more complicated and difficult than she remembered. It seems like just yesterday I was starting my swim career at Pax River’s swimming pool. Boy, how times have changed.

Nowadays, between 3:30 and 4:30pm, you will likely find me spending time trying to grow gills at the pool. I was hoping my recent dates with chlorine would show some improvement in my swimming skills by now, but, I still seem to dread pool time, and continue to feel a need to gasp for air with every stroke and after each maneuver in the water. My attempts at flip turns are useless, and yet fifteen years ago, I could do them with my eyes closed.

I was discussing my swimming frustrations with my coach today who stated matter of factly, “You can’t be so hard on yourself, you just started swimming again.”

Dorothy was right, I can’t expect to be Nathalie Coughlin after a few sessions at Bard after a thirteen year swim hiatus. The only thing is, you cannot tell a perfectionist like myself perfection is hard to reach. “You have to give it time.”

Man, I really hate it when people tell me to “give it time,” even though I myself am guilty of telling others to do the same. Will I really be able to swim 1.4 miles by June without having a cardiac arrest?

I suppose “time” will tell.

Some observations I’ve noticed about swimming thus far:

1. Goggle marks around your eyes, and cap marks on your forehead, are not very sexy. Nor is wearing your swimsuit inside out, for that matter.

2. The black line at the bottom of the pool does not extend all the way up the sides of the pool.

3. Swimming hurts your thighs just as much as hill work on a bike. Try swimming 800 yards with a kick board.

4. I have not felt upper body fatigue like after a swim workout since my rock climbing days.

5. I’m hungrier after a 45 minute swim session than two hour bike ride, and have weird cravings for Ritz crackers after my time in the water.

Non-swimming related observations:

1. Brick workouts are painful, but an important part of multisport race training programs. They remind me of a quote about running: “running is like mouthwash, if you can feel the burn, it’s working.” Need inspirational/motivational quotes?Just ask.

2. Tears freeze to your cheeks when riding in cold weather. So do the other liquids that might come from your face, like your nose. Note: checking your reflection before going into a store after a ride in cold weather is strongly advised by yours truly.

3. I could easily own a European club with all the dance/techno/trance music on my workout playlists.

4. If compression socks are God’s gift to the recovering calves, then imagine what compression pants and shirt are to the body.

Miscellaneous Music Notes

Great tune for getting you out the door

JBT, bringing back memories of mishaps with Australian friends, is good for sprinting

And for a steady incline

But, Baby, It’s Cold Outside…

It really was cold outside. And is today. I don’t quite understand why banks in the U.S. tell you the time and temperature outside on those flashing boards, but it is handy in reaffirming the non-welcoming idea that it is becoming too cold to ride outside.

Then again, 35 isn’t freezing yet.

It’s almost the end of my first week of training, which was not too bad. As my trainer said, it won’t be too bad until the weeks in April when I’ll be spending 15hrs a week either bike/swim/or running when I’ll be re-thinking why I’m doing such a race. Thus far, I managed to STICK to the plan, and might I add, is the first week I’ve ever stuck to a training plan in my LIFE. Ok, well, I followed the swimming and running, but did a bit more on the bike rides, just because the inability to feel my extremities was so fun I needed to be on my bike more than 60 minutes. To be honest, I do not think I’ve ever gone for a 6o minute bike ride, unless under racing conditions. I simply don’t feel like that is a workout, same as I feel a 3mile run is nothing–except, again, under racing conditions. However, racing is different. You are pushing yourself beyond your natural limits, with your legs and body despising you throughout the whole race…If you compete in races, you know exactly what I mean. There is no other feeling like finishing a race exhausted, in pain, and feeling like you are going to puke your guts out.

 

"Mol, what are you doing?" "I lost a screw for the odometer." "I think you've lost screws in your head."

Swimming

My time at Bard has been getting better and better. Despite my watch breaking, so it’s harder to keep track of lap/lap time, and consuming too much chlorinated water, I think I’m improving. First two times in the pool I despised it. Now, I don’t mind heading to the pool, especially when the weather is horrible outside. I still suck at the sport, and while I’m gasping for air, the 70 year old lady in the lane next to me is (1)swimming faster than me and (2) makes it look so natural. I kick myself now for stopping swimming when I was thirteen years old. I’ve learned to completely shut off my brain (which, for me, who thinks 24/7, is pretty impressive) when I swim, and just concentrate on strokes…And not drowning, or swimming into the person next to me.

Biking

My rides this week have been going well, no change there.I went for a training ride yesterday and passed a sign declaring it was only 35 degrees out. For some odd reason, my frozen fingers and toes could have sworn it was more like 32. I guess if I want to spend as much time as possible off my trainer, the inability to feel your phalanges will be a phenomenon I’ll need to get used to. Unlike the running and swimming where I’ve followed my plan to the T, my rides have been a bit longer, simply because I hate my trainer. Despite my three layers of socks and two sets of gloves, I still get cold. Just a helpful hint, it’s a bit dangerous riding with your hands in fists to try to gain feeling back into your fingers, because when you need to break or shift….Just trust me on that one. Don’t do it.

Running

The running is fine. I’m actually getting better at that discipline, I feel the burning-of-thighs-and-lungs by doing hill work on my bike have definitely helped my tolerance for pain running up hills. My pace is actually quicker than it was before I had begun cycling again, as seen by the 5k race I did last week.

Random Thoughts

Food

I’ve heard hardcore endurance athletes concerned about what they eat–glycemic index of foods, people who watch their carbohydrate/fat/protein intake. At one point in my life, it was an obsession, I admit it. Everyone has that phase. Then I realized I love food too much to worry about what I eat.

Until work the other night, when I found myself looking at the carb content, fat, and protein of peanut butter (graham crackers and peanut butter seem to be my staple meal while working…we never had peanut butter at the Children’s Hospital where I used to work). A colleague of mine noticed me looking at the Nutrition label and stated, “You are one of those athletes who is concerned at the content of food, aren’t you?”

I jumped at first, not because of his comment, but because he scared me. Then, it dawned on me, “Holy crap, I’m looking at the nutrition content of food.”

Have I become a crazy, obsessed, nutritional freak?

No, not yet. I’ll start becoming concerned about my “peak racing weight” after the holidays.

I did notice that on little containers of peanut butter there is a warning that the “Product contains nuts.” So, for those of you who are allergic to nuts, please, do not eat PeaNUT Butter.

Men

Apparently, according to a friend, I intimidate men. Honestly, I do not understand how I am intimidating. I’m the most approachable, non-intimidating person on the existence of this planet. But my friend noticed a conversation I had with a male the other day, and brought it to my attention that some men do not find it attractive when your response to their answer is a long sigh with a frown on your face, or when you try to contain your laughter after they speak.

“Mol, your obsession with racing is just intimidating to men.”

“It’s not like I asked him what his PR for a mile is or anything.”

The conversation went like this:

Me: “Do you run at all?”

(Let’s call him B): “Ugh, please. I don’t understand how people find it appealing to run for no reason.”

Me: “Do you like to bike?”

B: “Mmm, no, not really.”

Me: “What’s not really mean?”

B: “I hate it.”

Me (feeling like someone just jabbed me in the heart with a knife and, according to my friend, had a “disgusted” look on my face): “Oh. How about hiking?”

B: “I did once this summer when it was warm.”

Me: “What do you do for fun then?”

B: “I whittle.”

Me (after trying to contain laughter and, I guess, too long of a pause, and deep inhale): “Oh…”

B: “What do you like to do?”

Me: “Everything you hate.”

How is that intimidating? Okay, in all honestly, he lost 175% of my attention when he said he hates biking. But, I was able to hold a straight face when he said he whittles for fun. Please, no offense to you whittlers out there. I give you lots of credit, because you are able to carve intricate items out of wood. I cannot slice tomatoes without somehow slicing my finger by accident. Just fair warning, my life revolves around running, cycling, and swimming. You’re digging yourself a bigger grave when you say you hate one of those activities.

More Randmoness

Below is a short video; I cannot help but laugh when I watch it. No, I’m not training for a full Ironman. I need to conquer the HIM, and just triathlons in general without dying, before that can happen. Although, I do know when next years Lake Placid race is…

Yes, I’m crazy.

When was the last crazy post written?

December 2010
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