Seizing life's joys and challenges physically, mentally, and emotionally.


I Missed a Goal

Setting goals can be a tricky task – sometimes one goal can impact another. Which is what happened to me in March. My goal with this blog in 2014 is to write an update at least once a month on my training progress and all I am learning as I prepare for my first full Ironman triathlon. I missed March however. Why I missed writing is a result of all I am doing with training plans, work and staying healthy. (Yay!!) So my goal to train for the Ironman impeded my goal to write about it. It is April 1st and I have a few things I am excited to share.

My experience with my coaching group continues to exceed my expectations. I have three swim workouts a week with one that is focused on building my speed and endurance for my first triathlon race this year, Raleigh 70.3 Half Ironman. I am seeing my progress and I surprise myself at my times. Once it was a dream to consistently hold 2:04 per 100 meters. Currently I am holding 1:55 and I would like to improve on that too.

On the bike I have been training so far exclusively on my Computrainer. It is hard. Very hard. However I can tell I am getting stronger. The real test will come in a few days when I get outside and tackle the hills I have feared for a while. Today is a beautiful day and I will be running outside. Hopefully I will have my bike on the road within the week. My coach sets my workouts based on power levels. Honestly – we haven’t even talked about speed yet. Developing power and sustaining target levels is key – the speed will follow. Fortunately I have a power meter on my tri bike so when I get off the trainer I can continue to monitor my progress.

I did run one five mile race in March. It was not a PR. Miles 3 and 4 were challenging with hills and my 5 mile PR race was run last year on a much flatter course. What I am very pleased with is the race I ran in March I ran the three fastest mile splits in any five mile race I have run. Since the hills got me, my coach has me running a challenging hill workout once every week right now on a treadmill. I am seeing improvements already. There are plenty of hills where I live so I am sure I will test out my progress soon.

Beyond workouts, staying healthy is essential to a training plan. Recently I bought a gadget that has helped me far more than I ever expected. I have shared here before that I use myfitnesspal.com to track my eating and exercise. Teaming with it I now wear a fitness tracker. There are several on the market and I have only used one – the Jawbone UP24. These trackers are first targeted to the mainstream market to help them monitor steps, diet, and sleep. I do not rely on it when I workout to track my distances, my Garmin Forerunner 910XT is far better in that area. Where my UP24 band is most helpful is in reminding me to move during the day in my desk bound job and monitoring my sleep. There is much I want to share, however this post would become so long most readers would give up. Instead, I am setting a new goal for April – post weekly (I hope!) and share more about my experience with the Jawbone UP24 as well as my training.

I continue to learn – especially how precious each day is. I am so grateful to be feeling well again. Enjoying life is essential, not every moment is wonderful but it is a moment I am given to make the most of. As a result, a short term goal here or there may be delayed. It is the quality of the days that matter, not the quantity of things accomplished.


Forward Motion

One month ago today on July 8th I went to the pool to try out the Total Immersion method of swimming. Along the way I have seen improvement in my 100 meter pace, but the furthest I swam continuously was 550 meters in training – until this morning. My training partner and I scheduled today as our 1,500 meter time trial. Last month I was not happy with how I did – I averaged 2:09 per 100. I set my tempo trainer at 1:15 seconds and after a 900 meter warm up, I headed out for my time trial. One of the best investments I have made in my triathlon training has been my Garmin Forerunner 910XT – because it saved my from depression this morning. My goal was to swim it under 32 minutes, preferable closer to 31. I know while I was swimming I double counted a lap and thought I corrected it, in fact I thought I might be short of the 1,500 meters when I finished. Then I pressed the lap button after I took the last stroke and saw 32:44 – No. Way. Then I looked at distance – 1,550 meters. I swam too far. This watch is so detailed – I looked at the activity data and it actually records each length and time. Yep, 62 lengths, not 60. I subtracted the time for the last two lengths and came up with 31:43 for 2:06 per 100 meters. Much better. I know I have the stroke down for the Total Immersion method, it is the two beat kick that I have to work on. From the research I have done, the two beat kick dramatically improves pace. So there is still progress to make, but I am happy with the progress I made in a month.

I spent a good amount of today on the road for work – as a result I was exhausted by the time I got home. Being in the car in the sunshine after a hard workout makes me sleepy. I am learning that moving around more is actually more energizing. Before I could consider a bike ride I had to take a nap. Listening to my body is something I am getting better at and a little nap was the cure to my exhaustion. ┬áIn my hilly neighborhood there is no thing as an easy ride, but I keep reminding myself it is making me stronger. I was energized from my nap and tried out a slightly different route today. In all I road just over 23 miles in just under 16 miles per hour. Where I see the improvement is in my climbs, I am most often able to stay above 10 miles per hour and I recover quicker than I used to. That said, I am looking forward to riding my long ride this weekend in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park where it is much flatter…

Getting stronger – it is a process. My encouragement is seen in the improvement I am making. Some days I see big improvement and some days I see little improvements. Regardless, it is forward motion. Propelled by a kick, a stroke, a pedal, and step. I would not be where I am, or where I am headed, if had not taken the first ones. As imperfect as they may have been, it got me here. And I still have a long way to go, all the more reason to keep looking ahead and appreciate where I have been.