Monday, March 31, 2008

Open Water Swim

I could not wait for this past weekend. The team was going to do our first open water swim and that meant I could use my new friend the wetsuit again. I got to the lake and wiggled in to the wetsuit. It’s tight but I think it fits me just right. I saw a girl on the team who had a suit that was just too big and that’s going to make it hard on her to swim. I hope they get it swapped out for her before the race. It took a while for the entire team to get in to the suits and get down to the waters edge to start this swim. I knew the water would be cold but I was shocked when a stepped in the lake. It was so cold and I just wanted to get out and go run or better yet go home. After a few seconds I could no longer feel my feet and I had not even gotten in past my knees.

The goal of today was not a long swim but to just get us used to open water (not being able to follow a lane line or bump in to a wall). They had a few people in canoes and kayaks out helping as we made our way deeper in to the lake. I put my head down and started to swim and immediately rose back up. My face was tingling and I was having a hard time catching my breath. I looked around and could see that everyone was having the same problems. People that I have seen swim a long way with little effort in the pool were struggling after 10 yards. My goggles fogged up right away and I could no longer see anything, below or above the water. I cleared the goggles and tried to calm down. I spotted the first swim buoy and started swimming. I could only get a few strokes between breaths and never seemed to get in good rhythm but I kept going until I finished. I stumbled out of the water a little dizzy and back on to shore. We then made our way up to the parking lot and changed in to some running clothes. It felt good to be dry and warm.

I went for a 4 mile run that felt great. Running with a group is much better then running alone. I can go much further and faster with a group then by myself. If I can latch on to someone in the race that bikes and runs a little faster then me I think I will finish much stronger.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Feeling Good

This week has been a good one so far. Monday was a good swim with the team. Tuesday I went out and tested if I was over my sickness with a short 2 ½ mile run and lunch. I still coughed up more mucus then normal but it felt good to be able to breathe again. I begin Wednesday with a swim before work witch is a small miracle. I HATE getting up early but it getting close to race time and I don’t have many more opportunities to swim before the big day. After work I planned on going to get my oil changed before I went to a teammate’s fundraiser. When I got to the shop at 6PM they told me that they could not get it done today so I went to plan B.

Plan B was group run that a local running store puts on every Wednesday night. I have been told that many TNT (Team in Training) marathon team members participate in and as a Bonus – it was right next to the fundraising event. I was a little discouraged when most folks said they were running way more then I wanted to run and they ALL looked like serious runners. I ended up running 4 miles through some great neighborhoods and along a golf course. It makes the time go by a lot faster when you have something to look at as you run. I can’t say that I could have gone on running forever but I felt pretty good at the end and I finished just in time to make it to the fundraiser. I am starting to feel real good about this event.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

I woke up yesterday and felt good, well not good but not bad. I made the decision that I was going to have a good day and get back in the swing of things. At lunch I had to go to a few stores to exchange my tri swimsuit. The suit was just too tight and that is not an area that you want to be too tight. I managed to find a suit that I liked even better and it fit well. I had to pay a little more and that sucked, but it’s done. I have heard women complain about the price of swimsuits for years and for the first time I can feel your pain. I then had to go to another store to return the old suit and pick up 2 new tubes for my bike and something called Body Glide that was to help me in the wetsuit. When I went to ride this weekend I discovered that I had a flat and my replacement tube was the wrong size. I see this as a good thing because I get the change to fix it before race day.

Monday night is always swim night with the team. I was excited because tonight I would get to swim in my wetsuit for the first time. After some coaching on where to apply the Body Glide and how to put on the suit without ripping it I was zipped in and set. Holy cow this thing is tight. I jumped in the pool and could feel the difference right away as lifted me to the surface. I did a few practice laps and felt great. I love the feel of swimming in the wetsuit and it looks cool.

The coaches pulled all the lane ropes out and put in a few buoys so that we could get a feel for what the race would be like. The team swam in a pack (arms and legs everywhere) and after a few minutes I discovered that some swimmers were doing things to make the swim “interesting”. It seems that some members from last years team were among us and asked to distract us by getting in our way, grabbing our feet, bumping us, splashing us, and anything else they could think of to make it hard. They also did something that I think is real smart, they moved the buoys as we swam so that you needed to sight where you were swimming, not just swim the same spot. We did a continuous swim for 20 minutes and I felt great! I have a few more weeks to get set and I’m starting to get excited again. This sport rocks!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sick and Tired

For the past 11 days I have been struggling to rid myself of this illness. I’m still coughing something up from the bottom of my chest and it has brought my training to a stand still. I went for a short run of 2 ½ miles last week and a short WALK on Saturday. I’ll get back in the water tonight and get this illness behind me. I'm excited because tonight will be my first time swimming in a wetsuit. I have to make these next few weeks’ good ones.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Should I stay or Should I go?

I still have a little cough but I’m feeling better then I have in some time. Today I planned to go for at least a 2 – 3 mile run at lunch and then try to get in some time on the bike trainer when I get home tonight. The plan changed when I decided that I needed to go shopping for a Triathlon suit. I’ll get in a brick (bike and run) tonight at home.

Up until today I have done all of my swimming in a big baggy swimsuit and would be happy to keep it that way but I foresee a problem. I will have to wear something under the wetsuit. If I wet with my current suit it would bunch up and I think it would look like I was wearing a diaper under the wetsuit. I wet to REI and tried on a couple of the few suits they had and ended up walking out with nothing. They did not have the size I really needed and I was having a hard time paying $55 for a suit (especially if it was not the right fit). I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again “this sport is expensive”. I do cheaper then most but it adds up.

Now I didn’t run and I didn’t get a suit. I wasted my lunch hour. I knew I should have stayed and went for a run. At least I coughed up the last of my chest cold at REI! Is it wrong that I’m starting to think that work is getting in the way of me training?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Out Sick

It doesn’t happen a lot but last week I got infected with some kind of bug and it knocked me out. I was in bed from Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon and I’m still not 100% today. It all started on Thursday with me telling a co-worker that he was sickly and that “I never get sick.” It's nearly a week later and I have not done any form of training. I'll try to start back tomorrow.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pushing Myself

Wednesday morning I somehow dragged myself out of bed and made it to the pool. This time change has been killing me. The pool was more crowed then usual but I found an open lane and started swimming. I usually like to do sets of 100s but have wanted to do longer sets so that I can get really tired and practice working through it. Today I decided to just keep swimming and that is what I did. Because I have been trying not to think when I exercise I lost count of the laps right off the bat. I was in a good grove after about 25 minutes and felt like I could do more when I noticed more people getting in the pool. The pool I swim in the morning has 6 lanes, 3 have lane ropes and 3 are just open. I was in an open lane witch is ok if the other people in the open lane don't make too many waves. Back to the folks getting in the pool: 2 older folks with some kind of water weights and 2 young girls in bikinis that could not swim very well. Usually I like to see young girls in bikinis but not today. I decided to go home because I had to get the family up and moving anyway. Oh well, I feel better every swim about the distance, I'll make the swim part of the triathlon.

I planned on running at lunch on Wednesday but got out to my car and had a flat tire that I had to deal with so that ate up my lunch hour. Thursday lunch hour rolls around and I decided to get out of the parking deck and hit the street. A coworker told me about a couple of routes, one route is 2 miles (an up and back) and the other route is a 3 or 4 mile. I thought I would just do the 2 miles because I was unsure of the route but I felt good and need to start pushing myself harder. I got somewhat lost and took my made my own route. I mapped the route when I got back to the office and it ended up being between 4 1/2 miles and 5 miles. I also did the run; including the time it took me to walk through the parking deck in about 45 minutes. Not fast but not to slow either. FEELING GOOD!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Out of the Fog and in to the light.

It’s Tuesday and that means that I swam last night with Team in Training. We did another continuous swim. It’s not really continuous because we are snaking down the pool from lane to lane and then have to get out at one end and run to the other a start over. When I heard that we were doing another long swim I was determined to push myself harder this time then I did the last time. We were offered the choice of 800, 1100, or 1400 yards to swim. I was thinking 1400 when a teammate TOLD me that I was doing 1400. A little push was all I needed because I am easily influenced (peer pressure). The start was crowed and it took me a few hundred yards to move through the slower people and find some open water to get in a groove. It felt good and I’m gaining confidence again. I did have some girl (I think she had gills) blow by me about half way through the swim but all in all it was a good night. Here is a picture of the start.

Since the beginning I have been asking the old timers (more experienced teammates) about how much the wetsuits help in the swim. I finally got the answer I was looking for on Sunday when I was told it was like swimming on a surfboard. That one short description makes me feel good about the upcoming race. I can make the swim, bike and run and have fun doing it. Next Monday the wetsuits are in and I’ll get to see for myself just how much they help. I’m pumped and already looking beyond this race.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Cold Sunday Ride

It finally happened. The moment I have been waiting for the past month. I had just finished a good ride on old pokey and felt really proud. I had ridden this route 1 other time and it killed me, today it was much better. Colder but better. As I was pulling in to the parking lot to finish up the ride I unclipped my right shoe from the bike and pulled up next to my car on the right, problem was I leaned left and fell to the ground. I felt pretty stupid on the ground, bike on top of me with my foot still clipped in. Everyone has told me that it will happen and I guess I just joined the club. At least the pavement was warm.

After my fall I got up and surveyed the damage, I had shifted my seat and knocked the chain loose. I wasn’t going to run but decided I needed to end on a positive note so I took off the bike shoes and put on the running shoes. It was cold and my toes were still frozen from the ride. I had seen people wearing little booty over their shoes and always thought they looked goofy, I now see why they do it. It took about a mile of running for my toes to get the feeling back. I felt pretty good on the run and ended up running 3 miles. Not a bad day, 20 mile ride, 3 mile run, and I learned what it feels like to fall on my bike.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Glory Days

Atlanta weather sucks, one day it’s perfect and the next it looks like the end of the world is coming. I got out during lunch yesterday and ran 3 miles. I know I need to ramp up the distance but it’s hard to run any further at lunch. I’ve been running in the parking deck (I'll post a picture soon) at work for a while now but spoke to a coworker about a few runs that he does from the office that I will begin trying. The parking deck is still a good back up because it’s always dry and I know the distance per lap. It just gets old seeing the same thing lap after lap (cars) and it’s dark and gloomy. I look forward to a change of scenery.

I’ve been trying to ride the bike trainer every night for the last couple of weeks. It’s amazing how much harder it is to ride on the trainer for the same amount of time that you would ride on the street. I ride 30 minutes on the trainer and I’m dripping sweat. I think I’m getting stronger on the bike but only get the change to get out on the street on the weekend.

Life is still getting in the way of training. How do these folks train for an Ironman distance race? I struggle to get in the short runs, swims, and bike rides that I need to do an Olympic distance triathlon. I don’t know if I would have a wife if I trained the time you need to train for an Ironman; the problem is I can’t get it out of my head. The challenge looms in the back of my mind. It hangs out in the same place that my old glory day’s stories live (son, let me tell you about the time I scored 4 touchdowns in 1 game for Polk High). Don’t tell my wife but I’m starting to build a plan for the next 2 years of the races I want to train for and run. I need a few more stories to tell and something to make my kid proud of his Pop.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Each day is a gift

My wife called me this morning and told me that a family friend had died suddenly. This lady was a wife and mother of 6 (I think) girls. She and her whole family were just fun. They were the kind of folks that just made a party better. I don’t think she paid too much attention to her health and I think it is what caused her early death. She died too young.

About a year ago I decided to try to shed a few pounds and get healthier. I even went to the doctor for a checkup and told him everything that was wrong with me (feet hurt, knee clicks, etc...). If you know me, or most men this is big, real big. I never go to the doctor for anything but I wanted to get blood work done and make sure I was ok. The doctor, to my dismay confirmed what I have always thought, I’m fine for now. I can’t remember what triggered my sudden desire to get fit but I am a little better off today for the effort. I can run further and play longer then I could this time last year. Each day is a gift and I want a lot of gifts.

If you’re reading this and keep saying to yourself that I need to do something, stop reading and go do something. I little effort every day will make the difference.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Rambling on

My wife rocks! Stacie, my wife of almost 15 years has finally come around and started fundraising for me. She is a natural at this type of stuff and I was hoping she would help. I would have never signed up with Team in Training if I didn’t have her support. We are a little over half way on the fundraising and that still worries me.
I made it to the pool this morning and swam for the third time this week. I like swimming before work because it seems to make all of the soreness from running and biking go away. The quite pool also makes it a good place to think, even thought I have found that I need to stop thinking while training. I was going to run at lunch today be got caught up running errands. Oh well, I think I’ll get in some time with Pokey on the trainer tonight.

The countdown has started. I started thinking about how much time I have left to train for St. Anthony’s and it’s not much. It’s around the corner, April 27 is coming quick. The training is coming around and I now think I just might make it to the finish and have a little fun doing it.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Peer Pressure

Team in Training had a group training session on Saturday that included all the teams. It's a good feeling to see all of those people in one spot and to think they are all rising money for the same worthy goal. The running team (marathon and 1/2 marathon) teams are huge and the new (summer) tri team is already bigger then the spring tri team. The summer team is doing the Iron Girl witch is a local sprint so it is filling up fast.

I drove to the event at Chastain Park with the intention of running 4 or 5 miles, maybe even pushing for 6. I soon crumbled under peer pressure and ended up doing 8 miles because "everyone else was doing it”. To tell you the truth this was the furthest I can ever remember running and it felt good. I had some experienced triathletes with me so I got to talk to them the entire way. I pumped them for information about training, nutrition and events that they have completed. It made the time go by for me but I'm sure they will never run with me again!