Friday, June 24, 2011

Building Fitness

Since my last blog I’ve been gearing up for some sizable training. The bulk of my training is now picking up.  I ran the fox trot 10 miler on Memorial Day. This is a favorite race of mine, since it goes right past my house, and is a pretty challenging course.  It was a very hot day out and I just knew on my warm up run down to the start, it was going to be a tough one out there. Hello who put that 100lb weight on my chest? It was humid and hard to breathe. Funny because just two days prior was the Solider Field 10 miler and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. My Mom, sister in law and brother all did that race and did very, very well I might add!  What a difference a day or two can make. I pushed as hard as I could and my legs slowed down on the back half and got heavy on the last mile. I noticed around mile 8 that I had an annoying little pain in left foot on my pinky toe (turns out it was a huge blood blister- YUCK! I placed 10th in my AG and although I didn’t get the pace I was hoping for, I was still happy that I placed top ten, and beat my time from the year before. Also, two of John’s Aunt’s did their first 5k… so kudos to them… it was a rough one out there- you girls rock!

June has been NO LESS than crazy!
Lots of training and STORMS! (BOO! Open water swims canceled!) Normally, we’d all have been in the open water for about a month now… but the weather has just been very uncooperative! So only one open water swim to speak of so far… and let me tell you THAT was an interesting one.
I got there a little behind schedule, was busy talking to my good friend Maureen, who has graciously offered to watch my little monster on Wed nights until John gets home so I can go to Stroke and Stride.  
Stroke and Stride is an open water course with lifeguards and is a ½ mile loop. You can do the loop as many times as you’d like and then after they have a 5k course set up to run. It is great open water training in a safe environment… (in a not so nice lake… but I’ll take what I can!!!)   
There were soo many people there – way more than normal! I got a new wet suit and this is my first time using it. It is 100 degrees out - no joke- flippin hot!!! I struggle to get into this thing and after a good 10 mins, finally jump into the water. New suit equals a whole new feel in the water; I took my time out to the first buoy and stopped just short of it to adjust my wetsuit. I heard someone behind me saying help, help. So I turned around and see what was going on … and confirm if they needed help.
The guy looked to me like he was having a panic attack, which happens to nearly everyone first time out in the open water, in a wet suit. Open water swimming is very different than pool swimming and the first few times can be a very humbling and frightening experience. Anyone who asks me if I have advice for their first triathlon… I always tell them make sure you get in the open water a few times!
Back to my story: So I looked around for a lifeguard and couldn’t see any?! I swam over to him and you could tell he was freaked out so I told him to roll over on his back and take a deep breath. I asked him if this was his first time in the open water and he said yes. I told him the good news is that the wetsuit he had on was one of the best floatation devices he could have. So he rolled over onto his back and I towed him into the beach just beyond the first buoy. I could feel his heart pounding! I reassured him that this happens to everyone… and it happened to me too. I got him over to where he could touch the bottom and asked if he’d be alright and he said yes. I felt bad leaving him, but I could also see he was also a little embarrassed. So I continued on and when I found the lifeguard, stopped and told her what happened and asked her to keep an eye on him just in case he panicked again on the way back.
Crazy first open water swim! I continued on and did 1.5 miles and then a 5k… I felt awesome on my run… and according to my watch finished it in 21 mins… which is CRAZY fast for me… so I must have miscalculated somehow.

First week in June: 
I completed a 75 mile ride with my Mom and Ana, we had a blast! The weather was perfect and the ride went well. The following weekend was my first long brick- 4 hour hilly ride with a 4 mile hilly run after. It was cold and drizzling out – not my idea of fun. But I did it and felt pretty good; I averaged about 16 mph in the hills… not too terrible.  I can tell though that my neck and back need some more time in the saddle… toward the end these longer rides start taking their toll and the neck, shoulders, and back start to burn… not to mention the lady bits get a tad tender! Weekends are getting the BIG workouts while weekdays are filled with runs, rides, strength and swims as well. We are inching up into the 10+ hours a week mark.  
Ironman training is starting!!!!

This past weekend, I did one of the HARDEST training rides ever. I did the Horribly Hilly Hundred and let me tell you it lives up to its name! Lesson learned for me was to spring for a hotel room close to the start line the night before. 4.5 hours of sleep; getting up at 3 am and 2.5 hour drive up north is NOT the best start to this ride! I got there about 6 am and it was a little chilly. The forecast called for rain and thunderstorms. So I packed up my bike accordingly. After the weekend prior of the cold and drizzle, I wanted to be warm. I threw my arm warmers on and toe covers – packed my wind breaker and off I went. The first few miles were all downhill… Scary downhill, upwards to 35-45mph, downhill. (remember what goes down must go up) By mile 10 we were making our first significant climb… which I latter found out we’d do again at the end – thank you for that!! Holly Hell that hill was tough! At one point I looked down and was doing 3MPH!!! I started to panic a little, thinking I don’t have any more gears to make this easier, can I go any slower and get to the top? I’m overheating! So I stopped half way up and took off the arm warmers and toe covers and started back up. I could feel my lack of sleep was catching up with me. I pressed on, and spent the next 4 hours and 50 mins climbing and winding through some beautiful American countryside. Thank you God, for giving us such a beautiful place to live. The race ended with the same climb we did at mile 10 only it was longer. (4 miles of continuous climb). I was on the smallest gear the whole way up. Talk about willing yourself up and playing mind games. As I struggled and pushed up that last hill, I passed many who opted to walk it. I did not walk any other hills and I’ll be damned if I walk up the LAST one! So I pressed on, and about ¾ of the way up, the lovely race people posted a sign “Beer Ahead!” Which I thought Thank you God- I’m almost there… not realizing I still had some super significant incline to get through first. This climb was one of those where you can’t see the top. When you get to what you think is the top, it just keeps going, and going. With 150 yds left (I DID NOT know that at the time) I opted to stop and gather my legs. They just about quit on me. When I started back up, I got hung up on clipping in my left foot and tipped over... HOW dumb! THAT’s when I heard a spectator say “Only 150yds left!” I got pissed, collected myself clipped in and charged those last 150… Everyone was saying WOW you look great, strong, etc. Umm yeah, you didn’t see me 150 yds back lying on the pavement! It was a great ride, challenging and super confidence builder. Ironman course is hilly but not THAT hilly. Of course, Ironman is a different beast entirely but nonetheless, I did the Horribly Hilly Hundred, I am building fitness and have the pics to prove it! You prob. can't see the huge grimace on my face but it's there!!!

So this weekend is very special it will be the first time my Mom, brother, sister-in-law and I will all race together! We are doing Pleasant Prairie Olympic Triathlon on Sunday so stay tuned for the race report and photos…

Last but not least, I have some exciting news… we have purchased our dream home and are moving in July! We are going from a 900sq ft house to a 2500sq ft house! We have been looking at this house for the past 4 years, so when we were finally able to get things lined up to actually purchase it, we jumped at the chance. While the timing with training is not ideal, we are truly blessed that we were able to make things work.  So the next month will be a true test of my organizational and time management skills. More to come!

Happy training all!

1 comment:

  1. Keep it up Cheryl! All that hard work will pay off at the end of the day on Sept. 11th!