December 31, 2009

2009 - A Year of Firsts

2009 was my second year in the sport but a year of firsts. I did my first half Ironman in April after an expedited eight-week training period that only got me about 80% ready for the race. I would have trained more if I hadn't been busy moving into my first solo apartment. After nearly 35 years on this planet I had never lived alone and the settling in period involved countless hours of painting, breaking down boxes and making trips to Bed Bath and Beyond. In June I drove to Lake Placid for a training camp and stayed with virtual strangers who immediately became my friends and helped me celebrate my 34th birthday in a highly memorable way. On the day of my birthday I swam the Lake Placid course, covering the 2.4 mile distance for the first time and just one year after my first swimming lesson.

There were other firsts along the way, including my first solo long ride, but the most significant first was my Ironman finish. Anyone who has shared this journey with me knows how close I came to not being able to race. That finish, and entire experience, will always be incredibly special to me.

I've come a long way from my lazy past and have a long way I still want to go. As I wrap up the year, here is a look at my training numbers. I'm really proud of what I was able to do and look forward to new challenges in 2010.

2009 Training Totals:

Bike: 228h 26m 34s - 3,253.51 Mi
Run: 115h 15m 46s - 717.34 Mi
Swim: 55h 56m 32s - 169,734.9 Yd

December 27, 2009

Christmas Burnoff

I've had a strategy this holiday season to avoid packing on the pounds. I eat incredibly well during the day and save up the gluttony for the evening hours. We celebrated our Christmas last night so I really dove in full force and was feeling it this morning so I put in some Christmas burnoff time on the bike and treadmill. In addition to making me feel semi-human again, it also helped in my acclimation to more consistent training.

I biked 55 minutes alternating intensity and RPM every 10 minutes, then did a longer run/walk on the treadmill. I walked 1.5 miles at a brisk pace, did 21 minutes of run/walking at a 2/1 interval, then walked a bit more, for a total of 51 minutes. Aside from some tightness in my achilles, it was again pain free. I biked an additional 25 minutes before spending some quality time with The Stick. It's amazing how tight I get from a workout that wouldn't have phased me a few months ago. Baby steps...

I'm headed out to dinner with my family for my last night here. I'll be going home tomorrow night and officially starting my IMLP training as well. I have a feeling the next seven months will fly by.

December 26, 2009

Like Riding a Bike

Thankfully, a nearly one month hiatus from swimming didn't entirely destroy my fitness. I dragged myself kicking and screaming to the pool this morning for a relatively easy 1600 with zero expectations. The last swim I did was atrocious and my motivation was shot so the time off was mostly mental, but as it turns out, it was also good for me physically. It came back immediately and my form didn't deteriorate until the end. I was definitely a little slower but I don't mind. I have time.

So maybe swimming is like riding a bike - once you know how to do it, you can take breaks from time to time and jump right back in without missing a beat. Let's hope.

December 25, 2009

Long Winter's Nap

It seems the main activity of my Christmas vacation is sleeping. After an exhausting day of travel, I slept until almost 11. Then this morning I woke up around 9:15 after a solid eight hours of sleep and after being up for only five minutes, I went back to bed and didn't wake up until 10:45. I suppose I wouldn't be sleeping so much if I didn't need it so given I don't have much else to do, I won't fight it. After all my sleeping in days are numbered.

I did a little Christmas indoor brick to burn a few of the cookies I ate yesterday. I biked an hour and did a 22-minute run/walk on the treadmill, sticking to the 2-minute/1-minute intervals even though I felt I could run longer. The 2/1 is on my schedule for the next two weeks so despite having the urge to step it up at times, I'll continue to keep it conservative. I don't want to push my luck. Today's run was entirely pain free and I only felt a bit of tightness in my Achilles. That was the best gift I could ask for.

December 24, 2009

Merry Little Christmas

Today was a lovely Christmas Eve. I arrived last night and had a dinner date with my dad in the midst of a massive ice storm. I slept incredibly late and then spend the morning and early afternoon at a series of supermarkets gathering everything needed for the long weekend. But unlike other years, Christmas this year won't be officially celebrated until the 26th when we're all together so tonight it was just my mom, dad and I, and six pounds of crab legs, a couple pounds of scallops and mushroom risotto. Heaven. All would have been great had I not eaten my weight in sugar cookie dough prior to dinner.

Merry Christmas to all my blogger buddies. I can't thank you enough for sharing my journey in 2009, through happiness, frustration and sadness. It was always a bright spot to come here and see your comments and know that I was not alone. I loved being a part of your journeys as well and can't wait to see what 2010 brings us.

H A P P Y H O L I D A Y S ! ! !

December 23, 2009

Farewell, Offseason

Dear Offseason,

I know we didn't get off to a good start. I really wasn't interested in getting to know you and may have ignored you at times. But after a couple months I really started to enjoy you and for the last six weeks or so, you've become rather special to me. Dare I use the word love?

So it is with sadness and a hint of regret that I must end this relationship. It's not personal, our time has simply come to an end. I have a half Ironman in just four months and my first Ironman of the season in seven months. Let's also not forget that other Ironman seven weeks after.

While I'll miss our leisurely weekend mornings, late nights filled with fabulous dinners and drinks, weeks on end without smelling even the slightest hint of chlorine, I know we'll find our way back to each other on September 13 and this time, I promise to embrace you from the start so we can enjoy an even more fulfilling time together.

Until then, I'll be too busy training to even think about you so please don't try to tempt me with thoughts of skipping workouts, sleeping in and eating whatever I want. I'll do a little more of that this week, then I'll be 100% focused on Lake Placid. I'm looking forward to this new challenge.



December 21, 2009

Winter Wonderland

I can't recall a time I was so neglectful of this blog. Lack of free time is most certainly partially to blame, but lack of content is equally to blame. I am about as far away from being a triathlete as I can be given my lack of training. Sure I had some good stretches in October and November including a couple long rides and my trip to Lake Placid, but December, the month I was supposed to start training again, turned into me hating and boycotting the pool and then having a running meltdown before I really even began. Now I've had three inactive days in a row while the holiday revelry continues and I feel it. I'm mostly just disappointed in the loss of this base building month and when I think about Lake Placid being in seven short months I feel slightly ill. I trained eight months for Wisconsin and while I felt generally ready four weeks prior to the race, it was nice to have the extra time.

I've had some issues with my feet this past week. It's nothing to be alarmed about but it's certainly slowed me down and I'm hoping to see improvements this week after an extended period of rest. I've developed plantar fasciitis in my "good" foot, most likely due to the time in the walker boot and general poor gait including a three month limp. After two weeks of easing into running the pain was enough to serve as a warning sign to stop an evaluate things. I took the last nine days off running and barely did anything to supplement. It was my lowest training volume week yet. While I feel generally disgusting, my feet feel better so after a chat with my coach and doc I may be back on my feet by tomorrow to give it another try. That's all I can do.

We had a magnificent blizzard in New York City, something that always incited drama and excitement simultaneously. We hosted a dinner party that night for six friends and it was the perfect evening to be tucked inside and not have anywhere to be. We awoke to the city covered in snow with every child and dog for miles out enjoying the park. We don't get much snow in New York so it's always a bit magical. It made Christmas feel that much closer and reminded me I still have a lot of shopping to do. Just four more days to go...

December 16, 2009

Just Eight Shopping Days Remain

Am I the only one who didn't get the memo about Christmas being next week? I seriously cannot figure out where the time has gone. I feel like fall passed by in a nanosecond and December was non-existent. I'm ashamed to admit I've only purchased four Christmas gifts and have many, many more to go. I'll offer this blog as a blanket apology to my loved ones. It's looking to be a gift card kind of year.

But just in case you're looking for ideas for that favorite triathlete in your life, featured this nifty gift list. And if anyone is feeling generous, this is at the top of my wish list!

I've had some aches and pains this week so running is temporarily off the docket - better to be safe than sorry. All training has been derailed for the past two days due to work but I plan to start back up tomorrow with a focus on the bike and some elliptical time to replace running. Who knows, I may even swim. Or I may skip it and so some Christmas shopping instead.

December 14, 2009

Don't Look Back

To my fellow Ironman finishers - did you take an extended period of time off after the race and did you morph into a person you barely recognize in this short time? As you all know, I have been injured and therefore barely moving. Granted I could have been a swimming fool and spending more time on the trainer, but I was burned out and didn't want to force myself to do activities that might make me miserable. I also took the old enjoy whatever you want for awhile philosophy to an extreme and I've been living the good life. The very, very, very good life. And I've enjoyed it.

But I noticed how different I look in some recent photos as compared to how I looked in September. I'm not sure why I was surprised, I've packed on 10 pounds so of course I should look different. I'm not overweight by any means and I wasn't super skinny before, I'm just average as I've always been, but I've lost the athletic look I worked so hard for and I miss it.

So even though it's the holidays and my days and nights seem to be filled with gluttony, I'm buckling down when I can and am cleaning up my diet outside of any celebrations. I figure if I can be 75% good I will at least feel better and perhaps thwart any additional poundage. I'm going to have to have an aggressive weight loss goal for January so I'm not struggling to drop weight while training, something we all know is nearly impossible. So while I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, I think the situation warrants one - go back to my uber healthy, sometimes boring training diet and stop skipping workouts come January. Until then, I've learned my lesson and will not look back at any pre-Ironman photos in comparison to now and will continue to enjoy the celebratory moments that made gaining the weight so much fun.

December 12, 2009

It's a Run/Walk Party Over Here

I've been sucked away from blogland due to continuing social and work activities. I've managed to keep up a majority of my training, but have blissfully dropped swimming from the schedule. After complaining one too many times about it to my coach he told me to just forget about it until the New Year. Permission to blow off swimming... did Christmas come early? The funny thing is that I kind of want to go now that I don't have to. Maybe tomorrow.

I upped my run/walk interval to 3:00 run/1:00 walk this week and was greeted with more success. In fact, the only foot pain I've experienced is in my good foot so I'll need to keep an eye on that. I don't want 2010 to be the year of another (different) torn plantar fascia. My running for the week culminated with my first official running race since the Ironman, the annual New York Road Runners Club Holiday 4-Miler. I did this race hungover with a friend last year in frigid temps so we decided to do it again today.

I have a 4-6 mile walk with a 20-minute run/walk on the calendar each week so the race served as that workout. While I tried to minimize the running by stretching the walk intervals - 1:30 for the first two miles, 2:00 for the next few intervals and 4:00 for the final two intervals - I still ended up logging a little extra time on my feet. But I felt great and finished in just over 41 minutes, not terrible considering all the walking I did. My last 4-miler was back on Memorial Day and I took third in my age group with a 30:57 finish, yet today was just as fulfilling. If I do this right I think I can get back to my normal pace and normal confidence in no time.

A second truffle has arrived from Italy so I'll be enjoying that this evening. There seems to be no lull in the holiday indulgence but 'tis the season and I'm loving every moment of it!

December 8, 2009

I Could be Different

Does anyone else find this to be an incredibly hard time of year to be consistent? The holiday season is packed full of activities that often do not mesh with the plans of a triathlete. I find myself trying to get started again only to be stopped at every turn. But luckily I'm not minding it much.

I've been a little overwhelmed with personal things and anyone who has regularly read this blog knows I don't talk about personal things. Suffice it to say I've had significant changes in my life in the past year and while many were sad or challenging, all of them led me to where I am today. I wouldn't be this person and have had all the rewarding experiences of the past year without the challenges that came along with them. I was watching the film Under the Tuscan Sun and in the final scenes the narrative says, "Any arbitrary turning along the way and I would be elsewhere, I would be different." Isn't that what life's all about? Every step we take leads to the next and the next and so forth. If we'd taken different paths we'd be different people.

With that thought I will forgive myself for blowing off another day of training in lieu of attending to important personal things. There will always be tomorrow and the guilt I feel today means the motivation will still be there when I wake up. After all I'm human. I'm not a professional athlete, I'm not an elite age grouper. I'm just an ordinary person attempting to get started on another season. Next year I'll be even more different.

December 5, 2009

Back on My Feet

With the holidays fast approaching I had a whirlwind of a week packed with social plans. It started with a quiet dinner on Tuesday after a long day of catching up at work. It continued on Wednesday with one of the most fun dinners I've had yet. A small group of wine industry people were invited by the owner of a restaurant to an Italian wine tasting dinner. He treated us to multiple small courses and eight different vintages of Sassicaia. Another guest shared a 1959 Bordeaux with us. It was a long and rather late night but so worth it. Thursday, rather sleepily, I had a lovely dinner with five friends. Friday wrapped up the week beautifully with an elaborate six hour lunch at a restaurant I currently think is the best I've ever been to. I spent a couple hours post-lunch celebrating a friend's 50th birthday before calling it a night.

Amidst all the celebrating I had a major training and recovery milestone - I ran. I took my first running steps in nearly four months Tuesday morning with a 10-minute run/walk done in 2:00/1:00 intervals. It felt beyond good despite a bit of nerves. I kept the pace easy and paid attention to good form. I was smiling the rest of the day. I ran again yesterday, edging up to 15 minutes at the same run/walk interval. My overall pace went from over 11 minutes to just over 10. I was feeling more comfortable. And today I did another 10 at the same pace. Each time it feels a little more natural and the fear is easing up. My coach has me building up very gradually and conservatively so hopefully I should have nothing to worry about. It feels so good to be back at it.

I slacked on all other training this week, only making it to the pool once. But given everything going on I had to make some choices and after having some incredible experiences and a good deal of fun, I think I chose well.


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