May 30, 2010

ADK Weekend

I'm back in Lake Placid for a long training weekend and as usual, feel as though I'm in heaven. We drove up late Thursday night and awoke Friday to some of the most beautiful weather I've ever seen up here. I decided to get my long brick out of the way so I could truly relax this weekend so I got up early, took a quiet walk on Main Street to assess the temperature and geared up and headed out. Since it was a Friday morning and most people were heading to town that day, I had the course to myself. It was peaceful and serene, I felt incredibly comfortable and happy. It was only 47 degrees when I left but it was sunny and felt warm. After my first loop I shed some layers to enjoy the 70+ temps the day had reached. I finished 100 miles around 2:30 and went for a short 30-minute run, my first brick of the season.

Everything went better than I could have asked for given my slow build up to the bigger volume. My feet keep allowing me to do this and I'm enjoying it so I can't complain. I spent the remainder of the afternoon in the gorgeous pool and hot tub at the Whiteface Lodge, my home away from home for the weekend. We then went to The Cottage, a little bar on Mirror Lake that was celebrating their 30th anniversary so dinner was complimentary. There we were, sitting outside in beautiful weather overlooking the lake and the mountains having a free meal. Does it get any better?

The rest of the weekend has been perfect. I spent an hour in Mirror Lake yesterday, my first open water swim since Ironman Wisconsin and my first swim at all in weeks. Once again, I had it to myself. I picked a time where no other swimmers were there and I can't describe what that was like. I popped up a couple times to take it all in - the incredible smell of the air, the silence aside from the birds and the views. This place is magical. The water is so clear I could see the bottom the entire way. If I lived anywhere near here I'd be swimming all the time.

We have another day to enjoy and will make the most of it. I hate to leave but I know I'll at least be back in eight weeks. I have so much to look forward to.

May 18, 2010

Charting a New Course

It's been quiet around here, but definitely not quiet in my thoughts. I've spent the last couple weeks reflecting on my goals, this sport and my life, mostly about how the three intersect. This intersection is sometimes clear and other times it's a head-on collision. I had a string of recent weeks where mileage was missed for various reasons - weather, mechanical issues, personal plans. Each time it happened I felt a little more stressed. Not guilty like last season, but stressed. The anxiety was crushing other things in my life and started to spill over to my friendships and relationships. My training became a burden to people I care about because I allowed it to be. Lying in bed wide awake at 1am on a Saturday night in tears I paused and took a huge step back.

I do this sport as a hobby, something for fun. Stress, anxiety, conflict and tears are not fun. The next morning was awful. I was exhausted, it was freezing outside and the wind was relentless. I spent the 2.5 or so hours I gutted out on the bike realizing I was no longer doing something I loved. I was doing something out of perceived obligation. I want to ride my bike. A lot. I want to do it because I love it and enjoy it, not because I feel I have to even when it's 45 degrees with 50mph wind gusts. I don't want the people I care about to feel affected by my need to log miles and I don't want to feel anxiety over missing those miles. I have plenty of real reasons for anxiety in my life so my hobbies should be an outlet, not a contributor.

I made a decision that day to change things. The Ironman is an incredible experience but I'm not willing to allow my life to be completely absorbed by it. I enjoy the challenge of training. It makes me feel strong, accomplished and capable. It forces me out of my comfort zone and reminds me that I'm alive. But it's not all I am. I see myself as an athlete, someone who is happiest when active and outdoors, but also someone who wants to be spontaneous and enjoy life. So I decided the rigid Ironman training structure just isn't for me. I had a long talk with my coach about taking a new approach with less obligation and more room for embracing the unexpected. I'm making some sacrifices to have this, including a ridiculously early wake-up on Wednesdays to complete my long run before the work day and long, solo rides on Friday so I can ride whatever distance, pace and intensity I feel like on the weekends. Or I can do something else on the weekends. I can pretty much do whatever will make me happy and that, to me, is living.

I tested out my more relaxed approach during a trip to Lake Placid last weekend. I wasn't up there to train, I was up there for vacation so I did whatever the day, the weather and the mood dictated. I felt incredibly free and was more relaxed than I've been in ages. It was magical.

I may arrive at the start line a little less prepared than I could be, but I want a life with more magic and less stress so whatever will be, will be. I've never felt better about a decision.

May 4, 2010

Fish On!

Life keeps zipping by and I'm finding less and less time for the blog. While I miss capturing my training experiences here, I don't miss obsessing over the training the way I did for my first Ironman. I posted awhile back how different the second time around feels and as time goes on, that feeling is amplified even more. I'm able to do the training, but I feel more able to balance it with the other parts of my life and that's an amazing thing.

So in the spirit of balance I had a really fun, really unique weekend. I headed down to southern Maryland to join 11 other women for a charter striped bass fishing trip on the Chesapeake. Not only have I never been fishing in this manner, but I've certainly never done anything like this with an all-female group. The women were all incredible, the type who embrace life and truly enjoy it. It was a refreshing change of pace and highly memorable. Particularly, I don't think I'll forget reeling in this 25+ pounder, at least until I empty my freezer and my arm quits hurting.

Before you think the only exercise I got involved lifting beers and reeling in fish, I did take my bike with me and got in a long ride on Friday in the Annapolis area. It was navigation hell so I spent a lot of time on the side of the road looking at Google Maps, but I got the miles in and that's all that matters. I would have gone longer, but when you waste over an hour navigating and have driven four hours to reach your riding destination, you have to roll with the punches.

I woke up bright and early Saturday for a 10-mile run pre-fishing. My legs were pretty fatigued from riding hard Thursday morning (my boyfriend always makes me ride harder than I would on my own!), sitting in the car half of Friday and then the long ride. But immediately I could tell it was going to be a good run and it ultimately turned out to be great. I negative split the miles from 4-10 and had my final two at 8:32 and 8:22 respectively. I was pain-free again and felt a huge sense of relief at the end. I'm really optimistic that I can get back to my normal running self with time.

Stay tuned for more fishing pictures and trust me, they are not to be missed!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...