Saturday, March 21, 2009

Feeling Alive

Today is the first day that I actually felt good working out. I biked on the stationary for an hour, and finally felt like my fourth and fifth gears are back. When I finished, I walked back down to the lockerroom to grab my stuff, and I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and ability. I am healthy, and lucky to be able to go to such a great gym whenever I want.

I walked outside, and it was absolutely beautiful out. Windows down weather for sure. Blue skies, flowers out, gorgeous breeze. I felt so alive and glad that I live in a city that lets me feel that way six+ months out of the year - as opposed to 6 days, if some are lucky.

We found a beautiful home, put an offer in, and are going to close on Tuesday. We have a 10 day escrow period, because some of the short sale paperwork was going to expire, and I've been out of town for 5 of them, so it's been just a little frantic. Still - with all of the people in this country losing their jobs, struggling, losing their homes, the things they've worked so hard for - I'm extremely lucky to be able to buy a gorgeous home way under price, at a very low interest rate, in a neighborhood way above where I expected to be. I'm lucky that I can pay for all of my new appliances with cash, that the government is giving us our down payment back to stimulate the economy.

I'm lucky that I'm so in love and so aligned with J, and that we have the same path ahead of us.

I'm feeling absolutely alive, lucky beyond belief, and truly happy.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hill Heaven

Yes, I'm certain that at some point in the hot Phoenix summer, I'll be posting a "Hill Hell" blog. But not today!

Sunday, Lilac and I (ok I) decided to go exploring at South Mountain. Our (my) goal was to find a good long decent hill that was neither too rocky, nor too sandy that we could use for our summer hill work. We explored different trails and found lots of washes that were really rocky - just spells disaster - or were short, but none that were Goldilocks 'just right'. Then we went back to our staple National trail, and decided to use a section that is rolling hills, and finish it with short but intense hill.

It was an absolutely beautiful day. Just slightly chilly, so that it felt perfect when we were running. It was green, we saw a coyote, it was just a beautiful day. The best part was that I felt good doing 'sprints' in th hills. It was the first day since I've been sick that my lungs didn't completely collapse on me. My knee hurts today, but I think it just needs to get used to running the trails again, versus hiking them. My initial early season version II times? 2:27 through the rolling hill section, 0:46 for the longer portion of the last hill, and 0:11 for the short part of the last hill. We'll see how that improves.

I think that after training for the half, I need to change my focus a little. Now I know I can go somewhat long, and I can build on that, but I want to work on my explosiveness and speed - primarily because with all this travel, I will probably be doing more short workouts. Might as well make the most of them, right?

I feel confident that the short stuff will help me with my Summer Series goals, give me some incentive to push through this funk, and keep me from dwelling/dreading? the training for an Olympic Tri at the end of the season. I don't have to think about September right now. I just have to think about short effective workouts and I can take a mental break from 3 hours on the treadmill.

We'll see how it goes. Did anyone notice that I actually am trying something new, without being forced into it? It could become a habit! (Yeah right)

Saturday, March 7, 2009


First - Thanks Lady Tiara, for your positive post to my last message. I can't tell you how much that helped me work through my funk. It's still a work in progress, but I read several blogs this week that reiterated that I need to take care of myself, focus on the long term goals, and have faith in the process.

Gotta love a good 4.13 mile week. Sheesh. It wasn't so long ago that 4.13 was just my warmup hour. And it felt easy. And I enjoyed it. I guess at least now I know it's possible to feel that way, and I can get there again. I went for a beautiful and easy bike ride last Saturday - the weather is absolutely perfect right now - took Sunday off, swam Monday (more seasickness), tried to run Tuesday afternoon but gave up after my stomach revolted, took Wednesday off (which was the plan all along, to slowly get back to active) biked Thursday, and took Friday off. I just got back from a short two loop run around the bike park.

The interesting thing is that both my Thursday bike and this morning's run were not far off my previous fitness according to my graphs. The problem is that they felt like herculean efforts. I just feel like there's no energy in my legs - I think a single line of lunges would be the death of me right now - and my lungs are seriously "scarred" from this cold. I haven't felt my lungs like this since I was a wheezy out of shape kid trying to do the mile in gym class. I guess it's a good reminder that they are there, and maybe I've been taking them for granted.

As always, the hardest part of balancing multi-sport with life for me is adjusting my expectations. Tri for the Cure is 43 days away, and I went from wanting to really push hard and PRing to not feeling confident that I will actually be able to finish it. Notice there's no countdown clock up for it. I think it would push me over the edge. Sounds stupid, I know, but I've really lost that much fitness in the last few weeks. It certainly doesn't help that I'll be traveling for the next 3 or 4 weeks. I acknowledge that I feel that fear right now, but I have to take care of myself, focus on the long term goals, and have faith in the process.

Taking Care of Myself
Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Maybe forcing me to start my season slow will let me build to a successful olympic distance race at the end of the year. Maybe by traveling and taking more rest time, and doing some shorter workouts I'll actually wind up with a better healthy base for when I want to kick it up later in the season. Maybe doing some shorter work will give me the incentive to continue working out outside, fit some hill work in, and make me feel like I CAN workout when I'm traveling, because I'm only expecting 45 minutes or so from myself. Maybe that's not so bad. Maybe I'll look back at this time of frustration and think that it was the best thing that could have happened to me. Maybe I'll get over getting pissed every time Lilacs tells me I need to rest and take care of myself, and reminds me that I promised I would listen to my body.

Focus on Long Term Goals
Ice Cube - You Can Do It, Put Your Back Into It - yes I actually still listen to this song. It's a great warmup song. There's always one line that reminds me of my REAL goals - like an athlete, life ain't a track meet, it's a marathon... well damnit, don't I keep writing and telling myself that I want to be healthy for the long term. Yes I do. I know you're sick of hearing about it. So why can't I remember that when I'm pissed that I'm hacking up a lung 5 minutes into a run, or that I'm sitting at 85 rpm on the bike at level 5, and I just can't get my legs to move faster? Pespective. I need some.

It's spring. The weather is perfect, and will be for another week or so. I want to feel GOOD when I'm working out so that I can enjoy it! All summer I'll be thinking about how nice the weather was... except I won't remember any great moments, because I'll just remember dying trying to run for 5 minutes at a time. Races are starting, and I'm itching to get into shape so that I can start racing. I feel like I'm way behind my expectations of where I should be right now, and I'm struggling with - you guessed it - adjusting my expectations. I will get there. I know I will. I'll die before I'll DNF at Tri for the Cure. If I can get run off the road by a car on the way to Chances, and finish that race with a two knee caps on one torn up leg, then I can finish Tri for the Cure just being out of shape. Is it what I wanted? No. Will it be just as great of an experience for me, because I'm coming back from illness? Especially with those cute new princess skirts from Yes. Maybe even more so, because it's another year that I've continued to attempt to be healthy.

Have Faith in the Process
Anyone who knows me, or read about the "alleged" ping pong paddle incident knows that I'm not at all religious. So I'm not talking about Faith that God will lead me on the path to greatness and a gold medal at the Olympics. My faith is more about trusting myself. Trust is not a natural tendency of mine, and even trusting myself can be hard. Yes, I have read thousands of articles about training, and I have found a way to train that mostly keeps me injury and illness free. But what if it's not right? What if it's not enough? What if I can't prepare enough to do an Olympic distance tri this year? What if I start riding my mountain bike on places other than the canal and I break my arm and I'm out for months? What if I become a total bum with all of this travel? What if I can't balance it all and I get sick again? Sadly each of these things has crossed my mind. I need to learn to trust myself, and my body, and be willing to adjust my short term goals to maintain my long term goals. I can do this. I can have faith in the process.

Random notes:
- Did some shopping, and felt good with everything that I put on, so that's always a subtle bonus.
- Word from the bank this week is that they are not even going to LOOK at our offer for another 60 - 90 days. I guess it just gives us more time to save and plan. Nothing wrong with that.
- I'll be in lovely Albuquerque this week for work.

Thanks for listening. I'm getting my head wrapped around my frustration and itchiness to get where I need to go.