This is an old picture, but it's one of my favorites. It's Lilac and I at South Mountain, having bombed down the last hill. It was one of those rare perfect days where the weather was great and we were both feeling awesome. It was actually not at the Moon Valley Grasshopper Bridge race, we just happened to be wearing the same t-shirt- which happens much more frequently than it should considering that we have about 30 race t-shirts in our rotation.
Of all of the things that we do together, South Mountain is one of my favorites. Whether we're walking leisurely, hiking hard, shuffling along in a run, sweating bullets in the heat, or standing at the outcrops looking at the gorgeous panaramas, it is a place that just feels good and uplifting. I've been running there for 5 or 6 years now, and it's always a challenge that makes me feel good afterward.
Today, I ran it by myself, and I challenged myself to run about 3 miles of the 4 mile loop I do there. For the record it's about 400 feet in elevation change up to the top. I got close and I worked my butt off. I sang out loud to my iPod to remind myself to stop holding my breath, and got some giggles out of other people hiking by me. It was another beautiful AZ morning. We've been so lucky this spring.
So why am I telling you this?
With all of the traveling I've bee doing, and the recent down turn in health again (if they could ever figure out what is wrong with me) I'm feeling exhausted pretty much all the time. You all know I haven't been training consistently since the 1/2 marathon. It's funny how whatever it is that's wrong works. If I'm not traveling, I can focus on my sleep schedule and my workout schedule and do amazing things (for me) like the half marathon. I can challenge myself and most of the time I feel ok. However, as soon as I start traveling, it messes up the amount of sleep that I get, and the wheels come off immediately. It takes so long to get them back on. I have been home for a full week, and I can NOT get my ass out of bed before 6am without starting to get sick feeling. It's the kind of tired that you can feel in your upper back and shoulders. I'm getting 11+ hours of sleep at night, and if it were any less, I wouldn't be able to function.
So what do I do? I know that the next two months are going to be non-stop travel. I know that I need my sleep to get through it. I also know that I'm putting weight back on at an alarming rate. I need to work out, but I just can't put two hours in every day.
I've decided that I'm going to train for an XTerra offroad triathlon. How does this make sense? I'll tell you.
1. It allows me to enjoy the activities I'm doing when I have the time to do them (read the South Mountain description above)
2. I can continue to ride my mountain bike, and not worry about the looming need for a road bike that I just know I'm going to hate.
3. Because it's a sprint distance, it allows me to get in some extra "short" workouts and not feel like I'm dropping the ball while training for a longer event.
4. It's more of a challenge physically, so even though some of my workouts will be shorter, they will be more intense.
5. It continues my goals to get outside more and do hill work.
6. It will allow me to stay sane and focused and not disgruntled about long training sessions that I just don't have time for right now.
There's one problem. I don't know how to ride my mountain bike on anything other than the pancake flat canals. However, Landis is offering a *free* mentor program, and I've been matched up with a hard core X-Terra girl - "Joanie". She has agreed to take me out on some baby rides, and teach me some of the technique to mountain bike riding.
I have to admit, it's the first time I've been excited about training since 1/2 was over.
So here's what I'm looking at. There's a PBR (Pabst(sp?) Blue Ribbon, not Professional Bull Riders like I thought) race at Papago in October. It's going to be my test race. That gives me 6 months to make myself and offroader. It will be the indicator for whether or not I'll be ready to do the XTerra Offroad Tri in Del Valle, CA next May. I think a year should be adequate to focus on, and challenge myself with a new skill.
What about my existing goals you ask?
If you recall at the beginning of January, I had 6 goals for 2009. They were:
1. Stay Healthy
2. Complete a 1/2 marathon (Check!)
3. Push hard at Tri for the Cure (mmmm, well I went...and pushed hard having done no training)
4. Take one for the team at Club Championships (I forgot Autam's wedding is the night before...)
5. Do all the Summer Series Races
6. Complete and olympic distance tri- Nathan's.
#1 is the key here. It said "This supersedes all other goals listed here. If I do nothing but Goal #1, it will be a successful year."
So I'm taking that, and modifying the list. The new list is:
1. Stay healthy
2. Complete a 1/2 marathon (check!)
3. Prove that a sprint is well within my abilities (check!)
4. Do a splash and dash this summer (I'll talk about this another day)
5. Do all the Summer Series Races
6. Do an offroad triathlon - PBR
Optional: Complete an olympic distance tri - I'm not taking it off yet. If I feel like the distances are manageable, I will go for it, but it's no longer the prize at the end of my race season.
*The first lesson in trail running is a short memory, and looking only one foot in front of you. If you try to take in the whole mountain, it kills your concentration.
I'm looking forward to training for it and chronicaling it!