Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A cold, a migraine, and a turkey....

No it's not the beginning of a joke....but it sure sounds like it could be. Last Thursday or maybe it was Tuesday of last week; yeah it was Tuesday. Ok, so last Tuesday, I met up with my boyfriend, Ed, ( I need a nickname for him) for a quick dinner at Panera. I was feeling a sore throat coming on so I ordered a bowl of soup and a hot tea. I love Panera;it's got to be one of my favorite "fast food" places. In any case, we had a good chat and dinner and parted our separate way for the night.

Thursday, Ed came over to watch some tv. Again, I wasn't feeling so great from my "cold". It was dinner time and we were both hungry...and I was craving more hot tea. I opened up my cabinet to discover nearly a whole box of tea in my cabinet, but it was a flavor I didn't care for. My sweet Ed jumped in the car and drove to the nearest grocery store for a tea flavor that was more suitable to my palate; in addition, he brought me back a bowl of Potbelly chili with a Sheila's Dream Bar....YUMMMM! What a guy!

While Ed worked most of the weekend, I attempted to find something to wear for my 20th year HS Reunion (this Saturday). 5 hours later---no luck. I just don't get some of these fashions today (sorry not into ruffles or moo moo dresses). I just wanted something simple, and classy. Is that too hard to ask for? Anyway, the one thing I did accomplish was buying all my fixin's for Thanksgiving dinner.

Last night, I chopped and diced and prepared a few items in advance for Turkey day. Today, I got out of bed hacking up all sorts of gross and unmentionable stuff--yep, still got the cold. Went to work and had to call it quits by about 2:30ish. I felt a headache coming on. Ok, so most people would scoff that I took off early for just a headache...but here is the thing, I just don't get headaches; 9 out of 10 times it becomes a migraine. Plus in my defense, it was slow and more importantly I'm my own boss; I can do it.

I jumped in my car and headed home (a whole 8 minutes of travel time--no I'm not kidding). As soon as I got home I jumped into bed forgetting to take any Excedrin migraine pills. I called Ed and told him of my predicament. He knew what to expect and said he would be over in 45 minutes. By the time he arrived, I was on my way to migraine status. He retrieved my pills and some water for me to down. He then retreated to the other room to give me some peace and quiet and promised to check in on me in another 45 minutes.

My head was throbbing and I was feeling nauseated....HELLO MIGRAINE! Ed came into my bedroom just in time to see me throwing the covers off myself as I was breathing rapidly and sweating profusely. He quickly ran into the bathroom, wet a towel with cold water, came back with it and placed it on my throbbing forehead. As he kept replacing the towels with new ones, he was coaching me to "breathe through it". Although, easier said than done, it helped tremendously. Wave #1 passed and I laid my aching head back down on my pillow. Again, Ed retreated to leave me in peace and said he would be back.

Who knows how many minutes later but Wave #2 hit and more viscous than the first. Ed was there again with cold towels in hand and a waste basket in the other and calmly telling me to breathe through it. I did. I laid my head back down and said ok this one has passed. I think I fell asleep at that point. Woke up, maybe an hour later?

Ed was watching tv down stairs with the volume so low as to not to disturb me; in fact, I don't think a mouse could have heard it. I was feeling better and hungry... a good sign. He was famished. With the pain nearly gone, I started to worry about picking up the turkey that was reserved for me. Ed gave me a big hug and said, "Sweetie, let's worry about you first, we'll get the turkey later." So he ran out to Panera for dinner for us and came back with soup and 1/2 sandwich for me. Ahhh that hit the spot.

With full bellies we watched Boston Legal (from Monday night). That was a funny episode--what a dysfunctional Turkey dinner. Not sure I would have survived that. (Basically, if you don't watch the show...just imagine a group of lawyers who love to hear themselves talk and give their opinion about the most controversial topics sitting down for what is suppose to be a "nice" turkey dinner.)

We then took off to Whole Foods to pick up my awaiting turkey. A 15.9 pounder! It's now sitting in my fridge cleaned and ready to be brined and bagged in the a.m.

So there it is a cold, a migraine and a turkey....if it weren't for my Eddie, things would have been a lot rougher this week. I am thankful for having such a wonderful guy in my life.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Good Luck IronSnoopy and Moose!

Here's a big shout out to IronSnoopy and Moose. Good Luck in IMAZ...I pray the weather will be perfect and you guys have the time of your lives splashing, pedaling, and dashing to the the finish line. When things get hard, and they will...just dig deep and know that you can do it! We'll be watching your progress here in Chicago. Best of luck to the both of you!

Monday, November 17, 2008

The fog has lifted...

After my last post, I dedicated this last week to clearing my head and coming up with an off-season plan for myself. The question was...what do I do for the next 12 weeks before my official out-season plan begins (not to be confused with the off-season). I tried to listened to my fellow tri-friends and I even received a video answer from my EN coach. But somehow, my mind was still foggy and confused; I didn't think anyone one was really getting to the bottom line. But it turns out I don't think I was listening; I was hearing what everyone was telling me but I wasn't listening.

The problems are this... 1) It's been so0000 frickin long since I "trained"for anything. 2) Many triathletes are starting their race plans now or very soon--their races are scheduled earlier in the year (June-Aug). 3) I've been feeling like an absolute bum with no clear direction on how much to exercise, or what to focus on (bike, run, swim, strength, flexibility, drills??).

After watching the video answer Coach Rich (Endurance Nation) prepared for me, I was left bewildered. Ok....I realized that starting too soon with the hard training regiments was not a good idea but still no on one was helping me with "What do I do for the next 12 weeks." As I sat there pondering the thought, my boyfriend asked what was wrong. I explained and he said with a simple but yet very logical answer, "Why don't you just do what you normally do for exercise before you started training for triathlons." Hmmm. I shrugged and thought "maybe". At this point, it still did not sink in.

Last night I had dinner with Waddler. We talked of training...like we always do. I asked her again..."What do I do for 12 weeks?" She gave me some suggestions. Slowly but surely, it was starting to sink in.

I went home and drafted up a plan...I decided to throw in a "pinch" of this and a dash of "that" and wouldn't you know it, I came up with my game plan. I was over complicating things way too much. Do you remember that old saying...KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid! Basically, everyone was telling me not to over train now (the hard stuff will come later) and just focus on becoming more fit, more efficient, and to enjoy this time off from an "official training" regiment.

So with that said, here it is:

Monday: W1-Walk/Run Intervals W2- Swim Drills
Tuesday: Hard Bike (Intervals) or Spin class
Wednesday: Run
Thursday: Strength and Core Training
Friday: Off or yoga
Saturday: Long Bike
Sunday: Whatever I feel like doing.

I haven't put specific times on to any of the activities, I'm hoping that will work itself out along the way. This plan is certainly not set in stone...so we'll see how it works out.

...splashing, pedaling, dashing through the next 12 off-season weeks.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What do I do for 12 weeks?

Ok, after months of trying to decide on a training plan for completing a full distance, I've decided on one. I chose to follow the Endurance Nation (EN) plans. They have an unique and and unconventional approach for endurance triathlon training. I'm up for something new...but anyway, more about this plan in a later post.

Here's my issue right now. My EN plan should begin the first week of February which means I have 12 weeks before I actually should start my training plan (assuming that I can register for a full-distance race scheduled for Nov 7, 2009). I am so anxious to start a plan since it's been months since my last race (Steelhead 70.3/Aug 1, 2008) and I don't feel like I have done anything productive with my training since then. My EN training partners urge me to take this time off to re-group and take it easy with the workouts; once the training begins it's going to be hard work. But I've been in that "state" for 3 months already. I'm getting restless to say the least but I also don't want to jeopardize my physical and mental state by burning out when the real training period is in full swing.

What are my options here? 12 weeks...12 looooong weeks! I'm afraid without a plan, I will flounder like a fish out of water.

Revisit goals:

Pick a quality training plan: Done.

Lose extra poundage: Well, that's not going to happen over night but I can focus the next 12 weeks on working towards losing some body fat/weight. But how do I do that without compromising my future training?

Work on skills: Definitely do-able in the next 12 week period. I own a copy of the Total Immersion Swim instructions (I bought for a friend; friend never used it and gave it back). Time to sharpen up my swim skills. I can also work on some bike drills as specified by my training plan. Finally, I've learned of a new run technique (at least new to me); I need to learn it and as well as build up to a distance of 5k and feel comfortable with the new technique.

Water: A day to day thing. I just read today that the Biggest Loser Coach suggests to hydrate with a 100 oz/day. Wow, I don't think I'm any where close to that! Maybe I need to make a diary of water intake. Yep, that would make me more honest.

My goal for this week is to devise a solid workout plan that will help me lose some BF/weight without comprising my long term training, and that will focus on skill training for all three sports. Lastly, I will keep a diary of water intake for the week.

Ok, there it is. Hopefully, within a few days this Shark won't be floundering any longer.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thanks for the warm welcome!

Thanks for the warm welcome and comments.  It 's nice to know people I don't even know are supporting me and rooting me on!  Thanks a bunch.  I'll certainly be rooting you on as well.  I look forward to a great training/race season with my online friends. 

Thanks also, for the comments on my header!  I had fun making it; it just came so easy for me...my bike was a huge inspiration.  

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My first post. Hmmm....where to even start? First off, I'll blame Waddler and IronSnoopy for getting me interested in blogging and more important into long-distance triathlons. In both 2006 and 2007, I had completed one sprint women's triathlon. In 2008, I completed one sprint and one Half Ironman (Steelhead/Benton Harbor MI) race. Yeah, I know....what happened to the Olympic distance in between? Waddler! She's a great motivator and inspiration but sometimes forgets how to take baby steps....and I, well, I go along with her. I've got to admit, if it wasn't for Waddler I wouldn't be sitting here in Wilmington NC this weekend as a spectator and volunteer for the Beach2Battleship Full and Half distance triathlon races.

We've traveled from Chicago to help, to cheer, to watch, to get inspired, to get motivated, to learn, and to envision ourselves crossing the finish line of the full distance race in 2009. What a lofty goal...and some say very crazy! Yes, we might be crazy to think that we could be among these athletes...these amazing individuals who have dedicated so much time, energy and money; who overcome the physical and mental obstacles of what it takes to become an endurance athlete.

Today I witnessed athletes of young and old and of all shapes and sizes from lean and muscular to roly-poly to athletes with special needs embark on a day long endurance feat. But what is even more impressive and what many people forget or don't see is the endless hours of dedication spent training to get to this day. I remember what it was like training for my Half Ironman; and like so many athletes I spent many hours swimming, biking, and running so that I could put it all together for race day. I remember all the emotions and feelings I had that day including the excitement and the nervousness at the start of the race, the mental anguish and the physical pain of the sport as well as the enormous relief and the complete joy of crossing the finish line. It was hard; it was really hard...but I learned so much. I know I can do it again and I know I can do better.
However, I know I have some limitations/obstacles:

1. I'm slow. I'm a slow biker and a slow runner (my swim is reasonable decent). In 2008, I usually average 15-16 mph on the bike and run at a 10:30-11:00 pace.
2. I'm carrying too many pounds for my frame. I am 5'3" and weigh 149 lbs; and have 29% body fat.
3. I've never ran more than 13 miles or biked more than 80 miles.
4. I have an IT band problem --that causes my knee to hurt after so many miles of biking or running.

Watching the Beach2Battleship race, I am inspired to become an endurance athlete for a full distance race...however, inspiration does not stand alone. I need reasonable and attainable goals. For my 2009 Triathlon season, here are my goals:

1. To follow a triathlon plan that will dramatically help me to become a faster and more efficient swimmer, bicyclist and runner.
2. To lose 5-8% body fat by eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, and a proportionate amount of complex carbs and lean proteins that compliment my training schedule.
3. To train in the off-season with a heavy concentration of interval training for the bike and run as well as drill/technique workouts for the swim (includes bi-lateral swimming).
4. To drink an ample amount of water each and every day.
5. To use my foam roller every day (5-15 min) as well as to perform specific exercises/stretch that will reduce and eliminate the pain in my knee from IT Band issues.
6. To perform core exercises in order to strengthen my abdominal and back muscles.
7. To compete in at least one sprint, one Olympic distance, one half distance and one full distance triathlon in 2009. With each distance, my goal is to race to the best of my ability, to follow my nutrition plan, to run with little or no walking, and to complete each race with a PR.
8. To enjoy the training season and have fun during the race.

And so it begins.....splashing, pedaling, dashing to become an endurance athlete!