Thursday, May 29, 2014

Chivalry is not dead!

Last week I started joining a group of cyclists on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for a 25 mile ride. I learned of this group through my friend BJ (who did the Oly with me) and through her Ironman friend who has been helping me with Open Water Swim.

I'm always nervous about group rides since I'm so poky on the bike, but I haven't been out on the roads since the Oly and I have got to get back at it! Augusta 70.3 is officially less than FOUR MONTHS away now!

I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly everyone in this group is and how they regroup and wait for each other. I've been particularly impressed with how the men stay around the group and don't blast on ahead, even though they are strong and fast cyclists.

But this morning I got to the park and there were no other women there. I knew my Ironman friend wouldn't be there because she has a 70.3 this weekend, but I was sure there would be one other lady there (who is a former homeschooler!). Instead, it was just me and 3 men. I considered going home and hitting the trainer - but they said that we would all stick together.

And stick together we did! One guy led the way and the other two rode behind me. They were very conscious of my pace and checked frequently at the stop signs if I was doing OK. They did push me a bit - first time ever I averaged 15 mph on the roads! And they never made me feel like I was holding them back. In fact, twice the group leader said something that led me to believe they would be going on ahead and when I said that I was good and they could go ahead) he said, "We're not going anywhere- this is a GROUP ride!" It was simply awesome!

These guys are older than I am by at least 10 years. I wonder if that plays a role in their attitude towards the group ride? Men closer to my age (or younger) seem to want to show off or "prove" themselves when they get on bicycles. LOL

Regardless of the reason, these guys are proof that chivalry is not dead. Or that they are just really nice guys! Either way, they blessed me today with a fantastic bike ride, and I am grateful!

Monday, May 26, 2014

The May Crazies are over!!

Wow, May has been such a crazy month - but it's just about over! Well, for me, my May commitments are done and I can turn my thinking to Augusta in just over 4 months! I think May was fantastic, though, and I managed the stress pretty well, I thought!

The hardest part of May for me was the recital. As it got closer, I got more nervous. Like really nervous. Really, really bad. I was unable to concentrate and I kept forgetting simple things. It was awful.

And then the day of the dress rehearsal arrived and I was such a mess. We practiced the finale first, and since our group was supposed to be the first one out and the lady who is ahead of me in the line had to work and would be late, that means that I was the first person out on the stage. I was such a mess. But I made it through!

So then there was a lot of time to wait around since our dance was one of the last ones.  This wasn't too bad because I was able to help my older daughter with some of her fast costume/hair changes. My class practiced our dance several times which helped the nerves a bit.

And then it was time. As I was waiting backstage, I recalled why I wanted to do this - because it scared me so much. I remember as a child that I used to perform in school plays and had a blast. But as I got older, stage fright started taking over and I would get this feeling like everything was going black - like my eyes were closing and I couldn't control it. It's hard to describe the exact feeling, but I can remember it like it was yesterday. I can even remember it happening while I was playing tennis one day as a teenager. So I just never put myself in that position anymore. It was so scary.

I was afraid that feeling would come over me again, but thankfully it didn't. I did get a different sort of feeling where my heart was racing and I was a little bit worried and my breathing started to get a bit fast. But then it dawned on me - that's exactly how I feel before the start of a race! What I'm feeling is adrenaline! Nothing more! And I know how to handle that: just breathe and relax and enjoy the moment!

And I did! I had a wonderful time (especially once I realized that I couldn't really see the audience anyway LOL) on the stage and our dance was SO much fun!

First tap recital!!

Now I understand why my daughters leave the dance recital wanting to take more and more classes! It's SO much fun! I'm not sure if I will be able to dance next year since my older daughter is joining a pre-professional ballet company which will require a lot of my time and money. But if it's possible, then I will definitely do it! I didn't get a medal or a t-shirt after the recital - but I did get applause! And that's something I never got after a race! LOL

For now, it's time to get ready for 70.3!! WOOHOO!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Welcome to May!

Yes, it's May already! It's hard to believe that the fifth month of the year is already upon us. In terms of my training/racing calendar, this month is "Recital Month"! In a mere 12 days, I will be dancing in my first ever dance recital. Am I ready? About as ready as I will ever be! My dancing queen daughters have been watching me during rehearsals and have provided ample amounts of constructive criticism. I will do my best to incorporate them into my performance, but mostly, I'm just going to have fun and do the best that I can! It will be a good opportunity to practice my "positive self talk"! :D

Last week after the triathlon I resumed some training at about half my typical volume. This week I am attempting to resume 75% of my volume but it's challenging due to all of the commitments we have going on these next two weeks. I will do the best I can, but I'm also going to try not to stress out about it. I am concerned about losing my base fitness, but there is nothing I can do about it right now. We are wrapping up school and the dance season and that takes priority. Once those things are done - then the time to get real about Half Ironman training will be here! WOOHOO!

Speaking of that training, I wish I could find a training plan that I like. I have printed off several free ones (not going to pay for one, thank you!) and I'm simply not thrilled with the looks of any of them. But I'm wondering if I'm off the ball a little bit. I don't see enough bricks - and certainly not enough long ones. But as I'm starting to read more, I'm finding that the longer bricks are not necessarily recommended because they can make you more prone to injury. That makes sense. But I was really thinking I would need to do a brick that was 75% of both the bike and the run distance to make me feel confident that I could do the race. I guess ultimately I'm going to have to pick a plan, and just trust it.

But first... I have to get my boogie on in the recital! ;)

One more little tidbit of training information - last Sunday I did another Open Water Swim practice! This time the temps of both the air and water were warmer, but I stuck it out with my wetsuit.  I also bought a Safer Swimmer Buoy to make me more visible in the water. I highly recommend one! I didn't even feel it in the water, and it kept my belongings safe and dry, and kept me visible to boaters and other swimmers.

This swim was much tougher. The winds were stronger which made for waves on the lake. And there were tons of boats out because the weather was so nice. The first trip around the buoys wasn't too bad. But the next trip, we were going out past the buoys and I simply couldn't make it. I felt bad for asking my Ironman swimming buddy to stop and turn around but the water was crashing in on my head and I felt like I wasn't making any progress. Going back was no problem. She told me how to handle the waves by keeping my head down and not fighting the water. I tried that the next time out to the buoys and it was much better! But goodness sakes, I was feeling a bit seasick! And that night my whole body felt like it had been beaten up! We ended up doing a little over a mile total, broken up into trips out to the the buoys. But it took a lot out of me!

I am glad to have had that experience - and glad that it wasn't BEFORE the race at West Point. I think I would have been freaked out. Also very glad that the waters were calm for my first Oly! However, I need to know how to swim in conditions like that, because all of my races aren't going to be in calm waters! :D So I am ready to tackle the waves again! And the next time, I will make it out past the buoys!

I will do my best to check in briefly these next two weeks, but you may also need to check my Facebook page in case that's all I have time to update! But soon it will be time to get real about my 70.3 and get into the REAL training! And you know I'll be sharing every single detail with you! (Probably more than you ever wanted to know! LOL)

Enjoy your training!!