Monday, February 25, 2013

Knowing Your Limits

Some days I feel like this...

And as cute as Baby Leo is in this video, he obviously is not listening to his body tell him he needs to take a nap!

On Friday we were scheduled to have a swim, run, strength, bike, swim. At 3:20 I began my journey over to the pool to participate in the swim that was set to start at 3:30. For all those who know me, me heading over at 3:20 is practically the same as me being there fifteen minutes late. Not to mention I wasn't even in my swim suit yet! But I made my way over, changed into my swimsuit, got my equipment bag out of the bin and then made my way over to the hot tub. And there I sat for the next 20 minutes deliberating whether or not I was actually going to get into the pool. Sitting in the hottub gives you a lot of ponder time where I questioned whether this swim was going to make me better. Ultimately I decided that swimming that extra 2500 meters (I was actually planning on doing quite a bit less than that to begin with)  definitely wasn't going to make me better, and although it may not hurt me either it wasn't worth it for me.

I think it is so important to listen to your body and mind and know when either needs a break. I'm not saying to do this all the time, because let's be real there are few actual days where I am running to jump into the pool in the mornings and if I listened to my mind all those times I'd be a pretty crummy swimmer. However, some days it is important to know your limits. Rather than swim I allowed my body to recover. I went to the recovery center and did Normatek which in the long run was probably more worthwhile for me.

This past week was one of my hardest and longest weeks since being out here at the training center. By the end of the week I had completed 23.5 hours of training, and that doesn't include strength, core or recovery time. Throughout the week there were multiple times when I had to make the decision for myself on how much to do. This can be especially hard when you see athletes around you doing more or higher intensity. Being here it has been key for me to always keep in mind who I am as an athlete and what my goals are. Over the years I've found out what works for me and what doesn't work me. I know the days I need to go hard to make it count (and some of these days I have to fight through) but when it comes down to some of the optional workouts I realize every now and again it's ok to opt out! As Coach Fox used to tell me, you can't lose fitness in a day! So some days rather than press on, just take the much needed nap!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

First Oxygen Deprived 5k

Last week on February 9th, I did my first road race of the season. Not only was it my first race but it was also my first race in Colorado and more importantly my first race at altitude. In the morning four of us, Chelsea, Alex, John and I began our journey to Castle Rock, Colorado which is about 45 minutes North of the Springs to participate in the Freeze Your Buns Off 5k! It was fun going to a race with our small little team! It reminded me of trips in college taking the vans to races and such.
Pre-race smiles, and then warming up to get ready to go because it really was a chilly day!
 Being the poor triathletes we are we contacted the race director ahead of time asking if there was a possibility of a discount and therefore they knew we were coming. The race director was kind enough to discount the price for us and he also made sure that everyone at the race knew that we were all triathletes from the training center (no pressure). We were also lucky enough to have Alex’s coach Trista Francis there for support! (Trista is also the one who provided the pictures, thanks!)
The race day crew, left to right John, Trista (Alex's coach), Alex, Me and Chelsea
It’s funny because going into the race I had decided there was no way I was racing this hard, and that I would just build into it taking it more like a workout. But no, the gun goes off and what do I do? Start very hard. To describe my first race at altitude I would have to say it was not exactly a pleasurable experience, in that it never felt good. I knew I was running a very hard effort, but speed wise felt like I was tempo-ing and could go no harder. There also was a cramp at some point, and though it in no way affected my race I am wondering if it had anything to do with lack of oxygen. The course was pretty challenging with some hills and sharp turns, but I blame most of how I felt on the altitude (although it could have also been the fact I haven’t raced since the ManCave 5k at the beginning of December). And yes I know, I am really milking this altitude thing for all it is worth.
Us with the blingage! Yay!
In the end though, the triathletes prevailed and we went 1, 2, 3 and 4 in the race which was a bit of a relief after being spotlighted. We even were given multiple medals, woot woot! And ultimately, about an hour after the race, I was happy that I did it. It shook off the cobwebs a bit and it definitely was a good workout. Not to mention that it was so neat how people responded to us being there. Many were interested in who we were, where we were from, etc. One little girl's mom came up to us asking if her daughter could get a picture with us. The girl who is five had just done the 5k and had dragged her mom out of bed to make sure that they were doing it. There was another little girl who asked us to sign her t-shirt for her who has been competing in triathlons for a few years now and I can’t imagine her being older than ten or so. I was so flattered  and honored that these young girls saw us as role models.
First autograph! So humbled and really hope it means something one day!
I was  also so impressed by their drive that they already have in sport but also how much they both enjoy it! As my dad always tells me before races “Run hard, have fun and tie your shoes tight”. He puts it so simply and each time he says it it reminds me why I really do triathlons/running. It’s because I enjoy it. I enjoy the training, the competition, the people, the environment, the challenge, the drive to be better than the last time, the learning and so much more. Not every race feels great (exhibit A, this one) but in the end it’s a good time, even if you don’t get the time you want or the place. It gives you something to strive for in the next one and there’s always a silver lining to all races good or bad. In lieu of all the Michael Jordan publicity (Happy Birthday by the way) “Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game”. 
Me and my dad after the Cazenovia Triathlon.
Race results:
Race pictures from:!/pages/iTz-Multisport-Endurance-Coaching/186791633271

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Picture Book Rhyme Time

Every morning I wake up to this beautiful view...
making my bed and getting things together is the first thing I do...
then I head to one of the most critical places of my day...
the dining hall where I pick an assortment of foods from the array...
I then head to the pool for practice at 7:15,
and jump into the water that is so pristine!
and then back to the dining hall again where...
followed by a run, which could be in a few different places (Bear Creek, Cheyenne Mtn, etc) depending on our fates... 
after the run we usually want to collapse on the ground,
but then we hop on our bikes to continue for the third round,
by this time of the day I'm ready for some aid in the recovery center...
a location where I may also see my roommate enter...
finally it is time for those last hours to be spent back in the dining hall,
then upstairs I go to plop down on the couch until I hear my pillow call,
which is often not too long after the sun has set behind the mountains for the night,
Because it won't be long before I'm up again in the morning before it's bright.
**Please note there were many more visits to the dining hall than actually captured on camera ;)