Running On The Way to Ironman

Lately I feel like this blog should be called Running On The Way to Ironman, because that’s really what I’m doing and writing about. Though you wouldn’t know it from the blog, I’ve been swimming and biking too, just not as much and not with as the same kind of heart.

I swim 2x per week and have been focused solely on technique and form. Being an adult swimmer I didn’t maintain excellent form from childhood lessons, so I have a lot to relearn. My body adapts well to form sports so if I can force myself through it I know I’ll get it, but after 16 years of favoring one side of my body in gymnastics it’s a true challenge to get my weak or “other” side up to speed in strength and coordination. Right now I can feel the imbalance but I can coordinate my body to correct it once out of every three or four strokes. These days my swim recaps would be something like, Swimming is still hard, but I feel less uncoordinated breathing on both sides than I did last week. However, when I try to swim fast I feel like I’m actually swimming slower and creating more drag. And I still feel like I’m sinking when I try to leave 1 second to glide between strokes., so not very inspiring. And that’s pretty much how every Monday and Friday go.

I’ve been cycling 1-2x per week, but since it’s winter in Seattle it’s all indoors. Meaning those recaps would be even less exciting and intriguing than mornings at the pool. Swimming always has the entertainment of other swimmers, like you never know whether Mr. Snorkel will end up in your lane or the one next to you, but you can always guarantee he’ll run into you! Cycling on a trainer in a cement box (aka gym) doesn’t hold the same potential for delight. That aside, I truly do feel like I’m making gains on the bike. But the most I can really articulate is that intervals aren’t as hard and my legs keep strength and power for long enough for me to get my heart rate higher. I feel like I’m spinning through my sessions with gallons of sweat but not much strain, and what used to feel like an eternity now feels like what it is: only 70 minutes.

And then there’s the running. My heart. Le sigh. Last spring and summer were hard for me. Runless months peppered with painful runs, hope, and disappointment. Then working to regain everything I lost, just in time for triathlon season to be over. I actually didn’t realize how hard it was for me until I got it back, but I’m back, and it’s back, and I feel like I’m succeeding more than I would have guessed, even had I trained to run all summer. And for all the repetition in my swimming and biking just to make minuscule progress (like to feel what I’m doing wrong, we won’t even talk about fixing it yet), I smile at the tiniest reminder of my newly added running chapter.

I will probably continue to indulge myself in writing primarily about my running for now. Once I get some new killer workouts, get back on the roads to cycle, or back in the lake to swim I’m sure the tables will be turned. My heart actually does love following the rules, knocking out intervals, crossing sets off the list, and counting a rest interval to a painful but precise amount. But, running frees it like swimming in a pool or biking on a trainer never will. So I plan to celebrate that I can run, now that I really can.

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