Tag Archives: Normal People

(Training and Normal) Life is Good

I’ve been terrible about keeping up with this blog, mostly because I know that almost no one can – or does – read it. I like to think that’s due to the privacy settings I have set up for the time being and not that I’m totally lame. Fingers crossed that’s all settled soon so I can really get to the bottom of this.

In the meantime sometimes I feel like OMG SO MUCH HAS CHANGED since I updated the Internet about my training progress every few days. Other time I feel like there’s nothing to talk about because it ranges from similar to the exact same every.single.day. I love the schedule and repetition in my life, but know, and am cool with the fact, that not everyone cares. I love working hard to achieve gains that only I notice. I love proving to myself that hard work pays off.

Training friends, normal life friends, and family ask, “So how are you? How are things going?” And I feel like I don’t have a reply. Things are calmly perfect. There are actually very few ways that they could be any better, really. I’ll take a winning lottery ticket any day, but outside of that I’m at a loss as to how life could be better than it is. I don’t have a lot to talk about.

I’m chipping away at training very well. After every single swim, bike, or run, I wish I had done better or been stronger. But when you add it all up? I have gotten better and stronger. A lot better and stronger, in fact. I question less, I work harder, and I recover more effectively. My new coach and team is exactly what I needed this year. My hours and fitness are up and my fatigue is down. Win/win.

I love my job. It isn’t really work to me, but rather it’s what I want to be doing during the hours where no one will swim/bike/run/drink wine with me. Of course there are days that I would rather sleep than wake up at 5am to fit everything into my day, but 99.9% of days are awesome and there really isn’t much that I would rather be doing from 9-5. And then there’s the fact that my colleagues WILL actually swim, bike, and run with me.

My best friend/husband/tri sherpa/the-most-wonderful-person-on-the-planet and I just got lucky and found our dream home. And then we purchased and moved in to it. It’s a lot of work, but we knew that and are okay with it because we get to live here for forever if we want to. It was a hellacious process to get the house and be where we are, and I swore up and down that I’d NEVER FORGET HOW TERRIBLE IT WAS, but dare I admit that I’m starting to?

My friends and family are healthy and happy and life is good. What else matters? Oh. I’m drinking a really awesome glass of wine right now while I watch the sunset’s reflection in the lake.

So. Things are pretty rad.

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Aging Up

Today is my birthday, and in the amateur sporting world of running and triathlon it’s a big one. Though I only turn 29, based on the timing of my birthday I will from this point forward be aged up into the 30-34 age group.

Eeeeek!

The 25-29-ers are fast and fierce, don’t get me wrong. They feel and look friendly, kind, and caring, but out of nowhere athletes will in essence eat you up and spit you out. But in a friendly way. They’re there to compete, but there’s an air of compassion and we’re-all-in-this-together-ness. Athletes are there to race, but against the clock, the course, and themselves. All season long this year, at the start of every race, I watched those 30-34’s and thanked goodness that I was still in the 25-29 group.

The 30-34’s look more hardcore. They’re geared up. They know what they’re doing. They line up, size each other up, and are ready to go. There are fewer athletes that are new to the sport – it ain’t their first rodeo – and they look more confident, calculated, and dialed. They chat and smile and wish each other luck, but it looks to be surface. The 30-34’s are there to race too, but against EACH OTHER.

Next time I pin on a bib I’ll be racing among athletes who are older than me, but in triathlon age is (to a certain point) a virtue. My set of competition will be more experienced and they’ll have more years of endurance build up under their race belts. And there will be more of them! The 30-35 in women’s triathlon is one of the more popular female age groups so the swim start is large and the field is wide. I’m worried that I’ll be intimidated. I picture the swim start at Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3, lined with fellow-colored swim caps, and wanting to turn around and walk back ashore.

Not that I don’t usually feel that way but…

The upside is that I have about 10+ months until I race an Ironman again, and when I do (assuming I race Canada) my age group will have not only double Kona slots but more to start with due to the age 30-34 participation ratio. Another upside? In an Ironman every last athlete starts together so I can seed myself in the chaos or on the fray depending on how I feel; no matter what I’m up against 2,800 people for the first 1:00:00-1:30:00. And I’m not a competitor in road races, plus there’s no violence like in a swim start, so the worst thing that happens is I get crushed (in performance) in NYC. But unless your name is Kara Goucher that’s pretty much a guarantee, meaning I’m used to it and unafraid. However in triathlon I’m generally average enough at everything and not terrible at anything  so I perform and place decently; every second I spend swimming rather than getting beat up counts!

Another upside… when I actually turn 30 it will feel like a nothing birthday because I will have already endured the worst part: aging up. 🙂

On a more serious and sap-tastic upside note though, I’m about 800 miles from home, my husband, my family and friends, and I’ve never felt so loved. Riding into San Francisco in the back seat of a cab I was reading birthday wishes from so many people and I’ve never felt more satisfied with my life. I never imagined that I’d be right here, right now, but the details of my life are exactly how I always wanted my adult life to be but didn’t know was possible. As a 12, 15, 17, or even 22 years old if you’d have told me this would be my life I’d have responded:

Living in Seattle? Maybe. Seattle’s cool.

Married to my best friend at 27? I’m too selfish to conceptualize what that means. Or I was… until I fell…

A Boston Marathoner and Ironman? HAHAHA. I HATE RUNNING SOOOOO MUCH.

Working at a full-time job that isn’t work because you believe in the purpose? I wish! But since I don’t feel that strongly about anything other than exercising I doubt it. Unless someone will give me a salary for elliptical-ing!!

But when I string it together right now my life is just as me as when I was 12, 15, 17, 22, or 25. The things that have always been common, that are unchanged with age and experience because they are inherently who I am, are thriving right now because I’m living the life that I always wanted but never knew specifically existed. I’m 29, and I’m truly happier and more myself than I ever remember having been.

I hope for many things, but when I blow out the proverbial candles tonight I will wish for this feeling to recur on every birthday for forever. Life. Is. Good.

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Thank You’s

Ok, one more post before I post my recap. It’s written, so promise I’ll put it out there soon!

But before I recap my day I want to thank a lot of people. It feels corny and self-important to me to profess my thanks to people who may only moderately care that I did an Ironman, on the Internet no less. But in the simplest terms I want all of these people to know that in some way or another they made IMC possible for me. That I thought of all of them while I was out there. And in a few cases, they’re why I held it together and hurried back in to town as quickly as my broken stomach and tired legs would carry me.

Training Friends

Not one person in my usual cycling and running circle was racing Ironman Canada, nonetheless I’d receive texts and emails from them every week asking what the weekend’s workout was. They’d meet me for whatever portion of my day they could schedule in and let me complain about how long my long days were, as well as that my short days weren’t long enough. Through injury, the crash, and life I never doubted myself while training with them; it turns out their confidence in me rubbed off. Thank you for long rides, longer rides, and the longest ones as well. There’s probably no one that gets what this took better than you.

Coworkers Past & Present

Luckily I have an extremely understanding and supportive employer who cheered me on every single day leading up to IMC. I cannot imagine putting in those kinds of training hours without having the support of my workplace to slip out for a lunchtime, and don’t want to imagine not having people to talk to who understand the ups and downs. Luckily I’ve also had colleagues who are supportive in the past – in fact one of them was who put me on this crazy roller coaster. Thank you for not telling me how tired I look, and for putting up with my monopoly on the women’s shower. Thank you for a wonderful, inspiring, and supportive send off. And thanks for planting the Ironman seed in my mind.

Coach

I’d like to think that I’m a low maintenance athlete, but I suspect alas I am not. I might not analyze everything entirely to death, but I like to analyze it at least all the way to the ICU where it may or may not be revived. Thank you for your patience, direction, and leadership. Thank you for understanding how important this was, is, and will continue to be to me. Thanks for pushing me. And keep at that last one, please. We’re not done yet.

Friends & Family

Ironman is sort of a crazy thing to try to explain to loved ones. “You’re doing what?! All in one day?!” But everyone that I know was amazingly interested, and though it can be hard to understand an IM everyone was encouraging and immediately believed in me. Thank you for supporting me, and thank you for celebrating with me.

To all of my virtual friends, your advice, support, and feedback kept me going every step of the way. All of your training, racing, goals, and achievements inspired me on less than stellar days, and your celebration of my own accomplishments reinforced that I could do this. Truly, knowing that you’d be tracking me kept me going!

To my parents and Courtney and Thomas, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being there for my day. I didn’t know how much that meant to me until you were there, and I was saying goodbye and heading into transition. And it was reinforced every time I was nearby enough to think about coming back into town and spotting you. Thank you for never poking fun at how much time and energy and work this took. Thank you for screaming your brains out. Thanks for understanding, without question, that this was going to be so important to me all year long. Thank you for wearing neon yellow shirts.

Garth/Husband/Race Sherpa/Videographer/Photographer/Chef/Bike Bottle Fixer

And the most thank you’s on earth, more than even exist, to Garth. They say Ironman is a lifestyle, and it is. What they don’t tell you is that it is a lifestyle for everyone in your household. You carried my bags, forced me in the water, woke up at 5am, fixed my bike, folded about 800 sports bras, and got in bed at 9pm to do it again. When I told you I was going to do an Ironman you said, “Awesome.” When I told you my goal was sub-12 you told me, “You can go faster than that.”  There’s no one that believes in me more than you. And there’s no one that loves you for that more than me. There are a few moments from that day that I believe I always remember, and all of them boil down to one thing: seeing you believing in me. I hope that you always know that I know how lucky I am.

 

Alright guys, ready for round #2? 🙂

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How many people do you think finished a marathon in the US in 2010?

Apparently there were 503,000 marathon finishers in the US in 2010. Based on how many runners I personally know that have gotten into running in the last few years (myself included) I would think that number would be more like 503,000,000. But I probably just choose to surround myself with those that are similarly inclined.

A question for running readers: Are people really truly afraid of getting lost during a marathon? Like, actually truly fearful? A trail race? I get it. An ultramarathon? Sure thing. But during a marathon? Hmmm…

Infographic originally posted on Active.com via CheapSally.com.

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Wrong Sport

I just found this lovely comment waiting for approval!

Dear AminymmPymn,

First off, I am not an avid motorsport fan, but good try you smart little bot. That’s not as unrelated as the “research articles” that many of your bot-y friends refer too. Secondly, I do not marshal or do race control for local motorsport hillclimb races. Third, what does the “index of metropolitan art new york” have anything to do with our (not) mutual love for motorsports?

However, totally agree with the whole cow/milk thing. Good thinking.

Love,

On The Way To Ironman

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Friday Cry Day Part 3

I think I need to come up with a better name for my tear-inducing videos, because Fridays aren’t sad! But with weekends chalk full of training, Fridays need to be a springboard of inspiration to fuel future hours on the road.

Thanks to Megan at Daily Sweat Blog for contributing to this week’s tissue fest with the story of Rick & Dick Hoyt. Rick & Dick are a father/son team that battle out road races and triathlons to rise to the challenge and be “normal”. Now, even as crazy as I am I don’t think there’s anything “normal” about Ironman…

People who have so few excuses and who just get the job done are really awesome.

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When the cat is away

the mice will play.

Or they’ll just keep the bike and trainer in the living room for the next two weeks.

Sneaky mice!

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2 Days in Seattle – Runners Edition

My husband was selected to participate in a campaign for Seattle’s Convention & Visitors Bureau and lucky me got to participate by association. As part of 2 Days in Seattle we spent this weekend touring the city like out-of-towners, visiting sights, eating at restaurants, drinking at bars, and browsing at shops to find and enjoy the best of what Seattle has to offer. Tip: 2 days isn’t nearly enough! We ate at some sentimental favorites and tested new hot spots, and after 24+ hours of delicious I still need want more.

I was a good little triathlete and fit in my training before and after the fun, but I wish I had themed my training to Best of Seattle too in order to continue the staycation vibe. One of my hands-down favorite things to do on vacation, or even just in a new place, is run. I think it’s simply the best way to get a feel for new surroundings, get integrated into a new place, and spot locals doing whatever it is they do. So, in honor of vacation running here are my favorite Seattle routes. I hope if you have 2 days in Seattle and love to run that you’ll give them a shot.

Myrtle Edwards Park You can run loops or incorporate it into a longer run, but Myrtle Edwards is hard to beat. One-of-a-kind views of the city and the sound make this a great place to soak in your surroundings and experience Seattle. The South end is home to the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park where you can find unique outdoor art installations, stop for a drink at the visitor’s center, or count on a clean bathroom. Though the park is safe, flat and wide open it isn’t lit during dark hours so winter can be rough. You can easily extend this run up to Magnolia Bluff or along the waterfront for more mileage.

Magnolia Bluff One of Seattle’s most beautiful neighborhoods is Magnolia, just outside of downtown. Magnolia Blvd shares similar sound views as Myrtle Edwards, but from the top of a bluff as opposed to sea level. In the times I’ve run here I’ve almost always spotted a bald eagle (one time 3!), and even if the steep incline slows you down the ocean air picks you right back up. The homes in the area are almost as amazing as the expansive sound, and if you eat hills for breakfast I highly recommend cutting through the neighborhood to get a few more feet of elevation and additional beautiful views. Then make sure you stop in Magnolia Village for some well-earned coffee and treats.

Discovery Park Trail I admit, I’ve actually only run this trail once in the 6 years that I’ve lived in Seattle. But I loved it. Loved! And everyone else does too, which means that you’re destined to love it as well. Discovery Park is Seattle’s in-city wilderness oasis; once you get out on the trail and experience the forested patches, sandy grassy dunes, and views of the sound and Olympic Mountains you’ll feel a world away from downtown, though you’re only about 5 miles away. Also, you will probably want to move here. This park is what Seattle is all about.

Seattle Half Marathon Route The Seattle Half is hilly, but if you like running hills or even just don’t hate them you can’t beat this loop. The course guides you through downtown, over to Lake Washington Blvd to experience what I think is the best running in the city, up Interlaken through a canopy of every color of red/orange/yellow you can imagine (run this in the fall), and back to Seattle Center. You’ll have but a moment of flat terrain, but you’ll get the absolute best of Seattle in just 13 miles. Note, the race allows runners to actually run on the freeway, so amendments to need to be made if you’re running the course for pleasure.

I could go on and on and on. So if you need running recommendations in the city feel free to message me and I’m happy to share more secrets. And if you’re wondering where we spent our actual 2 Days in Seattle:

We stuffed our faces with delicious at Fonte Coffee, Chez Shea, Matt’s in the Market, & The Coterie Room

Time flew with great entertainment at The Seattle Aquarium, & The Triple Door.

We got tipsy at Etta’s, Art Restaurant & Lounge, and nearly everywhere we ate.

We slept at the Fairmont Olympic.

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‘Twas a SBR Christmas

My Christmas weekend was a long one, and in the 5 days I:

  • Ran 8 miles. Normal pace with 6x ~50yard accelerations throughout.
  • Lifted weights. Have lost some strength since 2/wk sessions dropped to 1x/wk.
  • Swam 2500 yards. Silly me thought the pool would be empty…
  • Ran a 6mi trail run. First trail run ever!
  • Ran a 13mi progression run. Time: 1:38:22, only 1:16 slower than Seattle.

I was feeling pretty lazy about the whole weekend; drinking your weight in wine and eating your weight in food will make you feel like a lump no matter how much you exercise. But seeing that list I feel much better… At least I got my heart rate up and burned off some calories. And a couple of those workouts were pretty good, including the 13 miler.

Over long weekend I got to spend time with tons of family as well as get a little down time too. I think it’s totally necessary to celebrate the holidays with all your loved ones. But when celebrating entails the above workouts + eating and drinking as described some recovery time on the couch is also mandated.

I’m looking forward to spending 2012 playing with all of my new swim/bike/run toys that I collected from my very generous and understanding family, who have learned better than to ask what arm sleeves are for, if I REALLY need another running shirt, or why it’s necessary to have so many pairs of goggles. I’m a lucky girl, because rather, they celebrated my tri-geekdom by taking this photo! Hopefully I can make them all proud with a good showing in 2012.

Swimming, biking, and running? Or attending a rave? Your guess is as good as mine.

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Sports Bras versus Speedos: A Running Infographic

I saw this infographic on MP3 Running the other day, and though I don’t know why men are referred to as “speedos” I really like it! I work in marketing so infographics are all the rage at my day job* and this is one of my favorites because it covers a topic that I actually care about love.

Not much is surprising to me here. I think the biggest surprise was the number of running events that the average runner attends, as well as that women purchase less (running) shoes per year than men. Because most running ladies I see have the brightest sparkliest kicks out there!

*Want to know what my night job is? Well, actually, let’s call it a morning job. It rhymes with bimming, ricycling, and sunning.

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