Thursday, March 27, 2014

To the Lame

Why is it that we live in a world where EVERYTHING we do is scrutinized, criticized and mocked? Not just by the media, but by our peers as well.

Why is it that things have to be deemed "weird", "unusual" or "strange"?

Or in the case of SELF Magazine, "lame"?

If you are even remotely involved in social media, I am sure you already have read about Monika Allen, the runner (who yes has cancer, but that shouldn't even matter) who was mocked by SELF Magazine for racing in a tutu. She was misled by the magazine and gave them her photo, one of her running her 26.2 mile victory lap in, gasp, a tutu. The horror.

Why does it matter what she is running in? Or for that matter that she is even running at all?

One thing that I want to leave this world knowing is that I had the courage to be weird, to be strange, to be unusual. It would be nice to know that it was without fear of ridicule or mockery.


I will continue to run in a tutu, to listen to music that people think is weird at decibels that I shouldn't be, to watch shows and movies that little kids watch, to dance around the house when no one is home, to talk to my pets like they are humans, and most importantly I will continue to do what I want to do. Because that's what makes me, me.

No one has the right to make anyone feel bad about who they are and what they do or don't do. And shame on you, if you do.

So in the end, the only thing that is "lame" about this entire situation is that it happened in the first place.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ironman Training Weeks 1-2

Our Ironman training plan is 24-weeks long. Last week, I thought about recapping how our workouts went but decided that it would be better to recap two weeks at a time. I want to be able to look back at how our training went so that the next time I can use what worked, and change what didn't (you shouldn't be surprised that I'm already talking about a next time).

WEEK 1

Totals - Swim: 3.64 miles, Bike: 70 miles, Run: 19.5 miles (93.14 miles)

Monday - Off
Tuesday - 5 mile run, 2,500 yard swim
Wednesday - 20 mile bike
Thursday - 20 mile bike
Friday - 5 mile run
Saturday - 9.5 mile run, 1,400 yard swim
Sunday - 30 mile bike, 2,500 yard swim

The theme for the first week can be best summed up as, "yay! I'm training again!" After taking the months of November - February off from training, and being injured for some of that time, starting a training plan was a welcome breath of fresh air. Some people may not like training plans, but I do so much better when I am on them.

Training plans get a thumbs up

The only notable changes that happened in our training during the first week were a switched bike and run on Thursday and Friday and an extra .5 miles on our run on Saturday. It was ridiculously cold on Thursday, and I was over it, so we waited to run on Friday when it was 45 degrees outside. I think it was the smart choice.

We did all of our workouts for the week, even after celebrating St. Patrick's Day downtown for hours on Saturday (though I didn't drink). We thought about not going swimming, but I felt guilty so we went.

WEEK 2

Totals - Swim: 4.15 miles, Bike: 75.01 miles, Run: 21.14 miles (100.3 miles)

Monday - Off
Tuesday - 5 mile run, 1,500 yard swim
Wednesday - 20 mile bike
Thursday - 6 mile run
Friday - 20 mile bike
Saturday - 10 mile run, 2,900 yard swim
Sunday - 35 mile bike, 2,900 yard swim

If week one's theme was all rainbows and butterflies about training, the theme for week two was, "ooof, I'm training again". 

35 mile ride on the trainer

We didn't switch any of our workouts around this week, except for the yardage of our Tuesday and Saturday swims and the miles on our Tuesday and Thursday runs. Other than swimming and the majority of the bike on Sunday, I didn't feel great this week. Everything felt hard and I think that I was a bit run down. We did run on trails twice, which was a nice change, but even that felt hard. The reason it says I did 10 workouts this week is because we split Thursday's run into 2 miles on roads and 4 miles on trails.

 A lot of time in the pool this week

Saturday's run was particularly unpleasant for me and our friend Rob and Mike both could have pushed me into traffic for being such a complainer.

Luckily, the week is over and I know that there are other good ones to come. I also am realistic and know that not every week is going to be spectacular, but if they were I would be nervous for the starting jump into the Ohio River on August 24th. The challenges are what push you and make you stronger, and I definitely need that in order to become an Ironman.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring?

Even though I am from Maine and have lived in Rochester for over 10 years, I don't particularly enjoy winter all that much. The last few years we have been spoiled and winter has been pretty tame.

This year, not so much. Although I do not like driving in the snow, I could tolerate the amount that we got this year. The extremely cold temperature on the other hand, I was not a big fan of at all. I tried to make the best of it, and there were some fun moments during the winter. However, now that we are almost at the first day of spring I am over it, and have been for a few weeks now.

I am looking forward to the weather improving and not having to wear 10 million layers to go run outside.

 Hard to believe this was a year ago!

Spring running (and fall too by default) is my favorite. I love wearing shorts and long sleeve shirts and having more daylight to run in every day.

 I need some green trees in my life

Spring also means that soon, hopefully, we will be able to ride outside. While I am a very vocal treadmill hater, I do not hate the trainer as much. That said, even I have my limits and I think that after suffering for 30-50 miles on the trainer I will not love it as much.

 Love the wetsuit

Our first triathlon of the year is on June 7th and I am nervous that we won't even be able to get an open water swim in before. As a swimmer, I am fine with the monotony of swimming back and forth in a pool but I have grown to love open water swimming. I'm even a wetsuit believer now, after suffering through an early season triathlon without a wetsuit two years in a row.

 How am I not the sexiest person in the world?

And most importantly, I'm looking forward to my tri tan lines. Because I'm weird like that.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Playing Make Believe

When I was a kid playing make believe was a big part of my childhood. Whether with my friends or my brother, we would often imagine these different scenarios and play make believe. I remember one time when my friend and I were playing in the snow and we were pretending to be some sort of burrowing animal, I don't even remember why, ha. Also, playing cops and robbers was a HUGE part of recess at my elementary school.

As an adult, you don't get to play make believe as often. However, during this first week of Ironman training that's exactly what I feel like I am doing.

I'm not sure if it is because our training plan is 24-weeks long or if I really just don't feel like I am training for an IRONMAN, but for whatever reason it doesn't feel real.

My lovely clashing running outfit!

During our 5 mile run on Tuesday, I kept forgetting that I was training for an Ironman. Maybe it is because our workouts are so "short" (for us) right now. I have to keep reminding myself that I am actually training for something, a big something.

I identify as a triathlete, so that isn't the issue. I guess I just feel like a kid who is playing make believe at triathlon, specifically Ironman training (this reminds me of a photo I've seen that says, "no one ever says let's play triathlon").

 Taking pictures of myself in the locker room

I didn't have this problem while training for Musselman, but I think that the fact that we overlapped training for the Cleveland Marathon and that it was our first 70.3 made it feel more real.

Maybe it's because this has been a dream of mine for 3 years and now I am less than 6 months away from actually tackling it. Maybe it's my mind's way of protecting me from huge, dramatic emotions so early on in Ironman training.

I know that eventually I will feel like I am training for an Ironman, it will hit me, it will get REAL. I will cry, I will "quit" triathlon, I will feel like I can't do it. I will also celebrate any successes that I have during training, those hard workouts that feel almost impossible that I CRUSH.

For now, I'll continue to play make believe and hope that sometime soon I feel like this is actually the final step toward 140.6.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Here We Go

This is our final "free" weekend before Ironman training starts.

Luckily, I am recovered from my injury. And while I am still building up my running mileage, I'm not concerned because we are only running three days a week during training.

I am mentoring a student interpreter right now and when we met last semester to see if our mentoring relationship would be a good fit, I warned him. I said, "the only other thing you need to know is that starting March 11th I will be training for an Ironman".

You might think that's an odd thing for me to tell my mentee. However, I feel like it is my responsibility to share why I may not be as attentive to his needs (or flat out tired) and that once I am done with my work shift, my work day ends and my training day begins (or continues). 

 The first month of training

The beginning of our training won't be too bad. The first week might be a bit rough since we have been taking it a bit easier lately, mostly due to my injury and this unrelenting winter. We don't actually get into biking distances that we haven't covered before until May. I'm not concerned about the swimming portion of the race, though I obviously still need to train, and the running distances we have done before.

I am excited, but of course nervous, about starting training. Even though I have accomplished so much in such a short time (I have only been running for 3 years in April), there's a part of me that worries about finishing this beast. That's what an Ironman is, a beast. A 140.6 mile beast that I have to conquer.

With smart training, I'm pretty sure I can do just that. And smart training means following our training plan, for the most part, and getting in the distances and workouts that we need to in order to be prepared for the starting line (or starting jump into the water?) at Louisville on August 24th.

Luckily, for the most part we have supportive friends and family. Our parents will be at the race, my mom just reserved plane tickets which makes it even more real, and the majority of our friends are runners or triathletes. I'm hoping that some of them will join us for some training rides, runs and swims. Having them with us during this journey will make it even more rewarding, and it will help make those really tough workouts go by faster (or at least more enjoyable?)

So to those of you who will be with me during this journey, I want to say thank you. Thank you for understanding that I may not be able to stay out until 11pm on a Friday night because I will have to run 20 miles on Saturday and then ride 100 miles on Sunday. Thank you for not making fun of me if I fall asleep while we're hanging out, and for not posting any incriminating photos to Facebook. Thank you for understanding that my normal bedtime of 10pm may change to 9pm because I can't keep my eyes open anymore. Thank you for understanding that if we can't attend an event that it doesn't mean we don't care about you or love you, it just means we are working really hard to achieve something that we care deeply about. Thank you for going to get food with me because if you think I eat a lot now, just wait!

And most importantly, thank you for letting me talk about training and how I am feeling non-stop and for being my friends.

I would get through this without you, but it makes it that much sweeter having you there supporting me!

 If I look like this at the end of the Ironman, I'll call it a success!

And to Mike, here we go, this will be our greatest adventure yet!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Getting Older

Tomorrow is my 29th birthday.

 Some birthday long ago

My mom has said to me many times, "you are basically 30". Today I responded with, "well that just makes you older" (jokingly, of course).

I do kid about how I am going to freak out when I turn 30, in reality I will probably be just fine. I have wonderful models of accepting the fact that you are getting older all around me. My parents are getting older, just like I am. I think they have accepted that this is inevitable but that doesn't mean that they have to stop living or revert back to a pre-teen state to try to feel young again.

Crystal has said she feels younger in her 30s than she did in her 20s, so that gives me hope as well.

The way I see it, I can't stop the passing of time so why not just go with it?

 A blonde teenage Jamie

In fact, when I analyze my life I like who I am in my 20s better than who I was in my teens. I figure that this may be a trend that will continue until the end of my life, whenever that may be. 

As I get older, I may not be able to swim, bike and run as fast or as far as I do now but that doesn't mean I have to love this sport any less.

I envision myself as one of those 80-year-old women trying to complete their 15th Ironman before midnight, wearing that glow-in-the-dark necklace proudly. The fact of the matter is that I may not be able to finish the race, but I hope I will still have the determination to start.

For now, I'm hoping that in my 29th year I will become an Ironman, run my 4th stand-alone marathon and train and race with friends and family as often as possible.

I just felt like putting this here, ha

The final year of my 20s is similar to the culmination of training for a marathon or triathlon: a victory lap. And, I hope, a segue into more awesomeness that I have yet to achieve or dream possible.