Watch the video--it's a classic!
I have been reluctant to say anything on my blog publicly, although I have had conversations with my closest friend in the world about how I’ve been feeling. In a word—FANTASTIC. It seems the last 2 months have been a whirlwind for me on several fronts:
· Weathered a disappointment at work. Had thought I would get the opportunity to work closely again with an old friend who I really click with, for a local customer utilizing technology products I enjoy working with. The silver lining here is that I’ve reconnected with my friend, he and his wife are starting to do triathlons, and I will be staying with them next June for a race where I will do the Oly and they will do the sprint. And I am more than happy to provide any triathlon advice to them along the way.
· My right foot (the one with the Morton’s Neuroma) really seems to be improving, despite the fact that I’ve been running 30-35 miles/week for the last 11 weeks. It still occasionally hurts during a long run, but it doesn’t stop me dead in my tracks. It feels like the nerve is waking up and all my toes are nearly 100% functional again.
· I chose my 2015 races (at least through October) and built my ATP. My future coach will get around to reviewing it (although I’m sure it’s fine) after he’s done with his A-race, Ultraman Hawaii.
· I’m staying ahead of the fall yard cleanup. Not only do I have leaves (typically 15 bags full), but also since I grow so many perennials that need to be cut down and either bagged or bundled, it is quite the project to get my yard all put away. But I enjoy doing it, as it gets me outdoors, and I can see what is going to require extra attention come spring. I do realize that in 2016 I will be in the thick of Ultraman training and will have to pay someone to do this. I’m OK with that (all part of my budget for the race).
· I’ve been spending time with friends every weekend and making more of an effort to stay connected. Some of them I think are used to me never having time or always being in so much training that it might seem I don’t have time for them. While that’s never been strictly true, I do realize that some of them need ME to reach out to THEM instead of vice versa. I really do appreciate my friends that come after me, though. I am an introvert, so it’s really an effort for me to be making the social plans. Now, this may change a bit as I return to formal training, but it is something I am aware of and will strive to stay on top of. To be fair, I LOVE planning some things, but I appreciate it when others let me know they want to spend time with ME.
· I’m about to start formal swim coaching. Swimming on my own continues to go really well. I’ve observed that even if I’m really tired that I can swim well! Technique improvement, you think? I’ve also noticed that my muscle recruitment patterns have changed to go along with starting to “get” the catch and pull. And that this change in recruitment is causing my body to be more balanced from left to right side. Which is great, since I am always compensating for the lack of ACL in my left knee and (to whatever extent they still are) herniated disks in my back plus the fact that I’m right-handed (and right-bodied!). I’m super excited to see how much faster I can get this season. I don’t think getting my swim to KQ territory is out of the question. That would be cool, but mostly I want to be seriously better for Ultraman.
· My metabolism seems to be working properly. FINALLY! While I’m not training at Ironman level, it seems I can eat almost whatever I want and burn it up. And I know this sounds weird, but I can actually sense this proper functioning at a cellular level. Just from the way my muscles work when I’m training. Like the mitochondria are finally being turned on as they should.
· All my bikes are cleaned and tuned. I am waiting for LGL to be finished, though, as we decided she needs all new cabling, and after much consternation about the color of it, I think she will look just fine. I’ll post a pic of her when I get her back later this week. I am working with someone on designing custom wheel stickers for Skull Kingdom, and think that will just make her pop even more. She was already a stunning piece of art—now she will be even better! What a nice gift to myself as I will be spending a lot of hours on her this winter on the trainer. I also got her a cool new helmet that was a bit of a big spend, but worth it. I also got new bike shoes and a friend is giving me another pair of new bike shoes that I haven’t seen yet, but am sure will get great use by me. All that’s left is to decide if I want to invest in another power meter. The jury is out on that.
Despite all of the above positives, I have this sense that life is going to come crashing down on me at any moment. This morning, I had the thought that maybe this is because I don’t have someone by my side on a daily basis that helps to “normalize” the sensations I feel. I never know whether how I feel is normal or unusual, or really what constitutes “normal” for me. Did you know I often pray at bedtime? I was raised Catholic, although I now consider myself some combination of Christian/Buddhist. At any rate, I’ve seen the universe kick the shit out of people I love, so I pray for them periodically. I never pray for myself—I only hope that others pray for me sometimes because I could sure use the help! Some of the people on my prayer list may be what you would consider my enemies—but I recognize they need help, and they have been a part of getting me to where I am today. I sometimes wonder why I never pray for myself—typically I think that’s a selfish act, and that I’ve been given the tools to do what I need to do, even if sometimes they fail me. There are people who believe that humans are inherently evil—I believe that humans are inherently good, but I know how easy it can be to fall into evil. I sometimes find myself becoming bitchy or catty. Sometimes my direct attitude comes off that way, too, even when I feel I am just being factual. I guess this is part of why I pray for others because I hope they can help me to see me from another point of view, and that’s really important to me.
I have also been engaged in a bizarre sleep pattern that I am trying to get out of. It started in August after I finally got used to waking up early for working out and for races, and I raced 4 weekends in a row. Well I just kept up that early wake schedule (3AM or earlier), but that’s not exactly conducive to a normal life. I know, I know—I should stay up really late so I sleep later. Tried that, didn’t work. I did take a nap every day while I was off from work last week. Which I really enjoyed. I’ve not been using any extra caffeine except for a Coke if I’m truly dragging ass while working. I am confident this will resolve itself, especially once I pick up more intensity in my training beginning 12/1.
I did race on Sunday—it was an 8-mile running race. I barely slept 5 hours, and I underdressed for the temps and never felt warm, so my time sucked, but I was OK with it. There was a man pacing his 13-year old daughter to her first 8-mile race at 10mpm (using a Garmin), so I just hung with them. Although I came in at 9:48 pace. It was good for me to be in the racing mode, though, as I am a little rusty on that front (like how to dress and what to eat how far before the race!). I also about puked at Mile 2 after taking a small swig of Coke that I’d brought with me. I’m sure it was comical because I was laughing and choking at the same time! But it turned out I just should have put some water in my stomach before I added Coke to it.
But here’s the weird thing—after I was finished and the next day, my legs were not at all sore like I raced. Well, technically, at 9:48 pace I didn’t. But still, no taper for this, and I’d done 2 13-mile runs 3 days apart earlier in the week, so I’m thinking my legs should have been a teensy bit sore, but NO! So how cool is that? Also, it felt like my heart rate was in the dumpster for the race. I never felt on the verge of pushing it, so all in all, it was good I showed up. My right foot hurt only a tiny bit at one point, I acknowledged it, and forgot about it.
I am doing another 8-miler this Saturday on the exact same course, and now I’m tapering for my goal ½ marathon (Tyranena Beer Run on 11/8 in Lake Mills, Wisconsin), so theoretically I should have good legs on Saturday. If I can just get some sleep, I should be good for straight 9’s or less. At least I know that for the ½ marathon I’m good for sub-10’s (which I haven’t done in a few years) based on how easy I was able to run last Sunday.
I also signed up for a 15-mile trail run in a few weeks that I’m looking forward to just as a fun thing to do. Again, being in a run build, it’s good that I could care less about the quality of biking right now, so toeing the line at some running races is really a good thing for me.