Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nineteen measly weeks...and counting!

I know what you’re thinking, and yes - it’s been too long!

And you’re right: since I last posted an entry we’ve made history with a newly elected president, Colin and I traveled more than 6,000 miles to Washington D.C., followed by Puerto Rico, I participated in the 25th annual, 35 mile Chilly Hilly ride around Bainbridge, followed by the earliest triathlon I could find (Elma, WA. Easter weekend. ‘nuf said) - and I changed (yep, changed) venues for my maiden voyage towards Ironman 2009.

All this to say that I’m committing to short more frequent report as I enter the final five months of training (19 weeks, but who’s counting? Hint: me)

Here’s more…

Ironman Canada will occur the very same weekend (Aug. 30) as Louisville, but a bit closer to home:

After months of feeling rudderless about the outcomes of the training plan I had put together, I got turned on to Coach Lesley who’s completed Ironman Canada multiple times, and helped me find a way to register for this flatter, cooler (literally *and* figuratively) opportunity.

Since that time two events have helped crystallize my thinking about my approach to training, and what will need the most attention: the aforementioned Elma’s Easter weekend triathlon was a confidence booster – I traveled alone and was the first one to set up. (Seriously, THE first bike – victory!) I felt supremely organized and surprisingly calm given that the water was barely 50 degrees. In fact, my lips were so numb I had trouble getting water out of my bottle afterwards! I’m pleased to report that I won my age group, and even got a plaque complete with the Easter Bunny emblazoned to prove it.

But if I thought that stripping down to my swimsuit (nope, no wetsuit) , and standing all alone at the water’s edge with little more than my familiar cap and goggles on which to focus my attention was humbling, it did hardly compared to the Mt. Si Ultra Relay.

My day started with a 5:00 a.m. meet-up in Seattle, and trip south. My leg was #5 so I waited patiently for the handoff at 10 a.m. (give or take) and again at 2pm. Estimated at roughly 10-12 miles total for each runner, I was honored to be invited to join this group of athletes, felt privileged to have the opportunity and had a complete and total blast in the process!

Working in a team, and not wanting to disappoint my fellow relay-ers, helped me to pick it up on the inclines where it was needed most – I actually recited some of the very same commands espouse during Monday nights' cycling classes: make every step count, chin up, don’t forget to breathe and so forth. I maintained a steady pace under 9:00 mile and of the two teams competing under the same coach, ours finished first. I was proud, exhilarated and also faced with the stark reality of just how far I have to go.

But I also affirmed in that I’ve chosen the right path and people to help me do it. Not only will a coach help me with the finer points and important details of training, but the added benefit of working with other athletes training for something similar can only help me to gain a better understanding of what this will require – and above all, enjoy it (almost) every step the way!

The next hurdle in this training obstacle course will be a mid-May training weekend, followed by some time in Hawaii. (Where more training will occur, of course – just in a nicer setting!) In retrospect I may have started this process too early, or continued this journey alone for too long – but the burned out, seaweed-like sentiment I had in Elma has all but dissipated thanks to surrounding myself with like-minded individuals.

Here’s what one of them had to share, a quote attributed to Becky Harman: "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, red wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOOHOO, whatta ride!"

What I want to be, I am now (Roosevelt)