Monday, August 24, 2009

Wow! That IS Slow!

My work gave us the option of getting health risk assessments done a few weeks ago. Basically, they took our blood to test our cholesterol, tested our blood pressure and body fat percentage, calculated our BMI and had us fill out pages and pages of questions on our lifestyles. When all is said and done, a health coach is supposed to contact us to talk about our results and – if we want – to guide us through our journey to better health.

I participated in this despite the fact that I knew what the coach would say (“You’re too fat!”)…first of all, I was intrigued. I’d never had my cholesterol tested before and wanted to know more about that. But secondly, this qualifies for my “safety” goal at work, so I figured I’d knock it out. I got my results in the mail last week and everything tested out normal, except – surprise – I’m too fat!

My weight is a touchy subject, and not the point of this post at all. It’s taken me years to get to a place where I’m okay with how I look…and a lot of times, I’m still not okay with it. Regardless, I brushed the “too fat” comment off (and for what it’s worth, no one actually said the words “too” or “fat” to me) and agreed to be coached. I got the phone call from the health coach about 30 minutes ago while I was sitting at my desk at work. When the woman on the phone identified herself and said she was calling because I’d expressed an interest in being coached, I immediately knew what I was “supposed” to say. And the second she asked the magic question, “What is your goal?” I had my answer – the “right” answer – all ready for her.

“Well, I’d like to lose weight.”

“Really?” She replied. And silence.

Now what? She didn’t start in with the spiel on how it was a great goal because I’m too fat. So I did what I do best when I get nervous. I started blabbering on and on with no direction. Somewhere in there I mentioned training for a marathon and maybe losing weight isn’t really the main goal I had in mind.

“Wait. What race are you training for?”

“New York. But this will be my second marathon.”

After she expressed her excitement with that (and there was some squealing…and yes, it may have been me squealing) and told me how she’d run four in the past, we got down to business. When she asked me how I fuel during my long runs I admitted that I’m only using gels right now but planned on adding in some pretzels due to the fact that I can’t stomach the sugary gels after hours and hours of taking them in…I’m just that slow. We continue our conversation and she eventually asks me how fast I’m running right now, considering I’d mentioned that I’m slow.

“I averaged just over a 14 minute mile on Saturday.”

“Wow. That IS slow.”

Cue the sound of my heart breaking, my hopes and dreams being crushed, the wind being sucked out of my sails. I know this. It’s not breaking news. I’d just finished talking to my co-workers about my slowness…but none of them had said those words to me. NO ONE has ever said these words to me. She continued with “What kind of speedwork are you doing?”

“None,” I said. “My coaches suggested I lay off of it since I’ve been injured since Christmas.”

And the subject is changed.

My goal is to finish. My goal has always been to finish. If I do it in 14 minute miles, that’s awesome….but I’m not going to kill myself trying to do it in 8 minute miles. I’m not going to take something that I like and enjoy doing and turn it into something that I dread. Yes, it’s work. It’s hard. It sucks knowing that I’m going to be out there for 6 hours working my ass off. But I enjoy those 6 hours. I like knowing that I went out and I did the best I could today and that I’ll do the best I can tomorrow. Maybe I’m not doing this coach’s best, or the hubs’s best, or my co-worker’s best….but I’m doing MY best.

I still think this woman is nice and she seems to know what she’s talking about. I’m supposed to send her my workout and food log for the past few days so we’ll see where that goes. And I’ll get faster…but I’ll get faster because I do…not because I’m not meeting someone else’s expectations of where I should be.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

100 Degrees... what the giant, digital thermometer read as I drove by to my weekly run around the Academy - the one I've been neglecting for a few months now because of the heat. It took everything inside of me to keep from turning around and going home for a couple of hours at that moment, but I made it (okay, and I almost drove off again once I got there but my friend saw me pull up). Trust me, I completely understand the importance of weekday runs...but in the summer? This really makes me re-think a fall marathon ever again. Anyway, I started out committing to 30 minutes, but at the 15 minute turn around I was already over a mile in (yes, remember how slow I am) so I decided to go the extra < 1/2 mile and get my 3 miles in that way. I also managed to avoid running up Harper. :)

I think I've made the decision to NOT run a marathon next year (okay, except RnR AZ, but that's in January, which is still almost this year and that doesn't count). I really want to devote some time to my bike and I have my sight set on some bigger things that I need to start working towards. I really want to do an Ironman in the next few years and I know I need to spend a lot of time on my bike to get there. The tentative plan right now is to do RnR AZ, 1-2 century rides, 2-4 half marathons and all the local triathlons. The most important part of this plan is to eliminate studying for the CPA if everything goes the way I'm hoping it will, that will be done and out of my life by the end of October. Now to chain myself to the study materials for the next 2 1/2 months. :(

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Race Report: Chile Harvest Triathlon - 8/01/09

Where to start on this one? I was really looking forward to this...I actually registered for it within a couple of days of finishing Jay Benson (my first) and I had all these grand plans for training and making this my big, priority race of the year and focus on just running a half marathon locally this fall. However, about two weeks after registering, a wrench got thrown in my plans. I got accepted into the New York City Marathon. Although I was really, really hoping to be accepted, I knew that the chances were slim and with my job it'd be really hard to go for even a long weekend. Well, not only was I accepted, I received an amazing job offer a few weeks nothing was holding me back from actually going (ignoring random, repeated injuries, but lets not dwell on that). Thus, marathon training began immediately and this triathlon was just a tiny blip on the screen and no longer that important to me. All that said, I actually did do more training for this race than I did for Jay Benson...which is why the actual results of this race are so, so devastating.

The race was very well organized. I've read a few reviews on it today and everyone seems to rave about how friendly the volunteers were...I must have found the 2 grumpy ones. But at 6AM I can't even pretend to happy to be anywhere, so I'm just going to give them a pass on their nasty attitudes. Packet pick up was easy and I noticed they explained things very well to the hubs, who was doing his first tri (and finished in a disgusting 1:26). The transition area was set up by race number, which also corresponded to how you start the race (this one was traditional: swim, bike, run). Let me tell you, it was weird to be up near the front with all the "good" racers. As a back-of-the-packer I felt very out of place, but everyone was really nice.

The swim is 8 lengths in Socorro's outdoor 50m pool. I've raced in this pool countless times growing up, so it was familiar and I liked it. I felt like the swim went well and I was able to run into transition (something I was too wiped out for last time). I thought T1 went really well and I didn't have any issues getting socks on my wet feet - I know a lot of people don't use socks, but that not only hurts, it skeeves me out. I was able to run through transition with my bike and was off. Or I tried anyway. My legs just absolutely refused to move. This bike course is hilly - not steep, mountain-like hills - but long, never ending, gradual hills that make you want to cry. On a steeper one, there were a couple of dead rabbits in the road - I took this as a warning that I would be laying next to them shortly.

T2 seemed to go well too. I was able to run again through transition and all I put on were my shoes and hat...everything else I put on as I was running. Or something that may or may not have resembled running. Stupidly, I never got around to practicing this particular brick and now I understand why I should have. I gave my all on the bike and I knew right away that the run was going to be the end of me. My friend was watching and told me to just keep running and the feeling would come soon. Um, sure. Maybe 1/2 a mile from the finish. This 5k reminded me 100% of the last 5k of a marathon - miserable.

Even through all of this, I felt really good about the race. I couldn't get my computer going on my bike so I had no clue how fast (or slow) I'd done it but I knew that I was about 3:40 minutes slower on my run than I'd wanted. Even knowing what I knew, I was shocked when I saw the results - about 8 minutes slower than Jay Benson. I'm sure it was the hills on the bike that got me. Sure, I've been riding to work when I can, but that's a flat ride. I'm going to have to try and make the time (HAHAHA!) to ride hills after work or something. Anyway, it was a great race and I'll be back next year - even though I announced (loudly) that these things suck and I will never, ever do another one. Next up - NM Half Marathon on 9/6/09.

Overall - 1:53:33.3
Swim (400 meters) - 8:11
T1 - 2:57
Bike (12.39 miles) - 57:14
T2 - 1:22
Run (3.1 miles) - 43:51
7th Athena