Friendship

St. George on My Mind

It has been just under a year since I made the decision that I wanted to do a full Ironman triathlon.  Originally I wanted to try and do it this year but I felt it was important to do at least one 70.3 before I did a 140.6.  And since you have to sign up for most Ironman a full year in advance, it meant I can’t do one until 2012. As a result I am watching a bunch of my new friends (people I have met since I have started this journey) getting ready to do Ironman St. George tomorrow, and it has me excited.  For some people this will be their first and for others it is just the first for the year!

Many of them have been tweeting the last couple days about tapering for the race, getting their bikes tuned up one last time, packing their snacks for the ride, and even sharing pictures of their transition bags .  Their excitement is fueling my fire to continue to train for something that is still a year away.  I am not a patient person so planning for something that is a year away is tough.  Yesterday, the biggest inspiration came from a friend  in the form of an email that was sent out to a bunch of us.  It read as follows:

“I can’t believe the big day is finally here! Ironman St. George will start at 7 am Saturday May 7th (6 am in CA, 9 am in NH). I have been training hard for 7 months now and am both nervous and excited. Yesterday was very windy making for a cold, choppy swim and windy bike ride. Today there is no wind and the water was warmer (62) and flat, perfect for race day conditions! I’m hoping for a windless day on Saturday even though the highs look to be about 90 when we start the marathon. I am hoping to complete the course in under 11 1/2 hours, but weather among other things will play a part in my time. St. George is a beautiful town and I am racing with several really good friends so whatever the outcome it will be a incredible day. The journey getting here has been amazing and I am a different person because of it. I love everything about this crazy race called the Ironman, the friends I have made and what it has shown me about myself. The journey getting here has been amazing and I am a different person because of it.

Many of you have asked about following my race on Saturday. You can go to www.ironman.com and at the top of the page will be a header for St. George and a subtitle that says Athlete Tracker. Click on that and you can put in either my name or my bib # which is 262 (very lucky #, 26.2 miles in a marathon!). There will be an update after the swim and then several throughout the ride and run course.

Thanks for all of your support and encouragement over the past year and for understanding all of the things I have missed due to training. It will all be worth it this Saturday. And to all the moms out there, have a very Happy Mothers Day!”

All I could think of was the letter I will get to write next year! One more year and it will be my turn!

Good luck to those racing tomorrow!  I can’t wait to hear your stories of how your day went becoming an Ironman!

One of my friends who is competing tomorrow found a shirt for me!

One of my teammates tweeted this picture. I am so jealous!

Out of My Comfort Zone, and On To the Trail

I have been running for about 5 years.  I have completed a bunch of half marathons, several marathons, and now I am on to triathlons.  But when it comes to running I have stayed on the road.  The road is predictable. The road is flat.  I find the road to be safe.  I have tried the trails a little.  Many talk about preferring running trails because it is a softer surface and more forgiving than the pavement.  I have said that I prefer the predictable nature of pavement over the ankle turning nature of trails.

Enter Stuart (@Quadrathon).  I was lucky enough to find Stuart through some combination of Twitter and the Dailymile and Foursquare (not sure which one first). We connected via the interwebs but we actually live quite close.  We had been saying for some time that we should run together and this past week we finally made it happen.  We did a couple early morning runs around town which were great.  I am always happy to find someone to run early in the morning.  So then he proposed some trail running this weekend. Something I am not strong at.  Lately I have seen a lot of improvement in my running with regards to pace.  The thought of running on trails meant I would see a decrease in my speed for sure.  But I knew that this might be the time to branch out my running style.  I was hoping that running in a new environment would translate to better running overall.

So this morning we set off to an open space near by, Chesboro Canyon.  The weather was kind of gloomy.  Very foggy and practically drizzling.  It had rained a lot this winter so there is a lot of fresh growth in the canyon.  We set off for 10 miles as I laughed at my choice of socks, bright white knee-high compression socks (not the best idea with the current conditions).  The running was awesome!  Now that I am a stronger runner I was so much more comfortable with the quick changes in elevation and surface type.  It was so nice to be away form the cars, and roads.  The combination of terrain and company made for a great run.  I ran significantly slower than usual and had to do some walking up some of the hills (favorite quote of the day, “it gets worse after this!”).  But overall I was pleased with how I did.  Possibly to Stuart’s dismay I was able to hold a conversation for most (if not all) of the run.  I may have been muddy, and wet, and cold by the end but the increase in confidence I felt left me beaming!

I can’t say how thankful I am that Stuart helped get me out of my running rut and on to the trails.  Training can get tedious, repetitive, and boring if you never change things up.  I needed a little nudge to move me on to something new.  I am already looking for my first trail half marathon… ready to run Boney Mountain with me Stuart?

Photo above: here I am trying to gracefully (ha ha) navigate my way up the trail. (photo by @Quadrathon)

The grass was so wet! But the views were beautiful! (photo by @Quadrathon)

I wish I had a photographer for every run! This is my favorite picture. (photo by @Quadrathon)

Garmin Details for the run.

Another view of the day…

The Value of Training With Others

Today I was lucky enough to go for an ocean swim today with my triathlon team (P5 Racing).  It was the first open water swim we have done as team training.  The day was beautiful.  We met around 6:30 AM and drove out to Zuma Beach.  Everyone got their wetsuits on and we headed into the water.  The beakers were pretty big but once we made our way out it ocean was lovely.  The water was really clear which was nice.  We were going to try swimming in line and practice drafting off the person in front.  We quickly realized that we were all swimming at very different speeds.  It is harder to modify your pace when swimming in a group as opposed to cycling or running, so staying together is very difficult.  As a result we broke up into two groups.  I went off with one other woman and the other 4 swam behind us (this is one of the few things I can do better than many of my teammates).  My friend/teammate led and I followed.  She is a stronger swimmer than I so the purpose of my swim was to just stay on her heels.

While I swam I thought about how important training with others is.  Because she is stronger than I she would wait for me; and when I would catch up she would take off again.  Thus, I was never allowed to rest.  This is common when I train with the team.  They are all stronger riders than I.  When they stop to regroup I am commonly the last one to show up.  I thought I would find this discouraging but I have grown to appreciate it.  When I train with the team I am extra motivated to keep up.  This helps push me harder and harder.  I want to be as good as my teammates.  I want to ride and run like them.  Being with them on a regular basis helps me push myself to a different level.  The last 6 months training with this team has been amazing.  I have made more progress than I ever thought I could!

It takes a village (or at least 344 followers and 183 friends)

WARNING!!!! The sappy-factor maybe a little high in this post.

One of the things I had found missing in my training was people who understood me.  Up until very recently it was common for many of the people in my life to ask me “why?” Why do you want to run? Why do you get up so early? Why would you do a marathon? Why would you want to do an Ironman? I didn’t have enough people that understood why I was was running or training.  I had a few people I trained with who got it but I still felt like I needed more support.  Specifically support from people who understood what I was going through.

Enter social networking.  I had been active on Facebook  for awhile but that was mostly to keep in touch with those in my life that I no longer could see or talk to on a regular basis.  But I needed contact with people like me; not just people from my past/present.  So someone told me about Dailymile.  I joined and started logging my workouts.  Loved it! But once I finally started twitter it all came together.  I am now surrounded by a community (a village, if you will) of people “like me”.  People who understand why I get sad after a big race is over.  People who understand why taking a day or two off from training can feel like the end of the world.  People who get excited when you sign up for an even bigger challenge than the last.  With the use of  sites, geography doesn’t matter!  You can connect with anyone almost anywhere.

So I am thankful for the people I have met and those I haven’t yet.  It is because of you that I will accomplish things that I never thought I would.

*Picture was taken by one of my village people (@Quadrathon) of @bfrein , me, and my husband on a ride.