Thursday, February 27, 2014

Glass Empty, Glass Full..I Choose my Future..

I vaguely remember my Dad explaining that if you fill a glass half full of water, you have a choice whether to see the glass half empty or half full. Oh, how I struggle with this! Especially athletically, when I know I work hard and am fortunate to have the good health to race, especially at "my age". I still have to constantly choose the glass "half full"..

It's Friday-time to blog again! I have been in a whirlwind of training, eating, sleeping, train, eat, sleep. I am really, really tired. Today is my day off and it is well needed! I find myself thinking so many brilliant thoughts to share during the week while biking, running and swimming but alas...the week is a blur so will have to stick to my less than brilliant recap.

Last weekend was a big one of training. We met the team, in the dark last Saturday after a trip in our Maxi taxi down to Williamstown to meet the group at 6:00 AM, decked with bike lights on and full of coffee. It was cold, rainy and windy. Not a great combination as we took off with the group, barely hanging on. Their "warmup pace" is our balls to the wall pace in some stretches. I fell off the group a few times as we road along the beach. The wind, cold and intermittent rain was relentless. Finally H and I said our goodbyes after a great suggestion of one of the coaches to do loops around a rather secluded section inland. Thank goodness! As we made our way several times around the loop, we encountered a quirky looking older man who would pass us, slow down in front of us, we passed, then he passed us, slowed down, etc. I was getting rather pissed off-was he doing this on purpose?  Finishing our faster paced race pace efforts,we left the wierd guy to make our way home. We finally found the beach Esplanade way home along the boardwalk. It was a beautiful 2 hour adventure home. The wind and cold was still present but we were getting use to it and distracted by our surroundings by now, I suppose. After getting lost only once, we finally made it home. Over 80 mile a of character building was quite enough for me that day! Off the bike to run for a bit, my legs felt fine...this was a huge relief as the ride seemed to literally taken the wind out of my sails. I fell into bed after much food consumed on Saturday night!

Sunday was a whole different story..we woke up to sunshine, calm and temp in the 70s. Wow, a perfect day to run! We ran down the beach for 2 hours, 10 minutes in total bliss. I had awakened Saturday night to go to the bathroom and on the way back to bed Bam! My big toe hit the end of the bed, sending some searing pain through my foot.  I felt quite a bit of pain in the toe and foot the first hour of the run. I just hoped I had not broken anything. After the endorphins kicked in on the run, the toe settled down a bit. I had throbbing pain in my toe Sunday night and Monday, which really worried me. I felt so stoopid doing such a lame thing to my foot! Finally midweek, the pain stopped. Whew! Anyway, Sunday's run was great, I felt strong and fast (well my fast). My walking has decreased to a short 30 second walk/jog very 4 minutes and it feels great! We did a second 40 minute run Sunday late in the day as prescribed by our coach and all was well, minus the stoopid toe pain..Also a 30 minute swim in the ocean in between runs to round out the day. I felt seasick as we swam along the shore right outside our apartment. Blah! Something new to deal with as the waves were roling me back and forth in the shallow surf. I did my best but felt terribly slow and awkward. 

Over the weekend, I was able to practice my new nutrition plan with Shotz nutrition gels, Electrolytes and bars. I was quite pleased as my stomach felt fine on both days and alas-only one trip to the porta potty on Sunday-yee haw! Now I just need to tweak some things nutrition wise and I am good to go on race day, I think..
Weekend training done!
Sunday afternoon, we got to watch the Geelong 70.3 TV. special that we were made part of before and on race day. I had no idea how much of our interview before, during and after the race would be shown. Actually I was quite surprised at the 10 minutes or so total coverage we did have. H and I sounded somewhat intelligent the day before the race on the beach. Post race at the finish line, I blathered on about the course conditions, how I felt, etc. A far cry from Emma Moffit's (the female Pro who won) calm post race comments but that was my reality! I must admit, it was quite fun to see ourselves on TV. This is, of course our 15 minutes of fame, as they say. Part of me was horrified that I was DFL and posted such a horrific time for the race, which they showed boldy on the time clock as we finished..I know the conditions sucked, even winner Pro Craig Alexander said so-if he said so it must be true! But this finish doesn't exactly fill me with confidence for the big one in a little over 3 weeks from now. It's a glass full, glass empty situation. I finished Geelong, something hundreds of people apparently didn't. However, I was so slow in that wind on the bike. This scares me as I know the weather will be unpredictable on IM race day. Some things I can control, but the weather I can't. So I will need to mentally prepare for the worst and the rest will be cake..Maybe we will get a good day out there, maybe not, but I will definitely have my best training done for such an event. There is time to work on what I can control! 

I did like when the interviewer said at the Finish Line Did you ever feel like quitting?, to which I responded No, never-I do not quit! For this, I can definitely thank my Mom..who never quit in her life.

Monday I was tired! After a brief ride and a trip to go shopping cart in tow, I did my best to rest before our open water swim with the TEAM and coach Monday at 6:00 PM. I am a morning person by nature and although I know the value of getting in the water or training later in the day (after all Ironman is a really long day and well...I will be out much past dark on race day presumably), it is still hard for me to muster up the energy to walk out the door to swim at that hour. I was grumpy and tired. We got to the water and of course the wind had picked up and ocean quite choppy by then. It is important H and I get use to these conditions, I know but in the moment it was all I could do to muster up the energy to get my wetsuit on to jump in the wavy water. When I went to pull up my wetsuit rip! My wetsuit tore at a seam. It wasn't just a little tear but a big tear..I was almost in tears at this point. H was having trouble with his wetsuit zipper and we were late getting in the water already. We were ready to call it a day but after some encouragement from Coach Michael, I finally got in the water. I swam as fast as I could against the current out to a bouy some 200-300 yards away. Then back to shore with the tide, which although I never feel like I am really swimming in these conditions, somehow I make it back to shore. We repeated this a couple of times, ran down the beach and did a U shaped swim around 2 bouys. I and my busted wetsuit were doing fine by now. I actually felt great once I exited the water. I took my frustration out by swimming-a novel idea!

The rest of the week was filled with bikes, swims and runs. It all feels like a blur now. Wednesday, we were supposed to bike 3 hours, followed by a short run. We got out there on the gloomy looking morning. About 30 minutes into the ride it was pouring rain. I was torn between Hey, we need to learn to ride in this in case of race day weather possibilities and Screw this-let's go have breakfast!. Well, we landed somewhere in between as we both started shivering in the rain (**note to self, bring actual rain jacket on race day and warm clothes for special needs bag**). We turned around after deciding to switch training days since Thurdsay had scheduled an hour long bike and run. We would do this today and do the longer ride on Thursday. Brilliant! Off we went to the gym, after drying off and cleaning our dirty wet bikes. We both had a swim lesson with Craig, our new best swim friend. He took one look at my wetsuit and confirmed what I already knew. It could be repaired but the rest of the suit had seen its day in the last 5 years..decision made. Time for a new wetsuit, which I will be heading out to purchase today. I will probably stick to the same Blue Seventy brand, just a newer model. Craig can hook me up at his swim shop.

Yesterday we had a beautiful but windy ride down the coast for 3 hours. We experienced a headwind going and tailwind returning. The best kind of wind to have! We stopped briefly at a bike store on the way down to see what was clicking on H's bike and I saw a mirage: a very large piece of carrot cake staring me in the face at the adjacent cafe in the bike shop. Really??? How am I to pass this up? Well, we did, however briefly because on the way back we succumbed to temptation and stopped to enjoy splitting a piece of heaven! It tasted so good, not too rich and gooey. I felt a fleeting emotion of guilt stopping that long and consuming a much non training friendly sugar fix, but man it was good! I am still on my quest to eat a lot of healthy foods but this was too good to pass up, even if it was not on my bike nutrition plan..oh yea! Quick run off the bike and I fell into a stupor of watching stoopid TV on my IPad after consuming large amounts of healthy foods for dinner. I felt like a Zombie..

Which leads me to today. I slept in until 7:00 AM. Yippee!! My world is getting smaller by the day. Sleeping, eating and training is an all consuming After waking up at 4-5:00 -AM most mornings since I have been in Melbourne, a sleep for 9 hours felt like heaven! We did stay up late until 10:30 to watch American Idol, which for some reason is on same day Australian TV.  I kind of wish they showed The Voice also but beggars can't be choosers, right? I can watch The Voice online the day after so am not too deprived.

I am doing laundry everyday, I mean almost every day! This is the joy of not having much stuff to wear and the way we go through bike, run and more bike wear these days is well, ridiculous! It does have a simplicity to it I suppose. I have given up actually folding clothes. Why bother? It gets thrown on the bed, in drawers, wherever it can have a home for one day and not care too much..

I have a real treat coming on Monday-we hired someone to do a thorough cleaning of the apartment..OMG it really needs it. I have tried to do my best wifely duties up until now (*snort*), but can't keep up daily cleaning enough as my energy is well, limited these days. Not to mention I hate cleaning toilets, mopping floors, especially hard wood ones, which I haven't seen since the 70s. So one deep cleaning following my few feeble attempts after 6 weeks is a luxury I can afford. We still have apartment issues but finally, now that the weather has cooled down significantly, the air conditioner has been fixed and screens will be in our windows to keep bugs out about the time we leave-haha...the joke is on us!

I am starting to have nightmares about the Ironman race in 3 weeks. Dreams of not making the cutoff, getting lost, not starting on time. The all too familiar pre race stress nightmares! Then I see there are 5 women in my age group after they posted the bib list online. I would be excited about this except I found out at the Ironman Asia Pacific Championships, they only go 3 deep for age group awards. Wtf? In the US, they go 5 deep. So in order to get an AG award, I will have to work for my reward. Oh well, just need to get psyched up to have a good day out there, goodness knows I am training for it!! And let the cards fall where they may...I am having a difficult time thinking positive in my Iron tired state. I guess one advantage to doing 5 of these already is that these stress related exhaustion thoughts pre-race are totally normal. In 2 weeks, as I am tapering, I expect to feel like a horse at the starting gate-lemme at 'em!! I have done some research on my competition on Athlinks (website that has nearly every athlete's previous races and times) and I see no real reason I can't do well out there on March 23rd. Patience is my friend! I have worked so hard training the last few months, the work is pretty much done at this point. We do have another week of hours out there but in reality, I am pretty well trained at this point. Then we taper....

Well, off to buy a new wetsuit and get myself psyched up for another long training weekend. I can't even bring myself to look at the weather forecast yet. It is often not right anyway, we are on the ocean and no one tells Mother Ocean how to create weather I have found! Today being my day off it is beautiful out there of course- time to try out a new wetsuit?