I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘triathlon training’

RARR: Regular Ass Run Review

I ran today.

I was supposed to ride, but my hand is bothering me and my massage therapist said that gripping my handlebars could aggravate my hand.

Because I’m a cold-weather p***y, I waited until the afternoon to run. 4:45 PM. A bit later than I intended, but pressing start on my Garmin made me feel proud. Sometimes I surprise myself most simply by getting started. The goal: 4 miles. Twice. A familiar loop I typically enjoy. I often am concerned with whether I will punk out after one loop, as I have before, but I convinced myself that I was a winner for starting and would cross that bridge when I see my car. Heh.

I turned on Tchaikovsky’s 1st piano concerto on my phone and started my warm up walk. I’ve taken to walking 1/10 of a mile and running 9/10 to help break up my long runs mentally. I groaned at first – I hadn’t run more than 6 miles in several weeks and it sure felt like a lot. Then the exposition of the concerto began to come to a climax and I started to get TURNTUP. I think I remembered why I like running. I felt strong for a moment or two, especially on the downhills. Heh.

The first 4 miles were fairly uneventful. I passed my car and grabbed a gel and some water and got on my way again. Then I couldn’t remember if I had locked my car. I started to walk back and realized I had to use the bathroom. The car was SO close to the bathroom, but I knew I would be pissed if I didn’t allow myself to see that I was capable of running 8 miles. I continued, tired though I felt.

By mile 7 my legs were starting to feel very heavy. The words of a spin class instructor still ring in my head. “You can do more than you think.” “Uh. I think I can get back to my car without having to call my mother.” I pressed on.

Takeaways:

1. I feel like a punk for needing so much gel, but I need more than one. I am averaging about a 12 minute mile pace for my long runs but I need the goods every 30 minutes or I start to feel tired after an hour. I wish I didn’t feel like gel should be reserved for real athletes, whatever the hell that means.

2. I’m gonna keep going. #WhoKnows2015

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#WhoKnows2015

Unless it’s breakfast related, it can be really difficult to get me excited about the future. Seriously, I’ve been known to go to bed early so I can partake of “the future” that much sooner. Heh. Anyhow, even this super blessed, had it super easy all her life girl knows that anything can happen. My health is not promised to me, the health of others isn’t promised to me – hell, tomorrow isn’t even promised to me. I thus find it difficult to proclaim that 2015 will be one way or another. I know that amazing things are possible, perhaps even likely, but nothing is guaranteed.

I therefore christen my hashtag of the year to be #WhoKnows2015. I have to do my best today because I don’t know about tomorrow. Not even breakfast. I’m thankful for a God that knows everything from the extremely delicious Fuji Apple I’m planning for tomorrow to what lays ahead for me personally and professionally. It is my hope and prayer that the quest toward the goals I’ve set for myself draw me closer to Him, as I’ve seen that it’s really easy to do the opposite, even when they are healthy goals.

Here’s to taking nothing for granted.

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It’s good to be b(l)ack.

I accidentally rode my bike yesterday.

What had happened was that I get this text from Coachie. Apparently there’s this chick that rides about my pace and needed a buddy. The “opportunity” to ride didn’t conflict with my going to church, so I figured what the hell. I’m not a jerk. I’ll show up.

Then I remembered that I can’t stand riding my bike. Worse yet, I can’t stand riding with people. This is not a joke, y’all. I’m not going to write again (at the moment) about the reasons why this is the case but I was reminded of them yesterday. Praise God that I am not a fan of conflict and work to practice the principle of being at peace with others when it’s under my control.

In the end, of course, I am glad that I went. I hadn’t spent time with Red Rocket since my last race two months ago – unwise because she still scares me a bit and the more time and distance that I allow between us, the worse our relationship becomes.

It’s really funny how sometimes, just a bit of time is all it takes to improve a relationship. The time spent doesn’t have to be perfect, but consistent. My girl 3M has observed that I have not published a blog post in over a month, though I have been training (fairly) regularly. It’s definitely not that I haven’t had anything to say, but the more time that I allowed to elapse between posts, the less I wanted to do it. Not unlike my relationship with Red Rocket, if I am not regularly spending time with her, it starts to get awkward and I can’t remember why I do it in the first place.

So – to sum things up for the last month, God is still awesome, Coachie rocks for getting me back on my bike, 3M is a big deal for staying on me about my writing, and I have a feeling that this new chick isn’t bad. High praise from me, indeed.

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Warning: Triathlon can make it go soft.

Your heart, that is. What else would I be talking about?

All right, kids. It’s been a week since I registered for this madness, and I am quickly realizing that my life is very different than it was just a year ago.

“But Lady J,” you retort. “You were sexy as hell last October, even before you did your first triathlon. What are you talking about?” Well. Who am I to fight an argument like that? *blushes* I’ve got to tell y’all, though – the eyes through which I admire myself in the mirror see life in a new way.

Life can be more than a bit torturous for an introverted perfectionist. Already, my tendency is to share myself fairly selectively. Add to that my feeling that the more people know me the less they’ll want to do with me – quite frankly, it’s a wonder that I open up to anyone. Probably because all humans need connection with one another. Whatevs.

Since triathlon has come into my life, I am finding that I resent that need less and less. What is training but dealing with imperfection? Race day is simply imperfection management. I have learned that excellence and imperfection are not mutually exclusive. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that because my definition of success is changing, I am slowly becoming more comfortable sharing with others.

As I think of just how intense my training will have to be as I approach my first Ironman, I find myself looking forward not to race day itself but to the path that will take me there. I am excited to dig deep and see more of what I am made. The real shocking part is that I am also excited to get to know people who are currently in my life even better. Not only that, it doesn’t scare me to ask for help as it once did. I know I am going to meet a lot of new people and it doesn’t even make me roll my eyes to think about it. What’s that about?!

I think my favorite part of my mellowing is what I see happening in my professional life. I find that a kinder, gentler Lady J is more sensitive to the needs of my students. It is easier for me to see the good in their efforts to make music, even when it sounds absolutely horrific. The words that it takes to convince someone to try something new are coming more naturally to me. My babies are becoming less tense because I am starting to recognize that it is normal for them not to understand something right away, to stumble, and then get it if they keep showing up.

“Lady J,” you say in disbelief. “You teach music. Shouldn’t you know better than anyone that practice is needed to become proficient at anything?” Dammit. You’re right again. And I have always maintained with my students that I don’t expect them to be perfect – only to try their best. I am realizing I have secretly been hoping that they would get it right on the first try because their imperfection is a reflection of my imperfection. The more they play imperfectly, the more I have to deal with my own inadequacies as musician and teacher. Twisted, I know. Now, I am able to celebrate their progress with much more than a sigh of relief. “Thank God I don’t completely suck,” I would think. No, no, NO! “Thank God you stuck with it and can reap the rewards of your hard work.”

So, um, yeah. Lord willing, becoming an Ironman is gonna be pretty sweet. The road and relationships I build along the way are going to be even sweeter. Hugs for everyone!

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Shoutout Series: Coachie!

I had to be in the right place to write appropriately for my triathlon coach. If I had tried to write this as my “A” race approached, the post probably would have been filled with hate-filled language regarding her plan for me. That being said, there aren’t too many people in the world who inspire me to have a t-shirt made just for them:

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Because of Coachie, I was able to roll up on the Athlete Village at my first half-ironman with confidence. Let me tell y’all – that is no small feat.

You see, I knew of Coachie’s existence long before she knew me. I actually was getting some swimming help from a friend in summer of 2013 when my friend observed her coaching someone else. We spoke briefly at the time, but that was that. Later that summer, one of the trainers at the gym recommended her to me. Finally, that guy who picked me up in the pool said I should check out her services. Months later, I went to one of her evil spin classes. She’s just so charming about it that you almost forget about the pain in your legs. Almost. In the nine months that I’ve trained with her, I have gone from surviving sprint races to feeling great at the half-iron distance. As impossible as whatever is on my training plan may seem, Coachie helps me not just to physically accomplish it but also to mentally wrap my brain around it.

Here’s the thing: Coachie is a great athlete. But that’s not a really big deal. Anyone can put time in and become proficient at something, given her level of dedication. It is her ability – and willingness – to share her knowledge with others in the style of delivery they need in order to thrive that make Coachie amazing to me. If I am not understanding something, she will show me again and again without ever making me feel small. When I do get it, she will share my excitement. She is one of the few people in the whole world with whom I feel I can be vulnerable, which I believe is incredibly difficult for adults to do with one another.

When she is not doing the nearly impossible job of coaching me (or other more capable but less witty clients), she is kicking ass at being a teacher, mother, and wife. She is going to roll her eyes when she reads this, but one time in one of her emails she wrote “my friend” and I geeked out. “Ahhhh! She called me friend! She must think I’m cool!” It’s easy for me to put Coachie on a pedestal because she never puts herself on one. I look up to her because while she walks with the confidence of an Ironman, she also knows she has room to grow. That balance is freaking incredible.

To Coachie – I’m embarrassed you make me gush like this! Thank you for helping Lady J do it.

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Shoutout Series: The Relay Team

So there was this one time I got picked up at the gym by this guy in the hot tub. Pretty sweet, eh? I started talking to him because he had an M-dot tattoo with several dates on it and I had just finished my first triathlon. He was very warm (perhaps it was just the tub) and enthusiastic as he spoke about racing. He not only encouraged me to join a local triathlon club of which he is part but also offered many words of wisdom without being a jerk about it. Que raro.

Well. I did it. Unbeknownst to me, I was in correspondence with his wife about joining. “Hey. Did you meet him in the pool?” she asked. “That’s how I married him!” Tee hee. They’re fun.

The two faithful of The Relay Team have been so kind and thoughtful as I’ve embarked upon my tribaby journey. Both experienced triathletes, they have offered me their company, advice, and support as I’ve accomplished things I’ve never thought possible.

Introvert that I am, it’s rare that I train with the group. However, the two of The Relay Team are as genuine as they are strong and – quite frankly, I love seeing them in any context. They inspire me to keep going even when I want to quit.

To The Relay Team. Thanks for helping Lady J do it.

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Bada$$es need love, too

As the peak of triathlon season approaches, I am feeling many things. With less than two weeks remaining until my “A” race, what I am feeling most is doubt. Doubting that I will finish within the time goal. Doubting that I will finish at all. Incredulous that I belong among this group of people who do things like swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles. In a row. This is my first race of this distance – it’s normal to feel some anxiety, right?

Evidently, I am not the only person who will show up at his or her race with these type of feelings. I have found myself sympathetic with other beginning triathletes who question themselves similarly. However, I have caught myself being judgmental with anyone who has more than like, 5 minutes racing experience than I do.

I’ve been there.

I know what you’re going through.

and the worst –

I. Am. Right. There. With. You.

The f*** you are.

You have been doing this a long time OR completed this same distance or even same course before. You’re so much faster and stronger than I am. Why are you even talking to me? You make me sick.

And then – I am reminded of my relationship with music and my music babies. One of my favorite exercises is to have them raise their hands if they suffer from stage fright. I always raise my hand with them because indeed, I still get very anxious before I perform. Invariably, at least one student responds, “No. Way.” I tell them we are all growing musicians, but I’ve just been growing a little longer than they have. And they actually buy it.

I applaud my babies when they are brave enough to play 3 note songs for each other. As I age, I think I am even more proud of the risk I take as I share music with others. In some ways, greater experience brings greater risk. You’ve delivered results in the past and success becomes more normal than not. As you expect more of yourself, others start to believe in you as well. “Man. People think this is going to go well. What if it doesn’t?”
Dammit, if anyone DARED to question why I was nervous as my recital last month was approaching, I looked at him or her as though s(he) had two heads. “Why wouldn’t I be nervous? Dumbass.”

Oh. Heh.

I suppose that if I am allowed to be nervous on stage, despite having performed since I was 4, people who already call themselves Ironman can be nervous too. While I haven’t read the USAT guidebook lately, I think it’s a safe bet to say that only humans are allowed to compete in races. To be human is to be fragile. Having the will to test your limits, regardless of your experience level, is to always be admired – never judged.

So uh – for all the thoughts that have ever run through my head about you – my bad. 🙂 I am praying for your progress, just as I pray for my own.

13 days.

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