Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lemon into Lemonade

I love the holiday season. Even with the stress of deadlines, getting the perfect presents and all the other things that go with it.  It wasn't always so for me, though. As an adult, I made a decision that this time of year was going to be a joyful time. Simple as that - I made a decision. When my boys came along, it became more important than ever for me.

I didn't have the greatest of childhoods. This is not to say that I don't have some good memories but there was a lot of less than desirable times. My mom and dad drank. My dad drank a lot. There was something about the holiday season that exacerbated this so the time from Thanksgiving until January 2nd was always a rollercoaster. There was physical abuse from him to my mom. Not us kids but as the oldest of four children, I was always there as a witness and to help clean up the carnage. It's odd to think back on this now - these days it would be considered child abuse and we probably would have been removed from the home. There were many holiday dinners that ended up with the contents of the table on the floor because of some disagreement between my parents. Funny that it just seemed a way of life to us.

I don't blame my parents for any of this. I believe they were doing the best they could with the skill set that they had. Other than this my parents always provided good care and shelter for us. They taught us right and wrong. They loved us the best they could. I was angry at one point in my life when I realized that not everyone lived the way we did but as I matured a little I was able to forgive both my parents and live out the remainder of their lives with a fairly decent relationship.

I share this morose little tidbit about myself to show that we do not have to let our past define us. I have taken the lemons that life dealt me and turned them into a wonderful life filled with lemonade! It has been a long and not so easy journey but each day I take another step and make a decision to be happy and be accountable for my choices.

I love the holiday season and hope that yours is filled with much joy and happiness!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ironman Arizona

I went to Arizona this weekend to volunteer at Ironman Arizona and to cheer on my friends that were competing. I stayed with family and as always felt their great love! It was a whirlwind trip, arriving Saturday morning and leaving Monday morning. This was the first time I have volunteered for a full Ironman and it won’t be the last.
It was a beautiful site early in the morning at Ironman Village.
 My shift at the bike special needs location didn’t start until 10 am so I was able to be at the start and watch the age groupers all go at the sound of the cannon. What an amazing sight!
The water instantly turned into a washing machine. Seeing this made me a little more nervous for my own big race next year. I stayed to watch some of the athletes I know exit the water and head to bike transition before heading out to my assigned station. I was at about the 15, 50 & 100 mile mark. It was a 3 loop course so I was able to see people several times. It was great fun talking to the athletes as they stopped for their special needs bags, to refresh their bottles and get nutrition and sunscreen. Some were all business and just grabbed their bags on the go but a lot of them really wanted the break so would stop and chat. It was interesting to see what each person thought was important to have in their bags. There was as much variety as there were people.

Earlier this year, I bought the book "Feed Zone Portables" by Biju Thomas and Allen Lim.
Feed Zone Portables I don't necessarily have nutrition issues but am always looking for better, healthier methods of fueling during a race. I especially think this will be necessary as I head into longer training sessions and races. Anyway, I read the book but have not had the time to make any of the recipes and try them out. One of the cyclists who stopped in my area had what was obviously food prepared from this book. I recognized the wrappings so I asked him.  His wife is a nutritionist and they started preparing this food earlier this year. He told me since he stopped using processed nutrition and switched to the feed zone food, his performance has gotten much better and he's had no issues. He even gave me one of his rice cakes to try since he had over packed his bag. It was delicious and I can't wait to spend the winter months experimenting with the recipes.
I finished my four plus hour shift and headed back to Ironman Village to cheer on the people on the run and meet up with my friends. I can tell you that during a weekend like this with little sleep, we get a little crazy and there was lots of laughter! It the middle of this craziness, I decided that I would register for 2014 IMAZ. This race sells out immediately but if you volunteer you get a jumpstart on the registration process. Most of the friends I was with were going to campout to be first in line Monday morning to register.
The wristband proves you volunteered and lets you get in the early line! I got caught up in the excitement of the weekend but actually thought better of it Sunday night. I figured I better get through my first Ironman in May and then decide if I want to do a second one!

Last week was a great week. The GPP Master's class has grown in size and it's been exciting to watch them push their limits and go beyond what they thought possible. And my piece of good news for the week was that my application to be a USAT Level I Certified Coach was accepted so I'll be going to a training class in February and then will be able to work even more sharing this sport I've come to love dearly.

The next two weeks are going to be crazy, getting ready for Thanksgiving, training and heading into a busy time at work!

Have you ever done something because you got caught up in the moment?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ironman Training Day 1

I caught this beautiful sunset last week on my drive home from teaching class!

I woke up this morning and decided that this day is my official start for my Ironman training. I say this even though I am constantly in some sort of training mode but felt there had to be a “1st Day"! The morning began rather ominously and has put me into a “full of doubt” mode. Not good when I will be competing in about six months in the hardest race of my life.

Computrainer class starts tonight. If you don’t know, this is an indoor cycling class where the bike is connected to a computerized trainer that can be programmed for specific workouts, wattage and power. It is a valuable resource for triathlon training in the colder months. I did these classes two years ago and could really tell the difference when spring came and I was able to get outside versus last year when I did not participate. Before starting classes, you need to have a Lactate Threshold Assessment done. Through this process your lactate threshold is analyzed and then power zones are set specifically set for your ability.

I was excited to do this and see a huge improvement over my last test from two years ago. I was disappointed to get the email showing my zones are exactly the same as last time. I thought it would show a big difference. They did show that my lactate and heart rate are much lower than before but I can’t help but feel defeated already on this first day of training.

The other aspect of the Ironman training that I need to master is balance. Balance in my life with home, church, work, teaching and training. Last week I had to miss a swim workout because I was not organized and felt overwhelmed. I am going to have to be much more on top of things in order to be able to do what is necessary to get me to the end goal. This means planning my food for the week, organizing my workout equipment for each day, planning my life out at least for one week at a time and still functioning at my day job. Thank goodness my training plan is done for me and accessible in Training Peaks.

My darling hubby cast doubt on me today as well with a simple comment that I know he did not mean negatively.

What I know is this journey will be a roller coaster ride with my physical and mental abilities and most of all my emotions. I will not beat myself up and I will listen to my kind and caring coach! I am excited to see where this journey takes me and what I am to learn.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Winter and Ironman

This month is the start of my 33rd year of living in Utah. Winter shows up with a vengeance every year. I moved here from the eastern Oregon/Washington area where we did not have much of a winter. I don’t like winter. I am not sure what possessed me to stay here in the beginning. As a poor young person, I walked to work at the U without owning a pair of gloves or boots. My parents sent me these necessities for Christmas that first year.  Utah is such a beautiful state with so much to see and I have to believe that is what kept me here.

No running for me the past couple of weeks. I have been in a medically induced state of rest. Last week after returning from the Iron Girl Triathlon, I endured a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection in my hamstring. This is the third time I have done this and it has really helped me heal. If you’ve never heard of this, Google it. It’s not a very fun process but I truly believe it has helped me get and stay pain free. The deal is no exercising for a couple of weeks and then starting back light the next week. The timing was good for me since my October schedule had thrashed my legs fairly good and rest was in order.

On a good note, I found out that for the Nike Women's Half Marathon that I ran two weeks post-marathon where I wasn't too sure about my legs, I placed 177/881 in my age group. this is the best I have every run in one of the "big" races.

The countdown is 130 days to my half distance Ironman in Monterrey, Mexico. In my mind, it seems far away but it will be here before I know it! Staying healthy while training is my biggest focus. I believe that I will make the cutoff times and finish the race.

Somewhere during the weekend my thoughts turned to whether I could actually compete in a full ironman distance race. I kept trying to push these thoughts away, especially since I’ve made the declaration that I never want to run a marathon again. It stayed on my mind through yesterday and after looking at potential locations and checking with my coach, I took the plunge and registered for Ironman Texas 2014.

This scares the crap out of me but I believe we need to do things that scare us periodically.  More to come on this development and the training. I’m happy that a bunch of my friends will be competing at this race and I can learn from them.

I still don’t like winter but I am much better equipped at handling it these days.