Sunday, February 28, 2010

Am I Missing Something?

Over the last few weeks, I received several incredulous looks from some of my fellow triathletes in the community. When I tell them I just learned how to swim 8 months ago, I never swam, open water, and never ran a marathon, and that I am doing a half ironman I get a “looks”. What I don’t tell them is that I can count on one hand how many training days I have missed, how dedicated I am to my goals, and how determined I am to accomplishing this goal! I am not afraid of an open water swim. I am not afraid of the 56-mile bike ride. I am I not afraid of the half-marathon in the end! I will execute.

However, I can’t seem to wonder what am I missing? Ignorance is bliss. I know. However, am I being stupid? Unrealistic? Zealous? I wonder sometimes if I am setting myself up for failure. I have read both horror stories and success stories about people who have participated in the half ironman swim as their first or second open water swim.

I also remember I didn’t decide to do a Half Ironman this year. If it were up to me, I would be doing the Miami Half Ironman in October as my key race. It was put in my heart to do an Ironman. When I saw there was an Ironman in Cozumel, Mexico, I felt like it was God putting it in my heart to do that Ironman. Mexico is where I did my first mission trip in July ’09. My church also has a mission in Cozumel and I am using this Ironman to raise money for that orphanage.

I guess what I am saying is…I don’t know what I am saying! I just don’t like getting those looks! I feel like people are just totally doubting, not just me, but anyone else that dreams of losing 60lbs and going from a smoker to a runner. I did enough doubting of myself every time I emptied a bottle of alcohol down my throat! I have doubted long enough! Maybe that is why it has been put in my path to do what seems impossible. I for one know what it feels like to be a slave to self-doubt. I would dang well rather have the confidence in myself to go out and try and not finish the race than be a blasted slave to self-doubt again!

Every decision I made regarding my decision to do this half ironman has been calculated. I know how I felt at the end of a 30 mile ride. I know how I feel at the end of my half marathons. I know how I feel after my swims. I chose New Orleans because it’s a wetsuit swim (wetsuits add improved buoyancy). The bike course is flat yet windy (perfect!) The run is flat! Even better since I average almost 30-45 sec faster per mile on flats. I didn’t just Willy-nilly wake up one day and decide I want to do a half Ironman. I asked my coach if it was possible and I have been training with him for four months. Before that, I PR’ed my half marathon time. (pr’ed means personal record). The time is now!

Look at me with that “look” if you want! I wont win, but crossing that line is a win to me! See you at the finish line because I am taking every look I have received from people with me! Thanks for the motivation “LOOKERS!”

"Success is never final and failure never fatal. It's courage that counts." - George F. Tilton

p.s. but this has been bugging me a bit. Its not that I don’t want to open water swim before the race. I just don’t think I will be able to because of the weather here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Catch up on the week or so...

Well, there is a lot to catch up on over the last week or so. Let’s see what has happened. I am convinced I have runners knee. At this point, I am afraid to run because of the pain. Luckily for me, I have an appointment with Dr. Greenapple’s staff. More specifically, Dr. Clay who also taught the swim clinic I attended today which was an awesome clinic but I will talk about that later.

I took the new Cervelo P3 bike out for a ride and nearly wrecked it 5 times! It is totally going to take some getting used to. Riding on that bike made me feel like cycling was new to me. I don’t feel stable enough to even fuel myself on this bike right now. If I were to do the half Ironman today, I would have to stop every 45 minutes to eat and put more fluids in the aero bottle. That would amount to about 4 stops on the route. It is my prayer that the weather warms up for a lot more training rides so I can feel more comfortable with the ride.

More exciting news! We have tickets in-hand! We are definitely going to Cozumel! I just hope that when I arrive I am healthy enough to participate in this event! Now as for my bike, I have no idea how it is going to make it to Cozumel! If I were to ship the bike on the plane with a bike case, it would cost me $600 total which about $200 more than I paid for my plane ticket! I am considering shipping the bike with DHL.


Two nights ago, I went for a swim. I felt so lazy this day! I didn’t want to do my workout. I went to the pool and decided I wasn’t going to “push it.” I was going to swim and work on my technique and whatever my time was, I didn’t care! It turned out I was seconds faster in the pool! My times were also more consistent and there didn’t seem to be signs of fatigue! I guess because I was more relaxed (i.e. lazy) and focused on my technique, I was a little faster and more consistent. I couldn’t believe it! I went to the pool not expecting to push it and came out with better times!

Today I went to a swim clinic held by Greenapple’s staff as I mentioned before. It was a sighting clinic that also covered technique. What I failed to mention about Dr. Clay is that he holds, or at some point held, the fastest swim times at University of Kentucky. I think it is safe to safe this guy knows what he is talking about! His big deal was hip rotation which I know I don’t really do well with! He showed us the fist drill, which we did, followed by a 100 yard swim. This really forces you to drive your hips and WOW! What a difference!

I learned some pretty important things to improve my stroke. The clinic was 2.5 hours long and only 20 bucks! I walked away with at least three things to improve on. In addition, I learned several different ways to sight in the open water! This is important considering I never swam in the open water. Swimming is quickly becoming my strongest discipline.

Over these last few weeks I have also encountered “skeptical looks” from people in the sport. I will talk about that in the next post.

Friday, February 26, 2010

FINIS Freestyle Snorkel Review

I am a new adult swimmer, 8 months, and this is my first swim aid. It was recommended to me by my triathlon coach and I am glad he did! This is the best thing I could have purchased. I don’t “swim” with this device I only perform drills with it. One drill is the “Superman.” With the help of this device and the drills, I have become a lot more relaxed in the water and noticed 6 seconds off per 100 (during my normal swimming).

I read a review that knocked it because it requires proper head position. It does require correct head position to avoid water intake but isn’t that what we want? It took me only two attempts before I had this tool figured out. The first attempt was in a crowded pool and after 5 minutes I decided not to embarrass myself (choking on water!) in front of an audience. The second attempt, in a less crowed environment, I took my time and slowly increased my distances from the wall; a 1/4 length, then a half length, and then a 3/4 length. Finally, after ten minutes, I was able to swim without taking in water. I will say, for me it is difficult to swallow with the snorkel. After about 25 to 50 yards, I have to pull the mouth piece away to swallow. This is good for me considering my drills are 12 x 25 yards – 12 x 50 yards and so forth. I don’t think I could swim a main set with the snorkel. It’s a good thing I don’t plan too. Great investment I think! Hope this helps!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A busy day

Wow yesterday was a busy day! The first thing I did in the morning was get my bike ready to go to Inside Out Sports to get the ISM Adamo Race seat (demo) put on my bike. I also had them make a few adjustments to the bike. I asked for these changes based on that two hour trainer ride. My fit was tweaked in the following ways: the aero bars were widened and angled down a bit; we dropped the aero base one spacer. I also had the seat put on. Greg, the bike mechanic, was awesome! He put the demo seat on and also angled it down just a tad. They really do have a great staff there!

I then took the bike on a test ride. It was awesome! I noticed how comfortable the seat was immediately. I am still a sore from my experience 3 days ago! I thought this would be a good thing because if the seat was uncomfortable I would know immediately! It felt great being on the road with the bike. Being in the saddle on the trainer, I think, gives me a little more confidence with the bike. Im up to three times riding a triathlon bike on the road lol!

The truth is I know I have to develop a relationship with the bike. You can’t have a relationship with something/someone without a name. So, I named her Hebrew 12. This is reference to Hebrew 12:1-3 “1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

After my adventure at Inside Out Sports, I traveled to TrySports. These guys were packaging my first bike to be shipped to my brother in Germany. It was 2007 LeMond Alpe D'Huez by trek. I did my first Duathlon on this bike. This bike opened me up to the world of multisport and certainly has sentimental value. It was an entry level bike and I have been rough with her, but this bike still has reliable shifting and a good set of wheels on her! I sold her to my brother at a steal!!!! Since I began my journey, he has since been interested in triathlon and has started taking swim lessons too. Our plan is to do Ironman Germany near his home in 2011. Considering we are twins, it seems fitting my first bike will also become his first bike.

Later that evening, I had a 45 minute trainer session. This would give me a better idea how the seat and new fit works for me. After the session, I made a few observations. I feel like I am sliding a bit forward on the seat. It’s nothing serious so I will not change anything with the fit until I ride the bike on the road a few times. I also realized this seat gets a bit uncomfortable if I try to ride out of the aero position. When I sit up, I could feel a little discomfort on the rear sit bones. This isn’t an issue considering I “shouldn’t” ride in this position for long; just long enough to take a break from the aero position. More important, THIS SEAT DIDN’T HURT THE AREA!!! I am so excited about this! I will ride this seat for the next week to really see what it’s like and I’m sure the decision will be made to buy!

Kristi and I also traveled to a couple of Christian stores because I want to put two Ichthus decals on the seat post of Hebrew 12 (the bike). I bought something that didn’t work so looks like I will have to get a custom made decal. If you guys know a place to have one made please, please let me know.

To end the day Kristi and I went to see Dear John. I hate to admit this but the only love movie I ever got a little teary eyed was the Notebook. Dear John was written by the same author and it was awesome seeing this movie with my best friend and gf. Thanks Kristi!!!!!

Today I am going back to TrySports to have a free biomechanic run analysis performed. I wonder what they are going to say. Hopefully there is something in my form that caused the knee pain last week ugh! I hate that kind of pain! At least when I get tired on a swim, bike, or run, if I fight through that kind of pain there is something to gain. There is nothing to gain in the knee pain so I need to get that taken care of!!!

Below is an example of riding in the Aero Postion and standard Road Bike position. You can see in the aero positon the person is leaning forward more than the standard road bike position

Standard Roadbike

Monday, February 15, 2010

Growing PAINS

Yup! I have some stories. Saturday was my scheduled 12 mile run that ended at 8 miles and me Googling knee pain. I had a sharp pain through my knee at mile 7 and sucked it up to mile 8. I didn’t want to stop but it was better to stop than risk injuring my knee further. I honestly believe it partly had something to do with the weather. It may have been too cold for my joints considering I beat the incoming snowfall by a couple of hours. It may be improper running form (run analysis to follow!). It could be the running shoe. In any event it hurt! I’m not a quieter but man! I was trying to quiet the pain and then suddenly it got the best of me.

The following day, Saturday, I did a 2 hour bike ride on the trainer. I was so excited because this was the first time I would be able to “ride” my baby. Ok, ok; I’m not really riding her; but we would definitely be developing a relationship. It would also give me an idea of whether or not I can hold the aero position. I was so excited about this ride.

I jumped on the new ride and the first hour was a breeze! The next thirty minutes I noticed some pain in the perineum area of my bottom. The ride wasn’t killing me; it was the extreme discomfort of the saddle! I was able to tough it out for the last 30 minutes. It was tough to even imagine staying seated on the saddle. I seriously wanted to cry. After having to stop running the day before, there was NO WAY I was going to stop pedaling. I didn’t care how much pain I was in.

When I got off the saddle, something wasn’t right. My “guy” was numb! I thought it would wear off and it didn’t. I started to panic and I went to the internet for answers! Bad idea! I read story after story about impotence and permanent damage and I really began to freak out! I also searched saddles that would alleviate pressure in the perineum area and found the ISM Adamo Racing saddle. (I will begin demo'ing this saddle on Tuesday)

Unfortunately, this saddle wasn’t here and the pain was. I thought that maybe I would just sleep the numbness off. I went to bed and woke up the next morning still numb!!!! I really freaked and decided I would make a trip to the hospital. It was Sunday morning and I thought the hospital would not be busy and I was right! One hundred and fifty bucks and 2 hours later I learned I had a bruised nerve in the perineum. In a couple of days, I will be good as new. Not after learning a huge lesson about riding aero and the benefits of having a good seat!!

Oh yeah, growing pains! I’m glad this all happened now and not mile 10 of the Half Ironman. At least I have a chance to change what I need to change.

One last thing, I haven’t been to an emergency room in YEARS! My information needed to be updated and I was asked my religious preference. I confidently said, Christian. That was awesome because for so long I didn’t know where I stood or what I was as far as religious values. Here is an idea of what I mean. I started with Islam as a child; then Pentecostal Christian (although I never studied the Bible or went to church for that matter. I was Christian in name only). In my adult life I was Seventh Day Adventist and Buddhist. Finally, when someone asks my religious preference I can confidently say…I am a Christian. This confidence I gain through my Father. I am so grateful for these lessons and these experiences. They are all part of my journey to walk among those few people we call Ironman.

UPDATE on 03/15/2010- It took a MONTH before thing felt normal! Im just saying! Ugh!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The decision to do an Ironman has to be made every day.

This lesson I am learning the hard way. It is 35 degrees outside and I have to run 12 miles. I stayed up all morning trying to find a reason not to go out and run. It’s too cold. I can do it tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day that never comes. The truth is… there isn’t a reason good enough to not put myself through what lies ahead. I have to recommit to my decision. No matter the weather; or how tough the miles ahead may seem. Every day, is like the day I hit the submit button on my Ironman application. I can do it! And this run, will be one of the days that won’t matter when I cross the finish line! I will forget about this run the moment it is over. I will recall it the day I hit the start line. This is the day I find out where my determination will take me….

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Finis Snorkel arrived today!

I walked out the door to get my swim workout in and I see a UPS truck stopped in front of my apartment building. He exited his truck and began walking toward me with a box that read I said, “Sir, I believe that is for me.” He asked my name and I signed for the packaged. I was so excited! I knew what it was! It was my Finis Freestyle Snorkel. Lance recommended this to me when I took my swim analysis!

I read some reviews before purchasing the snorkel; some good, some bad. One review disliked the snorkel because you had to have perfect head position in the water. I am still trying to figure out why that is a bad thing! I ripped the packaged open and fitted the snorkel to my head. I did my swim workout and the last 300 yards of the workout asked for drills. I thought this would be a perfect time to use my brand new snorkel.

“How hard could it be,” I thought. I read reviews that said it takes some getting used to. I thought whatever! I got it! I donned my snorkel and off I went. Stroke, stroke this is awesome! A little water in my mouth, followed by half the pool!!!! Ugh! I took the it off cleared it and went again. I swam 4 laps with this thing! Each time I had to stop to take the snorkel off after swimming a half length of the pool!

I asked one of the aquatic managers at the pool, Nathan, if he used these before. He said he had. I asked if it took some getting used to. He replied, “Ooooooooh Yeah! I guess I need to practice with this new toy. I am excited about the snorkel because it is a great tool! It will definitely take some getting used to.

At the end of this workout, I was still swimming my 100s forty seconds faster than my Critical Swim Speed test! This is exciting news!

For every person that thinks you can, there is always someone that thinks you can’t!

Two nights ago I went to the YMCA for my swim. I was approached by a fairly fit looking lady that mentioned she had the Finis Lap counter like I did. Then she made a comment about something to the effect of not wanting to keep track of laps and that is why I wear my GPS watch so I don’t have to keep track. Was that not a dead ringer that this lady is a triathlete! Who else swims and wears a GPS watch?! Runners will wear a GPS watch but many of them don’t swim.

So, I said “Ahh, triathlon!” She smiled and said yes. I asked who if she was coached and or if she was self coached. She stated she, in fact, was a coach. She mentioned her name and I was like oh wow I don’t think I ever came across you site. I mentioned I was being coached by Lance Leo and she was like ohhh he can get pricey. I was like yeah you get what you pay for.

This small talk went on for a brief period and she asked about my experience. I told her I did my first sprint six weeks after I took my first swim lesson. I went on to tell her that was in October and I am doing a half ironman in New Orleans in April, Augusta Half in September, and Ironman Cozumel in November. Honestly, I know she was trying to hold back, but she looked at me like I was crazy! I’m not kidding!!! Then she asked if I had ever done a marathon. I said…NOPE! Ironman will be my first marathon! You REALLY should have seen her face then!!! Holy Cow! She looked at me like I was a dead man walking! Guys I am NOT kidding!

Although my intentions and abilities were being questioned by this person, I for one did not doubt my abilities for one second! I found it interesting that maybe she was placing her doubt on me. She was a very fit woman and has done several Half Ironman’s but never a full. I wonder why she doubted her abilities to go long. Yet I, clearly less fit and athletic, am willing to put it all on the line! No doubts just heart! I know she didn’t mean anything by it, but she will be one of the people I think about when I cross the line in New Orleans.

By the way, the Finis Lap counter is a GREAT investment! It keeps track of you laps and splits. I will say, however, the suction cups on the back of the items doesn’t stick to the wall very well. I usually keep it on top of the lane.

On to my swim, this was cut short due to the YMCA’s overcrowding and over booking of the pool! Ugh! I am seriously two seconds from canceling my membership there! Anyway, I was able to time a few 100’s and realized I am consistently swimming 40 seconds faster per 100 than my Critical Swim speed test a few weeks ago! I am definitely getting stronger!

Monday, February 8, 2010

The latest owner of the 2010 Cervelo P3

Words cannot describe the overwhelming joy I am feeling right now! Today, I was fortunate enough to purchase my dream bike Cervelo P3. At one point, my gf Kristi almost saw me becoming emotional! Was it because I just had a dream come true? No…no it wasn’t that at all. Don’t get me wrong I am SUPER excited about that! I think the emotions came because I am one step closer to realizing my dream. This bike is a symbol of my dedication to triathlon and is absolutely a blessing from God. I pray I do not fall short of glorifying Him.

So, this is how the day unfolded. I bought my Cervelo R3 (my Cervelo roadbike) from the largest bike store in Charlotte one year ago. I decided that I would be a loyal customer and purchase the Cervelo P3 from them too. Why not?? I go to the store and drill their triathlon bike guy about the differences between the P2 and the P3. I knew most of the differences but just needed to hear it from an actual person. Then we talked about the differences between the Cervelo P3 Ultegra vs. the Dura Ace. After the discussion, I just could not feel comfortable justifying spending another $900 to upgrade to Dura Ace. After months of debate, research, and reviews, I decided I was going to buy the Cervelo P3 Ultegra.

The largest bike store in Charlotte did not have the Cervelo P3 in stock. Oooook. I asked them to order it and said I will be here to buy it and ride out the following Friday. This gave them 10 days to order the bike. I was told they typically require a deposit on a bike before they order. Really?! It’s a Cervelo P3 they should have been carrying that bike anyway! Well here is the issue. They wanted 20% to order the bike. Hmmmm. You want me to pay a 20% deposit for you to order a bike that you should be carrying anyway.

Then I was told they were going to order the bike without me leaving a deposit. I call 5 days later which was Tuesday, today, to see if the bike arrived and that I am ready to walk out of the door with the P3. Uhh sir, we ordered the bike and uhh well the bike hasn’t been shipped yet. And, uhh we are talking with the Cervelo Rep. Hmmmm really! What you are really telling me is YOU DIDN’T ORDER THE BIKE!! Nooooo problem. I know who carries the Cervelo P3 in stock! Inside Out Sports!

I called Inside Out Sports, (which by the way is the same store I test road the Cerverlo P2 and bought my spanking brand new Blue Seventy Helix Wetsuit for a great price!). Bob remembered me when I asked him about the differences between the P2 and P3 which was Kudos to him for remembering me! Remember my previous post when I said the Inside Out Store has the mom and pop feel. They do and man does it make a difference when people recognize you. I feel a sense of trust when members of the store recognize me you know? That trust is because it is the start of a relationship! Every customer that walked in the door it seemed they knew by first name. That was impressive. If they didn’t know them they sure treated them like they knew them for a while.

Bob takes me to the bike room and there she was! My chariot awaiting her hero to mount her and charge into the Ironman battle (Kristi babe! it’s just an analogy hehe). Bob took some measurements and did some tweaks. He asked about the seat height and I felt it was a little high. That thing was really giving me some uhh “genitalia compression.” He dropped the height of the seat tube 1 cm and I tell you what! It is huge what a 1 centimeter adjustment will do for you. An adjustment here, a pedal stroke there, and the occasional measurement then it was time. It was time to take the P3 out for a spin (pun intended).

I was more nervous because this ride makes it a grand total of TWO times ever on a triathlon bike. Except this one I wanted to buy. There I am on the sidewalk trying not to vision myself wrecking this bike! I start with my traditional bunny hop start (one leg push off) and Im on the road. I started the ride using the hoods but man this bike screams for you to be in the Aero position (arms in the arm rest, bending at the waist). I take it for a test ride and man the gears were killing me at first! I was like What tha? I was freaking out big time!!! Then I looked down at my cogs and realized I had A LOT more gears left! I was too nervous to change the gears on the bike because of the resistance I was feeling when trying to change gears. I guess that is something I have to get used to also.

The fit was super comfortable and the ride on the bike was sweet! I looooved the test ride and really enjoyed this bike. I enjoyed riding this bike more than the P2 actually. It is likely because of the fit I had with this bike. I can’t wait to put this baby on the road. For now, we will be working on the trainer until the weather breaks. Hopefully we only have a few more weeks before we can get out.
I just have to tell you, I was like a kid in the candy store. I did a lot of research on every item I purchased. I was running through the store picking up items like it was Christmas! Kristi decided she would just sit down while I ran Willy-Nilly through the store back and forth and back and forth. I added the XLAB Sonic Carbon wing rear hydration system to complete to bike with a profile aero bottle in the front. I also grabbed a pair of Look Pedals. I think I am going to put these pedals on the Cervelo R3 and upgrade to the Look Keo Max 2 pedals on the P3. I am so excited about this bike and this experience! I just wanted to add this last piece of information. I was the first person to buy the 2010 Cervelo P3 Ultegra from Inside Out Sports. Since they are the only store that carries this bike, does that make me the first owner of the Cervelo P3 Ultegra in Charlotte? HeHe I guess it does lol!

P.S. we loaded the P3 ever so delicately in the back of Kristi’s SUV. I jokingly said, “Try not to hit any bumps!” What’s first thing she did?! LOL drove over the curb LOL!!!! That was hilarious! I think she did it on purpose!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I took the one less traveled by,

To know me, is to know my favorite poet of all time, Robert Frost! I was introduced to Frost in the 8th grade by my English teach Mr. Cunningham (who is also the teacher that inspired me the most! I wish I could tell him that). My favorite poem by Robert Frost is The Road Not Taken written in 1916:

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I mention this in a blog about my journey for several reasons. Deciding to do an Ironman was a choice; a difficult choice. A choice to take the road less traveled. However, the decision to toe the starting line was not where those choices ended. Everyday I am making choices with the Ironman in mind. I watch what I eat. I make sure I am training sufficiently and I am picking routes to run.

Picking routes to run. See, I have to do a 10 mile run tonight. One positive about working patrol in the same area I live is that I can map out my run in my patrol vehicle while still maintaining my role as an officer. As you exit my apartment complex, obviously you can go right or left. What’s interesting is how the routes vary dramatically to left or to the right.

If I go left: some hills, mostly flat, not a bad run, and very popular in the community as it’s heavily traveled with runners and cyclists. If I go right: a HUGE hill! This hill is followed by more hills. The hill eventually leads downhill but then goes up hill again. In fact, the finish would be an up hill finish! Of course going to the left would be a downhill finish. Dare I say, this road is less traveled (I couldn’t resist).

“And be one traveler, long I stood…” trying to decide what route I was in the mood to run after work. Which run can I finish faster so I can party tonight?! Which run isn’t going to hurt as badly? Then I asked which run is going to benefit me the most? Which run is going to prepare me to meet my goal? My goal? Ooooh my goal means more to me than completing the Ironman. My goal: quiet those damn demons.

I had to make a choice. I have to continually take the road less traveled. Except, unlike the poem, I cannot wonder where the other road would have taken me. The run is not going to be pretty. Why? I am weaning myself off of Galloway Running. I know I am a better runner than the Galloway running! I am now running without walks. I have run 10 miles without a walk before. YEARS ago! Ok 2 years ago lol. I don’t want to walk! I want to push past these mental barriers that keep me in the back of the pack. That is why I am making the decision to run the harder route. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

On this run I will tell myself:
“When I feel pain, it is my body turning into Iron!”

Monday, February 1, 2010

My Mind is Ready

Before last night, I could not mentally get past a 4 mile run on the treadmill. The longest I have run on a treadmill was 6 miles and that has been at least a year or two ago (cant remember). This weekend I had an 8 mile run scheduled and that’s not something you can just put off till later. I was supposed to do the run Saturday but we had snow coming. Instead of the doing run that was scheduled for Saturday, I did the bike workout. I don’t think I’m getting enough from the bike so will be talking to Lance about finding my true thresholds for the bike. I LOOOVE the bike it’s my fav event! I digress…again (I seem to do that a lot in my blog).

Where was I? Oh snow and Ice; bike instead of run. I was hoping the road would be clear by Sunday for an evening run which is typically the case with snow in Charlotte, NC. Here one minute, gone the next. However, that was not the case. Sunday was still a pretty bad day; although, not nearly as treacherous and Saturday. A decision had to be made. I knew I had run 6 miles some time ago so I could at least run 6 miles. Then I bartered with myself that I could run 7 miles on the treadmill and we can call it even Steven for the last mile. I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate…hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE running on the treadmill. I call in my mental toughness days. It takes more out of me mentally to run 4 miles on the dreaded treadmill than it does to actually run.

I told Kristi that I was going to only do seven miles instead of the 8. I had explained I just can’t run more than 4 miles on the treadmill and blah blah blah. She made the simplest, true, and most important statement: “You can do it!” I was so focused on the “can’t” that I never thought I “could.” I put a lot of effort into convincing myself that 7 miles is good enough. Does it take 139.6 miles to become an Ironman? Uhh NO! 140.6!

I hit the treadmill still convinced I was only going to run 7 and after that we will see how I feel. I ran on the treadmill in the apartment complex several times before. I usually pick the treadmill that faces a full length mirror. I am basically looking at myself the entire time I’m running. Facing myself if you will.

I brought a t-shirt with me with the intent of covering the display. At least I wouldn’t have to watch every second ticking away. I put the pace at an 11min mile and felt like I was walking. This is my normal half marathon/marathon pace (and I’m ok with being slow hehe). I turned it up to a 10min mile and felt solid. One thing I have noticed in this training is that I am absolutely feeling faster and stronger.

Any run over six miles I use Hammer Gels. This trains my body to look for this energy source during longer events. It also keeps me in the habit of gelling every 3 miles. I started running…then I hit three miles…time to gel! I immediately realized I couldn’t run 8 miles on the treadmill. However, I COULD run two 3 mile runs and a 2 mile run to finish consecutively. I had to break this run up in my head. It’s not a long run; rather three shorts runs put together. I ran the first three then kept going. I was alternating between water and Heed (learned not to use straight Heed on the last 8 mile run less ye get sick lol).

I was sweating quiet a bit and realized I should probably start replacing my electrolytes as well. I will certainly add SaltStick capsules to my training days! Occasionally, I would peak under the shirt to see how far I ran. It was one of those times you ask yourself, “Do you really wanna know?!” The first 5k is down. I just have to get through the next 5 k. then you can eat another gel. This was a great treat considering I have not had dinner and its 7pm. When I got through the second 5K it was exciting to think I only have 2 miles to go. I was feeling bold! I wanted to face this blasted treadmill head on. I took the shirt from the display and was screaming to myself, “Who’s your daddy?! Who’s the man?!”

After about thirty seconds of manning up, I immediately put the shirt over the display. Seeing the thirty seconds tick by was excruciating! It was undoubtedly the most agonizing thirty seconds of the run. This was followed by the treadmill shutting down at the one hour mark. I turned it back on and started again; two miles to go. Really, I only had one mile to go. Once I got to 7, getting to 8 wouldn’t be as difficult.

I did it! I jumped off the treadmill super excited! Not because of the run, but because of the mental toughness. I know now I can MAKE this body do what I want it to!

My swim Is ready! My bike Is ready! My mind Is ready! IronMan New Orleans 70.3 or bust!