I have approached that time of year where I have to utter that dreaded four letter word:
For those who know me well, and quite frankly those who know me via the inter web know that I don’t sit or rest well. My mom said this about me when I was a baby, and I guess it’s a skill that I simply never learned.
The thing about participating in endurance sports is that you push your body to the limit, sometimes it gets angry with you. That happened in March when my hip began to hurt so much that I physically could not run, never mind sit for long periods in the car or at a desk.
After months and months of rehabbing and a misdiagnosis, I found the cause of my problem: my lower back. I won’t bore you will specifics (if you are curious feel free to ask!), but the pain I was feeling in my back was caused by an issue with a disc in my lower back, so I started treatment for that with the help of my miracle worker chiropractor and magically things started feeling better. Finally, I was able to run pain free, for the first time in months and even though it wasn’t advisable during my treatment, I was able to keep up half ironman training and successfully complete the race pain free with a smile on my face.
Once I bid adieu to triathlon season (tear), I made a promise to myself that I would slow down and rest. Even though it is eating a bit of my soul, I know that this is a good thing for my body and future athletic pursuits.
Mentally, I know it’s good to take a break from the grind of constantly peeling out high mileage.
When I say “rest”, I’m not completely checking out from the gym, swimming or running; I’m just doing workouts at a much lower intensity. I’ve been enjoying my quick 3.5 mile runs around my beautiful neighborhood in this delicious time of year.
I’ve reacquainted myself with a contraption known as the elliptical or one of my favorite calorie burners, the “big step.” I’m still finding joy in the pool and sweating it out in spin class, the only difference being, these activities max out at 30-45 minutes and include a fierce menu of stretching and icing afterwards.
So what am I doing with all of my free time?
Making delicious dinners with Foxy:
Has anyone tried Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash pasta sauce? It is UN-REAL! Pricey, but definitely worth it.
Spending time with my adorable nieces and nephew, though I would like to do more of this!
Enjoying fall in my neighborhood on beautiful days like this one:
Enjoying delicious beverages (who am I kidding, I did that during training too :))
Icing other sore and tired body parts with interesting compression devices. Pashmina anyone?
and lastly, I’m still keeping my athletic goals in my mind by catching up on blogs and watching some favorite motivational movies
In addition to all of this fun, I’ve been scheming a really fun adventure and a few exciting side projects I hope to share in the next few weeks.
What are your favorite “off-season” activities? Do you have any suggestions for me?
On Sunday September 9th, I finished the 2013 triathlon season on an extremely high note. I raced in the inaugural Hero Triathlon Cape Cod in Mashpee, MA.
The weather was perfect, the venue was amazing and the crowd support, was fantastic. Despite hitting a major wall at mile 3.5 of the run, I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the entire race and found myself reflecting on the past year and how far I have come in this crazy sport.
I went from being absolutely terrified of riding a bike to riding 56 miles (in-between swimming 1.2 and running 13.1) and yes, eventually I will be confident enough to use aerobars…
I’ve learned to quell those evil voices in my head and to just “go with it”
I’ve returned to the water AND LOVED IT.
I’ve made new friends (in real life and the internet) who have helped me build my skill level, experience and confidence. I seriously have no idea how I would have survived this season without the generosity of my swim-bike-run friends.
I’ve discovered absolutely breath taking areas of New England
I’ve had a BLAST
And as I’ve said before, I have a feeling things are just beginning. I’m already busy plotting a very busy 2014 season and I am so excited to build upon all of the things I have learned throughout the past 6-12 months.
Thank you to everyone in blog and twitter-land for your encouragement, excitement, tips and laughs. I can’t believe the season is over, but I’m excited to take a little bit of a break, figure out some nagging injuries once and for all, and spend lots of time with this guy.
How do you feel about your 2013 race season? Do you have any “unfinished business” you are looking to avenge in 2014?
Ok folks, here it is, the spoiler alert – I had BLAST at Ironman Timberman 70.3. So much so that I am still riding the wave even a week later! The day was not without it’s challenges, but for the most part I had an unreal day.
My alarm wet off at 4am, just as planned. I joke with Rob and a lot of my friend’s that as a swimmer we have a ridiculous internal body clock. Well, race mornings seem to only magnify this special quality. I found myself staring at the clock at 3:59am – BOOM! Not only did I think, “Oh, I have a moment to myself to relax before this alarm goes off.” I thought “OOF, Jules and D are ALREADY at the parking lot.”
Foxy was a rockstar husband/sherpa and ran everything out to the car while I ate breakfast, packed up my essentials and made sure that I was achieving everything on my to do list. I put on the TV and watched a really heart warming Make A Wish story about a terminally ill boy who got to meet the entire Seattle Seahawks team and play with them during training camp. I thought it was particularly approprate considering how much Ironman Timberman raises for the Make A Wish Foundation. Always good to start off your day feeling thankful for what you have!
Once we piled in the car, I felt confident, some nervous energy but most of all, I felt excited. I knew I put in all of the work that I could, so it was time to test my training.
We made the short trip to Ellacoya State Park. I updated my facebook status with an amazing quote from Andy Potts “Every Race is a balance of hope and doubt” (then I improvised) “today, the hope will be louder than the doubt!” I felt great and just wanted to stay positive and most of all, HAVE FUN.
In addition to motivational quotes from my swimming/triathlon idol, we were treated to an amazing sunrise over the lake at that hour:
(Photo credit: Beth from Unleash the Beath)
When we arrived I was very pleasantly surprised to see that we were able to get a parking spot at the state park. Usually, the parking lot fills up so quickly that people are diverted to the nearby ski mountain for parking and shuttle service. I was really happy that I was able to park with Foxy (aka, Zen Fox) and walk with him to the transition area
I stopped and got inked by the body markers and then made my way to my transition spot. Since I was so close to the end Foxy was able to stand so close that we could chat. Then, I started bumping into people left and right, first Alett’s husband Hugh – who spotted my amongst the craziness and looked as cool as a cucumber. Then I saw Julia and Dutch. Then I saw Alett herself. I met a Ashley in the rack position next to me who I recently friended on Instagram. I finally met up with my high school best friend, Kaitlin in line for the porto-potties. I then bumped into Will, another friend from high school at the Porto-potties, along with his entire crew (who I had met briefly previously.)
LOTS of excitement in the TA
When I arrived at the park I thought I had eons of time, then all of a sudden I found myself sprinting to the transition area before it closed in order to retrieve my wet suit, cap and goggles before it officially closed. Luckily, I still had another 45 minutes before my wave went off, so I spent that time joking around with Rob, Kaitlin and my other friends I had picked up along the way.
Before too long I saw that my wave of women was corralled and we were quickly pushed to the edge of the lake, so I kissed Foxy goodbye, hugged Kaitlin (who unfortunately her wave wasn’t set to go off for another 30 minutes) and made my way to the edge of Lake Winnipesaukee.
So excited to SWIM!
I watched the two waves in front of me go off, and when they called my wave to the water, I did my standard nervous shake out, jump and arm movements and confidently walked the distance to the swim start (side note: I absolutely LOVE beach starts, nothing gets my adrenaline going more! I realize that the lake where Timberman is located is insanely shallow, but this was a huge let down for me) and tried like hell to let my body relax enough to pee.
I stood at the start and made my way to the front row. I looked around and found Jules and wished her good luck! I talked to MJ and Mary (newly acquired triathlon friends) and tried to just take in the amazing scenery. Before too long they were giving us the count down, and then WE WERE OFF!
In every triathlon race my strategy is to take out the first 50 yards relatively hard so I can do my best to break away from the pack. I did that and quickly noticed that there were 2 other women hanging with me and I thought “sweet – PACERS!”, so I just tried to settle in and find my pace. Unfortunately, the field was so dense with slow people in the waves in front of us and the chop from the water was so tough that I struggled to settle in. In the beginning I tried to count the amount of different colored swim caps I passed in Ragnar/Reach The Beach fashion, counting my “kills” (though, they would then definitely not only kill but murder me on the bike in a few short moments), but after awhile I started to lose track and gave up. The last cap I remember seeing was five waves in front of me. Hooray for swimming!
Somewhere along the way I felt my left calf seize up in a slight charlie horse and I tried to remain calm. Calf cramps when you’re roughly 20 minutes into a 6+ hour day doesn’t exactly bode well. I quickly modified my stroke and did everything in my power to stretch out my leg while still pulling like crazy. It seemed to work, but I struggled with the current pushing me into shore on the parrallel section and then it then again, pushed me away from the finish on our way into shore. I kept on thinking to myself “why do I feel so crappy?!” (In hindsight, this is because I didn’t warm up. I always enjoy stretching out and getting loose, but no one I was with wanted to join. Next time I will most certainly warm up!)
Finally I closed in on that beautiful white arch and hammered down for the last 200 yards. I knew that expending lower body energy at this point wasn’t worth it, so I tried to turn off my legs and let my upper body do the work. Quickly I was on shore and Foxy was standing nearby screaming my name.
I made my way into the transition area and reminded myself to relax and take my time. I knew I had over three hours on the bike ahead of me, so taking an extra minute wasn’t going to kill me!
Swim time: 30:25
The bike: “Go Knausser”
Oh hello the bike, my triathlon nemesis.
I’ve been dreading this section of the race ever since I signed up. There were a million questions swirling in my head…
What if I got a flat tire? What if I bonked on the bike? What if my ass hurt so much I wanted to cry? What am I going to do if I need to pee?
I tried to quell my nerves and just focus. A friend of mine from college told me that a former triathlon coach of her’s told her to treat the bike portion as “an all you can eat buffett.” So I went to town and did just that, trying to get as much down before infamous Marsh Hill.
There was a gentle hill straight out of the transition area and I looked down at my bike computer to and noticed it said I was going 25 UP the hill. I knew something was definitely wrong and realized that when resetting it the night before I accidentally set it to kilometers and not miles, sonofa! I joked to myself that I was channeling my friend’s Hannah & Nick in more ways than my transition towel
There were a couple hills and turns into little neighborhoods and I knew that Marsh was coming soon. My left hip flexor was CRAZY tight and I was very uncomfortable. To make matters worse, I was getting passed like crazy by all sorts of fancy bikes. I told myself “this isn’t your strength, just ride your own race!”
Prior to Timberman I met Paul from the Boston Triathlon Team, who told me that people climbing up Marsh Hill will be “tire to tire”, which didn’t seem possible to me at the time. As I approached Marsh I all of a sudden felt like I was in the middle of the peloton in the Pyrenees mountains at the Tour De France. USAT has a rule against drafting, but apparently that doesn’t apply to Marsh Hill! Everyone was literally tire to tire, huffing and puffing away. It was a pretty surreal moment having so many cyclists working so hard to conquer a single hill.
I was hurting big time and would have loved to hop off my bike and walk it up the hill. I started thinking about a lot of friends and people I know that are sick, or had lost their battle with cancer. I thought of my friend Tanya and her husband Eric who passed away from brain cancer in March. My heart ached and I dug DEEP. A few days before we left for Timberman I found some photos from their wedding in fall of 2004. When I found the photos, my heart sank, but instead I decided to use this as my motivation to literally carry me up this hill. I thought about his suffering and how people rallied by his side in his final days. People from different parts of Eric’s life changed their facebook photos to “Go Knausser”, and I must have repeated that to myself hundreds of times. Eric’s fight and strength were exactly what I needed to dig deep. From now on I’m going to call that beat of a hill Knausser’s Hill instead of Marsh hill!
Just when I thought the hill would absolutely never end I heard my friend Julia talking to someone behind me and I heard her say “that was it, we’re done with Marsh!” I said hello and then she was off. We had some amazing descents which I took at full speed before we headed out towards the main highway.
The next 30 miles went like this:
“I need to pee…should I go in the woods?”
“THIS IS SO BORING”
“MY ASS HURTS”
“I think the entire race field passed me”
I saw a few of my friends heading out on the other side of the road which gave me a nice boost, but my GOD that bike course was boring! Where are the mountains, lake, neighborhoods, ANYTHING to look at?! This would probably be my biggest beef with this race, the bike course wasn’t exactly what I would call visually interesting.
Somewhere around miles 30-40 I finally gave in and used a porto-potty, where an eager volunteer was ready to hold my bike and get me anything I might need. So amazing! It took me awhile to find a break in the pack so I could head back out, but eventually I did! Before too long we hit the same hills on the way back and then I was within 3 miles of the transition area. I passed by the section of the run course that shares the road with the bike and thought, “man, that looks hard” and I instantly went into my lowest gear and tried my best to spin out my legs.
SO HAPPY TO BE DONE (with the bike!)
T2: I dropped my bike, drank some water and slipped on my sneakers and then I was off – 13.1 miles!
Bike: 3:22:16/16.61 average MPH
The Run: “No White Flags”
I had been slightly nervous about the fact that the run course is a double loop, but as soon as I made my way out on the run absolutely loved it. It was so motivating seeing my fellow competitors working so hard, and I was able to see a lot of friends, which gave me a huge boost. I set a goal for myself: No walking (except for the hill around mile 4) and no bathroom stops until the second loop. I also made the decision not to run with a garmin or to worry about my pace, but rather to just enjoy the experience and focus on feeling good and finishing with a SMILE!
As I ran I was surprised at how good I felt coming off the bike, I guess that is what happens when you actually put work in! I kept on seeing more and more friends, which was a huge blast. I heard a LOT of people choking and gagging, which I tried my best to block out. The last thing I needed was to barf, ick. The first lap was suddenly done and I made my way towards the turn around – I knew this would get in my head so I just decided to look at the finish line and take it all in…I would be there SOON! I looked around for Rob but sadly never saw him. Apparently my splits were saying I was walking so he was expecting me much, much later. Definitely a bummer, but it’s always better to be faster than slower
Lap two: I somehow found myself running with a woman that worked in fitness at my rival high school. She was running as a part of a relay and tried to motivate people as she ran by. Most people were scowling and getting pretty annoyed, but I personally LOVED her drill sergeant attitude and insesent comments for me to push up hard sections of the course. I don’t know who you are, but Fitness instructor/coach from Lincoln-Sudbury High School – you literally carried me through the 2nd lap.
As I approached the finish line I dug deep and all of a sudden Rob was running up to me, I was shocked he wasn’t at the finish line, but again my splits were all messed up so he had no idea where I was on the course.
As I ran through the finish chute I kept on thinking, I’M DOING IT!!!!!!! I put my hands up and then enjoyed the fact that I could finally walk after over six hours of racing.
The run: 2:14:19
Volunteers were putting medals around finisher’s necks and all of a sudden a man was telling me congrats and I looked up and it was ANDY POTTS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had a huge moment of disbelief and then like a small child asked “CAN I HUG YOU?!” he laughed and said yes.
Final Time: 6:13:06/Division Rank: 55/Overall Rank: 1292
Happiness level: through the freaking roof.
Post race thoughts:
- I loved every moment of this race. Yes, even when I was really bored on the bike, it was still better than my best running race.
- I have finally found my sport. I will definitely run another marathon, but not for quite some time.
- I have a LOT of work to do on the bike, but I’ve also made a lot of progress considering how I was nervous about even biking around the block, let alone 56 miles.
- I can’t wait to do it again!
- A full ironman would be a ridiculous amount of work, but I think I can do it…someday!
I definitely never could have done with without the amazing support of my husband Rob, who is my rock and “Zen Fox” (His new nickname I bestowed upon him during Timberman craziness.)
I also had some amazing friends near and far that were unbelievably supportive, THANK YOU!
And to everyone in blogland/twitter/instagram – you ROCK! Your advice kept my nervousness in check, laughs on point and enthusiasm was through the roof.
Now the big question is – WHAT’S NEXT?!
What races should I do next year??
Wow, Timberman is just 2 days away – how did that happen?
It’s been a wild few months of training. I spent a lot of time and money rehabbing a hip injury that was misdiagnosed. Thank goodness, I found a chiropractor who was able to work his wonders and find the source of my hip issue…my lower back!
Now, I feel ready. I’ve put in the work and what’s done is done. I might not be in the best running shape of my life, but the goal of my first 70.3 is to finish with a smile on my face.
Somehow I’m not nervous. Maybe that’s because I’m not in New Hampshire yet? Maybe it’s because I know I have done everything I could? Maybe it’s because I am a total badass? HA, RIGHT…
A few weeks ago I was talking to a fellow Timberman athlete about the challenges that come with training for a long distance triathlon while juggling work and social obligations. We both agreed that at times, it’s felt like a grind but for the most part it has been an amazing experience.
Unlike marathon training, triathlon training forces variety into your training schedule – whether you like it or not. I have to admit there were weekends where I would look at my schedule “60 mile bike ride on Saturday and a 12 mile run and 2,400 swim on Sunday” and really questioned my sanity and the fact that my training was interfering with enjoying one too many hoppy New England beers. WHY, WHY, WHY?! But, I (not so) secretly loved every moment of it.
Through this training cycle I have been able to dedicate many hours to my first athletic love, swimming.
I have really missed having a team to train with, which I am looking forward to adding to my regimen in the fall. For this cycling, I have enjoyed that my training plan has forced me into the water, and I’ve loved every second of it.
I have been able to conquer my biggest source of anxiety, cycling! I still have a lot of room for improvement, but my bike knowledge, fitness and confidence have soared over the past 4 months. I have come to LOVE hitting the open road at 7am on a Saturday with friends and exploring parts of Massachusetts that I didn’t know existed. It’s also given me the chance to spend time with a lot of people I don’t see on a regular basis. Foxy has even taken up the sport because of the enormous amount of spent training, he figured it might be worth investing in a bike.
And last but not least, running. I’m not as fast as I would like to be, but that is OK. Right now I’m pain free and that is 100% worth being slow. As I mentioned, my goal is first and foremost to finish like this:
After a lot of hard work and pain, I’m looking forward to Sunday. It should be a very interesting and most importantly, FUN. I can’t wait to put my training to the test and learning quite a bit about the sport of distance triathlon. I know that moments of self doubt will creep into my brain, and when it does I’m going to dig deep and fight back by singing “blurred lines” and “safe and sound” to myself. Side note: Thank you swimming for training me to entertain myself for HOURS upon hours of just plain singing to myself.
My original goal when I signed up was to finish in less than 6 hours, which I would 100% still like to do. Though, given my lack of running fitness, I’m going to focus on finishing and if a sub 6 hour time shows up, sweet! If not, no big deal.
For those who won’t be racing with me, but want to track me: my bib is # 933. I apologize in advance for an on-slaught of instagram and twitter updates regarding the course, pre-race nerves and excitement.
Lastly, a twitter and training buddy of mine, Alett posted this on facebook earlier this week:
She said it was her “theme of the week.” I know plenty of people think I’m crazy for the amount of athletic activities I participate in, many of those people are in my own family. It is the constant urge to set a goal, work towards it and achieve it that makes me tick. Plenty of people are fine never trying, endurance sports are certainly not for everyone. I have found out more about myself through swimming, running and now the sport of triathlon than I ever thought possible. I have found my limits and exceeded them. I’ve made new friends. I’ve gotten sick. I’ve finished a workout or race feeling amazing. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve gotten injured…a lot. It’s all a part of the process, and the juice is most definitely worth the squeeze.
I’m lucky that I have a husband and best friend that supports my crazy athletic interests. His support, hugs, encouragement and willingness to wake up at 4am to carry my triathlon bag and ring a cowbell mean more to me than he will ever know. Though he doesn’t share my crazy endurance ways, he knows that these sports make me happy and provide an outlet that I need in my life. I know that it tests his patience, sanity and causes extreme sleep deprivation. But, he is always there for me with a joke, smile and a good luck kiss. Foxy, THANK YOU!
On Sunday I will step on the start line and race for me. I will smile throughout the swim. Take time to enjoy the beautiful scenery on the bike. And, I will hold on and dig deep in the run. It’s been a wild ride, and one that I have a feeling might just be getting started.
Do you have any last minute 70.3 race advice for me?!
I’ve been a bit quiet this year, sorry about that.
Sometimes it’s easier to shy away from communicating when things are tough or unpleasant. No one wants to be a Debbie Downer, right?!
However, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing really, really fun and awesome things:
I took a trip out west to CO to ski and spend time with my amazing college friends. Sadly, we all live far away from one another and it was my one chance to see friends that know me better than anyone else.
I’ve learned to face my fears and get out on my bike. I’ve relied on a lot of bike savvy friends who have been extremely patient with me. THANK YOU.
I’ve raced in some incredible triathlons. Most of which included my super sherpa/cheer squad by my side.
And I have been able to race and train with friends who I haven’t seen nearly enough before this foray into swimming, biking and running…
But, I’ve had a few things going on that have been occupying the time I would be spending by documenting and sharing my training experiences and making new friends through this blog.
I’m happy to report that over the last month or so, things have been moving in the right direction. I won’t elaborate on details, but I’m really excited about what lies ahead:
Two weeks off: Now until 8.26.13
My very first 70.3 race, Timberman 70.3: 8.18.13
Starting a new job: 8.26.13
Buying a car: ?
Rejoining Cambridge Masters swim team: Sometime in September or October.
Life certainly is an unpredictable journey. There are ups and downs. Luckily, I have an amazing husband, support system, sherpa and all around awesome guy by my side. Foxy, thank you for all of your hugs, jokes to make me laugh and ability to roll with the punches. And, I would remiss if I didn’t mention that I have some amazing friends. No matter how far away they are, will always be there for me.
I’m looking forward to a great mix of relaxation, organizing, and racing over the next few weeks. I’m also psyched to see what lies ahead in the next few years in my professional, personal and athletic lives.
Additionally, I am taking on a new side project, to revamp this blog and continue making connections that I enjoy making so much.
Thanks for your patience and I look forward to catching up on everyone’s race schedules very soon.
And if you’re wondering, this will be me for the next few weeks: Ridiculously happy and maybe, perhaps “photogenic triathlon girl”
2013 has certainly been an interesting and very busy year – I could bore you with all of the ups and the downs, but right now my eyes are on the prize: Successfully finishing the Timberman Half Ironman with a smile on my face on August 18th!
So far, training has been great. I’ve been nursing my hip injury from Boston training and the running portion of my training plan is definitely behind, but I’m not nervous. Strengthening and avoiding future issues is definitely my #1 goal.
To compensate, I have been swimming at higher volume than in my prescribed training plan. Swimming is my strongest leg and where I feel the most confident. I am extremely grateful that I started the sport at such a young age and my swim club had such heavy emphasis on stroke and technique. I listen to fellow triathletes complain about the swim portion of the race constantly. As they talk, I nod my head and usually insert a quip about what a novice I am in the sport of cycling, but silently I am thanking all of my swim coaches over the years. Imagine if I had anxiety about swimming AND cycling? I think this whole Half Ironman game would most certainly be over if that was the case. I’ve adjusted my training plan as follows: when my plan calls for 1,000-1,500 I am traditionally swimming anywhere from 1,650-3,000. Part of this is to try to over compensate for lack of running, and the other part is: 1,000 yards swimming is a joke for me! In order to feel like I have done anything at all, I really need to swim at least a mile.
The other part, is aggressively trying to wrap my head around the sport of cycling. I have been slow to get started with my new “hobby”, but luckily I have some really patient cycling friends. They are willing to give me parking lot tutorials on how to clip in and out, proper technique for starting and stopping and generally avoiding getting killed by crazy Boston motorists. They will even wait for me at the top of a hill when I’m too nervous to go up clipped in and half to walk my bike up to the top (this has happened on multiple occasions) and of course they are always willing to smile for a photo as I constantly need to document every single aspect of training.
Here are such a few of my cycling sensi’s & myself in Lexington a few weeks ago – Proof I can do this!
And, cycling is VERY hard, especially on Boston’s first warm weekend of the year. #unattractiveselfies
All in all, I know this will pay off in a big way at Timberman, but I’m TERRIFIED. I looked at the elevation chart and HOT DAMN, there are some crazy, crazy elevation grades. If you don’t believe me, just check out this course map here. I just feel like there is so much to learn, and so much strategy behind it! Luckily the internet has a breadth of cycling and triathlon tips, tricks, videos and articles. Thank you, internet!
The other source of cycling anxiety is my general “fraidy cat” ways when driving a car with an engine, let alone a road bike with tiny wheels sharing the road with crazy Boston motorists. I’m hoping this pays off since I am overly cautious, but I definitely have a tendency to psyche myself out in a big way. I just need to repeat to myself “keep calm and pedal on.” (Side note, I need this shirt!)
I know in order to succeed, I need to stay calm and focus, so here are my goals over this next month of training:
- Get increasingly more comfortable on the bike
- Tackle as many challenging hills as humanly possible (without having a total mental breakdown)
- Amp up running mileage once I get the OK that my hip is cleared to run longer than 3-4 miles (hopefully this news will come very soon)
- Practice transitions. Luckily I have a triple brick work out planned on Cape Cod with friends on June 15th followed by the Oh My Goddard Olympic Triathlon June 23rd and the Cohasset Sprint Triathlon June 30th
So there we have it friends, someday soon perhaps I can remove “pretending” and instead shout from the roof tops about how much I love cycling. Something tells me it will be awhile before I get to that point, but I am certainly in it for the long haul to give this new sport the good old college try. It also wouldn’t hurt if I took a step back and reminded myself of this…
Do you have fears of cycling? What steps have you taken to help ease your fears and build up confidence?
This past Sunday, I finally bit the bullet and did something I have talked about at length for nearly six and a half years. I finally joined L Street Running Club. L Street, I am your newest member and I am beyond excited!!!
I do have to admit that I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to try something new. Adrienne gets all of the credit for finally getting me out on the pavement with the club. She has been telling me for over two years years to meet the wonderful people that are a part of the group. But somehow, there was always something stopping me.
So what was it?
First off, it was fear of trying something new. As an outgoing person I was always embarrassed that this was something I feared. The issue is that I had a less than awesome experience trying out a masters swim team where I didn’t know anyone, and that has forever tainted trying athletic social groups for me. Luckily, I had a buddy to lean on and an instant “in” to the group, so I really should not have been worried about this!
Secondly, it’s time. I have a very busy schedule, similarly to everyone else I know. I find myself frequently lean on the excuse, “Oh, I don’t have time for that”, well the truth is, I do. It was time for me to look at my schedule and make some adjustments to prioritize this higher in my laundry list of to do’s.
Ultimately, the straw that broke the camels back, was the loneliness I felt on some very cold long runs. I started to worry that my motivation would dip and I would slack on runs if I didn’t have structure of a group. So, I decided to get over my fears of trying new things, make time in my schedule and dive in head first. I knew that running with other accomplished and fast runners would help me run smarter and faster on race day. They could provide me advice, experience and best of all, laughs along the way.
Luckily, I chose the perfect weekend to join L Street on a long run. Forecast: High of 17 degrees with winds between 10-20 mph. If there was anytime I needed extra support, it was Sunday.
I woke up nervous and shaking because of the cold temperatures, could I do this? It was 8am and the temperature was holding a steady 11 degrees with winds reaching 20 mph. Yuck.
I nervously drove a mile over to the athletic club where we were starting from and quickly found Adrienne. After a few minutes of chatting and introductions to some of her oldest running friends we were off! This run marked the longest I have run since July of 2011 and it was also the coldest run I have ever been on in my entire life, so I was extremely thankful to have a huge pack of people for support.
We started out slowly, the wind and cold were nearly unbearable and I questioned my ability to run 15 miles in these conditions, but I soldiered onward. It was so awful out that afterward Adrienne and I both confessed to one another that during the first mile we considered running back and hitting the treadmill for 15 miles. But, we didn’t.
Mental fortitude of runners: 1, Mother nature: 0.
After the first 25-30 minutes I regained feeling in my ears, fingers and toes and all of a sudden, the miles and minutes seemed to melt away. There were water stops every three miles manned by fellow running club members who were volunteering that day and I welcomed their enthusiasm and fuel. The group of runners covering 15 miles that day were bursting with positive stories and were extremely kind to me, something I needed on such a challenging day.
Once we finished I had a smile on my face and hugged Adrienne. I am forever in debt that she stayed with me for the entire length of the run.
15 Miles, Total time: 2:14:02
This was officially my longest, and coldest run of this training cycle. Boo yah! Afterwards we all congregated in Boston Athletic Club to refuel and chat about our runs, the room was packed with sweaty, happy runners.
I am already looking forward to joining the group for a 16.5 mile run through Boston next Sunday!
If you live in the Boston area and love to run, I highly recommend L Street Running Club. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or to make plans to join us! For more information, check out their website: lstreet.org.
Do you run with a running club? Did you have any fear or anxiety about joining something new?