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Last night I got on my bike for 3 minutes. It was raining and cold but I hadn’t been on my bike in over 2.5 years. I also hadn’t ever used clip ins, and my pedals had been switched so like it or not I was using them.

Two almost topple overs and I felt confident enough. Ha.

I went inside, ate buffalo chicken wings, finally drank some water and went to bed.

In other words, the best race prep ever!

This morning I woke up, again to a windy rainy day, and started my routine with coffee. Then I tried on the bathing suits I bought at Target the day before (it was so crazy I never tried them on) and got myself excited for St Thomas. At least I wasn’t nervous for my race, ha.

The Husband drove and came to cheer me on which was pretty exciting. I got through the normal prep, bib pickup, bike set-up, potty and got ready to go. It must have been the weather because a good 40 packets were leftover of no shows. I do recall looking around thinking this was the first race I’ve been at where 98% were in true biking gear with pretty legit lightweight bikes. I felt a little out of place.

First up, a 3 mile run. I couldn’t believe how fast people started out. Quickly I was among the last 10 people (granted there were maybe 60 of us total) but the fear of being last kept me running. I heard two women directly behind me and hearing them pushed me. I could not stop. I could not let them beat me.

Quickly the run was over. In 29 minutes and 22 seconds I finished. Under 10 minute miles, which actually for me are pretty solid. I finally felt warmed up.

T1 was a little slower than normal. My first time switching shoes. I was so anxious about the shoes that I put my helmet on backwards! It wasn’t until Hubby and someone else shouted to turn it around that I realized what I had done. I ran my bike to the road, clipped in and was off.

Holy moly I was flying! The bike portion was only 11 miles, full of hills and turns, but I knew coming off so many intense flywheel classes I had it in me. I passed 5 bikers immediately, and continued to pass a few on the hills. I remembered how much I loved the bike, how strong I feel on the bike and how somehow hills are where I am my strongest. But I also couldn’t shake the mental awareness to be careful, of being clipped in, of taking slick road turns and going too fast. At times I felt myself coasting out of that fear. I’m just not used to being on the open road. At one point I passed a car speed reader on the road and I registered at 25mph!

And just like that it was over. In what was probably about 35 minutes or so. I say about because here’s where things get frustrating.

I dismounted, got my bike back in, transitioned and ran (wobbled) back out. Only 2 miles and I was done!

I was finished and back in the car by 10 am (a race start of about 8:30ish) and yet…

the friggan chip time stopped me at transition 2. Somehow I checked in to transition 2, but it didn’t check me out and so I don’t know my actual bike (it has me at over an hour, probably the cutoff time?) and no second run time.

I’m trying to stay positive. For as much training as I did, and without great pre-race prep, I felt awesome. Endurance wise I felt absolutely fantastic. (Groin wise I don’t, clearly my body wasn’t used to my actual bike.) I feel amazed at myself for using the clip ins (and amazed at how much more efficient they are!) I’m happy with my run times since lately I’ve been doing closer to 11 minute jogs! But I wish I knew the exacts. Gosh I really wish out of it all I had my exact bike time, the one area I’ve worked so hard!

But hey, I did it! I got a great workout in and I am so much more excited for my TRI in June.

Now it’s time for a nap. ☺️

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I had a long conversation with my Mom on Tuesday. It’s funny actually, in the past few years, especially since getting married I tend to go to the Husband for almost everything but, there are still times when I need my Mom. She asked exactly what everyone else has been asking. Well, in her therapist like Mom way.

Why are you doing the half-ironman?
For a number of reasons I said, first for fun, second for fitness and third it’s something I’ve always had in the back of my mind to do in my lifetime.

Well, are you having fun?
The answer was no. For a few months now, it’s obviously clear I’ve been struggling. Workouts that should be fun became a chore. Training somehow always became lowest priority. Anxiety and stress was always looming. I found myself so moody and negative when thinking of the months ahead. The whole point was to enjoy the next few months as much as possible before trying to expand our family, and I feel like we’re now in the opposite place. I’m wishing away the time.

Are you getting fit?
Yes, although I’m not losing weight because I’m stress eating. I keep wanting to try to change around my diet but keep fearing of messing with my training. But endurance and strength wise, I’m doing really well. I would regret stopping training in all ways or not doing something with my training.

Is this the only time in your life you think you can do a half-ironman?
No, it’s not. I hope it’s not at least. I have future fitness goals of all sorts.. a half ironman… a marathon…short races post baby like 5ks and 10ks. I want to do it all for the rest of my life.

And so the answer became a bit more clear. I’m not doing the half-ironman this year.

I am signed up and doing a triathlon at the end of June in its place, when my Mom will actually be home from Alaska and plans to come watch. A race that is 4 miles from my in-laws meaning everyone can come watch, and then we can all go to a celebratory breakfast after.

I don’t know if I’ll regret this decision. I just know that right now, I don’t. I feel relief. I feel happiness. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me. Something in my gut kept saying now isn’t the time – some fear, not even about physically finishing but more so the risks involved – and it wouldn’t go away. And so now, I feel pretty pumped about competing in a regular triathlon. One that with my recent training, I’m actually excited to crush in comparison to any tri I’ve done before.

The hardest part, or so I thought would be, was telling everyone. Each conversation I felt like a failure when I started to explain that I’ve dropped out this year. Yet each time, friends and family were unbelievably understanding and all reminded me of the same thing – if I’m doing it for fun, and it’s not fun, it’s defeating the purpose. It’s been sort of  a “duh” moment really.

This Saturday I’m going on an early morning ride with two girlfriends. Then this Sunday I have my duathlon. Then a few weeks of training, training that I’m actually really excited to do, and training that won’t be taking over my life, before crushing this June triathlon. In the meantime, I want to just enjoy the next few months. I want to go St. Thomas with all the women in my family in May and lay on the beach, eat, drink, and get a few workouts in – relaxing in the best possible way. I want to eat healthier. I want to spend time with the Husband and friends. I want to make plans at last-minute, I want to sleep in, I want to have a glass of wine or two without feeling guilty. There’s a real possibility we want to start trying to expand our family this summer, and more than ever, I need to be honest with myself about how I want to spend my time.

So here’s to the next few months – enjoying life and being true to myself.

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2,000 yards.

A-NN (A-Z, AA-NN)
2,000 yards.
80 lengths.
40 laps.
1.2 miles.

I did it. I swam 1.2 miles last night. 80 friggan lengths of that pool. It wasn’t on my training plan (per say) but I needed the confidence boost. That I could get it done under the hour and 10 minutes cut-off and wouldn’t drown/cramp/give-up.

I got into the pool at about 7:07pm. For whatever reason, there were so many people swimming last night so I ended up sharing a lane with a very large, splashing, “running” and bouncing up and down the lane guy. At first I was annoyed – trying to stay on my side of the lane, slightly bumping each other, drinking his splashes – but then I realized, it was actually great for simulating race day.

I went in with the idea of following my training plan. 40 minutes of swimming, including a slow warm-up and cool-down. But for some reason, I decided to just swim. Zone out and swim a full 1.2 miles. Prove to myself that I CAN and I WILL do this. I wasn’t trying to beat a time, especially with tired legs from a recent run, only to just swim a full 1.2 miles without any rest breaks.

And so after my first 26 laps, A-Z, I began on my next 14. As I started with AA I couldn’t help but use the letter to define each lap. AA –you’re absolutely amazing! BB- Bust your butt! CC- Come on Cait! And so on. It sort of made me laugh at myself and all the sudden I realized, hey this feels good. I don’t feel tired, I ‘m not cramping up, I just feel, relaxed.

At 7:55 I was finished. 1.2 miles done!

Sure it was a pretty slow swim – taking me about 48 minutes overall, at least it was well under the cutoff – and I have just over 3 months before race day and therefore ample time to put some speed into my swim (just enough without tiring out my legs).

This was by far, the furthest I have swam in my entire life. I slowly (holy sea legs) got out of that pool with a huge smile on my face.

I can, and I will, do this half-ironman. 🙂

Believe

weheartit.com 

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My birthday secret

Tomorrow is my 29th birthday. The idea that this will be the last year of my 20’s feels like a pretty big milestone. I could list 100 goals really, big and small, about life, my career, my marriage, myself, family, friends, weight-loss, fitness, and so on.

After endless thinking about goals, and then the various reasons why I don’t think I could accomplish them I found myself realizing I want to truly focus on one thing for the remainder of my 20’s.

Excuses.

My excuses come from a combination of an overflow of priorities, procrastination and having to face fears or step out of my comfort zone.

I’m going to stop making them. I’m going to focus on replacing my excuses with actions.

I don’t have the time or energy to continuously rationalize and waste on obsessing over why I can’t accomplish or do something that I want to do. The past few months I have been making excuse after excuse, valid or not, enabling myself to take the easy route and give up.

And so want to know a secret?

I just emailed a coach to have initial conversations about training for Ironman 70.3 Syracuse in June of 2014.

And I’ve talked to the Husband about his support and blessing if I do this. How starting to try for a family wouldn’t happen until after next June. And he’s given it, easily, he says.

And I’ve sat here, thinking about the countless hours of training, and crazy early mornings in frigid temperatures, and numerous brick workouts that I’ll need to do over the next like 8 months. And how terrifying it’ll be to get back on my bike. And how I’ll probably break down 10 times, minimum.

And that I’m kind of crazy because let’s be honest…I’ve done a few sprint triathlons. This is Ironman 70.3

Deep down past all the fear though is pure excitement. An overflow of fucking excitement.

So on my final birthday of my 20’s I give myself this: 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of bike riding, 13.1 miles of running, physical and mental tests I can’t fathom yet, and the most indescribable feeling as I cross that finish line.

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So I did it.

I completed my second triathlon. (You may recall my first triathlon last summer.)

The second triathlon wasn’t that bad physically.

Mentally…it was really hard.

Let’s start from the beginning:

Saturday at 4:30AM: The townie texts me to say good luck. Have I mentioned he is a police officer? He was on the overnight shift and clearly awake. My alarm had not gone off yet at this point. Sweet but I wanted to kill him 🙂

4:40AM: Alarm goes off. First thought that popped into my mind? Whyyyyy am I doing this? It’s pitch black and I could be peacefully sleeping not shaking from anxiety.

5:00AM: Get into car with friend to drive to state park.

5:15AM: Get an awesome spot with minimal walking to the transition area. 3 stops at the porter pottys needed by this point. (TMI, but it’s the truth!)

5:30AM: Shovel in peanut butter on a slice of bread and one banana. Hydrate with water diluted powerade.

5:45AM: Walk towards transition areas with bikes/gear. On the way in get body marked by 14-year-old boys. Pretty awkward to strip in front of them but oh well. One boy told me “you have a strong bike ma’am, you’ll be great!”  Hmm, thanks?

6:10AM: Transition area is all set up, bike is on the rail, ready to kill some time before heading towards the water. The bike setup is a little different because rather than just one long rail that has for example bib numbers 400-460, it actually has stickers with your exact bib number on your spot. Porter Potty trip times 94859485.

6:25AM: Head back into transition to drop keys & flip-flops. Notice my bike has been switched.

I used to set my bike up so that the handlebars were on the railing but lately it’s made me nervous that it messes with my gears. So I decided to put my seat on the railing like the picture below.

source

Apparently I originally set this up incorrectly. I had 90% of my bike not on my sticker side (so the handlebars and the front tire were on the opposite side, facing away from my sticker). When I came back into the transition area the officials actually flip-flopped my bike so that now it was still on the rail by the seat however the front wheel and handle bars were on my sticker side facing me.

This actually threw me off a little because I hadn’t set it up like that before. I learned something new!

6:45AM: Transition is closed, everyone heads down to the lake beach for the national anthem and such. 1400+ of us smushing together on the beach.

7:00AM: The first swim waves are starting. My age group (of 172 people!!!) wouldn’t be getting into the water until 7:25AM.

7:10AM: Repeating in my head that I’m here to have fun and get fit, it doesn’t have to be about winning. It’s at my own pace!

7:18AM: My heart rate is through the roof as I wait for the countdown for us to get into the water.

7:20AM: 172 women wadding deeper into the lake to start the swim. The distance looks a lot longer at this point.

7:22AM: Trying to swim but my heart rate is so high that every time I put my face into the water I feel like I’m out of breath and panting.

7:23AM: Pep talk with myself. Go slow and relax.

7:24AM: Slow breast-stroke with minimal face in the water time. This clearly slows me down but it keeps me moving. Every 30 seconds I flop onto my back for about 5 seconds to calm down.

7:34AM: Out of the water. (I only knew this time after as it ended up taking me 14 minutes to do the 1/3rd mile swim.) Run along the beach up to the transition area. See that there are wetsuit strippers which I’ve never seen before. I was told to lay on my butt and it one quick pull the guy had my full body wetsuit off. I screamed YOU ROCK and jogged to my bike.

7:37AM: Changed and running my bike out of the transition area. With a mix of others getting onto our bikes.

7:38AM: Turn right out of the park on the bike, celebrating the end of the swim and then I see the first part of the bike course. A big long gradual hill.

8:00AM: Moving steady on the bike and having fun. This isn’t so bad.

8:02AM: Heading straight down an even side road when I see what looks like two bikers on the ground. Ambulance noises are coming at this point. As I get closer I see him. More blood than I have ever seen before pouring from a guy’s head and side. Everyone is told to keep moving.

8:05AM: Crying. I’m going to be honest here, I cried for the at least the next 5 miles of the bike ride. I’ve never seen someone hurt like that in real life. I’ve never thought about how dangerous triathlons can be and really how mortal we all are. From the amount of blood and his eyes being closed, I assumed the worst. I slowed my bike pace down quite a bit at this point because it just made me realize that nothing is worth getting that hurt.

8:40AM: Bike is over. 15 miles DONE and I did it without getting hurt. I hopped off my bike at the dismounting line and was very disoriented by how wobbly my legs felt. This is why I should have trained with brick sessions like last year. 

8:42AM: Choked down a Clif shot blok and jogged out of the transition area. I’m not physically that tired at this point, but I have to pee (why does this always happen to me?) and I can’t stop thinking about the man who fell.

8:55AM: I’m walking parts of the run. I don’t know why, I know I could push myself but my legs feel like 2,000lbs. Turns out I was jog/walking 11:40/mi at this point.

9:05ishAM: Realize this is ridiculous, it’s time to at least jog. Jog and sprint the last 1.5 miles into the finish. I sprinted so hard at the very end that a guy actually yelled “Awesome finish!!!” 8:56/mi average for that last 1.5miles! 🙂

9:25AM: It’s over. I did it. I don’t feel that tired or sore, I’m just happy and taking pictures with my friend and her family and thinking about how much I want ice cream.

And that was my day. I’ll have to write part 2 about the rest of the day, and then watching the half-ironman on Sunday. Crazy people those half-ironmen and women are.

I also haven’t been able to find anything about the guy who got hurt so I hope that means he is OK now.  I’m so grateful to have finished and finished safely.

I’ve got another Tri coming up in September. This one is shorter distances and all women. I know exactly how I need to train over the next month. 🙂

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At the end of last summer I completed my first triathlon. I’ve said it so many times before – it was such an amazing, positive, and incredible accomplishment. I felt on top of the world.

Now I have a triathlon in 5 days. I haven’t been training like I did for almost 15 weeks last year. Instead I’ve been eating, and drinking, and enjoying myself…maybe a little too much. Don’t get me wrong, this has been an amazing summer and I’ve loved it. But I wish I had gotten my butt in gear earlier.

So maybe I’ve been swimming less than 10 times in the past few months. And I’ve totalled 6 spin classes. And I can’t seem to run a 5k. I do these tris for fun and for fitness. I might be the last person crossing that finish line, but I will cross it, with a big friggan smile on my face.

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One of my biggest pain points for tri training is swimming. And it’s not the actual swimming part that’s the issue. I actually love the feeling of getting into the pool and zoning out, doing laps in the cool water. [I say this even though I haven’t swam since my last tri…yeah that was August 2010.]

But I very much dislike swimming trying to swim at my gym. 3 tiny lanes are always overcrowded – no matter what hours I try to go. People immediately try to cram 3 swimmers into one lane which is fine except when you’re forced to go faster or slower than your body is telling you to because someone is wacking their hands down on your feet or your face is colliding into someone’s feet.

But today’s Groupon made me HAPPY.

25 visits to any local YMCA that I choose for $25. I jumped on that deal. With designated lap and open lanes and an actual olympic size pool with hours from 7am to 9:45pm I have no excuse but to get my swim in.

Ha, I wish this was where I was swimming.

Anyway, it’s actually easier to go later at night with my schedule and I can easily drive and park there to do so. Now it’s time to squeeze myself back into the oh-so-flattering full piece…

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