December 9 week in review

I am so tired right now I can barely keep my eyes open, much less write. My husband was away last night to take care of a family member. I had dinner delivered and had a comfy lazy evening. When my food was delivered, I had the thought that the delivery guy looked a bit sketchy but it was a fleeting thought and I went on with my evening. When I got ready to go to bed though, my cat didn’t come with me. She always curls up against my legs but I had no idea where she was. My imagination kicked into overdrive. My brain told me the “sketchy” dude (who is probably extremely nice) had realized I was home alone and come back. He had broken into the house while I was in the shower, killed my cat and was waiting for me to either come looking for her or go to sleep. I almost never am afraid to be alone. It’s not my preference but not because of fear. But I totally freaked myself out last night. I turned the living room lights back on (from an app on my phone so I didn’t have to leave the “safety” of my bed). I considered texting my 21 year old son and asking if he could come spend the night. I got mad at myself for being ridiculous but still couldn’t sleep. The cat finally came in after midnight and as soon as she laid down next to me, I passed out. Silliness.

I tried to swim today but thanks to my middle of the night mental antics, I was too tired and cut it short. I’ll be going to bed early tonight.

Okay. Workouts. I was at 50% compliance again:

  • Monday – nothing scheduled
  • Tuesday – spin class – done. I realized not every workout has to be super hard and kinda took it easy.
  • Wednesday – I had a swim planned. It did not happen. I was also going to strength training. That did not happen either
  • Thursday – Spin class was scheduled.. I did not go to spin but I did half an hour on the bike after I “made up” the weight training from Wednesday.
  • Friday – Strength training was scheduled but since I did it on Thursday, I did nothing.
  • Saturday – swim drills – nope. Tried to swim today instead.

Nutrition numbers were worse this week. I was playing with more carbs but I didn’t have the activity level to support those so I had a few hyper readings.

That’s about all I have to report this week. I’m still taking the “off” part of “off season” a little too seriously I think! 

2019 Race Plan

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that this past weekend I signed up for my first 70.3 in September 2019. For those who don’t know, that’s commonly know as a “half iron distance”. And that sentence clarifies exactly…nothing. So. A full iron distance triathlon consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run or 140.6 miles of race. Ergo a “half iron distance” is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run or 70.3 miles of race. (Ironman® is a specific company that puts on races. The race I am doing is *not* an “Ironman® branded” race. However, they established the format so those distances are commonly referred to as “iron distances”) There are other, shorter distances in triathlon, commonly referred to as “sprints” (shortest) or the “Olympic distance” (medium distance). Those distances tend to vary from race to race. To date, I have only done sprint distances. The 70.3 will be my “A” race, and the last one of the year.  

I’m not sure about my first race of the season yet. Ideally I would do the YMCA Sprint Spring that is in April to shake the cobwebs off. It’s an indoor swim on Friday and bike/run outside on Saturday morning. However The Hubby and I are going to a concert that Friday night so I don’t know if I want to toss a race in there too. I’ll take a look at my fitness and decide in a few months. It’s a sprint and just a shake out but I still don’t want to do it exhausted. I have deferred registration to the PacCrest triathlon at the end of June in Sun River, OR. I plan to do the sprint there. So if I don’t do the Y Spring Sprint, that will be my first race of the season.

The Y Not Tri is a fun, laid back local race in early August. I enjoy that one so if my personal life schedule allows, I’ll toss that in as a fun training run through. I’ll do their middle distance which is a short sprint (400 yd swim, 6 mile bike, 2 mile run). And then I’m looking for a good local Olympic distance somewhere in mid July – mid August. There’s one a couple of hours away the first weekend of August that’s a possibility. I just don’t want another one where I have to spend a night away but given my location, I will probably have to. Any suggestions for the Boise ID area are welcome. Or if someone wants to fly me (& my husband) to a really cool race and pay for my lodging…I mean…I would be open to discussion. 😛 

I will start my official 70.3 specific training about 6 months out so I still have a few more months of strength/base building before the year gets really focused. But I have to start looking at these things now to make sure I have places to stay and a spot in the events. 

December 2, 2018 -week in review

I realized as I sat down to write that since I am in my “off season”, I don’t have a lot of content as a “type 2 triathlete”. I’m still training but the sessions are relatively short and easy so fueling is a non-issue at this point. Also, my TrainingPeaks compliance last week was about 50% so fueling REALLY was not an issue. 😛 . I slept in. A lot.

I am “self-coached”. And I use that phrase loosely. Part of me would LOVE to have someone setting my workouts and checking in. But I am a middle of the pack age grouper with goals to “complete not compete”. Would I benefit from a coach? Absolutely! Is it high enough priority to impact my family’s finances? No. There are a couple of more experienced triathletes in my life who answer questions and help with training simply because they love the sport. I do not pay them and they prefer that they not be called “coaches”. They don’t write most of my workouts or my training plans. They don’t check my TrainingPeaks. But they are a fantastic resource.If you are in the Boise, ID area and are looking for a small group to train with, let me know.

I’m not even going to speak on my nutrition last week. My app that I use to track carbs and blood sugar readings sends me a weekly comparison report. It says my Blood Glucose trend was up 10 points, I have 2 more hyper readings and my carbs/day were up 19 grams. However. I also started testing 3-4 times a day instead of 1-2 and actually logging (almost) every bite. So without comparable data sets, I don’t know how accurate that is. Next week will give me a better idea of how I’m doing. 

Workouts planned last week were: 

  • Monday: Strength training – 33 minutes of full body done at home
  • Tuesday: Spin class (5:30am) – first class since this past spring and it was brutal but it got done. Bike computer died so no data.
  • Wednesday: Swim drills – slept in, did not get done.
  • Thursday: Spin class – Did not do. Horrible headache and woozy every time I stood up. Opted to sleep in.
  • Friday: Strength training – nope.
  • Saturday: Swim drills – I did not do the workout as written. I ended up doing two sets of short ladders with 50 yards of sculling and 50 yards of kicking at the end of each for 1,000 yards total. I SUCK at sculling so I’m always chanting “Sculling makes me stronger” to get through it. It does. I’m noticing an improvement. It’s still not my favorite.
  • Sunday/today: rest day – I don’t really NEED a rest day given how little I did this week. But we just got our first snow and it’s just a lazy, cozy day. 

Type 2 Triathlete

I became interested in triathlon about 6 years ago. I dipped my toes in about 5 years ago and around 3 years ago I started wanting to see what I could do if I actually trained instead of just doing a small local race with whatever I had in me on that day. Then in May of 2016, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

I have heard people say things like “I have <insert disease>. I am not <insert disease>. My disease does not define me.” And I understand the spirit behind that attitude. I applaud the spirit behind that attitude. But the fact is, I am diabetic. And diabetes DOES define me. Not completely, no. And it does not have to LIMIT me. But it is one of my many defining characteristics.  I am also a Jesus follower. And a wife. And a mom. I am clumsy. I laugh a lot. I am loud and love to dance (badly). And many of those other defining characteristics impact the triathlete part of my life because they’re all a part of me and my life. But honestly, none of them confound me quite like the diabetic component.

When I started looking for other Type 2 triathletes, I found very few. I found quite a lot pages and blogs and stories from Type 1s. And those stories are inspiring but how they manage things is completely different than me. I can’t even imagine that level of monitoring.

I’m sure the Type 2s are out there. Maybe they’re in forums and discussion boards. I don’t tend to keep up well with those though. So I decided to start creating the kind of content I was looking for. Training stories and blood sugar tracking. Nutrition experiments and results. A lot of what you would read for a “normal” triathlete but with transparency on my fourth discipline. I swim/bike/run AND actively manage blood sugar. Two and half years and I still don’t have it completely under control. My last A1C test results were not good although my daily averages since have been. (I was also unable to walk or train during most of the last testing period due to injury).

So I don’t know exactly what this will look like. If any of you other Type 2 Triathletes out there find me, let me know what you want to see. Let’s talk about how you manage. My goal for 2019 is to complete a 70.3 in September…without a trip to the med tent. I know it’s doable. One training session at a time.

Emmett 2017 Bike and Run Report

Bike – 13 miles – 52:15

This course is not flat. But. You’re coming DOWN from the canyon into town so that’s nice. And while there are a couple of hills, there are no extended climbs. After the Y Not Tri, I focused on a lot of hill training. No MAJOR hills; I didn’t attempt Bogus Road or anything crazy like that. But I felt well prepared for this course. Based on my training numbers, I expected it to take me just over an hour to complete. I did not take into account that I wouldn’t have to wait on traffic. Or how FAST coming down could be.

This. Was. Fun.

The course is pretty. The downhills are fun. For the first time ever, I did not touch my brakes. Not once, not even a little. I only used my easiest gear once, on the steepest portion. Coming up on that hill threw me off mentally a little. I glanced up and thought “Huh, I haven’t trained on anything that steep.” But I purposely had trained in harder gears so I would be able to hold the easiest gear in reserve. I wanted to know I had somewhere to go if I REALLY needed it. I’m not sure I ACTUALLY needed it on that hill but knowing I still had to run prompted me not to blow out my legs when I had an easier option.

Somewhere around 2 or 3 miles in, I dropped my water bottle. I had taken a few good drinks by that point. My mouth had been really dry but my breathing was finally under control and I wasn’t in bad shape. I went to place it back in the holder and, I don’t know, it went rolling across the road and into a ditch. I briefly considered turning around to retrieve it. Had it been on the road still, I might have. It was the only bottle I’ve ever used on the bike. It fit really nicely (and it was free). But I chose to keep going. I figured it was only 13 miles and not terribly hot. And I was fine although I was really happy to pick up my water bottle at the run transition.

After the second turn to head back towards down, I had a few miles where it was pretty flat, no one was passing me and no one was on the horizon. That was probably the slowest part of the ride. I had gotten spoiled by some zippy downhills and having other riders around me but at the same time, it was peaceful.

Overall I loved this leg of the race. If I had still had water, I probably would not have wanted it to end.

20819450_1957291211214229_7216734884307738655_o

T2 – 1:00

I couldn’t find my water bottle and hat. Someone had racked their bike right on top of them and dropped bike shoes right next to them. I had to find a place to put my bike and then dig my stuff from under someone else’s bike. No big deal but I thought it took a lot longer than one minute from dismount to running out.

Run – 5k/3.1 miles – 42:18

I told some people the run would take me anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour so I’m not disappointed with this time. In the week leading up to the race, I had to decide how much I really wanted to suffer on the run. I had to decide if I wanted to leave every ounce I had on the course and spend all weekend (and possibly longer) recovering or if I just wanted to see where a slightly challenging but not brutal pace would put me. Obviously I opted for the second. I wanted to be able to enjoy the rest of my weekend and be ready to start 10k training the next week. I’m really glad I did. It was hot out there but with my walk/run routine, I never felt overwhelmed by it. One guy doing the longer distance (two laps instead of one) took himself out of the race at his turn around and they sent him straight to medical. My friend said they watched one woman come over the finish line and promptly throw up. I am just not that competitive.

We ran through a neighborhood and a woman was sitting on the curb with her little boy. He was probably two years old and totally cute. He stood on the side of the road with his little hand held up and every runner that passed, he would hopefully say “high five?!!?” I watched four or five Very Serious Triathletes in front of me pass without a glance and his little face fall each time. And yeah, I know. Once you’re in a rhythm, it’s really hard to get it back if you break it. And I’ve been so focused or so deep in my “pain cave” that nothing was really registering on my brain except the next step. (Not often but it’s happened) But I was NOT in a unbreakable rhythm. I was NOT terribly focused. And I did NOT care about a few extra seconds costing me a spot in the rankings. So I got to high five the most adorable little kid and watch him try to jump up and down. That alone reinforced my certainty that I had made the right choice in my run strategy. There may come a day when I’m so focused on a goal that I become a Very Serious Triathlete. I’ve learned to never say never. But I hope if that happens that it’s very temporary. I don’t want this to stop being fun. Not every moment is, of course. But I hope I never stop appreciating little moments like high fiving the smallest cheerleaders or noticing the pretty wildflowers growing along a fence or laughing like a maniac as I fly down a hill at scary fun speeds.

I felt good when I crossed the finish line. I felt good the rest of the day in fact although some stiffness set in the next day. My friends that I swam with the Monday before? Well the women took first and second overall in the Aquabike event. I am so incredibly proud of them. I came in 10th out of 11 in my age group. So now I know where I stand. And what to work on for next year.

20748253_1957295784547105_1856470241949740357_o

Emmett Triathlon 2017 – Swim Report

Emmett’s Excellent Triathlon was definitely a big step outside my comfort zone. It’s a full sprint distance (500 meter swim, 13 mile bike, 5k/3.1 mi run). And while that’s the shortest of all the “official” triathlon distances, it’s the longest I’ve ever done. Also, this is not a race designed for beginners. Most people out there are experienced, and fast, athletes. Many of them are using it as a training race for much bigger races and longer distances. So while I might be reaching the point where I can possibly be competitive in my little local beginner friendly race, I had no such illusions at Emmett. My goal was to simply complete the course, and see where I stood.

20748223_1957290607880956_7547695983771007322_o

Swim – 500 meters – 19:24

The swim posed my biggest mental challenge. This was my first time racing with in a wet suit. I had only swam two practice swims in it and neither had gone particularly well. The wind was brisk and the water was choppy. I’ve been nervous before swims but Saturday morning I understood, I felt, the concept of “quaking with fear”. My friend Michele was out there to support me and commented that she could she me shaking. I had been relatively calm before but watching the first wave took off sent me over the edge to jittery. I moved into the water a few minutes before the start and took a few strokes to make sure my goggles were seated and sealed well. Then they counted us down and we took off.

I started out well. I felt good, was breathing good. And then…I don’t know what happened. I didn’t get kicked or swamped. But suddenly I couldn’t get a good breath. I started FEELING the color red. My entire perception was like looking at the world through a fire alarm. I’ve had panic attacks before (years ago) (on dry land) but nothing compared to this. Everything in me clanged “danger”. I couldn’t see well. We weren’t even to the first buoy yet but I had switched to the side stroke and was trying to focus on a kayaker to tell them to take me back to shore. This whole race was a mistake. I couldn’t do this.

And then, I heard someone behind me gasp out “I need help. I can’t do this.”

Please understand, I don’t know her circumstances. There are innumerable elements to the day that no one can predict and no one else can make a judgement call on what’s going on except the athlete affected (except perhaps medical personnel). But hearing my thoughts vocalized snapped something for me. I was able to clarify a thought. I was fine and the tiniest part of my brain knew that. If I could get to my bike, I would be okay. And a little seed of anger sprouted…anger that I would give up so easily when I had swam this distance before. Anger that I would let an emotional state overtake my physical state. I decided I was going to get to the first buoy. And once I was there, the second. And then I could see better and knew I was going to finish before the 25 minute cut off.

I did the entire 500 meters on my side. The. Entire. Thing. I think I tried to do a weird breast stroke/front crawl/doggie paddle thing at one point but my face WAS NOT going in the water. Why? I have no idea. Physically I had the capability. But I never did totally silence that panic. Nineteen minutes of alarm bells and shallow breathing. But I finished that damn swim.

T1 – 3:27

Ironically this is not a bad time for me, especially considering I was trying to peel the wet suit off my legs and feet (the feet are especially challenging). I took more than a few seconds to clip my race belt. I had one side twisted the wrong way. At the Y Not Tri I watched an elite racer just step into his pre-clasped belt and pull it up like a waistband. I considered that technique. I even practiced it a few times in the comfort of my own home. And I realized I had a very good chance of tripping over the darn thing. I opted to take the few extra seconds to figure out to just buckle it around me. I also realized I had dropped my sunglasses into the backpack that my friend was holding instead of putting them in my helmet. She was standing just outside of transition so I told her and she was able to pull them out and hand them to me as I was leaving T1.

20690218_1957290604547623_8820562493897006800_o

And that’s a wrap

Last year I went and watched some friends race in the Emmett Most Excellent Triathlon. I was kinda kicking around the idea of doing it but wanted to see the set up first. The whole thing was exciting so I decided then to do it this year. At the time, I expected to be out on the course with my several different friends and training partners and my husband to be my cheering section (and sherpa). As it turns out, one friend was injured and couldn’t train or race this season. A local trail race changed the weekend it was held and conflicted with Emmett and all of my regular training partners had already signed up for that one before they realized the conflict. And then my husband had to travel for work. Triathlon is essentially a single person sport. You can race it as a relay team but even then, you are on your own for whatever piece you’re doing. You are responsible for your own performance. You are ultimately responsible for your training. But. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, is that you’re never alone. And that community is a big part of what keeps me coming back.

Earlier this week I put out a plea on Facebook for someone to do one last open water swim with me. A woman I met a few years ago through the Pulse training group not only agreed to go out with me, she put together a whole group, complete with kayak support. And then she stuck with me the whole time even though she could have easily left me in her wake and swam twice as far as me. That same group of people were at the race today and offered up support, encouragement and cheers throughout the day.

This morning I got to the parking lot to load my bike on the transports up to T1. I had ridden briefly last night to check my tires and felt fine with them then. But Jon always airs them up for me and I’m notorious for thinking they’re fine when they’re a bit mushy. As I pulled my bike out this morning, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the fact that HE WASN’T THERE. A friend was coming to meet and support me but at that moment, I just wanted my husband to reassure me that the bike was fine. I stood staring at my tires for a moment, second guessing if they were really okay and trying to talk myself out of crying. An older couple were unpacking next to me. He glanced over and then asked if he could check and air up my tires for me. I nearly burst into those tears and instead word vomited all over them. “Yes! My husband usually takes care of this but had to fly out of the country and I’m suddenly freaking out a little not having him here and I’ll know I’ll be fine but I don’t know if my bike is or not and I really want him here…” The husband calmly took my bike and then wife proceeded to talk me down. We turned out to have quite a bit of common interests and friends. It was a big “small world” moment and incredibly reassuring to me. I felt like God put them specifically in my path to remind me that He’s still caring for me, even in these relatively trivial moments. And then the wife touched base with me several times throughout the morning until she saw I had other people around me.

I was setting up my bike transition and a woman near me started up a conversation. We stood and talked about 15 minutes, like we had known each other for years. She cheered for me, by name, when she passed me on the course later. And we talked afterwards, when we saw each other at our cars.

I had numerous mini conversations and encouraging words from random athletes on the course. I may have not had my usual training partners and friends to chase down but I was surrounded by people who bond over this crazy sport and who, inevitably, make sure no one is alone. It’s an incredible community.

But. Can I tell you the REAL heroes? They’re the friends and family that don’t bond over this crazy sport. They find it only mildly interesting and only because they love me. And yet they listen patiently as I discuss times and training sessions and various other triathlon related minutia. They forgive me missing events and social outings and conversations because I’m training or sleeping. They show up early on Saturday mornings and stand for several hours in the heat just to yell my name for a few seconds (and hold my stuff). My husband supports me taking hours away from our weekends for bike rides and swims. He endures weeks of sub-par, quick dinners because I have to get in a run after work and pauses his schedule to do bike maintenance on MY schedule. These dear people. They did not choose triathlon but they patiently endure it.

I stood in cold water at 9:35 this morning and crossed the finish line one hour and fifty eight minutes later, finishing out my 2017 triathlon season. No one else swam that course for me. No one else pedaled my bike or took even one of the steps away from me for 3.1 miles. No one else put in the training for me. But when I crossed the line today, it was to wrap up a season that was ONLY made possible due to the people around me.