fitness and nutrition

Taking the Plunge

One of 2020 goals was to complete a triathlon. I registered and started training and then, you guessed it, COVID. Postponed until 2021.

A lot of life changed between mid-2020 and now. Still, I kept that race on my calendar and wondered at times if I should still give it a go. The swim was the weakest of my weak spots and I had not really done anything to train it. I happened to be at a lake the week before the race and swam for 20 minutes without touching bottom. It was slow, but I did it. I also completed a 10K successfully the week before the triathlon was scheduled. With those things in mind, I decided to give it a go.

A triathlon is a strange race. So much different than a show-up-and-lace-up-and-get-running 10K. There’s so much equipment, so many rules (a 24-page rule book!) There’s transitions to think about and plan for. There are referees, penalties, even disqualification. All this made me incredibly nervous. I read, made lists, planned, packed, and off I went. Brought my precious facebook marketplace bike in from my car and tucked it in. I was up half the night wondering if my decades-old helmet would meet the standards. Finally, 5:00 am came.

I double checked my list, had some hotel room coffee and off I went. Transition is such a madhouse. By the time I arrived there were already hundreds of bikes hung from racks. A lady saw me in my confusion, forcefully grabbed my bike and told me where to put my towel and transition setup. Everything was tight. You get about 12 x 18 inches to lay out your running shoes, socks, running belt, clothes, and anything else you need. If your space is too big or you block someone else it’s a penalty. Nerve wracking. Timing chip on my left ankle. Race number in permanent ink on both my biceps. My race age on the back of my leg. Now the long wait to start.

One of the reasons I chose this race was the waterslide start. Yes, you waterslide one at a time into a river then start the swim. This made for about a 30 minute wait after the first person started. But, it is better than the scary start-in-a-pack situations I have read about. There were maybe 50 people behind me. I met a couple of other first-time-tri-ers as we waited. We shared out nerves, our whys, and our training for the race. Finally, it was time for me to jump in and hit the course.

I confess, I can move in the water but I only kinda know how to swim in any systematic stroke. I can’t freestyle so I alternated between a sort of breaststroke and backstroke. People passed me many times as I made my way down the course, passing one buoy then another. Just keep going. I finally got out of the water and made my way to transition, being careful not to get hit by bikes on their way out.

I was one of the last to pick up my bike, so it wasn’t very crazy. The first people were already returning from the 14 mile bike. Helmet on almost first thing (that’s a disqualification if you get on your bike with no helmet.) Shirt, shoes, race belt with energy chews, water bottle, etc. etc. Finally I cross the mount line and I am off.

Bike riding is a peace place for me. Just gliding along. Had some energy blocks and hydration. Tried to keep it around 12 miles an hour which is a good pace for me. Looked around. Thanked police and security. Glide glide glide. I missed having my phone but taking pics would have slowed me down. Playing music or having headphones in is cause for disqualification – this was one of the hardest parts!

Finally, the run. This transition was much simpler. Just hang the bike and helmet, grab a water and go. Seeing people who had already finished was sort of hard but also motivating. Just keep going and it will be me, too.

Well, this second transition was logistically simpler, but physically this transition is rough rough rough. Trading the speed and relative ease of biking for the slow plod of running is a shock to the system. I just had to pace it out and keep going. This was hillier than I had anticipated and I just walked up the hills and didn’t worry over it. I met several people who were just walking the whole 5K. It was an out-and-back so I cheered on every one who was still on the course. I passed my two friends from the start line on my way back to the finish. We were going to do it!

Finally, I came up the hill and saw the finish line, so I broke my rule and jogged in. I jumped and slid down the finish slide and got my medal. After a minute to regroup, I went and waited for my new friends at the finish. I cheered them in. What a great feeling, to be a triathlete!

Did I place? No. Do I care? No. I didn’t specifically train, although I am active…but I was still just thankful to have made it through. Completion was the goal. I cheered for the winners. I gathered my things and slowly made my way back to the car.

I have never smelled as bad after a race as I did after this triathlon. It was a long 4 hour drive to the farm. Everyone who saw me in town and on the road seemed to know what I had done. Was it the medal? The numbers on my arms? (The smell?) Who knows. But lots of congratulations. Lots of reasons to smile and feel accomplished.

I would definitely do another one. I’d even train for it. Maybe even take swimming lessons. I have some people I’d like to do one with so that gives me something to look forward to. It was amazing and strange and memorable all in one. And I’ll always be able to say I have done it.

adventure, fitness and nutrition

Stranded

When I started this post I thought I was going to be stranded in a hotel for days due to a snow and ice storm. One bad idea turned into another and chaos followed. All in a matter of 14 hours.

Plane ride 2 hours. Drive time 11 hours. “Let’s beat the storm” I said “and drive.” Much consideration for the party of 5. We go for it. Rent the car. Two back out on the way to the car rental place. No biggie, three will forge ahead.

Or not! Car rental place is sold out of cars despite having a reservation. All other rental places are the same. Guess it’s back to the hotel we go. Good night’s sleep but hotel is booked solid thanks to the weather front fast approaching. One room available but one is not. Maybe there is an option to fly from another airport? Guess we will just figure it out.

Flights cancelled for days on one airline yet another is still functioning. Weird but true. Rebook on another airline at a neighboring airport. 3 go one way. 2 go another way. The race to the finish line is on. 

Group 1 starts out first. Dodging snow and ice via a crazy Uber driver. Group 2 heads to the airport a smidge further away to get on a flight 2 hours later. Delayed. Delayed. Delayed is what’s on the screen for group 1. Group 2 moves on without a hiccup. Both groups used technology to keep up on progress. Both end up eating Whattaburger at their respective gates. The spicy ketchup was cool but everything else was meh.

Snow. Ice. De-ice. Wait. Shuffle seats. Off we go. The wait continues at the gate but this time packed in like sardines. The irony of this is it seemed better than being in the hotel with nothing to do or the unknown of when you could leave.

Being stranded brings up many emotions. Should I stay? Should I attempt to go? Which is right which is wrong? I follow my gut always. Sometimes the path is bumpy but normally I find solid ground at some point.

Part of me was curious about the adventures with friends of doing this that or nothing in the hotel but then I thought for reason xyz it was time to mosey on along. Such a crazy storm passing through at the same time I was passing through town. 

I didn’t get to explore the town like I wanted to due to the weather but I met some interesting people and had a great time with my travel mates even if we were at separate airports on the way back. People watching was extra fun at the airport as some individuals struggled a bit with emotions when delays kept escalating.  

My last 24 hours was a whirlwind to say the least. I enjoyed every last minute of the ups downs and everything in between. Find you some crazy friends to do whimsical things with and just go with the flow.  Plane is about to land so this blog post is going end right here.

challenges

Virtual Peach

Most of 2020 has been a cluster fuck including my paid races, competitions and special events. I’ve been muttering through the disappointment.

Just spinning in a new direction to get by. Earlier this year I was to run the Wonder Woman 10k in Nashville. That was a no go but I did it virtual. My time was off and I didn’t like it much. 

The lack of crowds. The lack of a defined course was just a lot of blah. I ran slower. I walked some. It was a mental struggle in many ways against the clock and me. I did it because that was the goal but I didn’t enjoy the event. 

Fast forward to today. The normal 4th of July Peachtree Road Race was postponed to Thanksgiving Day. Then it was made virtual for the week of Thanksgiving. I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it. I was on vacation. Would I even have time? Did I even want to do it and so on.

On a whim I did it today. Turkey day. In the Sunshine State. It started out okay up until mile 3. My route was like a hamster wheel of round and round and round again which I didn’t like. No crowds. No race number. No water stations. No mile markers to show progress. The list goes on and on just like this damn pandemic. The picture below even reflects the hamster wheel-like motion we have been on for close to a year. Just blah.


What I did enjoy was my alone time. My ability to drift off and think of what I’m thankful for. What I have to look forward to. What is next on my projects list. I even thought about what 2020 would have looked like without the pandemic.

My slowest 10k time in about 6 years but I finished. I added 6 flights of stairs at the end to simulate cardiac hill that is on the regular course. I kept my annual streak going but since I did the run solo I broke the tradition with my mini. It’s okay but a little disappointing nonetheless.

2021 is sure to have many things I will be excited to accomplish but many things I will say I’ll take a pass on because of the blah in 2020. The Peachtree unfortunately may be one of them. 

challenges

Visual Cues

Today‚Äôs visual cue is my time tracker. It’s been in a drawer for a good while now as it had served its need for a past project.

Now here we are today, in the present. A new project of sorts has taken flight. A new visual cue and tracker was just what was needed. The timer was set for 180 days or six long months. It was a pain to reset but it worked. It had be dusted off to get ready for the action.

Now the fun part begins. It’s the journey. The 180 days of possibilities. The many triumphs. The possible failures. Basically everything in between. These days are where memories will be made. Progress to document. Trials and errors to tweak along the bumpy road. Adventures will be had I’m sure.

The point to this story is to share my method. My method of holding myself accountable for a duration of time. A timer I won’t touch or change. A timer I will refer to when I need to know how much longer I must endure. How much success I already accomplished just in the form of time invested. It’s a process. This is just one piece of the accountability pie that’s involved in the new project. It’s part of the vision. The intricacies.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. We have all heard that. Millionaires are not born over night. There is a process. Patience is built into the equation. Time is normally a factor. Measurement is a key ingredient as well in any recipe for success. And we can’t forget the planning. You need to have a plan and work your plan.

At the end of the day I’m chipping away at a tedious task-driven project. One I will want to bang my head against a wall a time or two but I will have my visual cues to help me over the speed bumps. One step closer to the finish line.

We all need a push now and then. Today my push is time. The time clock. Not so much a sprint rather a long-distance race against the mind. Who will win?

My money is on me. I only take the sure bets. I’ve said it before: the mind is a powerful tool. Do you use your mind to maximize your time and efforts?

Did you notice the stickers? They add emotions to my visual cue because I know there will be trying times ahead. To combat that future desire to fail or quit, I hope the humor of the emoji stickers will remind me of why I accepted the project. Just a tidbit of my thought process or note to my future self.