challenges, fitness and nutrition

Duathlon DIY-Style, and 2021’s OLW

One of my goals last year was to challenge myself to a duathlon. I ended up registering for a summer triathlon which was pushed back until next year.

I had all but given up on this goal at the end of the summer. After the race was postponed, I lost my excitement and drive to train and learn for the event. It wasn’t until a friend rallied a group of gym women around an engine building cardio challenge that I found the will to run and bike again with any kind of regularity.

I knew I wouldn’t tri this year, but a duathlon wasn’t out of the question. I decided not to register for an official race at year end. But I wanted to at least complete a “ceremonial” sprint duathlon to have a benchmark and a check mark. So I went for it one frigid December morning just after sunrise. Just me, my playlist, my essentials and my mileage counters. On my mark, get set, go.

3.1 mile run. The mist was rising off the lake. Bridges were still slippery from the chill and the dew. Three loops, making my way along. Not too fast, but not too bad

Transition to the bike. Fleece hat off, helmet on. Legs adjusting to the pedals. Skittering along. Ups, downs, loops. The sting of the cold on my face. Losing feeling in my hands as I watch the miles tick, tick, tick away. Singing along while avoiding potholes and traffic. I finally found a quarter mile loop for a soccer field off the beaten path. Rode it again and again and again for about 8 miles. Only a quick stop for a carb boost in the middle. Then back to dancing on the pedals. Saddle soreness set in at mile 8. Toe cramps began at 10. I held on to finish the 12.4 mile stretch. Ended this leg averaging 10.9 mph which is actually a decent pace. If I had been on flats the whole time it would have been quicker. Lifting and loading my bike with frozen hands was a challenge all its own.

Then the final crunch. The one you train for. The one that hurts. Off the bike and into the last run. When I trained for the tri early this year, I read about this transition and how brutal it is. The quick pace of the bike makes that last mile grueling at best. I started pretty well then it quickly deteriorated. As the mile wore on, I just willed myself forward. I passed a committee of vultures. Keep singing. Dodged piles of goose poop on the path. Keep moving. Step after step. One at a time. No stopping. Knees hurting. No breaks. Just all ahead as much as I can.

I finished. No crowds no medals no beers or cokes. No parades or high fives. No banana no T-shirt. But I checked it off. I don’t need festivities to know what I have done. Didn’t quite make it under my two hour goal, but sometimes completion is the victory in that moment. I will get that goal next time. I’ll take my imaginary participation ribbon thankyouverymuch.

A DIY-duathlon gives you a lot of time to think. My mind couldn’t help but wander as I looped around and around. As much discomfort as I felt, I thanked my body for carrying me through those 17-plus miles. My mental and physical stamina made it a successful effort. A year like this one makes me realize all the more how much these different types of health are worth.

I’ve shared many times how much I love words and wordplay here on the blog. In those bike miles, I found my mind playing with the word duathlon. I bet many people didn’t even know that was a word. Then I broke it into do-athlon. Which led to a good long think about the word “DO.” I am such a thinker, often an overthinker, and not always such a do-er. I decided in those miles that my word of 2021 will be DO. It will be my year to jump in and get things done. I’m still settling into this word and what it will mean for me. I hope you’ll read along wherever the path leads.

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. 

fitness and nutrition

The Extra Mile

I’ve been kinda foundering with my home workouts at times.  I get bored, restless.  I don’t do warmups well.  I can easily get distracted. I stall when it’s time to get going. I’ve been doing hero WODs but that’s only on Mondays. So when a friend suggested I run a mile every day for a month, I grabbed on.  It was a goal to fuel me for the next little while.  Plus, running many miles is part of my goal for this year. Why not?

Then, as part of a fundraiser at my school, I told everyone who registered for a literacy charity race that I would run an extra mile for them.  That in itself was about 20 miles.  Suddenly I had multiple purposes to run each day.

Well, I’m reporting in on Day 26 and I am over it.  The miles get longer and longer.  Ok, so a mile can’t really get longer.  But, I can run it slower.  It can certainly seem longer. I don’t look forward to it. I actually actively dread it.  But, because I am stubborn and hard-headed I am going to get to 30 days.

Why has this become harder?

First, my mornings have gotten more hectic since I am going back into my physical workplace each day.  So, it is a bit of a scramble to add that 15 minutes in after a workout.

Second, I’m annoyed by my speed. A couple of weeks ago friend mentioned that after practicing each day, I should probably be running faster overall.  Honestly, I am not.  My attitude is bad about it.  But when I took on this task it was more about doing it just to have something to do.  My running pace has gotten quicker through my years of fitness, but I’ve never actually concentrated on my pace. It’s just been a side benefit of better overall fitness. So really, in this case, I didn’t have much of a goal beyond completing it.  Not really a very good goal to be honest. I have learned that my goal needs to have a bit more purpose than this one. And a purpose I really desire or believe in.

I guess I didn’t fail but I don’t feel like I succeeded.  And so there’s a lesson about goals in here that I am learning. My fear is failure, but I am still figuring out what failure means and how to embrace it when I need to.  I will finish and know for sure that I am not a daily runner. So I’ve learned that at least.  I like to run twice, perhaps three times a week if I am training for a specific race.  But doing it every day is not something I really enjoy. And if I don’t enjoy it or at the very least feel successful and satisfied when it is done, what’s the point?

Sometimes going the extra mile isn’t all that fun.  But, we do it because we need to, we said we would, because it is the right thing to do, or sometimes because we are just too hard-headed and stubborn to quit.

A few more days and this will be a memory, happily.

 

health, perspective

Fresh Outlook

Clean crisp air floating through my mind translates into a natural high. Outdoor air may seem foggy to some yet it’s clarity to me. Pre-Rona, mid-Rona and as Rona wraps up the outdoor air is where I have done some of my best thinking.

It could be on my bike, it could be on a run, it could be on a casual stroll. No matter the tempo of my stride the clarity in mind is fresher with the outdoor air. I use technology to jot down my notes on my phone no different than I log my workouts.

The air I breathe may seem toxic to some, but my breathing means I’m alive and that gift of living spurs thoughts of growth. What adventures are on the horizon but also which ones are curtailed due to pandemic interventions. I’m not worried about the ones postponed as I will get to them in time.

Whatever the path I get to take, that path is mine to enjoy. As I have said before, my path may look different but that doesn’t mean it’s a negative reflection. Rather it means new opportunities.

Sceneries change when you ride a bike, travel on boat or go for a run. Scents in the air change as well. Sounds seems more peaceful if you listen. Nature is a stomping ground many may take for granted. However I feel I ignited those senses during corona when all else seemed to be muted.

What I figured out is less is more in a way. Less chatter and complaining can be replaced with birds chirping or wind whistling. The stressful days can can replaced with a long walk. Big decisions can be contemplated on a hike with switchbacks or steep climbs to help you anticipate challenges and overcome fears.

Our mind is a machine and a mystery. When you can figure the mystery in your mind your machine can make almost anything. If your machine has been out of production it’s time to dust it off and put some fresh air and positive vibes in it. You can ignite passion if you awaken your mind.

Get to moving that mind in new directions. Seek more adventures. Tune out what seems to be clutter or brokenness. As a new sun rises be settled for the new day. Time to kick some post-corona ass. Mind fuck Monday wisdom right here.

fitness and nutrition, friendship

Virtual Fun

Well this weekend I should have been in Nashville, TN running the Wonder Woman 10k race with some of my gal pals.

Unfortunately, pandemic distancing rules made that trip a no go. Instead I got my shirt, medal, wrist bands and instructions by mail. For the record I loved the shirt but had to give it away because it was meant for a tiny 12 year old who hadn’t developed their bust yet or maybe the manufacturer assumed thick girls don’t run?!?!

The task was to complete a virtual 10k. Seems simple enough as I have done many but then you have to decide where to run, when to run and and and. We opted for the same date, Sunday, May 3rd. Then we opted for an area that we knew was a set distance to and from. The plan was in motion. The gal pals were on target.

Additional friends heard what we were doing locally and jumped in on the fun. Oh but the day came and I forgot many things. Planning my food intake before. Going to bed early. Gel packs for the race. Best shorts to avoid chaffing. And best of all no water on the trail and I didn’t pack any. Guess I was too excited for the coffee reward after.

Another pandemic glitch was no bathrooms to potty at. Even though Starbucks serves coffee it’s only drive through so no potty breaks along the way was tough. My stretching before was lacking as well but I made the attempt. The little details matter and I guess that’s why you pay a race fee for all the extras.

Another missed sidebar was the noise. No crowds cheering to push you. No people in front of you to follow. No funny signs to read. Completing a virtual 10k was harder than I expected. I didn’t get my best time but I wasn’t planning for a best time. I was just aiming to complete what I had set out to accomplish. 6.2 miles in heat, no water, no bathroom and old playlist playing in my ears. Just me and the pavement. A lot of boring and a lot of reasons to give up.

I finished the task. I might have even dodged a few golf carts on this trek which is not something I would not normally see in a race. My first virtual race is full of memories and mental milestones. I will cherish the time and reflect on what I accomplished while many pass judgment on my actions of exercising outdoors.

I also completed the event with about 8 people I knew who jumped in on the adventure. We kept our distance which was easy since we are all varied paces. We celebrated seeing each other in person. We even got bullied at the end by an elderly man wondering where our masks were. Oh the irony as this senior was supposed to be quarantined by his age alone. I guess this confirms my note above about people passing judgement. It happens every day. Nobody is immune to judgment. My first virtual run is one and done. Proud of myself and my Sunday Funday runners.

The next day is here and I am not sore which is good. I’m on to my next adventure which is slated for a triathlon in July thanks to my annual summer 10k race being postponed until November. Still not sure if the triathlon will take place but I’m staying optimistic and I’m training as if it’s on the calendar.

Look out world. I’m running, biking or swimming your way.