It feels like its been a really long time since I updated about anything much...but for some reason I feel like I've been crazy busy lately. So in honor of my upcoming triathlon, I have 3 random topics to ramble about today! Warning: this post is LONG! [You can tell its been awhile since I last wrote :)]
Apparently normal people generally give themselves more than 2 weeks to get ready for one of these...who knew? Although in all seriousness, I'm going to go ahead and say that coming off of a 5 month track season/half marathon race, I'm probably starting off in better shape than most people I guess. I think the hardest thing about the past couple of weeks has been dealing with the fact that I just don't have time [or energy!] to run as many miles as I'm used to when I'm also trying to get in swim and bike workouts. I'm such a mileage whore...I love nothing more than seeing my weekly mileage go over 50, and to be honest I feel like I'm slacking if it's under 35 or 40. But I just have to keep telling myself that running is NOT what I need to be worried about in this triathlon - that's where I'm going to rock everyone's socks off because that's what I do [running that is, not rocking off socks...although I do that on occasion :P] - it's what I've been doing for the past 8 years. So I've been trying really hard to work on my swimming [mostly] and biking [less than I should] so I have less time to make up on the run. Swimming has actually been going a LOT better than expected, especially today! When I got in the pool 2 weeks ago, I was seriously concerned that I couldn't actually swim 400 meters without stopping. But then I went with my friend Nicole, who was a swimmer in high school, and she was talking about some drill they used to do for freestyle to get the proper arm form -like, you're not supposed to windmill your arm around because that just wastes energy. Well seriously, once I figured that out, it changed everything!
So today I went and was like...I am going to do 400 meters of freestyle without stopping [the past few times, I've only made it to 300, and I've had to go to breaststroke in the middle which I'm soooo slow at]. And I did it - 3 times! I got into a really great rhythm and just focused on my breathing and staying relaxed, not worrying about speed, and I honestly felt awesome. I decided to time the second 2 [I did 3 x 400 with 2 minutes rest] and the second one was 8:16, the third one was 8:07 - and that's with having to turn around. That's SO much faster than I thought I would be! Obviously open water swimming is a whole different ballgame, and I'm going to get my wetsuit Tuesday so hopefully I will get out in the lake before the weekend - but since the swim was what I was most worried about, I'm feeling so much better/more excited about everything now!
Today I also attempted to see what running is going to feel like after biking. The consensus: not fun! I first have to sidetrack and say: to the inventor of the Expresso exercise bike, you are my hero. Finally, someone has invented an exercise machine that keeps me entertained! Basically, its an exercise bike with a normal bike seat and handlebars that resemble a road bike. But the amazing part - you have a screen that gives you a 'virtual' route, complete with a pacer set to whatever time you want to do the ride in. I only wanted to bike for like 10 minutes, so I chose the "Evening Bliss" route...2.37 miles at sunset through a lovely town. There's stuff with stats for the elevation and you can see when you're going up hills, change gears, etc. SO ENTERTAINING! I can't even explain how amused I was. It reminded me of this thing I did at Disneyworld when I was like 9. I mean, I'm not all about stationary bikes or biking in general, but I am seriously so entertained by this thing that I might go to the Nat once in awhile to do it. But anyway, fun times aside, I did the bike thing which took not quite 10 minutes, and then I went out to run what actually ended up being about a 5K. The first couple minutes weren't fun, my legs felt like crap and I was still breathing really hard. But once I told myself to relaxxxx, everything started to feel a lot better, and I got through it just fine. As I said - not really worried about the run. I'm not sure about pace since I didn't have my watch, but I'd estimate it was in the 7:30-7:40 range, which I feel like is just fine for that point in my day. :)
Who knows...I might actually LIKE this triathlon business?? Insanity.
So running itself hasn't been all that great lately, mostly just because I haven't had a lot of time for it due to being much more concerned about the other triathlon things, and when I have run its generally been crappy. I've been going back and forth on whether or not I like the shoes I got for free for winning the Black Tie 5K (Etonic Kendari's). It seems like a waste to buy a new pair of shoes when I got this pair for free, so I'm really really trying to like them. The first few times I wore them they felt really heavy, and I'm still not completely sold since sometimes my arches hurt a little bit after I run in them, but I went for a run on Saturday that made me feel like at least they have potential.
What a glorious, glorious run. You know how sometimes you really don't feel like going running and you keep on procrastinating and finally you just throw yourself out the door, convincing yourself that you'll keep it short and take it easy? That's basically how my Saturday was. I wasn't feeling that great [I think I had a sympathy hangover from the BF, even though I didn't drink Friday night, haha] and I just wasn't in the mood, plus it was like 50 out, which is just not June weather! Oh wait...except for 50 degrees is my favorite weather to run in...I'm not all about running in the heat. So I started off and was feeling pretty good. I was running on the bike path near my house that practically could have footprints worn in it just from me, that's how much I run there. We did a lot of higher intensity tempo runs there during track since it's flat and there are markers every 1/10 mile [this is the site of the infamous 6:10 :P], and I like doing longer runs there because its flat, pretty, and there are 5 roads to cross, each of which is a turnaround for a different distance - 2.5, 4.2, 5, 6.2, and 7.5 miles - so you can go further if you're feeling good, less if you're feeling bad, without having to completely complicate your life and change your route.
So I planned to go out to the 5 mile road, but was feeling good so I continued on to the next marker past the 6.2 road. [I kind of wish I had a Garmin or some other fancy gadget so I could see the exact distances...mapmyrun.com is all I've got :)] I started running back and was still feeling awesome...there was hardly anyone on the road because it was a gross day and I just felt like I was flying down the path. At the last street before the end of the path I decided to take a detour and run down a long hill to the lake and back, just to add on some miles. Even as I was running back UP the hill, I was still feeling great! I got home and figured out the stats: 7.75 miles @ 7:15 pace. Best run I've had in SUCH a long time!
It's runs like these that remind me why I do it. Sure, there are races and PRs and all of that is amazing - there's no feeling I've found in my life that compares to the high of running a PR. But there's also no feeling like cruising down a well worn path, feeling invincible, free, like you can fly. Like you ARE flying. And knowing that no matter what bad days you have, how tough your workouts have been, how tired your legs are...you will have that feeling again. You just have to remember those incredible days that make it all worth it. The runner's high...it's not a myth, I'll tell you that.
Super fast people:
My work shift on Sunday ended up getting extended from 7-11 to 7-2:30 [trust me, dog hotels are a busy place on Sundays!] so I really didn't get to watch as much of the Pre Classic as I had wanted to...sad day. Thank goodness for sites like flotrack and runnerspace that let me watch the videos online! So - women's 1500 meters - absolute insanity. Jenny Barringer ran a 3:59.90 to a) set a new collegiate record by a TON, b) get second place by .01 second, c) become only the 4th American woman ever to run under 4 minutes. INSANITY! I've been enjoying following professional running more and more lately, but its funny because I remember reading an article about her maybe...my junior year in high school? in some random magazine they gave out to the track team. She was already really impressive back then, and I remember hearing about her in steeplechase awhile after that, but seriously? She is ridiculously good. Sometimes its fun to watch really, really awesome people run. Super inspirational, for sure!
OK, well that will wrap up my mega-post for the day. Today is a day off after my triple sport fiesta yesterday...tomorrow will most likely be a run/swim combo platter. I really need to get on the damn bike again but I would so much rather run than do that...exciting virtual reality bike, I need you now! :)