Tomorrow! I guess this 1/2 IM aquabike thing is really going to happen. June 17th had to come around sometime, after all. Am I ready? Eh. We’ll see. Shady and I are going to see the Wonder Woman movie today – maybe I can channel WW’s awesomeness during the race. After race reward planned? You bet! We’re going to see Dead & Co. Sunday night.
Wish me luck (I’ll just wish myself luck, since I don’t think anybody reads this anyway)!
In the throes of an endorphin-filled haze, I signed up for an event. Not just any event, but one of the bigger, more competitive races in my area: The Patriot Half IM. I’m not completely crazy – I’m doing the aquabike (since I don’t really run), but still: 1.2-mile swim + 56-mile bike is pretty ambitious for me! If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you may recall that I run hot and cold about racing. Usually cold, unless it’s a swim-only event.
So how did this crazy lapse in judgement occur? COMPUTRAINER! Evil. Painful. And that glorious feeling of being capable of doing anything when the session was over. That feeling apparently lasted until I got home and whipped out my credit card to register. That was in mid-December. The race has been on my mind ever since. Now it’s a month away. Yikes! Am I ready? We’ll see!
So what else is new? In addition to the tried and true swim/bike/(hobble)run, I’m trying to do more regular weight-training. It’s not as bad as I feared! I had a few sessions with a personal trainer (LOVE my trainer!), and I take some circuit-training type gym classes. It’s really helpful having someone tell me what to do.
Swim: My usual pool routine, but now that it’s (finally) getting warmer, I’ll be wriggling into my wetsuit (and 2 caps, and booties – it’s not THAT warm yet) and heading out to Walden Pond and Mystic Lake for some OWS.
Bike: Ramping up mileage so the 56-mile Patriot course won’t completely destroy me (it WILL destroy me, but I’ll pretend it won’t for the sake of saving face). I’m riding with my friends again! It’s wonderful to be outside rather than stuck in spin class. Computrainer is a whole ‘nother beast from spin. I went to quite a few computrainer classes at Grace Bicycles over the winter, and I’m pretty sure my masochism has paid off in at least a little extra speed. That’s the hope, anyway.
Read: I read everything by Anita Shreve and Jodi Picoult, and lucky me, they both came out with new books recently. The Stars are Fire, by Anita Shreve, and Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult. Both are really good. I’m not going to give anything away. Get them. Read them. I also read a lot of crap, which I definitely won’t recommend.
Happy Spring! Happy Training!
SWIM I get this email in early October: SwimVacation needs to fill their December trip to the British Virgin Islands and they’re offering a discount to alums as incentive. My husband and I went on a short SwimVacation trip to a lake in Maine a few years back (see old blog post) thus the email in my in-box. Lucky us! We had been talking about doing SwimVacation BVI someday, but the trip isn’t cheap so we were dragging our feet and saving some money. On a lark, I brought up the possibility of signing up – hey, discount! To my surprise and glee, he said “sure, let’s go”. So we did. And here are some pictures to prove it.
SwimVacation BVI in a nutshell: get to Village Cay Marina at the designated meeting time, dinghy ride to the Promenade (our trimaran home for the week), stow shoes – barefoot for a whole week ! – settle in, swim at least twice a day *every day* in beautiful places among the islands, eat (and drink, if so inclined), make new swimmy friends… As their logo says, “Swim. Relax. Repeat.” Sun and 80 degree Caribbean water? In December? Yes, please.
Check out the SV blog to see how it looks and book your next trip to BVI! Or Hawaii. Or Turkey (new trip). I might write more specifics about the trip in a future blog, but if you want details before then, feel free to ask in a comment.
BIKE nothing to report. I haven’t been on my road bike for a while now – just spin classes (). I plan to try out a computrainer class in January. I’m scared. And we’re doing a run afterward. It just might kill me. Wish me luck.
RUN this is starting to be a more common category for me: I’ve been doing more of it (stupid peer pressure). I did a 5k fun run on Thanksgiving and broke a 9 min/mile pace! Nothing like the fear of getting lost to make me go faster – I had to keep the people ahead of me in sight. Cuteness overload warning: mini pig in a santa suit at the end of the run.
READ I went through a brief period of bad books, but seem to have come out the other side. Phew! I just ready Jojo Moyes’ The Ship of Brides and loved it. I really like her books. Now I’m diving into The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, by Jan-Philip Sendker.
and… EAT! SwimVacation meant I didn’t cook or bake for a week (the food was great, by the way), but I couldn’t resist making a chocolate whiskey cake when we got home.
I’ll blame our birthdays (mine and my husband’s). Can’t have birthdays without cake. I think it’s illegal.
And then this happened, too, ’cause, why not?!
Sprint triathlon on Saturday, 2-mile swim race on Sunday? Sure!
A couple months ago I started thinking that maybe it was time to do another triathlon. SPRINT triathlon, that is, nothing too crazy. Heck, it had been a couple years since I did the whole 3-event thing on my own. Last year I stayed in my swimming rut and only did relays. In, out, done, hang out and cheer. I really like swimming on tri relays!
What changed? Why now? Well, I AM on a tri team after all… I guess I decided a tri was possible since I started running again a few months ago. Not much and not fast, but enough to make it through a 5k. How bad could it be? As I often tell people who balk at running, you can always walk if necessary! Would I walk? No (although it probably looks like I’m walking and not running sometimes), but it’s nice to know the option exists.
The tri: Escape the Cape put on by Max Performance on June 13th. LOVE Max Performance races. Really well run. This one took place in Onset Beach, MA, right at the beginning of Cape Cod. Point-to-point 1/3 mile swim, 10 mile bike, 5k run. Other than a short hill on the run, both the bike and run courses were flat, flat, flat. It was a little windy this year, but not too bad (oh right, blame the wind).
I did this race 3 years ago so I could compare that race to this one. I expected to be a little slower, and I was, but only by about 2 minutes. I can live with that.
The swim: The next day was sunny and beautiful. I signed up to do a 2-mile race at Lake Terramuggus in Marlborough, CT. I swam this event last year without a wetsuit, but it was a month earlier this time around, so I decided to wear my shorty. I was kind of sick – or maybe it was allergies – and just wanted to cruise the course as a recovery swim from the tri the day before. Best laid plans… First loop, nice and smooth and strong, passing people here and there. And then. AND THEN! I noticed I was pretty even with another woman for most of the first loop. Well! That just wouldn’t do. So much for not racing, I HAD to stay ahead of her. Damn competitive tendencies! Granted I was wearing a wetsuit, and who knows if the course was exactly the same, but I was about 7 minutes faster this year! Where did that come from?!
So what’s next? I’m thinking of doing another swim event next month – Pig Iron Swim in Vernon, CT. Maybe more than just the 2-miler. We’ll see. And there are a couple bike rides coming up – the Rapha Women’s 100, and a century in the Fall, so I need to start doing longer rides. Sounds like a fun summer to me. Happy Solstice!
In February, when we were buried under 3 feet of snow, I just about lost it.
So I announced to my husband that we were going on a bike trip. As soon as possible. To Mississippi where it was sure to be warm and snow-free. Schedules were consulted and “as soon as possible” turned out to be May. I was kind of hoping for April, but as long as we had the trip booked, I could live with waiting until May. That gave me a chance to ride outside a few times before hitting the Trace since the snow finally melted and it wasn’t freeze-your-feet off cold anymore.
We have been on a couple bike trips before, and felt that the Natchez Trace trip with VBT would fit the bill. Not too far to travel, a decent amount of miles/day (mostly flat), and CHEESY GRITS and BISCUITS!!! Yum. Not that it was all about the food, but… ok, it was somewhat about the food. Comfort food. Thank you, I’d LOVE a glass of sweet tea. Mint Julep? Sure! Gator bites? If I must. Taste like chicken and not worth the stomach real estate, though.
It was a really fun trip with a great group of people. The Natchez Trace makes for some nice biking. Mostly flat with gradual rolling here and there. Very few cars. The trees form a canopy for a lot of the way so if it’s sunny there’s shade. We got our hill work in when we went off the Trace and visited The Vicksburg National Military Park.
Now I have a good biking base. My swimming has suffered a little, but that should come back pretty quick. I’ve been swimming at a couple local ponds since the beginning of May – full wetsuit, booties, 2 caps (but I should be able to lose the booties and 1 cap soon) – and even running. It’s starting to feel like summer: the best time of the year! In my purple
haze of optimism (mania?), I signed up for a sprint triathlon. It’s just way too easy to pull out a credit card and sign up. I just hope I don’t regret it. Happy playing and racing, everybody!
SWIM Throughout the Fall, I was psyching myself up to do the New England Masters Short Course Yards Championship. I was making it to practice regularly, feeling stronger, swimming faster, almost ready to fill in the entry form and BLAM.
Winter – like 3-feet-of-snow-winter – smacked me upside the head: practices were canceled, my mom fell and I wanted to visit her more often (can’t blame winter but it caused a change to my workout schedule nonetheless). Missed practices, stress, worry, vacation (well that was a good thing – I got to do an open water swim with a group in Barbados!). Sure I still could have signed up for the meet and just done whatever I could, but competing is always a big deal for me. It’s stressful enough – I don’t like feeling defeated before I even start. So now I’m getting my swims in when I can and looking forward to the day when the ice melts and the snow goes away. It’s officially Spring, and perhaps it will eventually feel like winter is over. And thankfully, my mom is doing better!
BIKE Other than commuting and spin classes, not much going on in the bike department. I went to the basement and visited my road bike the other day. Actually touched it! Even thought about pumping up the tires, but really, why bother? They’ll be flat again by the time it’s warm enough to ride. Soon? Last year I got out in early April. We’ll see.
[RUN – I don’t usually post a “RUN” section I’m running again! After taking a long time off (a year?), I’m giving it another try. I’m hoping the exercises my chiropractor gave me will help my disc stays where it’s supposed to. Could there be a sprint tri in my future? Stranger things have happened.]
READ I’ve read a bunch since I last posted. The most recent memorable ones are All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, and Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. Two VERY different books. Both really well-done.
and EAT! Lots of that going on, but nothing noteworthy, unfortunately.
A friend of mine has a cut-off temperature for outside biking. At one point it was 60 degrees, although she has been out in lower temps since she told me that. I think she might have dropped the threshold a few points as she became a more experienced rider. What’s my cut-off? I’m not exactly sure, but I think we’re there! I know I’m not happy riding in the 40s, and it snowed (ok, flurried) over the weekend. Sure, I’ll continue to commute my 3-4 miles each way to work and swim, bundled up like the Michelin tire guy – unless it’s icy – but I am by no means hard-core enough to road ride through the winter. Do you have a temperature range?
I did the Rapha Women’s metric century ride over the summer. FUN! There’s another one in December. The Rapha Women’s Braver than the Elements Ride. NOT SO FUN! I won’t be doing that one – I’m really not braver than the elements. I get cranky when my hands and feet go numb and turn funny colors.
SWIM! My last Walden Pond swim was on September 23rd. It wasn’t awful in terms of being cold, but I could tell I was done. I rejoined Cambridge Masters Swim Club and am happily (?) getting my ass kicked in the pool 3-4 times/week. I need a push every few years – I was due. I’m curious to see if my shoulders get bigger with the increased yardage and effort. I’ll keep you informed. I might even do a pool meet in the Spring. Oh shoot, now that I’ve said that, I might actually have to do it. Something I found out: stroke workout right after spin class doesn’t work so well for me. Swim fail!
BIKE! See above. No more outside riding for me. I finished the season by joining some friends to do another metric century: The Calhoun Cancer Challenge Ride and Walk on October 5th (early and chilly!). It was my first benefit ride, and I hope to do it again next year.
It was a very well-supported ride through a scenic part of CT. I got out for a few more rides after that, and now I’m adjusting to ~3-4 spin classes/week. It might be time to put a crappy tire on my bike and set up my trainer, though. There’s only so much “Maniac” and “Eye of the Tiger” that this former Deadhead can take. I get gym class music stuck in my head and it stays there for days. That can’t be healthy.
READ! The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern. Suspend disbelief and let yourself be taken away. A Nation in Pain: Healing Our Biggest Health Problem, by Judy Foreman (friend from Cambridge Masters). This book explores chronic pain and how it is misunderstood and mistreated and a HUGE problem. It is accessible but still not a super easy read. I might be working on this one for a while. Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, by Mary Roach. I just started it.
and EAT! Fig and Pear Crumbles by Frugal Feeding. Wow! Next up: something with apples since we just bought 3 bags of them at Clarkdale Fruit Farms while in Western MA for Cider Days in Franklin County.