Today is the last day of real summer break for my kids and me. I’m bittersweet about that. I think we’re all ready for a little more structure though, and really, we are sort of beached out. We tried to absorb as much summer as we could last week, spending over ten hours on or near the beach, playing with friends, reading, getting school supplies, swimming in the pool, and just being together. Every afternoon, it gets a little nutty with me trying to get dinner figured out and served by 4 so my youngest can go to football practice without fear of throwing up said dinner or getting hungry during practice. I’m really going to miss having my boys around.
Since I’ve been off the grid for quite a while, I’ll recap what’s been going on. Last Saturday, I rode 40 miles pretty hard with my friend, Gary. I don’t think we were planning to go at the pace we did, but conditions were good (i.e. it wasn’t windy) and we both felt pretty strong. I made some adjustments to my bike seat which made a world of difference in how I felt. Wish I had done that before! We finished with an average pace of almost 18 mph!!!
The next day, I decided to get some miles in with a new running group that my husband started running with. When we got up that morning, we were met with 77 degrees and 94% humidity. I was naïve enough to think that the conditions wouldn’t matter since I wasn’t going for pace; however, I did want to step it up a little the last two miles. Yeah, that didn’t happen. The girls I followed then joined, simply because I didn’t know the route we were to run and definitely not because they were welcoming, took us on a wild path all over. It wasn’t a good route, the groups got separated from each other, and my husband ended up running two extra miles since he sort of got lost. I was disappointed in how I felt, but really, it was so humid and had to be one of the top five most horribly warm/disgusting runs I’ve had in the past few years. My shoes were sloshing the last two or three miles, which made me just want to stop, not pick up the pace. I wasn’t wearing my music either, since I didn’t want to be rude in a new group, but it sure would’ve come in handy since I was by myself most of the time, and when I was with the other girls, I felt unwelcome in their group. Maybe they didn’t mean to be that way, but sheesh, they certainly didn’t go out of their way to tell me when they were turning around and just left me on my own route. Whatever. The point of the day was to get ten miles run, and it was accomplished. I did meet some other very nice runners though, so it was well worth it.
I have missed several of my open water swims the past few weeks, mostly due to the weather and that pesky “bacteria warning”, so I finally made it last week. It was windy, which wind + water = waves. Right in our faces. As soon as we started, I was getting pelted with water in my face, stroke after stroke was met with a smack in the face with a wave. I immediately thought that I now knew what it was like to be in a washing machine. It was horrible. I started to cry because I honestly didn’t know how I could complete the swim in those conditions. I was looking forward to practicing my stroke, and I was just in survival mode at that point. Just get there! I sucked up the tears, put my face back in the water, and continued. A little while later, it seemed to get worse. I had gagged several times since waves were catching me in the mouth while trying to breathe, and I honestly felt like I was getting a continual enema to my face. The waterway was my neti pot. I started to cry again, mostly out of anger, and my swimmer friend asked if I was ok, to which I answered, “NO!”. There was a really good get-out point right there, but I am NOT A QUITTER, and I knew that conditions could be just like that on race day. I needed to finish. I said the f-word about a hundred more times during my temper tantrum, but again, sucked it up and kept going. Thank goodness there was a strong current. 35 minutes after I started, I was done. Horrible, but I did it. I was so pissed and planned to run anyway, so put my shoes on and took off. 3.5 fast miles later, I was hot, sweaty, tired, and happy. I love running.
The rest of the week included an hour of biking with intervals, more running,
swimming sleeping in, and then I took Friday off in preparation for my second BIG bike ride of the month…. 60 miles. I rode with Gary again, and a new group with one of my friends, Renee, who is training for IMFL. A little ways into the ride, we happened upon this poor little crawdad (actually, he was pretty big) in the middle of our lane, holding his pinchers up like, “It’s MY lane, get OUT of it!!!!”. I wish I would’ve stopped for a picture and put him on the side of the road so he wouldn’t turn into a crawdad pancake. Then I noticed that the song, “Bailando” was in my head. I couldn’t understand the words in my head, probably because they’re in Spanish and I don’t speak Spanish. A little while later, while we were riding in the middle of nowhere and still to the tune of “Bailando”, waaaaay in the “Bailando” countryside, a guy was just standing in the middle of the “Bailando” highway lane on the opposite side, sort of like the crawdad, but without the pinchers. Instead, he was smokin’ some weed, pot, gonja, dooby, Mary Jane. Hmmm. Maybe he was waiting on the next shipment? Then we all happened upon what I wanted to call the “Alice in Tulle Wonderland” house.
I still don’t really understand it, but I slowed enough to get my phone out and snap a picture. “Bailando” The lions in the front are cleverly adorned in tulle. And so is almost everything else in the “colorful” yard. After 30 miles, Gary and I split off and went out on our own to finish. The ride went well despite the constant barrage of “Bailando” in my head, and I was happy with how I felt – not depleted. Sixty freaking miles of “Bailando”. Oy. That day was the first time I felt confident I could complete the half iron and still be in decent form. It’s a good feeling! I was super hungry and had a strange and first ever craving for Chick-fil-A. On my way home, I grabbed a sandwich and the most delicious Diet Coke ever poured. Finally, after 60 miles, “Bailando” was out of my head. I couldn’t even think of how it went just a few hours of arriving back home. Weird.
Yesterday, I started a new running challenge (from those who brought me the 10×10) by running a 5k in 24 minutes. Every day, I’m going to run a 5k with one day running a 10k. I’ll post my proof on their Facebook page and be entered to win a pair of shoes. Hello….shoes!!!! Plus it’s fun to have a challenge. And hopefully win shoes! You only have to do one to enter, but each day you do a 5k, you get one more entry, and you get THREE entries with the 10k. Why not do it?!
Today is supposed to be my open water swim, but guess what?! It’s WINDY again. I think I’m going to be the ex-girlfriend and drive by the waterway to see how choppy it is, all stalker-like. It’s set up to be a replay of last week, and I don’t think it will get me anywhere. If I DON’T go, I have already vowed to swim twice in the pool and work on drills. Or find another day for the open water swim.
On September 1st, I’ll be starting back with my coach and training plan. There will be no more “Oh, I’ll just take today off”. There’s a lot of work to be done, not only for the half iron, but for my marathon that is quickly approaching. This pesky half iron race is seriously cramping my running, but I know for a fact that the biking has strengthened my legs (picture of my Quadzillas ® coming soon), which will only help me get faster.
I’ve been reading so many blogs, but just haven’t taken the time to comment or interact. Same with my Facebook page – hey, I’m on that almost every day, so check it out and “like” my page!!! (See the link in the column to the right.) As much as I’m looking forward to a little cooler air to run in, I’m also dreading the end of summer. I love college football, but it also marks the end of summer, the beginning of cooler weather, then GASP! the holidays.