Posts Tagged With: bike riding

The In Between Spaces

A week ago, I completed my training for Ironman Florida.

It's about time.

It’s about time.

At that point, there was really nothing more I could do to prepare for the race PHYSICALLY, except to not get sick. As I got in my truck to go home, I started crying. It was a release, it was part sadness, it was part relief. As I cried my way home, my mind was like a rolodex of memories of the past year, flash cards of experiences over the summer. The finish line is essential to this journey, but the journey is really what it’s all about. This past week, I thought about so many things that I’ve done (or made myself do) that I would not have done otherwise, and I realized how thankful I was to have this experience. As I prepare to head south to Florida this week, I am nervous, I’m a little scared, but most of all, I’m confident that I can handle whatever the day brings.

The sun rise over the ocean the day I got to swim in the ocean while the sun rose.

The sun rise over the ocean the day I got to swim in the ocean while the sun rose.

So what are these “in-between” spaces? Well, they’re not the number of miles I biked, or how fast I was able to get my 800 repeats done, or my power meter (if I had one) readings, the type of tires I have on my bike, how “aero” my helmet is (it isn’t), or how much faster I could swim a mile than two months ago (I can’t – I’m the same speed). I don’t know how many miles I’ve bike and run and swam. Because it doesn’t matter. I did it. I lived it. And it meant something to me.  It was more about the people I met, the multitude of sunrises I saw, the convenience store we frequented on our bike rides, the dumb dogs that chased us, the big, stupid jellyfish that assaulted me slid by and scared the crap out of me, swimming in my wetsuit in my pool, my husband and I finishing the Beach 2 Battleship 140.6 as a team, the caterpillars making their way across the highway as we passed, and the butterflies the flitted by every. single. day. we. rode.

Some of the best ladies I've met! Of course, I don't have pics of the gents I've met along the way.

Some of the best ladies I’ve met! Of course, I don’t have pics of the gents I’ve met along the way.

A pool-wetsuit swim. Yay.

A pool-wetsuit swim. Yay. Technically, the pool WAS wetsuit mandatory 🙂

It was the way my kids understood what I was doing, the way my husband easily took a lot of burden off me, never making me feel guilty (I was good at that on my own) about the time I spent away or the money I have spent. It was the exhaustion I’ve felt, the naps I’ve taken, the way I yelled at those cars “because they think they’re so cool” as I biked that one Sunday during my meltdown, the laughter as I thought about silly things along the way (like when I peed my pants on purpose to “test” if I could pee on my bike),

Yup. Even though they're black pants, there's pee.

the reaction from people when I say I’m training for an Ironman, the way my friends reacted when I said “HELL NO I WILL NOT SWIM TODAY” because I was scared of sharks and jellyfish stings. It was swimming in the ocean while the sun rose.  It was riding 102 miles in the hills of North Carolina, not knowing how much I would truly enjoy the experience.

Pre-100 mile HILL ride

Pre-100 mile HILL ride

It was understanding why people put themselves through this, the beauty of it all, when you step back, take the training out of the experience, and just experience the experience. You see the in between spaces, the stuff people miss when they’re just training, when they’re getting through it instead of living it. The in between spaces is the meat of it, the bulk of an experience, the REAL-ness of it all, when you’re training for hours and hours in a week to cross a finish line to become an Ironman. It’s what IT is all about. It’s life. It’s real, and I love it. THOSE are the in between spaces.

Pre-ocean sunrise swim.

Pre-ocean sunrise swim. I’m on the left.

 

My mom asked me what one thing I’ve learned from training for an Ironman. I couldn’t come up with one. I gave her and my sister three things that I’ve learned about training for an Ironman.

  1. I have the best husband ever. Hands down, no questions asked. I just do.
  2. The finish line is essential to the journey, but the journey is definitely what it’s all about.
  3. I’m thankful God gave me a body that will allow me to do this and a spirit that wants the challenge.

And my final one I’m adding, is this:

4) I appreciate the in between spaces and thankful for them all, both good and bad.

I’m thankful, I’m lucky, I GET to do this.

No matter if the swim is cancelled for an algae bloom, if it’s windy, cold, hot, humid, whatever, I know I can get through it. I’ll remember the in between spaces and know that I can get through anything to get my finish line.

 

 

Categories: anything is possible, being epic, iron distance, ironman, ironman florida, marathon, no fear, open water swimming, running, swimming, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Two Beach Chairs and a Few Bruises

It’s not always often you go to the beach for a fun afternoon and end up at the police station. It all started when my kids and I decided to take my sister to the beach for a few hours on Friday. We chose Wrightsville Beach as opposed to Carolina Beach because WB is just a lot bigger and wider. It was a lot of fun and the weather was great. We picked up some food at the store and ate while watching the kids play with some other kids they met in the water.

On our way back to the car, we had to cross a normally busy road. The light was green for cars to cross the road we were crossing and no cars were around in any direction, so we crossed accordingly without pushing the button so the thing would flash for us to go. My sister and kids got through the intersection fine, but when I was close to reaching the sidewalk, a big red car came hurdling towards me to take a right turn. She stopped her car VERY close to my legs and I could tell she was noticeably irritated that I didn’t have a crossing sign and that I was in the road, albeit, barely in the road. I stopped in my tracks. She then was pointing at the crossing thing (What the heck IS that thing called???) mouthed, “WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO?!” to which I responded by standing right where I was, holding my arms out and saying, “Are you KIDDING me?”.  . Yeah, pretty dumb. For both of us. I was probably about two feet from the curb. This lady was in such a hurry that she barreled her car by me, skidding her tires as she went. (And she wasn’t some goofy teenager, she was 62 years old – old enough to know better.) I was holding two big beach chairs on my right shoulder, and when the car went by, it hit my chairs. I did my best to hold my chairs as close to me as I could. Part of me was so shocked, I didn’t know what the heck was going on. Who does that???!!!! Part of me was hoping to scratch the hell out of her car as she grazed by me, feeling lucking that I had the chairs as a barrier.

Bruises caused from the car that hit the chairs I was holding.

Bruises caused from the car that hit the chairs I was holding.

I looked at her car as she sped down the road and realized there was no way I could get her plate, so we just went on. A few minutes later, I started shaking. As we were putting our beach gear in the back of my Escape (I have to say it the way Dori does in Finding Nemo – “es-CA-pay”), another lady drove by and told us that she saw what the other lady did and got her plates, then made an effort to find and give it to us. She agreed to be a witness if it came to that.

Upon my sister’s repeated orders to GO TO THE POLICE, I did. No pedestrian should be accosted by a driver. I wasn’t crossing a street full of traffic and without caution. There were NO cars there, plus the light was green to cross. Yes, we will now wait for the little walk guy from now on, but still. Her hitting me was no accident, that’s for sure. Thankfully, the police were so good to me, showed my kids the fire trucks as I was doing my reports, and hopefully this will help teach the driver to slow the hell down.

It made me really think. We are so fragile. Had I been in front of her instead of beside her, she could have run over my foot, broken my leg, or given me a head injury. Yup, I should have kept going. We were both wrong, but I wasn’t the one in a vehicle that could easily kill someone. Part of me had the “deer in headlights” reaction, part of me had the “fight” reaction, which is why I stood my ground. Maybe the driver was in a hurry. Maybe she was upset. Maybe she was super late.  I don’t know, but there’s really no excuse for doing what she did, especially when there were two kids right there. Part of me felt sorry for her.

My sympathy runs deep for people like that driver.

My sympathy runs deep for people like that driver.

On Saturday morning, bright and early, I started out on my ride. I was on my own since I couldn’t find anyone to ride with me.  I only stopped twice, once to take my underwear from the innermost part of my crack, and another, to eat my test meal. I can’t remember what it was exactly, but I’ll be buying more of them. Yum. At the first stop, I pulled off to the side, and I totally fell down because I totally forgot that I was clipped in. It was quite graceful, and thankfully, it didn’t hurt. I actually laughed and said to myself, “Well, I’m guessing that’ll be the last time I forget I’m clipped in.” Hopefully so. I readjusted my handlebars and went on my way.

car2

This was my total time, including the “fall” and my snack. I was a little disappointed in it, but hey, I’m still at the beginning of training!

I was on a highway with cars zipping by at 50-60 mph. Because of what had happened with the car the day before, I was a little more sensitive to the fact that these cars were so close to me. At some points, I was probably a foot away from a vehicle that, had the driver not been doing his/her job, would totally kill me. Some drivers gave me plenty of space when they passed, others couldn’t be bothered and gave me my foot and passed so close where I could feel the power of the car.

Life is so fragile. Not to make light of it, whenever I say “fragile”, I am always reminded of “The Christmas Story” when the dad gets his leg lamp delivered. Here, watch this.

Where am I going with this? Well, I think that we go on about our days, one after the other, many of us in a hurry to get to work, to school, to our kids’ sports, to our workouts. We get impatient at red lights, at a slow driver, at bikes in a two-lane road. We run in the street, believing the cars will go around us. While we go on with our business, we need to remember to be aware of our surroundings, to be a little more patient with others, whether they are driving WAY TO SLOW or just a pedestrian crossing the street after an afternoon at the beach. We need to be diligent while running, always paying attention and assuming the car doesn’t see us. Let the car go and use the pause button on your Garmin.  Give the bicyclist an entire lane when you pass.  Just slow down, wait for the moped driver to turn right instead of barreling around him/her. Don’t text and drive!!!! Leave earlier if you must. Get there late. It’s not a big deal if you consider that being in a hurry could cause you to make a decision you wouldn’t ordinarily make. Don’t live to regret that decision. Life is so freaking fragile.

That being said and because I haven’t posted much recently because I’m trying to absorb the last few weeks of summer break with my kids, here’s my last week’s workout recap:

Last Thursday, I went to the pool to work on my swim drills and get a mile in. It wasn’t very pretty and I decided it was ok that I never turn into a really good swimmer. I need to continue working on my drills to improve form while getting the distance in, whether I hate dislike it or not.

Friday was an easy 3 mile run with my dog while my kids rode their bikes along side.

Saturday was my 60 mile bike ride. It went well until the last 10 miles. I only said fuck twice too, so that’s good! Ha!

Sunday and Monday were off.

Tuesday was a 5 mile run with some faster paces worked in there.

Wednesday was an hour on the bike with some strength – ended up with 17 miles, which isn’t great, but I wasn’t feeling it. While at my son’s football practice, I got a 3 mile run in. It wasn’t speed per se, but the average pace was under 8, so I was happy with that. I know at some point, I got to a sub-6:00 pace. That didn’t last long, but hey, I did it! I love running.

This morning: Oy. Back to the pool. I REAAAAALY didn’t want to continue past a quarter mile. I knew that would be a really bad decision and would regret it, so I made it a mile. Am I crazy to even consider a full IM if I hate swimming just one mile? Is this normal? Do other triathletes have one sport they just don’t like but do just to be able to do triathlons???

I feel like I’m cheating on running while doing all this biking and swimming. I miss it. I miss the real stuff, the speed, the distance, the tempo runs.  I’m looking forward to getting back to the track next week. Ahhhh, running!!!!

What’s everyone else up to? Dreading the end of summer like I am?

 

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, half iron distance, iron distance, marathon, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for marathon, training for triathlon, triathlon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Saving Turtles and Losing Toenails, Not Necessarily in That Order

I lost my toenail last week.  The day after I ran the Boston Marathon, I knew I was going to lose the 2nd nail on my right foot. It looked very dark black and blue and had a blister under it. It’s been a few marathons since I’ve lost one and I don’t really understand why it’s THIS toenail either, but whatever. Small price to pay for a marathon, right?

I was taking my toe nail polish off the day I realized it was going to fall off soon and I started singing, “Nananana, hey hey hey, goodbye”. And that got me thinking of songs that my toenails and I could sing to each other in sort of a,  “You say tomato, I say tomahto” fashion.

ODE TO MY TOENAIL MEDLEY

Jammin’

Time After Time

One Week

The Final Countdown

“Goodbye, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu”  (that song the Von Trapp kids sing at the end of The Sound of Music)

Say Goodbye

Good Riddance

Breakaway

Killing Me Softly

Please Don’t Go

I Will Remember You

I Can’t Find the Words To Say Goodbye

I Used to Love Her, But I had To Kill Her

Hanging by the Moment

No, I didn’t actually sing these songs to my foot and they certainly didn’t sing back, but it was enough to entertain me for a while. Now I have a small little nail growing in, so I just paint where it should be, and not many people are the wiser. Sometimes you don’t remember how important the nail is either.  Less than an hour after the thing came off, I dropped my iPhone. Yeah, right on my friggin’ nail-less foot. Ouch. Then my cat came up and bit it later in the day. He’s bitey anyway, but sheesh, pick the one with protection, dude!

This is just to prove that he bites. He's kind of an A-hole.

This is just to prove that he bites. He’s kind of an A-hole.

On other notes, I’ve been feeling a little triathlony lately. Here’s the rundown of what I’ve been doing:

Last Monday: 5 mile run and .93 mi open water swim

Tuesday: 1 hour on the bike on the trainer

Wednesday: 5 mile run and .65 mi open water swim

Thursday: Nothing

Friday: 8×400’s at 1:35 and 2 at 1:45, 6.5 miles total

Saturday: Yard work

Sunday: 11.5 mile run at 9:00 pace

Monday: .93 mi open water swim

Tuesday: 5 mile run

Today: 25 mile bike ride

Scheduled for Tomorrow: 5k race – the WILMA Dash, and all women 5k downtown Wilmington. Will be my first evening race in the heat. Sorta wish I would have skipped this one, but oh well, I signed up so I’ll go.

The open water swimming is going well. I’ve been able to swim in pretty rough conditions as well as really good, rather perfect conditions. I have come to enjoy it, except when I breathe wrong and I’m floating there all gagging and stuff. I’m super slow, but I’m just trying to learn how to sight, which is totally easier than what I thought. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m swimming by myself (well, smaller than groups of 5 plus a “safety person” and I’m WAY behind so essentially I’m by myself), which is the opposite of what I’ll be doing on race day, but each practice is helping.

The view from where we got out of the water on Monday.

The view from where we got out of the water on Monday.

When I went on a bike ride a few weeks ago, I was almost home and saw a turtle heading straight into a four lane road. I pulled over and put him back on the other side of the creek/drainage ditch so he didn’t become turtle soup, at least not on my watch.  Then this morning, I was riding along and saw this tiny little thing just making his way across a road.  Of course I had to stop and put him on the other side and across a fence. He was probably between the size of a quarter and dollar coin. Just teeny and cute!

tri3

I do have to say, I had one of the best weekends in over a year.  Last year at this time, we were all stressed out with getting our house ready for sale, two kids in baseball, and getting our house ready for sale. I still don’t know why it’s taken so long for me to get settled here, but I’m slowly getting more put away, hung up, and relaxing. I guess when you live with adrenaline for over three years, it takes a while to get out of your system. So I’m a little dreamy about the weekend. We spent time with the family, swam in the pool, got kayaks to take out in the waterway, went to the beach, hung out with friends, got some yard work done, got some good exercise in, drank, ate, and relaxed. It was just fabulous. Oh, we even took the kids to the restaurant/pub where my husband and I met 16 years ago.

Cheers to almost 15 years of marriage!

Cheers to almost 15 years of marriage! And a $5 pitcher of PBR.

So THAT is what I’ve been up to.

 

 

 

 

Categories: beach 2 battleship triathlon, Boston Marathon, half iron distance, marathon, open water swimming, running, swimming, training for half iron distance, training for triathlon, triathlon, trying somethign new, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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