Monday, June 27, 2011

The Tri I Tried

I had the wonderful experience of volunteering for the Ironman Texas back in May. It was an amazing event and I stood in complete awe at the men and women who bravely took on the challenge set before them.

Being a hometown event, I knew many athletes that participated in the race and had a great time being there to cheer them on, encourage them, and support them by way of the aid station I was assigned to.

Many of my running friends have mentioned to me that I should consider competing in such an event. I have said repeatedly that there is NO WAY, I would ever do a Tri, never mind an IRONMAN! When pressed for the reason why, my answer is simple...the swim.

I can swim. I can't swim well or with much endurance at all. And in my mind, I had decided that there is no way I could ever do that "tri" thing. Then something occurred to me. I was making a decision to allow my fear to make my decisions for me.

When I think back over the last 4.5 years, I can recall thinking, "there is no way that I could ever run a mile, never mind that David Fun Run (a local 5K)". But I did enjoy spinning classes until they became frustrating to me. I didn't enjoy sitting in an air conditioned room anymore. I wanted to be outside, enjoying God's world. So I made a decision. I promised myself that if I could take up running for 3 months, an activity I knew I could never do because of my exercise induced asthma, I would buy myself a bike and enjoy the out-of-doors more.

Why this thought came to my mind, I do not know. But within 3 weeks, I completed my first mile, then at 5 weeks, my first 5K, then at 8 weeks, my first 5 mile race. (It should be mentioned that I do NOT recommend this plan to anyone...I was an idiot!)

I became hooked on running and found great joy in it! I still do! I am challenged by my own progress and look forward to continued growth within this discipline. But I had to make the decision to not let my fear of running, my fear of my asthma, make the decision for me. I jumped in, albeit somewhat reluctantly some days, and gave it my best. I have been able to do many things I never could have imagined I would do 5 years ago. I have learned about inner strength and determination and even more, I have learned about trusting in God's plan for my life. Yes, I do believe that God has a plan and helps me to discover it and carry it out through running.

So, back to May 22, 2011. I caught myself being entrapped by the fear of swimming in a tri. I knew that I could not allow this to be the reason I didn't do the tri. Fear is lack of faith and I am doing all that I can to live my faith, so fear is no longer an option.

I began discussing, quietly, very, very quietly, the possibility of doing a sprint tri. I began swimming more and more and am beginning to feel a bit more comfortable in the water, though not THAT comfortable.

Then about 2 weeks ago, Richard asked me if I would like to participate in the Y Freedom Tri in Pearland. He offered to have us do this race as a relay team, he doing the hard parts, (the swim and bike) and me running the 3 miler. He thought that by me participating, I might feel more comfortable in signing up to do one on my own someday.

Turns out, he was right! The race was not at all scary, though I will admit I am still very intimidated by the swim. I am no longer in fear of the race. I had a great time watching everyone compete, learned much about transitioning, and gained some insight into what it would be like to have to pace myself through such an event.

Richard signed us up as Team Pax. We had a blast and even came in 1st place for the Mixed Relay Division! And what's more, we even met George Washington!

So, is there a Tri in my future? Probably. Not sure when, but if it comes up, I won't be so eager to say "No!"

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Ran the RTW this morning. An unusual event for me as I don't seem to ever feel like I can afford to miss the distance runs when training for the longer races.

I needed to give this a go since it has been 3 years since my last real effort at one with 26:30 being my PR.

Today was a nice Texas summer morning. Humidity, heat, and sunshine accompanied us on the course today. The dappled sunlight on the tree-covered pathways makes this 5K a nice little run.

Best part of the morning was having Fish with me, being watched over by Hannah. She is a good dog who in days gone by would have loved to have run the 3 miles with me. Her hips are 11 now, and that just isn't in her ability anymore without a lot of pain for her. I can see in her eyes that she misses it, but she was happy just to be there. Fish was inspired by watching the runners, young and old, cross that finish line! He mentioned that he might want to start running. My dilemma? How to encourage without pushing...

Second best part was seeing Ken gladly present his grandchildren with their "prizes" for beating their grandpa in a 5K. I believe the children were 7 and 9 years old, and came in at 34 mins. Ken was very excited to pay out those 100.00 awards, but probably not as excited as the kids were in receiving them!

I was a little short of my goal time, 25:00, coming in at 25:12, but overall fairly pleased with my results considering I have done little to no speed work at all.

I have a good baseline to build from for this running season. Let's see where it takes me!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


After taking a few days to think about what my goals really are right now, talking with a trusted running mentor, and throwing myself into the workouts without abandon, I am starting to feel that I am getting back into the zone.

The runs and cross training is enjoyable, even in the miserable heat, and I look forward to getting a little something in every day, even if it less than what my "plan" suggests it should be.

I know it is miserably hot out there right now, but I really enjoy the summer training. The sweating and struggling makes me feel like I am accomplishing something.

I've added in a lot of cross training this season. Swimming, yoga, core work, push-ups, etc. I do what I can when I can. I will spread it out over the day, doing push-ups between laundry loads and car pools, planks before and after a shower, swimming while the kids are in swim lessons, etc. It's been a fun challenge to figure out how to make it all work rather than resent not being able to get the written plan in.

Looking forward to some longer runs in the coming weeks. Totally enjoying the moment!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Training Plans

It seems as though I have written this post before. Many times. Perhaps only in my mind.

I sat down about 2 weeks ago and planned out my "training plan" from now until race day. It was pretty. It was perfect. It fit my schedule and seemed as though all would go well. Then as usually happens, things changed.

First hit to the plan, my family has decided that they are now ALL going to begin working out! While this is a great thing, it makes juggling my workouts a bit more challenging. I have been praying that the family would take this step and want to support their efforts, so I made up my mind to fit my training in around their workouts. I think we all know how that usually goes.

Second hit has been a nasty, unrelenting virus that I can't seem to shake. I'm on day 9 of this thing. I finally hit the Dreadmill last night to test out my lungs and they held up well. At least in an air-conditioned, easy-paced run they did well.

I planned to get up and hit the hills this morning, but the family decided they wanted to work out this morning, so I figured I could fit it in later. Now it is a million degrees outside and if I want to run, it will be unbearably warm. Or it's back to the dreadmill at the Y. Not sure which way I want to go with this just yet. I'm leaning towards the million degrees...

Really beginning to wonder if a plan is even worth the effort. Maybe the plan should be as simple as Run. Run as much as you can as often as you can. Try to hit some hills. Try to do some speed. Balancing life and running isn't such an easy thing.