Friday, December 18, 2009
'TIS THE SEASON...
Holiday challenges: getting the shopping, wrapping, and baking done; trying not to consume too many goodies; dealing with crowded malls and online shopping pitfalls; not drinking copious amounts of wine to escape from all of this.
Seasonal challenges: bad weather; snowy and icy roads; cold temperatures that make your hands and nails crack; flu and colds at every function you attend it seems; no sunshine for days on end; grumpy moods (from a lack of sunshine no doubt); weeks and weeks of staying indoors too much.
Workout challenges: Combining all of the above and trying to get workouts in or trying to get quality workouts in, despite the challenges of the weather.
So today, that's what I did with my run. All week it has been extremely cold and this morning everything was coated in ice, a payback it seems for one brief sunny afternoon. I am trying to run outside as much as possible as long as possible, and have pretty much worn my Yak Trax every time since we've gotten snow a couple of weeks ago. Today, with the early morning temp actually hitting around 30 degrees, the dreadmill was not an option. I know there will be enough of those days, but also didn't realize it was as icy as it was.
I was forced to run mostly on the main street, where it is mostly clear, but traffic started picking up after a few blocks so I turned off onto a side street by a school, figuring it would be more cleared. It was, but there were still patches of ice, and I found myself going gingerly over these to avoid any falling. Once I was away from the school, however, you could see the glare ice on the streets and I actually felt like I was skating, even with the Yak Trax. With the extreme cold temperatures, road salt does not work.
For the next couple of blocks I was forced onto the sidewalk, which while treacherous enough, at least there was some old snow cover on most of it giving better footing. Then it was back into the street again for several blocks. So it seemed like an on-again off-again type of running but that got me thinking of just looking at this kind of running as interval running: pick up the pace when its clear, slow down when its not. I guess that was a good way to make the best of a not so good situation.
Hope you're all getting your workouts and your shopping, baking, wrapping or whatever done!
Monday, December 07, 2009
MAINTAINING THE IMAGE
One thing I hadn't thought about in the whole scheme of doing an Ironman was what seems to be happening lately. Putting that 140.6 sticker on my car advertises the fact (to the knowing) that I have now done an iron distance race. It certainly makes it easier to spot my car in the work parking garage among all the other black SUVs. And having my accomplishments and picture put in the health club newsletter also brought attention to my recent achievement. And a recent e-mail from a fellow triathlete welcomed me to the "club." Meaning of course the local club that is Ironman.
So now I hear about it constantly (not that I mind that much). "When is your next event?" "What will you do next?" And last week, after a particularly stressful and trying work week, one of the guys said, "It can't be worse than a triathlon? Or the last 10 miles of a marathon, can it?" Want to bet?? I really think working sometimes is harder.
But having that sticker on my car makes me wonder if someone who sees me actually thinks I am the one who did that distance? I'm not sure I have "the look" of an Ironman. So it makes me walk a little taller, keeps me on my toes as far as workouts go, to maintain that image if nothing more. Its no big deal to my family. I'm still the same person. They don't see IM written on my forehead. The only effect it had on them were my frequent weekend absences over the past few months especially. The accomplishment is mine and mine alone.
And I can't help but think often that really only a small percentage of people, women particularly, do these things. Not that I think anyone who really wants to can't do one, or that I am somehow special because I have. I have proven the theory that if you really want to do something like this, you can. You don't have to be a certain age or weight or have a special ability. And I'm not saying anyone who doesn't want to really do this is less. It has to be a goal, and you have to have a burning desire to make the commitment to do what it takes to meet that goal. That is the hardest part of doing one of these races. And making the commitment is going to carry you through the hard parts of the training and the race. If the will and commitment is there, that's half the battle. Of course, there is also my other theory on this: sign up for something like this and it will scare you enough so you don't dare not do the training!
To me now, maintaining the Ironman "image" means setting an example that others can follow if they so desire.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
WINTER HAS ARRIVED
An aerial photo from the GVSU downtown campus, right along my downtown running route. Looks almost magical.
The usual horrible drive.
We got a record early snowfall yesterday--some areas up to 15 inches! Probably about 5 only by my house thankfully.
November had been one of the best weather months of the year, taking into account the time of the year. It was mild and actually sunny many days, while October had been unusually cold and rainy. So many bike rides in the freezing or rainy weather in October, and then November turns out to be perfect training weather, when I was in recovery mode. Naturally, just as I get back to training, we get this stuff!
This week has really been my first week back to training. I did a few swims last week but nothing serious until now. It seemed like a long time to basically be doing nothing, but it also took a couple of weeks to get over some extreme fatigue that hit. So this week is was 3 spin classes, 3 runs, 3 weight training sessions. Again, nothing serious, just trying to re-establish fitness.
It also has been extremely busy at work (which is where I am now and will be on Sunday), and with my home computer out of order for now, I haven't had much, if any, time while at work to blog or even get on Facebook! I feel shut out!
Starting to look at winter race options, and hoping to find a couple of indoor tris. And then there's the New Year's Eve run (4 miles), and I am slowly rebuilding my running miles so that I'm at 6 miles by the end of the year again. I'm not hurrying it because winter mileage is so unpredictable. I don't want to get any high expectations just yet of getting back to high mileage, because a good majority would end up being on a treadmill, which, while I can't totally avoid it, I would prefer to try to get outside more this winter.
So despite the icy, snowy, and fairly cold (24 degrees) conditions today, I managed to get out there for 4 miles. I used my Yak Trax (they were actually right where I put them at the end of last winter), bundled up in 2-3 layers (2 tights, 3 shirts, facemask, gloves, headband) but ended up taking the facemask off after about a mile. For some reason I can't breathe in that thing and it really didn't feel that bad out anyway until the last 5 minutes or so.
Its always interesting to note all the slackers who don't clear their sidewalks--ever. Yes, there's a "path" if that's what you want to call it on the sidewalk, but its mainly a narrow foot path beaten down by kids walking to and from school. I ran as much as possible in the street, and it never ceases to amaze me that while it is full daylight and I am wearing bright red, how people driving don't manage to see you! I am hugging the curb or parked cars, so its not like I'm out in the middle of the street, but they veer right in my direction like I'm not there. I honestly don't know how these people manage to keep a car on the road the way some of them drive.
And the Yak Trax worked well. Most of the snow on the streets had actually refrozen, so it would have been difficult to maneuver without them.
It continues to snow--huge, fluffy flakes falling. I don't know if this is a sign of what winter will be like, but I guess I'd better get used to it. After all, its almost like winter lasts until May around here anyway.