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Workouts and Races – Triathloning

Yesterday, I swam 2750 yards and ran 8 miles. This was the longest swim I’ve ever done by 500 yards, it was quite the accomplishment in my book. I felt really good and actually felt like I could just swim forever. I’m not sure how far I could have gone if I would have just kept going. I have some pretty stellar endurance (for me) with the swimming these days, (considering 500 yards was where I started 8 weeks ago) but I’m still super slow. I think I brought up my swim to Glenn 4-5 times over the course of the day yesterday… he just didn’t seem excited enough so I kept reminding him how far I swam. I would compare it to how it might feel to run 10 miles for the first time? Not sure really, but it’s fun to make the comparison.
The 8 miles were at an easy pace, but they felt hard. It was after my swim, pretty hot out and I was strollering it. When I finished the run, I was feeling pretty beat. I had my first big moment of feeling discouraged about the upcoming 70.3 race. I’m not concerned that I can complete it, I know I’ve been putting the work in to do that and will continue to do so. But, it’s like I was dreading the moments of misery during the race. You know when you have those moments during workouts and races and you really wonder what the heck you are doing and why you are putting yourself through it?
I know at some point on the bike, I will feel a little hopeless and crappy and I don’t know when, but I’m guessing it might be around mile 20, when I still have a long way to go but am getting to be right smack dab in the middle. 
The run will be hard, I’d like to run sub 8 minute pace, but I’m really just throwing that out there, I’ve never run 13.1 miles after swimming 1.2 and biking 56. I’ve ran between 7:15-8:15 pace for all of the brick runs that I’ve done but they were only 4 miles. I know there will be moments of the “misery” feeling on the run, but I also know there will be moments of victory as well. I don’t want to crawl to the finish line. I will have to force myself not to go out all crazy miles 3-7 after I’m warmed up on the run. That is just asking for disaster for the last 6.
Reminiscing on past marathons, I think the worst I’ve ever felt was in Chicago 2010. (Boston, 2009 is a close 2nd, another story for another day). We ran Chicago a week after getting back from our bike trip to New York. I had the cardiovascular endurance to run 26.2, but my legs weren’t recovered from the trip and I didn’t have but maybe one 16 miler under my melt in my “training”.  This wasn’t a race that I was going for a PR at, but I didn’t expect it to be so tough at the end. (A lot of the reason it was so tough at the end is because I stupidly went out too hard, thinking I was stronger than I was.) This might have been my worst second half split of any marathon. 
I remember literally crying around mile 22 when I felt hopeless and I was shuffling. Literally shuffling. I never once walked, but that was one slow shuffle. There were moments in the race where I stupidly ran 7:20 pace (around mile 8? You know how you feel really good at mile 8?) and moments where my pace dipped down to 11:00 pace.  Every marathon since then, I think back to how I felt then and tell myself, “you don’t feel as bad as you did in Chicago, so buck up and keep moving to the finish line.” 
So I will remember Chicago, when it hurts on the run in Muncie. I will keep it in my back pocket like I always do and remind myself, that I’ve been in the “HURT” before and I can push through it.

I did not like the feeling I had after that 8 miles yesterday one bit. The feeling made me want to crawl under a hole and forget about the whole 70.3 all together. It almost felt like a minor moment of panic. That would be quitting and I really hate quitting. Although it hurts A LOT workouts and races at times; the moments of victory make it all worth it.

And when I have moments of BLAH in training or after a bad workout, I know it’s always important to remember how crushing a new goal makes you feel.  It’s easy to think “why the heck am I doing this” but once you’ve crossed one finish line, you get addicted, you want that feeling again. To me, the finish line makes me feel, strong and happy… and ready to do it all over again.

What I love about the sport is, you are competing against yourself, it’s you and the run, you and the bike and what I’m most excited about for this triathlon thing is, no matter what time I do for my upcoming sprint tri and ultimately the half Ironman is, it’s my first and it will be my new PR. No matter what I do, I will have finished something brand new to me. Do I want to do well? Yes. Do I think I will be as fast at triathlon as I am at just running? No. Do I have major improvements to make in all three disciplines? Yes. And I’m excited to see what I can do. I’ll have to remind myself over and over again in the race to focus on what I’m doing right then, do not get bothered by people swimming or biking past me. Now, once the run starts, I’m ok with being a little more bothered by people passing me. I’m hoping that will be my turn to pass. 

Oh and PS- my first triathlon – (sprint) will be June 15th at Eagle Creek. Anyone doing it?

What is your favorite discipline in a triathlon? 

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