Saturday, January 25, 2014

Training in all Seasons

From January to June, 6 months of waiting, and training, and eating. I grew stronger and workouts were starting to get longer. April was the start of my Ironman Specific workouts. So you wonder, what's the difference between the training I was doing before and Ironman Specific? Well I guess the best way to explain that would be through the 5am wake ups, 6am swim practices, 8 hour work days, only to come home to my running shoes and a ten mile run and added core sets, and that was just a regular Monday! But I fell in love with it! The structure and the consistency, my life revolved around my training and I wouldn't have it any  other way. That being said, there as also an increase in my inpatience. I had gone through the dreadful indoor training and even early snowy morning runs before work, finally when the weather broke so did my desire for trainer rides or lifting sessions in the gym. I hit the lake path more, even though I HATED riding on the lake path, I would get up at 4:15 on Sundays and hit it from 5-7. But it was almost like a reverse zombie apocalypse, as it got later and the sun started to come up, more people would show up on the lake path....but at 6am, just as the sun is starting to come up, now that is a sight to see :)

In May I went up to Madison for the first time with my coach, her husband, and one of her teammates. We rode Saturday for the first time on the course. I was eager, I was pumped, but by the end of the 42 mile loop, I was pooped. The poor coach lady was ready to let it rip....and I was all, I'm right behind you....kind of.....not really, go ahead, I'll catch up! Hahaha she really was great to have though. Sunday we went for two loops and wouldn't you know it, around mile 77 Stacey blew a tube. Now if there is one thing I have gotten really, no EXCEPTIONALLY good at, it's changing tubes. Steph and Stac had a good laugh at this, and as Steph put it, as she snapped a pic to jeff (my guru teacher) "The student becomes the teacher!" Hahaha I loved it! The weekend was a great success, and I would go back up several more times before the race just to take another beating from the "Three Sisters".

I raced Big Foot and it made me even more excited for Racine! I knew I was going to set a PR, I was stronger and more fit, plus my time was pretty slow since it was my first Tri. So I tried to get in a few extra open water swims. The swimming leg is my favorite, hands down. And I happened to have a gorgeous lake in my backyard. Most of the Chicago triathletes like to swim at Oak street beach. And don't get me wrong, it's a good training space but it ain't got nothing on the point! The point, in hyde park, unlike Oak Street, is much much more choppier and you can't touch the bottom. When I went out there it was usually at 6 or 7 in the morning and I would jump in with the "mermaids" which were a group of older adults who swam every morning, no matter the temps, without a wetsuit. I made friends with everyone and even a fellow triathlete who proved to be both experienced and helpful. But Fridays were my favorite. My girlfriend Alison and one of my coworkers, Darcy, would usually meet up with me and we'd do at least a mile before grabbing some coffee and I'd head to work. I really owe a lot of my open water success to these swims. Both Racine and Madison would be extremely choppy, but I didn't sweat it, not a bit. And of course the occasional pier jumping that would occur post long summer runs :) I loved everything about the longer training, I even froze my gym membership since I didn't have much time to lift but the time I did have I wanted to spend outside!

Life went on around me as I was training though. My younger sister got engaged and had her baby (my first niece) in June. My gorgeous Emma Elizabeth, she'll be an Ironman just like Auntie one day :) I also re-took my Basic Skills test, passed it and put papers in motion so that I could finally start applying for school social work jobs. The motivation of training for this Ironman overlapped into my personal lifestyle, as I decided I was tired of taking the back seat on my professional life. So then at the beginning of June I received a phone call for an interview at District 111. After a short 20 minute interview and a "we'll be in contact" I got a phone call the next day with an offer. Things were AMAZING! A new job, a new niece and a race all in the same month. Now that's impressive!

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