Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Moving On Up... To the Fast Lane!

So if you know me at all, you know that my tri weakness is swimming. I may have a great stroke and I may be able to go forever, but when push comes to shove, I am SLOW. Even after three years during which my bike and run have improved immensely, I am still just an average swimmer. My biggest fear for Beijing is being the last woman out of the water and running into transition to see my bike... and no one else's. Because they all already left.

I joined DAM about four months ago, but just recently started attending practices regularly. I like the coaches and I love being able to swim with other people. But I'm still pretty slow.

However, just two days ago... I GOT MOVED UP A LANE!!!!!

Commence applause.

Ok, ok, so I just got moved up to the slightly-less-slow-lane (I know, the title of my post was deceiving), but still. And I'm staying there! I've been there two days in a row and I'm going back today. Yesterday I even learned the names of my lane-mates. So I am officially a member of the sub-2:00-100's lane. Yeeeees.

Buck and I celebrated last night at El Fenix with margaritas (for me) and tres leches cake. Ok, maybe that was more because it had just been a long day at work and I have the best boyfriend ever, but I'm going to go ahead and count it as celebration as well.

I booked the hotel for River Cities and my plane ticket for the IronKids National Championship post-Beijing. Can't believe I'm looking forward to a time when it will have already happened! Seems like just yesterday I had a year to go. But it's coming!!!!!

Happy training everybody

Monday, August 1, 2011

TWU... Ouch

I did the TWU Pioneer Power Sprint yesterday - It was the first tri I ever completed more than three years ago, and this was my fourth time to go back. This was also possibly my most painful experience there.

With Beijing only 6 weeks away, I thought it would be a good idea to go as fast as I possibly could on the bike, and then see how well I could run after that. The answer? Not so well. For the first time since 2008, I had to WALK during the run. Ouch. I was over-heated, wearing a jersey that probably wasn't a great choice for performance (I was wearing it for a charitable group, however, so no real regrets there), and pushing way harder than normal. I was doing great until about halfway through mile 2, and then I just stopped. I don't even know the last time I felt like that. I had to walk two more times before I reached the finish - not one of my proudest days.

None of this is to mention that my swim barely broke 6:00, and my "super hard" bike definitely wasn't "super fast." Kind of a wake up call. Not to say that I hadn't already realized my training and, even more so, my recovery was taking a hit. Nothing has really been dialed in since the new performance center opened, and, being a coach, I know the toll that takes on performance. But somehow in my head I was thinking I was going to keep improving at the rate I was earlier in the year when life was still sane.


So here I am, the most important race of my life up to this point less than 6 weeks away and I am FREAKING OUT. Now first, let me stop and say - this was a tough race. Even with my horrid performance, I still won my division and was 7th OA woman, so the conditions were difficult for everyone, but the point is that I still wasn't living up to my potential by any means. So I'm freaking out and trying to figure out how to make myself world championship material in the next 6 weeks. Can it be done? We'll find out... I've got a decent base and I think if I am incredibly smart and committed from now until September 10th, I've still got a chance of placing in the top half.

Everyone, please keep your fingers crossed. Thanks.

Happy training everybody!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Visas and Other Things

First - Visas successfully applied for (after a dramatic morning at the Chinese consulate that I blogged about but then had deleted - yes, you did miss out, but it was too long to type a second time). Mom is going to pick them up today, so everyone keep your fingers crossed that there isn't any reason for us not to be able to get into China... (None I can think of, but after our experience last weekend, I'm not taking anything for granted).

I spent the majority of last weekend sleeping down in Galveston - I needed a vacation pretty badly. Aside from massive amounts of sleeping, I got in some solid training, and even a little beach time, as well as lots of healthy food. Mom was working hard to help revive me from the ridiculously long days I've been working lately. You should see my apartment. Oy. It looks like a bunch of freshman college boys live there. Who has time to clean? But anyways, three days in Galveston was just what the doctor ordered, and I was chomping at the bit to get back to work by Sunday.

You might wonder how I've been fitting training befitting a world championship contender fits in with this crazy schedule that doesn't even leave time for basic chores. Ok, well first of all, obviously training takes priority over a clean house. If you don't know this, then you don't know me very well. But that being said, it has still been tough to fit in what I want (and what Coach Aaron wants). Having the Playtri Center open has been literally like a dream come true, but it's timing, right before Beijing, has been less than ideal training-wise. To be frank, I would probably be better prepared for this race had we not opened when we did. But at the end of the day, I'd rather be a great coach than a great athlete, so it's worth the sacrifice.

I've been getting 1, maybe 2 hours of training a day, squeezing swims into my lunch hour and bike rides in the Computrainer studio at the Center at 8:00 PM when I get done at work, hitting the White Rock trails at dawn and twilight for interval runs, and racing almost every weekend in an attempt to up my regional ranking and, more importantly, get in some solid brick workouts!!!

It's been an adventure. I never thought I would be that adult who was so obsessed (there's no other word) with their job that they work 12 hour days on a regular basis and squeeze the rest of life in as much as possible. I'm lucky to have an incredibly understanding and supportive boyfriend and an awesome coach who is willing to work around my wild schedule, as well as bosses who at least understand the importance of training and are willing to let me fit in an hour of training here or there. Also, thank god I'm not married with a family. I just couldn't make it work if that was the case - that's something I do want eventually, but I'm glad I can be focused on developing myself as a coach right now without feeling like the important people in my life are getting neglected.

Funny the things life makes you think about.

China draws ever closer! Less than two months now and mom and I will be on a plane to Beijing, heading to my first ever international competition. Something I always dreamed of, but never imagined would actually be a reality. No matter what happens or how I do, I'm one lucky girl.

Happy training everybody

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm Back!

...Oh wait. So I never actually left. I've just been ridiculously busy.

In fact, I am typing this at the Starbucks by SMU in between coaching my newest youth athlete and swim practice with DAM.

The exciting news is that the Playtri Performance Center is officially OPEN for business - what this means is that I've basically been living there for the past week and a half. So blogging hasn't exactly been a top priority. Which means it's time to play catch up, so here's the digest.

1. Buck and I are doing awesome - over a month and still having a blast.
2. Oh yeah, and I met his family.
3. I learned how to shoot a semi-automatic pistol (and I hit the target!).
4. I placed 10th overall and 1st in my division at the Independence 5K two weekends ago.
5. I finally got my Team USA gear (yay!) then raced in it and got massive bike seat chafing (boo!!).
6. I placed 3rd overall and 1st in my division at the Iron Brothers Sprint last Sunday.
7. Chuck is feeling wildly neglected - I've sunk to bribing him with chicken and beef bits.
8. I got my itinerary for Beijing!
9. I joined Team CMT to support my athlete Joyce, who has a form of muscular dystrophy known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT).
10. I paid off a bunch of traffic tickets.
11. I have the Disco sprint tri this weekend, and next weekend I go to Houston get my visa.

So basically, life is crazy, but good. And thanks to its proximity to the new Performance Center I've been eating at Fuzzy's Tacos at least once a day.

And that's pretty much it.

In a nutshell. : )

Happy training everybody

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sometimes, Swimmin Hurts

Like when you slip on the wet tile at the natatorium and land flat on our you-know-what and slam your elbow into the ground. Yeah. And then immediately after that you get in and the coach announces that you'll be doing breath control drills that day. And then you wake up the next day and it feels like someone is digging dull needles into your tricep and shoulder because you banged them on a hard tile floor.


Ok, so it's really not TOO bad, but yesterday's swim was not the best of my life. Before I even got in the water, I managed to slip in a puddle on the tile by the pool and wipe out magnificently, with my left elbow taking a good bit of the force from the fall. Then immediately there are 4-5 middle-aged men in Speedos converging on me to make sure I'm all right, which was really sweet of them, but when your head is at that level and they've got the brief cut on, well, you can see where this is going... yikes. So at first I was just trying to ascertain if I was ok or not, and one of the guys is yelling for ice and the coach is running over and I'm getting embarrassed by all the attention so finally, as Ahmed is coming out of the dressing room, I announce that I'm fine and I just hit my funny bone. No problem.

We get in the water, though, and I can still feel the soreness in my elbow, but I work through it and it keeps feeling a little bit better, so I'm thinking I'm fine. Then the coach announces breath control drills - almost the ENTIRE DAY'S SET is breath control practice. I feel like maybe the swim gods turned their backs on me yesterday. I made it through as much of the set as I could without cheating, but I finally gave up just in time for our set of 100's kicking. Really? REALLY? I was not sad to go when lunch time was up.

I coached later in the evening (just took on a new youth athlete!), then went to see Buck in Mesquite when he got off (he's working a really funky shift right now, it's messing up the Buck and Morgan time, which is no bueno). When I woke up this morning, I could definitely feel the arm. The soreness is stretching all the way through my tricep and up into the shoulder. I can feel it tweaking my back as well. So a massage (like I can afford one of those right now after ordering all my USA gear!) is definitely in order in the near future, if at all possible, but for now I just have to wait it out and hope the soreness goes away quickly. Talked to Aaron and he said no swim today (no reason to push it), and hopefully I'll have a replacement workout later in the evening. Now that I've committed to the size small racing suit for Beijing, there's no missing workouts anymore! A few pounds could mean I don't fit into my suit (those things are tight), and how embarrassing would that be??

So anyways, hopefully my little spill doesn't mess things up too much because I still have a lot of work to do before September, and a wonky arm isn't going to make things easier. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Happy training everybody

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Heat is On...

No, for real, it is HOT outside.

Ok, so I've started seeing this new guy, Buck, and, well, he's amazing. So amazing that even though running isn't really his favorite thing, he still went running with me last week at 5:00 PM, the hottest hour of the day, and didn't even complain about the fact that he was at a total disadvantage, being a man and having body hair while I'm a girl and I... don't. Once I brought it up, of course, he totally agreed - but still. He's a trooper. And I really like him, so if you meet him, be nice.

But back to the heat - we are getting up into the 100's pretty much every day here in Dallas, and it makes training, well, interesting. The phrase "drenched in sweat" seems to be coming up a lot. See, the human body expends a lot of energy, water, and electrolytes to keep itself cool, so the more of those we lose during exercise due to external heat, the more we have to compensate - go slower, drink more water, take salt tablets, etc. And I have been losing a lot of ALL of those three things during exercise in the past couple of weeks. I have constantly had a glass of water with me as I desperately try to stay hydrated, and I am consuming ridiculous amounts of fluid while training outside (and eating ridiculous amounts of icy watermelon after every workout - yum). I'm also ending up with some ridiculous tan lines.

The scary part is... it's not even July yet! It's only June and the temperature is getting up to 102 - what does this bode for the rest of the summer? Am I going to shrivel up due to heat before I even make it to Beijing? Ok, I know, it's melodramatic but geez - just 4 months ago it was like 14 degrees outside and now it's 102!! Come on north Texas, make up your mind! And while you're at it, let's tone down the wind a little bit as well...

In other news, my Team USA sizing kit has shipped and should be at my door today or tomorrow (please let it be there today! pleeeease!), and my mom is following up on our lodging arrangements for the trip. We thought we were all booked and ready to go, buuut... they never charged our card, which is worrisome. So we're looking into that. Better safe than sorry. Tonight, Buck is taking me to the Rangers-Astros game (it's Nelson Cruz bobble-head night! sweet!), and tomorrow I've got work, swimming, coaching... the usual.

Stroke work tomorrow at DAM - everyone make sure to get a ringside seat to watch me attempt the butterfly : )

Happy training everybody!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mandy Did Kona!

Ok, this is my tribute post to my bff Mandy who did her first 70.3 at the Ford Ironman 70.3 (formerly known as Honu) in Kona, HI two weekends ago.

For those of you who don't know Mandy... she's awesome.

About 3 and a half years ago, things got kind of crazy in my life, and so I got serious about running, so I could keep myself centered. I became competitive very quickly, and started placing in the top three overall at pretty much every race that I did - I was absolutely in love with the sport, but I still wanted something even more adventurous. I had an aquaintance named Tyler who was on the UNT Triathlon Team, and he gave me Mandy's phone number (she was a fellow team member at that time) so that I could have someone to show me the ropes. I called, and even though she couldn't remember my name for the first couple of weeks that we knew each other (if you know Mandy, you know that this isn't weird, it's just Mandy), we bonded very quickly, and next thing I knew I was going on weekly bike rides (followed by long evenings at the bar - hey, we were in college!), and running and swimming, with a whole new group of friends. Mandy and I sort of simultaneously headed up the team the next year, and the rest is history.

We've shared nights at the bar that we only kind of remember (it's just as well), hotel rooms in more states than I could EVER remember (though we were sober, I swear), t-shirts, trisuits, bikes and helmets, and of course lots of good times. If it weren't for Mandy, my life would probably be completely different today, and I would never even have met most of the people who end up reading this post. She is a total rock star and one of my very best friends, and I am so thankful that she is in my life and that she is now a (half) IRONMAN!

Mandy, I lovers you, for serious. Thanks for giving me my start.

Happy training everybody