week eight update

Run: This is the sport I am most excited about! As I’ve detailed in past posts, I’ve struggled to become a runner with little success until now. At the beginning of tri training, my progress felt excrutiatingly slow, but I hit a turning point with a five mile run in Shelby Forest. Since then my per mile pace has been getting faster and I feel increasingly comfortable with running. At times, it can still feel like torture, but I am not stressed anymore when I anticipate a running workout. A feeling of ease has permeated my runs. It’s a delicious sensation, albeit one drenched in sweat and punctured by the occasional side stitch.

Last night I ran in my tri shorts, and although I was self-conscious at first, as they are in no way flattering, they were comfortable enough and didn’t move around. We had to run 4.5 miles, 2.5 of which was speed work. 400s are executed by running a quarter mile very fast, with nearly maximum effort, and doubling back the same quarter mile at a recovery speed. We had to do this five times last night, and I kind of felt like I was going to puke. Sprinting is fun for me, but it wasn’t last night. I questioned my performance throughout. Yet, I noticed a lightness to my run that was pleasant. When we finished I became very dizzy and had to sit down even though I was completely hydrated and brought water. I was pleasantly surprised to check the running app and see that my pace was 11:03 per mile. Hot damn! I JUST KEEP GETTING FASTER. And I am beyond thrilled about that.

Bike: I’ve already admitted to missing two cycling workouts last week. I did my workout on the trainer (device that converts your street bike into a stationary bike for indoor training) yesterday and it was fine. Just fine. I haven’t done a truly intense bike ride in a while. Cycling is certainly my strongest sport. Twelve miles, the bike distance for the MIM Sprint Triathlon, is nothing to me. I used to commute by bicycle, and I’m no badass, but I’m relatively comfortable in the saddle.

Herein lies my problem: I’m afraid of going fast. Underneath this is the fear of being out of control. My worst nightmares crowd my brain when I’m flying down a hill without peddling. Headwinds are a dream to me, because I can bare down and force myself through the wind. The wind at my back is terrifying. 20+ mph is no problem if I am peddling like the dickens and am making the road my bitch. Even 18 mph is a huge problem if the road drops out from under me and I just have to ease down a hill. Not sure how to fix this problem. Shying away from downhill speeds will surely hamper my ability to race.

Swim: The twice a week clinics are helpful. We are actually swimming less than we had been on our own, but focusing more on technique. Some of the drills really click for me and some do not. It still unnerves me to be the last one finishing a drill and to fear the judgment of others. I continue to tell myself no one really cares about how I do, and I believe that’s true. I’m focused on my own workout and don’t have to energy to scrutinize anyone else’s.

My mentality for the swim during the actual tri is to get through it without over exerting myself so I can really kill it on the bike and run portions. The unknown factor of swimming in open water continues to send ripples of fear up my spine. I am undecided on renting a wetsuit, and of course we won’t know if we can use them until that morning. Apparently they make one more bouyant, and I can certainly use some help there! It’s just that factor of spending more money to rent one that keeps me uncertain.

Summary: Honestly, I feel ready to tackle this. I know I can get faster and stronger at all my sports, and hopefully still sustain steady progress in the next few weeks. It’s nice to look forward to the race with anticipation and excitement, as opposed to dread. I’m ready! Oh, except for still needing a dang tri top!

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