A brick in triathlon terms is a two-sport training event, either swim/bike or bike/run, since that’s how the race is run. I have mixed them up before, and this series I intend to do several three-sport training events. However, today was a pretty simple swim/bike session.
I am determined this time to do the majority of the swim training in open water; it is so vastly different than swimming laps in the pool. So with my trusty support guy, we loaded the truck with all the crap it takes to accomplish a brick:
The nearest open water to my house is the southern end of Percy Priest Lake. The lake has the reputation of being filthy. It is well deserved. It wasn’t so bad swimming in it, but it was the charming, pond-scum aroma it left on my skin, hair, and trisuit afterward that was so disgusting. Jesse paddled about in the canoe (the leaking canoe) while I swam, and we were out there about 50 minutes.
We rode past the Nashville Motor Speedway, where I thought we should have done a criterium on the track, but instead we headed down a peaceful, rural two-lane. Peaceful until the first of THREE dogs ran us down for a confrontation. One was so fat it couldn’t keep up, one we surprised as he bounded out of the woods, and one was a boxer that I actually hit with my bike, but we both survived it without too much damage.
So this brick is done – felt very strong in the water and on the bike. Thanks to Jesse for patrolling the water and keeping me safe from ski boats, fishermen, and Kraken.
Wore the iPod, but as my ears filled with water, it sounded less like music, and more like your neighbor’s stereo through sheetrock, so choice of the day is Creedence, Proud Mary, cuz that’s the one I could most easily recognize.
Dreary, drippy, drab day – and a great day for a run!
Just a quick 50 minute out and back; was planning on running on the farm, but that sloppy, squishy, soggy idea changed in about 100 yards. I hopped back on the driveway and just headed out, looking for a turnaround at 25:00. It felt so good to be out, running shoes on, iPod blasting, cars throwing water all over me (jk about that part).
For some random reason I decided to wave to each and every driver who passed me – kinda felt like representing the running population as a happy lot. It was amazing to see them wave back, smile, honk – I chose to interpret that as a little “attagirl” whether they meant it that way or not. I wanted them all to jump out of their cars and join me – especially when I’m totally groovin some rock-out, feel-good, Queen-type song – I can’t imagine how crazy I must look bobbing my head, singing my song, smiling and waving to everyone passing by. Don’t care. Life. Is. Good.
Got the whole calendar marked for the training sessions based on the March 6 race in New Zealand; still haven’t registered for it yet (don’t analyze that). Daunting distance, that 140 miles.
iPod shuffle choice of the day: from a mixed CD (don’t know the artist or song) “I’m happy, feeling glad, I got sunshine in a bag, I’m useless, but not for long, my future is comin on it’s comin on it’s comin on it’s comin on”. Some counter-culture kid could help me identify it???
So daughter Glenda is living in Paris for her sophomore year at UT. The Paris. In a flat. With other exchange students. Visiting the Louvre for fun on a Friday night to sketch Egyptian sculptures. Working in an Irish pub called, I kid you not, the Green Balloon. With her boyfriend across the Channel in England. The WHOLE PACKAGE. I’ve been just dying to see her (Skype is great, but not that great), so when hubby said he had a 24-hour layover in Frankfurt, and that we could arrange her a train ride to meet us, naturally I thought about it for 13 or 14 seconds before I said, in my quiet way, “Hells to the yeah!”
Once again, a quick flight to Atlanta, a very near-miss with a seat on the flight, and 9.5 hours later, there she was. Running to me in a train station in Wiesbaden, arms wide open, pink hair flying, smiling, laughing, almost as loudly as me.
Does any of this have anything to do with training for a triathlon? Well, in a word, yes. The visit itself was wonderful – strolling through the town, eating, having coffee, window shopping, trying to make a little sense out of the 9-syllable German words. It passed in a flash, and the next day we’re putting her on the train back to Paris, and we ourselves have another 12 hours or so before we head to the airport. The crew hotel loans out bicycles, there were 2 available, and we are Jordans, so..
We head out of town, in a random direction, and ended up on a delightful trail through a lovely wooded park that was a steady incline for an hour or so, but at its peak brought us to a beautiful view of the city. (You can see the church in the distance where Jesse and Glenda posed earlier).
Honestly, we were on the bikes about 3 hours (one of which was spent imbibing in what Germany seems to do best), but the bikes were 3-speeds, so the climb was a tad bit of a workout (not keeping a very straight face as I write this). I guess it WOULD have been a workout if I weren’t accustomed to 3 and 4 hour, 50, 60, 70 mile training rides. It was uphill a lot of the way. Did I mention they were 3-speeds? (Give a sister a break – it was all I had to work with – it COUNTS).
Anyway, back to the US and the grueling reality of training, but the little diversion was nice. Tomorrow: strength training and something else – bike or run if weather cooperates, swimming if not.
It’s September in Tennessee. The days are either brilliant, flawless, clear, beautiful college football days, or drippy, dreary, soggy too-cool-to-wash-the-car-in-the-rain/too-warm-for-a-fire days. Today is one of the latter.
One of the joys of training for an actual, outside event (as opposed to a PR or distance treadmill goal) is the opportunity to train in whatever weather the multiverse sends your way. Today’s challenge of choice is rain. Steady, moderately heavy rain. I’ve read since yesterday more than one Facebook status with reference to arks, canoes, and kayaks.
I strap on my Otter (waterproof iPod case), lace up my sneaks, put on a baseball cap, and head down my soggy, soggy gravel drive. Then I turn onto the soggy asphalt (soggy asphalt?) for my 4-mile loop. I have never minded running in the rain as long as it’s not too cold (it wasn’t), and I don’t mind running in the cold if it’s not too wet. I was drenched in a very short time, but the run felt terrific. Tunes were good, legs felt strong, attitude was right – run was over pretty quickly after it started.
This series of training I’m attempting to keep up with the accumulated miles running, swimming, and cycling – everyone seems to do that and it’s impressive, so in that spirit, today makes 16 miles running. (Not that impressive yet).
Heading to Europe for an extremely quick trip to see exchange-student daughter in France – only 24 hours on the ground, so likely no workout til next week, but I’ll get in a quick strength training tomorrow. Be back Monday to start it all over again.
Best random shuffle: Cash: Ring of Fire; Ray Charles: I’m Gonna Love You Like Nobody’s Loved You; Dylan: Desperation Road
I know it’s a big deal, but I am surprised by the limited number of Ironman events around the world. I haven’t given up looking, but so far I have found 3 races that fit my parameters: Taupo, New Zealand in March, Australia in April, or Utah in May. There’s one in China, but I’ve kinda ruled that out cuz trying to get ANYONE to go with me requires a Visa, shots, etc. The Taupo race sounds fabulous; its only drawback is that it is March 6, a smidge on the early side of my window.
Today was strength training and swimming, and both went very well. I had a reflective moment before getting into the pool, thinking about all the hours of training ahead of me, and the magnitude of what I am undertaking. My Sam is doing as big a race in February, it just has kayaking instead of swimming, but it’s a two-day run/bike/kayaking event in New Zealand. The date fits in quite nicely with the taper and travel and dateline adjustment. I have til Oct 31 to register before the fees go from extortion to blasphemy levels. Sam’s fees are more than mine, so is that better? Anyone wanna sponsor a slow, old, Athena triathlete?
The thing I’m most looking forward to after picking the race is the backwards scheduling written out in OCD fashion on my calendar, and the other race lengths along the way. I don’t want to be too influenced by those; I want to pick the Iron on its own merit, then see what fits rather than the other way round. They don’t all have to be tri’s either – I’m looking for bike and foot races.
I’m also looking forward to comparing training notes with Sam, as he will train just as hard as I will. (re: Tri-ing with Amy, blog, June 09). I’m so proud of you Samson.
Tunes in the water: Meatloaf, Bat out of Hell; Sheryl Crow, Run Baby Run
Tunes in the weight room: Woody Guthrie, Alice’s Restaurant; Johnnny Cash, The Wall
So…Jesse (husband) has just started flying the 747. He went to Shanghai last week, and had a trip to Japan scheduled for this week. It looked as if there were open seats (in first class – call me any name you want, that’s the only way I wanted to travel for 12 hours), so on Monday at 9am, I got on the plane to Atlanta where I met Jesse, who had had a layover in Atlanta. I got my little pod-like seat in the upstairs of the 747; Jesse got the first sleeping shift (2 complete crews), and the second flying shift. I, however, got the eating shift (see pics).
We land around 5pm, Tokyo time, got on the bus for the hotel, checked in, threw the bags in the room, changed into hiking stuff, and ran to get the last bus to the Tokyo train station. From there we got on the first of 4 trains to the town of Gotemba. Because we arrived at midnight, a bus was out of the question, so we got in the only cab there and off to the mountain.
This cab driver dropped us off at Station 5, which was about halfway up the mountain (at around 5000′, the mountain’s about 11,000′). It’s 1am, there is not another soul around, the cabbie honks, waves, and off he goes. We put on all 3 layers cuz it’s blowing and cold, our headlamps, and off WE go. We very soon find a sign that tells us that the mountain trails closed as of the DAY BEFORE, but things like that NEVER stop a Jordan.
Now, when I say this hike was a 6-hour uphill hike, I don’t mean it meandered about the mountainside for 6 hours. I mean that aside from a few steep switchbacks at the beginning (2 hours’ worth), this trail went STRAIGHT up Mt. Fuji. Check the pic at our effort at bouldering, when we were using both hands and both feet to climb. This climb was extremely strenuous – Mom and Dad, there is no way you could have possibly done this – I was so glad we didn’t try that. There’s a train that circles the base that you could have done, but we never saw that.
On the trail on the way up, there are numerous “tea huts” where if it weren’t after the season closed, and it weren’t 3 o’clock in the morning, we could have had tea, beer, snacks; you can even make a reservation and spend the night in them. We found one open hut where we were happy to pay 1100 yen ($12) for 2 candy bars and a bottle of water.
We saw the sky beginning to lighten around 5, and we hustled up the last hour (and by hustle, I mean huff and puff, stop and rest, suck wind, shuffle, stop, step, wheeze) to reach the summit by sunrise. It was absolutely worthwhile when we saw that burst of brilliance with the clouds below us, and clear blue sky above. It was FREEZING and windy up top, so we hurried over to look into the volcano (dramatic), made a stop at the summit potty, and headed back down.
That was strenuous too, and steep and relentless for 3 hours. We emerged at a different station than we began, but we only had about an hour’s wait til the bus showed up to take us in the reverse for the NEXT 5 hours.
Would we do it again? Ask next week when we are not so sore, and we’d have to have motivation – like maybe the kids going?!? Maybe we’ll just ride that train next time…
Today’s event was a nice, leisurely 30 minute jog about the farm. This is one of my favorite places to run – it has to do with the familiarity, the ownership, the terrain, having the dogs with me, and the spontanaety of being able to just walk out the door and run. On the trail today I saw an enormous owl swoop across the TVA easement right over the top of my head – what a thrill.
I want to spend a paragraph in review so that as we do this journey together you will know the background of my training:
Several years ago with a posse of girlfriends I made a drunken vow that I would celebrate my 50th birthday by completing an Ironman triathlon (at the time I had never done any distance triathlon). These women have been relentless in holding me to this, so over the past few years I have progressively trained and completed a Sprint distance triathlon, an Olympic distance triathlon, a Long distance triathlon (also known as a Half-Iron), and intend, in the spring of this year, 2010, to compete in an Ironman. I won’t bore you with the distances of all those races; the full Iron is 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, 26.2 mile run, and each shorter distance is about half of the one before it. My 50th birthday is November of 2010, but I don’t like to train in the summer, so I look to choose a race in March, April, or May; that gives me little wiggle room if I hit a glitch and have to compete through the end of the year.
My grown kids are all over the world, quite literally, so my choice of race locations is wide open, as are the shorter distance races I’ll schedule in leading up to Iron. Tennessee has no Ironman event, so that’s not an option. You may have read in yesterday’s blog I’d prefer a non-ocean swim, but that’s not written in Sharpie, it’s simply a preference.
My running companions here at the farm are: Boo, the golden retriever; Nala, her daughter who lives with the college boys who rent a house on the farm; and Uga, the English Bulldog who thinks she’s a golden retriever. The three of them ran with me today, the golden girls bounding over weeds and through thickets, and Uga, snorting and huffing her way to 3 miles. It’s not that she’s fat; quite the contrary, she’s very muscular and thick, it’s just that her build leaves a little to be desired for a running physique. The 4 of us jog merrily over rocks and sticks and roots, up and down hills, through a little mud from this morning’s rain, til 3 of us splash through the pond just before the finish line. Today I was iPod-free because it was sprinkling when I started out, but I like those runs just as well.
My nutrition is high-protein/low carbohydrate except for long-duration events when I add in a little simple carbohydrate mid-effort. Over the course of the blogging, I’ll post more about that. My weight this morning was 152, which is a little high for racing, but I’ll get it down to about 138 to compete. My training usually consists of: 2 days per week strength training, one day per week each for a run, a swim, and a ride, and one day per week of a two-event effort, which is called a Brick. (always swimming/riding or riding/running since that’s the sequence of triathlons).
I’ll close today’s entry with my first attempt to answer the question: Why would I do this? I’ll spend many hours thinking about that in the days and weeks to come, but here’s the quick response:
I love the training. I love the planning and scheduling, I love the competing on the way to the goal, I love watching my times improve, or not depending on the day. I love the companionship of other athletes, and the camaraderie of recounting races and training experiences. I love pushing my body to its limits and seeing and feeling it respond. I love the challenge and the distraction when the personal and professional components of my life are awry, unsettled, or frustrating. I love that my kids and friends are so proud of me. I love setting an example for other women, of all ages, to set lofty goals and go about accomplishing them.
Ok, that was easier than I thought, but I reserve the right to amend that list as time goes on.
Thank you for following my progress. It does me good to hear about your goals, projects, dreams, hopes, desires, ambitions; drop me a comment, and most certainly direct me to your blog if you are doing that.
Don’t just seize that carpe; grasp, wrestle, choke, manhandle, and strangle that bad boy until he lies gasping for breath, crying “Uncle, uncle!”
Well, it was bound to come. Time has a funny way of rolling around.
Today is September 1. September 1 is the first day of training for the Ironman. Oh yeah.
I started off this 210-270 days of training with a wimper. I had a good strength training session, and attempted a bike ride, but my brother-in-law who is temporarily living with us had already taken it for a spin just when I needed it, so that was a bust. The strength training session was not out of the ordinary, but it became special because it fell on the first official day of training.
I have not selected my race yet, but I think I’ve defined these parameters:
Race must be in Mar/Apr/May of 2010. (50th bday is November 2010, don’t wanna train in summer, so…)
Non-ocean swim. (see blog of ocean swim, May 2009)
And I feel the need to issue this caveat: Ironman Int’l gives you 17 hours in which to complete the race. I completed all three shorter distance races (Sprint, Olympic, Long/Half) in times which multiplied would allow for that; HOWEVER, I will allow myself an official finish even if it takes longer than that. My restriction: it all must be in one effort (no napping, resting, returning the next day, etc). If you don’t like it, you may comment here, and I will email you privately a very special expression I use for these certain situations. (Sounds a little like “Muck My Wick”)
I promise that this blog will become more interesting. I only blogged today because it’s the first official day. I haven’t written my schedule, picked my race, planned my strategy – all of this will be revealed in time, and this will be the place to find it!
Thanks for beginning this long journey with me – I’ll need all the support and encouragement I can get!