Where did my week go?

I suddenly looked up and realized it’s Friday.

On Tuesday, I did a morning spin class at Pure Austin. Since it’s dark early in the evenings, which makes it hard to get in a bike ride during the week, I’m planning on doing a spin class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings to get a little extra time in on the bike. This Tuesday was a good start. It was only 45 minutes, but I worked hard the whole time.

Then on Wednesday, I swam again. It was roughly 2100 meters, but now I don’t recall exactly what kind of workout it was. (Am I the only one who has trouble remembering things from just two days ago?)

Thursday I did nothing because my office had a party Wednesday night that ran late and then we had dinner afterwards followed by drinks. The morning came far too early. Then I had a mediation all day Thursday that ran into the evening, so I didn’t make an evening workout either.

This morning, I did a short swim – only 1700 meters. It was mostly kicking and drills, which is why the yardage was so low. That and I overslept by about 15 minutes. But it felt good to be in the pool.

It was 34 degrees, so we got to swim.

Ross had us do a speed control workout that totaled 2750 meters. The water felt great. Last night, I finished reading “Gold in the Water,” which is about a group of swimmers training for the 2000 Olympic Trials, so forward motion and propulsion were very much on my mind. The writing in that book is quite vivid, and it has some photos that show that tremendous muscles that make up a swimmer’s back. With all of that on the brain, I really tried to focus on rolling and pulling. It was a good start to the new workout plan.

Back to Bikram

The weather this weekend didn’t cooperate at all, so rather than endure a long and cold run in the rain, I opted to do 90 minutes of yoga in a 105 degree room. It’s been about a year since I went to yoga, so today was tough. I spent half of the standing series kneeling on the floor trying not to get too dizzy. My body was incapable of bending backwards and only had limited forward motion. Clearly, I see the effect of having been away from it for quite some time. Somehow I used to make time for it every day – or at least three or four times a week. I don’t know where that time went.

I finally spent some time figuring out how to approach the next seven months. Assuming I like Texas Iron, I think I know basically what my routine will be, and it’s designed to include yoga twice a week as my strength and flexibility training. I may back off the yoga as I get into needing longer rides and runs, but for now, yoga it is. Big picture, my social life will be rather limited – and virtually non-existent on weekdays – unless my friends want to work out with me on a regular basis.

Tomorrow kicks off the new training session. I pray it won’t be freezing in the morning, as Ross and Laura cancel swim practice if the temperature is 32 degrees or less. I hope it’s at least 33 degrees. It’s not that I don’t sympathize with our coaches having to stand out there in the cold. But my view is that they should put on their suits and join us in the toasty water.

Another Turkey…Trot

Caroline and I joined about 12,000 other Austinites in running this year’s Turkey Trot 5 Miler. I did the run in 55 minutes on the dot, a cool 11 minute mile pace. I’m pretty pleased with that. Afterwards, we trotted up to a nearby parking garage for a top floor mimosa gathering with Fred, MJ and an assortment of others. All in all, a beautiful way to spend the morning.

Erin emailed our crew today and reminded everyone that we have exactly 7 months before the big race. I remember when we signed up, and a year sounded like a very long time. We’re already at 7 months? Can that be right?

I have got to get cranking on my training plan. I meant to spend today doing that, but I ended up spending much of the day playing poker with the kids. I think that was a more appropriate Thanksgiving Day activity than burying my nose in a book, but I do feel a tad behind now. I’ll spend some time in my books tonight.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

I told Ross my plans.

Ross is one of the two coaches for my masters program. Most of the other swimmers had gone, so he and I started talking as I finished my workout. (I did 2400 total.) We talked about my goals. He immediately recognized my goal distance as ironman distance and was quick to say that he could adjust my workouts to help get me there. That was very cool of him. Even assuming that I find another training group I like for biking and/or running, I would want to continue to swim with my current program because I’ve seen what Ross can do for me technically. When I swam at the Courtyard, he helped me get from regular 1:50 100s to 1:30 100s. I even did 1:17 during a relay at a meet in Dallas. I know that improvement had a lot to do with being in the water 4 days a week, but it also had much to do with his input on my stroke. He’s an excellent coach. He and Laura (the other coach) both are.

It was strange, though, to talk to anyone outside my circle of friends about my plan to do an Ironman. It felt like a confession – one that could have sent him into a fit of laughter, but he didn’t laugh. Instead, he said, “Congratulations in advance,” as though just the effort, or perhaps the goal, warranted praise. I need to remind myself of his response anytime I begin to doubt what I’m doing.

It’s been an inactive week

I did not work out even once this week, until this morning. I ran 7 miles with Caroline on Lady Bird Lake. She actually did 12, but I had an 8:30 car appointment, so I just ran the first 7 with her. According to her Forerunner, we did 11:30 miles, which is pretty good for me. It felt good to be active again.

This week has been nuts at work, so my training fell apart a bit. That and Skylar was super cute curled up on me a couple of mornings, and I just didn’t have the heart to move him so I could get out of bed and get to the pool. I opted to snooze with him instead. This coming week will be better.

I’m at the point where I need to know what I’m doing with my training beginning the week after Thanksgiving, and I really don’t have a plan yet. I just haven’t had the kind of time I need to really think through the next seven months. That will end up being my Turkey Day project.

The EAS 10-Miler this morning was a success!

My goal was to finish in two hours, which would amount to a 12 minute pace. I finished in 1:59:40, which was an 11:58 pace. I ran the first two miles with Caroline, but I couldn’t keep up with her, so I found my own pace the rest of the way. I’m proud of myself for keeping the time where I wanted it. And it was nice to see Gilbert out there, particularly when I finished.

Gilbert is the coach for Gilbert’s Gazelles, which is a training group in Austin. The race today was in support of the Gazelle Foundation, whose current mission is to bring clean drinking water to Burundi, Africa. See http://www.gazellefoundation.com/ if you want to learn more and get involved. That’s Gilbert at the top of the Gazelle Foundation home page. He is from Burundi and, in the early 1990s, was caught in the thick of the Tutsi-Hutu war. Gilbert has an amazing story of survival, drive, and faith. I have heard him speak about his experience, but I’d like to read his book. I’d like to know more about how he endured that season and came through it with intense hope and joy. I’d also like to smile as often and as deeply as Gilbert does.

Thanks, Gilbert, for a nice race. I hope we raised the kind of money you and the Gazelle Foundation were anticipating. Thank you, Carol, for hanging out with me this morning. Good luck running your other three miles today.

In the pool three days in a row!

I made it up again this morning for a lovely pool workout. I did 2600 meters, much of which included drills and 100s. Ross keeps telling me that my arms are crossing my head and that I need to widen my stroke. I feel like he’s been telling me that for a couple of years now! The funny thing today was that he noticed that I was somewhat picking my head up every fourth stroke. I didn’t realize I was doing it, but that’s how I swim in triathlons so I can do my sight check. I’m sure I wasn’t actually taking my head out of the water, but that subtle head lift seems to have followed my stroke into the pool.

My current dilemma is getting a wetsuit. Jeanie sent some good information about websites offering deals. Jack and Adam’s is also offering 35% off 2007 wetsuits. I definitely need one for this race, but it’s like trying on a swimsuit – I just can’t get excited about doing it. I also had issues with trying to figure out the right size according to the charts. I’m thinking it might be better for me to go into a store and actually try them on. Yuck.

Day 2 in the pool…

I managed to make it back to the pool today. It was a low distance morning – just 2000 meters. Had I done the entire workout, it would have been a good bit longer, but with all the kicking and sculling, it just took me a while to get through it. It felt good though. I think the swimming is good for me after the pounding my body took last month. I’m going for three pool workouts this week, an “easy” (quoting Fred) bike ride this Saturday with Fred and MJ, and then my 10 mile run/race this Sunday with Caroline. Should make for a nice week.

I finally made it back to the pool!

I went to bed at 9 p.m. last night, and woke up at 5:45 in time to make a swim at Twin Creeks. As I walked in the gate, Ross said, “Look what the cat dragged in!” It had been so long, I’m lucky he recognized me. I did 2500 meters, much of which was a distance per stroke workout. I need to work on my distance per stroke. I’m at 20 in a meter pool, which is too high. I’m determined to be a MWF regular once again, starting now.

Also, I’m debating joining Texas Iron, or at least visiting it to see if it’s a good fit for me. I did the program for a short while a few years ago but couldn’t make it work with my schedule at the time. Now, I’m hoping it’ll be different and that I’ll like the group dynamic. This morning, I was reminded of an incident that occurred around the last time I trained with Texas Iron. We were doing a spin workout at a bike shop, which meant we had to bring our own bikes and trainers. As we were packing up to leave, I was fumbling with lots of things, and Jamie Cleveland helped me by carrying my bike. As we were walking out, all I could think was “Jamie Cleveland is carrying my bike for me.” I’ve never forgotten that, and I think of it every time I see him riding around on his mountain bike during a race cheering for his Texas Iron athletes. They seem to be fun bunch of people, and they seem to reflect Jamie’s attitude in so many ways. Should be fun.