Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jumping In....

The waters are rough, but I have a ton of lifesavers to support me. I'm finally ready to cross.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Why I Train

I'm beginning to think of my training as an unpaid internship. I work a lot of hours but I don't get paid. I respect my peers and my mentors and do everything possible to learn from them. There are certainly times when I would rather sleep in than do the work, but I know others are expecting me to show up. Most of all, I know the end payoffs will be worth it.

Some of us have been mulling the question, "Why do you train?" For me, the answer changes daily. Today I ran 12 miles so I could meet my goal hours and get some quality girl time with Myndi. Yesterday I rode 60 miles so I could prove to myself that I'm getting better at cycling, that there is a sport that I am good at. Each time I show up to a run workout, I prove to myself that I can overcome my nerves and doubts. Each time I show up to a swim workout, I practice trying to control all parts of my body and aim to feel the "click" of everything working together. Each time I show up to a workout, I form stronger connections with my peers.

I train because I need to train. I need the structure. I need the goals. I need the confidence. I need the people. I need the rewards. When life is crazy and confusing and chaotic, I need my training. No one else comes in to play - it's something that I can control and do for ME.

(I also really need a leg massage. Too bad that's not one of the perks of this internship!)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"This is actually fun!"

This morning was another tough spin workout, though not nearly as killer as Tuesday night. I think having Katharine set my resistance versus Coach Pain made quite the difference. Also, I have been refocusing on fueling, so I never felt like I was going to bonk.

There was one point in the workout where we had to get our cadence up to 130rpm. 130!!! Somehow I was able to hold it AND not topple my bike over. At one point, I even looked over at Dionn and said, "this is actually fun!" Apparently my morning dose of crack is working! ;)

It might also be that my quality run was merely 2 miles last night. 2 laps warmup, 1 mile time trial, 2 laps cooldown & some core. My TT was 7:06. This is slower than what McMillan says I should run, but I was pretty happy with it. I definitely could have knocked off 6 seconds. I'm getting some really good coaching about how to fix my form. Apparently, I need to think "relaxed pendulum" instead of "flail around wildly" while I run.

Anyway, I'm getting into a good grove with my schedule, and that makes me very happy. I really like having a big part of my life taken care of for me... I merely show up and hand over all power to my coaches. I really like the schedule too - it's amazing how many options there are at T3, but I've found what fits my schedule:
Monday am: swim, pm: specialty run & core
Tuesday am: swim, pm: spin & core
Wednesday am: core (or sleep!), pm: quality run
Thursday am: spin, noon or pm: swim
Friday: off!
Saturday: long bike
Sunday: long run, optional recovery swim

I love it. I have even figured out how to pack for my day. For instance, today I had to pack my breakfast, snacks, work clothes, swim stuff, towels and a potential change of clothes. And coffee... had to pack coffee. (My office doesn't have any!) That makes 2 gym bags, a cooler, 2 filled water bottles & a coffee mug.

At some point, I'll probably just move into my car. I'm about 90% there anyway.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

When does it get easy?

I like cycling. I consider it my strongest sport. So why do my T3 spin workouts keep getting harder? I swear, each week I think "that was the hardest spin workout of my life." And 2 days later, they do it again. Tonight I was SURE that we were done... I was SURE that we were doing drills to cool down. But, no! One more 4/4/5 set. UGH, I now know what it is like to BONK during a spin class.

However... deep inside, I love every minute of it. And I'm still loving T3, especially as I get to know more people. When you see the same people, oh, Monday morning at swim, then Monday evening for core/running, then Tuesday morning at swim, then Tuesday evening at core/spin, etc... it's hard not to get to know them. Luckily everyone I have met so far has been wonderful.

On another note, after sharing my blog with a fellow T3er - Carrie - who informed me she now knows all about the last 2 years of my life, I decided to take a peek back at some posts from last year. I think this one is hilarious. My thoughts on Ironman.

You can only deny it so much, right? :)

No Phony Smiles Here

Glad to say that there are no phony smiles here.

I'd just like to say that my days are so much better when I don't predict how they are going to turn out. I think it's pretty common for people to wake up and instantly plan how their days are going to go. (That meeting is going to suck. I'll do horrible at that workout. I don't want to make that call, my client is going to chew my ear. You know, that kind of stuff.) Instead, if you can just let things happen, without expectations, I think you will generally be surprised that things will usually be okay.

Take yesterday, for instance. Aside from some meetings and workouts, I had nothing concrete on my schedule. There were certainly things I wasn't looking forward to, like some things I had to take care of and my afternoon run workout. However, I let my nervousness/angst/etc. go, and it turned out to be a pretty awesome day... one that if I had predicted all of its pieces, it never would have happened.

And that is my psychobabble for the morning. Try it... next time you have to do something you really don't want to do, let go of predicting how it is going to go & just do it. In fact, try to enjoy it. Hope it works for you!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Spending Fool

I hate shopping. I'm not sure if it's the process of shopping or the spending money part, but I hate it. The only things that make shopping okay is if 1) I'm buying for one of my weaknesses (training or art) and 2) if I can score a really good deal.

To prove my point, I had a lunch at California Pizza Kitchen last week. I thought "great, I can look for a dress after lunch since I'm here." I walked into the mall, looked right and left, then promptly walked right back out. My mall hatred may have come from my mother, who used to threaten to drop me off at Richardson Square Mall for 2 hours if I didn't behave. The mall = punishment. Brilliant! (Got that, Leslie? :))

Anyway, over the past few weeks, I have been buying stuff like crazy. It started with my laptop, which took me all of 5 minutes to purchase. (My IT Manager said it was a good one, and it was on SALE, so I bought it. It took me 6 months to convince myself to buy an Ipod Shuffle for $60. It took me 5 minutes to buy a $600 laptop. Uh?? See, I got a good deal on the laptop, so it was fine!)

I've been buying workout stuff like mad. $70 at SierraTradingPost.com (5 running tops - not bad), $115 at BettySport (a new swimsuit and winter running gear - sale!), $60 at Lane4 (2 swimsuits off the grab rack), $35 on a T3 Tri Top, and then more at Jack & Adam's for new bike stuff. I'm very happy with everything I've bought for how much I've spent.

But I gotta say that I am MOST impressed with yesterday's purchase. I am a bridesmaid for my friend Rachel's wedding on August 30th. She is SO COOL and told us to pick out a nice black cocktail dress instead of getting bridesmaid dresses. However, I was the last girl to buy one... largely because I had a backup if necessary and moreso because I hate shopping. Yesterday I headed to my favorite consignment store (Designer Exchange by Northcross Mall) and found the perfect dress. Ta Daa!!
The best part about the dress? $17. That's right, $17. And the bride (luckily) loves it. I'm psyched. :) So I've spent a lot of money lately, but I think I'm done for a while. I feel better getting the dress off of my to-do list, and hopefully I'm completely outfitted for my training for a while. If only I could get around needing new work clothes...

By the way, NEVER EVER shop online without going to http://www.retailmenot.com/ and finding a coupon code. I've saved hundreds of dollars this way. It's in my blood, what can I say? :)

13 hours later...

Why do I do the UT cycling studies? Besides getting some great workouts in, getting information about how I perform, and having access to some really cool folks at UT, THIS is why I do the UT Cycling studies.

By the way I justified signing up for Ironman CDA with this check. Kinda ironic that the amount of time I spent doing the studies will be less than I will spend in ONE DAY at IMCDA! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

You know I couldn't resist....

I tried to hide it as long as I could... but I just watched THIS Ironman video and I can't contain my excitment anymore. I'm registered. I'm excited. I'm ready to train! :)

I just had to write a bio for one of my associations, and it reads like this:
Outside work, Erin is a self-admitted triathlon addict. She started running in 2003 and hasn’t stopped since. Though she swore off marathons after running the 2006 Disneyworld Goofy Challenge – a half marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon on Sunday - she’s going to have to do another one because she recently signed up for Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2009. (That’s 2.4 miles swimming, 112 biking and 26.2 running.) Her goal is to make it though the 10-20+ hour training weeks, finish the race in the allotted 17 hours, and still have a smile on her face once she’s done.

My dad has this to say about the whole thing: "140 miles in 17 hours??? Fun??? Or Crazy??"

Both!! :) Ironman 2009 - here I come!!!!

(You KNOW I couldn't resist!)

Cure for Swimmer's Stomach

Got it! The cure for the "I swallowed half the pool and now feel like I wanna die" stomach pain?

Breakfast at Dan's. Mmmmm.... eggs, hashbrowns, toast and pancakes. (No, I did not eat ALL that. Well, not all of it...)

Much better now. :)

Keeled Over

I have mentioned this before. I have a serious problem when it comes to swimming - I inhale way too much water. I finished swimming over an hour ago, and I have so much pain in my belly. It's not like I gulp water each time I breath - I don't even notice when I swim. What gives!?!!

This morning was my first swim workout with T3. There were tons of people there - 6 in my lane alone. I swam with the T1 group, meaning I didn't have to do as much as the faster group, and that was just fine with me. At one point Chrissie said, "I know this is a slower pace for you, but work on your stroke." I'm not sure she realized that the pace was plenty fast for me.

2750 - a very nice first workout. Not too hard, but enough to make me feel like I worked. The lone shower was open when I was done, so I was able to get ready and to work by 7:40. Nice!

Now about this swallowing the water issue. I need some help.

Monday, July 14, 2008

GMW Jerseys!!!

I know you've been waiting on the edge of your seat for a beautiful Grease Monkey Wipes jersey... Well wait no more, we are placing our order! (Okay, I guess you'll have to wait 'til they arrive, but we're closer than ever!)

We are selling the first round of jerseys & tri tops at cost... so if you want one, please shoot me an email telling me what style & size you want to erin at kongconcepts dot com. Let me know by 7/18.
Also, our t-shirts are up on the website. Just ten bucks - can't beat that! :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A few Couples pics

Team T3 pre-race Dionn & me post-race
Post-post-race! Ah, the life of a triathlete. :)

Couples = The Journey

I have so much to write about that I don't know where to begin. I'll start with the good stuff:

Couple's Tri - 1:27:07 - 6.5 minute PR - 3rd place in our division

Hell yeah. But even better:

Couple's Tri - took it easy - didn't stress out - didn't beat myself up - had an amazing time.

And that, my friends, is what it is all about. Sure, taking home hardware (thanks largely to Dionn's awesome time) was great. Sure, kicking the butt out of my horrible Danskin experience was great. But lately I've come to realize that it really is about the journey - not the results. And today... today, was an awesome part of the journey.

First off, today was my first race in BLUE! T3 Blue that is! Surprise! :) I joined the Longhorn Training program early last month, and I have been LOVING it ever since. There were 60 - count that 60 - people from T3 competing today. I felt like everywhere I looked someone was in blue. The team spirit, enthusiasm, etc... it is just awesome. It feels so cool to be part of a team. Not to mention, the training is awesome. Our coaches told us this would be a "train through" race - as in, we weren't going to taper for it - we would just have fun. That meant a 13.5 hour workout week, with a very hilly 40 mile ride yesterday and a 20 minute run. There was no taper for this race whatsoever, and yet I still felt great. (Tired, but great.)

Second, today was my first race in which I really appreciated being able to race. By that, I mean I enjoyed BEING there. I enjoyed the experience. When someone passed me, I didn't beat myself up that I should be faster. I have been recognizing that my "ego" gets in the way far too often to let me enjoy myself. If there was ever a prize for beating yourself up mentally, I would have a full trophy case full of them. But instead, I recognized when I started thinking that way, and let it go. Instead, I just did my thing, got in the zone, and soaked up the experience. (Perhaps you can tell I'm really enjoying "A New Earth.") D told me I looked like I was actually enjoying myself during the run. I was! What a shift!

Third, my partner was awesome. It goes without saying how much of a rockstar Dionn is. She was waiting for me when I finished, ready with a huge congratulations. Sharing 3rd place with her was freaking awesome. I felt very lucky to race with her today, and looking back at the past year - I feel very lucky to be her friend. Go Apple Bottom girls!

So... there you have it. A fantastic race. A fantastic Sunday morning. A fantastic training group. And a fantastic leg of the journey.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Swim Clinic - Check!

Six weeks ago I started T3's swim clinic. I'm happy to say that I now swim like this!

Yeah right! But I can at least recognize what Ian Thorpe is doing that makes him so speedy. Me on the other hand, uh... not so much. :)

This clinic was awesome. When I started, I was a very sloppy swimmer - one who stayed mostly on my stomach, inserted my arms in the wrong direction and one who flicked her wrists all over the place. I know this because they filmed me and I had to watch. In slow motion, no less. Ick.

I think I've cleaned up my act. :) I rarely flick my hands out of the water anymore. I know how to rotate from side to side. I enter the water in the right place (most of the time.) And I understand now what the "catch" is and what the "pull" is! I'm not any faster, in fact I am probably a bit slower than before, but I know how to swim now. I'm very excited to start going to practice and see what happens.

Go T3!!!!!!! :)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Dallas Rocks!!!

At least, cycling in Dallas rocks. I ventured out with the Greater Dallas Bicycle Club this morning for a nice jaunt to DFW & back. It was a kick ass ride.

I'll be honest, I was a bit nervous joining up with a group where I knew no one. But it was meeting less than half a mile from my parents house, and it seemed to have various levels that I could hang with. In fact, I thought I'd try to start out with the fast group and see where that took me. I figured: Dallas = flat! I should be able to fly! What I did not account for was Dallas = wind!!!

Anyway, I was all ready to head out with the fast group, but the ride leader told me I needed to stay with the normal group. I was a little disappointed, but I relented - he probably knew what was best. As we cruised along, switching often between 16mph and 20mph, I made some new friends and generally had a great conversational ride.

Twenty miles in, all the groups came together at a Shell station. My new friend Ryan suggested we head out, that the fast group would catch us, and we started a 22 mile loop around DFW. It was actually pretty hard to start - sadly, I am a wuss at windy overpasses. :( But over time, I ended up with the lead rider and we hammered it between 24 - 30mph. 22 miles of just trying to hang on, and it was awesome! When we regrouped at 40, the fast guys all said, "you need to hang with us!" Yes! I made it to the club. ;)

All in all, the total distance was 57 miles & it was awesome. I might make it to Dallas more now that I know a group where I am welcomed to ride. What a kick ass morning!!

Then... the icing on the cake... my dad & I took his bike into Richardson Bike Mart to get a chain cut off (long story) and he bought a helmet. We came back and he started riding around the block. My dad! On a bike!!! What have I done to this man? :) It's fun to see my love of cycling rubbing off on him.

I'm loving this visit to Dallas.

Skyspace Tending

While most people spent the Fourth of July watching the sky for massive explosions of color, my dad and I spent over an hour merely watching the sky. I wish I was a more talented writer; then I could relate how surreal this experience was. I'll try anyway.

How often do we stare into space, let our minds go blank, and just experience what it feels like to... well... BE? To let go of the inner voice inside your head, the one that won't shut up, and allow only present awareness to exist?

Over the past few months, I have been doing a lot of thinking. Probably more than I ever have in my life. I am trying to understand what it means to BE. The problem with "trying to understand" is that it is too conscious. By trying and by thinking, you end up short circuiting before you reach the BEING part. There is no try, there is only do. In this case, there is no try, there is only be.

I'll tell you this - it is near impossible for me. Silencing my inner thoughts is hard! They don't want to shut up!! "Did you lock the front door? Did you ever respond to that email? How long is my ride tomorrow? I'm hungry. I wonder what I'll wear to that wedding. How many people came to the website today? My foot hurts." And on, and on, and on...

I'm studying Eckert Tolle now, listening to his lectures on CD and reading "The New Earth." I think it will take a while to really grasp what he teaches, but now I really like what he's presenting in regards to just being. I'm nowhere near being able to share my thoughts on being, but I am excited to share my experience last night.

Dad & I went to the Nasher Sculpture Center to check out their latest exhibits and more so to see James Turrell's Skyspace at twilight. I've been here before, thought it was cool, and that was about it. Dad wanted to go back anyway. As for the exhibit, the Center explains it far better than I can:

In the 1970s, James Turrell began a series of works that he describes generically as "skyspaces." These are enclosed spaces - rooms or free-standing structures - open to the sky through rectangular or circular apertures in the roof. While they appear to be architectural in nature, these spaces exist solely to create the light effects and perceptual events that constitute Turrell’s art. This skyspace, Tending, (Blue), was commissioned as a site-specific project for the Nasher Sculpture Center. To achieve his optical effects, Turrell coordinates a complex system of lights that run in concert with natural cycles of sunrise and sunset, and respond to constantly changing atmospheric conditions.

In other words, there is this mid size room where you sit and stare up through a square cutout in the ceiling.
If you can allow your mind to rest, allow yourself to experience just BEING in that space, the most amazing things occur. I won't even begin to explain what I experienced, but I did snap some pictures to show the changes throughout the evening. What I can say is that I have never seen such beautiful blues in my entire life. I also found myself closer than ever to just being.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Heal Heel!

Thanks for all the well wishes for my feet! :) I wish I could say that it feels better, but then I'd be lying. However, I DID go to the doctor today and I don't have Plantars. Apparently I just bruised the $%*# out of my heel, and I need to back off to let it heal. Dr. said the intense pain comes because fat & blood don't like to mix. Who knew?

Which means no running. Damn it. So... Dionn and I will be quite the Couples Tri pair.... a pair of gimps who can't run!

Oh well... there are bigger and better things in store than this race. It is just frustrating to have such a stupid injury. However, I suppose any injury sucks, and this will actually heal, so that's the end of my complaining.

By the way, I have been generously applying Arnica Gel on it... and I think it has been helping. I love that stuff.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Foot on Fire

Damn it. Seriously... Damn it.

After watching 3 of my close friends wind up with painful foot problems, while I watched on silently thankful that I didn't have it, I have now fallen victim.

I seriously want to cut my foot off. My right heel hurts so much that I want to cry. I am walking around like an old man, and it sucks. I was just starting to ramp up my running again, too. Grrrrr.
Has anyone else had pain like this? I've had plantars before, but it's been more on my arches. Now my right heel feels like it is on fire - like little fire ants are biting it over and over and over, then stabbing it with tiny little knives. It is also very inflammed and has a whitish red patch about 1.5" in diameter. Is this plantars? Is it something else? Please help!
Owwww... I really don't want to resort to a saw.