Thursday, December 31, 2009

10 years is a long time...a reivew

I'm stealing my friend Max's idea to look back on the past 10 years and what they held. Next a few days...hahaha...i will look at what 2010 holds. I don't write quite as eloquently as Mr. Max but i'll do my best. There have been a lot of mile stones in the past 10 years.

2000 I graduated from my tiny undergrad with a degree in Chemistry...not a bad way to start off a decade. I then moved to New Zealand that fall and began a two year adventure that sometimes makes me wonder why i ever left.

2001 was marked with lots of traveling around NZ in my green 1987 Mazda 626 i'd named Kermit and did a lot of growing up. I made a lot of mistakes...but who doesn't? I played a lot of ultimate frisbee around the country for a team in Auckland. Yes...not many people know there are competitive Ultimate Frisbee leagues.

A co-worker planted the seed of triathlon in my little head as he was training for IMNZ. Both years I was in NZ i coincidentally in Taupo when IMNZ was going on. I thought those people were nuts. Especially the guy on the run without any shoes. And the guy who got 10 shades of excited when I started cheering for him. He was so happy it scared me.

I started training for an Olympic distance race but ended up moving in the middle of all the chaos back to the states and never did one. Good thing...i was not prepared for that distance and I probably would have had a horrible experience. I made the decision to move back to the states and out to MA and start grad school--five very long years.

I still wasn't a triathlete and played a season of ultimate frisbee in a summer league. Realized, once again...i didn't like playing frisbee in the states. The culture here is different than overseas and stopped playing in the Fall. I walked at #1.

Got tired of the gym and that seed of triathlon that had been planted 2 years before started to take hold. Convinced a friend of mine to do our first sprint distance race. Remember thinking: i am going to have to exercise for close to TWO whole hours straight!! Wondered if I might fall over and die in the middle of it. Never occurred to me that in a two day Frisbee tournament I probably played waaaaaaaaaaaaaay longer than that. Had no idea what I was doing...but enjoyed the challenge of it.

2005 My mom had a heart attack and survived. Made being healthier a priority for me. Tried to quit grad school. Was unsuccessful and somehow chalked it up to: it wasn't meant to be and stayed. Another year of sprint distant races. Still riding a 75 dollar pawn shop beauty that sometimes would stop shifting at important in a race. Got a new bike at the end of the season. Ran my first half marathon in bucketing rain. Still remember a fellow gradschool/runner confused that my only goal was to finish and that I had no time goals. I didn't know what to i just went. Despite the downpour and squeaky shoes i had a good first experience.

2006 Got to do a little of what i love....teach. Did my first olympic distance-ish race (x2), actually TRAINED for a half marathon and broke 2 hours (thanks Joe!). This was my first taste at true athletic training and what it meant to do 400m track fun and hill repeats. I enjoyed it...but very quickly my athletics was put on a the back burner.

2007 Grad school was at a tipping point. It was not pretty. I somehow managed to secure a job...convince my adviser to let me graduate...defend and then move to San Diego. Triathlon? what's that? I did actually do one or two triathlons that season.

We also had a 'triathlon' at my going away party that entailed a slip-n-slide, a scooter war and a three legged race. My team won!

Fell while trail running a few days before my 30th birthday. The muscle psoas became an unfortunate part of my vocabulary...and still is.

2008 I was in the mecca of triathlons...but almost quit. Loved the sunshine. Bought my first wetsuit. Walked for #2. Dealt with hip injury. Signed up for my first half ironman but knew the hip wouldn't hold so backed out. Hired a coach in the fall. Something I never thought I would do. Discovered the velodrome and bought a fixie. Yes me...miss scaredy-pants on a bike that has no brakes and can't stop pedaling. Loved it.

Was a big year for me with training. I actually know hill repeats, time trial efforts, swim blocks, ect...mainly because my coach made me. :-) Was signed up...again...for my first half ironman, Vineman 70.3.

Was a year of PR' breaking my previous half marathon PR by almost 5 minutes on a very difficult course, La Jolla. Ummmm Torrey pines is soooooo fun to run up. Fastest sprint distant race time to date. Even broke my 10K PR twice now this year and the second time i was still recovering from the swine flu.

But the biggest athletic accomplishment was my first half ironman...Vineman 70.3. I hit a reach goal of sub six hours on a VERY hot day and had an amazing experience. Started to understand myself as an athlete better. And am now signed up for my first ironman!

2010 Holds ironman and some other crazy things to juggle. More on that in a future post.

The past decade has held its highs and lows....lots of learning and lots of growing. It will be interesting to see what the next 10 years hold.

So...raise your glasses and cheers! To the next decade!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

There's a catch to it

Technique is currently being HAMMERED into my head. Swim technique is a major focus...and then there is some run technique too. But swim technique has been hammered with endless 25y's. The focus of 25ys...perfect technique and repeat. I mentioned this awhile back and i have been swimming not huge volume but frequently...4 days a hair and skin are starting to protest a little even with anti-chlorine shampoo and lotion. But I am seeing some dumbfounding improvements where I shake myself and say: but isn't that supposed to be my ALL OUT time? And really these improvements were just from one swim clinic about six weeks ago where my take home message was: hug a bear. Sure that was a motto i came up with, but after this last weekend's six weeks of bear hugging has paid off. My coach gave me the thumbs up to move on to focusing on my stroke. One thing I like is my 'homework' usually is only 2 or 3 things to think about and focus on.

Ah yes...the catch of the stroke. I have discovered that if upon entering the water I subtly drop my wrist which causes the catch of the stroke to start later...and hence I am not pulling as much water through the stroke. But I have also discovered that i think i am destined to have massive deltoids because just when I thought i finally had some strength to them...this catch/pulling focus now tires the delts pretty quickly. But it is coming...and for whatever reason I really am digging the ability to focus on technique and it is paying off! That probably helps the motivation when I'm in the middle of a set of 72x25y and want to poke my eyes out from the repetition. But somehow I come back to center in the middle of it and embrace it again. It somehow works for me.

So in the meantime i will be working on my catch...and maybe I will start growing some fins and gills too.