Friday, February 27, 2009

Tired, but looking ahead to the weekend...

A day off for a triathlete is often an easy "spin" or a quick swim. Crazy that we'll jump into the pool and swim four grand, and call it a day off. That is after all more than most people do any day! I had planned on going for an easy spin today, but just couldn't get up the energy to get out the door. Bike clothes on, but my ass was back in bed and not in the saddle. oops!
Finally at 5:00 I was out the door for an easy run instead. Why is it just so hard to decide that I'm tired and just chill out for the day! But my mind thinks about working out or not working out until I just get out there and do something.
I felt a bit sluggish. But then a song came on my iPod that made me focus and remember why I was on the road, instead of on the couch. Music can be a nice background to a solo run or ride. But it can also be a motivator, distraction and/or sound that brings focus to why we're out there training. My pace quickened, my mind shut out all other stresses, and I ran with a purpose as I watched the sun set over the pacific.
Next song "Apologize." I don't know why that song totally motivated me last season. There is just something strange about the beat. Now the song reminds me of all those training days motivated by the thought of racing in Kona....and how awesome it was when all the hard work paid off!

Another week comes to a close, and a big weekend lies ahead. Tomorrow we're riding the final stage from the Tour of California. We'll work our way up several climbs, including the 5,000+ ft. climb of Palomar Mt. And with a climb like that, there is no doubt the testosterone levels will be through the roof! I just hope I can hold on!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

YOGA?!?! It's ALL about finding the right studio!

What is all this yoga craze? Several years ago I tried a yoga class at my gym back in MI. It was ok, but too much staying in the same position for this a.d.d. girl! Just wasn't a fan!

At the end of the 2007 season I suffered a tendon injury during the 70.3 championships. I was in an air cast/boot for months, and unable to run for 4+ months. Friends told me to try yoga. Yoga instead of running? I wanted to shoot myself. Endurance athletes don't sit still very easily, especially this one! To hold a pose was mentally draining, especially when it was replacing the time I had been spending running. After trying a few studio's I gave up. Yoga just wasn't for me.

I didn't return to another class (even through friends kept talking it up like the next best performance enhancing drug) UNTIL I went to Sculpt Fusion Yoga.

It just so happens that Tuesday is my least favorite day of the week. I am exhausted from the weekend training, the work week seemed long, and things always went wrong on Tuesdays. After a "Terrible Tuesday" I walked into Sculpt Fusion for a class with Claire. This was not like other yoga classes! It was the perfect balance of strength, flexibility, and relaxation. I was however still sceptical. So I asked a friend (who has been trying to get me to see the benefits of yoga for some time now) to come with me the following week. Again, I LOVED IT! So did she. I have gotten to know the owner and instructors at the studio and just love it. One Terrible Tuesday after another was redeemed by the power of yoga.

So...if you ask me now if endurance athletes should find time within their cardio and strength workouts for yoga, my answer will be: "Absolutely! But don't go to any yoga class! TRY SCULPT FUSION!" The studio is located in Carmel Valley (4639 carmel mountain road #102). It really has changed my opinion on yoga!

For those of you in San Diego, let me know if you want to try a class at this studio, and I'll gladly join you! Plus, you're first week is free!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Palm Springs kicks off the year of Century Rides and Long Runs

The economy is plummeting, and the word in every news paper is beyond depressing! It seems that call after call from friends brings about another sad story of a friend going through a tough time. I too am going through one of those "tough times," but in the midst of it am finding ways to stay positive and remember life doesn't stop just because there is a speed bump in the road!
So in order to keep my mind side tracked I have stepped up the training. One of my favorite quotes comes from a famous rowing coach. He recorded the following message and his rowers listened to it every morning before heading out the door to practice:

"Good day, we are privileged to live another day in this magnificent world. Today you will be tested. Today you will contact your death with the power of your living. As a warrior this is your practice. You must silence your body and senses and quiet your breath and mind that you may create within yourself by act of will the mood of a WARRIOR" - Mike Livingston

In order to quiet my mind I took off for Palm Springs this past weekend. It was an endurance athletes dream "vacation." Well except that it was freezing! (ok, not MI freezing...but SoCal freezing!). Saturday was the annual Palm Springs Century ride. I met up with some friends and took off for my first century (106 miles actually) ride of the year. At mile 25 my friend Becky rolled up next to me. She's a dynamite little cyclist, so it was great that we found each other out there! Together we avoided any and all packs for the entire ride...but didn't avoid all the tacks in the road. Tacks in the road...who does that! Riding with her, and avoiding the huge packs was a lot more pleasant than joining in the sketchy draft fest that goes on out there. Plus, it will make us stronger....right!?!?! There we are...riding three girls strong (Jodi, Becky and me)...all triathletes refusing to "take the easy way" and draft. So silly! This is about mile 75. Soon after we decided we'd give in and form a small pace line (many tried to join the back of our little pace group, but we kicked each one of 'em off by flooring it and loosing any intruders!)...But I was happy for those small drafting moments! After all there was more training to do on Sunday.

Yes. Sunday....I woke up exhausted, and my legs were praying that I'd stay in bed with my compression tights and socks on. But only 2 miles away people would be running a half marathon. I couldn't stay in bed!
Unlike in Carlsbad I had zero interest in warming up , or preparing for a P.R. performance. I remained in the car until the last possible moment, kept all my warm clothing on and headed for the start. The gun went off and there we went....cruising along at 6:15 pace. I turned to my friend Lori, and prayed we'd slow up and run a bit smarter. And soon after we did. She set a very steady pace from the start, as I thought my quads might implode! I opted to stay with Lori and run together. My plan was to keep my heart rate low through half way, then pick it up if possible, hold to mile 10 and then cruise to the finish. I turned my focus to helping a friend break 1:35. It was WAY more pleasant than running alone! So until mile 9 we ran together. The miles actually went by pretty quick and I finished well. 1:32 the day after 106 mile ride. I'm cool with dat!!

To have the friends I do is a blessing that no words can describe! And all too often I don't think those of us that train/race together realize what we do for each other. We provide an escape from a world that isn't always so pleasant! We provide each other with a social outlet that allows us to silence our minds and create in ourselves the mood of a that can conquer the athletic arena and one that can conquer any other speed bumps that life throws our way!