Sunday, April 12, 2009

new life!

happy easter, everyone. easter is about new life. i think i got that right. i'm not a religious person, though i do believe i practice a spiritual life and that it is indeed a practice, as opposed to a theory. i used to always sneak out of our non-denominational sunday school in the west village to play pinball at the local head shop, but that's a whole 'nother "oprah". point is, somewhere over the past 40 years if life i absorbed that easter is about new life.

all of this is just a thinly veiled attempt to connect easter and new life to what i really want to talk about ... my training.

a little over a week ago i sent an email to my coach. "i am peering over the edge. we've taken me there." i felt like my run that day had been t-o-u-g-h and i was exhausted, but at the same time i felt an undercurrent of strength. it was the first time i had ever had that sensation or at least been aware of it and i was psyched. i felt all bad ass. liz wrote back, that that was great, but now we needed to be quiet and listen to what else my body had to say. we didn't want to take it over the edge. the next day, wham my bad ass was now inverted and i felt ass bad. we dialed it back a bit, dropped a strength training session and put a question mark next to the hard brick i was supposed to do that sunday.

that weekend i went down to oceanside. saturday was my rest day, but i can't say as i really rested. it was a blast, but between the blow up mattress sleep, the early wake up, the miles of walking and many decibels of shouting, it wasn't like quietly sitting at home with j. and fraidy watching 'millionaire matchmaker' (though she kinda makes my blood boil at times so that may not be the best example).

point is, i wasn't sure about sunday. i had a 1:45 bike with a 30 minute TT thrown in and a 45 minute negative split run on tap. i was willing to miss it if my body was saying uh-uh, but i was hoping that wouldn't be the case. i sent liz an email the night before and told her that i was feeling pretty good. certainly good enough to try and asked her what i should change the workout to if i get out there and find i am still fatigued. she wrote back, that i change it to "get off my bike and rest for the day."

and so i went ... and i was able to do it. i felt pretty dang good ... a whole dang better than i had felt during the week.

then this past week was a rest week so my workouts have been light and friendly. saturday had a bike test scheduled. we both wanted to re-test my zones and then a 30 min. run off the bike cut up into 3rds ... settle in, build it up, push HARD.

i did the test. thought i might puke. zones are rock solid.

i was a little nervous to go out on the run because i was red faced and feeling kinda woozie, but i quickly re-grouped. my first 10 min. i felt downright springy!! springy and running are not two words i would usually put together when describing me, but i was loving it. the next 10 felt super solid, i was cruising. it felt meaty, satisfying, but not tiring. the last 10 ... well, i pushed and i felt great! it was hard, but a different kind of hard. it wasn't the hard "i think i might die and why do i do this damn triathlon stuff anyway?" hard that i feel when swimming a hard 100 in the pool. i was in control. i felt no fear. the wheels weren't coming off ... they were all greased up and spinning.

after i got home and anally mapped out my run and then o-c-d-ishly mapped out the segments of each 10 minutes of the run to see what the avg. pace had been, i grinned ear to ear. never had a seen a "6" at the beginning of my average mile time. i've seen it briefly while flying downhill on a trail run, but not at the end of a 30 minute run after doing a hard bike test and as an average!

sure, it's not about the numbers, but two things ... 1) the numbers are tangible and shoot, fun! and 2) it's progress. clear cut progress which is all i ever really want to see. i feel like i have been in a holding pattern with my training and performance and not living up to what is inside and those 10 minutes were proof that i am moving. : )

at the end of the week i had i decided it was time to get in the ocean. generally, we in this household, don't do april open water swimming, but i have a race in 3 weeks and open water swimming can be challenging for me. i nearly drown 6 years ago on a practice swim, two weeks before my first tri and it's left a nasty scar with a fickleness about open water swimming.

but i was ready today to finish off a successful weekend of training with a dip. the thing about open water swimming for me is that i actually love it ... once i am out there and if i feel secure that i won't die ... it's actually heaven and i fall into a much nicer rhythm than i do in the pool. we weren't out there for all that long, but it was fantastic.

after the swim i had a nice, easy 45 minute run. now much like springy and running don't usually go together for me, "nice" and "easy" also don't. in her notes for easy runs my coach often says "just enjoy a nice easy run today". thing is i don't so much enjoy the "easy" runs. they sometimes hurt more than the hard ones and i always feel like a slug ... sluggin' along.

but today i decide, no matter what, i am staying below my top zone 1 number. whatever it takes. slug away. i started on an incline ... not really setting myself up for success, was i? but ya know what? i enjoyed my run!! i didn't slug. i wasn't exactly prancing, but i felt fairly light, my mind was on my swim and thinking about my race nutrition and the miles just ticked by, fluidly.

so tying this all back to how i started ... i didn't go to church today. i don't have anything or anyone, in particular, that i worship, but i felt grateful to be able to do what i do and to feel good about it. i felt full of "new life" and said a prayer of thanks to whomever/whatever makes this universe spin 'round and gives us all the ability to get up each day, to embrace new life and to strive to reach our dreams, whatever they may be.

happy easter!



Molly said...

Awesome post!

I am so glad to see your training coming together so nicely. I know it's going to pay off for your race and I can't wait to lose my voice cheering for you!!!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Great job Cat - what a fantastic post! Thanks for sharing your Easter and the days leading up to it! Hooray for 'springy' runs and OW swims - awesome!

ADC said...

Nice week of training. I am yet to see that 6 connected with a mile time but I bet it's a great feeling. Well done Cat.

Mama Simmons said...

YOU ARE 40???


*Thank you* for this post. I am going into a much needed recovery week now and as much as I understand them in theory, they are hard for me in practice... but reading your post today is going to help! In fact, I may come back to it daily this week. ;0

Beth said...

Cat - this is all so great to hear!! Glad the training is all coming together. That feels so good doesn't it? And perfect timing too as it seems that first race is not so far away! Yea!!

Jennifer Harrison said...

Hey Cat!!! I am SO stoked to read this post - it is like this rejuvenated CAT - and rest is all good..sounds like you had a 'breakthrough' and really humming along nicely! great post! :) nice to read.

Laura from NY said...

Nice post Cat. I'm glad to hear your training is going so well. Your running paces sound downright "springy." Good luck on the upcoming race!