Monday, April 23, 2018

When Is It Okay to Quit? Trick Question!

I did my first open water swim of the season this last Saturday.  It was in a small lake that was a rock quarry.  We can only swim in it for a couple of months in the spring because after that it starts to have algae.  It's about 300 yards to the opposite shore so it's a decent stretch and we can get a long workout without too many laps.

While the water is warmer than some of the local lakes, it isn't warmer by much.  I had on my wet suit, booties and neoprene cap.  All to help keep me as warm as possible.  
So nice to have sunshine after so much rain!!  It was a beautiful morning!!  Not as warm as it looks though. 😉
Getting into the water isn't too bad at first.  Until that first bit of water goes down the neck of the wet suit.  

Mike and I getting ready to start swimming.  (I am on the left)
My coach and his son were in kayaks.  The plan was for them to be hanging out with us while we swam.  My teammate Mike was the other crazy person swimming.  Another gentleman that works with Jon was going to be there too.  He is signed up for the swim portion of a relay team at the Oregon Dunes triathlon next month but wasn't too excited about swimming in a lake.  So this was a good chance for him to practice with other people and try and get more comfortable.  

When we got started I was struggling.  Everything felt fine until I put my face in the water.  It feels like pins are sticking me all over my face when the water is so cold.  It just hurts.  

I would put my face down and try and take a stroke and have to stop almost immediately.  

I tried a couple more times and was getting frustrated because it wasn't getting any better.  All I could think was that it was going to be a long swim and that I would be lucky to make it one time to the other side and back.  

Jon was in the kayak next to me and he just kept encouraging to keep trying, it would get better.  

I think it was about the sixth time that I put my face down I was finally able to start actually swimming and have it be tolerable.  

My face wasn't hurting from the cold and I was able to get into a good rhythm.  I got to the other side and stopped to talk with Jon about things to work on.  That's when I realized that I hadn't hit the right button to start my watch.  Dang it!  Missed out on over 300 yards of my swimming showing on my workout.  I know it shouldn't matter but, well, it does. lol  

I ended up going across the lake three times and back.  I felt good.  I was focusing on my form and some things that Jon was seeing that he wanted me to work on.  It wasn't about going fast but about getting used to the cold water and the wet suit again.  Especially since our first open water swim during a race is less than a month away.  

I had fun once I was able to get past the initial frustration.  

That got me thinking.  

When I first started and I had tried about three different times to get going and struggled with the pain I wanted to quit.  

I wanted to say it was just too cold and that I would try again another day.  

I wanted to say that I had given it a good go but it wasn't going to work.  

I wanted to say I had tried and sometimes it just doesn't work.  

But my coach said to keep trying.  

He said it would get better.  

I kept trying.  

It did get better.  

Three tries is good.  

But on Saturday, three tries was not good enough.  

I had to keep trying for a while longer before I could make it work.  

It made me wonder how many times we give something a good try and then give up. 

We give up when it seems reasonable.  We didn't give up after one try.  We tried several times.  Most people would say good job.  You gave it a good shot and it is reasonable to say enough is enough.  

But how often would we have been able to make something work if we had just tried a little longer?  

Or tried a few more times?  

I know that there are many times where I want to give up.   Where I can justify stopping because I did give it a pretty good shot.  

But what if was just on the edge of making it work?  

What if success was just one more try away?  

A lot of things about working with a coach correlate for me with my teaching.  As a teacher I know that there are times where a student is right on the edge of understanding some concept that we have been working on.  I am their cheerleader and encourager.  Pushing them to keep at it just a little bit longer.  Then we get to do a big happy dance together because it feels so good to have that light bulb go off!  It is my favorite part of being a teacher!  As the year goes by and the students learn to trust me, they are willing to keep going at something because they know I won't push them to do something I didn't 100% believe they could do if they just keep working at it. 

I appreciate the same concept from the learning end as well.  Having my coach there to keep pushing me and encouraging me because he knows that if I stick with it I can make it work. Then when I do we both do a happy dance that I overcame an obstacle.  

This translates into pushing a little harder when I'm on my own.  I can hear my coach's voice in my head telling me to keep at it, I can do it, don't quit.  (I hope that my students hear my voice telling them to keep at it long after I am not their teacher anymore.  😍)

So I keep at it, and I do it and I don't quit.  

Sometimes it's not about the pace or the time.

Sometimes it is about just getting it done and not giving up.  

Sometimes it is small things like putting my face in really cold water.  

Sometimes it is something that seems small to others but can be a huge thing in my mind.  Like using on clip on shoes with my bike.  I had to really work at not freaking out about that one this winter.  lol

This is my third season working with my coach.  There is a great deal of trust at this point.  I know that Jon is going to push me harder than I would push myself.  But I trust him.  So when he says I can do something, I take a deep breath and give it my best shot.  

When I am told to keep putting my face in the water, it will get better, I believe it.  

Lesson learned:  When someone who is helping you says that you need to keep trying just a little longer, listen to them.  It's worth some frustration and some discomfort in the long run.

This can be applied to so many things in life.

So apply where it seems appropriate for you and try just a little bit longer.  You might surprise yourself.  

**Mike checked the water temperature after we were done with the swim.  It was 56 degrees.  I have done colder but it still was a challenge.  😁🏊 

***Thank you Jon for letting me steal your pictures from Saturday.  

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Beaver Freezer 2018

It's been awhile since I've done a post.  It's been a busy few months.  I've been working through the affects of Seasonal Affective Disorder and am feeling better.  Not 100% but definitely not as bad as it was in January so that is a blessing for sure.  Last month I had the joy of getting shingles.  Ugh!!!  Talk about painful.  It was on my chest and shoulder, right where my bra strap sits.  I was a wee bit miserable.  I managed to work for a week and a half before I finally said screw it and took time off.  Luckily it was almost Spring Break so I took two days off of work and then got a week to try and rest and hope it went away quickly.  The rash is almost gone and I'm not as in much pain as I was but there is still discomfort.  The discomfort is tolerable in comparison to how it was.

Somehow I was able to do most of my workouts in spite of the shingles.  Although, usually the best part of the workout was finishing and being able to take my shirt and sports bra off.  So I was proud of myself for at least being able to keep moving even though sometimes it wasn't pretty.

Suddenly it's April and time for the first Triathlon of the season.  I wasn't able to do this race last year because of some heart issues.  Thankfully the issues have been resolved so it was just a small blip in the large scheme of things.  But I was sure disappointed to not be able to do the Beaver Freezer last year.
This year, in spite of the S.A.D. and the shingles I was able to participate in the race that was my first triathlon.  Well, not totally my first.  I had done the Last Chance Triathlon before I did the Beaver Freezer.  But this was the first where I was training and working towards a goal, not just gutting it out to see if I could finish. lol  So I think of it as my first serious triathlon.

I have been having some pretty good workouts the last few weeks, in spite of the shingles.  This week I have been struggling with a runny nose and a harder time breathing so I think the allergies are starting to kick in.

The weather report for the event was less than promising!  There was a high wind warning in affect for the area starting Saturday morning.

That adds a certain amount of anxiety to race preparation.  I already get nervous the day or two before a race, this just made it worse.

I went to Corvallis on Friday to pick up my race bag and my shirt.  Then I spent Friday evening getting all my stuff put together and organized.  That part seems to be a little easier.  I know what I like to have and where I need to have it.  Didn't keep me from double and triple checking to make sure I had everything I needed.

My name is the last name on the Z and ends on the E.  lol
I woke up around 4:00 a.m. and needed to pee.  I couldn't get back to sleep because I could hear the rain falling.  It was a lot of rain!  I had worn my Oregon Dunes Triathlon the evening before in order to remind myself that I had successfully completed a triathlon in yucky conditions last year.

I had to keep reminding myself of that.


I was glad when it was time to head load up and head to Corvallis.

It had stopped raining by the time I went to load up the bike and it was breezy but not too bad....yet.

Joe worked Friday and got off of work at 7:00 a.m.  So he was waiting for me in the parking lot at Reser Stadium.  He helped me carry my stuff to transition which was very appreciated since I had the bike, my backpack and my helmet.  I could do it all by myself but it is nice to have a handsome sherpa along to help me out.  ;-)

When we got to transition there were only two people at that particular entrance doing body markings.  So Joe asked one of the guys that he knows, Taz, if they needed help.  Taz was very glad to have another person helping out, so Joe handed me my stuff and I headed down to find my spot to rack my bike and start getting set up.

It wasn't too long before I saw my friend and teammate Rebecca.  Then I saw another teammate, Cathy.  These two ladies are amazing!  I have appreciated getting to know them better over the last year!
Cathy, me and Rebecca!  💜  Those are some seriously awesome smiles!!
I finished getting my things organized and had a little snack.  Suddenly it was time to head to the pool.  I had decided to have my towel and hat outside the pool this time.  Last time I had my running shoes and socks and put them on there but since I am now using clip in shoes for the bike that wouldn't have been a good idea.  We have a bit of a run to get from the building where our pool was to the transition area.  Small problem though, the door I went out to put my towel down locked behind me so I had to trot around the entire building to get to the door that I could go in and back down to the pool.  lol  Nice little warm up, in bare feet!

We got all lined up for our swim start.  I ended up with two other young ladies and we had fun chit chatting as we waited for our turn to start.  I always love the fun of meeting new people and getting to encourage other people.

I could see Joe and Jon up in the viewing area taking pictures.

Overall the swim went pretty well.  Had a few small issues.  My watch has a triathlon setting but since I only really do one triathlon a year with a pool swim I forget that it's set for an open water swim.  I also lost count of my laps.  Good thing there was a person counting for me!  The other thing that was a bit of an issue was my tri shorts.  While I haven't lost any weight for a long time it seems things have been changing in my body.  My shorts kept sliding down. lol  They have before in pool swims but usually stop at my hips and it's fine.  This time I could tell they were getting down to my butt cracky.  Nobody wants to see that!  So a couple of times when I got to the wall I had to reach down and give my shorts a yank up. 😁

Annoying, a little embarrassing, and yet I'm a little pleased to have that kind of problem.  Reminds me that not everything in being healthy is about the scale.

My swim time on my watch was 11:33.  Not too shabby.  Not as good as I've been doing in the pool but considering the allergy issues I've had this week I'll take it.  😀

I tried to get out on the wall but this pool has a stupid high wall with a ledge and it was really slippery.  I gave it one shot and decided to use the ladder since I was only one lane over.  Less stress in the long run.

The timing mat for the swim isn't until we get outside of the building.  I grabbed my hat and put it on and then my towel and took off for transition.  I was drying myself off and trotting along and there was a very tall OSU student sitting on a bench between Dixon and Goss Stadium and he looked at me like I was crazy. lol  Yep, pretty much!
My watch said this was almost a 1/4 mile.  
I got to transition and put on my shoes and socks, arm sleeves, coat, gloves, sunglasses and helmet and took off.  Joe was right there cheering me on.

As I moved through the transition area I got a big smile and a fist bump from my good friend Chad.  Always fun to see him at events!  (Can't wait to cheer him on at Ironman Canada this summer!)

Got to the bike mounting line and off I went.  The bike felt really good.  I think if there hadn't been so much wind I would have been even faster but I still was faster than I was in 2016 so I'll take it.  There was a couple of times where we were biking right into the wind.  On the way back from the 2nd turnaround the bigger wind gusts started catching my bike.  Whoa!  That is a weird feeling to have the bike wobble all over because the wind is having it's way with me.  You could hear multiple riders all go "Whoa!" when it would happen. Pretty funny.

Not only did I have a solid ride but it was my first race where I had on clip on shoes.  I managed to not fall down at the dismount area.  Which was good since I had a dream that I did just that the night before.  😉
Coach got this one of me finishing the bike ride.  I'm very visible in my jacket.  😉 (And check out those calf muscles!)
I headed back to my spot in transition to get ready for the run.  I wasn't moving very fast.  It takes a bit to get the legs going again and it's a little hard to run fast in clip on shoes.  While I was moving I unzipped my coat because I knew I wouldn't wear it on the run and I took off my gloves.  A few less things once I parked my bike.  When I got to my spot the lady next to me had her bike all the way over so there was no room for mine.  I seem to have the worst luck with that.  Seems like most of my races I have to fuss with moving someones bike or stuff out of the way.  The owner of the bike was standing there so I asked if it was hers and if I could move it, then I didn't wait for an answer and just moved it.  lol
From the dismount line to the start of the run, aka T2
I think I had a pretty decent transition time considering this was the first time I had to change shoes from bike shoes to running shoes.  Changed shoes, helmet off, coat off, grab race belt with bib on it and water bottle and go.

Overall the run went really well.  I went back and looked at my 5k times for all the sprint triathlons I have done the last two years.  This was my fastest other than the first Beaver Freezer.  Considering heart rate issues and figuring out fueling that wouldn't upset my stomach I'm okay with that.  While it wasn't my fastest 5k in a triathlon it was my second fastest.  Not too shabby.

I had kept my arm sleeves on but it was just warm enough for me that they were making me hot.  So I stripped them off and hoped that Joe would be at the top of the hill for me to throw them to him.  He was and I did. 😉

I felt pretty solid.  Not as fast as I had been in training runs but definitely felt better than I had at some of my tri's last summer during the run.  And it still wasn't raining!!  Although when we got to the bottom of the hill and had to run along 15th street heading south there was definitely a lot of wind there!!
Heading up the hill.
One more lap to go!
And done!  
Official finish time was 1:52:19.  That was an improvement of 2 minutes and 16 seconds from my race in 2016.

At first I had mixed emotions.  I knew that I had done better than the first time but I had been hoping to get under 1:50 so I was a little disappointed about that.  But at the same time I knew I had gotten a PR so that was super cool.  Proud and disappointed all at the same time.  Weird I know but I'm weird like that.

Looking at the numbers, my swim was faster, my transitions were faster and my bike was faster.  My run was a little slower than 2016 but it was still an average pace faster than any triathlon I did last year so that works for me!

Because they start the slower swimmers first and then the faster people later it makes for a lot of people of all different paces finishing at the same time.  I started about an hour earlier than most of my teammates so I finished but didn't have to wait long to see them going by on the run.  Loved being able to cheer some pretty cool people to the finish line.
Smiling before the race, still smiling after.  I think these two ladies are pretty badass! ❤
There was a little problem with the race results.  This is part of the reason for the delay in my race report.  The race organizers had given us the option of not doing the bike ride because of the windy conditions.  This would make the race an aquathon. When the race results showed up they showed all races as aquathons.  So my bike ride and my run were combined.  It looked like it took me an hour and thirty minutes to run 3.1 miles. lol  That's a wee bit slow, even for me.  😜

Today when I started looking at my race results for all my sprint distance triathlons I realized something else, this was my fastest sprint distance triathlon time overall.

That helped put things in perspective.

I did my best time overall in a sprint triathlon with super windy conditions during the bike ride that I know made my time slower than it would have been on a normal day.

I'm going to keep focusing on the fact that I feel stronger and faster in my workouts.

A couple of years ago, when I started getting serious about triathlons, I looked at the races I had signed up for and thought, "What the hell was I thinking!!!???"

Now I look at the races I have signed up for and I am ready to see how I can do.  How I can improve? And if I don't improve, figure out what to do next time to overcome whatever obstacles got in my way.

Thank you to my husband for coming and supporting me in my race.  I loved seeing him all along they way and loved all the pictures he took.  I couldn't ask for a better partner in all our adventures.

Thank you to my awesome coach, Jon Booth (Pure Endurance).  I appreciate his ability to push me out of my comfort zone to do things I'm pretty sure I can't, while also respecting that life throws curve balls that get in the way of training.

Also, my amazing daughter Bri, who spent all fall giving me swim lessons twice a week.  There has been some serious improvements in my swim the last few months and I know it's from all the lessons with Bri!!!  She is an amazing swim coach!!  (I'm not just saying that because she's my daughter! Seriously, she is a really good teacher.  I'm a wee bit proud of her.)

I'm really excited to see what the rest of the season brings.  I have three races that I have done twice before and I have added a new one.  I switching out my sprint in June for an Olympic distance at Pacific Crest at Sunriver at the end of June.  Little nervous and a lot excited about that race so that will be fun.  😝

I have 9 weeks of school left.  Lots to do at work, lots of training to be done.  It's going to be a busy few months!!