Needs & Wants….

Ok lets be honest, this time last year when all this Trithlon stuff was just for kicks and it was about just completing the event, having nice stuff wasn’t that big of a deal. Everything I used to get through my first TRI and all last season worked fine, its just time to get serious now. Its still all about completing the events and its still for the kicks, but its also for much more.   I didn’t need the fancy accessories and since I wasnt sure how far I was going to take this adventure, I didnt really want them either. Now its a part of my life. Its about beating my old times (that should not be difficult) and its about challenging myself more and participating in bigger events.

Now I need them. Now I want them.

First and foremost I need a heart rate monitor.  This is an absoulte need.  I will have this upon the cashing of my next paycheck. There is no way I can distinguish my easy workouts from hard workouts properly without one.  And if I am not benefiting from my workouts then whats the point.  Why wake up early and  sacrifice time/sleep or give up other activities to do workouts if I am just being mediocre. I dont need to be breaking anyones records but my own, but in order to get better I need the proper tools- beginning with the heart monitor.  

The next order of business is the bike.  Given my circumstances of really only having just learned to ride the bike four months before my first race, I didn’t want/need some fancy road bike.  I still dont need anything fancy but I do need a real road bike.  The bike I have has been good for learning and mild training, but I know that without the road bike I wont be able to really improve. I have been saving my change for over a year which probably equals to a couple hundred and lucky for me, my awesome parents saved their change for me over time and gave it to me as an xmas gift. This probably also equals a couple hundred. Together that puts me in pretty good shape for a decent bike.  Hopefully I will have this by mid-spring.

Lastly, along with the bike, I would like a bike trainer. This isnt a need- purely a want, and I will only allow myself this indulgence if I find a good one of Craigslist for a low price. I saw a few in the $100 range which I know is a great deal- the problem is I dont know a single thing about a bike trainer. I dont know which one to get, how to set it up or what to do with it once I have it. I do however know that once I have one I can train inside and this will probably make me more comfortable about training outside. So I have to look into this and its probably not going to happen this year.

There are about thirty other things I could ramble off about wanting, but I know enough to know they are wants and not needs. On my tight budget I have to really be able to assess the difference. If you dont know already- this is a VERY expensive sport. And the lists of needs and wants never seems to get shorter, only longer.

Notes on Lent

Today is the start of Lent.  I will admit that for the most part, I dont follow the Catholic church but I have for some reason always believed in Lent.  I think it is humbling to see what a difference taking something away or adding something new in your life makes- whether its big or small. 

Last year, instead of giving something up, I took on something new.  Thats when I decided to get really fit. I was already on WW and working hard with the triathlon in mind, but for Lent I treated myself to one year of personal training.  It felt really good to take on the challenge and it most certainly gave me the discipline that I am so depending on for this upcoming season.  

This year it just isnt possible to take on something new and I was finding it difficult to give something up when I already feel as though I sacrifice so much during this time of the year as it is. I didn’t want to give up anything that would interfere with what little social life I have during this time but I also wanted it to be something that was truly something worth the effort.  Between the time I give up for my daily life plus doing what is necessary for proper training, there isn’t much left to take away.  The thing is, as if it wasn’t enough to be a 3/4 time student while working a full time job, the Spring is also the start of softball which I coach at the school I work for.  Take all that and add training on top of it and I am a pretty busy girl.

So after some thought, I decided to take the morning to think about my decision. As lunch approached it dawned on me.  Years ago for lent I had given up soda and it ended up lasting almost six years.  For whatever reason I decided one day to have a soda and haven’t been able to give it back up since.  Over the last year I am to the point of drinking one soda every day for lunch and usually I have soda on the weekends too.  So decision made: no soda for lent. Giving up soda will be hard (kind of the idea behind the sacrifice) but it will be worth it because in the end I will be healthier.  Given its upside, I couldn’t think of a better idea.  The downside is that it will probably make for a lot more coffee drinking!

See Jill Run…

I officially ran tonight for the first time since Novemeber 23!   3 miles in 36:06. It was nothing spectacular but I wanted to do cartwheels out of excitement. If this was six months ago I would be really dissapointed with a 12:02 pace, but having not ran in 3 months I am really happy with that time.  This is proof that I am able to bounce back and I really think its only going to be better from here.

The run itself felt great- I paced well and felt good. My knee started to bother me into the third mile so I slowed it down a little, worked through it and resumed the run.  Feels good now after a good stretch and some much needed ice.  If I stay on top of taking the care I need of my knee then I think I’ll be back to my old self in no time.

Looking back

If you went and found my old gym teachers and told them that I have completed a Triathlon and that I am currently training for a 1/2 and full marathon- they would keel over (so I dont recomment you actually tell them).  As much as I loved to play sports and be active, I was never very…how do I say this…accomplished in my efforts. 

I was always the kid who took home the green participation ribbion on Track and Field day- I always tried my hardest but it just never seemed up to par.  Receiving that green ribbon really pissed me off every year; it made me feel like I was being made fun of in some way for not being good enough.  Like “here’s your ribbon for showing up”.

Looking back I get it though, because all these years later its the same story- I still take home the green ribbons of participation, in the form of certificates and/or finishers medals. The difference is I love them now.  I deserve them. I am a participant and it isnt about winning, its about doing something bigger than yourself. Its about putting yourself out there and facing challeneges. My “green ribbons” are proof of my accomplishments and I am proud of them. I save each of them as well as all of my bibs.

So today I decided to add the races I completed in 2008 to my sidebar.  I have to say, it kind of depressed me when I saw how little I actually raced.  And I know that I should be super proud of myself for even attempting the things I did, considering where I started, but it felt like I did a lot more than I did. I attribute this feeling to the fact that I attended and volunteered many races and perhaps that is why I was thinking I actually did more.  With all that said, I am still really proud of all my accomplishments thus far.

I also noted my planned 2009 races- much more exciting that last year and I am really looking forward to it getting here.  Not only am I destined to PR on distance but I am training for new events as well. 

Bring on the green ribbons!

Schedule?? Not so fast…

So this morning, I woke up ready to get started on my new “dont-be-lazy, get-on a-schedule”, schedule.  And then I realized that it doesnt start until next week. I dont want to start early because it is specific to my training and will end the week before Philly Womens Tri which is my “A” race this year.  For all my whining about not wanting to be on a schedule, I must admit I was a bit disaspointed to find out I was off a week. I think deep down I am looking forward to becomming more disciplined.  With that said, this week is super busy and it would have been almost impossible not to have missed a work out so I am glad to get a bye and not have to chance screwing up the first week.  Cause I would prefer to not screw up.

So anyway, without a schedule to follow, I treated today like I would any other non-scheduled training day- thought about what I wanted to do and did that. I knew my workout had to be rather short since I had so much painting to do at my new place, so I opted for a 30 minute swim and 40 minutes on the stationary bike.  I know the stationary bike isnt ideal, but I missed the morning spin class so it just had to do. Plus it doubled as homework time as I still had 100 pages to read  for my class tomorrow.  My swim was great- only a few people in the pool and the water was a nice temp.

Overall it was a good workout despite being short.  Really looking forward to the weather getting nicer so I can get outside more for workouts.

The time has come…

Its official, this Sunday my training schedule begins!  I am happy to be getting back on track but like I have said before, nervous about sticking to a schedule.  Fitting in the proper training to my already overwhelming schedule is going to take a serious amount of discipline.  But I welcome the challenge and look foward to reaping the rewards.    

I am following the Beginner Triathlete program for a Run-Focused Olympic Distance Tri.  I tweaked it (very) slightly in order to fit in my work/school/coaching schedule but overall the distances and times equal out.  I dont have any set plans to do an Olympic Distance this year (except maybe a relay)  but its not out of the question either.  I figured that if I did decide to do one, I would at least be prepared. At the very least it will help me prepare for the 2010 season in which I will definitely be doing Olympic distance and also when I plan on doing my first  half-ironman.  I chose the run focused program because of all the road racing I do outside of trithlon.  With my first 1/2 marathon and full marathon both taking place this year, I felt this program would be most beneficial.

Stay tuned………