Week In Review- 7/26-8/1

Week in Review; 7/26-8/1

(Yes, I realize I am posting this on a Saturday, however I am racing tomorrow therefore I can include the race into my week in review since a full report will follow.¬† Oh, and because it is my blog and I do what I want ūüôā )

Monday: Rode for 9.5 miles after work.  Pleasantly surprised at how good my legs felt after the weekend!

Tuesday: 800 meters in the pool.  100 warm-up, 200 meter kick set, 500 meter free swim.  Really strong swim but had to cut it short because I was running late that morning.

Wednesday: PT active dynamics and 45 minutes lifting in the morning and then 2.5 mile run after work- super hot!  Last short run before half-marathon training officially begins.

Thursday: Planned rest day.

Friday: Rest day- not planned…just started off lazy and then was out all day.¬† I had plans at night¬†so I¬†never quite got it together for a workout.¬†

Saturday: Did not want to go into a race day with three days off but also did not want to push it right before a race.¬† Therefore, I¬†opted to take a leisure bike ride with mom down by the river and around town. Ended up being about 5 miles and even though it wasn’t anything hardcore, it got my legs spinning.

Sunday: Belmar Sprint Tri.  Race report to follow!

Weekly High:¬†I signed a lease on a new place ūüôā WOO HOO!!!!

Weekly Low:¬†¬†Lets face it, my workouts this week¬†were less than stellar.¬† I won’t even lie…weeks like this, I am embarrassed to even post a review!

Three things I am grateful for this week:

  1. All of you ūüôā¬† Your wonderful comments on my Full Disclosure post mean more than you know!
  2. My PT- even though I no longer go to her on the regular, she offered to tape me for last weeks race and is always there for me when I have questions and/or concerns.
  3. Friends- I had a good friend really come through for me this week…I am forever thankful.

Quote of the week:¬† ‚ÄúThe reward of a thing well done is to have done it.‚ÄĚ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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I Must Be Crazy

I signed up for this race….

Perhaps there was something in the water at NJ STATE because clearly, I have lost my mind. 

The day after NJ State (clearly still on a crazy finishers high that left me with no wits about myself) my friend/teammate Michelle sent out an email about this race.  No joke, within three hours there were 8 of us signed up and by the end of the day we had a hotel room to make it a weekend adventure!  I have done Mud Runs before but this is not your ordinary mud run! 

Joe over at Joe Is Running For Dom, is also crazy enough to do this race when it is in his area.¬† (Lucky for Joe, it comes to Maryland before Texas, so¬†he will be¬†able to read my report.)¬† Of course…Joe is a man, taller than 5 foot and a super speedy runner.¬† Me, notsomuch any of that!¬† Oh, and did I mention this all takes place one week¬†before my Baltimore half-marathon!¬† Good thing Baltimore is just for fun, right!¬† This is going to be one for the record books!¬†

Oh, and don’t be jealous of swag, including the super cool warrior helmet (circa Adventures in Babysitting) that I will win when I cross that finish line!

Anyone else becoming a Warrior this year??

NJ State Sprint Tri Report

It’s gonna be a long one ūüôā

Race:

Distance- Sprint; 500 meter swim, 11.5 mile bike, 3.1 mile run

It was hot hot hot out!  The high was 100 (with heat index at 115) and it was already 88 degrees at the 7:55 start!

Pre-Race:

Wake up call was 4am and it was already hot and humid!¬† Got ready, stopped at wawa and was on my way!¬† I was super calm and feeling really good about the day.¬† For the first time ever, I was not nervous at all.¬† On the ride up, I kept commenting to my mom, that I was actually nervous that I wasn’t nervous. Haha.¬† We got there right around the planned time, parked and headed into bodymarking.¬† It was so hot that I had to be bodymarked twice because I was sweating like a freaking man so much and my first set wiped off!¬† After I was set up in transition it was over to the TT tent to hang out before the race.¬† Race start was 7:55 but I wasn’t until wave 7 so I had time to hang out.¬†(There were 17 waves!! It is the biggest race in New Jersey!)¬† At about 8am we all made our way to the swim.

Swim- 13:31; 664/1362

No wetsuits (which was pretty obvious) and even if we could, I would not have worn one because that water was downright hot!  I started to sweat while we treaded waiting for the whistle to go!  I had decided, since the waves were fairly large, to hang back a little.  I knew this would cost me some time but in my opinion it is better than getting kicked in the head.  The decision was a good one because I was able to settle right into a rythym and had a really clear path for most of the swim.  A few girls grazed my foot or arm and one was zig-zaggin really bad in front of me until I was able to get around her but overall it was a good swim.  I felt strong and ran right up the ramp and into T1.

What I would do different:¬† I¬†might have held back a little too much- better safe than kicked in the face but still…next time I’ll get closer in.¬† Other than that, nothing…the swim was perfect.¬† And for the first time ever in a tri, I beat more than half the participants in a category!

T1- 3:48

Ran in, got my shoes and helmet on and was ready to go.  Then I saw Blake and his Dad David (David and Blake are from NJ; they are a team much like Rick and Dick Hoyt) and just had to run over and tell them how much watching them race together inspired me.

What I would do different:  Nothing.  Spending a minute with David and Blake was worth it!

Bike- 45:03, 15.3 avg; 985/1362

I had a long run through transition and was so ready to get on the bike by the time I hit the pavement.  I was feeling confident and ready to ride!  The course itself was a bit technical for me, with a lot of turns that kept forcing me to slow down.  One road was potholed and full of gravel which also cost me time.  On the smooth roads I was clocking anywhere from 17-22mph which kept me feeling great about my race, even though I would slow down to about 12-14mph on turns.  I tried not to focus too much on my odometer and just push through, so imagine my surprise when I looked down to see I had only a mile to go!  My goal for the bike was 55 minutes so I was elated when I realized I could be in by 45 minutes.  I gave it my all for that last mile, dismounted and ran into T2.  I was grinning ear to ear and so pumped for the run even though by that time it was friggen ridiculously hot!

What¬†I would do differently:¬† I have to learn how to work my gears to better benefit my riding…I have trouble getting them set right and I know I lose time fiddling with them.¬† At times I know if I had my gears in better position I would have been able to go faster with less effort.¬† But overall, my bike was awesome…15.3 is by far the bext mph average I have ever had and I felt amazing!

T2: 2:32

Pretty easy…grabbed some bloks, ate a gu, threw a bottle of water over my head and clipped on my race belt.¬† I took a bottle of water (I froze it the night before- BRILLIANT plan by the way!) and I was out.

What I would do differently: Nothing.

Run- 36:31, 11:41 avg; 1003/1362

I jetteted out of transition so fast I forgot that I had brought a bottle of water to drink and needed to hydrate.  I drank/walked for about 150 feet and then picked it back up when I saw my mom and Brian waving to me.  (I saw them after each leg- I am so glad that my mom got to see me race stress free and happy the entire way!)  The run course was an out and back that took place somewhat on a trail and somewhat on a running path.  It was a nice run but so darn hot!  Even though more than half of the course was shaded, it was brutal.  The heat was unbearble on the run.  I have never witnessed so many people walk in a race.  I made it a point to only walk through the water stops, which thankfully were at every mile.  Each stop had water, heed and kids with supersoaker guns.  The turnaround point had rags that had been soaked in ice water.  The supersoakers and rags were lifesavers! 

To be honest, I did not feel that great on the run…I was definitely struggling but because I had been having such a great race I refused to let myself get down…I just kept pushing.¬† It went like this run-jog-trot-jog-run-trot-jog-water stop-walk-repeat.¬† I loved that while out there I was seeing so many teammates.¬† At one point I saw my friend Dee who is a super fast biker/runner.¬† She had started 25 minutes behind me in wave 11 and was coming up on me quick on the run…I really did not want her to pass me so I started hauling ass to the finish line.¬† After making it up Mount Everest the smallest hill ever, I rounded the corner with .2 to go in the race and knew I was going to crush my goal.¬† As I came into the finish shoot I could hear my teammates Ryan and Kristin yelling for me to sprint so I just kicked it into high gear and pushed.¬† And I won’t lie…I fist pumped all the way through the finish line.

Overall: 1:40:59

I had told my mom that I should be by 1:50 but that my goal was 1:45.  Clearly I was BEYOND thrilled when I crossed that line.  My watch said (unofficial) 1:41:54 so I knew no matter what I smashed my goal time!  Official results came up and I was over the moon!  Almost 5 minutes faster than I had expected- and in that crazy heat nonetheless.  This was my first time racing the course,  but I still think of it as a PR.  My last race of similar distance (the bike was .5 less) was last year in Belmar and I did 3 minutes better in this race. 

It goes without saying that I am on cloud 9…even still today.¬† I wish I could bottle that race experience up.¬† Once I made the decision to drop, I was completely calm.¬† I made a deal with myself to enjoy the race and just have¬†fun.¬† I took the pressure off and did great!¬† I do not regret my decision for a second.¬† This was by far my favorite race to date.¬†

The stats by numbers:

Age Group- 59/87

Gender- 985/1362

Overall- 942/1362

And some photos!

Transition, ready to go!

Mom, friend, biggest fan, photog, best jockstrapper EVER

David and Blake gearing up for their swim!

Out in the water, ready to go!

Coming into T1- feeling strong!

Heading out on the bike…

Here come David and Blake

Down right elated with my bike time!

Sprinting into the finish!

My favorite photo- pure joy on my face as my friend Brian congratulates me.

Timing myself in the ice bath

This was only¬†a portion of the team’s racers.¬† Unfortunately we never got a full team photo.

Thanks Be To The Blog World

WOW!

I am blown away by all your amazingly¬†supportive,¬†thoughtful¬†and loving responses to my post yesterday.¬† Each one of you who commented touched my heart.¬† I know, that with all of you amazing readers, I should have expected nothing less…but you all simply knocked me off my feet with your kind words.¬† It was not an easy post to write…but I am so happy¬†I did.¬† I received quite a few emails from people who have felt the same way; one reader said I have given her the strength to see a doctor and finally take control back over her life.¬† Another told me of a story that was very similar to mine.¬† So many people, through comments and email shared their stories- I loved reading each one.

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart ‚ô•

Full Disclosure

Having written this blog now for just about a year and a half, I feel like I have gotten to know some of my readers pretty well.¬† And in turn, you have all gotten to know me.¬† But the thing about blogging is this-¬†you only get from someone what they are willing to put out to you.¬† I feel like this blog is an honest¬†reflection of who I am and that I write both freely and truthfully.¬† What you see is what you get; I am as honest with all of you as I am with the people in my day-to-day “real” life.¬†

But there is one thing I have held back on because it is something I have struggled with for a long time.¬† Before this week, I haven’t really felt the need to write about it…but it has now¬†affected my life in a way that is interceding with my sport.¬† And if I want to keep this blog honest, then now is the time to write about it.

I suffer from anxiety and depression.

That is the first time I have ever written those words out.¬† And as I look at them staring me back in the face,¬†I already feel better about putting it out there.¬† Before I hit publish, roughly 10 people knew about this (family, boss and a few close friends) and now I have potentially put it out to the entire world.¬† (Ok, so the entire world doesn’t read my blog.)¬† Everyday I take a small pill that I have learned is pretty important to my well-being.¬† When I was younger, I would take the medication until I felt better…I would feel better…and I would stop.¬†¬†(ps- that doesn’t work!) In my adult years I have learned that taking a¬†pill doesn’t make me a different person, but rather a better version of myself.¬† But there is, no matter what anyone says, a stigma attached to those who have to take medication.¬† But I do.¬† And it doesn’t make everything okay; I still go through ups and downs and¬†I still have anxiety.¬† However, the medication does regulate the intensity of both.¬†

So why post this now?  Well, you may remember this post from when I had to make the tough decision to drop from the Full Marathon at Philly to the Half-Marathon.  At that time, I just knew I was not going to be able to fit the proper training in; between work and school and family things that were going on, something had to budge.  I wanted it, the timing was just off.  Dropping left me feeling disappointed in myself but I was okay with it because I still knew the decision was the right one to make.  And by the time the half rolled around, I had accepted the fact that variables occurred that were out of my control.  I accepted the fact that sometimes, doing what is right, still sucks.  And in the end, I was happy with my decision to have only run thirteen.

So again, why this post now?¬† Well, as you all know, I was signed up to race in the NJ State Olympic Tri this weekend.¬† My first Olympic.¬† A big friggen deal.¬† A first should be fun and exciting.¬† And me…I was freaking out.¬† With more than a week before the race to still go, I was already not sleeping and having stomach issues.¬† My anxiety levels were so high, no amount of medication would have helped.¬† I talked this race up- this was MY race this summer.¬† The big one for me.¬† Just an Olympic to some, but THE Olympic to me.¬† What my training was all about and what I had been talking about for over a year.¬† And suddenly, I wanted out.¬† Bad.¬† The anxiety was leaving me feeling like a failure, depressed and I was fighting with myself over wanting to drop down to the sprint or drop¬†out of the race altogether.¬† I would¬†consider the¬†drop but then I would feel so bad about myself for even feeling that way that I would tell myself I wasn’t dropping but then feel all anxious again.¬† The thought of actually admitting I might not be ready…of telling my friends, teammates…my readers.¬†

I couldn’t stand the thought of going through with the race and I¬†couldn’t stand the thought of not doing the race.¬† That’s the thing about anxiety- it begins with one thought and then just continues into a million thoughts.¬† It’s back and forth, yes and no and I don’t know; its cyclical.

For days, I¬†was crying¬†at the drop of a hat…stupid things getting to me because of the bigger issue at hand.¬† If anyone has experience with anxiety, you know and understand that you simply cannot stop the thoughts.¬† And you absoultely cannot¬†be rational during an attack.¬† And they were coming on so frequently that I was having a hard time keeping it together.¬† I kept thinking about how under trained I was, my fears of the bike, how I haven’t run more than 5 miles¬†at a time¬†since February (almost six months!) but then I would think of this blog and how¬†many people tell me I inspire them.¬† Just the other day I was¬†writing about the need¬†to live fearlessly.¬† But I am fearful.¬† I think about the title of this blog and how I¬†¬†preach to¬†everyone that¬†Finishing is Winning.¬† But that I didn’t even want to¬†start.¬† I was feeling like¬†if I dropped, I would be¬†letting everyone down.¬† Like it would give people a reason to say I am not a “real” triathlete.¬† I would give people a reason to say I am weak.¬† Totally irrational…and I know that, but when the anxiety comes on there is no way to tell yourself how irrational those feelings are or how okay it is to feel like that.¬†

All the while I was freaking out inside, I pretty much shared it with no one outside of my mom.¬† And even then, I casually just mentioned my anxiety was high leading up to this race.¬† I never mentioned dropping out although I did mention trying to put a relay together instead after my ankle incident last weekend.¬† My thoughts were swirling…drop out completely?¬† Do the Sprint instead?¬† Do the Oly, but with a relay?¬† The internal conversation was endless and without reprieve.¬† I didn’t know what to do, I just knew I¬†couldn’t keep up with my own spinning thoughts.¬† I could no longer separate my thoughts.¬† But still, I made no decisions…I just let the fear fester. And fester. And fester.¬† You get the point, right?

Yeah, so why this post now, right??  Right. 

Well,¬†Tuesday was the first time I set up to go on a bike ride with my team.¬† First time ever.¬† I have¬†been with Team Triumph since May 2008, yet this was the first time I even had the guts to show up for a group ride.¬† And as if¬†showing up wasn’t already hard enough, I decided since I was early¬†to drive the course we would be riding.¬† And that is all it took to send my anxiety from bad to worse.¬† All those thoughts that had been going on in my head for days were in full force.¬† All I could see was narrow streets, dead animals (seriously, there was¬†a chicken in the road…oh, the jokes we could tell) and live deer, lots of traffic¬†and no bike lanes.¬† I drove back to the lot where some other members had already arrived and proceeded to lose it.¬† I was trying to calm down and text my friend but I was too far gone at that point.¬† Totally lost it.¬† Full on shaking and crying anxiety attack.¬† Luckily I had hidden myself behind my friend’s car, so even though people knew something was up, I wasn’t all out in the open with the craziness.¬† I went back and forth about riding…everytime I thought about it I would get worked up again.¬† I did not want to re-rack my bike and drive away in front of all my teammates.¬† I did not want to give up.¬† But the fear had taken over.¬† How would I keep up?¬† What if I got hit?¬† Or fell?¬† Or fell and then got hit?¬† What if, what if, what if????

(For the record, I once jumped out of an airplane.  I trusted my life to a parachute 13,000 feet in the air.  Minimal anxiety that day.  Minimal.  Just saying.)

In the end, I rode.¬† My friend Kurt offered to ride with me and he stayed by my side the entire ride.¬† We were gone from the rest of the group…keeping a pace of 14-18mph, but Kurt never made me feel stupid for my fears and every time I would get nervous he simply talked me through it.¬† We chatted as we rode and¬†ended up clocking almost 14 miles.¬† My first open road bike ride outside of the town I live in and closed race courses.¬† Yes, it is true…all my riding has in fact been closed courses, loops around my town, spin classes and on the stationary bike.¬† Until last night.¬† Last night, I fought my fear.

But what about NJ State?

After a really good chat with a few of my teammates (ones I know will be honest with me and not patronize my fears) I decided I am just not ready for that distance yet.¬† I have dealt with injuries this year that are still¬†holding me back, my training has suffered and some of my friends warned me gently that the course for NJState is tricky and at times bumpy.¬† I appreciate that my friend Michelle told me straight up that she thought it might be better if I did the sprint.¬† Not because she thought I couldn’t do it, but because she thought I shouldn’t do it.

So instead of the Olympic on Sunday, I will be racing the Sprint on Saturday.¬† As it turns out…going through all of that Tuesday on the bike ride, is what finally gave me clairity about the race.¬† Fighting my fear is what gave me the strength to figure out what to do.¬†

How do I feel?¬† Amazing! I’ve slept through the night, my stomach feels fine and I am cool as a cucumber.¬† I feel much more balanced.¬† My mom (of course!!) totally supports any decision I make and I know she is proud of me.¬† My friend Brian whose opinion I regard highly, admitted to me yesterday¬†when I told him, that he too thought I might be pushing it by doing the Oly.¬† Of course there are those who think I am weak-¬†and they have made their opinions known¬†and that’s okay…cause I can truly and honestly say that I do not care what they say.¬† I am not cop’ing out…I am not making excuses…I AM NOT WEAK.¬†

I have made the exact right decision for myself.

Here’s the thing: I could have raced the Olympic on Sunday.¬† And I would have finished.¬† There would have been anxiety and tears and more tears and etc, but I would have finished no doubt.¬† I know that I can complete those distances.¬† But at what cost to my mental state would it have been at, let alone my physical state?¬† What if pushing myself through it re-injured me?¬† What if it upset me so much I never did another tri?¬† It never would have been worth it.¬† I would have finished but probably not in a good way.¬†

Races should be fun.¬† The sprint is going to be fun.¬† I know I am going to do great.¬† I am excited and looking forward to racing.¬† I like sprints.¬† It is hard not to get caught up in the hype of doing a more challenging distance.¬† The thing is, for me, a sprint still is a challenge.¬† How about I get a few more under my belt and then perhaps I will feel more confident (and hopefully be fully recovered) for next year.¬† Cause next year…oh NJ STATE, I will be back to claim¬†the Oly race!

Does changing my race magically make me better?  Well, yes and no.  I will always have anxiety and I will always be faced with the depression that comes from feeling anxious.  But I have learned how to control my life in a way where neither of them often come into play.  Sometimes they still will no matter how hard I try to block them out- mostly when it is triggered by something as intense as what I went through over the last few days.  It happens.  I do what I can.  I am human.  And I am learning to forgive myself, give myself and break and move on.  I feel better because I made the right decision.  I feel better because I chose to do what is right for me. 

I am learning that this blog  holds me accountable to myself.  And only myself.  I love my readers dearly and without you this blog would not be everything that it is, but at the end of the day, I am accountable only to myself.  I am not a failure for dropping to a shorter distance; I am a success for knowing it was the right decision to make and doing it even if I had to swallow my pride in the process.

Come Saturday, watch out.¬† I’m going to kick ass and take names ūüôā

And by the way, if you made it through this post and you are still reading…now you really know me. ‚ô•¬†

In Just Five Words…

Keri over at the Blue Eyed Runner awarded me the Blog Of Substance Award. 

Some of the awards out there can be a bit cheesy, but I really like this one and the idea behind it.¬† And I am honored that Keri thought of me when she thought about blogs with substance. ūüôā

The Rules:
‚ÄĘThank the blogger who awarded it to you.¬†(THANKS AGAIN KERI!!!!)
‚ÄĘSum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using five (5) words.
‚ÄĘPass it on to other blogs which you feel have real substance.

My blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience:

Inspire, Empower And Live Fearlessly!

I know I am supposed to pass this on, but the truth is, I just cannot narrow down my choices…I honestly feel like all the blogs I read have substance or else I wouldn’t be reading them ūüôā¬† Instead, I am going to pass on five blogs that, if you aren’t already reading,¬†I think you should be reading!¬† The following bloggers all have amazing stories and are great inspirations!

Running Circles Around Turtles

Joe Is Running For Dom

Running Out Of Time

Fat Girl To Fit Girl

Saturday Morning Zen