Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It Needs to Be Fun

It's no secret, since I constantly blab about it, that this year I have been sort of in a mid-life crisis. These last few weeks the crisis has been rather acute. I feel like a teenager--and, well--I've sort have been acting like one. But one good thing about the teenage years is that the desire to live life to the fullest and have fun is sort of a constant. I want to tap into that more. I know it's the reason I train and do triathlon. Triathlon is a game. It's play. It's a social outlet. It's a release. It provides me with a goal and a purpose.

However, triathlon can become, like everything else if you let it, a chore.

For me it becomes most chore-like when it's all about the training and the end result of one big race. It's generally fun to get caught up in the how-to's of training and the big race. We work on nutrition, on mindset, on the key workouts, on racing at the right time, for the right reason, at the right intensity-- all in service to the mother fucker of all goals that particular season--the A Race.

And that's fun.
Until it's not.
I believe I am a great athlete with a huge appetite for hard work and an ability to excel. (Well, I believe that usually. or maybe sometimes. okay, in theory I believe it.) I believe that if I execute my season as I should I will come out on top--whatever that may mean for me.

But I won't/can't/don't want to totally sacrifice the fun for the ultimate goal. I love to race, and NO, I'm not going to give that up because I may be a 1/2 hour faster at IM if I do. I also love food and drink (like cake, and pizza, and beer, and a nice stiff drink every once in awhile), and I also love to just take the day off sometimes and sit on my ass, and I also love to chit chat in the pool sometimes instead of moving on immediately to the next set, and sometimes I'd rather just run with my buddies at an average pace then do the workout as prescribed.

But here's the rub.

I need to have fun. I deserve to have fun.
I can't be a total and complete slave to a goal that doesn't allow me to suck joy out of every part of life--the training buddies, the racing, the food and drink, the party, sitting on my ass watching movies with my kids...

Working hard and committing to a killer goal like doing IM and doing it well is a form of sucking joy from life. But if you let it, I believe it can also suck the joy from you and leave you empty.

This is what my mid-life crisis has taught me so far.
Among other things.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2009 Racing Schedule: Approved Version or.... Yeah, Baby!

I have consulted with Jen, and I have a pretty solid race schedule set up for 2009. It includes plenty of winter road racing, plenty of room to become a zombie without racing during high training before Lake Placid, and a few end of the season races. I'm. wicked. psyched.

First I want to say that this season I'm running with/ for two teams--the Greater Norwood Running Club and Team Nor-Easter. GNRC includes some of the best running companions anyone could ever find, and Team Nor'Easter (a tri team associated with Peak Peformance In Portland, ME) lets me connect with all of my new, awesome Maine triathlon friends. It's going to be a great season. I know it.

And now....

2009 Racing Schedule

Jan. 1: Norfolk 5K
Goal: To not barf or wet my pants. To get my HR max for Jen. To not allow my heart to explode. To not hate myself for how slow I will be.

Jan. 18: Frostbite 15K
Goal: To win the top spot in our club. Two of my teammates who have outraced me here in the past cannot race that day... so maybe I have a chance. You never know. Right Mel? Right Maureen?

Jan. 25 Boston Prep 16 Miler in Derry, NH
Goal: To not allow myself to give into my extreme need to race and just allow myself to do this as a training run. I've never been able to achieve this, but I will really try, because the week after that I want to really kick butt.

Feb. 1 Cape Classic 10 Miler, Cape Elizabeth, ME
Goal: To PR. This is ambitious, but it's my goal. To outwit, outpace, and plain outrun people who think they have a chance at beating me, but who are downright kidding themselves.

Feb. 8: Back to Maine to compete in a Cape Masters Swim Meet
Goal: to enter every event, and to PR in every event. This is possible since I haven't done a swim meet since I was 17 years old.
Me versus 17 year-old-me. The lowdown-
She was a wimp. I am not.
She was heavy and lazy. I am not.
She was young. I am not.
She was nubile, fresh, alive and held hope for a perfect life. I am over that.

I think the current me has a good shot to smoke the past me.

Feb. 15: Foxborough Flat 10 Miler, Foxborough, MA.
Yes, I know you are realizing that I'm racing every weekend. Exactly. Perfect.
Goal: to PR at the 10 mile distance. I think this is possible given the only other 10 milers I've done are the Cape Classic 10 miler and the Apple Harvest 10 miler. Both are really hilly, and this course, as stated in its title, is flat.

March 15: New Bedford 1/2 Marathon, New Bedford, MA
Goal: Okay, I really dislike this course. My goal here is to make up with it. Last time I was there I swore I'd never return. However, it's a Grand Prix event, and I plan to be a contender this year in the Grand Prix, so it's a must.

June 6: Lancaster Half Iron or the the New Revolution 1/2 Iron in CT. Not sure which yet. Certain friends want to know, though, right Mel? So I better decide.

Maybe a Sprint or an Oly between June 6 and July 26. Not sure yet. It depends on how much of an energy hole I am in given my training for L.P. I've been told I won't be able to/want to do much. I've been told I will be miserable, exhausted and dead. Am I twisted in that I can't wait for this?

June 25-28 Lake Placid Training Camp with Team Nor'easter--and with Ange! not a race, I know, but I'm really excited about it.

July 26. IM Lake Placid
Goal 1: to finish.
Goal 2: to finish running as opposed to crawling
Goal 3: to finish up with a strong marathon--under 4 hours.
Goal 4: to go under 12 hours
Goal 5: to go under 11:30
Goal 6: to go under 11 and qualify for Kona

Goal 6 is more than a little bit of a stretch, but it's the off season, and I'm dreaming big.

Sept. 12 Pumpkinman Half Iron
Sept. 20 Lobsterman Olympic
No goals here at this point-

Oct 25 Marine Corp Marathon, Washington D.C.
Goal: Sub 3:20.

I still have to flesh out the fall schedule. You never know--big things could happen (like Kona??? haha--you know you have to dream...)

I want to know who's joining me at each of these races. Hmmm?
Can you hear me best, dearest, local running buddies?

Yesterday I finally pulled out the weights and the bosu ball.
My upper body is so sore today I can barely lift my arms. Makes me think that -- yes, it's true -- I am super duper out of shape.

I have a long way to go before I become the buff, superstar Mary that I plan to be -- someday. It's that someday that keeps us (well, okay, me--and maybe you-- I don't know.) going.
Thank God for it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Forgive Me

Blogger friends. I have been absent for a long time. I had a little blog vacation. But I'm back, better than ever, ready to blog my little tush off and respond to all of your posts asap.
I've been busy dealing with you know--stuff. Stuff happens and you have to deal with it. I dealt. Actually, I'm still dealing, but I miss you all, so I came back before all messiness has been ironed out. And actually, the messiness will never get completely ironed out, right? enough said.

Let's talk racing.
I am ready to race.
I know I will suck, but I am ready to race.
I. miss. it.

So what's on the docket?
A quick New Year's 5K at which I will likely suck wind so violently and die so completely that I will wet myself, or throw up or both. Bring it on.

A little 15k in mid-January. I will still likely suck at that point, but hopefully it will not be as ugly as the 5K.

Then, if coach approves, I plan to travel with my club to Derry, NH in mid-January to do the legendary Boston Prep 16 Miler. I've done it before, and it is truly an ass-kicking adventure. I love, love that race.

Next--a Feb. 1st 10 miler up in my hometown that is lovely and cold and hilly. I haven't missed running this race in years. I even ran it once when pregnant (well, barely pregnant, but still) and I ran it three months after giving birth to my second baby.

The following weekend I am off to Maine again for a swim meet at the Cape Elizabeth High School pool! Wahoo! I'm a little nervous about the diving off the blocks, I must admit. But I'm still so excited. A swim meet!

Finally, again if coach approves, I will run Stu's 30K in early March. This is also an ass-kicking adventure--probably even hillier and tougher than Derry, which as I mentioned earlier, is legendary for its hills.

I don't plan to go all out for all of these races (Derry/Stu's not all out; Frostbite & Cape 10 miler, definitely all out.)

I don't know after that. As I get close to IMLP I know I will have to really hunker down and just focus on my workouts. I'm prepared for that. But early on? I want to play--just a little.

I am completely unprepared for Christmas. I have been squirrelling away a few gifts for the kids, but other than buying scooters for my youngest two and a Simon for my oldest, I haven't been very focused in my shopping. I am really excited about that Simon, though. Did you have one as a kid? I loved that toy! I know I will steal it from her and get obsessed with playing it.

I just ordered two awesome Splish suits for myself for Christmas.

Alas I don't have the boobs to fill them out. Nevertheless, I'm so excited. They are both fun, and right now I am feeling I need a little fun.
Okay, okay, I always feel like I need fun.

The fun helps to smooth the messiness that never goes away.

Friday, December 5, 2008

blah blah blah

So this was supposed to be my first week back at REAL training. But I'm still sort of in lala land. Jen gave me a few good swim workouts, and it's been fun to be in the pool, see all of my swim friends, and try to swim a pace that is not too upsettingly slow compared to where I was a mere three weeks ago.

Man, fitness goes fast. I was a rockstar just three weeks ago! Now I am wondering if I will ever be fast again....
Of course I will be.
It's good to be slow right now. It's good to be slow right now. It's good to be slow right now.

This is why I dislike taking time off from training. It's not that I dislike the time off. I've been living it right up in my time off! Who can argue with sleep, wine, and good food? No, it's that after time off you have to kick your own ass BACK into shape, which is an extremely trying and somewhat disheartening project.

But it's a project. And the thing is, I adore new projects.

Although my racing schedule hasn't been completely developed (or approved) yet, I have it in my head that I will get in a few good road races this winter. I also have certain little rivalries (most of which are in my head) which are getting me fired up to kick some ass this winter.

I've just put the followers tool on my blog and I am so psyched about it. I love finding out who actually reads my drivel! I know I've been very lame about posting, and also that my posts of late have been less than inspiring, but if you read me, add your blog to my followers list. Please. It makes me feel good.