YEAR IN REVIEW

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It’s already the first day of 2014 and so I feel compelled to speed through my review of 2013. I’m just so ready to move forward and into 2014. So hang onto your seat here it goes.

I signed up for a mini triathlon but oops … couldn’t swim. I flailed, barfed and cried but managed to learn in time for the April triathlon. I more than doubled the allotted swim time limit but I completed the race … losing but winning. In addition to the tri, I ran a million races, most of them in June. There were three half marathons, four 10Ks, one five miler, one four miler and seven 5Ks. It was fun. I fainted, lost a toe nail and got beat by a 5 year old. But the best part was the cha ching bling. Check it out.

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It’s time to get a display rack and rescue those babies from the sock drawer.

Stay tuned for my 2014 New Year, New Goal.

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BRICKS, BAGS, KITS AND OTHER SUCH NONSENSE.

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The mini tri is less than three weeks away and I really have to start giving some thought to the biking leg of the race. I have been so focused on the swimming portion that I have neglected biking and brick workouts. If you are not familiar with triathlon speak you may be wondering, “What on earth is a brick workout?” Well, it is basically training for the transition between two different disciplines, e.g., swim to bike and bike to run. However, when people refer to brick they are usually referring to the bike to run transition. It’s been said that the workout received it’s name due to the fact that your legs feel like bricks when you start running off the bike. Wonderful!

I have done a few pseudo brick workouts in that I got on the treadmill right after spinning class. It was pretty awful. I felt like the treadmill had malfunctioned and was not providing accurate distance information. It seemed to take forever to cover a mile. However, as bad as that was, I have no illusions that it is the same as actually pounding the pavement after putting in mileage on a real bike. The logistics of doing real brick workouts are a little challenging as you have to actually cycle outdoors and in a location where your bike will be secure when you take off running. I will be doing one very soon though since I’m starting to do a little more biking as the weather slowly warms up.

There is so much to think about when you’re doing three events at one time. In addition to the transitions, it seems you need to know how to fix a flat. This is where the saddle bag repair kit comes in.

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As you can see from the picture above, the bag is small and fits nicely under the saddle. My saddle bag contains an inner tube, a patch kit, two wrenches and CO2. The CO2 is pretty nifty because it is so small but can blow up an inner tube. Here is a picture of the content of my bag.

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Now I just need to figure out how to apply a patch or replace my inner tube. Never a dull moment.

QUITTERS NEVER WIN!

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I have occasion to remind my daughter that “quitters never win” at least once a week. Now I have to tell myself the same thing three or four times each week. My swimming is improving, but very slowly.

My form is atrocious. I know what I’m supposed to be doing but implementation is eluding me. There are so many things to remember. Keep your head down, breathe, lead with your elbow, kick from the thighs and not the knees, breathe, stay aligned, inhale with half of your face still in the water, relax, breathe. UGH! My swimming instructor has taken more hiatuses than Scandal this season, but I still get in the pool three or four times each week. My tri coach, Jackie, has been a lifesaver. Thankfully, she has been assisting me with drills and tips. So onward I go but time is working against me right now as the race is in 5 weeks.

Since we’ve had a real winter, complete with freezing temperatures and snowstorms, we just managed to get in our first group ride. It felt great to be able to dust the bike off and hit the outdoors. Although I am tres rusty, I enjoyed the 6 mile ride. But I really need to incorporate more spinning into my schedule because I struggled a little and we didn’t even hit any hills.

For all of my whining about swimming, it has been helping my achilles and I’ve found that I’m better off doing some running than none at all. I have been increasing my running distance slowly because I have to be ready for a half marathon on June 1st. I couldn’t resist. The real challenge that I’m facing with running is to not push too hard. I have to remember that it is better to run slowly than not at all.

What’s That You Say? You Can’t Swim?

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I’ll admit that the thought of the 400 Meter swim strikes fear in my heart. The registration form for the Mini Mighty Man even tried to deter me by saying that you should be able to swim the distance in 16 minutes to sign up. Sixteen Minutes!!! But, I am determined to overcome this hurdle. I am a grown woman and I should know how to swim.

When I started secondary school in the U.K. (I’m not sure what the grade equivalent is in the U.S. but I was eleven) we were required to take swimming. While most of my peers either started or graduated to the deep end, I stayed in the shallow end of the pool the entire time. I think it might have been an entire school year. In order to get to the deep end, you had to be able to swim the length of the pool and tread water for a minute (or something like that). The other students enthusiastically aspired to this goal. However, I had no such ambition. I just couldn’t figure out why my swimming cap wouldn’t keep my hair dry, especially when I refused to put my head under the water. I now realize it was because it was a riduculous rubber cap with a strap that my mom got from Tescos. For all of my Monday swimming classes, I managed to learn how to dog paddle for a few seconds before my inevitable sinking.

In 1996, I was back in England and my cousin decided that she wanted to take swimming lessons and so I went with her to classes. Once again, she was really into it and was making progress but I was a hopeless case. The instructor would tell us to put our heads in the water and I would just wade around watching everyone else sputter and look uncomfortable. And like all “smart” teachers, he just ignored me and focused his efforts on the good students. Needless to say, I never made any progress.

Fast forward to Fall 2012 …

I am really into my running and I’m putting in 18 miles per week, which is reduced mileage due to the fact that I have been suffering with chronic achilles tendonitis. I probably shouldn’t have been doing more than 10 but I was hooked. I finally got frustrated because I wasn’t able add any more distance to my runs and decided to just stop running to give my achilles the chance to heal. During this time I figured I could do some cross training but I found the old standby elliptical machine to be bor-ring and the jumping around required to perform my workout DVDs seemed to defeat the purpose. After spending some time researching on the internet, I found some articles that touted aqua jogging as a great way for runners to maintain fitness while recovering from injuries. But aqua jogging required you to be immersed up to your chest and it didn’t seem safe for non-swimmers, so I started thinking about the swimming thing and begain looking into classes. A few weeks later, Black Girls Run! Long Island had a meet and greet and a BGR triathlete did a presentation on triathlons. At that moment, I knew there was a triathlon with my name on it.

New Year, New Goal

Last year I decided to get out there and run my first half marathon. I trained for twelve weeks with Team in Training and successfully accomplished that goal. This year I would like to complete a triathlon. To that end, I have registered for the Mini Mighty Man Triathlon in April 2013. The mini consists of a quarter-mile pool swim, a six-mile bike ride and a two-mile run. For you die hard iron man triathletes this race probably doesn’t even constitute a real triathlon, but for me it is HUGE. While I am confident in my ability to run two miles and I know that I can complete a six-mile bike race ride I currently am unable to complete the swim. In fact my swimming skills, or lack thereof, consists of a weak doggy paddle. Now, considering that I am working with a swimming instructor who has forbidden me from ever doing the doggy paddle again, I would have to say that I cannot swim. So training for this mini tri may prove to be quite the adventure.