Saturday, May 17, 2014

things that aren't weird usually but are when you are in a pool

First of all - I suggest not trying to write a blog post while catching up on past episodes of Grey's Anatomy (or Nashville, or The Following - all of which I have at least five episodes just waiting for me to get through on my DVR) because you will make incredibly slow progress.  Also - it's not even like you can use commercials to catch up because you just fast forward through them...but I digress.

Every Saturday morning we have Tri Club practice that consists of swimming for about 45 minutes to an hour followed by a 4ish mile run (well some people do more and some do less, but that is about where I am at right now).  I've really come to look forward to these Saturday morning workouts - of course I enjoy the other training opportunities we have throughout the week - but Saturday mornings are my favorite.  Maybe it is because it's not at 5:30 in the morning and everyone is just naturally more chatty (given they likely didn't just wake up).  Whatever the reason - I have come to really enjoy my Saturdays from 8 - 10am.

The past few weeks I've felt the swim workouts have been really challenging, but to me that's better.  I think it's because now instead of learning to swim, I can actually swim.  I'm definitely not perfect, but maybe someday soon :) Today's I felt was especially challenging, but I rarely felt out of breath and like I had to stop, which is a new experience to me in my swim game.

Which brings me to the title of my post, 'things that aren't weird usually but are when you are in a pool' - although I suppose you could replace 'pool' with any body of water.  Halfway through one of the cycles we were swimming today, I noticed my throat was quite dry.  Which is normal when you are doing something like running - so I'm not surprised that exerting physical effort in the water caused the same thing to happen.  But it's so weird when you are in the water because you are already in water and there is not a drop you can drink to do anything about it - not like you can just take a drink of the water you are in (I mean, you could, but it probably wouldn't work out so well in the end).  

Another thing from today which was a weird feeling was I felt sweaty in the water.  Usually I think of water as something that can cool you down after being sweaty (ie - if you are at the beach - you get in the water to cool off).  But how do you get un-sweaty when you are already in said body of water, and sweating because of it?  Have I ever mentioned I have very random thoughts?

Otherwise, the workout was good, but just challenging as I said before.   But every week I make it through practice is one closer to being able to complete my first 750M swim for the Sprint in June and then the 1.5k swim for the Olympic in August.  All I can say is I am happy that the 750M is coming up first, and the long one is still three months away.

Aside from the swim, I ran another four miles today.  I do mean to sometime increase that distance - but swimming for 45 minutes and then setting out for a long, brisk jog is quite tiring.  All in the name of building lung capacity and endurance I suppose.  Now I will most certainly eat my day away, because days that include swimming mean I will be a bottomless pit.

One more thing before I go.  On a more exiting note - for those of you who are interested (does anyone even read this??), REI is having a HUGE sale right now (in stores and online).  Mark and I checked it out last night and got some good stuff - bike gear, etc.  I almost scored a great deal on a wetsuit, but then it had a hole ripped in that so that was kind of lame - but they do have plenty of undamaged goods just waiting to be purchased!  The purchase I am most excited about are the Suunto GPS running watches we got.  I even went with the fancy kind that has an accelometer (or something like that) that counts swim strokes and bike pace.  Fancy stuff.  They didn't have them in stock in store, though, so I'll really let you know how cool they are once we receive them in the mail.

Until next time.  Stay fit my friends.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

mile after magnificent mile

I"m back!

Ok, so I know it has been a really long time since I have written a post - like a ridiculously long time - but I am back now and have plans to be more frequent in my writing. I've just felt like I have been so busy lately...which is not a good enough excuse, I know.

While I was away, we went to Ireland for a bit (note that this was in March, so it has been a really long time).  But to make up for it, here are some cool pictures from the trip: 

This is Bunratty Castle - you could climb all over this thing, even go up to the top.  I did, and it was steep.  It's amazing that people used to live in (and defend!) these things.  Also - it looks large, but aside from a couple of rooms it was quite small on the inside I thought.

As we were driving, our bus driver slowed down and pulled over on the side of the highway to show us this tree.  It looks like a shrub, but is over 200 years old and they had to build the highway around it because it is believed that this is where the fairies live.  When they first told us about this tree that they had to divert the highway around..I was expecting something a bit less shrub-like.

Here's a view of the west coast, with the Cliffs in the background.  Ireland had the most beautiful countryside I think I will ever see.

The Cliffs of Moher.  Simply amazing.

This is on the "risky" side of the Cliffs.  There are two paths once you start walking around them.  There is the side on the side of the rock wall the built that you are supposed to stay on the side of, and then there is the foot-worn path that runs along the other side of the wall - that is literally inches from plunging over the 100ft+ drop over the edge. With my fear of heights (and plunging to my death over a cliff), we stayed on the safe side.  Except for when this picture was taken.  You can't go to Ireland and not live on the edge (literally), right?

A view of Dublin city (where we stayed) and the River Liffey.

At the tour of the Jameson distillery.  Here, the person who took this picture for me told me I had a very strong accent.  Also, this is where I discovered Jameson and Ginger...which I think is my new drink of choice (behind margaritas of course).

One of the many pubs we stopped in along the way.  I never had any Guiness while I was over there because we all know I'm a Bud Light kind of girl...but I must say the beer I had over there was all great.  Especially the stout in the middle of my tasting flight there...if I could find Porterhouse Brewery over here, I would be one happy gal.

That's only a sample of the Ireland pics I took..but I think they are the highlights.  Mark and I had real plans to run while we were over there, but jet lag won that battle, so we decided to sit that week out.

Another thing that happened while I was away was that I ran four miles for the first time! It was a great accomplishment and proof that training is actually working.  I didn't even feel like I was going to die after, which is amazing considering less than a year ago I could barely run a mile without wanting to keel over when I finished.  I also realize that I no longer hate running, and think I only felt that way about it before because it was so hard!

Those are the main things that happened in my month-long hiatus from blog posts, but now I am really getting back into it (both posting and training).  I've often heard that exercise/competition can be addicting, and I am beginning to get what those people are talking about.  I haven't even completed a triathlon yet and I'm already planning for my Ironman (ok, not an Ironman, only a half, for my 30th birthday :) 

On that note, Mark and I have decided to pick up an additional race this summer - the ITU Chicago Sprint Triathlon in June.  We figure it will give us a good idea of what to expect for our full triathlon in August.  This one shouldn't be too bad, as long as we are ready for the swim - 750M - in June, in Lake Michigan.  I am confident I can swim that far...I am not so confident I won't get hypothermia in the process.  Especially since that one is in less than two months, the lakes were 90%+ frozen this winter, and it is still hovering around 50 degrees for the daily high up here in Chicago.  Good stuff.

Wrapping up, today I hit another milestone by completing the Cinco de Miler 5 mile race.  I know that a couple of weeks ago I just hit the four mile mark and was thinking that five might be tough - but I powered right through and felt really good at the finish, even like I could have kept going!  My stretch goal was 45 minutes and have to make it time was 50 minutes - I came in at 46:04.  Not too shabby at all.  It helped that there was beer (and a churro!) waiting at the finish...

Until next time!