Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another summer turns to fall....

A friend has reminded me that it has been an extra-long time since I updated (thanks, Sherri!), so let's go ahead and chalk that one up to a very busy summer! I've been out there, trying new things.... quite literally. I made it through my first triathalons this summer!

When last I wrote, I had just begun my training. I did a "practice" tri in July (Allegan) to prepare me for the big one in August. What took me by surprise the most during that triathalon was probably the biking; I figured biking would be a no-brainer, but that is just not the case. It turns out, you cannot just put a helmet on and take off. For one, biking is HARD work. And unlike most sports, you can buy speed in biking. I did not buy speed when I bought my Schwinn hybrid back in May. I bought a nice bike to ride around town and on trails with. This became increasingly apparent during the Allegan Tri. I should note here that in a tri, your age is marked in thick, black permanent marker on your calf. This is a blessing and a curse. Blessing, because you can see people in your age bracket and theoretically pass them. Curse, because when a 70-year-old passes you during the bike portion.... well..... enough said. The major lesson I learned was that I definitely needed to buy or borrow something faster for the Aquaman Tri in August!

As for Aquaman, I did, in fact, borrow a bike (saw a big improvement in that division).  That was a HILLY course!!  It was definitely hard, but I felt a lot more comfortable with what was going on than I did in Allegan.  I was very glad that my friends pushed me to do a "practice" before I got to all of those hills.  

So, let's see if I met all of my bullet points from my post in June....  

1. IMPROVE MY SWIMMING. I most certainly managed to improve my swimming this summer... although in actuality, I really had nowhere to go but up. I may not have become Dana Torres, but I went from being able to swim 25 yards without stopping to swimming 500 yards without stopping. I grew to really enjoy the swim, once I got over my fear of drowning. I have to give a shout-out to Sherri and Casie, too; they helped me more than any of my Friday training swims, mostly with their continual encouragement and optimism. Definitely improved my confidence. My plan for the fall and winter is to keep getting in the pool, keep using swimming as a core strengthener and cross-training tool, and get even better. I recommend it to anyone as a GREAT low-impact workout!  

2. BECOME A STRONGER RUNNER. This is a tricky one. I felt like running kind of went the wayside by the end of the summer... but I guess that's not unusual. This is traditionally the time of year that my body gets tired and I decide to give it a little rest (ie get on the elliptical or bike and do some weight training). The summer was good to me, though. I posted some awesome times through the 5k season, PRing with a 22:26. I suppose I can partially credit some new strong competitors in my age bracket this year... really pushed me to work hard in my races. I feel like I could have done more with my training throughout the week... but you can't really train for everything at once. I definitely learned that it's best to concentrate on one major goal... not "I'm going to do a triathalon AND PR my 5k AND do a trail half-marathon..." Not the smartest.

3. HAVE FUN. Did I have fun this summer? Definitely. I got better at swimming, I hit new highs in running, I made new friends and strengthened some existing friendships, I got some kick-ass medals (including one for Warrior Dash and one as big as my face for the North Country Trail Run)... I spent a lot of time outdoors. Oh, and did I mention I got engaged? =)

And now I face fall, the season I typically stop "training" and start "exercising". I'm excited for fall colors, apples, Halloween. I'm excited to go for a quick 3-mile jog after dinner just because I feel like it. Fall is a gorgeous time to get out with your family and walk or bike. Make sure you utilize the cooler temps and beautiful foliage.... one of the perks to living in the Mitten State. Until next time!

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