Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day of the Injured

I think I pulled my hamstring at the workout yesterday.. doing the lamest thing - high-knee warm-up! Geez. It's amazing how the body can put up with hours of abuse in endurance sports, and be uber fragile at the same time! I tried stretching but didn't get very far at all. Need to check out some good stretching exercises for the hamstring.

Steph had awful ITB issues. At the end of the workout, she, Kirstin (who also had ITB pain), & I ended up walking slowly back to our cars. Kirstin joked with the coach, "the Injured club made it back!"

It was just one of those days, when you felt like you could do more but your body was holding you back. I suppose sometimes you have to go slow so that you can go fast in the long-run (pun intended). Planning to rest today, and go for yoga tomorrow. Hopefully that will have me in good shape for Saturday's long run. 8 miles, baby.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Beginner's Mind, Beginner's Mile

In Zen, the Beginner's Mind refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would.

It occurred to me while running this week, how difficult it is to keep a beginner's mind, and run without expectations. At my workout last week, I found myself comparing my time/stamina to what it was last year, and this really was not helpful because it took away from my focus of what I was actually doing. Whether swimming or running, the mind constantly went back the past.

While it's good to be cognizant and mindful of one's performance, I think it's necessary to treat each running experience as it is, without judgment or expectation of what it ought to be. No two runs will be identical, yet I think at some level, we expect consistent results from ourselves or at least consistently better results! :)

When I ran my first long-run for 5 miles (my beginner's mile, so to speak), I had absolutely no idea what I was capable of doing and put no pressure on myself to achieve a certain time or even distance. I ran it strong and well, and completely surprised myself. That kind of mental openness and running for the sake of running rather than having preconceived notions about one's performance is what I have come to term as The Beginner's Mile.

From now on, I will treat every mile as the Beginner's Mile.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Force Majeure

Force ma·jeure (fôrs mä-zhûr, frs)
1. Superior or overpowering force.
2. An unexpected or uncontrollable event.
3. the story of my race plans for 2007-08

Dramatic as it sounds, no less than intervening Acts of God have changed the course of my race plans this entire year. First my plans to do a 25K in Jan were wiped out, then my half-M in Feb, my tri-season in the summer (during which I had hoped to do an Olympic Distance), then hurricane Ike destroyed Galveston where I had planned to do a half-iron aquabike (of course, my loss is definitely small and insignificant compared to what the people of Galveston suffered..), and now Aviva moved up its race by 6 months.

My friends wonder why I care about Aviva so much - it's the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm tired of having my parade getting rained on.

Until I talked to a friend of mine in her 20s (who had started running around the same time as me). After winning the lottery for the New York Marathon, she found out she needed a pacemaker. Her doctor told her she couldn't do long-distance running anytime in the near future. So when I shared my disappointment with her, she looked at me straight in the eye, and said, "I know how that feels. Well, at least you still have a parade going on.." That really struck me.

So, I'll be grateful for where I am at with my training and what I can do, inspite of Force Majeure. Thanks for all the suggestions, guys! I'll keep an eye out for a new target. The plan for 2008-09 is still 3 Half-marathons in Texas, and we'll see what tri comes my way.

In the interim, I've religiously kept to my training routine this week - run workouts & swim. Am definitely sleeping a lot better these days! :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Spanner in the Works! :(

My goal this upcoming season was the Aviva 70.3 Ironman in Singapore. This year, the race was in September, and I figured that I would have enough time to train for next year's race - presumably in September too. The idea of doing a half-iron in my hometown really got me pumped! That motivated me to start training again, and I began seriously thinking about what would be needed to prepare for the half-iron training program.

Everything about the race seemed perfect! The course looked awesome - swim was at ECP (near my old high school!), and consisted of 2 loops of a 1/2mile course (MUCH better than out-and-back). The bike route was familiar to me (ECP to AYE) and the run was on a pretty flat course.

Yesterday, I visited the Aviva page, and to my horror, I saw that the date for next Aviva 70.3 was now scheduled for MARCH 22, 2009! This does NOT give me enough time to prepare for a half-iron distance (1.2mile swim, 56mile bike ride, 13.1mile run). When I read the cut-off times , any faint hope I had of still being able to train for it, were crushed. I'm not sure how to train or whether it's even feasible to train for 3 half-marathons AND a half-iron distance in 6 months!

Stepher, in her usual cheeriness, reassured me that there was still Aviva 2010, and that we could do another half-iron somewhere else in the interim.

Sigh. I feel like the rug has just been pulled from under my feet.

Monday, September 15, 2008

All signed up and ready to go!

So, I signed up for gym membership. :) AND did my swim workout on the same day! AND my schedule is kickin'..

The guy at the front desk who saw me sign up earlier, smiled and said, "Long time no see!". Ha! I was definitely an eager beaver to start working out. Managed to squeeze in a swim workout right before closing at the gym yesterday (yes, it's 24HR fitness, but the one at Arboretum closes at 8pm.. I know.. ironic). Had some tightness in my back after the long run on Saturday, so the swim was a perfect way to relax. Swimming in saline water was not as radically different as I thought it would be.

I'll focus on running & swimming for the next few weeks, and then start spin classes.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Slow Start

The yoga class yesterday was a disappointment, frankly. I was hoping that getting gym membership would avail me the opportunity to attend the yoga class offered by the gym, but that option is not looking good right now. The lure of the other classes (spin, weights - which I would otherwise loathe to do on my own) still beckons.

I ran 5.5miles today at my first Rogue long-run after a really long time. I wasn't even sure if I could, but I set my intention on at least 5 miles, because I have seriously fallen behind on my training. My gung-ho trimate, Steph, however, ran with the full marathon group to complete nearly 8 miles! Most inspiring! Her positive energy & spiritedness are really awesome.

Speaking of buddies, I realized today that with Rogue's new location, our routes went through the East of Austin, and some parts were dodgy. After Steph Jr. turning around at 3 miles, I ran alone for the most part, and got stared at, called out etc. It definitely helps to run with a buddy.

Can't wait to chart out my training schedule. With so many things going on, I feel like the need to sit and have it down on paper so I can see where I'm headed.

My mom was on the phone with me this morning, and expressed concern that I was running long-distances after recovering from my back pain. And for a moment, I paused and asked myself why I was doing this. And I realized the goal motivated me to do more and be more than I thought possible. The adventure & the uncertainty of whether I could actually do it was exciting. That something like this is even within my reach reminds me of how far I've come since my couch-potato days, and how much more I could do if I put my mind to it.

Let's see how it goes. It's been a slow start so far, but I will step it up in the coming weeks..

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Step in the Right Direction

I took up 7-day free trial pass at 24Hour Fitness. Been hearing good things about the gym so far, and went to check it out yesterday. The saline indoor lap pool is set at 80-85 degrees! Perfect for winter swim training! I'm pumped! (Stephers, u gotta do this.. )

Their indoor track looked a little small and kind of odd because it circles the upper floor, but I suppose it might be handy on a freezing winter day..

Can't wait to try it out!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Well. well. well.

I smiled when I read the repeated theme of "long-time-no-see-ol'-blog" in my tri-buddies's (see right-hand column) latest blog entries. And here I go, saying the same thing - why did I neglect my blog? where have I been? what on earth have I been up to?

It's been almost a YEAR since I've blogged. I tried blogging about nothing for while, and let that blog die a natural death (a very short life it lived, mind you.)

(An aside to Vinoo - hot chocolate with no marshmallows just didn't cut it for me. And with no conversations happening over hot chocolate, there was little reason not to pull the plug.
A separate aside to Googles - Well, frankly, I'm just not as talented as you in writing everything about nothing. And while u moved on to pastel green & Omar Khyyam on Nihilio, my blog sat still in the past glory of the Longhorn Triathlon - and, oh what a nice place in memory that is to be in!)

Where have I been? What have I been up to? Everywhere and a lot, and yet seemingly nowhere, and little. New house, lots of out-of-town visitors, family, back pain (least fun of all the things I've been up to), Asha, CHYK and everything else that came my way (Facebook for instance). I had a fabulous time with a team of amazing women doing a triathlon over the summer. Loads of fun! Sadly, it was the only one I could do this summer because I've been recovering from back pain. Let's see.. what else...

Oh, and did I mention a crazy plan for 2008-09 to do 3 Half-Marathons, a Half-Iron aquabike and a 70.3 in my hometown?


So as they sayeth in the recent Olympics - Let the games begin!