Monday, October 02, 2006

Running has been pretty fun lately. I am still exploring the new neighborhood and surrounding areas as well as meeting new neighbors. There is not much grade to my runs, though. It would be good if I could find a nearby hill to run up and down once a week.

Still getting used to having a pool. I am hopeful that having a pool and being in it regularly, even if it is just to have fun, will help me be more comfortable in the water. We almost had a chemical problem earlier this week, but got that worked out in time to prevent really bad things from happening. We also found the owner's manual for the Polaris and got it to actually move around the pool rather than sticking in one area. Glad we didn't take it into the pool shop for repair! It was a pretty easy fix.

I'm also still working on getting a workable routine for my life. Even though I have half the driving that I used to have, just trying to unpack and all has made things more chaotic than routine. It really takes effort to fit workouts in. I applaud those who travel a lot and have happy family lives and still manage to workout regularly. For me, running is the easiest sport to work in to a busy schedule, but hopefully I can get more regular swimming and biking workouts in the next few weeks.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Finally we are getting back into the swing of real life. We have moved out of our hotel and into our house and finally have the internet connection I ordered about a month ago. My last entry was actually from a hotel I stayed in during a business trip. I am getting back into the workout routine as well.

It took a little contemplation (really only a little) to decide I should try to do a few more triathlons next season. This season was really just to see if I could get through it. Now, I have that first data point and, as seems to always be the case with me, I think I can do better.

I'm not sure where the best place to ride my bike around our new house is going to be, but there are enough cyclists around here that it shouldn't take too long to figure out. I have continued to do some swimming and, of course, running, but not to the extent I had been doing them in the weeks before the triathlon. Now that we are more settled, I am eager to get back on a routine with respect to my workouts.

I'm thinking of just sticking with half-marathons for this running season so that I have some time for biking and swimming. Hopefully in the next couple of months, I will find some late-spring/early-summer triathlons that sound like good opportunities for me to get back out there and try again - hopefully improving my speed and confidence.

Certainly the Cinco Ranch Tri gave me a lot of respect for all of the triathletes that get out there - regardless of the distance. It's not easy, but it is somewhat addictive.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This is the first time I have been able to blog since last month. The internet connection at our hotel was like a very slow dialup. It took hours to do even the easiest thing online. And, I didn't think it was okay to "blog" at work. Actually, I didn't think it, I know it.

Anyway, I did complete my first triathlon on August 27. The swim was brutal, as I suspected it would be. I could have done worse, I guess, but not much. It took me just under 17 minutes to swim 500 meters. At least that gives me ample room to improve! Actually, I had already decided that anything under 18 minutes would make me happy, so no complaints there for this particular race.

The bike leg ended up better than I thought it would be. I was somewhat paranoid about the "drafting" rules. I tried to make sure I was well back of anyone and passed as fast as I could. There was another lady that played a little cat and mouse with me throughout the ride, so that was kind of fun. I did the 12 mile bike leg in about 41:30.

Finally, the run was also a little better than I thought. I anticipated 11:30 minute miles just because I would be tired and it would be late in the morning by the time I got to that point. I figured that the heat would slow me down significantly. I definitely did slow me down. It slowed down a lot of people. I saw some very fit guys that were really struggling on the run. In a little over 31 minutes, I finished the 3 mile run.

I was pretty happy to have finished and to have performed better than I thought I would. I wasn't sure right after the race if I would do it again, but I think I probably will. I don't like having that poor swim performance hanging out there. I feel like I need to redeem myself, so in all likelihood, I will try it again next season, but adding more than the one triathlon.

I will definitely keep training in the three disciplines for the "off season" while I train for either a marathon or some half marathons. I haven't decided what races I will do yet, except the Indy Mini in May and probably a half marathon they have here in Houston in October.

Thanks to those of you that encouraged me and gave me pointers. I'll keep up with posting my training reports and race reports.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I’m finally back. Still at an extended stay hotel, but back online. We seem to be at a bad location within the hotel for internet, though. There is only wireless access and the signal is usually weak. I am still very nervous about the swim this weekend. If I can make it through the swim, the rest should be do-able.

My bike is sitting in our hotel room. That's a story in and of itself. I came out of the house on moving day after the inside of the house had been cleared of furniture and boxes. I looked around at a mostly sparsely filled garage. Where was my bike??? I had kept my road bike on its hooks and put the other two in the middle of the garage. I thought this would make it obvious that we did not want my road bike thrown in the back of a moving van. Apparently not. I was some upset, let me tell you. My husband's (very conservative) parents were on hand when I totally lost control of the words coming out of my mouth. It wasn't pretty. All of our stuff was going into storage for three weeks, so it was necessary to retrieve the bike or this whole summer of triathlon training was just for my health (which I am now thinking would have been just fine - I don't think I'm ready). Anyway, we got the bike out of the truck when it was unloaded at storage and brought it back to the hotel. The cleaning lady gave me a funny look at having a bike in the room, but that's okay.

I am trying to push my concerns about this weekend out of my mind. It makes my stomach upset everytime I start thinking about being in the middle of the lake and being too tired to control my breathing. Maybe I can flip over and backstroke for a few strokes until I catch my breath. At any rate, it is one swim. Just one long lap. Surely I can do that, right?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Wow, things have been crazy. I never imagined that selling/buying a house would be quite like this. First, we got an offer on our house almost right after it went on the market. It took a few weeks to actually get a purchase contract, though, due to some illnesses on the part of the buyer's realtor. After the 10 day option period, during which we were advised by our realtor not to pack, there were only 3 days until closing. There were supposed to be 5, oh boy. There really should have been at least 14 or so, but the buyer had things in place so we could close very quickly. Of course, the problem for us, then, is that (1) we have to pack EVERYTHING and (2) we have to put EVERYTHING in storage and live in a hotel until we close on a house we are buying. This has nothing to do with triathlons, I know, but I share it because this is why there have been no updates to this blog.

Things feel totally out of control. We are leasing back our house for a few more days until we can get everything packed up and moved. We have made an offer on a house and it is in the 10 day option period, so we are going through inspections, etc. on that house. Meanwhile, I do have an actual job, although I am sure my boss is getting frustrated with my lack of concentration at work and frequent "I'll be out of the office for a few hours" routines.

And, then, there is the triathlon training. There really hasn't been much of that during the last week. I only hope I can get it together for the next couple of weeks if only to build the confidence I need to get through the swim. I don't know...I mean if it were anything but swimming, you know? At least I can breathe whenever I want when I ride my bike or run. I want to hang back on the swim (I've always been a slow swimmer anyway) but not so far back that I cause interference for the next wave of athletes. Geez, that's all I need.

Anyway, I have to pack my computer now, but we are supposed to have free internet at the hotel so I can hopefully catch back up on blogging and training (and work). Until then, work hard and play hard.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I started to go back out to the road of hills I found yesterday. Before I got out of the driveway, I noticed my back tire was flat. It was getting a little late so I skipped the bike and did my run. The run went well. I felt good, and even though I didn't time myself, my pace seemed to be where I want it for now.

This afternoon I decided to tackle the flat. I hope I don't get a flat in a race. I really don't know what I would do if that happened. The thing about triathlon is that there seems to be an inordinate number of rules. I'm sure one of those rules says that you can't walk your bike during the bike leg. So, if I get a flat, I'm in trouble. I got the wheel off the bike with some assistance from Mr. Muscle. I managed to get the tire and tube off by myself and checked the tube. The tube was apparently one of those "slime" tubes, so whatever leak there was got sealed up. When I pumped up the tube to find the leak so that I could patch it, I found that there was not a leak. When I let some of the air back out to reassemble the tube/tire/wheel, green goo started coming out of the valve.

Getting the tire back on the rim was something of an ordeal. My fingers still hurt and my forearms feel like Jell-o*. Getting the second tire bead secured in the rim proved to be too hard for me. Fortunately, Mr. Muscle had returned from the grocery store and finished the job. He did say that it was much harder to get the tire back on my rim than it is to get his tire back on his rim. He thought I should think about new wheels. Hmmm. Maybe this flat tire was serendipity....

* Jell-o is a mark of Kraft Foods Holdings, Inc.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Here she is, back from the shop! My humble bike is back and better than ever! I took her out for a little ride this morning. I did a different route than normal, mostly because I wanted to see if I could find a nearby park. I found that the road I needed to take was too narrow for my comfort, particularly since there was more traffic due to my later-than-normal start.

I did, however, find a "back road" that seems to be where the bikers are hanging out. The road is parallel to the road I usually ride, but the similarity really ends there. This road seemed to take the hills that were present on my usual route and magnify them. It was CRAZY! I haven't seen these kind of hills since I was a kid in Indiana, certainly not in the Houston area. I make it sound worse than it was, but I felt really out of shape. Obviously it wasn't like Colorado or anything! But here in the flatlands of the Gulf coast, the major hills are usually highway overpasses.

I have been feeling pretty good about my biking up to now. Mostly because it is the area I see the most improvement in. Of course, that is probably because I was already running pretty regularly and, while there is certainly ample room for improvement, I haven't really lost much by cutting back on my running to make time for swimming and biking. And as for swimming, well, there's certainly a lot to be done there, but I'm just resigned to trying to get through it. But biking, I have seen some pretty consistent improvement since I started training at the beginning of summer. I'm glad I found the hilly road, not that I will get to use it much longer. Another couple of weeks and we will be moving to temporary housing while we wait to close on the house we are going to buy.

I think I'll check that road out again in the morning...