Saturday, January 29, 2011

Setting goals while running naked!

After about a two-second deliberation, I decided to try and work things out with my blog.  We have been having issues lately.  I told it "it's not you, it's me."  We've had a few "breaks" but I believe in commitment, so I want to work things out.

Sooooo...I'm setting goals while running naked!

No, I'm not an exhibitionist.  Actually, probably the furthest thing from it.  You see....if you are more well-endowed in the upstairs region - ironically - you tend not to call attention to your assets.  Meanwhile, anyone who wants a little upstairs padding is willing to pay big $ for it and then put it ALL out there....

So not what I was going to write about, but I am taking a cue from Mary Iron Matron and dipping my toes into "going there" when I feel I shouldn't.

So the title does mean something.  After my first month of base training and a HORRIBLE month of searching for my run fitness - I am setting goals and I am running naked! This is my lame attempt to drum up some more non-tri friend followers by appealing to their voyeuristic tendencies.  Not out of some vain self interest -- but more out of a OMG can't stop looking at a car accident sort-of thing.

Alright -- I probably should have some pictures -- but they would be really boring.  For my non-tri/running friends, running naked is just running without any sort of feedback, music, running partner or device to distract you from the hour of monotony.  So that means for me -- no Garmin (GPS watch that tells me my heart rate, my speed, and how far I have left to go), and no Ipod with Pink, Adam Lambert & K$SHA to drown out my heavy breathing.  Just me, myself and my thoughts.

A couple of reasons for this:
  1. I have become obsessed and neurotic about the Garmin numbers.
  2. My Ipod battery died, needs recharging and I haven't plugged it back in.
  3. My triathlons are run semi-naked and I need to occasionally rely on my feel for my race.
  4. It's one of those rare times during my day -- that I get to think about whatever I want to think about.  Not what I am going to get Elijah to eat for breakfast, when I am I going find time to plan my grammar lesson or what I left in the pantry for dinner.
The Garmin neurosis should be a positive -- but it has become a negative.  I am so concerned with my HR jumping to 170 at glacially slow running pace that it becomes a hinderance to any enjoyment on a run.  Not that I truly ever loved running.  But most days I didn't mind it.  And some days I even actually liked it.  But lately -- it's been this "oh my god -- it's climbing again/well...I think this is a hill so that may be why the HR is spiking/yikes there is major decoupling/I am going so slow/why in the hell am I going to Nationals in August with my run speed like this/I just suck!!!"

Yesterday -- I ran naked and had a great run.  It was beautiful outside.  The yucky roadside slush had reduced to where I could at least jump over most of it.  I had no idea what my HR was and my breathing seemed fine.  So then I could just concentrate on my goals and my upcoming race season.

Here are the races I have in mind:
  • March - Eastern States 1/2 marathon (never done anything more than a 5k in an "official" race, so God help me.
  • May - Polar Bear Triathlon
  • June - Mooseman Olympic Tri
  • July - Black Fly International Distance Tri
  • August - Gloucester Fisherman Tri & NATIONALS in Burlington, Vermont
  • September - Pumpkinman Sprint Tri
I'm also going to throw in a few 5k and 10k races between the triathlons and then thinking about maybe even the Kennebunk Firemen Tri and/or the Maniac Tri.  

So now that I have my race schedule solidified -- time for goals.  I know Mike (my coach) is going to want my goals within the month, so I've started thinking.

Last year's goals:
  • Break 25 minutes in a 5k (24:40) -  CHECK
  • Place consistently in my AG - PolarBear (4th and very close); Kennebunk Firemen (3rd); Pumpkinman (3rd); and Maniac (3rd) - CHECK
  • Qualify for Nationals - CHECK
  • Increase average bike speed to over 20mph - 20.5 and 21.4 in two races -- CHECK
Once I started being coached by Mike -- things changed DRAMATICALLY!  My previous swim workouts were just the "warm-up" from Mike's plan.  Although having Mike for a coach is a little overkill - I LOVE IT!  What I mean is this: it's like some old guy playing in an intramural men's basketball league at a community center coached by....say.....Michael Jordan.  Severe overkill -- but oh well.  How many times in my life am I going to be able to say my coach is a professional athlete? (husband as pro beach volleyball player/coach not included - we all know how my husband "coaching" me worked out! )

So this year's goals.........Goals 2011 (sounds like the old Clinton National Education Goals 2000 initiative)......drum roll please.......
  • Lose 20lbs. to help me get "runner lean" and give me some free speed.  (The upstairs twins probably hold at least 8 of those to get a breast reduction!)  I know 20lbs. seems like a lot -- but people are always shocked to hear what I really weigh - as if I couldn't possibly weigh what I do.  But I do and it needs to go!!!  Jen and I have been going Paleo -- more Paleo for Athletes -- me more Paleo for Athletes + some dairy and low-carb bread and sugar-free chocolate.  (shhhh.....don't tell Jen and I HAVE seen some caveman bowling and eating dinner out on the Geico commercials - so it's plausible they eat milk, bread and chocolate!)  I am losing even with my transgressions.
  • Break 22 minutes in a 5k.  At the end of last season, Mike projected that we would take 3 - 5 minutes off my 5k this season.  Damn.  I'm a little scared -- but if he believes....I'll believe.
  • Break this damn 3rd place plateau in my age group.  I would LOVE to win my AG just once.  It's probably like anything else though - once you win, you'll want it again and again and again....
  • Compete with the really, really fast girls. You know who you are and I want to be right there with ya!
  • Drop my average 100 yd swim time to below 1:30.  Just two weeks ago - I jumped into a master's swim practice and equaled my last year's avg. of 1:40 without anything but TI technique and long slow distance training.
  • Increase average bike speed one mile per hour - depending on course - gotta start concentrating on single leg drills. :)
  • Survive the Olympic distance -- well more than survive -- but I really am scared about the jump from sprints to olympic.  I want to jump to half iron next year - but Olympic feels so "racey" to me.
Life Goals (even if I have to wait until I hit the 60 - 70 year old Age Group):
  1. Make the National Team and go to the AG World Championships
  2. Qualify for Half Iron World Championships
  3. KONA! enough said.
So.....I've got some very ambitious goals and time is ticking.....I'm off to the pool to start working on that 100m time.  And I probably won't be running naked much once I start working with Mike again.

Here's to my on-again/off-again relationship with my blog and a few more weeks of running NAKED!

Hope the neighbors don't mind ;)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

slowly blog that is.

Digital Overload

I can't keep up.  I can't.  I've said it.  I like blogging.  I LOVE reading other people's blogs.  It's one of those after dinner/before school work/before putting my son to bed, type of wind down from the day activities.  I connect (by myself) with others in the triathlon world -- albeit remotely and from a distance -- but, it reaffirms that I am not alone in trying to slog through workouts....and life.

I don't really slog through life.  Life is terrific.  But sometimes, well, more than sometimes -- it's just too damn busy.  I am a full-time English teacher, own a photography business, a triathlete, a wife and a mom.  And to add to all that -- I chair an eleven member English dept., and advise both the yearbook and newspaper.

I think it's time to give myself permission to let go of the blog occasionally and not feel guilty.  I have this wonderful friend.  She is also an English teacher.  But she also is the most terrific homemaker, making amazing dinners and baking for her family, redecorating her house, starring in local theater productions, etc..  She is simply amazing.  And then she started her blog -- which I LOVE.  But she started 28 days ago and she has posted a blog entry 28 times!!!!!!

I can't compete with that.  And why the hell am I trying to compete at all?  Well, if you know me -- that really isn't a difficult question to answer.  The point is -- I shouldn't be.  Who the hell cares if I post every few weeks?

Part of the problem is that I think I have to have some profound idea or craft some clever writing in order  to be "blog worthy."  Again -- who the hell cares?

I can't keep up my digital life....and it's slowly dying.  Facebook, Daily Mile, Twitter, Google sites, SKYPE, my website, email (4 different accounts for all different reasons), three listserves, texting, apps......... I think I could go on, on, on, on, on, on, on, on........

I LOVE information. I spend my day sharing information, showing how to access information, analyzing information, synthesizing information, creating information, removing information, appreciating information.......and when I get home -- I think that I can't process any more information.

Yes, reading blogs is taking in more information -- but it's temporary.  I connect with someone's experience, relate it to my own and let it go.  Maybe that's why I LOVE those horrible "Real Housewives of Wherever" programs -- they have absolutely NOTHING to do with my life and when the program is over -- I can let it go.

Hats off to all of you who can keep up.  I can't.  I hate being that kid that can't keep up with the bigger kids.  And in most cases -- that would motivate me to work harder.  I don't want to be left out.

But it's self preservation at this point.  I will make appearances when I can.  When I can't -- I have to let it go.  I have to let myself "dump" my digital life.

But today -- we're "back together."  I'm worse than a teenager.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Favorite Photos

Happy New Year!!!  And the best way I know to look forward -- is to look back a bit.  Today I look back at my year in photography.  I do some part-time photography in my spare time (yeah right - what spare time?)  And I rarely look back at photos from the year -- they just languish and die in the microchips of my computer hard drive.  It's good to reflect on what on what was done well and not so well.  I won't share the "not-so-well" -- I've already reflected on those.  But I will share a few of my others.

My FAVORITE photo sessions are of high school seniors!  There are only a few times in your life when I really believe you need to do a "formal" photo session - when you are born, when you get married and when you become a senior in high school.  I love high school kids during the summer before their senior year.  They are excited about FINALLY becoming a senior and at the same time a little bit nervous and feeling vulnerable about their future.  I love to capture that in a portrait.

Some of these photos have never been seen by anyone other than the senior and me.  Some of these photos are not ones the client chose so they would just live in my computer files forever.  I tend to like some of the more artistic, more unconventional portraits - but that isn't always the way high school seniors' see themselves.

Tomorrow -- I'll do a look back at the year in general.  I probably should have done this last week.  But now that is 2011 - it is truly a "look back" at the year of 2010!

Happy 2011!!