Inserting My Foot into a Swim Fin, Cycling Shoe, Running Shoe…and my Mouth

Two more weeks of torture and then the taper begins! I feel like I’m at Mile 22 of a marathon right now. I’ve come so far, but there’s still so many more miles to go. I know I’m going to finish, but I’m tired and running on fumes and adrenaline. Two weeks may feel like an eternity, but the light at the end of the tunnel is near and I have emerged a stronger, more fit and more confident athlete than I ever could’ve imagined.

I hit 20 hours last week and the plan calls for 18.5 this week and 19 hours next week. After that, I’m coming down for a four-week taper and I can’t wait.

Until then, here’s my life in a workout nutshell:

Monday 3/3

Because I had a long tough weekend, Monday was my day to recuperate a bit. I did pop in my Swimervals DVD and play along with one of their 30-minute workouts using resistance bands and my bed posts (it sounds a lot kinkier than it was, believe me!!) This is a good DVD for dry-land swim training and I know it has helped my strength in the pool. Coach Troy takes you through some sprint sets as well as power sets of stroking (again—less kinky than imagined).

That was it for the day! I had visions of going to core that night, but with 30mile wind gusts, the visions drifted away with the breeze and I went home to hang with hubster for the evening.

Tuesday 3/4

Well, no one knows how to predict the weather, but it was freaking cold on Tuesday morning when I got up to go to swim workout. Apparently, the 34 degree temps didn’t affect others because the pool was way more crowded than usual! It was an obvious sign that Spring is in the air and Triathlon season is fast approaching.

I led most of the sets in lane two or followed behind the leader. Karen is our resident fin goddess and I’m apparently paddle-master since I led all of the paddle sets. I’m already in that state of, “Wow, you’ve come so far, but you’re still pretty darn slow comparatively.” I’m sure I was holding some lane-mates back on the swim sets, but no one complained. Overall, it was a solid workout and, as usual, Karen and I finished up our 3200 meters with 10 extra paddle laps to work on high elbow catch and strength.

Tuesday wouldn’t be complete without 30minutes of core work followed by 1.5 hours of spinning class. It was a packed house at the training center and the trainers were buzzing with plenty of high cadence sets. I much prefer these over large gear mashing. I was pleasantly surprised to be keeping up with the gears and cadences Coach Chrissie was shouting out throughout the workout. Dare I say it was slightly “easier” than normal? Of course, when I actually keep up with class I automatically assume that I probably didn’t have enough resistance on the wheel. God forbid, I actually might be getting stronger. I do notice some weakness and struggling though as soon as I hit a heavy gear. My muscle fibers seem much more equipped to deal with high cadence spinning than low cadence power work…Something to work on in the future.

When I got home, I tried to stay awake to watch the Democratic primaries, but was asleep by 10pm.

Wednesday, 3/5

Not sure if today was a cop out or not. I went to Gazelles prepared to run the four mile tempo run. It was on the schedule and I purposely went to run it—albeit begrudgingly. While coach was giving instructions, he basically said that if you ran the marathon three weeks ago, your body is still beat up and recovering. You shouldn’t really worry about speed right now. So, he told those who did the marathon to run 7 miles of fartleks instead. My mind said to my body, “I’ve been beating you up a lot lately.” While I didn’t run the whole AT&T Marathon, I did run 20 miles that morning. Plus, the bike rides, core, etc have been pretty tough. I took that as an out not to do tempo and set off on a fartlek run that included Steven, Brian, a woman who’s name escapes me (but had a 22min PR ) and a new guy named Eric.

So, we start our 15 min. warmup and immediately I sensed some struggle from Eric. He was having trouble breathing and was literally gasping for breath at certain moments. He certainly didn’t sound comfortable. After a couple of repeats, I started to get concerned for him. It just sounded like he was giving every ounce of effort to keep up. Finally, Brian said, “You ok man? You don’t sound so hot.”

Eric replied, “Yep—it’s just from my chemo.”

Awkward Silence…and then idle chatter about how shitty chemo is.

He was basically rebuilding his lungs after they had been obliterated by chemotherapy some time ago. You know what else he said?

“Thank God I’m a runner. If not, I would’ve been dead.”

He eventually dropped back for the final few repeats, but his words and dedication left quite an impact. I was feeling like I wussed out for the day and this guy was putting it all out there in the name of life and kicking the crap out of cancer.

Another lesson learned…

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8 thoughts on “Inserting My Foot into a Swim Fin, Cycling Shoe, Running Shoe…and my Mouth

  1. Wow, what a treat to be able to train with people! No wonder you’re so fast.On a different note, I couldn’t find an email address for you so I hope you don’t mind me posting this note I sent to all Evotri contest #1 entrants here:I’m interested in creating a video mash-up (mix) of the videos we submitted for the Evotri Contest #1. I know a lot of hard work went into creating them and many of us did something we’ve never done before by doing so, myself included. Rather than just let them be forgotten, especially if your video did not make the top-10, I want highlight each of us by piecing together short segments from each of our videos and putting together a short (2-3 minute) Evotri Making the Contest mash-up video. Besides allowing me to learn more about what I can do on my new Mac, the purpose of this mash-up would be to show people what we do in life, in triathlons as well as to win a cool sponsorship. Maybe there are some folks who are sitting on the sidelines who’d be willing to take a chance on themselves if they saw what regular folks like us did. Note, however, that for entertainment purposes, I always look for opportunities to add humor so if you are not strong enough to handle possibly being made fun of, please do not reply to this note.On the other hand, if you are interested in being a part of this mash-up video, please send me your name/nickname, YouTube links to your video (if your video is no longer avail on YouTube) and any blooper reels you might want included (I know of two so far), and your blog or website if you want people to know where to find out more about you. I will make sure to give credit to all those who appeared at the end of the video as well as in the video description and on my blog post where the mash-up will be first be announced. I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to put names of everyone when they appear in the video itself, depends on how it looks.I plan to begin production this weekend, 3/8-9, so please let me know by Friday, 3/7, if you’d like to be a part of this. Hope to have it finished within a week or so. Once created I won’t have time to really go back and take out anything you might not like so if you decided you want in, that’s it. You’re stuck with what I come up with. BUT, I can say for a fact that often the less flattering stuff is what makes us seem most human and relatable so it’s good to include.Thanks for your consideration and I hope your training is going well.Shirley Pratt HumbleTriathlete.blogspot.comemail avail on my profile

  2. wow, that is something…recovering from chemo, that makes me want to quit my bitching about weather! Lesson learned indeed.I have never heard of those swim DVDs, too funny. DO you just lay on a workout bench?

  3. The word chemo provides a reason to pause to appreciate our own situations. I have the same question as “trainingtotri”, do you just lay on a bench with your resistance bands hooked to the bed post?

  4. Great question! I’ll take a photo of my makeshift Vasa Ergometer set-up this weekend, but I basically use two oval-shaped ottomans as a weight bench. Coach Troy barks orders from my laptop as we don’t have a TV in the Master Bedroom (on purpose).I wait until I’m home alone before I allow myself to look this ridiculous–all in the name of improving my swim times!

  5. great post!!! life always seem to provide great opportunities for reflection.coach troy sure knows how to bark those orders. there are times when i want to through something at the tv….if only it would hit him. 😦

  6. Great post Carrie….I absolutely love reading your blog. I understand everything this guy is going through. It took me a year to get back to not sounding as if my lungs were going to fall out of my chest. Survivorship is a beautiful thing. You appreciate every “mountain” climbed and every blade of grass. And when you get to share a piece of your story along the way, it just makes people aware that life could always be worse. Even in my own fight, there was always someone I met at the hospital that had it off worse than me. You gotta remember…you only live ONCE, but if you do it right, once is enough!!! Cheers to a taper coming your way!!!

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