Opposite Ends of the Season

CaptureThursday, 30 October 2014

The WORST run of my training is the first one each season.  (Which doesn’t coincide with the start of any “official” training season.)  That run invariably is 3 miles around the Rose Bowl.  I run with a coach.  Which makes it doubly terrible because I’m embarrassing myself in front of someone who gets PAID to do this.  Usually I can’t run the whole three miles, we have to walk some.  And I have to stop to go to the bathroom during the run, usually twice.

The only thing that makes it bearable (and I’ve done this more than once) is that I know I will get better over time.

The BEST run of my training season is the last training run.  Usually the coach and I come around the last turn of the Rose Bowl, run across the street, and run with real strength across the parking lot to our parked cars.  I love that run across the parking lot.  It’s maybe 1/4 mile at the most.  But I’m so strong.  I’ve come so far.  I feel so good about life.  And it’s the one single run of the year that I’m really running with the coach (OK, not at his pace, but ‘way faster than usual).

I did that last run tonight, alone.  It was a GREAT run.  The first two miles appear to be slow on the Garmin, because I had to stop and take so many pictures of the amazingly gorgeous sunset.

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But once I quit taking pictures the split times were great.  The whole bike path felt slightly downhill (which it is not).  I felt great.  I am sorry not to have shared this final run with the coach…it’s probably the best 5 minutes of the training season.  But, it was pretty great, nonetheless.

I’m running a 5k on Sunday.  And a marathon the following week.  BAM.

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Cycling…6 Month Update

LeAnn and Stacey16 October 2014

Wow.  It’s been 6 months since my last post.  Guess I’ve been busy.  Or uninterested.

In the last six months, I’ve lifted weights (once a week), done yoga (after running on Saturdays), run (a ton), and ridden (ridden?) a fair bit.  Do I do anything else?  I don’t think so.  See (two different) nutritionists, each once a week.  Get a weekly massage.  See the foot guy every other week.  See the acupuncturist on the weeks I don’t see the foot guy.

I haven’t been swimming all summer.  In part, I think, because swimming in the late afternoon in the summer is like being in a toilet.  Literally.  Although I do like moving through the water.  Interesting to see if I swim more this winter.

I feel like my training regimen is remarkably limited…probably not.  Just what I feel.  What else could I be doing?  Spinning?  No, I don’t really like being indoors on a bike.  Mat pilates or yoga.  Maybe.  Yoga is super early on Saturday evenings (6 PM).  Mat pilates is super early on Sunday  mornings — which I’m probably not going to get up for in the winter.  Zumba (my coach, Mr. “I Don’t Dance” is taking Zumba).  Maybe, if at a convenient time.

Michele LeAnn Alicia

But I am compelled to re-engage because Sunday I participated in the Long Beach Marathon Bike Tour.  My first cycling event.  It was surprizingly scary and hard.

Scary because it starts at 6 AM, in the complete dark (street lights and such are on).  And scary because there are like 3,000 riders — probably only 1,000 interacted with me — but there are people zooming past in the dark and on hairpin turns.

Hard because it was hard.  I rode with Michele (light years better that me) and Alicia (sound waves better than me).  They rode together and chatted while I followed closely behind (a lot of the way) and tried to keep up (the rest of the way).  About mile 11 of a 20-mile ride I fell significantly behind and had to really work to catch up.  About mile 17 they rode off and I finished up alone.  As I was riding along there at the end, I was thinking “this is not fun”.  There’s nothing fun about being buzzed on both sides by people MUCH faster/better than me or about riding in the dark on an unknown course with hairpin turns.  There was really not much fun in working so hard for an hour plus.  I’m not sure a bigger (longer) cycling event would be fun.

When I was changing clothes — from cycling gear to work gear for the rest of the day — my hair was soaked from the scalp to the dripping off the ends…12-15 inches of soaking wet.  (You don’t know you’re sweating on the bike like you do when running, because your clothes are wicking sweat away from the skin and the wind is drying it off.)

I really like cycling.  I’m clearly improving (from having never been on a bike, to riding 20+ miles clipped in).  But the work to get better — really?

Carlos on a BikeCarlos Romero is one of my inspirations in life right now.  And he’s a dauntingly fabulous cyclist.  But there’s nothing appealing to me about this picture.  This is probably how he gets better.  But really.  Riding looking at a wall (maybe listening to music, I cannot tell — I could be listening to an audio book), with a fan blowing on you, feet a blur.  (Fire extinguisher ready in case his feet catch fire.)  Doesn’t look like fun to me.

On the other hand, I am voluntarily going to run 5 hours this weekend.  Most people cannot imagine doing that.  I cannot imagine doing it.  I just do it.

As my “A” race approaches (French Riviera Marathon — Nice to Caan (France) on November 9th), I am peaking and getting ready to taper.  I am grateful for the generous support from the universe — a great number of people have contributed to my success this season.  Without naming all those peep (because I’ll forget someone) let me just say a heartfelt THANK YOU.  I am humbled.

Asian GirlsPicture of three Asian girls.  The Asians look for me for this picture.  (I do crack myself up.)

LeAnn and StevePicture of an amazing work team.  I am extraordinarily lucky.