How do you know it’s working?

So I’m on this journey to train hella hard (and smart!) to get as fast as I can at triathlon-ing. The earliest I’m going to race  the swim-bike-run format is February, 2015. I have months until I will test my fitness in a race.  There are fitness tests on my training calendar but right now I’m in this limbo of working out a lot (really, a lot!), and sort of beating the crap out of myself, and not knowing if it’s doing a damn thing besides make me tired.

Dear Buddha, let this be worth it…

I have a great fear that I’m slow, that nothing I do will make me faster. In my brain slow=fat and fat=lazy, stupid, bad, horrible, etc. So yay, irrational fears!

This past weekend I got on the bike trainer for my first extended bike workout. Unlike the daily bike commute, there is nowhere to hide on a trainer. You can’t coast, there are not stop lights. When the schedule says 40 minutes, there will be pedaling for 40 minutes. Because the weekend schedule was crazy, I lumped my run in right after this ride.

Behold! The scene of much future suffering. Yes, you can come over and play Centipede.

It was easy. 40 minutes watching old Ironman Hawaii coverage, alternating between the hoods and the drops to build my arm and neck strength and keeping my heart rate in an easy work zone and my cadence high. No worries! That was probably faster than I have ever actually ridden in a race and then I busted out 30 minutes with the stroller, toddler and doggie. No speed records but I covered most of the distance of a sprint triathlon in a time I would have been jealous of four years ago and I wasn’t even tired.

So yeah, it’s working. Strangely enough, so far, self coaching and working out by myself has been effective. With the exception of swimming, which I do at masters and it kicks my ass, I don’t workout with other people. There is no temptation to slow down and chat. Conversely I don’t go too fast trying to keep up with faster athletes.  I’m training myself and it feels awesome.

Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hit me up for a run, just don’t expect me to run at _your_ pace.

-fh

There has to be a why

I had a job and was playing the lottery regularly with my co-workers. We were pretty miserable and it was a nice piece of escapism.  We would “friv” or talk about the frivolous purchases we would make if we won the jackpot.  One friv topic was “what will you do with your time?” I said that I would spend a year with a triathlon coach to see how fast I could get.

Last month I had a chance to go to the Clif Bar Headquarters and attend a talk by four professional triathletes. I went down, I didn’t really know anybody. I didn’t have the courage to go up and talk to the athletes before their on stage time, which was silly because they were there to talk to people like me. I saw a guy there who looked very familiar but I decided he wasn’t who I thought he was.

Then at the start of the program they announced that Mark Allen was there, not on the program, to tell us about his new book. You probably don’t know who this guy is so let’s say it’s kind of like Joe Montana just showing up to talk about his book and shake hands.

The programmed athletes went on after Allen and they were all very cool. What was even cooler was they way they treated me when I went up to get autographs. Clif Bar had provided copies of Triathlete magazine with each of the athletes on the cover. I grabbed one of each and got in line, except there was no line. Triathlon isn’t a big sport and here were four pretty big names, not huge names, but known names, with nobody engaging with them.  I could barely look them in the face but I got my autographs and had a chat.

The big thing is that they chatted back. They were all really, really nice and seemed genuinely interested in talking to me as a person and a triathlete. Which is something to remember on the low days when I disown the things that I’ve done in favor of thinking less of myself.

Then I was shaking hands and Mark Allen jumped up on stage. So I reached out and taught him a handshake. He smiled and threw me a shaka. My face nearly broke in half with the smile I walked out of there with.

As I walked to my car I gave myself permission to stop waiting for a thing that was never gonna happen to go after what I want. I don’t need the lottery to get fast, to train hard, and put something I love high up on my priority list. I don’t know how fast I can get but I’m very excited to find out!

P.S. The lesser lights of the evening were Terenzo Bozzone, Tim O’Donnell, Linsey Corbin, and Ben Hoffman