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It has been intense these last couple of weeks. Jerome was in Europe on business and I was flying solo. Usually I do not mind flying solo, but the kicker is our house is going on the market on Thursday and we have a LOT of crap to do. I do not like to clean. In fact, I had to call in the big guns last weekend and have my sister come up and help me. I think she was completely freaked out at the amount of work I had to do…but she has been great and we really hammered through some major organizational and cleaning issues in this house. Thank goodness.
On Friday night, I was close…close to tears. I had been not only been working all day every day but training and being mom…Jerome’s flight was cancelled due to our snow storm….I just wanted to lay in my bed and sleep! But, then, I got over myself and realized single parents do this ALL the time and they don’t complain, so why should I. So, I shut up and went to bed with my kids at 8:30pm and started the weekend.
The body is amazing, really. Not only have I been training normally, but I have been on the rivet in other areas of my life…and almost like pure, animalistic adrenaline is rushing through my veins. I put my head on my pillow and wake up 7-9 hours later ready for the next day. Thank goodness I am sleeping well. I got up early, did my brick and was off coaching Graham’s basketball game before 10am. I really have enjoyed doing this and it is honestly the highlight of my week. Working with these boys has been challenging but really just pure fun (and a tad exhausting!).
I had been looking forward to – and trash talking – about our bike TT that was on Sunday. Every so often, I do these computrainer bike TTs. They are so so hard. Pure agony for a 10k. Well, for some insane reason, I decided to swim Masters early Sunday AM for 5,000 yards and then drive to the TTs and then DO 2 of them back to back…with only a handful of minutes of rest in between the TTs….I have known some people (crazy) to do this before and I thought, “why not?”
See, this is exactly NOT like me. I am usually always somewhat rested for all my races…whether it be swimming or a run race 5k, I do NOT like going into events super tired. But, I was reminded yesterday how resilient the body is and how it is so amazing if in good shape.
So, I swam and swam and swam with the team Sunday AM…then, showered, talked and drank my Recovery Drink…then, I was trash talking Elizabeth and Ben on my drive down to the TT and stopped and ate. I arrived at the TT about 90 minutes before my start. I saw Elizabeth and was trash talking (ok, I was not) with her…she was about 1 hour before my wave. Anyway, I tried to warm up….but I was already so warmed up from swimming that I just spun about 5 minutes and talked for the remaining 85 minutes.
I jumped on my bike for my TT and I knew what the time was to beat and I was in the later heat (s)…so I just put on my IPod (yes, I listened to music for this) and rode hard. The room is hot and dripping with testosterone – all day hundreds of riders are in and out of this bike shop. 16 computrainer banks run for most of the day.
Ok, this hurt badly. I knew it would hurt…and it always does, but this TT was a rolling course…for me, a hair harder than the flat course I did here last time. I was working so hard and breathing so hard and I just wanted to vomit. But, I finished up and had the 2nd (at the time) fastest OA time. I was trashed. Elizabeth came over to torture me – as she drank her coffee and ate her PB Bagel – I sipped her coffee because I needed SOMETHING to jolt me into doing this again. Honestly, I was worried about the 2nd one – I am usually much more conservative than this! What am I doing!!?
My good friends John and Tracy set up for the 2nd TT and I got to talking to them – they were thinking I as nuts, but they did an Indoor TRI earlier that AM…geez!! At least I just swam! Anyway, they started the 2nd TT and I really was going to pay big time for my stupidness. Elizabeth asked if I needed a leash to reign myself in on this one – but she got smart and left. I am sure she did not want to watch the carnage for the 2nd TT.
I did it – hung on…power dropped by 20watts for test #2! That is A LOT….goes to show you how badly I suffered for TT #1….I mean I left it all out there, so the fact that I could even turn my legs over for #2 was purely a mental game.
After the 2nd TT it is now 1:30pm and I am OVER it. I can’t even cool down I am so tired. I get off my bike and talk some more (that is why I like these events, I can talk to people!) and change, go to Panera (next store) and drive home. My phone had died so I just drove home in silence. I was dizzy, exhausted and nauseous.
I got home…Jerome was outside painting the shutters and then tiling the shower upstairs. I could not even take a shower. I sat down, did some more trash talking on the computer, answered emails and played on Facebook. That is all I could muster.
Then, no sooner had I sat down, then I had to get up to meet with our builder and architect at our lot to go over the details of the house and how we want the house set up on our LOT..so we were outside in the snow forever walking our lot all while the kids had a snowball fight. I was so hungry now that I could not focus on anything but where we were going for dinner!
I got home at 6:30pm and took a shower, sat on the couch, watched the Oscars and worked. Finally!
I woke up this AM no worse for the wear but starving AND still a little nauseous! I am heading out to go running soon (edit: maybe later now) but Jerome woke me up at 5:15am to work on the tile in the shower. He has to get this shower done and needs to get to work, so this is the only time, of course. Did you know Home Depot opens at 6am? That helped us this morning!
The best news: The house goes up on the market on Thursday and we leave for Tucson! Of course…so looking forward to some R&R…sleep, warmth and Mt. Lemmon! I may sleep the entire weekend in the sun.
GOSH I wish I had more riveting updates for you all…but it is pretty routine here. I am swimming a lot of FLY and just officially signed up for the Illinois State Swim Meet – the max: 9 events + relays over 3 days. I am actually really excited. I never swim all days, because I hate being in a pool all weekend but this is the new Challenge year ! I signed up for the: 1000 free (1650 and 1000 alternate years), 500 free, 400 IM, 200 IM, 200 Free, 50 Free, 50 Fly, 100 Free, 100 IM. Should be totally hilarious if I can move Sunday night. But, I am sticking to my promises!
In other news, we are putting our house on the market on March 1st….so that is coming up fast and living in an 1880s home, we have work to do – my sister (bless her heart) is coming up this weekend to help me get rid of CRAP…especially in Morgan’s room. One of the challenges in working from home is that I can’t see past my own crap…so an intervention is needed. YAY for my awesome sister. And, our architectural plans are coming along. We are really excited. Yes, we have an issue if we sell our house quickly – and our new house will take 9-10 months to build…where will we live? Elizabeth’s new basement for sure. She misses me. No, we will rent a little place here in the neighborhood (rental market is hot now) so the kids can be near the school. Let’s just hope we have that problem!!! But, we have to go in front of the Association soon to present the house plans, so Jerome and I are having fun with the Builder doing all of that.
But, word of advice: When your husband’s boss invites you to look at his 2.5 million dollar custom home on a lake….don’t go….you will want to build a house like that with 1/4 of the budget! We went to look at his house and get a tour (8000 square feet) and OH MY GOSH….truly amazing. I would get lost if my home was even 1/2 of that! Geez…but the attention to detail, the word work, the quality of everything was truly inspirational. For fun, here is the back of his house…now you know why I wanted to see it – TOTALLY my style – and dreamy.
And, a classic Jenny story for you…(eeks)…as I have mentioned, I coach Graham’s basketball team (3rd and 4th grade boys). I really LOVE IT. We are actually pretty good and we are all having fun. At our last game this past Saturday morning, we played a very good team. The score was very tight the entire time and I was pacing and coaching from the side line the entire time. The REF was worthless (calling the game like these boys were in High School)…but, I keep my mouth shut…
BUT….(there is always a BUT)….there was a play the REF could not see, so he looked up at the other coach and asked him what happened. OF course the Coach said “our ball.” (crappy call) I said something under my breathe (and he heard me – maybe on accident, maybe on purpose)….but after the game he came up to me as we all shook hands and said:
“Honey…” and grabbed my arm.
I promptly ripped my arm out from his touch and said, “DO not patronize me.”
He had that dumb look on his face – you know which one I am talking about.
He said, “You don’t need to say bullsh*t out loud.”
Me: “No, I don’t, but you are lucky that is all I said out loud” and walked away.
I can guarentee this to you…IF I was a male coach he would NEVER have done that. At least now I know he won’t do that again to me. No one ever said I am a shrinking violet.
I need a new challenge. Ho hum ho hum.
As I busy myself this winter with training, I am trying to figure out what I want to do this year. Local and small for sure. However, EVERY winter I get sucked into swim meets. I do actually really like them. But, this year has been a challenge for me. I did IMAZ and then took 6 weeks out of the water. Fast forward to January 1st and I started swimming again. And, then entered one of the larger meets this past weekend. The pure swimmers are in great shape..and I am trying to just hang on.
500 free, 100 free, 100 IM, 50 Free, 200 Free + all relays.
Ho hum. Ho hum. Every year I do this meet and every year I swim within 5-6 seconds of my standard time. This year I was about 9 seconds slower in the 500 than my STATE time last year – techinically out of shape.
I was 1-2 seconds off in the 100 free.
Ho hum. Ho hum.
So, that leads me to my new challenge. I am SO tired of doing the same things and swimming within seconds of what I normally do. Sure, if I stripped away my running, strength and cycling I could get my times down. But, why?
So, I finally got over my bad self this weekend and decided I am going to do something I am afraid to do. I am going to do the 200 IM at the next meet in March and then the 400 IM at the State Championships! Now, for most swimmers this is a non-issue, but I am not one of those. I grew up ONLY swimming distance free. Even the 200 free is considered a sprint for me. Give me a 1650 over a 200 free any day.
So, there it is. I am putting myself out there AND taking on a new challenge. See, I didn’t even swim the 100 IM growing up. My breaststroke SUCKS. And, in practice in flip all my turns regardless of what stroke I am swimming (that is a no-no).
But, it is time to break out of my yearly monotomy. The STATE meet is huge and scheduled for the weekend of April 22nd. I have many months to practice and I will need them.
All you “pure” swimmers out there….tips are appreciated! I appreciate all the feedback on FB, but keep it coming. I can fake a 100 IM. And, probably fake a 200 IM. But, the 400 IM is the REAL deal.
Let’s get it going, time for some new challenges in my life!!!
Last week I had a college student here from Northwestern. She had contacted me a few weeks prior and asked if she could interview me…AS A JOURNALIST. I immediately shot her an email back and said..Oh goodness, I think you have me mixed up with someone else who WRITES publicly. I just blog and occasionally do some Triathlon stories.
My Professor includes bloggers as Journalists, she responded.
Oh god. If my English Professors could hear this now, they’d die. I didn’t even have a computer in college, let alone knew what a blogger was.
She was so cute. 20 years younger than me. I was careful not to say anything stupid. And, I most definitely was not in my PJs. She was prepared, organized and asked me a ton of questions. I think she was completely freaked out when I told her how long I’d been racing and what I have done. She was barely born when I started.
Funny how as you go through life, you go through all these different phases as an adult..a recent college grad, a single working woman, newly married, DINKS, then kids, new mom with newborns, toddlers then a mother with school age kids….then older kids… I remember being memorized by some of the “older” Triathletes when I started this sport in 1995. I remember working so hard on trying to figure out WHAT TO DO (this was way before coaches) and doing some VERY stupid things, I am sure. I just laugh when I read my old training logs. But, the one theme: I was consistent.
She asked me a question that is always asked – but during this interview I responded in an unexpected way.
“What has been your biggest accomplishment?” Ok, that is a common question and one I usually rattle something off about Hawaii or this or that….always time or placement focused.
But, not today.. .Instead, I said, “Longevity in this sport.” And, I meant that…and this is the first time I responded this way and it startled me..but it just came out.
Fast forward to this past weekend, Jerome and I were in Tucson on a little 3 day weekend getaway to chase the sun and for some R&R (dreamy)…and I was telling him about this question and my response (because god knows we are like trains passing in the night when we are all home = no time to chat). And, it got me thinking to how this longevity happens – because it is NOT easy in this over-demanding sport we do – and this is what helps:
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. I am SUPER intense…in fact, that is what keeps me always doing this crazy sport, but honestly, at the end of the day, I do NOT obsess about numbers or paces or anything. I look at the data, analyze it and move on. NO thinking about it past the moment.
- I mix things up. Some years I have to do things by myself – training, I mean. Some years I am all about suffering in my basement (winter) and running all by myself and just putting my head down and doing the work. THEN there are some years where I need to be with people!!! I want to do classes like Computrainer classes and Masters (I always do) and TRX group things, JUST TO get out and socialize. When you work from home, this is critical to my sanity some years.
- I switch things up every year. From 1995-2008 I was pretty darn serious. I did take some time off for the twins, but otherwise, I was go go go and I did love it. But, then as I worked more and the kids got busier I had to step aside. So, a couple of years ago I “just” did marathons and marathon training. LOVED IT. Not sure my body did, but mentally it was a great break. Then, last year I went bigger with the Ironman…and for me, if I pick a huge race, I go big time in the training. I leave no stone unturned and I do it all. Doesn’t necessarily mean I train 40 hours /week but I sure make the sacrifices to make my training key while being a good mom, coach and wife, friend, etc. I like mixing things up and it keeps me honest with myself and my time commitments and family life.
- I am super consistent. I take time off at the end of each season. While I complain I live in COLD Chicago – it is a blessing honestly. I could not live in a warm climate – I would burn myself out and be riding my bike 100 miles in January – with no major race on the horizon and (unless I race early in the season) that would burn me out and I would struggle each year to be “fresh.” (Now some athletes do this JUST fine….of course) But, I am always IN OR OUT..there is no in between, so I like the winter balance…time to re-group and get back into the strength component of the training and basics and work on the things that I need to fix!
- I am not doing out of control workouts in January & February. Sure, I am in Computrainer classes, which historically are hard (X minutes above LT, etc)…but I purposely drive pretty far (when there are closer ones) to go to a coach that I like and trust and who does a PHENOM job with periodizing the workouts and not having us doing work we should not be doing in January – but rather in June. I am SUPER picky.
- I do not worry about my paces, watts and stuff like that at this time of the year. I think that if I worried about all of that YEAR after YEAR, for going on 17 years, I would have to slit my wrists. I know very well what kind of shape I am in. And, each year it is SO different – this year is dicey b/c I am coming off a SUPER late season Ironman. So, honestly, I am not in great top end speed now and I can tell by my lack of turnover and speed and pop (let’s be honest, that is always the issue for everyone!). I wear a stop watch…sometimes a HR monitor and just run or just swim or just bike. I do gut checks from time to time – swim meets, indoor TTs – just to see how I am progressing.
- I like variety in the workouts. I DO NOT do well with go and swim 10 x 200 off 15” rest. OR ride your bike for 1 hour @ 160 watts. I can do that in the summer outside, but in the winter, I need some mix. That is how I write the workouts for my athletes and that is what I respond best to. For some it doesn’t matter – and that is OK. What is critical is that you need to know what works for you.
- I like and live the lifestyle – as do many of you. I like this lifestyle. I like being in shape. Any shape where I can pop in and out of races locally if and when I want to. Jerome does this too and while he said he is not racing in 2012, he was out running this AM – easy and short, but enough to keep fit and allow him to lead Camp this year or whatever it is!
- I don’t get too involved in what others think or do. In the world of blogging and twitter and social media, it is A LOT of information all the time – and honestly, it is GREAT for the most part…but I have confidence in myself and my plan that I just do what I am asked to do and be done with it. It sounds simple and trite – but I can guarantee many of you reading this struggle with this point – and that is normal. I think if I was not in the sport for all these years, this would be an issue for me too. I know it would be.
- I keep it real. I have fun, I eat M&Ms (almost daily), I do not follow the latest fads in triathlon or diets or “eat this not that” stuff. I really REALLY attribute my consistency for all these years as keeping it simple. I SLEEP a ton. I eat VERY well but I do not restrict or cut out foods and I always have dessert. I recover like a champ every day. I am not stupid. I do not make excuses. I keep things easy. I do my workouts, not anyone else’s. I listen to my body. I get regular massages. I trust my PT, massage person and husband to keep me honest. As I get older, I have many more easy/rest days. I do not over-think things. I surround myself with people I like (who knows if they like me, but that is not important, lol). The body trumps everything, especially as Master athlete. And, at the end of the day, I love it. Period.
This is a picture of me racing locally in 2000. NICE. lol
I always get asked, “HOW much longer are you going to do this, Jenny?” (seriously, how many of you get asked that? NOT many, I am sure)…………Most of these are by my non-triathlon friends…and I tell them, “I never thought about NOT doing this.” Here’s to your longevity in this great sport! Enjoy it all.