The Search

May 26, 2009

I had an awesome long weekend with lots of solid workouts and equal portions of quality rest.  Consequently my body is feeling strong and healthy (mystery abdominal illness aside) and I feel like I have been able to absorb the training I have been doing.  I’ve had to make more than a few smart decisions to avoid getting injured and I’m proud to say that I seem to at least be learning that!

Every season I seem to reach a point of restlessness; of needing something I can’t find.  Of course if I knew what that thing was, I’d have a better idea of where to look!  This is the point in my season where I usually start to look for a fresh approach or something different.  Sometimes I get a new coach.  Other times, I just whine.  This year, the coach is me, and GB and I are in separate countries.  Which means I can’t fire my coach and the only person who can hear my whining is me! 

Partly I am lacking in training buddies.  I have an awesome swim buddy but no one to run or ride with.  I am absolutely eating up the running right now and am so happy that my body has been good to me, but I’ll admit that I’m less than enthusiastic about cycling these days.

Being my own coach has been great for a little increase in self-awareness.  I have rehabbed my way out of my back injury without a coach and I have kept an old ITB issue at bay without a coach.  Heck, I have even put together and followed what I believe to be a solid training plan without a coach.  Now that I have moved away from doing a workout because someone else is holding me accountable, I have really learned how to hold myself accountable.  Although I’m not in excellent running or cycling shape yet, I think I may in many ways  be stronger than I have ever been, physically.  The problem, I think, is that I need a cheerleader.  And part of the plan behind coaching myself was to learn how to be that cheerleader for myself.  I guess I’m having a lapse.  I want someone else to know what went into a workout and to say “great job, Ness!”.  Does that make me less self-aware?  Probably.  But I still want it.  I miss opening up a week’s workouts and seeing what’s in store.  The suspense is pretty much gone when you write your own, as much as I might try to surprise myself.  I’m not sure if this means I need a coach or I need an attitude adjustment.  Likely the latter.  With me, it’s usually the latter.


Back At It

May 21, 2009

It has been a long two months coming, but my back is finally in decent condition and I am able to train like a normal person again.  There are no ART practitioners on the island so it was difficult finding someone who could help fix the problem.  Nonetheless, I found him and am in much better shape after two weeks of excellent rehab.  I have been running regularly for close to two weeks now and am really loving it.  I’m also being very good about not doing too much too soon and am being duly rewarded.  To top it off, my gym workouts have been stellar and that is also paying off nicely.

Work is going fabulously and I am sad to be winding down to my last month with these awesome fifth graders.  I really got lucky with this bunch and it has been so much fun hanging out with them every day.  I worry that I haven’t taught them nearly enough, but no-one can say we haven’t laughed enough.  The enormous upshot of only having a month left here on the island is that it will only be one month until GB and I are reunited again for TEN WHOLE WEEKS!  I can barely contain myself at the thought.   I think we are managing really well with the distance, but I so miss being together as a team.  I miss coffee together in the morning and goodnight kisses before sleep.  I miss holding hands, and driving together, and even disagreeing about stuff.  I could go on and on, but I won’t.  You get the picture: I’m excited to be spending ten weeks with GB.  I’m also excited that while we haven’t been together for much of our first year of marriage, we will be together on our first anniversary.

We’re a little parched here on the Rock.  We rely on rain for our drinking/flushing/bathing water, so when it doesn’t rain for a really long time, we develop a situation.  It hasn’t rained here in WEEKS and people are getting very anxious about water.  You can buy more, of course, if you run out.  But it costs a fortune and the waiting list is over a week.  Luckily I am housesitting this week so I am not being subjected to my father’s militant approach to showers (ie. recording and calculating water consumption).  Hopefully it will rain soon.  And hard.  Then everyone can relax a little and we can take showers that last longer than a minute.

Well, that’s all the word for now.  I don’t have internet access at my housesit, hence the enormous gap in my blogging.  I’ll be back at it regularly again soon – especially now that I have some real training to report!

Outdoor Shower

May 10, 2009


The view from my shower this morning

The view from my shower this morning

Back in the early days of our relationship, GB and I were housesitting at an amazing off-the-grid house in Massachusetts with a hot-water outdoor shower.  It was by far my favorite feature of the house although only operable during the warm weather, of course.  I swore that when we eventually build a house it will have one because I love them.  This weekend I’m housesitting for friends who have – you guessed it – an outdoor shower.  So this morning after my run I had a fabulous shower overlooking the ocean, as you can see.

Out of nowhere, it is suddenly summer here.  The temperature hasn’t been much above seventy, but the humidity is about 85% and you can pretty much drink the air.  I love it when it gets like this.  I’m not a big sweater usually when I exercise, but I love the glossy glow of running in the humidity.  Had I not been working at the triathlon store today I might have run straight to the beach and gone swimming.

Speaking of swimming, I have done plenty of that this week.  I had two solid pool sessions this week as well as three ocean swims.  I convinced my swim buddy to come to the ocean swim and I was so psyched when she showed up.  Just like in the pool we swam the entire way side by side and stroke for stroke.  It’s really fun to have someone who is so exactly matched with my pace.  I only wish I had someone like that to run with!

I can hardly believe there are only five weeks left until school gets out and I fly back to Minnesota for the summer.  It will be weird not having the ocean to train in but wonderful having GB and the dogs back in my life for ten weeks.  I am already researching tri training groups to see if I can get out and meet some triathletes in the Twin Cities.  I also need to keep building my training back so I’m ready to take on the racing season when I arrive.  This week has been a decent week of training and I managed two painless runs.  I may even try another tomorrow depending on how the morning goes.  In the meantime, I’m going to sit outside and marvel at the view.

Happy Mother’s Day to any mothers out there.  Here on the rock people say “Happy Mother’s Day” to everyone in the same way that people say “Merry Christmas” or any other holiday greeting that applies to everyone.  It’s funny to hear people saying “Happy Mother’s Day” to men but I guess there’s no reason they  shouldn’t have a happy day too!


The dogs I am hanging out with this weekend

The dogs I am hanging out with this weekend


May 7, 2009

I have to say, one enormous upside of being back home on the island is ocean swimming.  The water is up to 73 degrees now and is just perfect at the end of a hot day.  I am slowly and carefully reintroducing cycling and running back into my training but I have been swimming like a maniac.  In addition to my club swimming in the pool,  I now have a group of adults who do an open water swim every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after work.  We usually swim somewhere between one km and one mile, so it’s nothing major but WELL worth it.  It functions as both a recovery swim for me in between pool days and as an opportunity to practice my open water swimming and sighting.  There is nothing like swimming over a coral reef in crystal clear water to wash away the stress of the day.

In other happy news, I have noticed since coming back from Easter Break that my fifth graders and I seem to be in a real routine.  After nearly three months together we have things going pretty smoothly and I feel like we’re in a real groove.  It’s so great to have things going smoothly now that we have all figured each other out.  I always find it difficult to get kids to switch between goofy (which I enjoy) and serious (which is necessary sometimes) and I feel like we have reached a place where the kids pick up on my cues so quickly and easily that the days are very smooth.  Of course, by saying this I’ve likely set myself up for a crazy day!

Well, here we are at Thursday!  I hope everyone has a great day.


May 3, 2009

Well, I raced today.  I have been having all manner of bodily problems in the past six weeks or so: a spinal joint injury, a reappearance of my ITB issues, and something non-sports related and yet-undiagnosed.  I haven’t wanted to blog about these things because I don’t want to have a blog filled with “this hurts and that hurts and I don’t feel well”.  But things hurt and I haven’t felt well for quite some time.  Consequently I have ridden my bike once (well twice after today) in the past month and run about five times in that period of time.  Thankfully I have still been able to swim and am making progress in the pool.

Yesterday I decided I should do the sprint triathlon that was happening today.  I love to race and have been terrified to race back on the island since I’ve been here.  The last time I raced here was almost a decade ago and I have been feeling lots of pressure (internal) to perform well when I make my big debut.  For this reason, I have been putting off said debut for quite some time.  However, I woke up yesterday with minimal pain in my painful places and decided to register for the race.  I knew it wouldn’t be an all-out day and I knew I would not be impressing the people I was hoping to impress which is another reason I decided to do the race.  Sometimes if you just face up to your worst fear it turns out not to be so terrible.

The swim went well except that I was wearing a tri top with big side pockets (I had forgotten that I usually wear a wetsuit to race so this drag is not normally an issue).  Lesson learned.  Get a tighter top for non-wetsuit racing.

I was the third woman out of the water and the first female swimmer not in a team event, which is right where I should be after 11 km weeks in the pool.  I had a great transition and hauled ass on the bike.  However, my hauling ass was no match for the women who actually HAD been training and I got beat-down out there and lost a lot of places.  I was not originally planning to do the run (although part of me must have been planning to do it because I had put my race number and running shoes in transition!).  If there is one thing I do not like, it is not finishing a race.  So I decided to try my back and IT band out and start with a gentle jog.  S

Some time during the first kilometer of this gentle jog I guess it got a little too gentle and I stopped picking my feet up.  I tripped on a root and hit the ground hard and fast.  I don’t think I even stopped because the woman running beside me was still beside me when I started running again and she didn’t stop.  It was sort of a trip, dive, jump up, and run.  I was a little scraped up and focusing on my bleeding parts as I was running while trying to make sure my tri shorts hadn’t ripped.  Fortunately the damage to both me and my tri shorts was minimal and I think the extra adrenaline was exactly what I needed to override any other injury pains!  I stayed smart though, and continued to run slowly until the very end of the race when I knew my body was holding up.

Over a sprint distance, my time was about 20 minutes slower than it should have been on a healthy, fit day.  It’s hard to reconcile that in my head and to walk away saying “hey, I achieved my goal of not exacerbating any injuries and finishing the race”.  During everyone’s race post-mortem I wanted to say “Yah i have injuries and sickness and I fell and I forgot to pump up my tires and I had to stop on the bike because something was in my tire and I was riding a steel-frame kids bike with junior gearing and…”.  But really (although I just said all that here) what I tried to say was “Under the circumstances, it was an awesome day”.  Because it was.