The “Not So Endless Runner”

This post has been brewing for a few years, so be patient with me if I ramble on at all. Since I completed my first USAT sanctioned event in the summer of 2011, I knew I was completely hooked on the sport of triathlon.The only issue was, I didn’t own a bike, wet suit, tri kit, or really have any training strategy. I just sort of went with it for two summers. I borrowed road bikes from fellow triathlete friends, showed up and pretended like I knew what I was doing.

252176_773912521002_6103763_39114624_8228303_n

Luckily, I had an absolute blast and knew that it was the start of a long and (hopefully) happy relationship with triathlon. I was so jazzed that before 2012 even rolled around I publicly made a commitment that 2012 was going to be the year of triathlon. I signed up for three races and shouted it from the roof tops.

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 5.16.56 PM

And then, just a few days later my boyfriend at the time asked me to marry him! So all of a sudden there was a wedding to plan and pay for, so quickly I reverted back to my “borrow & make it work” strategy of cycling.

Kim Tri Finish

Since I was already signed up for races, I completed two sprint distance triathlons and then unfortunately had to skip the third race due to the time conflicting with our wedding. I had fun, laughed a lot and struggled through one very hilly bike course (or at least it seemed to be at the time), but it was all for fun. The rest of the summer I focused on getting lean and tone for the big day by trying out a lot of different classes. Boxing, Pilates reformer, Exhale Barre, Hot Yoga, Spinning…and running nearly every day. If getting buff for your wedding was a sport, I was dominating it. I really enjoyed the variety and the excuse to be so laser focused on working out, and even welcomed the fact that I didn’t have a “goal race” on the horizon.

I haven’t discussed this too much on the interwebs because I never want our wedding to be the subject of a wedding blog and picked apart by other brides to be. It was our day, and to us it was magical and perfect and that’s how I would like it to stay, our perfect day. It was an absolutely picture perfect day and we celebrated with all of our best friends who flew in from all over the country and even the UK! Our wedding weekend was one of the most special times in our lives, not because we were now husband and wife, but that we had all of our friends and family in one place supporting us. There aren’t any words to describe the outpouring of love, it was just amazing.

232323232-fp734;3-nu=5;92--88-25--WSNRCG=358778768-34;nu0mrj

232323232-fp63594-nu=5;92--88-25--WSNRCG=3587-3424634;nu0mrj

232323232-fp54374-nu=5;92--88-25--WSNRCG=358785;96634;nu0mrj

232323232-fp54398-nu=5;92--88-25--WSNRCG=3587-7;24234;nu0mrj

548024_632472303703_506710031_n

After our wedding, we both settled back into real life and I came to realize that my reliance on group classes and laser focus before our wedding made me unbelievably burnt out. I set out on runs on beautiful fall days feeling extremely fit, but mentally I was beyond checked out. I couldn’t really compute what was happening, so I decided to take some time off, rethink some things and go back to working out when I was ready.

Luckily, it didn’t take long for me to snap out of my funk. I set my sights on a new goal, the Ironman Timberman 70.3, a race I had been eying for a few years, but my lack of cycling experience and scheduling always got in the way. I signed up, made the commitment to buy a bike (and everything that goes along with the sport of triathlon) and dove in head first.

After a great 2013 season where I learned so much and fell so hard for such an amazing sport, I have come to realize that I am not the same person I was when I started this blog. I’m now a part of an amazing team, have made new triathlete friends and I am constantly researching and learning as much as possible about swimming, biking and running. Yet, I still find myself typing on a blog that says it is specifically focused on running. Yes, I do still run. But, after seven and a half years of overuse injuries I am beyond done with the traditional marathon training program. Clearly, my body cannot handle the stress of the pounding and the variety that triathlons offer not only plays to my strengths, but helps me compete without suffering season ending injuries.

So, in a few days I am going to say goodbye to “Tales from an Endless Runner” and this blog will become www.swimmykimy.com! A journey through my triathlon obsession and all of the musings that go along with it. I hope you will join me for the ride while I aim high and try to achieve my new goals…

1236254_513966588687114_1653975283_n

Pretending to be a cyclist

2013 has certainly been an interesting and very busy year – I could bore you with all of the ups and the downs, but right now my eyes are on the prize: Successfully finishing the Timberman Half Ironman with a smile on my face on August 18th! 

So far, training has been great. I’ve been nursing my hip injury from Boston training and the running portion of my training plan is definitely behind, but I’m not nervous. Strengthening and avoiding future issues is definitely my #1 goal. 

To compensate, I have been swimming at higher volume than in my prescribed training plan.  Swimming is my strongest leg and where I feel the most confident. I am extremely grateful that I started the sport at such a young age and my swim club had such heavy emphasis on stroke and technique. I listen to fellow triathletes complain about the swim portion of the race constantly. As they talk, I nod my head and usually insert a quip about what a novice I am in the sport of cycling, but silently I am thanking all of my swim coaches over the years. Imagine if I had anxiety about swimming AND cycling? I think this whole Half Ironman game would most certainly be over if that was the case. I’ve adjusted my training plan as follows: when my plan calls for 1,000-1,500 I am traditionally swimming anywhere from 1,650-3,000. Part of this is to try to over compensate for lack of running, and the other part is: 1,000 yards swimming is a joke for me! In order to feel like I have done anything at all, I really need to swim at least a mile. 

The other part, is aggressively trying to wrap my head around the sport of cycling. I have been slow to get started with my new “hobby”, but luckily I have some really patient cycling friends. They are willing to give me parking lot tutorials on how to clip in and out, proper technique for starting and stopping and generally avoiding getting killed by crazy Boston motorists. They will even wait for me at the top of a hill when I’m too nervous to go up clipped in and half to walk my bike up to the top (this has happened on multiple occasions) and of course they are always willing to smile for a photo as I constantly need to document every single aspect of training. 

Here are such a few of my cycling sensi’s & myself in Lexington a few weeks ago – Proof I can do this!

Image

And, cycling is VERY hard, especially on Boston’s first warm weekend of the year. #unattractiveselfies

Image

All in all, I know this will pay off in a big way at Timberman, but I’m TERRIFIED. I looked at the elevation chart and HOT DAMN, there are some crazy, crazy elevation grades. If you don’t believe me, just check out this course map here. I just feel like there is so much to learn, and so much strategy behind it! Luckily the internet has a breadth of cycling and triathlon tips, tricks, videos and articles. Thank you, internet!

The other source of cycling anxiety is my general “fraidy cat” ways when driving a car with an engine, let alone a road bike with tiny wheels sharing the road with crazy Boston motorists. I’m hoping this pays off since I am overly cautious, but I definitely have a tendency to psyche myself out in a big way. I just need to repeat to myself “keep calm and pedal on.” (Side note, I need this shirt!)

I know in order to succeed, I need to stay calm and focus, so here are my goals over this next month of training:

  • Get increasingly more comfortable on the bike
  • Tackle as many challenging hills as humanly possible (without having a total mental breakdown)
  • Amp up running mileage once I get the OK that my hip is cleared to run longer than 3-4 miles (hopefully this news will come very soon)
  • Practice transitions. Luckily I have a triple brick work out planned on Cape Cod with friends on June 15th followed by the Oh My Goddard Olympic Triathlon June 23rd and the Cohasset Sprint Triathlon June 30th

So there we have it friends, someday soon perhaps I can remove “pretending” and instead shout from the roof tops about how much I love cycling. Something tells me it will be awhile before I get to that point, but I am certainly in it for the long haul to give this new sport the good old college try. It also wouldn’t hurt if I took a step back and reminded myself of this…

Image

Do you have fears of cycling? What steps have you taken to help ease your fears and build up confidence?