Thursday, April 12, 2012

For the Love of Triathlons

One winter day you wake up and you decide to start you are new triathlon training plan. You are excited about it and you tell the world about your new found inspiration! Next thing you know, you are going to bed realizing that you crave riding your bike, or you miss getting your sinuses cleared out by a healthy dose of chlorine water...or that sometimes a good ol' fashion run just gets your serotonin levels soaring!


I hate the fact that I have been slacking on my blog writing, but having said that, I love that fact that I love to work out! I don't think I've ever felt this way, even in high school as an athlete. It's been 10 weeks into the new me, and I can't figure out which discipline is my favorite! 


Biking is definitely at the top of the list. Maybe because it's the most expensive sport and I have an appetite for speed. Or maybe it's because being out on the open road is freeing to my soul. This little secret jewel of Road Biking can only be discovered 1st hand. Riding solo, or riding with a group, I really feel accomplished, proud, and self-reliant. I am actually going to bike to work (15 miles 1 way) for the 1st time tomorrow...and I am excited about it!


Swimming is really easy on my body and I have worked hard to get where I have gotten since day one. I wasn't even able to swim 1 length of the pool 2 years ago. Now I can comfortably do my race distance and then some. I have a new found love for collecting swim caps too..I have one to go with each of my swimsuits :)


Running is at the bottom of my list, but not loathed completely. I think I have a natural talent for running and I must say that I am proud to rock a couple of dead toe nails now and then because that means that I have been working hard and not slacking off. Running makes the bottom of my list because I believe it is the hardest. I have science to tell me that you get the most caloric impact from running than you do from swimming or biking put together. My body feels it sometimes too. So sadly, if one of these 3 disciplines must make the bottom of the list, then running it will be.


I have a whole bunch of races coming up this spring season and I can't wait to blog about each one! 1st up: The Cookie Chase benefiting Make a Wish Foundation. It's Sat, April 14th in Greenwood Village.  I ran the course on Monday with a friend and killed it with a meager 25 mins!!! I need to see if I can make that count on race day!


I will keep you posted :)


Thanks for reading! Here's a little thought to take home today:






Kristin

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My New-Found Inspiration

Sometimes I feel like I am always trying to play catch up. Especially when I compare myself to my naturally-gifted family. I have a husband, brother, and sister-in-law who just have the competitiveness, endurance, and drive to be the best athletes out there! I don't think I could ever be as good as they are..


...But then I take a look at where I came from just a couple of short years ago. I never was a runner, and Erik thought it would be a good idea for me to do my 1st 5k. I was reluctant because I really enjoyed being sedentary and thought I couldn't fit it into my already-busy schedule. The biggest motivation I had was to loose weight (as that has always been an issue for me in my adult life). I had done kick-boxing & random gym classes, but nothing really worked for me. The motivation was never there. Going to the classes and never really having a "test"  to see how far I came did nothing for my need to continue.


So I started my "Couch Potato to 5k" training program! At least with running, you could sign up for a local race and start tracking your progress through your race times. There was a "test" to see how well I had trained. And if I liked it, I could keep doing them and keep beating my own records.


Erik thought the basic training program was rather silly, but it worked wonders for me! It only took me 9 weeks to barely be able to run for 1 minute at a time, to running the full 3.2 miles that is a 5k! I highly recommend this program for beginners.


If you know me, you know that I can never do anything alone! So I invited my friend, Alison to do my first race with me. She is such a trooper! It can go unsaid that my husband, brother, dad, sister-in-law, and a bunch of other extended family also signed up for the race. (that is just a given in my world)


My 1st 5k time was just a little over 36 mins! I was so proud just to cross the finish line! It was the Colorado Rockies Home Run for the Homeless and you got to run through Coors Field and the end of the race. I got to see myself on the big teleprompter and pride just seared through my body!


Shortly after that, with more extensive training by my husband, I signed up for the Stadium Stampede which was similar to the Rockies race, but this time we got to run through the Broncos stadium. I got my Personal Best (PB) that day with a little over 27 mins! I had shaved off almost 10 mins of my timing...Erik couldn't have been more proud! He saw that his wife might have a little bit of natural talent herself ;)


Fast forward to present day and I have done my fair share of races, but still have yet to beat my PB at the Stadium Stampede. So as a way to continue my training for the Ultimate Distance Sprint Triathlon in Evergreen in July, I have signed up for a couple of 5k's this spring.



The 1st one is "Lucky Laces 5k", it on St. Patty's day. The 2nd one is "The Cookie Chase 5k" in mid-April. The Cookie Chase has a special place in my heart though because I have a few friends are joining me who remind me a lot of myself. They are just getting back into shape, recently lost significant weight to be able to run, or are picking up running for sport like I did a couple of years ago! 




I hope that I can guide them and support them like I was coached 2 years ago. Seeing how far that I have come in such a short time has truly made me reflect on all the accomplishments that running has rewarded me with! It wasn't easy, I was whiny (ASK Erik!), I fought it tooth-n-nail at times. But now I have this amazing base and I feel this sense of accomplishment that cannot be taken away from me...The work that I have put into this body is for me to celebrate!


If I can give half of what was given to me by Erik, Darin, & Misti, then I believe that my new running friends might be finding themselves with a new lease on life....the same one I discovered just a short while ago.


Nicole, Jaclyn, Kirk, Cara and Marianne: You are my new-found inspiration! Maybe one of these days, we can ALL be as good as my trainer(s).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

1st Time Blogging

So this is my very first time blogging. I am really not even sure what the word means, but I am going to give it a shot! I think it's like the 80's version of keeping a diary, am I right?

ANYWAY...let's get to the point at hand:

Triathlon: An athletic contest comprising 3 consecutive events, usually swimming, bicycling, and distance running. (dictionary.com)

My husband is really really into athleticism and competition. For fear of making this blog about him, I do have to give credit where credit is due. If it weren't for him, I would be 200+ lbs, watching the Biggest Loser (my favorite show!), and not knowing where to start to get into shape. He has inspired me in many other ways, but those can be saved for another post down the road :)

I started training for my first triathlon in the spring of 2010. I did it with my wedding in mind hoping to loose some weight and get a toned body for the big day. Well, I didn't loose a single pound and I found out on race day that I had not trained nearly hard enough.

You see, I have attempted 2 different triathlons in the past to only have been met by epic fail. Well...the EPIC fail was my fault on the 1st race, while the other one was completely handled by mother nature herself...(ie: not so epic).

The Crescent Moon Sprint Triathlon: 750 mtr Swim, 11 mile Bike, and 5k Run in Cherry Creek State Park. I invited my friend Ali to train with me and I think we had fun training together. I think that was part of the problem, I didn't take it nearly seriously enough. Race day came in September of 2010, and I borrowed a suit that claimed to be a 'wet suit', but in the end, it was a glorified wrestling uniform :) I got into the water, I tried to acclimate. My heart was in my stomach and I felt I was going to be sick the entire morning. The sun was shining so brightly off the lake surface I could barely see in front of me. 

The horn blasted for my wave of swimmers to go out. I hung out at the back of the crowd for fear of getting kicked or punched in the water. Once my chest went under the surface, I felt like I got the wind knocked outta me. Then I tried to put my face in it and move forward. It was like tiny knives slicing my cheeks open. The water was so dark that when I did a stroke, I could not see my hand at all! I LOST IT! I started to hyperventilate, I all of a sudden forgot how to swim, and at the same time was weeping immensely! 

I flipped over onto my back and started up into the blinding sunlight, trying to find my breath. My heart was now in my throat.  I was done. I back stroked the 50 meters I had made it out into the water and made sure I landed on a place where no one would see that I had quit. I crawled into the bushes and trees and hid behind an aspen tree and cried and cried. I was so embarrassed. How was I going to walk back to the crowd of my family and friends and tell them I was defeated. As I was crying, a woman came up to me and encouraged me to get back in the water and finish the race. She said she was a tri-coach and she would love to help me. I just couldn't do it. 

So, I watch my friend Ali dominate the race and a great time (don't remember what is was at this point in time)...and I swore I would never do another Triathlon again. I "tucked my tail between my legs" and went home a loser. :(

The Showdown at Sundown Spring Triathlon in Las Vegas: 750 mtr Swim, 20k Bike, and 5k Run. My sister-in-law Misti and my husband were wanting a new challenge. Misti wanting to compete in her 1st ever Long Course (1/2 Ironman) and Erik needing training for his 1st ever Full Ironman to be done in St. George two months after this race. We love Vegas, we all had races to compete in, so we invited our friend Peter (who did the Olympic distance), we trained, we got REAL wet suits, and we drove to Vegas in March of 2011.

The drive alone was 12 hours, with 4 bikes in tow on our SUV, luggage that went from floor to ceiling in the hatch back area, and whoever drove got to be DJ. Peter definitely won for most original music choice, and Erik and I got most immature with our rendition of Beauty & the Beast "Be Our Guest"...while Misti took home most predictable DJ with her love of Cold Play. Although Cold Play is really great to nap to ;)

Long story short...we arrive the night before the big race with threats of the swim being cancelled because of cold temperatures. We fretted all night, not sure whether it was going to happen. We woke up the next morning to drop out bikes off at transition and got the great news that Lake Mead was only 54 degrees (or a temperature close to that..I don't remember)! So, that day we all competed in a Duathlon (bike & run), and I still have yet to complete a Triathlon!

So, it is now Winter of 2012. I am going to attempt another Triathlon, this time with my brother Darin. The Ultimate Direction Sprint Triathlon in Evergreen, CO on my brother's birthday in July! Lake Evergreen never gets warm enough during the summer, so everyone is required to wear a wet suit. I went out and got all new gear for this race and have started a 23 week training program as of Feb 5th. I will be training for an Olympic Distance (twice that of a Sprint) in order to be overly prepared! I got my own wet suit so Erik & I can train in Cherry Creek Lake this Spring. I got Merrill's Minimalist Running Shoes, and I recently got a brand new Scott Bike! If I am not prepared for this race...then I am not meant to be a triathlete! (I WILL CONQUER THIS RACE!)

Onward & upward! ~ More to come as training progresses :)