Yeah! ‘MURICA!

Happy birthday, America!  Did you know your birthday was almost two days ago?

As John Adams wrote to his wife:

But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.  I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

But we celebrate on the 4th because that’s when the Declaration of Independence was signed, right?

Wrong.

The Declaration was officially adopted on the 4th, but not signed for over a month.

This is all very confusing.  We celebrate our Independence on the 4th, but it wasn’t official on the 4th, and we celebrate it by blowing up things made in China.

nguyentuanhung / Pixabay

nguyentuanhung / Pixabay

Whatever.  Happy Independence Day, America.

Learning to Say No

PeteLinforth / Pixabay

I have been getting a lot better at saying no lately.  I used to say yes to every experience opportunity that crossed my path.  Run this race?  Sure!  Take this trip? Absolutely!

A couple of years ago, I was racing constantly.  On some level, it was easier, because I was just keeping my training base high.  (I also believe that was the time that I put on this stubborn 20 pounds that I can’t seem to get rid of, but that’s another story.)  But I wasn’t racing to race.  I was racing to finish.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with racing to finish, but it shouldn’t be your only goal.  If you’re headed to the start line of your first half marathon or you’re coming back from an injury, then yes, your goal should just be to finish in one piece.  And maybe on a whim, you sign up for a race and you don’t have the time to truly dedicate, so your goal is to go out and have fun and finish.  These are all fine things.

But I have come to believe that after a while, your goal should be more than just finishing. Maybe you set a time goal for yourself.  Maybe you just want to improve over your last race.  Maybe you want to help pace a friend through the race.  But I think you need to do more than just show up.  (Though I suppose if your race goals are to race X number of races this year or a race in every state, then yes, just finishing is a good goal.)

To that end, I’ve been saying no to more races lately.  If I’m not going to put in the time to really train, I’m not going to do the race.  That’s not a hard and fast rule – I’m running the Disney 10K this year because I couldn’t bring myself to go to Marathon Weekend and not run anything.  But I’m not aiming for any sort of PR.  Just going to have fun.  But the month after that, I will be actively racing the Donna Half.

I think I came to this concept when I started doing triathlons.  This was something new.  This was something I really had to work for.  I couldn’t just show up at the start line and know that I would finish. And while I was training and experiencing that sort of anticipation and excitement and nervousness, I realized that I missed it.  Just going out and planning to finish a race didn’t give me the rush that I had gotten early in my running career.

So this means that I’m not running as many races as I was before (which has been good for my bank account), but I think I’m getting much more out of the miles I’m putting in.  I think it’s a good trade-off.

Wednesday Workout Recap

Happy birthday, Canada!

Last week was a return to normal training.  Except that the weather really thwarted that.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – Treadmill speedwork.  This would probably be more pleasant on a track, but getting to a track is annoying, plus my treadmill features a fan and air conditioning.  That said, I really struggled to get any real speed tonight.  I’m not sure why I find Tuesdays such a tough day for a workout.  It’s possible I’m coming into the workout underfueled, or I’m just tired from the work day.  Let’s be honest, I’m not going to get up early enough to run 8 miles and then get to work by 7:30, so I just have to tough it out.

Wednesday – Trainer power workout.  While doing one legged drills, I’m really feeling the work in my hips, and I think this is where I’m running into trouble with tight hip flexors and a tight lower back.  I need to be sure to stretch after these workouts.  Which I love.  I love the bike trainer more than I should.

Thursday – Team Fight swim practice.  Lots of kick drills.  I’m really working on bilateral breathing right now because I’m absolutely terrible at it.  Right now, I breathe on my right every 4 strokes.  I’d like to be able to breathe every three and thus breathe on both sides. It’s not easy, but I’ll get there.  Maybe by next season.

Friday – Rest Day

Saturday – 10 Mile Treadmill Run.  This was the stormier of the two days for the weekend, and I was hopeful the group ride would happen Sunday, so I did this run indoors.  It was way faster than it would have been outdoors, but I would have rather been outside.  I need to start saving good tv for these sorts of workouts.

Sunday – My plans were thwarted.  I had a 100 minute bike ride on the schedule, but the group ride got cancelled and my normal route was filled with giant puddles.  I considered going out and finding a new route, but given that I was going to end up riding alone, I just opted to hit the trainer, and did a full two hours instead of the 1:40 required.

Next week, the weather had better be nicer.  I do not want another full week of indoor workouts.  It’s not winter after all.

TT Bikes and 70.3s.

In the past 24 hours, I’ve had people encouraging me to buy a tri bike (anyone want to give me a couple thousand dollars) and to register for a 70.3.

I can’t believe I’m considering both.

I am still not sure about the tri bike, but I can definitely research it.  My biggest concern is that I’m too big for a tri bike.  But I keep getting told that a good shop can measure me and get me fit for the right bike.  So we’ll see what happens there.

I thought that it was silly to even consider a tri bike since I’m still not a fast cyclist.  I’m capable and competent on my road bike, but I’m not fast.  I’m getting faster though.  I always thought that I needed to get faster to make it worthwhile.  But the more I mention that, the more people tell me that no, the bike will also make me faster.  So if I continue to improve and I get a faster bike, I’ll really be able to put on the speed (for me) next season.

If I do get a tri bike, it’s probably something that will go into the trainer until next season anyway.  But it feels like such a big commitment.  Like it makes me a real triathlete.

The 70.3 is something I can just ponder.  The race isn’t even officially announced yet and it’s not for well over a year, so there’s plenty of time.  It’s not real until I have to think about registering.  But I have been considering a 70.3 for a while.  It’s definitely something that would be a real challenge for me.  These races typically have 8.5 hour time limits, and I would be pushing that for sure.  Where I know I can significantly cut time is the bike, because I have much work to do in that arena.

But man. Racing for 8+ hours.  That sounds miserable.  So I’ll have to debate and talk with my coach and debate some more before I tackle it.

I think I do a lot of thinking about racing compared to the actual racing that I do.

Coeur Sports Kit Review

Well now that I’ve raced a few times in my Coeur Sports kit, I’ve been getting questions about how I like it.  Full disclosure, I’m a member of Team Coeur for 2015, so I am biased.  But they don’t require me to do a kit review, I just want to share what I love about this kit.

 

This review is of the very adorable triathlon kit in the Monaco Grand Prix design.

Coeur Trainer Selfie

This is me on a trainer wearing my Coeur Sports tri kit. Yes, that’s a cat tree behind me.  And this might be the best selfie I’ve ever taken of myself.

I’m going to start at the bottom, because I think the tri shorts are amazing.

Coeur Shorts

This particular pair is a size large, which works on me, but I prefer the XL because they make my legs look less like sausages.  Either fits well enough though.  And hey, I chose a sport that requires spandex.  I love that the little grippy parts are the Coeur name.  I think that’s adorable.

 

Coeur Shorts Pocket

The shorts have three little pockets on the back.  They’re small and lay flat, which I love, but they hold small items like a gel, a sunscreen wipe (critical) or lip balm (even more critical).

 

Coeur Shorts Chamois

 

This.  This is the key to these shorts and what makes them so glorious.  That chamois looks funny, but because it continues all the way down the leg, there is no spot for it to chafe your thighs as you pedal or run.  It’s perfect.  Absolutely perfect and I’m just waiting to see other companies doing something similar.  The chamois is thin, but does what it needs to without making you feel like you’re running in a diaper.  It’s a win all around.

Coeur Top

The top, as you can tell, is on the longer side, and this is something I love.  No issue with it riding up as I cycle.  Plus, well, I have a few more curves for it to get around, so the added fabric is a good thing.  I wear the XL and my chest wouldn’t fit in a smaller size.  It’s tight, but not uncomfortably so.  The fabric is incredibly light and thin, but provides excellent coverage.

 

Coeur Top Pockets

Again, pockets!  These are much bigger and if you wanted to, you could put your phone in there (though I wouldn’t do so while running since there’s nothing to hold the pocket closed).  Tri kits need more pockets.

 

Coeur Top Bra

The Coeur tops do have a built-in bra.  I wear a 36G.  A built in bra is useless for me.  Sometimes I cut them out of kits, but I actually like how this one hugs around my bra and keeps the top from shifting around more than I want it to.  If you can wear the top without a bra, I am jealous, but for those of you who can’t, I’ve seen a lot of ladies wear this top with a racerback bra.  I actually wear mine with my Enell bra, making sure to save the pretty colors for race day.  It shows around the front and definitely in the back, but it definitely doesn’t look bad, and well, it’s way better than bouncing around everywhere.

I love Coeur Sports because the products are great and I love what they stand for.  The kit fits incredibly well and takes care of a lot of the issues I’ve had with other kits, namely chafing and a too-short top.  The ladies of Coeur are fabulous and always there to answer any questions you might have.   And don’t worry, fellow Athenas.  They’re working to get larger sizes into their store!

Plus I love this from our “about us” page:

Coeur is French for heart & the root of the word courage. And that’s what we put into our collections and our sport. As an athlete, you know that athletic performance is about so much more than genetic talent. Its also about heart. Heart is about digging deep and being mentally tough. Heart is what gets you to the finish line when all the body wants to do is lay down.  Heart is at the center of the community and the friendships you find in sport. Heart is what makes you give back to the community that has given you so much.

This is one of the reasons I love triathlon.  It’s a sport that gives back to the other competitors in a way that I haven’t seen in other sports.  It’s a sport where fast finishers cheer on the slow finishers and where we all feel the heartache of a DNF.   At my last race, as I was slogging through the miles, a fellow Coeur athlete called out to me “Heart and Courage!” and she was right.  That’s what the sport is really about.