Grant Approved! – 4/20/17

In 2016, I had to pass on a lot of very good training opportunities. Not being able to drive, it was either an issue with not having someone to help with transportation or shoulder the high transportation costs. Knowing that I needed to take advantage of more of these opportunties in 2017, I looked at options.

What looked to be the best fit was to apply for a grant with Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). Their grant process takes several months from application to announcement, so all I could do was wait, plan and train.

Last week, I received an e-mail that my grant had been approved! This means that I’ll be able to attend a long list of swim, bike and run sessions in the Chicagoland area starting in early June. This will help tremendously not just for the 2nd half of my 2017 season, but as I continue to push forward after it.

THANK YOU to CAF for approving my training grant!!!

Lifetime Lifeline – 4/19/17

While I love living in the Chicago suburbs because we get actual seasons, the downside is the winters. What that means from the Triathlon perspective is getting chased indoors for at least the swim for a good 6 months.

Earlier this year, I joined the Y so that I’d have a place to swim and train indoors. The guide that I’m working with for two of my 2017 races is a member at Lifetime. When we first met, it seemed like we would be able to work out all the logistics. But then after the first swiim at Lifetime, I was informed that I could only go as a guest once every 60 days.

But after we explained the situation to several people within the Warrenville location, they allowed me to come as her guest through race day so we can train. I am grateful for their generosity, as it will help with our training! It will help immensely as I push towards qualifying for PT Nationals!

National Beatings – Weeks 5 & 6 (4/10 – 4/23/17)

[Still not me, but getting closer to qualifying opportunities so I can be there…]

Like weeks 3 & 4, there were struggles with getting workouts in. While I’m not hitting every one, I still believe I’m on track to qualify. I hope to get two bites at the apple in May, but need a guide for the 1st one at this point.

While there were struggles, there were several very bright spots. These included:

1) A local facility helping to make sure we’re comfortable in the pool (next post).

2) Another organization putting their support behind me (2nd post).

3) Finding a solid alternative to having to go to St. Charles every time. I will still do that for major issues, but it’s really nice to have them close.

The story of the last month has been ‘it’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s that you get up one more time…’

Beat the Eagle 5K (4/8/17)

This seemed a perfect race to do — Eagles running in the Beat the Eagle 5K! And before things went awry for the last two weeks, this was going to be my benchmark race for April triathlon in terms of time. While that had changed, it still was a good testing race.

Around the last half marathon that I did (Chicago Monster), one of my guides mentioned salt to help with cramping. More specifically this meant things like Endurolyte capsults and similar products. So two days out as well as race morning, I was taking capsules. More about that later…

Proper pacing has always been a problem for me. Even though I don’t intend to swim/bike/run the first part (100/5mi/1mi) so fast, it always happens. This means that the rest of that discipline is slower because my body it trying to recover from going out too fast. Even when I’m running tethered, it’s still an issue. I really wish I could figure out a way to fix that quickly. I know it will come with time; but time is not my friend right now.

To illustrate what I mean about pacing, even with walking about a minute during the first mile to catch my breath, I was at 11:52 for it. I should have been at about 12:30 instead of 11:52. Because I pushed too hard the first mile, the last two were significantly slower. Even though the time part was frustrating, it was a great race.

That wasn’t just because I had two amazing Eagles to run with, it was also because of the learning experience. As I had mentioned a couple weeks ago, Hammer Nutrition’s generous support put a wide variety of supplies at my fingertips. For this race, I had Heed in my bottle along with using the Endurolyte capsules. Even though the breathing/endurance was an issue because of the too fast first mile, other things felt better than in other races. So I will keep using that plan going forward this season.

A huge THANK YOU to Martha & Charles for guiding me! I look forward to doing this race again in 2018!

National Beatings – Weeks 3 & 4 (3/28 – 4/9/17)

[Still not me in above photo, but pushing towards being in a similar one this summer.]

“When life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door.” (Grateful Dead) Or in other words, when things look like they’re going well, you have to guard against yourself. The focus needs to stay on your training plan even when you think things are going better than expected — or worse.

For me, the last two weeks have been a struggle. I haven’t gotten in enought workouts between work and other personal things. But there’s no use in dwelling on that — the better use of time is to get back on the horse. And that’s what I’ll be doing this week.

One of the most important points of the last two weeks has been learning to listen to my body, both current and future. Last year, I would have pushed myself and kept an April triathlon on the schedule. But this year, I’m being more realistic. While I wanted 3 shots at qualifying for Nationals, I will focus on having two strong ones.

Maybe a better way to look at it is accountability. If I had been able to keep on track the last two weeks, then I would be further along. The April triathlon would have been a stretch race, but a realistic stretch. But because I missed so many workouts the last two weeks, my ‘penalty’ was scratching that race off.