Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Train Your Brain

The formidable Chrissie Wellington
Yesterday CNN published an article on four-time World Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington. Last October Chrissie won her 4th World Championship Ironman in Kona, Hawaii just weeks after having a bad bike crash forcing her to race with a pulled chest muscle. In the article, Chrissie says:

"I hope I showed, through my performance there, that sporting success rests, in part, with having the mental fortitude necessary to overcome our fears, pain and discomfort."
So how do you train your brain to help you achieve your goals? Have a mantra. 

I've read several articles over the last few months in Runner's World magazine and online about having a personal mantra. According to Wikipedia, a mantra is a sound, syllable or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation". 

According to running blogger Shut Up + Run, her mantra is “Pain is temporary, quitting is forever.”  Over the last few weeks, I've had to push myself when running with tired legs after teaching pump. For instance, Monday I taught Pump, ran 10 miles and then taught ZUMBA. Tuesday I woke up to teach Flow and had to get on the treadmill again for 5 miles at a pushing pace. I found myself repeating, 
“I am strong. I am an Ironman.” 
Now I know I have not yet earned the title of Ironman; however, that is my one and only goal for this year. Putting the name of Ironman in front of me helped me push through the low points of the workout and it truly seemed to help. The low points tend to be quick blips and if you can just push through you can make it to the end. I plan on taking Chrissie's tip of writing the mantra on my water bottle or getting a race wrist band. When I hit the 14th hour of my Ironman and need help to get through, I hope the mantra will help achieve my goal to be an Ironman. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

In the name of being Lame

Camo-Man told me this morning that my blog has been rather lame lately. Really? Well, yes. 

In the name of achieving balance, I haven't been on the computer much in the last few weeks. With the little time I have when I am not working out or eating, I've started purging clutter out of my home and my life.

Each week I make a list of rooms in my house which are driving me crazy and slowly purge the clutter. I've cleaned out my closet, the den and the kitchen pantry. One friend even said my clean, organized pantry was Pinterest-worthy. While  it is nice and neat, I don't have the pretty baskets and labels required for Pinterest. 

My Pinterest Worthy Pantry

I've been outside running thanks to a couple of beautiful days. I went to a local trail and just enjoyed a nice relaxing 6 mile run. The picture doesn't reflect what I saw or certainly not what I felt, but it was a glorious run  much so I couldn't stop talking about it for about a week. 

Morton-East Peoria Trail 
I even planned a light workout weekend so I could take Samantha prom dress shopping. This isn't the dress we purchased. Unfortunately, I was not willing to spend $538 on a dress for her junior prom. I have at least 6 prom dresses to purchase over the next 8 years. I am not starting that as a precedence. 

The one that got away...
We found a beautiful dress at much more reasonable price. I believe she will still enjoy the prom without mom and dad going broke. 

My workouts have been going well. My running mileage is slowly increasing. My time in the saddle is increasing. My confidence in my swim is growing tremendously. I am feeling more and more secure that in 183 days I will truly enjoy a painful, but glorious Ironman Louisville

Friday, February 3, 2012

Finally Friday

It's Finally Friday, but what was I thinking? All I want to do is crawl back in my comfy bed and go back to sleep.

The bike I wanted...and didn't get.
But OH NO! I scheduled 4 hours of working out today. I've already completed my 60 minute trainer ride. Now I'm off to teach Body Flow followed immediately by swimming with the boys. I'm hoping this morning goes as well as last Tuesday. Then I have to teach Zumba at 5:30 pm today. Oh my. Right now I can't even think about it!

On the positive side, Awesome Cheryl is coming in town today to pick up her bike seat which she ordered when she got her bike fit on her new Cervelo P2. I'm looking forward to talking with her and solidifying our race calendars for the year.

OK....get rid of Diablo. Time to find the positive in all of this working out.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Old Fashioned Spell Check

Spell check is a wonderful thing, but what did we do before computers? Before spell check and (Damn You) Auto Correct

The classroom SPELLING BEE of course. 

My daughter, my prolific reader, Annelise participated in the school district spelling bee again this year. In the 6th grade, she participated and spit out her word so quickly she stumbled and was eliminated. Last year, she was sick and had to miss the whole thing. So all week I reminded her to slow down before starting her spelling. 

To my surprise, this year's spelling bee had a guest pronouncer, the Queen Bee. The Queen Bee won the school district spelling bee from 4th grade all the way through 8th grade when she went on to win the Tazewell County Spelling Bee and participated in the Journal Star Spelling Bee which was televised. Of course, we had to watch the televised spelling bee because the Queen Bee is also Annelise's BFF. 

As the guest pronouncer, Queen Bee provided the words to the participants for the practice round. On Annelise's turn, she said "kick". 

"Cake C-A-K-E Cake," said Annelise.
"No, KICK"......ohhhhh.

For another participant, "Two". 
"To? Like what kind?"
Queen Bee holds up the peace sign, "Two"...ohhhh.

A nice ice breaker for the 40 or so 5th-8th grade participants in the spelling bee. Then the seriousness begins. The first round or two are simple words. Annelise had JUMBO, CRISIS & THERMOS. 

The words began to increase in difficulty. LABORIOUS. (When we got home that night discussing the spelling bee, Annelise tells me LABORIOUS was an inside joke between her and the Queen Bee. Who has jokes like that? Oh wait...yah, two brainy kids. That's who. Love those girls!) HYDROGEN. After correctly spelling HARMONIOUS in the 6th round, Annelise returned to her seat to fist pump Nathan, the boy sitting next to her. Yes! On to the next round. 

The number of participants are dwindling. Sunshine is now among the last 15 standing. REFERENDUM. GENESIS. SIMULCAST. 

Simulcast. Wait? What? Definition please? Productions or programs which were broadcast over multiple mediums. Now we are down to the Final 3!!

Troy correctly spells his word to start the new round. 
"Annelise, your word is ANNOTATE." A-N-N-E-T-A-T-E. (ding) 
"That is not correct." Ahhh.....Zoe, the 3rd participant steps up and misses. In order clinch his victory, Troy needs to spell one more word correctly which he easily achieves and leaves Annelise and Zoe to battle it out for 2nd place. 

Annelise spells EXPRESSIONISM correctly. Zoe misses. 
"Annelise, in order to win 2nd place you must correctly spell one more word. SLANTINDICULAR."

The crowd responds, "Whaaa???"
"Definition please?", asks Annelise. The answer was much longer, but it means somewhat oblique. Let's just say we struggled through a few rounds. Annelise would miss, Zoe would spell correctly and miss her additional word, or vice versa. Back & Forth. 

Zoe, Annelise & Troy
All Spelling Bee Champions!
Annelise missed: RESUSCITABLE, MISCIBLE, PUGILIST. Back & Forth....words I did not know existed. 

Annelise steps up to the microphone and says to the judges & crowd, "Are we boring you yet?" I don't know where she gets her self confidence, but she is totally comfortable up there on the stage. Annelise missed REMINISCENT. Zoe missed. Back to Annelise who was correct on POLYGLOT (Who has ever heard of that word before the spelling bee? Really.)  Missed CLEMENCY, SPHINX. Correctly spelled DIMINUTIVE. Zoe misses her word. Oh please let her get this next word right!

"Annelise, your word is CENSUS.", the pronouncer states. I am sitting on the edge of my seat. As a genealogist, I am sure that I will jump up on the stage and pounce on her if she misses this one. 

"I actually think I know this one. Just in case...definition please?", asked Annelise. OK, she's got it. 

Queen Bee & Annelise
"CENSUS C-E-N-S-U-S CENSUS." Mom beams from ear to ear. I knew the non-stop piles of books left in every room of the house would pay off at some time. 

24 rounds of spelling and my daughter, the incredible young woman that she is, can now claim the title of the 2nd place finisher in the district spelling bee. I am so proud of this little lady. She is my little Sunshine. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Swim Win

Diablo is now sitting at the bottom of the pool with an anchor tied to his legs.
I hope he stays there. 

The morning started way too early with teaching Body Pump at 5:10 am in another town. Did my alarm really go off at 4:15 am? Let's just say that the brain does not function well that early and some body parts were not readily identified by my stumbling cues. On the plus side, no one is on the road at 4:45 am and it's a nice straight shot full of green lights from my house to the other gym.

Once the class was over, I felt great. I was definitely awake, re-energized by the music and moves brought to us by Les Mills. I also had to launch the choreography for Body Flow 55 dissolving my stress and tension away at 8:30 am. 

By the time I got home my second class, I was relaxed...and ready to crash. NAP TIME! Again, I am an advocate for listening to your body. With all of the running I knew we had scheduled for the evening, I felt a nap was in order. Still groggy from my very brief cat nap, I picked up The Legend and we went for a swim. I didn't have high expectations for my pool time. I was definitely not going to set the bar high today. 

The Legend wanted to do 2000 yards. So I thought I would follow a similar plan as last week: warm up, swim increasing sets, cool down. Simple, right? 

Last week after my Pump class, I spoke with one of our local swim team coaches about my technique and questions I had regarding drag. She suggested making sure I kept kicking when I rotated on the side. My focus for the day's swim was technique, eliminating drag. 

Head position? 
As I sat by the side of the pool pulling on my cap & goggles, I watched The Legend swim. Because we had been discussing swim technique during our last two outings, I made some suggestions on his technique. On past swims, he's fought pretty hard to keep up with me. Not that I'm fast. I'm just faster than him. I had this fantasy.....

Me. The Ohio River. Me leaving the Ohio River. The Legend coming out after me.  The Legend passing me on the bike and waiting for me at the finish line. (sigh...)

But like I said. It's a fantasy. I opened my big mouth and suddenly he's not struggling to keep up with me anymore. Damn!

Back to the workout...I started out with a 100 yard warm up breathing every 4 strokes. 30 seconds rest. I continued with increasing sets (1 each, 30 sec RI): 200, 300, 400....started the 500 and suddenly I think I'm freaking Janet Evans. Why stop at 500? JUST-KEEP-GOING!!!

And so I did. 1000 yards later I came to a stop, put my arms up in the air like I'd just won Olympic Gold and celebrated Diablo sinking to the bottom of the pool.

Total workout: 2000 yards. WIN! Yes, I will pretend I am freaking Janet Evans even if it's just in my mind. I may not win Olympic Gold, but I'll definitely put that one down in the WIN column. 

Area of focus for my next swim: 

Technique Focus: Where should I be looking? It seems to me that my problem could be my head direction after I breathe. I feel as if I'm looking too far down, straight down at the bottom of the pool. I can't remember where, but it seems I read an article once that said you should be looking slightly forward. Maybe that's my problem?

Equipment Focus: I am so tired of foggy goggles. I bought defogger last year which, of course, I cannot find now. If I remember correctly, it didn't seem to work too well. I read an article (yes, I read a lot about swimming) that said foggy goggles will actually help you with an open water swim. I'll go with that, but it makes it hard to see my lap counter when I'm wondering how many more laps I need to get through.

Aesthetic Focus: I am not a VERY vain person, but why must I go around looking like a freak with goggle eyes for 12 hours after my swim is done? Anyone have any tips for this? The small vain voice in my head says, "All you are doing is creating wrinkles and bags for your quickly approaching old age." Shit. That voice is probably right.