Sunday, May 25, 2014

Demon Terminator

One week ago tonight I went out for my first open water swim (OWS) of the season. I've spent 3 days a week in the pool this winter. I swim 1 mile continuously every Wednesday night with the goal of beating last week's time. I felt prepared for the first OWS of the season....until my face hit the water.

The water temperature was 68 degrees. I wore my Exterra wet suit for warmth. Everyone swears they feel much more comfortable in a wet suit because of the buoyancy. All I could feel was the wet suit squeezing my lungs and strangling my throat. I went home feeling frustrated and angry tears burning at my eyes. 

I've spent the last week trying to figure out why the swim was so mentally tough for me. Was it the cold water? Was it the wet suit? Was it that I forgot I swim to the right and need to sight every 10 strokes? I'll just say yes to all of the above. 

It's Sunday once again and while we spent the weekend in Jacksonville at Abby's softball tournament, I secretly prayed that I would not make it home in time to swim. Nonetheless, I was home by 5 pm - in plenty of time. 

I took some advice from a fellow T3 member and soaked my wet suit prior to heading to the lake. I took extra time pulling it up slowly dreading hitting the water. Once in the water, I took a couple of plunges just blowing bubbles and getting used to the cool water. Everyone else took off to swim the triangular lap around Lake Windermere. I swam along the shoreline counting strokes, blowing bubbles, sighting. 

Hmmmm, what do you know? I didn't feel a bit of anxiety. I felt completely calm. Phase 1 was a success. Let's do a lap.....

I took some deep breaths and dove into the water. Counting 1, 2, 3, ....up to 10...sight...blow bubbles, 1, 2, 3....sight...bubbles. I hit the first buoy counting 80 breaths. I may have miscounted, but it didn't matter. My mind was calm. I swear I could see the bottom of the lake. Maybe it was just the murky water playing tricks with me, but it helped me feel completely at ease. 1, 2, 3....second buoy 90 breaths. "Oh look! A fish!" Heading in to the shoreline! I made it. 

Swimming one lap around Lake Windermere was such a relief. I felt calm, even secure in my wet suit. What was the difference in one week?????

I didn't care. I went for another lap. As I rounded the first buoy again, I thought about my previous blog posts about drowning the open water demons. Suddenly I had it. My wet suit shall forever here forward be known as Terra the water demon terminator. (I am sure this is exactly how I look in my wet suit, too!)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The best compliment ever

Happy Mother's Day to all my wonderful sisters, aunts and friends. A special hug to all who have lost children or still waiting for the precious gift of a child.

My morning started out great with a 2 hour ride. I'll write more about that later. 

We met my in-laws at Destihl in Bloomington for a late lunch. It wasn't long before it was time to once again send my baby girl back on the train to return to Depaul. Obviously, she had a few minutes while waiting for the train and she posted this: 

Sammy gave me the best compliment ever calling me wonderful, sassy and crazy! lol Love that girl. I'm just glad she recognizes my best qualities. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cold Water Challenge

While I was Indy for the Mini-Marathon, my friend, Nate, tagged me in the cold water challenge. The challenge was to dive into a cold body of water within 24 hours or donate $100 to St. Jude Children's Hospital. Nate knows I can't pass up a challenge....or a change to do something for St. Jude. 


I got home from Indy, dropped my back pack in the bedroom, changed into my suit and  drove out to Lake Windermere. After giving a brief speech where I challenged 4 of my friends, I took my dive. You can see the dive here: 

And they all accepted the challenge as well.  I am surrounded by loving passionate people. People who are passionate about living life to the fullest...which is why Jill showed up in an Ursula costume. Jill does a lot of costuming for local theatre productions and spent most of Saturday afternoon planning her costume. I mean who doesn't have an Ursula costume in their closet, right? 

They all took a dive in the nice, cold water.....and then we all retreated to Jill's house for wine.

It really was a great way to wrap up an incredible weekend where lessons have been learned and friendships enjoyed.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Indy Mini-Marathon

Last Saturday was my 4th Mini-Marathon, and my first mini-disaster.

As always, I drive to Indy filled with expectations and hopes. I love the city. I thoroughly enjoy the expo and I don't even mind waking up early on a Saturday to "race", which I never do. I always just execute my race plan. 

Last year I set a PR. I knew going into the Mini-Marathon that this was not going to be my strongest race, but I was willing to test the legs and see if I could come close to my PR. 

From the very first step, I knew it was not going to be a strong race. My legs felt tired from the very beginning. I was running with my friend, Christy, who strained a butt muscle earlier in the week. For the first half mile, we ran together weaving in and out of people and obstacles. 

That's where we got separated. She kept holding a nice steady pace and I was excited to see her stride looked normal. For myself? Ugh. I couldn't get my legs to move. I had absolutely no gas in the tank. Today was obviously not going to be a PR day. 

Instead I switched to Plan B. Execute my Ironman plan. Run from aid station to aid station. Walk at aid stations and take in hydration and nutrition. 

Mile by mile they clicked off. It's amazing how different you feel when you can say you only have 4 miles left. ONLY 4 miles left. 

I finished the race around 2:25 according to my Garmin. I felt slightly deflated and frustrated. During the entire run, I tried to figure out why my legs felt tired. Could it be over training? I slowly smiled and thought it could be under training. 

On the walk back to the hotel with Christy, who finished the entire race, I read a message from a friend asking how it went. I said it basically sucked, it was a bad run, but I'll learn lessons from it and move on. Her response was "Sorry. I'm still proud of you. I prolly wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if it wasn't for your motivation and encouragement. just remember that" The message brought tears to my eyes.

My response made me sob. Because it wasn't me that made the difference in her fitness journey. It was all about her and her hard work. I am forever thankful that I get to play some small part in her fitness journey, that I get to help her along the way, but it's her hard work that has made all of the difference in the changes she is seeing in her body. 

One deep discussion led to another.

Christy and I had a nice long talk about the life lessons we get from running. Some race days are great and make you feel like you are on top of the world. Some race days...well, you wonder why you even try. That is how I felt on Saturday. Frustrated and down, but in the end it's all about the journey. It's about enjoying the highs and and pushing through the lows. Just like life.