First let me answer the question that many of you have asked, “why?” Am I chasing something? Possibly. Am I a challenge seeker? Probably. I don’t think I have one solid answer, I can only say that no event has piqued my interest or excited me as much as the possibility of competing in the Ultraman. I guess this sort of stuff is just who I am.
These past few weeks have been about preparing my mind, body and general timetable for my Ultraman Journey. I have learned from Racing Ironman’s that you must have a solid base, a plan and a healthy mind, before the first day of training.
My, “mind” preparation began with spending a few days with my good friends Colleen and Howard. Colleen is a great friend and a huge inspiration. She helps me to put things in check and always reminds me that I am capable of achieving so much more than I could imagine. She is a world champion triathlete who has the energy, strength, heart and drive of her horses. I think she has learned a lot from them and I have learned a lot from her. We all have power within us, the key is knowing where it comes from and how to bring it to life, one day with Colleen will show you how.
Another important part of training the mind is fine tuning your methods of handling stress. Stress will have a huge effect on your training, if you let it. Training for an endurance event while working a 40+ hour a week demanding job, inevitably leads to stress. Eliminating as much stress as you can beforehand is a good first start. I know when my most stressful times at work are, my training will have to work around those. For example, a heavy training week during a heavy work-stress week will lead to missed workouts, which leads to anxiety and eventually more stress.
And for those unavoidable stressful times, I have found that lots of sleep, less sugar, less caffeine and a planned massage can really help.
Now for the temple, this poor body of mine that has to put up with all of the hair-brain ideas that my mind comes up with. I have found it helpful to get the nutrition set and tight muscles loose before the first day of training. Each day over the past few weeks has consisted of 1 less cookie, 1 less cup of tea, and only 2 glasses of Merlot each week. I have pulled out those old recipes, that include fruit juice as a sweetener (instead of sugar- don’t worry Sarah, I have fine-tuned the brownie recipe since you tried one last), meal plans that have vegetables as a main course, and I have loaded the fridge with carrots and parsley for the juicer. I have introduced yoga back into my weekly routine and I even pull off the occasional stretch after my run and before I run into the shower and onto my workday.
Perhaps the hardest part of endurance racing is balancing the training with a full time job and a marriage. I am very fortunate to have an incredible husband who has been my rock, through everything. I couldn’t even think of going down this path without him. He is my favorite training partner and he too is gearing up for these next 8 months. Rob- thank you, thank you, and thank you.
The work/workout balancing game is a tricky one. Just figuring out the workouts alone can be overwhelming, which I believe is what leads many triathletes to over training, anxiety and a lack of sleep. Fortunately I have the help and great coaching of my good friend Duane Franks. Duane coached me for my very first Ironman in 2001 and I have been hooked ever since! Duane, aka Dr. Spock knows triathlon, knows training, and knows how to do it without injury. It’s so great to not have to plan out each week, but instead trust in Duane to set me on the right path. I can’t wait to receive my first set of workouts from Duane, the hardest part between now and then will be finding my heart rate monitor!
I want to thank all of you who will be joining me on this journey, knowing you’re there with me makes such a difference. Many of you emailed me to give me your good wishes and to let me know that you’ll be following my blog, thanks so much. If you haven’t done so already, please register as a follower on this blog, it’s the only way I can see who’s following it and I want to be able to email you directly from time to time.
Next weeks blog will include details from my first week of training, which starts this Saturday.
One more thing, I haven’t been accepted into the race yet, so for now, I will just have to, “believe”.
Please see below to learn more about the people I referenced in this blog:
Ciao for now,