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As I was walking back to my office (and my bike) after my swim today, I was thinking about how much I’ve changed in the last two years.  And I owe it all to one former student of mine, and one small decision I made over two years ago.

During the spring of 2009, I was busy playing rugby, and volunteered to teach a summer class.  Little did I know that teaching that summer class would change my life.  That April, I broke my ankle in a rugby tournament, ended up with a blood clot, and was forced into early retirement.  Needless to say, I was bummed.  At that point, my rugby team was my life.  I had created that team from scratch and put every single ounce of my time and energy into it.  Now, I was no longer able to play.  And I didn’t want to run the team if I couldn’t play.  That would just have been torture.  So I retired and turned the team over to the other girls and hoped for the best.

But I was feeling very lost.

That July, my summer class started.  My ankle was back to normal, but I had nothing to do with myself and my time.  But fortunately, I had a student in my class that was a freshly-minted triathlete and was extremely enthusiastic about it.  We often talked during the class breaks about his triathlons, and this got me thinking – I could do something like that…

One night, a few months later, I decided to take the plunge.  That October evening, I signed up for my first marathon.  I remember sitting on the couch, afraid to click the “submit” button because that meant I was really going to do it.  I took a deep breath, clicked “submit,” and then informed my husband that I had just signed up for my first marathon.  He must have thought I was out of my mind.  But fortunately, he only looked at me like I was nuts for a split second.

Since then, I haven’t looked back.  I have completed a half marathon, two marathons, and several other shorter races.  I’ve come to love running, training, and pushing myself to see what I am really capable of.  Sure, there are often times where I just don’t want to go out and run – that’s normal.  But once I get out there, it feels great.

Now, I’m training for my third marathon and starting to train for some spring triathlons.  And I’m absolutely certain that some day in the not-too-distant-future, I’ll complete my first Ironman triathlon (obviously I’ve got some training and shorter tris to do first!).  If the me of two years ago saw who I am today, I don’t think I would recognize myself.  And I’m happy with that.

The thing that amazes me is when I think about it, I owe it all to that simple decision I made back in the spring of 2009 to teach a summer class.  If I hadn’t done that, I never would have met that enthusiastic triathlete student of mine, and never would have been inspired to begin my own marathoning and triathloning (is that a word?) journey.

So I guess the lesson for today is to keep an open mind.  You never know where you’ll end up.

My birthday is next week, so I wanted to take a minute to look back on my 27th year – it was a good one.

This past year I made a few HUGE changes to myself and my life…

  1. I ran my first marathon, and then my second.
  2. My husband and I bought our first house.

And just because it was awesome…  I went to New Zealand for three weeks.

I have a lot of things in store for my 28th year.  I want to push myself to continue to improve and grow as both an athlete, and as a cook.  I always like to make goal lists.  There’s something nice about seeing things written out right in front of you.  So here’s some things I’d like to do in this upcoming year:

  1. Complete marathon #3 – I’m currently training hard for a second pass at the Adirondack Marathon this September.  I loved that race so much last year and I can’t wait to run it again!
  2. Complete The New Rules of Lifting for Women program – I’m almost done with stage 1, and I’m loving it so far!
  3. Complete my first triathlon – I’ve been swimming and biking a lot in addition to my marathon training, and this coming spring, I plan on completing some triathlons.  Eventually, I’d love to complete a half Ironman and an Ironman.  I’ll get there someday!
  4. Cook my way through Veganomicon – One of my favorite cookbooks, and a “must-have” for any vegan.  It contains 242 recipes (yes, I just sat there and counted the whole table of contents), which I should be able to get through within the year (yes, very “Julie and Julia,” minus the dairy, veal, killing of lobsters and whatnot).  I LOVE everything that Isa and Terry make – I wish they would come be my friends who would cook for me every day!  I’ll start the day after my birthday and go from there.

So, 27, you’ve been good to me.  It’s been a great year.  I’m looking forward to the next one.

Now, I’m off to the midnight showing of Harry Potter!  WOHOOOOOO!

I’ve been back in training mode for a week now and it’s feeling great.  I’m always experimenting with different ways to keep myself motivated and on track, and I’ve found one that seems to be working well.

I made myself a weekly goal chart:

I have two “rewards” for myself.  One if I finish the week with all the white boxes checked, and another if I end with extras checked.  Seeing as I’m a perfectionist and an overachiever, I don’t want to end the week without checking all the boxes, so I’ve been getting out and doing all the things that I said I was going to do.  Last week, I did all my lifting, all my swimming, all my running, and took the dogs for a long walk every single day.  This was a HUGE improvement over the last several weeks.  I definitely found myself snapping out of a lazy funk and saying, “okay, I HAVE to go do this right now or I’m going to regret it later.”

Hooray!

On a side note:  I LOVE DOGS.  So much so that I have two.  BUT, when people leave their dogs unattended in their front yards and I’m out running or walking with mine, that is NOT COOL.  Last night my husband and I were out running/biking with the dogs and a random dog came tearing out of its yard and started going nuts in the middle of the road at Jade and Rocket.  The owner was nowhere to be seen.  I ended up having to scream “PLEASE COME GET YOUR DOG!” at the top of my lungs.  Twice.  After the first time the woman came to the door and stood there and watched.

After she got her dog, there was no “hey, sorry about that” or anything even spoken to us.  I was shocked.  If either of our dogs had chased down another dog, I would be apologizing profusely.  Who doesn’t apologize after something like that?

Rant over.

I hate to end on a rant, but I’m tired and need to get to bed so I can run in the morning tomorrow.  This summer weather is killer for afternoon runs.

Today was a good day!  The semester is now in full swing.  My classes are started up and my schedule is very, very busy.

This morning I got up at 6am and went downstairs for a quick 3 miles on the treadmill.  I didn’t push my pace since I’m just getting back into things after traveling and I’m still a little out of whack, but it was a comfortable 3  miles in 29:10 (9:43/mile).  I did the first .75 miles in my Vibrams and they felt excellent.  It’s been a while since I ran in them, so I need to work my mileage back up, but I intend to work my mileage up to a point where I can actually do my long runs in them.  I’m hoping that by the time May rolls around I’ll be able to run the full 26.2 in them.

After a full day of work I headed over to the gym to get my first day of lifting in.  I’m following the New Rules of Lifting for Women program.  If you haven’t read it, go track it down.  It’s excellent!

I got to the gym and my locker and when I opened it I realized I had everything I needed, except a shirt.  And I wore a sweater and nice button down shirt to work.  No good for the gym.  😦

I knew if I went home to get one, there was no way I would go back out to the gym, so I wandered up to the front desk and managed to beg my way into a free t-shirt!  It was a large, and a tad ridiculous, but hey, it’s a shirt!

So tonight was New Rules workout #1.  It didn’t take super long – the first few stages are fairly short workouts.  But I always love the way I feel after lifting.  It’s incredible how quickly I feel and see results.  So I’m excited to be getting back into it again!

I’m really happy to be training again.  It makes me feel like I’m doing something with my time and I’m taking better care of myself.  I’m determined to train the right way this time.  I made it through the Adirondack Marathon and it was a blast, but I didn’t train the way I should have.  Strength training and cross training are such important parts of a proper training schedule, and they give you some pretty important benefits that you just can’t get through running alone.  I’m looking forward to seeing how much faster and stronger I can get now that I’m including these things into my training.  It’s hard to fit them in, but that’s just part of training.  You need to make time for it.  When I’m not doing those things, I spend an obscene amount of time sitting around watching TV or playing on my computer every night.  Time that I could be spending doing something that’s good for me.

So now it’s time to make time!  For myself and for my training.

And BOY is it COLD!!!!!

I wanted to take a picture of my car thermometer this morning, but I didn’t want to take off my gloves, so it didn’t happen.  But I promise you it said -22 F.  No lie.  It was sick.  After I started my car I ran back inside to hold my hands over the heater so they could thaw out – it was painful.  And I had only been out there for about 1 minute!  AND I had three layers of gloves on!  THREE!

So this morning my gym at work re-opened for the spring semester.  My clocky alarm went off at 6am and I lept out of bed.  I must say, that thing is HIGHLY, HIGHLY effective.  I packed my gym bag the night before to make it easier to get out the door.

By 6:45 I was out the door and into the FREEZING COLD.  My car barely started.  But after several minutes of warming up the car, I made it over to the pool.  Today was a morning swim.  I didn’t do a TON, since it was my first day back and my internal clock is still all out of whack.  But I got in a good (slow) 550 yards and then headed off to work.

I intended to lift tonight, but I overestimated myself and my ability to recover from my jet lag.  By 3pm I was falling asleep at my desk, so I decided to hold off one more day for lifting.

I definitely like getting up early to work out.  It makes me feel like I’ve done something with my day early on and puts me in a good mood.  The hardest thing is dragging myself out of bed when it’s so cold out, but the clocky doesn’t really give me a choice when it starts running away (what a great invention).  So far, so good!

Tomorrow is a 4 mile run in the morning, nothing in the evening.  Lifting begins Wednesday night.  I can’t wait to get a run in tomorrow!

And I’m rested and ready to pick back up on my training.  I rested this weekend and enjoyed relaxing with my husband.

I have a fun half marathon coming up on Halloween and need to get back into a regular routine.  I also need to start getting used to trail running again.  My plan for the week is a little bit of everything…

  • Monday – PM run (5 miles) and then lift
  • Tuesday – AM run (4 miles), PM swim and lift
  • Wednesday – AM run (5 miles), PM swim and lift
  • Thursday – AM run (4 miles), PM swim and lift
  • Friday – REST
  • Saturday – swim and lift
  • Sunday – Medium length trail run (9 or 10 miles), leisurely afternoon swim

I can always skip the swimming if I feel like I’m doing too much.  I play it by ear.  But I really love being in the pool.  So I try to go as long as I feel up to it.

I have to say, I had a little bit of marathon envy today.  I regularly post on a health and fitness forum and many members were running marathons today (10-10-10 is a popular race date, just like weddings).  I spent the day enjoying the beautiful weather, resting, and cleaning – but a part of me was wishing I was out there doing another 26.2.  I had to keep reminding myself that I’ll have another one soon enough!

It really is addicting though.  I know there’s a winter one around here somewhere, but I’m not sure when that is.  I’ll find it though!

I hope you had a fantastic weekend!

I need to set some small goals for myself.  I feel like I’m getting overwhelmed by the enormity of training and when that happens, things fall apart – which I don’t want to happen.

Tuesday I will…

  • Get up, out of bed, and dressed for my run when my husband leaves for work (8am)
  • Take the dogs for a run
  • Not eat any peanut butter unless it’s in a green monster
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • POSSIBLY go for a bike ride (bicycle, not motorcycle – although I will probably do that too…) – I really need to start working that in to my routine
  • Eat a healthy lunch
  • Go to the gym and lift
  • Put my laundry away
  • CLEAN MY CAR (YUCK)
  • Go for a run/walk with my husband? (It’s really up to him, but I’d go!)
  • Cook a healthy dinner for both of us
  • Play “doggie in the middle” with my husband and the dogs
  • Continue my husband’s juggling lessons (No, seriously – I was teaching him how to juggle tonight.  We are laaaaaaame!)

Dear self,

Starting today (Thursday 5/13), if you do all of your scheduled training activities for the next 30 days (barring any illness, injury, or weight room closures), I will save my fun money and get you a reward – a Garmin Forerunner 305.

If you do not do all of your scheduled training activities for the next 30 days, tough schist.  (I’m a geologist.  We like dumb geology puns.  My apologies.)

YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO PURCHASE THIS BEFORE THEN, SO STOP LOOKING AT IT ON AMAZON.  That’s right, I said close the window and put the laptop down!

NO EXCUSES, DO THE WORK.

– Me

I’ve accepted my fate and will be switching my registration down to the half for my race on May 30th.  I’m disappointed, but I know it’s what I need to do.

Tonight I sat down and figured out my new plan of attack for my training.  I have a lot of different elements I want to combine – especially now that I’m done with my busy teaching schedule until September.  I intend to make my training my focus for the summer.  I want to do this well and have a good race when my marathon rolls around in September.

So here’s the new plan…

There’s some gaps in there to accommodate random travels (Florida, and a workshop in Montana – hooray!) and miscellaneous events.

Annnnnnnd, go!

I am super excited!  I ordered The New Rules of Lifting for Women on Amazon a week or so ago and I just did my first workout this afternoon!

I’ve known for a long time that proper strength training was really a necessity for running well and running without injury.  But I’ve never really liked lifting.  I think that was mostly because I never had a plan, so I would just go into the weight room and do whatever I felt like or whatever was open.  I also was never working toward something like a marathon.  But now I have a goal, and I have a plan!

I was surprised at how quickly today’s workout went.  I suppose since it’s the first stage, it will get longer from there.  I’ll definitely be adding some weight the next time I go, but it was a good start.

Today’s workout:

  • Squats – 2 sets, 15 reps; set 1 = 55 lbs (way too light!); set 2 = 65 lbs (still way too light)
  • Push-ups – 2 sets, 15 reps
  • Seated row – 2 sets, 15 reps; set 1 = 35 lbs (way too light); set 2 = 40 lbs (still too light)
  • Step-ups – 2 sets, 15 reps (each leg); sets 1 and 2 = 30 lbs (pretty good weight)
  • Prone jackknife – 2 sets, 15 reps

Today also marks the start of a new Nike+ challenge with the group I’m in.  I got 3rd (out of 29) in the one that ended today.  Hooray!  I know it’s just a silly little Nike+ challenge, but I get pretty competitive about some things.  Tonight I can get my first run of the new challenge in.  I wouldn’t do both on the same day but since I started the lifting program today I need to switch some stuff around a little bit.  I want to try to alternate lifting and running as much as possible so I don’t do it all on the same day.

Looking forward to workout #2 tomorrow!

Need to contact me?

geonerdette at gmail dot com

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