... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Practically an Olympian...

Yesterday was a good day.

I re-ran my Diamond Head route (see my 5 Mile Marathon post for background info on that fiasco), this time cutting off about half a mile to make it a more sensible 50 minute run and starting out walking up half the first hill so that I could run the remaining 3.75 miles without having to stop. Conquering what had been somewhat of a disaster several weeks ago felt good, and coming up and around the mountain and running down the back with the deeply blue water to my left was invigorating. I even passed a few other runners- a definite first for me! I can't believe that just a month and a half ago I was struggling to run eighteen minutes and now feel confident heading out for fifty. It is truly a testament to our bodies and their incredible plasticity.

After my run, Sean and I headed to the beach for a 500m swim. I struggled to get my ear plugs to seal correctly, and made it out to 25 foot deep water before realizing that they were on their death bed. It appears that the lifespan for silicone ear plugs in ocean water is approximately just over a month when swimming ever other day or so. Luckily I had a new pair waiting and could quickly switch them out. Since Sean had started swimming and had a solid 150m lead on me, I began my swim at a much faster pace than normal. Oddly enough when combined with my miraculous mouth-shape discovery (see previous post) the speed seemed to help keep my body in a straight line and greatly facilitate my stroke. I have never felt so comfortable! In fact, I easily swam the entire distance without even having to switch breathing sides.

I emerged from the water feeling graceful and accomplished, a female Michael Phelps in my own right. Okay, maybe I'm not quite to the world-record-breaking, bazillions-of-medals-winning point yet but swimming yesterday made me feel like I am well on my way, at least to completing my half mile swim with very little trouble. It's a good feeling.

On a slight aside, there are several self-help-ish ideas that I am exploring right now that may or may not assist with my training. Most of these come from fit girl magazines like Self, Oxygen, and Women's Health, so they're bound to be a little bit cheesy, but if any of them could help then why not give them a try? (If you're wondering why I read so many chick fitness magazines, remind yourself that I have been spending 4-8 miles on the stationary bike at the gym every other day for almost two months. A girl's gotta read something!)

1. If you're feeling tired, look at the color green for at least ten seconds.

Staring like a weirdo at anything green
Supposedly, according to "science," staring at the color green activates centers in your brain that increase energy and creativity. I've been trying this during my runs when I'm feeling drained and it seems to be working. Whether the emerald-colored foliage around me is actually activating specific brain centers or I'm just getting distracted from the pain of running by the whole thought process, however, I have no idea.

2. Eat to fuel
This is a fairly basic concept and one that I'm familiar with already, but I am noticing an interesting trend in the last two weeks of training. As my workout time increases, my cravings for pasta, pizza, and all things gooey and fatty seem to decrease. I am attributing this inverse relationship to my awesome body knowing what it needs to get through training, but whatever the reason I will happily accept the outcome.

3. Focus on the now
Luckily in Hawaii the "now" tends to be gorgeous!
Like I said, cheesy. However, my favorite magazine, Oxygen, rarely steers me wrong so I'm going to give this one a shot. Whenever I am getting tired, I try to refocus my mind on everything around me at the particular moment. Rather than zoning out and inadvertently focusing on my burning lungs while running, I pay attention to the flowers next to the road, the ocean, the sky, the smells, and the feeling of my legs. I haven't decided yet whether this one is getting me anywhere good or not. Sometimes when I'm running I think that focusing on the one-hour-from-now-when-I'm-lying-in-a-hot-bath might be a better self-help strategy, but I'm trying to stay open-minded.

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