Feeling inspired doesn't even cover my current mood.
Yes. That is definitely more appropriate.
In the past month, I've gone from lost to found. Before, I wasn't really sure what I was going to do this year.
During one particularly hard bike session, it came to me. This will be the Year of Strong.
Strong in every way possible.
It's starting to show. I think the universe sends us signs, and I'm listening.
I have to give credit where credit is due. Everything that is happening because of other people.
Coach Liz has me work with a trainer. I also have a massage therapist who is a cross fit coach. Between the two of them, I have been hitting weights hard and have been giving my muscles much needed recovery. Three times a week.
In order to make strength gains, it doesn't matter if you do heavy weights and low reps or high reps and light weights. The single most important thing is that you go to failure.
By now, you know that I embrace failure.
I do the plan from Liz's trainer. I do the specific exercises from my massage therapist (rolling, stretching and targeted strength training).
The result is that I'm stronger than I've ever been.
Raising my own bar.
Probably the craziest thing that has happened has to do with swimming.
First of all, a woman (now a friend) joined masters late last year. She is an incredible swimmer and (prior to moving to Denver) she was a swim coach in Vegas. She should be swimming in some of the fastest lanes, but we just clicked....and she swims with me, in my lane. She pushes me. She coaches me. She's my secret weapon.
Second, a new guy showed up at masters about a month ago. He and I clicked IMMEDIATELY. He is one of the funniest, most intelligent men that I have ever met. He reminds me so much of my Googs (my oldest son). They are very close in age, too. I didn't know what his background was. All I knew was that he is sick fast, and he does things I've never seen another swimmer do. He's another swimmer who should be swimming with the big guns. But he doesn't. He swims with me.
Yesterday, he told me he was a Navy Seal and former All American swimmer. Of course, I said, "Well, I'm a triathlete. So. There."
He replied, "You're a triathlete? Now, I'm REALLY going to push you".
(He didn't act like it externally, but I'm pretty sure he was secretly super impressed).
Third, my friend Mike is back in the picture. Mike and I had become good friends. We'd swim masters together. We'd do open water swims together. He is another very very fast swimmer. He left our masters team and started dating a non-swimming woman. We saw each other less and less often.
This week, he came back to masters.
When I say these people are very fast. I mean VERY fast. They can all swim 1:00 per 100's. I can't even get my head wrapped around this. I don't even know why they swim with me.....except for my striking good looks and charasmatic personality.
For the past month, I have been swimming my heart out at masters, trying, and often failing to keep up.
The result was that I dropped my swim pace from 1:27 to 1:19. I dropped my pull pace from 1:18 to 1:10. These paces are from 250's not 100's.
So, the other day....my masters swim coach asked, "Are you shooting for a 1:30 pace?"
I said, "No. I'm shooting for 1:20 or better".
He said, "We'll see about that".
I swam a 1:14.
When it comes to swimming, don't be a leader. Be a follower. Do everything you can to hold on to faster swimmers. Take breaks if you need them, drop a 50 here and there to keep up. Wear fins, use paddles. Do everything possible to keep up with fast people.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
I'm getting stronger. My bike power is improving (still chasing 4%). My swim has taken off.
What about running?
During my particularly dark time, I lost my love for running. Since I've been running for over 30 years, I know that my relationship with running is a lot like my relationship with people. We'll go through good times and bad times, but I don't give up on someone I love.
Liz and I have a completely different plan for running. I'm running less often.
At first, I didn't even enjoy easy runs. I did them anyway. I ran without technology. I just ran.
There were some intensity to the workouts, but Liz told me, "Run however you feel that day. If you want to run easy, just run easy".
For awhile, that's what I did. I would attempt an interval or 2 and realize my heart and the speed was truly.....not.there.
But, I ran. Whenever she scheduled a run, I ran.
Then, I started to enjoy running easy again. I started looking forward to those runs.
This week, I had more intervals. I failed the first two. I stopped and thought for a minute. I said, "All you have to do is run as hard as you can for 1:00. You can do that. 1:00 is all I'm asking."
The craziest thing happened. It worked.
I ran for 1:00 at a time as hard as I could. I ran faster than I have in a very very long time. Although, I'm not sure. It might be the fastest intervals I've EVER run.
If my race schedule is up in the air, what's the point?
The point is that this is the Year of Strong. I am becoming physically and mentally strong.
When I race, I know what I'm going to focus on for each race. I'm not out to impress anyone. I don't care if someone thinks I'm fast or slow or in between. I'm not out to podium. I don't care where I place. I'm not racing to prepare for Nationals.
I'm racing for me.