Real quick: I feel sad about being slow

I have been thisclose to officially declaring that I will not be completing the Harvest Moon 70.3 in September. Work just got nuts, and while I love my job, this is probably the busiest month I have had since I have been here. I can’t put in a ton of extra hours at the office and then still train. One, I’m too damn tired, and two, my gym is only open from 5 am to 9 pm.

Even when I was planning on an ideal training schedule I was still figuring roughly an hour to swim, four hour bike, and a three hour run, figuring I’d be just squeaking in under the 8 hour cutoff time.

Well, I swam a mile last weekend in open water and it took…an hour. That puts me on pace for a 1:12 swim.

When I have ridden my bike on the actual course, I’ve averaged 12 mph, putting me on pace for a 4:40 bike.

I finished a half marathon in May in 2:48. It was an overall downhill course, and I’m assuming I will be slower after having swam a mile and ridden 56. So, 3:00?

That puts me at close to 9 hours. Without transitions. Sigh.

Now, to be fair, I was definitely taking my time at my swim last weekend. I can go faster.

And when I rode the bike course, I only rode the super duper hilly parts, none of the flats.

The run, well. I got nothing. Last summer I was at least in the 11s. I don’t think I’ve broken 12 minute miles all year. (I blame my 30th birthday.)

Sooooo. Ugh. On the one hand, I really would love to just not do this race, get part of my life back and just not torture myself for the next six weeks. It’s supposed to be fun, not make me feel anxious and guilty.

On the other hand, I’ve been prepping for this all year. Am I going to waste all the time I have spent training? And this was my big 2012 goal. I really don’t want to feel like I left this unfinished and have to do it again next year.

Right now, the plan is this: do the very best I can on race day, but give myself permission to just walk off the damn course if I feel like it. If it’s not fun, if I feel miserable, I’m out.

I feel really silly about letting this stress me out so much. I have cried about a few times.

I just really want it to be over already.

Not a total Debbie Downer though! I’m registering for two shorter races on either side of this one. So at least if I totally faceplant, I can have a fun race before and after.

This is long. And boring. But I had a few free minutes and wanted to vent. Now I am headed to the gym and I am going to kill myself on the spin bike until they close.

The Hills

Riding your bike up hills is more fun when you sing about it. This stretch took two hours, but it really did fly by.

Can you pay my HILLS, can’t pay my telephone HILLS, can’t pay my automo HILLS then baby maybe we can chill…

or

My baby don’t mess around when she’s biking HILLS because she’s biking HILLS

or

Sheep go to heaven, goats climb up HILLS

or

Party climbing up these HILLS tonight, everybody just have a good time

Chris is not going to get to do my 70.3 with me. He has a back injury that has recently become aggravated, and running is just not okay. He has kindly been “crewing” me. Picking me up late from the gym, having dinner ready for me (or a glass of champagne), washing the bag of tupperware I dump on the kitchen counter at the end of the day.

And, most kind, riding along at my pace to keep me company on bike rides. And contributing his fair share of hill-y lyrics.

Oh, and carrying the beer back from the store, of course.

Theater Shooting

I hit snooze this morning. Then I listened to the news. Then I cried. Then I went to work. Some random thoughts from in between, in no particular order:

1. The first thing I did when I sat down in front of my computer was to make a donation to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

2. After the shooting in City Park a few weeks ago I was certainly rattled. To the point that I seriously considered moving. But…to where? I am reminded that there are bad people with guns everywhere.

3. It’s not “political” or “gross” to talk about gun control in the wake of a shooting.

4. While I understand the desire to say something and to connect to other people after a tragedy, most tweets on the topic seem pointless or silly, including my own.

5. It makes me not want to go anywhere ever. It makes me happy I work in a secure building, but it makes me not want to walk down the street to get here.

6. I want to take some kind of action, but I don’t know what to do that’s not pointless slacktivism. It makes me want to quit my job and run for office.

7. I feel sad and angry.

70.3 Training – Who on earth has time to do this AND write about it?

70.3 training has me feeling some emotions lately. I vacillate between “I am going to KILL this race” and “This race might actually kill me.”

Between “I am so proud of myself for getting up at 4:30 to swim” and “There are literally not enough hours in the day for me to do my work and the workouts in my training plan so why am I even trying?”

Between “This is kind of not really that fun anymore” and “Do not even think about quitting now or all those damn 4:30 am wake up calls would have been for nothing.”

Between “It is really impressive that 100%-not-athletically-inclined-Mel is going to do a race that will take (me) eight hours” and “If I read one more effing blog post from some girl whose “slow” pace is sub 10 minute miles I’m going to vomit from jealousy.”

Anyways. I’m just working on this huge project at work and feeling like I’m not keeping up with that and not keeping up with my training and I’m tempted to just stay home and drink beer.

So, ummm…picture of a smoothie?

One of the many ways I’ve thrown money at a problem this summer was to buy a bunch of Blend-N-Go cups because I am such a busy and important special snowflake that I do not have TIME to pour my smoothie from the blender into a cup, y’all.

Bike Safety

I live about a mile and a half from where I work. I used to walk to work, and now I ride my bike, almost exclusively. (There are about two weeks in the winter when I will walk or take the bus.)

There are a lot of advantages to riding my bike. It’s faster, it’s more fun (wheeee!), and I also think it’s safer. I mean, obviously riding safely on the roads is a whole ‘nother blog post, but in the not getting mugged/murdered/raped/generally harassed sense, I feel a lot better on my bike.

I have long listed this as a great reason for me to ride my bike, to work or around the neighborhood, but this weekend I really, really felt safer on two wheels. Chris and I were riding home from City Park. We came to a stoplight and were spaced out so that while he went through just fine, I felt like I should stop. I sat at the light, it was raining a little. There was a group of men standing on the corner. I was wearing a bright fuschia dress and a bike helmet.

One of the men looked at me and said “Hey, girl!”

I gave a tight smile and looked back at my light.

“Heeeey girllll!”

“Um, hey.”

The man opened his arms wide and started walking toward me. He said something, but I didn’t understand it. My impression was he was coming in for…a hug? I was almost as worried about a strange man coming towards me as I was that, if the light changed, we’d suddenly be blocking traffic.

I stammered, “I…uh…NO!”

And took off on my bike. I am a rule follower, so I didn’t run the red light, but I did make a completely safe and legal right on red.

I felt so happy I was on my bike, not trying to outrun someone.

Later, in typical girl fashion, I worried I’d overreacted or even been rude.

But then the Awesome Mel inside of me was like, “Listen, Meek Mel. People can’t just start yelling at you and walk up to you in the road and not expect you to get the eff out of there. You are allowed to be rude to people who are making you feel unsafe.”

I don’t know how to end this story. That’s how it ended. I probably would have been fine if I stayed put until the light turned green. But I’m glad I could, and did, ride away.

Fourth of July

I’m running about a week behind in my entire life right now. I’m super busy at work and in the thick of 70.3 training. I basically need 30 hour days for the next six weeks and I will be all set. So…here’s what we did a week ago!

I love the Fourth of July because I seriously love fireworks. I mean I know most people like fireworks, but I really, really like them. Probably more than you do. But I hate crowds. And to be honest, I’m still a little rattled from the panicking crowd at City Park Jazz three weeks ago when a police officer was shot, so I really didn’t want to hang out with the masses in Civic Center Park for the July 3rd fireworks show.

I figured it would probably be packed since it was one of the few fireworks shows that didn’t get canceled since all of Colorado is on fire right now. So we scoped out the roof of a parking garage near our house. The view was pretty and we had a clear view of the Capital, so we figured we were golden.

Brought some lasagna up (and two forks) and waited for the show to start. One of our weirdest “couple habits” (is that a term?) is that we usually only use one plate if we are eating together at home. Or eating together in a parking garage apparently. If we have guests we use our own plate, but if we’re home by ourselves we just dish up one big plate or bowl with two forks. Why get two plates dirty? Maybe this is something everyone does and I just don’t know…

Anyways. It turns out from our angle the fireworks show was just behind a building, but we could still see a lot. It was enough to give me my annual fireworks thrill. This photo does not capture the coolness at all. Even a little bit.

But we had fun. And then we sort of invited ourselves over to a friend’s house at 10 pm. And went back the next day for pool time because we are mooches like that.

I wish a little that I had treated July 4th like a free work day and just gone into the office and caught up on things without anyone else around, but I didn’t. I decided to do a long workout and be social instead. A week later as my inbox is exploding, I think I stand by those choices still.

70.3 Training – Scoping out the bike course

So, I haven’t really posted a lot about this, but I am definitely in the thick of training for my 70.3 in September. (If you like reading about the details of other people’s workouts (I do) I post all of mine on dailymile.) It kind of feels like I live at my gym.

Saturday morning we drove out to ride part of the race’s bike course.This was my first time driving on E470 and I really wish someone had videoed Chris and I trying to figure out how the tolls work, because there are little toll booth like things with big signs that say DO NOT STOP, and the lanes are just labeled “Express Pay” and “License Plate Toll.” Totally not helpful. We’re like, So…will we pay these when we register our car next year? Surely they won’t mail us a bill for $1.25, right? I missed the exit…how do you turn around on a toll road? I DON’T KNOW! As a household of bicycle commuters, sometimes we get really mixed up when it comes to cars.

Back to the purpose for our visit, though. I have read about the crazy hills at the beginning and end of this course and I wanted to see what I was dealing with.

Expectations adjusted accordingly. I only rode 14 miles but it took over an hour since I was in my granny gear going up and clutching the breaks for dear life going down. You can kind of see the hills in the back of this photo of me, but yowsers.

This is what I rode yesterday:

This is the profile for the whole course:

For such a flat city, they sure do know how to find hills for races.

The road itself here is a much smoother ride, but to stay out of traffic we were riding mostly on the shoulder with all it’s bumps and debris. I assume I will be able to spend more time in the road during the race, and I hope that will make me feel less like I’m about to fly off my bike and into the air at any moment on the downhills.

The uphills felt okay. I forgot my cycling gloves, and my hands and wrists were killing me, otherwise we’d have ridden further.

I have nine weeks left until the race, and I hope to make it out to this course several more times and ride the entire thing at least twice. I’m starting to get excited. For the race, to get my life back, and for the bragging rights.