The Breakers

Finally got in 1100 yards with Erin (left) the day after it was me against the breakers and the breakers won

Finally got in 1100 yards with Erin (left) the day after it was me against the breakers and the breakers won

I am thinking this week is the beginning of some of the roller coaster emotions, and workouts.

On Tuesday I was finally able to do the Bike Heart Rate test. All I have to see is the word "test," and I begin to think I should get an A. I learned that I can ride very hard for an extended period of time and my heart rate does go above 138.

Is that good or bad? Actually it is what it is.

My resting heart rate is about 48, so I can only guess that I passed. Maybe not with an A, but I didn’t die doing it so I consider that a bonus. After I finished the ride I was to run 15 minutes. We live in a beautiful area, and I was able to run a fourth of the way across one of the two bridges that connects our coast and 26 miles of beach.

Because my husband and I were planning a trip to Florida for the Memorial Day weekend I ran/walked my long run, and rode on my trainer for two and a half hours. Have I mentioned how boring that can be?  

My plan, while in Florida was to swim in the Gulf of Mexico. Saturday was a windy, wavy day. There were wild breakers to get through before I could try swimming. I was nervous but determined. I dove into the first breaker and swallowed a lot of salt water and made NO progress. The second dive, I made it through the wave, but my goggles were knocked partially off and filled with water. The third and fourth tries were total failures. I lost my goggles, but swam a few yards with my eyes closed.

I was completely frustrated and angry that I couldn’t get through the breakers. I quit, and walked back to the condo where we were staying and sat along the side of the swimming pool completely down. I just stared into space, and thought, “what was I thinking signing up for a full Ironman.”

I was shocked at how quickly I lost all my confidence. I sent my coach a message about my failure, and he said not to worry about it. Really?  

One of my friends was staying at another condominium a few miles away so we decided to try the swim together the next morning. There were no breakers, and we swam about 1100 yards in the water. Buoyed by our success, we decided to swim a mile on Monday morning. It was another beautiful day, a few waves from passing boats, and we swam more than a mile. Two days of successful swims has renewed my confidence. I am still going to have to tackle getting through the breakers, but with some suggestions from friends on how to accomplish that I am back thinking I can move on into full Ironman training.

I wasn’t going to back out anyway.

This week I will prepare for another sprint triathlon in Fairhope, Alabama.  I have enjoyed this race in the past and look forward to it.

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Gini Fellows

About Gini


Gini Fellows, a registered nurse, teaches health and wellness at the Biloxi, Mississippi, campus of Tulane University.  She’ll turn 70 in August, and is training for her first full Ironman in Florida in November 2016.  Her coach is her son, Patrick, who’s a huge inspiration to Gini as he schedules her workouts and helps her sort through her doubts and fears.

Gini’s always been active but only began competing in triathlons in 2007, after knee surgery.  In 2013 she competed in her first Ironman 70.3 race, and surprisingly came in 3rd in her age group, qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.  In preparation for that distance Gini competed in Ironman Texas 70.3 and came in 1st in her age group.

Last year Gini began thinking about attempting to complete a full Ironman.  After talking it over with Patrick, who is competing with her, she decided to register and commit to her training.

Gini says she began her journey to Ironman Florida this winter by building a base and now she’s beginning to add harder and more specific workouts.

Gini’s excited to be blogging about her training – in her words, “the good, the bad, the ugly!!”

Thank you for following!!

A note about Ironman triathlons.

The Ironman 70.3 refers to the total distance in miles covered in the event, which comprises a 1.2-mile swim, a 57-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run.

A full Ironman triathlon event comprises a 2.4-mile swim, a 114-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run.

Ironman also has other events, including events for children and for women only.  For additional information, see the Ironman website.