Sport in perspective

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This week has been “what were you thinking when you signed up for an Ironman?”  I know I am obsessing about the swim, mostly.  Will I be able to complete it in the time limit?  Can I get through the breakers?  Why didn’t I sign up for IM Chattanooga, with a down river swim?   Will I be able to keep up the cadence during the bike?  The run will be about survival.  The list goes on and on.  

Last week I rode 70 miles, kept the cadence over 90, even with the wind.  I was elated.  This week I rode 75 miles, fought to keep the cadence between 85-90, with three different wind switches, and came back disheartened.  I made the 75 miles in 5 minutes over the 5-hour time goal.  My coach has told me to get over riding in the wind.  Most of the time I am over it, but yesterday was just one of those days.  I think I had enough nutrition on the ride.  Maybe not.

My run/walks have been pretty good.  I am increasing distance and staying close to the 12 minute per mile pace.  My knees have been okay since I began icing them after each run and bike ride.  My appointments to get them injected when I get home will help tremendously.  I am sure by the time I get to the run, during the race, I will be looking forward to just finishing.

My swims in the Bay have gotten easier.  I don’t think I am fast enough yet, but the weeds don’t bother me as much as they did earlier in the summer.  I have been trying to increase my “turnover” in my stroke by doing some speed work in the pool in town.  It is a 25-meter pool and I am hoping that extra yardage will help with my speed.  Today I asked the lifeguard what I am doing wrong.  He just placed fourth in his age group in the Canadian National Swimming Championship.  He said:  “Your stroke isn’t bad.  In distance swimming your kick is not as important as muscling thru on your stroke.  Just keep powering thru.”   Okay, some positive feedback there.

In addition to my concerns about the race which is about 76 days away, but who’s counting, I have been very concerned about my family and friends who live in the Baton Rouge and surrounding areas that have flooded.  My kids are fine, but many of my friends have lost everything due to the flooding.  I feel helpless up here not being able to be there to help.  In the coming months, and year, there will be ample opportunities to help friends.  My concerns about completing a race are miniscule compared to what many of them are experiencing.  So less self-pity for me, move on and do everything I can to finish the race, schedule some time to go to Baton Rouge, after I get home, and help wherever I can. 

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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.