I’ve developed a fear of running 26 miles. What would Jon Stewart say? Probably something like this isn’t entirely irrational but that’s really no help at all. I don’t know the source of the fear but if I have any hope of enjoying my Negril getaway I better devise a plan to overcome it.
When I think about running my first marathon in December in Jamaica I don’t immediately visualize myself crossing the finish. Other images pop into my head that aren’t pretty and it takes mental force the size of a tsunami to push them away.
Whether you’re doing this for the first time or you’re a veteran weekend warrior, at some point you have to register yourself for races so you can continually evaluate your training and assess your progress.
I’ve also got a somewhat more irrational fear of swimming in the ocean (sharks) so I thought overcoming that might help me with the marathon.
It was my work colleague who walked by my office last week and told me she thought I should enter the Bethany Tri on September 20.
“If you register I’ll come and support you,” she said.
The Bethany Tri? As in triathlon at the beach? I looked it up – it’s considered a sprint and it benefits Bethany’s lifeguards and first responders. It’s been around for years, and it actually sounds fun.
It’s a .62 mile swim in the ocean, an 18 mile bike ride, and a 4.25 mile run. And no hills.
I told another friend, who’s considering entering with me, I’ve got a fear of sharks but I’ve lived a good life.
I don’t want to get crazy with this but more than one person has asked me if I have a tri-suit. There are actual triathlon stores that sell the one piece marvel you can swim, bike, and run in. I better put my order in for a rental wetsuit before there aren’t any left. Who are all these people who shop in triathlon stores and rent wetsuits?
For the record I plan to stay casual and view the tri as a milestone in my fitness journey and not something I need to crush. I don’t have clips on my bike and I don’t own bike shoes. I’ll probably remove the basket from my handlebars but I’m not planning to install tri-bars. I just want to be sure I can get the basket back on after the race because I really love the basket on my bike and whoever I'm riding with inevitably makes fun of it but still throws their stuff into it.
My running coach doesn’t think I need to alter my marathon training too much to accommodate the tri but others think I’d be better off putting my marathon training to the side and making the tri my priority. That means doing combo workouts and mixing up the sequence to enhance my resilience. I definitely need to get comfortable running after a long bike ride because I know how unstable my legs and hamstrings will feel after getting off the bike in Bethany.
I’m still thinking about all of this and listening to my team of experts but ultimately it’s about knowing who I am and what I need. I’ve pretty much decided to go for a full wetsuit versus a sleeveless version because I figure buoyancy would be a good thing to have on that particular day. I don't make this decision lightly because by adding sleeves I'm giving up the opportunity to have my race number tattooed on my arm and that's almost a really good reason right there to register for the race.
I’m a little worried about overheating since I know the ocean temperature won’t be cold and if the suit doesn’t fit well the sleeves could provide additional resistance on my shoulders, which could be painful. Even so, I think it’s in my best interest to be bobbing on top of the water instead of sinking to the bottom.
Although I’ve been swimming nearly a mile 2 times/week for about a year, I rarely swim without stopping. I’ve got my water bottle by the edge of the pool and I’ll stop to have a drink whenever I feel like it. I’m also frequently stopping to adjust my goggles or fix my swim cap. Obviously I need to work on swimming without stopping before the tri because if you stop for any length of time you’re out of the race completely –no bike, no run.
Also every time I swim hard I end up with shoulder pain that restricts my movement in the pool and getting dressed in the morning. I’ve scheduled a lesson with an Equinox trainer who specializes in swimming so hopefully he can spot what I’m doing wrong and also offer some pointers to increase my efficiency. Right now I breathe on the left side and I might be able to teach myself to breathe on both sides. This could be clutch if the current on the morning of the tri causes us to swim with the shore on our right and the ocean on our left.
I don’t plan on buying a tri-suit, which sounds geeky even for me, but I am already thinking about my outfits on the bike and for the run. There’s a lot of new gear out there for fall that I’m digging. I’m working on trying to develop killer abs but so far they are pretty soft. It’s the tire I’ve been carrying around for years. Even though I never want to look too hard I don’t need a spare around my waist any more than I need one in my boot(y).
What I want to say about adding intervals into your workouts is you should try this. I’ve been meeting my college friend Neile weekly at the local high school track so if you want to join us send me an email. It’s definitely even more fun with other people. And you don’t have to run or even jog. There are plenty of people walking in groups around the track, which has a great surface. We usually start with planks so bring a towel – the grass is pretty dewey.
So I smiled when I came across a recent article in the NYT Well blog on the benefits of interval training not in terms of calorie burn but in terms of fun.
I was glad to know that it’s not just me.
Depending on how you structure your intervals they can be painful but even then they’re still fun. I think this is mostly because you’re only running hard for a very short period of time and then you get to enjoy feeling your heart rate come back down to normal. Kind of exhilarating and another reason for me to keep my glutes and hamstrings healthy. They are responsible for propelling me forward when I try to pick up the pace.
I’m not a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey and I don’t buy into the whole sadomasochism thing but still there’s something here about how good it hurts and how much fun it is to change things up.
So maybe I can readjust my visuals for overcoming my fears by plugging into my ability to endure pain and even enjoy it.
Did I just say that?
During my longer recovery run on Saturday I plugged into my hiphop mix - here are highlights.
Ordinary People - John Legend
Talk About a Girl - Charisma and Peanut Butter Wolf
Sunshine - Mos Def
Let's Get It Started - Black Eyed Peas
This Is Why I'm Hot - MIMS
Yeah! - Usher
OMG - Usher
I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
Dip It Low, Low - Christina Milian and Dutch Diamond
Timebomb - Kylie Minogue
Lets Ride - Ground Up
Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way - The Streets
Burn - Meek Mill
Where Is the Love? - Black Eyed Peas
All I Do Is Win - DJ Khaled
Booty Killah - Elliphant
Don't Tell 'Em - Jeremih
Ooh Kill Em - Meek Mill
Time of Our Lives - Pitbull
Where'd You Go - Fort Minor
Lean Back - Terror Squad
Don't Stop the Party - Pitbull
Lighters - Bad Meets Evil
Numb / Encore - Jay Z and Linkin Park
Envy - 116
Switch - Will Smith
Feel This Moment - Pitbull - seriously my new favorite Pitbull