Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lifting Limits and Seeing Possibility

Last week, I spent three days camping/hiking/cooking/rock climbing/bouldering with 50 eighth graders. It is a retreat that we do to prepare them for their last year at our amazing school.

I loved watching them climb. I felt like I saw who they are as people on the wall. I got to see how they face challenges, accept success and deal with failure.

Yesterday, we debriefed and talked about the climbing.

Many of them talked about hearing an inner voice. Sometimes it said "go" and other times it said "stop."

I know this inner voice really well. When you train for longer races, you spend time with that inner voice. Sometimes it is what gets me through, and other times, it leaves me feeling frustrated and exhausted and just wanting to quit. The trick is to learn to train the inner voice to be on your side.

One of my colleagues and friend told them that great rock climbers do not see limits, they see possibilities. They do not say that they can't get to that next move, they see a variety of ways to get there, and some are better than others. Great rock climbers also are not as interested in getting to the top, but engaging in the process of the climb.

Clearly, at the end of my training for Cedar Point, this resonated with me. I kept thinking about limits versus possibilities. This year, my goal has been to lift my limits and see what I can do. So I have a new goal. I want to think of my training and racing terms of possibilities and engage myself in the process.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Long Day Brought to you by.....

So my coach likes a long day before a big race on my schedule. I have had weeks of high volume that lead up to this weekend.

So when I see a light week 3 weeks before an Ironman...I know the weekend is going to be a monster....

And it was!

The day started with a bagel and PB! George was doing a different version of the long day, so I got to see him, and he was there to support me for the last few hours, which was great!

Then to the pool for a 1.5 hour set. I didn't count laps, I just swam. It was actually nice.

So lets be honest. I didn't want to spend my day smelling like in my own personal mini race, I took the time to wash my hair with....

That's right. I took the time to use my Triswim products before I carried on....and it was awesome. Don't worry, I am actually pretty good at real transitions!

Then, on to the bike. It was a hot hot hot 6 hours. One flat tire, a few stops to check my directions, a stop to see George ride in the opposite direction, 90 miles, and a stop to fill my aero bottle with.....

I am all about luxury on this day.

Only downside about my bottle of joy is that I kept giving myself cold headaches. But I couldn't stop drinking the slush puppie. I was out of control. Slurp. OW! Ok kacie, don't drink any more. But it is so cold. And so cherry. Sluuuuuurp. OOOOWWW. Rinse and repeat until it was gone....

Ended up at our T2 and got to see George, drink some coke, eat some pretzels, and hit the trail.

I needed to be out there for three hours, and it was tough. I took little breaks if it got technical (I have a bad history with eating dirt). George gave me drop bags of happiness, so I stopped and got my nutrition.

Everything went really really well until 2.5 hours into the run. And then I just hit the wall. It became a difficult run/walk/crawl for the last 30 minutes. To be honest, this is MUCH harder running than I have every done for this monster day, so I am pretty proud of it!

I figure that if my day started at 8:15 AM, and I don't feel bad until 7PM, I am ready for Rev3 Cedar Point....right?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why I do my long runs on trails

I really love running on trails.

This is coming from someone who spent two months in Physical Therapy after my last trail race. Seriously. I still love running on them.

Now that Rev3 cedar point is only 3 weeks and 5 days away (who's counting?) I am in the last throws of my long long runs. I have done a ton of runs in the 8-12 range, and now a few in the 15-18 range, and I will do one 20 miler before the big day.

Now, when you live in the south, and you are putting in those miles in July and August, you have lost your mind. Kidding. Maybe. OR, you are just training for an event in September!

Now, I do most of my long runs on the trails at Kennesaw Mountain. These are not super rugged trails, but there are hills, and trees, and critters, and I just love it.

So this is why I run long on trails:

1. It is beautiful, and spending that amount of time in nature (instead of running around the city) is honesty deeply refreshing to me. It gives me energy and some amount of peace to be out there.

2. I like to see critters :-)! I have seen tons of deer, turkeys, snakes, big bugs, lizards, woodpeckers, etc while running at the mountain. If no one is around...I gobble at the turkeys. Love seeing all of them (yes, I am entertained by snakes. I saw an ity bity baby snake on my last run!)

3. I get to wear my AWESOME Avia Avi Stolz shoes thanks to the Team Trakkers sponsorship. Love wearing those shoes. I love the mix of pink and dirt. Here are my feet in my favorite trail kicks after 18 on Saturday afternoon.

4. I can go to the bathroom any time I want. And if you have ever run a long way, you know how valuable that can be....seriously.....

5. Shade. Shade. Shade. There is nothing like it in the summer time. Sun is not so cute after so many months. Don't worry everyone, it stays hot for a while longer :-)

6. Even though I have gotten hurt running on trails, I believe it makes me stronger. Slight variations in the surface I am running on strengthens all of my stabilizing muscles. My times are always way slower, but if you refer to number one...I just don't care.

Last week was a rough week for my training, but 18 beautiful miles (even if I could not start until 4:30 in August) left me feeling recharged for the last 4 weeks of training. I know this time is tough. I am not doing a long taper for this one, so I still have some seriously challenging days ahead. Hopefully some of them will be spent on my favorite trails.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Summer Summer Summer!

This is just a quick reflection on an amazing summer. I go back to school tomorrow (which I am excited about). This is the first summer I have not worked, and has been great. I have loved the past two months. I am looking forward to the excitement of the beginning of the school year, but I just want to take a minute to reflect on my fantastic summer!

We had a great trip to CT to race with my teammates at Rev3 Quassy! Great Race!
Met some Hershy friends while driving through PA!
Swam a 4.5 mile race!

Raced a 10K with my speedy husband!
Raced a sprint which was George's first triathlon and then PR-ed in a 5K swim!9ylc.jpg

George enjoyed most every minute of the Tour de France...

I spent time with my wonderful family. My awesome brother and sister spent the night a few times, and we went hiking.

George and I took them out to try food they have never had (Thai food!)
Some good civil rights education up the street at the MLK center.
Then I spent some time at my parents enjoying the fact that my grandparents moved nearby! Yippie! Here is a picture of my sister's cat. SO funny after his summer shave that I had to share.

Then here he is going away! HA!

I took my sister to spend the night at the Chattanooga Zoo with Girl Scouts, and we stayed in the room with this cool guy! No mom, this is not a bear. Lizard. (There is a reason I went :-) )

I climbed up Fort Mountain (and a few of the gaps!)

One of those mountain climbs led to a disgusting case of Poison Ivy. Yes, I know it is gross, but this is my reflection people. ;-)

We had WAY too much fun doing the Peachtree!

I had a stupid wisdom tooth removed. I will just reflect on the ice cream.

George and I seasons of Dexter....Dark, but also great
I took TWO trips to Athens to hang with Mia and Sparkles!

We spent a fantastic week at Pawley's Island with George's family.
That trip included an 88 mile ride and incredible dinner to celebrate our 4th anniversary!
George made phenomenal progress on his PHD! He just can't wait to be an official Georgia Grad like me! hehehehe

I read a lot....good thing I got my nook!

I really feel like I did even more. But, I also spent time doing nothing. Not trying to brag, but it was great. The school year is SO incredibly busy, and I have two more ironmans this fall, so it is going to hit me hard and fast starting tomorrow.

I have appreciated the time with my team, my family, my sport, my friends, and of course, my awesome husband. I will certainly cherish this time, and I intend to take next summer off from teaching too!