I've talked before about my upcoming races, and now they are almost here! I am doing the AFC Half Marathon next Sunday, and the Disneyland Half Marathon a few weeks after that, over Labor Day weekend. Additionally, my first ever triathon (Mission Bay Triathlon) is first weekend of October. They are all sneaking up on me!
My training has been going really, really well. In fact, during the last 40 days I have worked out 39 days! I did miss one day; I woke up early that morning to swim and was so exhausted that I went right back to bed. I realize that I have to listen to my body, and if it needs rest, I need to rest. The next day, however, I did two workouts (ran and swam) so really I have done 40 workouts in the past 40 days. It has become a habit for me; the girl who used to love to sleep in as late as possible is now getting up at 5:45 every day to get the workout in!
I have been logging lots of miles running, and had some great long runs. Four weeks ago I ran 12.8 miles, and two weeks ago I ran 13.3 miles. Since the half marathons are 13.1 miles each, I totally feel prepared for them. In biking news, last week I did my longest ride yet: 18 miles. I am riding on a lot of hills, which makes it both hard and easy (uphill is grueling for me, while I love the speed and ease of the downhill!) Finally, I have been doing much better on my swims. I have worked up do doing 1/4 mile in the pool nonstop, then taking a rest, then doing another 1/4 mile nonstop, taking another rest, then doing 1/8 mile nonstop and then ending my swim. I found out that the triathlon is only 1/4 mile swim, not 1/2 mile as I had previously thought, so I am in good shape for that. I just need to get myself a triathlon wetsuit, as the water will be cold!
I have been struggling with the idea of seeing myself as an athlete. I have never been an athletic person. I was always the kid chosen last for teams, and I never did any sports as a child, either individual or team. My parents never offered athletics to me, and I didn't ask to join. I didn't WANT to join! However, as I grew older I got more and more interesting in working out. I joined a gym during high school and loved lifting weights and being on the Stair Master. I worked out on and off during college and beyond....mainly doing workouts at a gym. In 1998, at the age of 28 I began to run. I began by doing dozens and dozens of 5K races, with a smattering of 8K and 10Ks. I did my first half marathon in 1999 (the same AFC I'm doing next weekend) and in 2003 completed my first and only full marathon (San Diego Rock n Roll). Now, years later at age 40, that I feel like I've finally become the athlete I always wanted to be.
And yet...I am slow. I am a slow runner, a slow biker, and a slow swimmer. I do speedwork, but I think I am destined to always be slow. Which is fine with me, except that I struggle with the idea of a slow person being an athlete. I recently saw someone (on Facebook? Twitter? Another blog?) saying that they were a jogger about to do their first half marathon. Someone responded that if they are doing 13.1 miles, they are not a jogger, they are a runner. I need to make that my mantra too. It doesn't matter how slow I am, or how many people (or snails!) pass me by. I am doing what to me (and for a lot of people) is a challenge. I am fit, strong, and becoming more heart-healthy and bone-healthy every day. These (in addition to the other reasons I have listed) are motivating for me to keep on going.
I hope to have a great report after the AFC Half Marathon next Sunday! If all goes well, as it should, I plan on signing up for more halfs in 2011!