“One day you won’t be able to do this. Today is NOT that day.”
North Carolina has this funny way of confusing its residents into believing that there is no such thing as four distinct seasons in a year. We move a little faster than that, so instead, we often experience all four seasons in a week... Sometimes even in just one day. In the last week, we have experienced bitter cold, ice, and snowy conditions and then four days later it was 70 degrees. I often feel like living in North Carolina is like living in a dream. Just when you think you are having a dream about ice skating on the street and building a snowman, you suddenly wake up and you’re wearing shorts and a tank top. We did not have school on Monday and Tuesday of this past week because of snow and ice on the roads. In typical southern fashion, the roads were basically left to melt on their own. The city sprayed salt brine on the roads, knowing that an inch of rain was forecasted ahead of the snow and ice. So basically, they sprayed the road with tax payer money and mother-nature washed it away. The real solution is to drop rock salt and sand and then as drivers move it spreads out the salt and sand and creates roads that are much less hazardous. It’s frustrating in many ways because the excuse is, “Well we don’t have winter weather very often, so we just don’t know how to deal with it.” I call BS here, because in the twenty-two years I have lived in North Carolina, I can recall maybe two years that we did not have any winter weather, so this is hardly a unique situation. Years ago, they discovered that salt brine worked one time so they insist on using it every time and it rarely if ever works. Heaven forbid they take some advice from northern states that deal with this more frequently. But, in the end there is no sense in even venting about this because nothing will ever change.
This year, one of the things I am enjoying each night is taking the dogs for their mile-long walk. It didn’t take long to get them into a routine that every night we go for a walk before bed. The only thing not consistent is WHEN we go. After working all day, I come home and unpack, try to unwind, then it’s off to a workout, then I come home, try to eat something, then get the dogs out, pack my lunch, shower, and go to bed. Sometimes they get walked at 7pm, 9pm, even 10pm. I have always been a creature of the night, so 10pm walks (or later on the weekend) are nothing new. With getting back into triathlon training, my schedule is often all over the place so I just fit things in when and where I can. I will sometimes take work home from school, knowing there is little chance I will get to it. I often trade grading papers for time with my pups. The papers can wait until I take them back to school the next day. Life is short. Get outside!
On Wednesday, I left school at 3:00 and headed to the gym. This week more classes are getting underway in the pool so I knew I would have to be there early or else I risked not getting a lane to swim in. Also, I had to be back to school around 5, as the Ellen Show was at our school to do a live feed when the show was taping. Allow me to explain… I have a coworker, Michael Bonner, who has taught his 2nd grade students how to write rap songs about what they are learning in school. They have learned how to record and edit their videos. Mr. Bonner uploaded one of their videos to YouTube and from there it was shared with thousands of people. A local TV station picked it up as a story, and from there it gained the attention of the Ellen Show. They flew Mr. Bonner out to Los Angeles this week and interviewed him on the show. While they talked to him, they went to a live shot of us at school cheering and waving. The kids got to perform their rap for the audience and the crowd went wild! Ellen also gave Mr. Bonner equipment for the class to keep making more videos. They received TVs, drones, iPads, and Beats headphones (which have phenomenal sound by the way…. I’m wearing them now while I write) She also presented a check in the amount of $25,000 to the school. Not only that, but she created a GoFundMe.com page for the school, and at the present moment, it has raised just over $44,000 for the school. This spotlight on our school will make a difference for these students for many years to come.
So back to the workout… What I attempted was the same workout I tried last Friday night, only this time I did much better. It is amazing how quickly you can come back into a sport after not working out for almost three months. My last swim was a warmup swim at Ironman Maryland on October 1st. The first swim back was a reality check. I kept thinking, “I was able to swim 2.4 miles nonstop a few months ago, and today I can barely swim 300 yards without feeling like death!” This workout was better, but I knew I still had a lot of room for improvement. I finished the workout at 1650 yards. A mile is 1760 yards, so I know that I can do that in an upcoming workout. A half ironman distance is 2112 yards, so I feel like it won’t be long before I could knock that out. I reflect on how just a few months ago, I was swimming sometimes two hours at a time to train. That’s so crazy….
On Thursday night, I went out for a three-mile run and felt like I am finally making improvements in that area again. A couple weeks ago, I felt like I was falling apart and slowing down. Sometimes it just takes getting back out there a few times to start feeling like you’re getting it back. I have been running basically the same course at night and I have made a lot of progress running up 14th street by East Carolina University. That hill used to be a bear to climb, but now I find myself saying, “What hill??” Signing up for a race is another way of getting motivated, so Demetrius and I are going to sign up for a race in February. My goal is to be able to keep up with him so I will need to start doing some speed training for that to happen. I might also have to ask him to slow down just a few seconds per mile! He has made significant improvements in a short amount of time and I am so proud of him!
Friday afternoon I was back in the pool again. I left school at 2:50 and I was at the gym at 3:02! Knowing that classes would start at 4:30, I was pressed for time to get in my workout with few people bothering me. I did the same workout from Wednesday, only I skipped the sprint set. I could tell that the training is starting to catch up to my legs and it was at this point where my feet and lower legs were getting to the point of fatigue, and that is the time where my legs cramp in the pool which is extremely painful. I have been trying to find products, supplements, and stretching exercises to limit the cramping, but I have not found anything yet that can help me. In just a few weeks I will be receiving my athlete box from Base Performance and I am sure there will be something in there that will help me!
The weather this weekend will be chilly (highs in the 40s) but the upcoming week is forecasted to be back in the upper 60s and even 70s again. There is an expression commonly heard in North Carolina: “Don’t like the weather? Wait a minute!” So who knows what the week will hold. For now, it’s time to drive back home to pick up the dogs and hit the park. You never know when the weather will change, so take advantage of the moments while you can. Get outside and enjoy the sun and wind.
“One day you won’t be able to do this. Today is NOT that day.”
This week marks the beginning of training. For what, you ask? My friend Kristie and I are training for a Half Ironman distance triathlon. It's in 16 weeks, and I lost track of time. My plan was to do a 20-week plan, but somehow the time got away from me, so on Monday I was counting the weeks and got a nice little surprise. I would be starting on week 5 of my training plan!
On Wednesday, I found myself meeting Kristie at the pool. I haven't swam since Ironman in October, so I had NO idea what this swim was going to look like. As predicted, it was terrible. I swam a total of 1300 yards and my legs cramped up so bad I had to stop. I have always suffered from leg cramps, mostly in my right leg due to a foot surgery from almost 10 years ago. With shortened ligaments and tendons, the lack of flexibility has a significant impact on my foot, causing it to cramp for seemingly no reason.
I left the pool, feeling somewhat defeated. I thought about how three months ago I could swim 2.4 miles with no problem. I had just finished only 3/4 of a mile and it about killed me. At the same time, I thought about how if I could do that before, I could certainly do it again. Ironman training taught me that nothing is impossible and that the only limits you have are the ones you create for yourself. Ironman teaches you that you are stronger than you once thought and that if you work hard, anything is possible. Now that I think of it, my Ironman swim cap says "IRONMAN Anything Is Possible." So true...
On Thursday, I went out for a run. The plan was to run 4 miles from the same place I always start my runs. While I was driving to Elm Street, I called my mom to ask her what I needed to do to winterproof the house before the “snow storm” that was predicted. I looked ahead and saw red flashing lights ahead. “DAMNIT!!! A train!!!!” Greenville is known for the ridiculous amount of train traffic that constantly disrupts the city. As I waited, I put my car in park. Something told me this was going to be a long wait. Then, I noticed the train started to slow down….slower….slower….and….stop. “Are you kidding me????” I started thinking about where I could go if I turned around. The train was so long that I knew it would be blocking many other roads. After a couple minutes, I decided that I would just park at the business that was right next to me and I would just run from there. I contemplated seeing if I could climb up the steps of one of the tankers and then jump to the other side of the road. I thought about crawling under a tanker too. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that I would likely end up on the news for getting hurt or something. So instead, I just ran through traffic and took off away from the train. I ran the fastest mile I have ran in some time! I felt like a badass for improvising my run. Nothing was going to stop me. Not even a train! As I ran, I heard “BOOM!!!!” and thought, “Ohhhh, that can’t be good!” I’m not sure exactly what was going on with the train and why it had to stop, or what sounded like an explosion, but those miles weren’t just going to run themselves! I turned around at Arlington Blvd and turned back towards the train. Eventually it started moving and by the time I made it back to the railroad crossing, it was gone and I continued my run. It ended up being kind of nice having to run somewhere different. Variety is the spice of life, after all….Right?
Tonight, I headed back to the pool. I had to make up for that terrible swim from Wednesday! The pool was not busy at all, as most people are probably getting their bread and milk from the grocery store before the whole state closes for the weekend. I love swimming on Friday nights because it’s usually the least busy night of the whole week. I get to enjoy a lane to myself and I don’t feel rushed that someone is waiting for my lane. I am not a fast swimmer, and I am even slower than normal now that I am getting back into training again. By the end of the workout, I comfortably completed 1500 yards. No cramps, just success! I finally felt like, “Yeah, I got this!!” It is amazing to see how much progress can be made in a short amount of time. I finally feel like I can announce that I am officially training for my next Half Ironman distance triathlon! After doing Ironman Maryland, a half seems like a piece of cake. I will have to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56, and then run 13.1. I remember when that seemed like a daunting task. Now? I have confidence that I can do that with no problem.
Oh, and one more thing. Remember my blogs about Speedo man? He has returned to the pool as well. If he doesn’t wear the thong speedo, I think we will be okay. Yep, that’s right I said it. Enjoy that visual if you can. For me, I nearly choke on water when I see it. I mean…. “Bless his heart!”
My name is Jamie and I am an Ironman athlete! I completed my first super sprint triathlon in 2008. I am proud to be a member of the Fleet Feet Sports Greenville Running Club!
My Support Team
What Made Me IRON
51.2129 Miles - 21:19:03
50K - 6:54:59
Half Marathon 2:10:58
10 Miler - 1:45:42
10K - 1:00:24
8K - 47:21
5 Miler - 52:41
5K - 27:27
1 mile - 8:33
103.48 miles - 6:42:11
2.42 miles - 1:47
Half Iron 8:17:12
Full Iron* 13:19:27
Note: some distances have only been raced once! I know I could crush a couple of these now!