I write this as I look out my office window to the snicy (snow+ice) street below. It is going to take 13 years for all of this stuff to melt, and I can't tell you how much I miss running and biking on bare pavement. It never occurred to me that I could miss the ever-present dampness of Portland, but now I do. Rain won't kill me, but months off my feet with a broken ankle could.
Fortunately, there are treadmills and trainers and ZWIFT. Thank God for Zwift! For those of you not in the cycling/triathlon world, Zwift is an amazing app that turns cycling into a video game, thereby reducing bike trainer-induced self-harming thoughts (common around these parts in January).
Zwift allows you to join people from all over the world--friends, strangers, professional athletes--in taking on virtual bike courses. I have ridden with my friends in Bend, my coach, and even a couple professional triathletes. (OK, "ridden with" is more like "glanced at as they flew by me" for that last one.) I have even raced a couple times.
The best part about Zwift? It has me looking forward to getting on my trainer. THAT is something I never thought would happen.
But, unfortunately, triathlon entails more than one sport. In fact, there are two others: swimming and running.
I've taken a bit of a hiatus from swimming, falling back on the "ehh, I am a decent swimmer, I will be fine" excuse. However, today I will be kicking off my official swim-training season with 2k meters at the local pool. I am excited to get back to it, but it's always hard to pick up the routine again.
As for running, I've been forced to run mainly on the treadmill, which is an exercise in sheer willpower. I truly, truly hate the treadmill. In fact, I hate it so much that I recently risked life and limb running on the road just to avoid it. But after spending more time climbing snowbanks than actually running, I gave in. I now make sure I have a show loaded on Netflix (Real Housewives, anyone?) before I head over to the gym.
And of course, I have been skiing. Bill is ALL IN with ski patrol, so he is up there most weekends training. The kids have their lessons, so trips to Mt. Bachelor have become a family affair. It's been an epic snow year, and last weekend was amazing. As for whether I can fit it into the "workout" category, I will just say that my quads are screaming after a long run with no breaks.
Speaking of quads, I also started strength training at Bowen Sports Performance in the fall, which has made a huge difference in my cycling and running. Lots of deadlifts, squats, bench press, box jumps. Bart is super knowledgeable, and as a former pro cyclist, knows a bit about endurance training. It's also been my chance to get out of the house a socialize a bit, though I am often a woman of few words at 6am.
Last night I tried a new (additional) strength class at Step & Spine, which focuses a lot on targeting the often-overlooked but crucial-to-endurance-sports muscles, like the glutes and hips. As triathletes, we spend so much time moving forward, and tend to neglect strengthening those stabilizing muscles that are critical in keeping us injury-free. I think the class will be a great addition to my regimen.
But WHYYYYY Am I Doing All of This?
Well, aside from fueling my love for the sport of triathlon (duh), all of this is targeted toward my second-ever half Ironman (70.3), in Coeur d'Alene this June. You may as well call it my first 70.3 because A) my last was 8 years ago and B) I had two fewer children at that time. It's basically a whole new distance for me.
This distance is daunting, but doable. I feel I have become a lot more fit in my late 30s (which are quickly coming to a close!), thanks to both personal maturity and discipline, and to amazing coaches and the community here in Bend. I am so lucky to have easy access to the most knowledgeable endurance athletes around, as well as the best stores, gyms, and physical therapists. The scenery doesn't suck, either.
Stay tuned for Life Update #3: Career!