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Juggle that training Archives - A Familia Adventure

From Mom to Machine – The Big Day has Arrived!

By | Events, From Mom To Machine, Musings | No Comments

I’m not sure where to begin, it feels a little like I’m in a confessional; it has been many months since I last wrote an article on my training. But documenting my training each week got boring fast, I can just imagine how dull it must have been to read about it, except for a few sadistic friends who find their amusement in my discomfort – and fair enough. It’s laborious enough to actually do the training, writing about it every week seemed a little self-absorbed, and quite frankly lacked the passion with which I have tried to tackle this training journey. When I began all of this I wanted to give you a run down of what it takes to get an everyday mum to the point of ‘race ready’ for a half iron man, but you are going to have to settle for a nervous account of where I am instead… 2 days from the start line. I can tell you no amount of training takes away the nerves! Every niggle and twitch of a muscle begs for further inspection. And every free minute has your brain obsessed with logistics, nutrition, transitions and gear. I am all consumed.

 

But I will save you from my brains anxious misfires. There are things I have learned along this journey that might mean something to you. So instead of blabbing on about my current state of mind, here are my points to ponder and my lessons learned… Maybe some of it will resonate with you. Maybe even inspire you…

 

“We will never be as young as we are now.” These lyrics (from a song called ‘As We Are Now’ by Saint Raymond) rang more true than I wanted to admit. If we don’t grab today, and use it, we’ll look back on this time and say, “why didn’t I do … when I was young and full of energy?” I don’t always feel full of energy, but I am wise enough to know that’s not going to improve as I get older. This is probably the best I’m going to feel for the rest of my life. Scary right? So grab this moment, and the next, and do something you’ll be proud of when you look back.

 

Overcome the scary things; don’t let them stop you. “You swim 2km in the sea?? But aren’t you scared of sharks?” … I can’t tell you how many people have asked me this question. And the answer is YES, I most certainly am! But I am also scared of vehicle accidents and I still drive a car. It’s about focussing your attention on what matters. You can’t control everything, and this has been a great lesson for me. I was a nervous wreck the first time I swam any distance in the sea, to the point where I thought I would vomit from the nerves. The second time, it was better, much better. I panicked twice while I was in the sea and chuckled at myself when I looked at my heart-rate graph after the swim. There were 2 notable spikes and I know exactly what I was thinking when they happened. My third sea swim was better again. The spikes this time round were from pushing hard, not panicking hard. It’s about getting into a rhythm, almost a meditation while you swim. You focus on what you know will get you to the end, when doubts creep up you silence them by focussing on what matters. It’s an incredible exercise in silencing your thoughts.

 

It’s easier than you think to turn into a hypochondriac. I’ve always liked the fact that I have a pretty level head. I’m a good person to have around in a crisis; I don’t panic. When it’s not a crisis however, I know just how to get myself into a knot. Shaun has documented my transition from nonchalance to quivering wreck over something as commonplace as a shin splint. This little terror that took hold of my leg was enough to send my once chilled mind over to the dark side. Fear can creep up on you when you’re not looking, and most of us aren’t. Recognising your fears for what they are, giving them due thought and then dismissing them is an important part of the process. Letting every ache after a training session throw you into a fit of worry is unwarranted, and needs checking at the door.

 

It’s embarrassing to admit, given my age, but I have never really tried this hard or trained this much for an event. I am as much afraid of failing as the next guy, and for most of my life I have let this stand in my way, not wanting the judgement I thought trying might bring. What I’ve realised is when you start trying, and you actually get into it, the journey becomes enjoyable. It doesn’t make race day any easier, and I still feel compelled to ‘race’. I’m not sure exactly who I’m racing, I’m certainly not going to win, but I feel like I’m racing an idea I have in my mind of what I should be able to do. But what I’m trying to say is there is so much enjoyment around trying; in the preparation and the camaraderie, that despite being fraught with nerves, and having a stomach made of jelly, the experience is exhilarating.

 

Having said all the above, I might say something very different on Sunday after the race! But I’m hoping not. I’ve put a lot of myself into this training, but not more than I had to give, and I think that’s made for a balanced last couple of months, and a positive outlook on the experience. Here’s hoping the weekend is as fun as the training has been! …. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

From Mom to Machine – It’s a Balancing Act … Week 4 and 5

By | From Mom To Machine | No Comments

Yes, I’m 3 weeks behind on filling you in with my training. I know I know, this wouldn’t be the first time my time management skills were called into question. In effect, it sums up what my days are like at the moment. Juggling kids and their activities, work, writing, home stuff and training is leaving me scrambling for time and dropping more balls than usual. Certain balls can’t be dropped, lest they break, but luckily children are pretty pliable, I work with my husband, and the house will wait. So I guess I have it easy. Unfortunately writing does get side lined though.
Making training a priority is a luxury I count myself lucky to have. I have older children who understand what Mom and Dad are doing, a supportive family and a husband who constantly encourages me to push myself. I wonder sometimes what it must be like for people who don’t have a support network. How they fit training in around full time jobs and getting home late to their kids and spouse. It puts my life in perspective and I count my privileges daily. Counting those helped me get through week 4…

Week 4: …Moping.

Monday was a rest day after our first sea swim and bike day on the Sunday. The kids were on holiday and taking a day out to just chill with them was awesome.

On Tuesday I went for a 35km solo bike ride. The idea of riding on my own is a nerve-wracking process; I avoid it as much as possible. It is never so bad when I am actually out there, but the thought of heading out on my own is scary for some reason. A fear I know I will have to get over because Shaun can’t hold my hand through all of this. “Man the f*** up” or “put on my big girl panties” comes to mind, but panties are not something you want to wear when you go cycling and I think woman are tougher than men, so I’m going to make my motto: “Woman up and just get on with it”!

Wednesday we were heading off for 3 days away with the kids in Kogelberg Nature Reserve, so we had some breakfast, packed the car, and on the way stopped at the gym for an hour weights session before continuing with our journey. We managed to fit in some good upper body and core work, a nice bonus before 3 days of pigging out – as is customary on holiday 🙂

On Thursday we managed to walk 3km with the kids in-between beautiful sheets of rain. We had hoped to fit in more hiking but the weather encouraged us to put our feet up and soak in the solitude as the ground soaked in the water.

It rained for half of Friday as well but by midday the sun peeked out and we headed off up the valley for an 8km hike with the kids. At the top of the valley Shaun decided to turn his hike into a 24km run and he parted ways with us while I walked down the valley with the kids. I know we couldn’t both have done that distance with the kids, but I felt sad and despondent about the limits my shin splints were putting on things. Although I was happy Shaun had had a good run, I actively had to count my blessings so I didn’t grump on our trip back home.

Back in CT and feeling sad I didn’t get in a blissful long run, I headed off for a good Saturday morning swim to burn off my frustration. 2.2km with drills had me feeling more purposeful again. Still no fins, more arms than kicking, but getting there.

Sunday Shaun and I did a 65km ride with hills! Up Kloof Nek to the top of Signal hill is a view to work for, but by golly it’s worth it! We then rode back to Hout Bay and over Chappies, to Noordhoek, to meet Shaun’s brother for breakfast. Hills and more hills. This better be making my legs strong!

 

Thoughts on conclusion of Week 4:

Getting back into the swing of things. My shin splints don’t hurt so much and I’m looking forward to being able to run again. If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be sad at not being able to run for 2 weeks, I would quite probably have wet myself laughing.

 

…and because I’m behind you get a double whammy!

 

Week 5: Feeling good about my training and getting into a good pattern.

Monday was an upper body weights and core session, at gym.

Tuesday was rest.

Wednesday had me swimming 2.4 km with drills and no fins. More arm work than legs still but I got into a great rhythm. My swimming times don’t seem to be getting much faster but I’m waiting until my legs are allowed to get involved before getting despondent about that.

Thursday was cause for celebration! FIRST Run back!! Only 3.5 km’s which took less than 20 mins (as emphatically instructed by my physio). Followed by Watt bike in the gym for 35 mins – quite hard. And planks. My legs didn’t hurt!! Whoop whoop. Not even a little bit!

Friday Shaun and I cycled 45km to waterfront and back. He had me doing some sprint work on the flats, issuing instructions like; “If at any point you feel like you could be going faster, go faster”! There is no wonder I had sore legs afterwards.

Saturday I rested. Tired, sleepy legs. Felt like I had a knot in my left calf so made sure to ice and rub it down with Arnica after giving Shaun’s legs a warm up rub for his race on the Sunday. A wife who’s a massage therapist… Shaun doesn’t know how lucky he has it! 😉

Sunday the kids and I supported Shaun at the Gun Run. We raced between viewing spots and drank hot tea while we waited for him in the early morning light. Other than that I rested. And had FOMO. (He did a personal best by the way and came in just under 1.30, earning himself a silver medal!)

 

Thoughts on conclusion of Week 5:

I’m feeling nervous getting back into running after not doing it for 3 weeks. Worried I’ll set myself back by hurting my shin, and concerned I’ve lost some of my running strength. But it’s good to be stepping back in. Feeling tired, but pleased with the training I’ve been doing. For me… this is some pretty consistent training!