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A Year of Learning

Posted Feb 08 2013 4:35pm
I’ve had four swimming workouts since IMLP training began. You know what I’ve learned? I’m more terrified of cold water than any pool workout. I HATE IT. I visibly sigh and cringe when getting into the pool each and every time. In my head, I know I’ll warm up quickly. But it’s the anticipation that gets me every time. I’m counting down the days until Summer when I can use the outdoor lap lanes. But until then, I must learn to embrace the cold water.
Swimming just isn't what it used to be. (This is my hilarious friend Kristin. Purposely belly-flopping. In sweatpants. Pure entertainment.)

This is my hilarious friend Kristin. Purposely belly-flopping. In sweatpants. Pure entertainment.

I also need to learn to embrace these crazy new exercises and proper swimming form. For years I’ve felt like a pro at strength training; I have most of those exercises down. Power Cleans? Sure, I know that one! Bulgarian Squats? Let me demonstrate! But I’m out in left field when it comes to swimming terminology. Swimming on right side of body only? How do I DO that? What should my form look like?  WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?! (Side note: I actually TAUGHT swimming lessons to children while I was in college. Poor kids. I worry about their parents’ judgement.)

This is what we do at my house. Just throw on some scuba gear.

This is what we do at my house. Just throw on some scuba gear.

I’m anxiously looking forward to my first team swim practice. We have a few phenomenal coaches and I’m prepared to accept all sorts of constructive criticism. I just hope they don’t immediately run away in horror. Or try to convince me to wait before embarking on an Ironman. Swimming is my weakest link; I would certainly prefer to fit in and look like I know what I’m doing, but I know I have room for improvement and can learn quickly.

Getting out of your comfort zone always turns out to be productive so I’m apprehensively optimistic.

I think that’s what I’m looking forward to most throughout training: getting out of my comfort zone. As uncomfortable as it will be, I know the experience will be extremely rewarding. Everytime I’ve taken a risk it’s been worth it –  if only because it was a learning experience. Going away for college. Sending out hundreds of resumes. Accepting that first job. Moving to New York. Moving to New Jersey. Signing up for my first half marathon. Signing up for my first marathon.

We made it!

Little did I know, this was only the beginning!

What else am I looking forward to over the next six months and beyond? Thank you for asking! I happen to have a list:

  • Learning about new sports. Running? I have it covered. (For the most part.) Biking? A little. Swimming? Not so much. I know that I like all three sports. I know that I enjoy training for and participating in triathlons. That’s what matters for now. But I’m excited to expand my knowledge on each individually and triathlons as a whole.
  • Figuring out what the difference is between a cassette that you listen to music on (remember those?!) and a cassette on a bike. Apparently a cassette isn’t just something you put in a tape player. Who knew there were so many fancy bike terms?
  • Finding what my threshold for pain is. Can I really push myself as much as I need to? I’m already working on forgetting how I’ve felt after each of my marathons and trying not think about how sore I’ll be in the days (weeks? months?!) post-Ironman.
  • Making use of the extra calorie burn. (Read: eating.)
  • Raising $10,000+ for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to find a cure for cancer.
Go Team!

Go Team!

  • Getting closer to a cure for cancer.
  • Not being scared of the transition area. Buying a new bag to put all my stuff in. (Yay shopping!)
My first transition area! Awww...

My first transition! Awww…(P.S. don’t worry I organized it better post-picture.)

  • Figuring out my specific heart rate zones. Zone 1? Zone 5? What does it all mean for ME?
  • Learning how to balance my schedule and plan in advance. I’m not planing to give up happy hours or celebrations or wine or concerts or quality time relaxing on the couch. Fun and rest are not options, they are necessities to keep myself from burning out.
  • Learning how to run without music. Scary.
Music. Always.

Music. Always.

  • Learning how to fix a flat tire on my bike. Purchasing said bike.
  • Being a part of a team again. Connecting with my teammates and making new friends. Having people to work out with.
  • Maybe (a big MAYBE) figuring out how to trick myself into waking up early. My two favorite ideas so far are 1) to tell someone who will hold you accountable. I plan to broadcast my early wakeup call plans to the Twitter universive and I expect you all to harrass tweet the crap out of me if I say I’ll be up and I’m not. And 2) start waking up early for a week and NOT working out. This sounds lovely. Slowly work my way into it (and maybe even be productive and not have to sprint to the train) for a week or two while I acclimate. (Thanks to MizFit for these unique ideas!)
  • Buying new workout gear! (If I become responsible enough to learn how to save money.) So exciting.
  • Learning how to buy a bike on a budget. (I’m sensing a trend that involves the spending of money.)
  • Being STRONG(er).
  • Crossing the finish line hearing Mike Reilly saying, “KARA, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” (If you’re not familiar, Mike Reilley is “The Voice” of Ironman. For every person that crosses the finish line of every Ironman, he’s there shouting that phrase.)

That’s a long video. If you can, watch it. If not, fast forward to the last 5 minutes. Mike Reilly is there, cheering everyone on as they become an Ironman.

(If you were here, you would know I just spent an hour watching Ironman videos on YouTube and bawling my eyes out. They are addicting and emotional. But you’re not, so we’ll pretend you don’t know that.)

So here we are. Lots of learning and living and swim-bike-running left to do. I’m prepared to take notes.

Do videos of endurance events make you emotional? Do you know what a cassette is?! What do you want to learn this year?


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