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About Time

Posted Mar 02 2012 12:00am
Snooki’s pregnant and I’m not.

FML.

The good news is that maybe with the birth of a child she will outgrow her self-centered, reckless ways to become a more mature, grounded and selfless being.  Then, again, that hasn’t worked for the other 99% of celebrities so why should it work for her.

In between packing my bags because this is a SURE SIGN that the apocalypse is indeed coming in 2012, be ready, I sat down to recap the rest of my weekend.  Surprisingly, a mere 5 days after the Monster Swim, I am not only able to lift my arms above my shoulder but put together cohesive sentences.  I cannot, however, make the 1:10 interval which I learned today while at masters.  

We were doing a set of 10 x 100 on a descending interval.  I suggested our lane start at 1:30 and end at 1:10.  THIS IS CRAZY TALK.  But every once in awhile, fueled by enough “fuck it” or coffee, I talk crazy.  Marty, being the only one in the lane with me and the only one capable of making that interval looked at me with eyes of you’re crazy but knew better than to go against the woman in the lane.  As we later told a single swimmer in another lane, a married man knows to always listen to a woman.

Why?

Survival.   

Here’s a shocker: I didn’t make the interval. Nor the one before it, nor the one before that.  It was one of those days in the pool where I was pretty sure it was uphill with a current.  Rarely do I sit in the hot tub after practice (for so many reasons, among them HAIR) but a practice this bad needed to be melted away.

After 5 minutes in there, Marty says to me:


If sandbagged means fantastically blowing up after number 6, putting on paddles and only going SLOWER, then yes, I sandbagged.


I’m only swimming with you because my new lane husband, Timmy, is out of town.  And until he returns, I will sleep around in assorted lanes using each one of you for your draft.

You need me in your lane, I’m pushing you. 

The problem is you’re going to make me really fit.

THAT’S WHY WE VOTED HER OFF THE ISLAND (that would be Tom, shouting from the corner of the hot tub)

I see someone is still bitter about our divorce.

The next day I wish I could say that I felt better swimming.  I did not.  At times like this, to make it through swim practice, it helps to heckle the shit out of other swimmers.

The coach says: I have 3 mainsets.  You have your choice of back, fly or breast.

TOM CHOOSES THE FLY MAINSET.

That went over well.  Along with my own adventure in the fly mainset.  Yes, I made that choice because someone signed up for 200 fly at state.  Honestly, it was a strategic move.  At state, you only get points for being top 8 in your age group.  I chose to swim every event that had less than 8 last year.  That would be 200 back.  400 IM.  And 200 fly.  Somewhere, a “real” swimmer just shuddered.  Last year one woman in my age group did 200 fly and this year if I come back as 200 fly state champion I’m sending out freshly baked humble pies to everyone.

WHO WANTS SOME PIE!

I’m hoping to get my swim arms back some time by the end of the week.  Seems like last weekend’s swimathon swallowed them up and left me with sore noodles.  Might have also had something to do with what I did on Sunday.  Back on Sunday, the day after the monster swim I woke up and thought to myself, you know what I could go for right now?

Not eggs.  Not waffles or pancakes.  Nope, not coffee.

How about a little indoor rolling 10K time trial?

Why didn’t I choose pancakes?

The other day I read an article that said to ask yourself what type of training sounds better: a long slow workout or something short and fast.  Your answer is the type of training you want to be doing.  But your answer is actually the opposite of what you need to be doing. 

Truth be told, indoor time trials are not my favorite events.  I’ve done a few of these in the past.  They are short.  They are hard.  They are pure power.  Constant force on the pedals whether you are going up or down.  

Lucky for me, the TT would serve as my bike test.  No waffles and a bike test?  I know, it just keeps get better.  My last bike test was back in January.  I took my time easing back into things after Kona.  I ran some.  I swam some.  I TRX’ed some.  I biked ONCE a week, easy.  In early January, I did a bike test to see where I was at.  To my surprise, I was only 5 watts off from my peak in the summer. 

So that pretty much blows the whole theory on specificity.

For the past few weeks, I’ve seen frequent bike workouts on my schedule.  Seems like every 3 days or so, I’m standing by the basement stairs when Chris asks me my workout for the day:

FTP Intervals

Three days later, I’m standing by the basement stairs again and Chris asks me my workout for the day:

FTP Intervals

It was like Groundhog Day except without the love story or the groundhog.  And Bill Murray wasn't at my house. 

I knew the indoor TT would be a great venue to push myself and see where the power is at.  My best power output on a test was back in 2008.  Since then, I’ve been 10 watts or so away from that point but knew I could get back.  Just had to be the right place, the right time and the right attitude.  Bike tests hurt.  Like I told my athlete, Jill, who was also racing on Sunday:  if it feels like 400 fly about 5 minutes into it, you know you’re doing it right. 

And if you’ve ever done 400 fly, you know that about 25 yards into it, you start fearing death and about 50 yards into it you start fearing something even worse - that you might shit yourself.

I arrived early enough to do a long warm up around the other cyclists.  After yesterday’s 10,000 yard swim fest, I was thrown into yet another world of sport.  From swimmers to cyclists.  Whereas a swimmer will stand on the deck rattling off all of the shots he took last night, cyclists are talking about their bike, their power to weight ratio, the watts they put out on last year’s time trail in Kenosha.  The room dripped thick with testosterone and smelled like wet chammy. 


A long warm up and then it was time for me to race.  Before racing, you have to get weighed with your cycling shoes on while holding your bike.  Something I learned in Kona – never look at the numbers.  I rarely weigh myself anymore.  I know when I’m feeling good and eating well.  I also know when I’ve eaten a half a bag of peanut butter MandMs (Friday – and in case you’re wondering, running 8 ½ miles after doing this is not recommended).  As I got weighed at the race, I managed to look the other way.  When the staff wrote my weight on a card, I didn’t look at it.  Managed to hand off the card to the bike handler without seeing the number.  And then once sitting on the Computrainer, managed to LOOK AWAY when the screen was set to enter all of the riders and their weight.

1*1 WITH YOUR BIKE?!  WE GOT A LIGHTWEIGHT.

That would be the 70 year old man racing next to me. 
 
I was in a Computrainer bank with about 7 other riders.  We started spinning easy, getting calibrated, waiting.  Meanwhile, the announcer beckons on to the microphone.

Liz Waterstraat is here.

Look around, look around, Liz Waterstraat is here?  Crap, that’s ME!  I’ve been spotted.  I purposefully searched for any water bottle at my house that didn’t have the word IRONMAN emblazoned on it. Apparently hiding behind that one water bottle didn’t offer much protection.

Liz Waterstraat has one of the more entertaining blogs about triathlon.

Wait.  People read this thing?

No pressure, no pressure.


NO FREAKIN’ PRESSURE NONE AT ALL.

3-2-1, I started pedaling.  Ben tipped me off to be in a big gear right away because the course immediately went downhill.  The problem with a downhill on the Computrainer is that in a race situation – you cannot coast.  You start pedaling like crazy to get the watts and speed up.  That is how you find yourself 1:36 into the race looking down at your Power Tap thinking….whatever you do, DO NOT LOOK AGAIN.

The race course went up, it went down.  I was in the saddle, out of it, sweating, trading positions with some little dude a few bikes down, all the while the announcer announced:

LIZ WATERSTRAAT IS GOING AFTER IT.

Liz Waterstraat is actually in a world of pain!  She is pretty sure if this lasts 1 minute longer she will vomit. And WHEN will that damn fan oscillate in my direction!?  Liz Waterstraat sees the clock ticking towards the women’s best time and also sees a .5 mile hill in front of her.  Liz Waterstraat is out of the saddle watching the mileage click slowly up towards 6.2.  6.1, 6.12, 6.15…oh come on already!  Liz Waterstraat just wants to be done already!

I missed the women’s best time by 20 seconds but then got outridden by 3 other women in the later heats.  Ended up 5th overall.  Felt like a solid effort.  Confirmed by the little dude who came up to me after the race:

Nice job.

Thanks.

I was going back and forth with you.

Yeah, I noticed.  (give him the boost of confidence he really needs by  pretending like (a) you care and (b) you are impressed that he beat you)  When did you pass me?

I got you on the last hill.

That was a hard hill.  Good work on that.

Yeah, well I only race criteriums so this really isn’t my thing.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was a triathlete. 

Or a woman.

After the race, I was in for a long cool down.  Thanks to Jennifer Harrison who stole my riser, this cool down was entirely downhill.  As she walked by me before the race started, I gave her one piece of advice:


Driving home I felt content with the effort.  But it wasn’t until I looked at the power file that  realized I had set a new personal best for my bike test.  Since January, I’ve found 20 watts.  Which means I’m 5 over my all time high.

Sometimes I wonder if I can keep improving in a sport I’ve been doing since 1999.  Sometimes I wonder if I can get faster as my body gets older.  The problem with getting older is that your mind keeps thinking like your young self.  I often wonder if we didn’t have mirrors, would we have any problems associated with aging?  Is it more about what we think or expect rather than what’s really going on? 

Maybe it’s wisdom.  Or experience.  Maybe I just know how to hurt more now.  Or maybe I’ve realized that if I’m going to keep improving, I have to keep raising that bar for myself.  Keep putting myself in situations that make me uncomfortable and make me prove it to myself.  Kurt’s told me I need to race a 5K every month for the next few months.  I signed up for 200 fly at the state meet.  All of these things are a little scary but even more frightening – the thought of accepting age and slowing down. 

I’m not going to do that.   

I dare time to catch up with me.  I just bought new racing flats so time – you’ve got your work cut out for you.  You'll find me doing 400 IM at the end of masters just to prove myself I can do it - tired.  You'll find me at the next local 5K.  You'll find me on the trainer probably doing FTP intervals.  If you find me, catch me - if you can, eh?
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