Tri-ing in the Holy Land

The ramblings of a struggling triathlete in Israel

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Location: Israel

I'm the mother of 3, a teacher and a couch potato turned triathlete.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

2nd place

Yesterday I drove up with three teammates to the ITA general meeting and 2005 national rankings award ceremony. As you can see from the look on my face (and on Sammy's -- he's trying to straighten out the plaque on his trophy, I think), the meeting was incredibly boring. The ceremony wasn't too impressive, either. Apparently, they hadn't ordered enough trophies, so by the time they got to the sprint awards, they had to peel the plaques off of trophies that hadn't been claimed and stick new ones on them (notice me waiting for my trophy to be "prepared" below). However, the trophy is nice and it has my name on it :-)

And, of course, I always like it when people take my picture from behind. LOL. Looking at the once-tight jeans that are now even baggier than I realized, I can understand why people keep asking me if I've lost a lot of weight!

Monday, January 23, 2006

2005 summary and 2006 goals

Better late than never, right?

Ok, here's the quick summary of 2005...

swim: 205,700 meters
bike: road bike - 1,912.7 km plus another 30 minutes on the trainer, mountain bike - 38.5 km, stationary bike at the gym - 18.2 km
run: 559.9 km

Plus, I got 2nd place in the national age group rankings (women 40-44) for sprint triathlon (and duathlon) -- I get my trophy on Saturday!

All in all, I had a pretty good year. Now on to my 2006 goals (which also include a brief 2005 summary) as posted to my mailing lists:

In 2005, I completed one 3k, two 10ks, three sprint duathlons, one "triple super sprint" triathlon and seven sprint triathlons. In addition, I had my first ever DNF (at the biggest race of the year -- when I do things, I do them big!) and my first and hopefully last bike crash. I achieved all of my 2005 goals apart from spending less money (a new bike wasn't in the plan), including running 5k in under 30 minutes, which I wasn't sure I'd accomplish and I actually did several times. I also went beyond my goals. My swimming improved beyond recognition (and my times dropped accordingly), my shelf filled up with hardware and I finished the season in 2nd place nationally for my age group in sprint triathlon (which also includes duathlon), missing 1st place by less than half a point. In my wildest dreams, I didn't imagine being ranked second in my age group in my first year of competition!

Despite my screwup in my last race, which cost me some scrapes and bruises and a wrecked bike, it was a pretty good year. Even the screwup wasn't so bad -- I don't know if I would have actually bought the new bike as quickly if I hadn't been in a rush to replace the old one. Apart from Eilat, there was really only one thing that put a damper on the season -- injuries. First it was my knees and then my stiff neck and then my shoulder. The tendinitis in my shoulder was particularly bothersome because it came at such a bad time, just when I was really improving my swim times and just before training camp in Eilat (and the subsequent Eilat Triathlon). However, like most unpleasant things, it passed and I managed to get through it without losing any fitness.

One other thing that made 2005 really great and that I have to mention is the wonderful friends I've made on my team. Knowing that I'm going to be with people I love makes me look forward to going to workouts, even when I'm tired or just not "in the mood". I doubt I would have come half as far as I did in the past year without these people encouraging me, challenging me and just cheering me on. I know a lot of you work out on your own, but it's hard for me to even imagine going back to doing things alone.

Now on to my 2006 goals. Note that these are only my triathlon-related goals. I have several more for my personal life that I won't include here:

1) Improve my bike times. This is a bit hard to measure, as no course is identical to any other and even at the same race, they often change the course from year to year, but in general, I'd like to get my times down. The bike is the weakest part of the race for me, but fortunately, it's also the thing I'm newest at and I believe that I have a good chance at getting a lot better.

2) Start a regular strength training routine to work on basic strength and also to avoid further injuries. Starting, of course, isn't the problem -- the problem is making it a regular part of my training.

3) Run 10k in under an hour. In general, I think specific time goals are problematic and not reaching them when you're doing everything right can be very frustrating. However, I think this one is reachable and I'm going to go for it. The only problem is that my only official 10k race is in February and I don't know if I'll be able to reach my goal by then. If not, it will have to be in a training run, I guess.

4) Learn to like running. This is a tough one, but I'm going to do this. It's a mind over body thing and I'm going to start by never again saying that I hate running.

5) Keep a positive attitude, at least most of the time. Less complaining about hard workouts, less asking myself "Can I really do this?" and less talking about my weaknesses and more about my strong points.

I think that's it, though I reserve the right to add more goals at any time ;-)

When I look back on what I wrote a year ago, I find it amazing how far I've come. It's funny to think that "start bike training with the team" was once a goal when it's now something I do on a regular basis. And "compete in at least one sprint distance triathlon" looks funny when I did eight (and finished seven). A year ago, I was afraid to write anything about swimming in open water with waves, because the idea terrified me. Now I can hardly wait for spring so that I can go swim in the Mediterranean Sea!

2006 is going to be a great year!

I'm back!

It's been a while since I've posted anything here, mainly due to lack of time and most definitely not due to lack of training. I'd kind of given up on the blog, but since a few people have commented that they'd like to see more posts, I'm back.

Quick summary of the last two and a half months...

November: Shoulder tendinitis which put a damper on my training, especially swimming. Finally got rid of it with a one-week course of prescription strength anti-inflammatory medication.

Also November: Training camp in Eilat. It was exhausting and difficult, but afterwards, I felt really ready for the Eilat Triathlon.

December: Eilat Triathlon. Crash. Need I say more? Well, ok, I will. Once people stopped trying to drown me, I had a great swim. Then I had a great transition. I was out there on my bike riding into the wind, concentrating on my riding, feeling great. Next thing I knew, there was a road block directly in front of me. I'd had my head down (because of the wind) and I'd missed it entirely. By the time I saw it, it was too late to do anything but ride right into it and so I did. Well, into it and over it. My bike and I did a full flip in the air over the concrete road block and landed on the other side. I was relatively uninjured (considering the fact that I could have broken my neck -- just a couple of bloody fingers, one of which I suspect might have been broken, and a bloody knee). My bike was very injured. I probably could have kept riding if I'd had something to ride on, but the condition of my bike ended the race for me. Enough said.

More December: Got a new bike! Something good had to come out of that accident! My new ride is a Specialized Allez Elite -- aluminum with a carbon fork, full 105 apart from the rear derailleur, which is Ultegra. Still not "top of the line", but a nice step up from my all-aluminum bike with Sora components. It's also smaller, so no more reaching. I haven't had the chance to ride it much, but from the little bit of riding I've done, I'm very happy. I bought it used from a woman who used to be on my team but quit triathlon. She bought it in June or July 2004 and quit the team less than six months later. I think she rode the bike outside four times and the rest of the time she rode it on the trainer. I got a very very good deal, which also made me very happy.

More December... Did my first mountain bike ride (on my husband's bike). First ride was great -- a lot of fun. Second was harder.

January: Back to training after a two-week training break. A couple of more rides on the mountain bike -- one good, one hard. I guess that's how it goes. I'm about ready to get my own bike -- my husband's is way too big and I think that's part of what's making it a bit hard for me.

Tough two weeks of training in January followed by an easy week (this week). I did my longest runs ever -- 12 km (twice) and 15 km. That doesn't sound far to those who train for half-marathons and marathons, but it's further than I ever thought I'd run! Some long swim workouts (3000 meters -- that's long to me...), too.

So that pretty much brings things up to date. I'm training now for the Ein Gedi 10k on February 18th and I've got another 10k the week before (Omer 10k), which we're using as a practice race. The first duathlon is in early April and the first triathlon is two or three weeks later. I've set a few goals for this year, but I'll post those separately when I have some more time.

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