Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Post With My Hardest Event Yet

I had my hardest IM training event EVER today, and it didn't involve running, swimming or biking. As a matter of fact, it only involved a couple of clicks of the mouse.

Today I officially cancelled my acceptance into the 2014 New York City Marathon. Due to the (now-defunct) "three-strikes, you're in" policy where if you signed up for the lottery but hadn't been chosen for the race three years in a row you received an entry for the following year, I had guaranteed entry into 2014.

But then, by some crazy chance, Princess, Hippie and I all were able to register for IM FL 2014 -- which sold out in minutes. And since IM FL is November 1, 2014, I'm pretty sure I won't be able to run the NYC Marathon on November 2, 2014.

The good news: I am able to defer my acceptance into the NYC Marathon to 2015. The bad news, I've got to wait another year to cross that off my bucket list. But I'll be there.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Post Where I Do One of the Things I Swore I Wouldn't Do

Okay, I'll just go ahead and admit it. I got all my hair cut off. And 85% of the decision came because of my IM training.

I had super long hair that I've been growing out for about three years. But honestly, lately it has looked like this most of the time:

When I signed up for IMFL, I promised myself I would not cut my hair just for the sake of training convenience. That promise lasted less than two months.

The effort to make my hair look nice was more than the time I had available to do it. So, when I found myself saying "You know, I just straightened my hair this morning (which took two hours), so I'm not going to work out today. Or tomorrow" -- I knew something needed to change.

Let's face it, when you're swimming 3-4 times a week and running and/or biking about the same amount of times, there's not a whole lot of time left over for hair styling.When Captain Awesome saw me attempting to tuck that mass of hair under a swim cap one day, he also encouraged me to get it cut.

So I did.  The result:

It's pretty, but I already miss my long hair. I'm not worried about it. It'll grow back. And it already takes 1/4 the time to style it as it used to.

Most importantly, I don't hesitate to jump in the pool for a 30 minute swim because it will mess up my hair. That sort of stuff is for girls.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Post With the Ironman Christmas Presents

I didn't get too many IM specific Christmas presents this year. For one, Capt Awesome and I don't tend to buy each other Christmas gifts. since we both buy ourselves whatever we want to throughout the year.

Plus, I just purchased Shane West and my entry into IMFL2014 in November, so I wasn't due any real presents.  But the IM-training Santa brought me a few cool things.

SportCount Lap Counter 
This is a ridiculously simple little piece of brilliance. You wear it on your finger and hit the button every time you touch the edge of pool after swimming a lap. And it keeps tally of how many laps you do.

That's it. Some people think that's not worth $25, but for me it totally is.

There are other models and gadgets (probably made by Garmin) that will keep your times and splits and make you a pancake or whatever, but I just wanted something that allowed me to swim without having to keep up with the number of laps I've done. This was it. It is great. Seriously.

Now I don't have to worry about whether this is lap 46 or 47 or 52, and can concentrate on my swim form. If I could figure out how to multiply by 25, then I'd know how many meters I'd swum.  But alas...

I bought mine on Amazon here, but you might find it somewhere else cheaper.

Waterproof iPod Shuffle
This is totally a luxury. But I have found that having music while in the pool has made my life much more pleasant. I wouldn't dream of running for 1.5-2 hours 3-4 times a week without music and now I don't have to swim without it either.

It's a regular iPod shuffle that has been sprinkled with fairy dust and super-duper waterproofing technology stuff. I also got the waterproof headphones because I didn't have any, downloaded my favorite playlists from iTunes and I was good to go. If music is worth spending $150 for and you can afford it (or are willing to eat Captain Crunch for a month instead of real food), I would definitely suggest this purchase.

Again, I got this on Amazon here, but if you shop around...

My Training Wedding Ring
I found that my wedding and engagement rings were giving me problems: coming off accidentally when taking off gloves, poking holes in my swim caps as I put them on, snagging on my running and cycling shorts.

So I decided I wanted to get a ring that wasn't very expensive that I could wear over the next 10 months while I'm training. (You know, to prove to all the guys that I'm married when they try to hit on me after I've been running 15 miles or cycling 50... because I look *so* good.)

I found Jim Little Jewelry on Etsy and really liked his spinner rings (one band that spins on top of another wider band). Classy. I contacted and asked if he could fit the phrase:  I am not afraid of this. 140.6  He could and I love it. Cost was about $50.

Be Iron Fit by Don Fink
Hippie, Princess and I all got this book for Christmas (well, actually I got it a few weeks ago). I've found this book to be the most useful of the ones I've looked through so far dealing with IM-specific training. It's got three 30-week training programs geared towards either competitive, intermediate, and "just-finish" IMers. (So think: willing to put up to 20 hours a week in training, 15 hours a week or 10 hours a week, respectively)

Lots of tips and secrets in this book and written from a perspective that we all have lives outside of IM that somehow must continue. Definitely should be on the shelves of any newbie IMer.

So I didn't get any critical training gear for Christmas, but I love all I did get.