Keeping With It

Last year was a tough year for me.  Running over the past several years, I had never been challenged to the point of quitting or being pulled out of a race.  The challenge of racing became more difficult as Swim and Bike were added to the mix.  Leading up to Elkhart Lake, I was concerned that I would have issues.  I had done some brick workouts and I had swam the distance, but I had never gotten in a lake with several hundred other people.  This scared me to death.  When I finished this race, I was anxious to do more, even though there were parts of the race that were difficult.

Taking on Steelhead

After a semi-successful race at Elkhart, Steelhead was the next challenge (and the only other one on the calendar for the year).  I prepared as I saw fit.  I skipped workouts, I didn’t challenge myself to be better, I made do with my current level of fitness.  When we got to Benton Harbor and it became real, I kept thinking to myself that it was all achievable.  If I could make it out of the water, I might have to bike slow, and I might have to walk a bit, but I could do it.  As I have posted about before, I was kicked in the water and ultimately pulled from the race.  I can admit that I wasn’t prepared and that if not for the kick, I still don’t know that I would have finished the swim.  I had never finished that distance before (even in the pool).  I was a mess about it.  There wasn’t anything that I could blame other than myself.  It made me question my ability to compete in triathlon, at least at the longer distances.  But the desire to cross the finish line at a full Ironman distance race was strong.  After the race, I told myself I was going to wait to make a decision about racing again, and the truth at the time is that I didn’t know that I was going to.

Mustering the Courage to Race Austin

With Emily behind the idea, we picked up a coach and discussed our ability to train for and race Austin.  I was worried, but had enough confidence in myself that I could do the work and make it happen.  Our coach believed it too.  He put me through the ringer and gave me workouts that made me uncomfortable.  He challenged me to be a better athlete (a bigger challenge than he thinks it is).  The trip to Austin had me nervous.  I still felt unprepared.  Ultimately, I finished the race and the best part of it, time wise, was the swim.  That was surprising to me.

Why I Wrote This

I think it is important to have confidence in yourself and admit where you lack.  In 2015, I lacked motivation and I lacked the will to do the work.  So far in 2016, I am taking the workouts seriously and making sure that I meet my goals.  My first race this year is another Texas race and I am very excited that I will be racing with my brother.  I can’t wait to see him at the finish line and congratulate him on his first 70.3, as he did for me in Austin.  Over the summer, I have a few shorter races and will be volunteering for the Door County 70.3 so that I can help support Emily in her quest for her first 70.3 finish.  But the pinnacle this year will be finishing in Chattanooga and earning the title Ironman.

Friday Fun at the Pool

Nick and I got off of work early and considered ditching this afternoon’s swim.  I’m not a fan of swimming on Friday afternoons.  I’d rather have a few drinks and relax for the rest of the evening.  After some discussion, we headed to the gym.

Pool Swimming Winter

We had separate workouts.  Nick finished about 30 minutes before me, so he went to the store to get some dinner while I finished my swim.  We came home, ate, and are now relaxing for the rest of the evening.

Weekly Activity Report 01/24/2016

This week’s workouts were full of swim drills, running TT, and bike sprints.  We went down to Endurance House on Saturday to pick up a few items, and I found this shirt while there.  Of course, I had to wear it during my next workout.

Do the Damn Work  Do the Damn Work shirt

Weekly Activity Report ending 01/24/2016:

Emily –
80,830 Fitbit steps (daily average 11,547)
Run 5.6 miles
Bike 75.6 miles
Swim 3600 yds
Strength 15 minutes

Nick –
90,883 Fitbit steps (daily average 12,983)
Run 5.8 miles
Bike 66.5 miles
Swim 4000 yds
Strength 0 minutes

Crocheting – Textured Stripes Throw

This week my parents celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary.  It reminded me that I wrote this post nearly a year ago and never uploaded it.  A year in the making, and here it is…

I recently (well, over a year ago) crocheted this Textured Stripes Throw from as an anniversary gift for my parents.  I found this pattern via Pinterest (where else would I go to find crochet patterns).  Its stripes of varying sizes and textures (stitches) appealed to me, and it did not look like your typical afghan.

Once I crocheted the first set of stripes, I decided not to continue with the color repeat of the pattern as printed.  I wanted a more varied look so that each color would stand out in its own way, so I randomly selected the color order for each row sequence repeat.  I did, however, keep the first and last color sequence the same as the pattern.  Also, I did not add fringe to the afghan, rather I weaved in the loose ends of the yarn.

The yarn I selected was I Love This Yarn, worsted weight, 100% acrylic in the following colors:  Aubergine, Cream, Graphite, Navy, and Sea Blue.  I purchased two skeins of each color of yarn, and used approximately one and a half skeins per color.  As stated in my previous post, this afghan took me approximately 40 hours to complete.  I am beginning to understand hat once you learn how to read patterns and know the basic crochet stitches, you can complete just about any project.  Any of the special stitches are typically explained in the pattern instructions.

I snapped a few photos while working on the afghan including the yarn selection and my progression.

As I crocheted the afghan, I realized I enjoy bigger crochet projects.  Yes, hats and scarves are nice for a quick and easy piece of work, but the interesting thing about afghans and more complex items is that it takes longer and I appreciate the work more.  I momentarily considered selling my afghans online.  A quick look at Etsy proved it is not a revenue-generating plan.  Although, it would be a fantastic and very unique gift.  Only time will tell what I will do next.

Weekly Activity Report 01/17/2016

With the weather hanging below zero, exercising outdoors is now just a memory.  We’ve been hitting the gym more than usual to complete our workouts for the week.  Nick began his training for Galveston 70.3 this week, while I’m working on speed and strength.  In the upcoming weeks, our workouts will vary greatly.  I’m looking forward to getting faster and stronger on the swim, bike, and run.  It will also be satisfying to finish a few workouts before Nick.

This past week’s distances are below.

Weekly Activity Report ending 01/10/2016:

Emily –
86,539 Fitbit steps (daily average 12,363)
Run 8.04 miles
Bike 58.8 miles
Swim 1700 yds
Strength 67 minutes

Nick –
95,231 Fitbit steps (daily average 13,604)
Run 12.0 miles
Bike 51.2 miles
Swim 1600 yds
Strength 72 minutes

Weekly Activity Report 01/10/2016

With the unbelievable cold weather lately, Nick and I were very happy to run outdoors on Saturday.  We brought Lou along for the run; hoping to tire her a little.  The air was crisp and a little breezier than I would have preferred, but it beats running on the treadmill.  Here are a few pictures from our run.

Emily and Unhappy Lou   Emily and Nick January 2016 Winter Run

And now for the fun stuff…our weekly activity stats are below.

Weekly Activity Report ending 01/10/2016:

Emily –
84,400 Fitbit steps (daily average 12,057)
Run 8.3 miles
Bike 14.4 miles
Swim 800 yds
Strength 30 minutes

Nick –
99,117 Fitbit steps (daily average 14,160)
Run 7.7 miles
Bike 14.6 miles
Swim 500 yds
Strength 30 minutes

Weekly Activity Report 01/03/2016

Welcome to the new year!  We are excited for what is to come in 2016.  I’ve updated our Races page; this is everything we are signed up for right now.  We’re rested, as you can tell from our numbers below, and ready to start the new year strong.

Weekly Activity Report ending 01/03/2016:

Emily –
59,720 Fitbit steps (daily average 8,531)
Run 0 miles
Bike 26.3 miles
Swim 0 yds
Strength 0 minutes

Nick –
80,148 Fitbit steps (daily average 11,450)
Run 6.2 miles
Bike 20.1 miles
Swim 0 yds
Strength 0 minutes