Tag Archives: garmin

That First Drop and Then the Storm

Clean.  Neat.  Orderly.  At least this is how I look when I’m just beginning a workout.  I don’t really put any effort into my appearance but I do try to ensure everything is more or less in place with my long hair pulled back and out of my face.  I need to make sure I put my clothes on correctly so nothing constrains, rubs or snags.  My heart rate monitor strap needs to be tight enough.  And I need to go down the rest of my mental checklist: Sunscreen?  Check.  Sunglasses? Check.  Hydration?  Check.  CLIF Shot?  Check.  Road ID?  Check.  Garmin watch?  Check.  I don’t want to have to worry about any of this once I begin my workout.  I don’t want to have to stop to adjust my heart rate strap or tighten my shoe laces.  Once I start running, cycling or swimming I want to be able to focus only on my body and what it needs to do for the next one to three or so hours.  I want to focus on properly stretching and warming — waking — up my muscles, mind and spirit.  I want to focus on entering into my zone, listening to my breathing, feeling my heart pound, improving my technique, hammering out the assigned drills and experiencing my special connection with Noah.

Once I’m warmed up and feeling the onset of entering the zone, It begins.  Moisture begins to seep through my skin.  My body starts perspiring.  Usually my head becomes damp first but sometimes I feel beads of sweat forming on my back.  And then that first bead rolls from my scalp down my cheek (or sometimes my back).  Sometimes it’ll linger for a second or two on my chin and sometimes it drops directly onto my bike or the ground.  After that first drop a storm of these beads quickly build up all over me.  Sweat pours out of me for most of my workout.

While riding indoors the other day I realized I really look forward to that first drop.  It’s almost like a mini-phase I’m eager to reach during every workout.  While I’m grateful for the physiological reasons that my body can perspire, I think I look forward to these first few drops for mainly cathartic reasons.  I feel as though I’ve begun to cleanse my entire body.  This sounds silly when one thinks about the real purpose of perspiration and the ill odor it creates.  But sweating during a training session is a catharsis for me.  I feel like I’m giving my body, mind and spirit a deep cleaning — a scrubbing if you will —  every time.

Once I’ve completed my workout I’m usually soaked with sweat dripping almost everywhere.  I’m exhausted and flat-out disgusting with that ill-odor, clothes drenched, remnants of an energy gel somewhere on my face or hands (and its used packaging stashed somewhere in my clothes),  bits of snot on my sleeves and most likely around my nose, and specks of dirt on my legs and shoes.  None of this matters because at the end of my training session my spirit, mind and body feel deeply cleansed.

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Honu 70.3 Finisher!

I crossed the Ironman 70.3 Hawaii (AKA Honu 70.3) finish line! Since then I have had and continue to have so many different thoughts and emotions about this race. I imagine I’ll post at least few times about it. For now I’ll share my race results and sort of recap each leg of the race.

The results:

Swim (1.2 miles) — 50:56

Bike (56 miles) — 3:20:04

Run (13.1 miles) — 1:58:35

Overall (70.3 miles) — 6:20:21


I definitely struggled with the swim. I have a hard time sighting the buoys and swimming in a straight line. I’m sure I swam more than the necessary 1.2 miles because of these shortcomings. (I don’t know my actual distance because I don’t use my Garmin in the water.) I was pretty late coming out of the water. Oh but the water, the water was absolutely beautiful! I could see the bottom of the ocean! The sky was blue and the temperature was practically perfect.


The bike was extremely challenging. The place where we mounted was on a very steep incline so I (along with lots of others) had a hard time with the start. In fact for a couple of seconds I thought something was wrong with my bike because I couldn’t seem to pedal! Then at some point way too soon — I can’t remember when exactly — I began dealing with the notorious crosswinds. I do know I felt them as soon as I made it to the famous Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway — we actually ride part of the Ironman World Championship course — but I seem to recall encountering them almost as soon as I got past the steep incline. Whatever actually happened, these crosswinds are a big reason why this course is one of the hardest in the world. The winds are so strong bikes will slant over to one side while going straight. There were a few times when I truly felt like the wind was going to blow me off the road. (Seriously, picture scenes from “The Wizard of Oz!”) And they don’t seem to give any warning when they’ll blow. At times right when I think it’s relatively calm enough and I’m stable enough to grab my water bottle or a Clif shot, they hit me, and wham or even double or triple wham I’m holding on tight! Proper hydration and nutrition are so important while racing. The heat and humidity make these components even more critical for Honu 70.3. I’m not the most coordinated person either so trying to:

  • drink,
  • down an energy gel or
  • actually eat a Clif bar


  • balancing myself on my bike,
  • bracing for winds,
  • navigating among other cyclists (without breaking any rules)
  • maintaining somewhat good form,

and oh yes shifting gears and pushing myself as hard as possible is “somewhat” challenging for me.

And WOW! I actually saw Lance Armstrong! I like to say, “I passed Lance on the bike!” Granted he was riding in the other direction well beyond the halfway point, and I was at something like mile 15. The cyclist right next to me yelled, “he makes it look so easy.” I completely agree. To see him in action was very, very cool. He’s truly impressive!


The run was hard but not for the reasons I imagined while training. I thought once I put on my running shoes, consume a Clif shot and head out of transition I would feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to run 13.1 miles. The distance didn’t bother me though. I told myself, “I’ve got this run down. Just tick off the miles.” And the miles didn’t seem long until I was around mile 10.5, that is. That’s when my mind and heart wanted to go faster to finish strong and hard but my legs didn’t cooperate. I was able to pick it up but not nearly as much as I’d like. What made the run hard was the brutal wind and sun. My hat blew off at least once, and I had to hold it down with my hands a few times — not the best form for running. I felt the sun beating down on my arms and its intensity seemed to increase over time.

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Listening to the Body and the Spirit

I was so excited about last night.  My coach’s group here in the Bay area meets on Thursdays for track workouts.  Pete and I even incorporated this workout into this week’s training plan.  I went ahead and completed my assigned strength training first thing in the morning and planned the day around the fact that I’d need to head down to track workouts at 5:30 pm.  I packed sunscreen, Nuun, water bottles, sun glasses, and chocolate milk (a great recovery drink).  I changed into my running clothes, put on my Garmin heart rate monitor and pulled my hair back.  I fed Abigail and Madeleine their dinner.   Then I headed out.

I didn’t make it very far.  I think I was on the road for less than five minutes when I felt this strong urge to NOT go.  I wanted to stop my car right where I was in the midst of heavy traffic and turn around right there – I wanted a large hand to come down from the sky and pick up my car and turn it 180 degrees, like I was a little Hot Wheels car or something.  Part of me kept thinking, “Go, silly.  You need your interval training and it’ll be good to join this new group.”  But a bigger part of me wanted to return home.  The bigger part won.

Perhaps joining a new group during the first week of my cross-country move was too much for me to handle.  (I still don’t like meeting new people, and I find I need to continue giving myself a good amount of down time after being social.)  Perhaps I was over tired.  Perhaps I was nervous about running with a new group of accomplished athletes.  Perhaps my body just needed a break. Perhaps I was feeling a combination of all of this.

I’ve been trying to listen to my body AND spirit a bit more these days.  I experienced something similar about a month ago.  One Sunday I was getting ready for my long ride — I flipped my long workouts around that weekend —  but as I pumped air into my tires, I experienced the same feelings I had last night.  And I quickly felt sad and disappointed about those feelings.  I decided to turn that day into a recovery day and do my long ride the next day, Monday, (which is my usual recovery day).  I was worried I grew tired of training but as I rode on Monday that concern disappeared.  I felt amazing on the road.  I had a solid ride and felt really strong on the bike.

What I’ve learned since that Sunday (from my grief counselor) is the body which includes one’s spirit knows what’s best and will react accordingly if one doesn’t listen to it.  I’m familiar with my body physically breaking down (e.g. injuries, sickness, etc.) to tell me it needs a break.  But what I experienced on that Sunday and last night is my spirit telling me to listen to it; not over do it; and be kind to myself by taking a little break.  I do believe there’s a difference between this and lacking commitment/discipline or simply feeling lazy.  Believe me there’s been times when I’ve briefly thought about completing only half of my training session but I always ignored such thoughts and powered through.  (In some cases I found myself working even harder afterwards.)    What I felt last night and that Sunday were completely different, and the thoughts and emotions were so strong they felt truly physical.  I will tell you tears were involved both times.

I am somewhat disappointed in myself for not completing my interval training and joining the group last night.   Clearly I’m just learning about listening to my spirit and improving my self-care as I train.  At this point, I think it’s best to learn as much as possible from this and focus on today’s training session – a 1.8 mile swim and an hour on the bike.

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