It’s an uphill battle…unless you’re married to the coach (Entry #11)

Wednesday evening’s workout wasn’t high on my list of things to do.  The day had been full of various appointments for my kids as they get ready for sleep-a-way camp.  Working out at the end of the day seemed more insult than anything else. We met at the parking lot outside Cornerstone Pool.  The bike route had us biking up Tunxis Road, not once, but twice.  Tunxis, while recently repaved to give it a lovely, smooth consistency, is also pretty much one, long, slow hill.  Not steep enough to force me to get off and walk, but certainly enough to make me going painfully slow. This was our first group brick workout, where we would do not one, but two different workouts back-to-back.  So, as I was pulling back into the parking lot, I was greeted with the reality that we would have to pull on our running shoes and complete a 2-mile loop. Luckily, being married to one of the coaches has a few perks.  First, I’m never late to a workout.  Two, I was able to convince her to reverse the direction of the run course, turning the long slow uphill portion, into a more palatable downhill.  If my teammates didn’t already adore me (which, of course, they do for my charming wit, winning smile and incredibly pale skin pallor), they now knew that I had their best interests in mind. I hadn’t had dinner and was feeling a little tired from the biking (it was a little warm), so I took a few sips of water and grabbed a Powerbar Bite that Lynne offered.  This particular...

Take me to the water (Entry #12)

Never has there been so aptly named aworkout as “The Brick”.  Useful?  Yes?  Pleasant?  Not so much.  Think of all the cliches you know that involve bricks and most of them aren’t all that soothing: Hit you like a ton of bricks. Just another brick on the wall. Hit the bricks Thick as a brick So, waking up at 5:30 in the morning to tackle anything brick-related wasn’t ideal.  I should also mention that I’d just dropped my kids off at summer camp, so this was my first free morning…and I’d chosen to get up before my sprinklers went off. This was a swim/run brick.  So, we had a few race starts, to continue the ongoing effort to reconfigure my facial structures using only other people’s feet and hands. The facial massage was followed by a 1/2-mile swim.  Oddly, the swimming, once my greatest fear, has become a somewhat manageable activity, which I fully credit to the coaches and the constant repetition.  One issue that has continued to haunt me is my inability to swim anything that resembles a straight line.  I’m fairly sure that an overhead outline of my route would resemble an EKG. At the turn-a-round point, one of the workout leaders who was stationed there to make sure we were doing ok, asked me if I knew I was taking the scenic route.  I can only imagine how much longer I made my swim due to my GPS-challenged route.  But, I wasn’t tired.  I was spacing out and would lose track of my stroke count.  “1-2-3, gee, I wonder what movies are playing later today and...

Pop goes the tweezle (Entry #13)

After the swim/run brick in Coventry, Lynne thought it would be fun to scoot over to Storrs, CT to the new zip-line adventure park that recently opened.  Of course, what else should we do after swimming a 1/2 mile and running 3 miles?  Climb around the trees?  Sure!  I’ve tested my physical state, why not test my mental state as well. We’d been there a few weeks earlier for our 8-year old son Eli’s birthday party.  I spent the entire time on terra firma because, as everyone knows, someone needs to stay behind to take photos, escort kids to the bathroom and shout encouragement.  It had NOTHING to do with the fact that I have some issues with unprotected heights, tightropes and jumping off platforms hoping that fabric straps will hold me. But, Lynne didn’t want me to miss out on the all the fun she had with the kids…and thought it would be a good addition to my “Year of Living Uncomfortably” repertoire. On my way to change after the workout, I realized something very important.  I had no underwear.  In my haste to get out of the house, I had packed everything I needed for the workout, but had forgotten one vital garment for the post-workout. Luckily, CVS carries underwear (left at the hair-care products, right at the giant bag of Sour Patch Kids, next to the pantyhose in case you need them as well).  The selection isn’t grand, but they had the right size, so I wasn’t complaining. We made our way to the adventure park and had the same safety session instructor from Eli’s party. ...

Current Events (Entry #14)

It’s hard to believe that the training is coming to an end and that my triathlon is this coming Sunday.  It seems like just a few weeks ago, we were riding around Farmington, wearing several layers of long-sleeve shirts and wishing we had more.  And now, it’s so muggy out, that I feel like I’ve moved to Mississippi. I had a chance to have an interesting bit of contrast in my training which I will explain. The last few workouts have been what Janice and Lynne affectionately call “mini-tris”. These early morning miracles have us do a few swim starts, followed by a 7-9 mile bike ride and finished off with a 1.5 mile run. This practice session was taking place in Windsor on the shores of the Farmington River. The highlights of this location was a quiet neighborhood for the bike and run, ample parking space and what seemed like 82% of the mosquito population in the state of Connecticut.  Thankfully, my wetsuit proved to be an excellent bug shield.  On the downside, the 113% humidity combined with my wetsuit caused me to quickly shed 3 pounds. We had a few practice starts, out from the beach, across the river to a landmark on the other side and back.  On the way back, I noticed that I wasn’t on course.  Was my internal GPS on the fritz once again?  I thought I’d figured that one out.  Then I noticed that all of us were pretty much off course.  Our quiet, lazy river had a little gift for us, a current that was subtly moving us downriver.  Relieved that...

The Calm Before the Storm (Entry #15)

[Note:  Like a triathlon, the post about my race will be divided into 3 parts.  A triathlon trilogy] Since 1995, I’ve watched Lynne do triathlons of varying lengths.  I still remember navigating (pre-GPS) up to Bear Mountain for one of her first races and wondering why anyone would do such a thing. In all the years that I’ve watched her, my thoughts were never “I don’t want to do that.”  They were always, I “I CAN’T do that.”  The entire enterprise seemed more than I could ever imagine doing (the training itself, much less the race).  The early wake up call was pretty much the only portion that seemed within my grasp.  The swim seemed especially daunting. One small piece of long-ago Leland history.  When I was 5, I was pushed backward, headfirst into a swimming pool.  My father fished me out, but not before I sucked water up my nose and generally freaked out.  Hysteria followed. After that, I wouldn’t go into a pool above my waist or put my face in the water.  No matter how much candy or how many coins my camp counselors tossed into the pool, I wouldn’t fetch it. It wasn’t until I was 13 that I finally learned to swim thanks to a steady stream of swim lessons.  Even after all that, I didn’t like water polo or people hanging on me while swimming.   Even synchronized swimming fired off all the old panicked memories.  As you can probably imagine, my contemplation of swim portion of the triathlon was loaded down with a lot of baggage. Ok, enough of the reading selections from...

My Date With Destiny (Entry #16)

The phone rang.  It was 4:30 a.m.  Normally, a call at that hour can only mean bad news.  In this case, it was just a wake up call.  A call that I honestly never thought would come. Even after our trial swim, there was part of me that thought something might intervene, a tornado, a hacking attack to shut down the Northeastern power grid, even my own nerves to keep me from date with Destiny. Destiny, you see, is Destiny Vince and is one of my teammates and we were scheduled to do the race together.  So, with a name like that, I really couldn’t back out, could I? We packed the car with Denise (another teammate, but a Date with Denise isn’t quite so prophetic is it?) and headed to the race course.  There was some quiet chatter in the car, but no major signs of nerves.  My stomach, which is usually a good barometer of my stress level (similar to Charlie Brown’s), was quiet. We arrived at the park and a heavy fog was immediately visible.  In fact, it was pretty much the only thing that was visible, since it obscured the golf course, the water, and the two small islands that lie just beyond the beach.  We unpacked the car and walked over to the transition area, already sweating due to the high humidity. For those of you who’ve never seen the transition area of a triathlon, here’s a quick primer.  Imagine the coatroom at a banquet hall combined with a shantytown and some police barricades and you’ve pretty much got a transition area, only slightly...

The race to finish. (Entry #17)

As I swung back into the park, I could hear the Spirit Squad’s cowbells and the cheers of “We Know!  We Know!”  Obviously, all my teammates had passed along word of my predicament.  I held up one grease-laden hand as a badge of honor and pedaled by them.  I had to loop around passing them again and was serenaded with the oddest sports chant ever, “Leland changed a flat!  Leland changed a flat!”  I guess it was better than “William wants a doll.”  This was why I trained with a team, knowing that everyone was pulling for me and could appreciate the obstacle that I’d just overcome. I tried to visualize that my legs were like two, tiny, pale pistons, working up and down for the second loop.  The speed I felt I lacked on the first loop appeared and helped me power up the two hills and back to the transition area, where I dismounted. Running on biking shoes is similar to running on tap shoes with heels under your toes. I took care to cross the plastic matting with care, not wanting to add “wiped out in the transition area” to my list of triathlon firsts. I was now 2/3 done with the race.  I swapped out my biking gear for a running hat, shoes and sunglasses now that Apollo had seen fit to drag his ass out of bed and burn away some of the fog.  Still wet and kind of tired, I headed out for the three-mile run knowing I was going to have to do it without an iPod or a workout leader to...

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Nothing from June 23, 2017 to June 29, 2017.