Christmas was quiet in the Oliver house. We drove down to the beach house on Christmas Day, with a quick detour to my aunt and uncle’s in Williamsburg just in time for my cousin Marc’s wonderful turkey dinner! Once at the beach, Joe promptly dug into a puzzle, Maddy into her new book, and Joey into his legos and Nick ‘toons. I was able to get some good runs in while there—one 8 miler, and three 5 milers. I’ve decided that running on the beach at low tide is the absolute best. I love looking out at the waves, catching some dolphin sightings, and finding some shells. On my run with Lynn, I found a sand dollar! Sophie was in her element, running along the water’s edge, chasing gulls and sand pipers, and making friends with everyone. Such bliss.
The beach trip started out blessedly warm, with Sunday reaching the mid 70s. But then it got cold—down to the low 20s on New Year’s Eve, with a ferocious wind. Our house was mostly built in 1960 and so is not really intended to be inhabited during the winter, but it does have a fireplace which helps cozy it up, even if all the warm air leaks out the windows.
We are home now, and I’ve jumped back into training with our first true “in season” training session on Saturday morning. A fun hour and a half of one-leg drills on the trainers followed by a 5 mile run and 2 half mile repeats. My ass and hamstrings still hurt, but it is all very necessary. I think I ate the majority of the Christmas cookies we baked, along with my fair share of pumpkin bread and pie. Several pairs of pants won’t fit, and I seemed to have developed a muffin top. Scary.
It IS time to begin training in earnest, and to that end I’ve been trying to put together my list of goals for the season and see how to arrange my schedule so that I’m home at least four evenings a week. So first, to the goals.
Obviously looming large is my A race: Ironman Lake Placid in late July. I would like to do as well, if not better, there than I did in Florida. I know some little things I can do to shave some time (like no dicking around in transition…) but will need to work hard to develop my bike and run skills considering the course differences. I am currently signed up for just two triathlons leading up to Placid: Columbia in mid May in Maryland, and Eagleman on the Eastern Shore in June. I may throw a road race or two in there, and will definitely run the Monument Avenue 10k with Maddy in late March. I fully expect to have my ass handed to me during the two tri camps I’m signed up for in February and March, but think they will give me some good ways to improve and get added input on my training from some very accomplished coaches as the heavy training really sets in.
I am also planning to run a fall marathon and I want to finish in under 4:30 (my current PR is 4:51). Between my first and second marathons, I was able to take 25 minutes off my time, much of that thanks to having learned about fueling myself for longer distances. The fact that race day was 50 degrees and overcast instead of 80 degrees and humid helped too! By this fall I will have two Ironman races under my belt, leaving me plenty of base fitness and strength on which to build my speed. I am leaning heavily towards signing up for the Marine Corps Marathon in DC in late October, but I am still drawn to the Richmond Marathon. It is a familiar course, and I would not lack for training partners on the same schedule since there are plenty of TriGirls now training for Ironman Florida.
Scheduling all the training will be tough, but I need to find a good schedule that gives me time at home most evenings a week so I can be around for the kids. I’m not sure Joe realizes that even if I am gone in the evening, I still manage the after-school hours of homework, playdates, dance carpools, and dinner-making. That’s a lot to fit in the 4-5 hours I have between when Joey gets home and when I’d be off for indoor cycling or swimming. I know the TriGirl schedule is still in flux, but currently my two training nights are Tuesday and Thursday strength training/cycling. I may have to throw a Monday night Master’s class in there. I’m not sure how disciplined I can be to swim three mornings a week at the butt crack of dawn. As it is, it is damn hard getting up at 6 for Saturday training. Inevitably, Joe complains about missing out on morning cuddles, even on weekdays. Sometimes I feel that I can’t win for trying. That still leaves daylight hours for running and swimming, especially since I’m not working right now, so I’ll try to use those to better advantage.
Not all my goals for this year are race-related. I need to get serious about finding work. It has been great having the time at home, but I noticed since the end of school I really miss the adult interaction and stimulation of having projects that don’t involve laundry, cooking, or cleaning. I would like to find something part time or project-based, and I think in this current economic climate, that is all I’ll be lucky to find. I am very grateful that Joe’s job allows me the luxury of staying home full time, but since I was 18 I have always had some kind of job outside the home. My mental well-being depends on it!
Most friends are currently on Facebook, which has been a great way to keep in touch with some friends who I don’t see very often at all, some that I haven’t seen in YEARS, and some that I haven’t even met face to face. I love being able to check in, even if just briefly. I’m grateful for this utility that lets me keep them just a little closer. In dealing now with my aunt’s cancer, it is more apparent that you never know what life will throw your way. Your friends, along with your family, are what make your life full. I hope to never take that for granted.
Here’s to a wonderful 2009!