Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Libero

What's a libero? Yeah, I had to ask the same question when my daughter came home from school and told me she was going to be one. On the volleyball team. The first game of the season, she was the setter. But that has changed and for now she is the libero. Which I actually think is a good thing as she gets more playing time.

The libero is a special position on the volleyball team. The libero wears a special uniform that is different from the rest of the team. They can substitute for any other team member as often as needed, but only when that teammate is on the back row. So basically, the libero is a defensive specialist. The libero cannot play on the front row, which is just fine as I've told my daughter that due to genetics she's not likely to ever be a great hitter. She seems fairly tall by herself, but stand her next to her teammates and she's the second shortest girl on the team.
Watching her play as a libero was quite interesting. She had a regular game Thursday night and then had a tournament Friday night and Saturday. I got quite confused watching her run in and out to substitute for players. Volleyball sure isn't like it was when I played in high school. But it is fun to watch her play. Kind of makes me want to start playing again (like I have the time)!

Her uniform is white while the rest are blue. And I need to read the manual to my camera. I'm still trying to figure out the best setting for getting good pictures in the horrible gym lighting.
And speaking of time, due to her volleyball and my son's soccer, not much training got done this weekend. That's really ok since I have a triathlon next weekend. I did manage to get in a 20 mile ride and a 2 mile run today after church. It felt good.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mental Vs. Physical

When I signed up to do my first marathon in 2005, I was told that a lot of getting through a marathon is mental. I mean, you do have to train for it, but if your body can get through the first part, your mind will get you through the rest. That year, we only did 18 miles as our longest training run. For those of you counting, that still left 8.2 miles that I had no idea if I could conquer or not. But I did. And I learned that a lot of running IS mental.

So I found it interesting when I got my latest copy of Runner's World magazine in the mail. There is an article in the October issue titled "Think Fast". The tag line is: "Yes, you need to train your legs, but it's really your brain that dictates your pace." Hmmm. So not only is running mental, but your brain controls your pace? My brain must be slow then.

The article is actually very intersting and one of the researchers theorized that when you perform a task, "your brain focuses on the endpoint (a finish line; when the treadmill clock hits 30 minutes), and it works backward from there, calculating how hard you can push yourself and still complete your workout." When I read that sentence, I thought "that makes so much sense". That's why I can push my pace for a 5K (knowing it will be over in less than 30 minutes), but I can't maintain that same pace for a marathon.

I also have problems sometimes when I run on the treadmill. Sometimes I'll get on and say to myself that I will run 4-5 miles. Almost always when I give myself a range, I stop at the lower end. It's mental. So last Thursday, I did a mini experiment. I probably should have run 5 miles. So instead of telling myself I would run 4-5 miles, I told myself I would run 6. Then, if I only ran 5, I would still get in my workout. And you know what? I hit 5 miles without any problems at all, so I went ahead and ran that last mile to get 6 in.

Then Friday night I went out to do a long run. I started out outside and told myself I'd run as far as I could before it got too dark and then I'd finish on the treadmill. I ended up running 7 "easy" miles outside before having to come back inside. I felt like I could have kept going and kept up the pace I was at. But once I hit the treadmill, I felt like I was done. It was a struggle to get in the remaining miles.

So a lot of it IS mental. You still have to do the training, but if you tell yourself you can do it, you can. Which makes me feel good, because I haven't really done as much of the physical training as I should have for the upcoming half ironman I have in two weeks. But, I've done it before so I know I can do the distance, so I have no doubt I can finish. Can't say I'll have a great finishing time, but I should finish within the time limit.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Finally An Update

I always think about things to update with, and then I get too busy.

After my last post, Madison had her first volleyball game. They won in two games. Turns out she is one of the setters. She still needs to work on her serves, but the team as a whole played really well for only practicing a few days as a team. Her next game is the 25th.

And I finally got back to the pool to get in some swim time. I'm feeling a little slow, but that's what happens when you don't really swim all summer. I swam again this week as well. Maybe I'm finally getting in a routine.

I also took my tri-bike in for a tune up. After you ride for a while, your cables stretch and then the bike doesn't shift smoothly. Mine was having major problems with shifting on the rear cassette, so I took it in. I got it back last Thursday, but thanks to Ike, it was too windy to ride outside this weekend. I rode tonight, and now I can't shift the front cassette from the small ring to the big ring at all. Uggghhh!! I may have to take it back in. I also got a new pair of running shoes and my feet are much happier. I had way too many miles on my old ones.

And speaking of Ike, we were far enough away that all we got was a lot of strong wind. But we didn't even get any rain from it. I have relatives in Houston, however, and they all lost power and some trees, but no major damage or flooding. Thank goodness.

Other than that, life is just busy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Thought I Had It All Figured Out

Last week I decided it was time to get serious again about my training. The kids are back in school and we are getting into our school routine, so I sat down to look at all the activities and figure out realistically what kind of workouts I could get in on what days.

Dalton has soccer practice on Mondays and Wednesdays, so I figured those would be good swim days. Since I have to drive to the gym to swim and it takes up quite a bit of time, I figured swimming while he was at practice would help me not miss too much "family time". I thought I could run on Monday when I was done with swimming and then maybe take the spin class at the gym Wednesday after swimming. Tuesdays are always yoga. That's not changing. Thursdays looked pretty open, so I figured I could maybe get in a short bike along with a run. Fridays are usually off days. The plan is to do a long bike and long run on Saturday and Sunday, depending on how the weekends fall. There are still several unknowns - like Dalton's soccer schedule for the season that starts SATURDAY. HELLO!!! He has his first regular season game Saturday and we don't know when or where it is going to be. Uggghhhhh! But I digress.

So, I decided to get on track and test my run fitness by getting in a long run over the Labor Day weekend. First kink in the plan - Dalton had a soccer tournament all weekend. His scheduled games were 9am and 3pm Saturday and 9am Sunday. If he made it to the semi-finals he would play at 3pm Sunday. Then if he made it to the finals, he would play at 8am Sunday. His team was expected to make it to the finals, so I decided to do a long run Friday night. I ended up running 7 miles. The first 3 were great, coming in under 30 minutes. At 5 miles I was still on a good pace, but the last two slowed me down. I need to get in some more long runs.

It was a good thing I got that run in, too, because his team did make it to the finals Sunday morning. They won all their games up until that point and only allowed one goal to be scored on them in four games. However, they lost in the final game 3-1. Ending up in 2nd place isn't too shaby in my opinion. They looked really good during their games, but still have a few things to work on. Here are some photos of Dalton in action. He's #6 in the white and then black uniform.

As soon as his game was over Monday, I came home and decided to run. I had not done anything Saturday or Sunday, and I knew if I didn't run right away, I would end up on the couch and wouldn't do anything. So, I headed out to do hill repeats. I did a total of 3 miles with 3 hill repeats in there. And I was drenched when I was done. I took a shower, ate, and then took a well deserved nap.

Tuesday I went to yoga. It felt good to be back. Yoga on the cruise was not really a workout and the yoga I do is.

Then today. I woke up all excited that I was finally going to get back in the pool today. I haven't swam in a while and really need to get some pool time in this month. So I picked Madison up from school and dropped her off at home, grabbed my stuff and headed to the gym. I put my stuff in the locker and head to the pool - only to find that the water aerobics class had JUST started. I asked how long it was going to last and the lady said an hour. There was no way I was sitting there for an hour until they were done so I could grab a lane, so I headed home. When I got home I decided to hop and my bike and go for a ride. I went 12 miles. And then I decided to run, too. I ran 3 miles. Then I practiced volleyball in the backyard with Madison. Because, did I tell you? She made the school's volleyball team!!!!!! And her games will be on Thursday nights.

So, just when I thought I had my workout plan figured out, I've got to look at everything all over again and figure it out again.