B.Strong70.3 – Small Victories

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ironmanI have a feeling this journey will be all about small victories. Yesterday was one of those small victories. I found myself beginning to doubt myself after a swim with Joe last week. He was kind enough to bring his wife’s wetsuit for me to use. He kept telling me in the car on the way over how I would “feel like shark” (great reference I thought, considering how Bryce loved sharks). I was so pumped up to try out this wetsuit, as swimming in Lake Michigan kind of freaks me out a little. I put the wetsuit on and felt invincible. I thought, “Man, I’m going to kill this swim”!  I walked into the pool area with a little spring in my step. I “look” like a good swimmer I thought to myself. I hopped in the water and started to swim. Man, was I wrong. See, I have always swam breaststroke in any sprint triathlon, because I have a really weird freestyle kick and a bum shoulder. Swimming breaststroke in a wetsuit doesn’t work real well. The buoyancy of the wetsuit, which makes freestyle swimming easier, causes problems for a breaststroke swimmer. I actually felt better swimming without it. So, I had to make a decision…after talking to many people, it sounds like freestyle is the way to go…if I want to use a wetsuit…and from what I understand, I need to use a wetsuit. I also read many articles that said the reason most people don’t do breaststroke is also because the kick will exhaust your legs and you’ll have less for your bike and your run. In a half ironman, that spells disaster.

I asked my good friend Patrick, who was an excellent swimmer in high school to meet us in Dubuque and help us out with our strokes. We had 1000 yards to swim and I knew I needed to incorporate freestyle more and see if there was something he could show me that would make me a better freestyle swimmer. He worked with Dee and I for about 45 minutes and showed us several things we could do-and he reminded me that it takes effort, time and work to get endurance. He reminded me how long it took me to get running endurance when I’m training for a half marathon. He’s right. Maybe I’ve sold myself short on the whole freestyle thing. So yesterday I swam about half of my 1000 yards freestyle. It is wasn’t horrible!  I have a LONG way to go, but I think this small victory is what I needed to motivate me to work more on my freestyle and not let the fact that I’m not good at it be an excuse to not do it.

I often think about Jenna, Kyle and their extended family as I train. I think about Mak’s family, Clint’s family, Kris’s family, Joe Droessler’s family. I think about Avery Pitzen’s family and Rylee Schmidt’s family. And so many more families who have faced adversity head on and still do. Sometimes getting up in the morning is a small victory. I use them as my motivation on days I just don’t feel like training.

Other small victories during Week 2 of training:

After a really hard training session with Justin, I went on to complete a sprint triathlon at the PAC. We swam double the sprint swim distance to get our training yards in, biked for 16 miles on a stationary bike, and ran a 5K!!

On Saturday, we needed to get a 7 mile run in, so we ran the Bunny Hop 5K TWICE 🙂 and then ran back to the gym. It was cold, my legs were still sore from Wednesday, but I did it! And we ran at an average pace of under 9:30 mile pace 🙂

I’m so grateful to have people that will help me train and keep me going! The believe in me, which helps me believe in myself.

The next small victory?? Getting training in by myself while I’m in Racine for Easter Break!! I may just drive down to Lake Michigan to get myself motivated to find a pool to swim in!!!