Greetings from here:
“Here” is a cottage near Lake Michigan and on the shores of Crystal Lake, pictured in the photo above and my backyard for the next 4.5 days. Pete’s family owns the place and has been coming here for years; it’s only my second stay, but I can understand why everyone speaks of “the cottage” in such reverent tones. It’s beautiful.
In some ways — OK, in every conceivable way — the cottage is also the beginning of my triathlon story. Three years ago, the first time I stayed here, I’d just taken my first round of swimming lessons as an adult; Crystal Lake was my first open-water swim. This morning, as I swam a mile of laps between the docks, I remembered how on that swim, I’d pop up halfway through the lap, out of breath and disoriented, trying to figure out how I’d gotten so off-course when it felt like I was swimming in a straight line. But I loved swimming in Crystal then — the perfectly cool water, the tiny swells from passing boats, the they-really-weren’t-kidding-with-the-name water that I could see through all the way to the sandy bottom — and by the end of that trip, I knew I had the confidence to swim more and swim longer.
The bigger thing, though, was biking. It wasn’t the first time I biked as an adult; that had been a few weeks earlier, in Maine, when I spent half our rental window sobbing in a parking lot and the other half tentatively riding the Acadia carriage roads. But it was the first “real” ride, 20 miles around the lake (with a giant deli sandwich in the middle) on a rented hybrid. It would take another 18 months for me to actually buy a bike, to believe I could ride it in the city, but the seeds were planted here.
So what I guess I’m saying is, Week 4 of Berlin Marathon training is going to be spectacular, taking place as it is in one of my favorite places for sports in the whole wide world.
Week 3, on the other hand, was a bit of a mess. There must be some law that says the week before a vacation has to be the craziest week, just to guarantee you appreciate the break even more. Nothing really went wrong, per se, but it didn’t quite go according to plan, either.
Monday: A 60-minute Core Align class at a pilates studio for which I had an expiring pass. I traditionally have terrible luck with any form of exercise that can be referred to as a “method” (see also: the one time I did Dailey Method and really felt like I was doing things right and working hard and then woke up the next day with the insides of my elbows sore and nothing else), and this was no real exception. That said, I was thrilled to remember I booked an evening class the day after returning from Philadelphia, because no way in hell was I going to get out of bed even a second before required for work.
Tuesday: Three speedy-for-these-days miles through the panhandle with Courtney in the morning, and physical therapy stuff at night. Meant to get to yoga, but I was handing off our keys to a friend who’s watching our cats while we’re away, misjudged the time, and learned that no, I cannot make a 10-minute walk take 5 minutes.
Wednesday: Morning pool-running and a little bit of swimming at UCSF. My least-favorite lifeguard was there and gave me a skeptical look when I asked for a running belt but still fetched one; I’m 2 for 2 now, hooray. More excitingly, I spotted another pool-runner, though the lifeguard put me in a different lane and so I didn’t get to talk to her about running and pool-running and what was her schedule and could we please hang out all the time and pool-run together? (What? How do YOU make friends?) In total, 30 minutes of pool-running, 15 minutes of swimming.
Thursday: Pilates fail. Woke up early to take my last class on the expiring deal, only to find out it had been canceled. This is where I would put my rant about how if a studio requires a 12-hour cancellation policy for its clients, I’d suggest it also have a 12-hour cancellation and, more importantly, notification policy for its offerings, but they’ve extended my card an additional month, so I’ll back off. Ended up running four miles with no particular planned route; I don’t have a route of that distance that I love, so it was fun to play around … even though I did end up with an all-uphill first mile.
Friday: Leaving-town craziness kept me up too late and foiled my 6 a.m. wake-up plans, so no bike ride. Instead, PT stuff while watching DVR’d Olympic trials.
Saturday: Rest, by which I mean “sleep a little on a redeye and then sit in a car for six hours getting to the cottage.” Both of my last two rest days have come after redeye flights, which makes them not terribly restful; this is something I need to work on.
Sunday: Seven miles (10:16 average pace) around the cottage and out to the Point Betsie lighthouse on Lake Michigan. I’d had a few strange, niggling pains all week — the balls of both feet, the side of my right foot — that continue to raise overcorrection questions in my mind and led to a much more stressful decision about which shoes to bring on this trip than I anticipated, so I was thrilled that this run went well with regard to all things musculoskeletal. It was, however, pretty rough, probably due to starting at noon. Yeah. I know. The heat was actually fine, and I felt incredible for the first three miles, constantly reminding myself to pull back and really fighting myself to get the pace into the 10s. But boy, did I pay for that on the return. I kept imagining my head as a red balloon/cherry lollipop/insert-heat-metaphor-here, and staying in the 10s and out of the 11s was harder than I wanted it to be for a long run. It also occurred to me after finishing that it was the longest run I’d done since January; I think that’s allowed to feel hard. I actually felt great after, though, so I think the main lesson is maybe run before noon (or after 8?) next time.
Week Three Totals
- 14-ish miles run, plus “three miles” in the pool
- 2 states run in
- 2 social runs
- 10 ounces of water finished in the first three miles of a 7-miler with no water fountains, whoops
- Three giggle fits nearly had at names of moves in Core Align