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The Countdown Begins – Geek Turned Athlete

The Countdown Begins

So, I realized 2 days ago that I have 9 weeks until my Half Ironman. Panic has officially set in. I must be really crazy b/c I’m showing you a pic with no makeup on. Can you sense the urgency in my face?


I kid.


Well… not really. The past month and a half has been taken up with moving back to the states from Germany and traveling. I’m glad I got to travel a lot (yes, I know I still owe you my Tuscan cycling recap), but now it is time to get serious. I have been in Spokane for 5 days so far, my bike won’t be here for another month at least along with my foam roller, compression socks, and other tri accessories, but I’ve got to make the best of it.

Did I mention that we are still staying in a hotel? Hopefully, we should be closing on the house soon.

Getting back to the HIM. The thought of swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles, and running 13.1 miles right after one another is seriously gives me the heebie jeebies. I have been doing one training session of each sport a week. Pathetic. Plus, I have this race in two weeks, then this one the week after, then this one the week after that. Was I just plain stupid to sign up for these races starting just three weeks after I moved here? Maybe. I can’t go back in time, and if I could, I don’t know if I would have done it differently. I wasn’t purposely slacking. If you lived in Europe, and you had to get in some last minute traveling, you know you would do that rather than training! Plus, family comes first in my book. I can only move forward.

Yesterday, I set off to try out the pool on base for the first time. It is a training pool so it has really odd hours. It was also empty! It was just me, the pool, and the lifeguard.


It was a “form” day, so the workout seemed to take F.O.R.E.V.E.R. I needed it, so it was fine. I did the 2550 meter workout.


Afterwards, I hopped on the bike in the tiny gym on base with no one in it, and spun by myself for an hour. This bike will be my friend until my real bike gets to me. Hills, sprints, jumps, oh my. A guy poked his head in the room while I was spinning like a crazy woman, and left right away. Maybe it was the hard breathing and the sweat drenched shirt that scared him away?


It was a great workout ending with 10 minutes of abs.


I slept really well last night. HELLO training!

Today, I’ve got a nasty speed workout on the tready:

Speedwork Dist: 8 mi, inc Warm; 8×800 meter 7:25 w/400 meter jogs; Cool

I know this seems not so scary, but I haven’t done a speed workout in about 2 months so I’m sure that running this pace will be a shock for the legs. Plus, this will be my longest run in about 3 weeks. My last run that was about this was my last triathlon. I feel like I’ve lost so much speed since my marathon. It is time to get it back.

In addition, I’ve got another weight lifting session.

I’m not messing around here. It is time to get serious with my training.

  • I refuse to be the last one out of the water.
  • I refuse to be the last one off my bike.
  • I refuse to be the last one getting done with the run.

I don’t want to be taken by surprise by how “horrible” a HIM is. I want to be able to enjoy the race. I’m not saying that I won’t be suffering. I’m sure I will be, but I don’t want to have to drop out b/c I didn’t do my “homework.”

Goals for the next week to help me with this:

  • Get over my fear of going to a masters swim class. I’m going to show up next week at the pool on base, then transition to the pool where my tri club meets when we move into our house. I’m really freaking out about this. I know that I have the potential to get so much faster. I have already come so far the past few years with my swimming. I’m excited to see how I can change with a coach.
  • Get my schedule together. I know that I was an idiot and forgot to set aside my training book when the movers were packing everything in our house in Germany. I won’t be seeing it again until I see my bike which will be a while. I need to find a good training plan. I am not one to mess around with schedules and do what I “feel like.” I think that is just a recipe for a disaster.
  • Be consistent. I need to stick to my schedule (once I come up with one). I’m going to be doing at least 2 of each sport this week, then moving to 3 times a week for next week.
  • Eat right and get enough sleep. I’m a little stressed (as you know) right now with trying to buy a new house, starting school very soon again, and getting settled. Sleeping 6-7 hours a night is not going to help me train the best as I can. Eating crap is not going to help me either.

I am excited to jump back into training, but I will need to make sure that I take it easy for the next couple of weeks or so to avoid injuries. I’m thankful that I at least have a good training base to take all of this on. I don’t recommend doing this if you don’t have a good training base. 😉

Do you need to get back to training consistently? What are some tips to get you back on track?

Do you think willpower is a big factor when wanting to get back into shape?

P.S. Great article about the differences in training between men and women. Have a great day. 😉

{ 22 comments… add one }

  • genesis July 16, 2010, 11:12 am

    thats a lot of races one after another…who are you running with for the relay?

    • Nicole July 16, 2010, 11:56 am

      For the first one, I’m running with a new friend and all of her friends. For the second one, I’m running with the hubs and all of his work friends. :) I can’t say no. I think that is my problem.

  • Jenna July 16, 2010, 11:14 am

    You can do this! You are such an inspiration!

    I do think willpower plays a big role in wanting to get back into shape. If you don’t have the willpower, you won’t stay commited and you’ll let workouts and healthy eating go to the wayside.

  • Heather (Where's the Beach) July 16, 2010, 11:29 am

    Girl you amaze me. With that major move and trying to settle into a new city and new home, you’re taking on another awesome challenge.

  • Faith @ LovelyAsCharged July 16, 2010, 11:47 am

    Good luck on the competition! Your urgency is so evident, haha…I know you’re going to kick booty as usual though!

  • Dawn July 16, 2010, 12:00 pm

    It sounds like you’ve got a good plan to get back on track! The one piece of advice I would have would be to not stress out too much about the swim – as long as you can cover the distance, you’ll be fine. I finished my HIM swim in just under an hour and there were still people behind me. If I were you, I’d focus on the bike as much as you can. Going into my HIM, I was wickedly undertrained on the bike and totally unprepared for the hills on the course. That, plus a complete lack of a nutrition plan, totally did me in. If you can feel confident on the bike and get a good solid nutrition plan togther? I think the other two pieces will fall into place for you.

    As for the other races you have in the middle? Don’t sweat it. Work them into your training and call it good. I’m a huge believer in training with races because it’s fun and breaks things up a bit.

  • Erica July 16, 2010, 12:13 pm

    Planning is so important and it looks like you have that on lock down! I bet that guy was too scared to hop a bike after seeing how hard you work working- boo yah! I think willpower plays a HUGE role in getting back into shape. Hope you have a great weekend. Oh and you look gorgeous without makeup on!

  • Julie @SavvyEats July 16, 2010, 12:16 pm

    You will ROCK the HIM! When your bike comes, take it for a ride outside… enjoying the scenery around your new home might help distract you from the worry. I suppose running would do that too!

  • Lisa @ My High-Carb Lifestyle July 16, 2010, 1:51 pm

    You’ll do great, you sound like you have awesome determination and focus! I’m pretty new to your blog, but I live in the Tri-Cities so I wanted to say welcome to the eastern Washington area! :-)

    Joining a masters group was the best thing I ever did for my swimming, although I agree with Dawn that as long as you can complete the distance you should be fine. For me in my first HIM last year (Troika), it was lack of run training that hurt me, especially running in the heat!

    I am in the same boat trying to get consistent with my training again. I’m planning on doing the HIM down here that same weekend, so that means I have only 9 weeks too! YIKES!

    • Nicole July 16, 2010, 6:23 pm

      Good luck on your race! If you are ever in the area, feel free to let me know!! Would love to get a run or bike in!

  • Nrmrvrk July 16, 2010, 1:54 pm

    You’re fine with the training. You’ll make it through the HIM just fine. You’re building it up too hard. You’re motivated and in good shape, you’ll do much better than just finish. You can already complete each of the distances on their own, it’s just about pacing yourself and finding a nutrition strategy that works for you.

    Your questions:

    No I don’t need to get back to training consistently. I love exercising (mostly running lately) and try to go any chance I get. When I’m able to get out more frequently I try to choose and build up for a race.

    I never get much out of shape. I build, peak, and rest but never take a break from doing some kind of exercise. I think I’m hooked on the endorphins / Dopamine rush of endurance exercise. It’s a luxury for me to to exercise with two young kids and a long commute so I do as often as I can.

    I’m not much help, am I? :)

    • Nicole July 16, 2010, 6:25 pm

      No, you aren’t. haha. I was missing working out so much, trust me! Thank you for having some confidence in my abilities. Unfortunately, I’m a perfectionist, and I tend to freak out about things that never happen. 😉

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape July 16, 2010, 5:27 pm

    While I do agree that it sounds like you were enjoying yourself before (nothing wrong with that) I applaud you for realizing you have to step it up and taking the action to do so. You have a solid plan and you seem very serious about following. Good luck with the rest of your training!!

  • Tiffany July 16, 2010, 6:01 pm

    You’re ready to do work, hon! Reading through your blog, I’m always amazed and admire how you have a billion things going on, yet you always (seem to) stay focused and organized. As chaotic as it may be to you, it makes sense when you write it here.

    You have your goals set. You have a path to follow; All you gotta do is go down it!

    And I’m with Nrmrvrk, as far as training goes. 😀

  • martha July 17, 2010, 10:21 am

    I am new to your blog, but have no doubt you will be ready for your HIM. Goooo Nicole!!

    I hope you don’t mind if I use you as inspiration, I have no races or marathons 1/2 or whole, just trying to be a healthy woman heading in to her late 40s. ( Ugg am I really? Yup 47 is right around the corner)


    • Nicole July 17, 2010, 12:53 pm

      I really think that everyone is different. The way I stay motivated to work out is if I have a race coming up. Many people don’t like to race, and if you can get yourself to the gym w/o having a race, you are pretty badass in my book. If you’ve never done a race, you might just want to give it a try. You never know, you might like it! 😉

  • July 17, 2010, 2:30 pm

    You seem to have no problem motivating yourself…good for you!~

  • Marisa July 17, 2010, 2:45 pm

    Girl you got this!!! I have 100% faith that you will not only finish the HIM but you will do GREAT! um hello, there is no doubt I mean come on look at your Paris Marathon splits. You are fast, strong and healthy – you’re going to do better than great! I can’t believe how little that pool is compared to Ramsteins :/ but it seems like you won’t have to have a stare down with anyone 😉

  • Amanda July 17, 2010, 3:05 pm

    You’re gorgeous even without makeup!
    Masters helped me immensely! And I was so afraid at first too. But I’m sure you’ll find that everyone is nice. And it will make the yards go by so much faster!
    I think we all struggle at times with consistency because life gets in the way and other things take priority. For some of us, training is a passion and it just comes back as a priority again. you have it. Don’t doubt yourself.

  • Pure2raw twins July 18, 2010, 4:15 pm

    Half Ironman?? Girl you are amazing!! You will go great in all these races, because you train hard for it! All your work will pay off ; ) I do think some willpower is needed to get back in shape, well I know for me at least.

  • She-Fit July 18, 2010, 4:51 pm

    You are such an inspiration… these 9 weeks are going to be here before you know it and you are going to do great!!! Keep up the hard work, it will all pay off in the end

  • pen (pen at peace) July 22, 2010, 11:43 am

    You are going to do wonderful! And, there is nothing to be scared of with a master’s swim class (except the typically very early meeting time). 9 weeks is a ton of time to get ready!!


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