Thursday, December 30, 2010

My First Offseason - 2009

With my 1st tri season in the bag, I took somewhere around 4+ weeks off. I enjoyed the rest of the summer, and when October/November came around I was already thinking about my 1st half iron that I signed up for – Mooseman 70.3! With that on my mind, I was very anxious to start training. The thought of swimming  1.2 miles, biking 56 miles, and running a half marathon was “scaring” the living crap out of me. I have NEVER swam, biked or ran that far, never mind all in one day!  Of course, everyone was telling me that I should just enjoy my first half, and have no time goals, but that is not me – the super competitive czech chick! J The minute I signed up, I had a secret goal, which was to qualify for the Clearwater 70.3 championships! I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I had to give it a shot!
 I believe that training is everything, and I train hard! Sometimes probably too hard! I learned that the hard way, and that was by sideling myself from running for over a month, and pretty close to two months.  I started to have some issues with my left hip area, and it took almost 2 months of ART/massage appointments to get me back to pain free running. Good thing was I could still bike and swim, so that helped me to keep me sane. The timing was also great because Mooseman was so far away.
In December, I started to train with the Dreamfar Ironman team that was training for Wisconsin full ironman. We met every weekend starting with early December, and endured some of the toughest bike rides/runs that I have ever been on! I won’t ‘go into details on all these, but check out the pic below. It was cold, flipping cold! I am not sure how I still have 10 toes and 10 fingers left! There are no booties or gloves to keep me warm! Looking back at it now, I am not sure what I was thinking!

The offseason was long, and cold, but full of lots of FUN times! I must admit it wasn’t always easy and fun!  This one really cold morning comes to mind. The forecast called for pouring rain all day long. It happened to be a Saturday and that meant a team workout. We all met up and did some hill repeats before the rain started to come down. I can deal with the cold even though I am not a fan. But rain and cold? No, thank you! Hill work was followed by some core work, and we met up with the rest of the Dreamfar squad. By the time we got out the 2nd time it was pouring, and I mean pouring! I can’t remember how long the loop was, but it was way too long for this weather! We did one, and came back inside! I swore I would NOT go out again, but of course was dared by one of my teammates who wanted company and I did it again! Two more freezing wet and cold loops on the bike. I was lucky I didn’t get sick, but I must be honest, this was a true test of character! Little did I know that my very first ½ ironman race – Mooseman 70.3 in June will be WET and COLD!!!!!!!! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My 1st Triathlon Season - Summer 2009

It was October, 2008 when I bought my first bike.  I have been looking to get one for a while, but I just didn’t want to spend too much money not knowing for sure I was going to get hooked.  One day, I stumbled upon the best deal one could ever find, and I actually happened to think the bike looked awesome! Who cares about the components, the wheels, the saddle etc. – the bike MUST look good, right? Well, it did, and here is Mr. Scott about 2 days old! J

Mr. Scott hung out in my spare bedroom until about April, 2009 with some occasional trips to a local bike shop. He needed a little make over to make him triathlon friendly.

I believe it was April 9th, 2009, when I did my first BRICK workout ever! Oh yes, I finally understood why bike workouts followed by running are called BRICKS! My legs felt like BRICKS and yes – I remember to this day.

Fast forward to May 10, 2009 and my first triathlon race! J The New England Season Opener – Sprint Triathlon. In a nutshell, I had a blast even though the weather wasn’t exactly great. I ended up winning my age group, and it was that day I knew triathlons were going to become part of my life. My love to compete was back! For those interested, you can czech out my race report in the race report section of my blog.  As soon as I was done with this one, I started to wonder what I could do with the next distance! The Olympic distance! 

Few short weeks later, and it was June, 2009 my 2nd triathlon race, and 1st Olympic distance race – Mooseman International!  Race that is usually super competitive and most triathletes in this area sign up for.  I had an absolute blast! I loved the distance a lot more than the sprint distance. Honestly, if I am going to be up at 4 am, my race better last a bit longer than an hour, right? I came in 4th in my age group, and again this race left me wanting more!  For a detailed race report, and if you want to see how slow my swim really was, visit my race report section.         

Another month went by, and I was toeing the start line of another local sprint triathlon. I was able to win my age group J, and I came in 5th overall woman. Sweet!  Not much to report here. You know by now where to find my race report!

Then it was time to go home to visit my friends and family! For those of you that don’t know me, I am from the Czech Republic, from a small town called Benesov just outside of Prague. I have not been home in about 6 years or so, so this was going to be a trip to remember. J  I had every intention of working out, or at least running and swimming, but it just didn’t happen.  I spent a lot of time with my family, and friends. It’s just been way too long since I have last seen everyone, and I had to take advantage of every second. Originally my trip was going to be for 2 weeks. When it was time to head back on one beautiful August morning, Delta airlines had different ideas. To make story short, the plane we all sat on for over 5+ hours, never left the Prague runway, and I was “forced” to take the next available flight, which at this point wasn’t until Sunday! So sad! 4 extra days to spend at home! SWEET! More time with the fam. My mom is missing!

When I however arrived back in Boston, I had one week to get ready for my 4th triathlon of the season, and my  2nd Olympic distance race – The Cranberry Olympic.

I must be honest, I really didn’t even want to do the race, but I already signed up, and paid for it, so I showed up and did it. I am not sure what I was thinking at the time, but I knew the course was relatively flat and fast so I wanted to PR.  I got news for you all! It’s impossible to PR and improve without training, and hard work.  You know where to find the race report again, but I will tell you now, that the race SUCKED! Yes, I still came in top 5 in my age group, but that wasn’t the result I was looking for. But how could I feel good when I did absolutely nothing that’s swim, bike or run related for the last 3 + weeks! Wishful thinking! I hurt during this race, and especially on the run. One thing that I learned about myself in this race is that I didn’t give up and I made myself to push through the pain that I brought upon myself by being lazy! I had a good excuse though, and I would never take it back! Home sweet home! J

Cranberry was my last race off the season, and I knew I had some unfinished business to do!

In a nutshell, my 1st triathlon season was great FUN! It was also a pretty successful one!  I followed a general plan that was given to our entire team, and I tried to stick with it. I had a blast, and I finished the season wanting more. I wanted to be able to unleash my competitiveness and take it to the next level! Yes – I did win my age group at couple of small races, and I placed in the top 5 in the two Olympic races, but I knew that with proper training I had potential for way more. I also wanted to test the waters of the 70.3 distance and I began thinking about getting a coach that would work with me 1 on 1, and could help me get to where I belong! :) … To be continued J

Monday, December 20, 2010

My background and Why Triathlons!!!!

December 20, 2010

I have been doing triathlons for 2 years now with my first year (2009) really just trying to find out if triathlon is something I want do and do seriously!

I have been a competitive athlete all my life! I played tennis when I was young, and then it was basketball that overtook my life for the next 13+ years.  Basketball became my passion; basketball became my life, and my ticket to the United States! If you asked me what I wanted to do when I was growing up, I would have told you I wanted to play professional basketball! I went to a sports high school in Prague (stayed in the doorms ever since I was 14 years old, only seeing my family on weekends). We practiced 5 days a week, every morning from 7:30 – 9:30 and then again for 1:30 to 2 hours in the evening after school with the clubs we played for. Weekends were for games! When I was a senior in high school, I received a full basketball scholarship to play basketball in the U.S. One step closer to my dreams of becoming a professional ball player! I jumped on the offer, packed my bags, and found myself near Buffalo, NY in a school with plenty of people who talked way too fast for me to understand them!  Ha! That was little over 12 years ago!  While playing bball, I had a chance to master the English language, meet new people, learn about new cultures, and explore a totally different part of the world! How much more can one want!  I had a blast, and I would never want to take any of it back (Even though it would be nice to have my family just a bit closer than they have been)

When I graduated from college (University at Buffalo), I was accepted into grad school, got my MBA, and actually took a good year off from any physical activity. Now this is what you call a burn out! I was so burned out, I didn’t want to do anything, and I had no desire to play basketball ever again! How could it be? Once a thing I couldn’t live without, and now I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. I was just tired, my body was tired, my mind was tired, and I simply needed a break. I was so burned out, I actually swore I would NEVER, let me repeat it, NEVER run again! (I am laughing at that statement now) J.Funny how things change!  It lasted about a year before my competitive spirit came back, and I signed up to play co-ed intramural bball. I had a blast! It was so much fun to beat up on guys who automatically assume just cuz you are a girl, you can’t play! J   Then one day out of nowhere, one of my friends said to me “I bet you couldn’t run a marathon”!!! Really? Really? Did you really just say I COULDN’T do something?  Those words were all it took. We started to train together few weeks later for the only marathon that starts in one country and ends in another – The Niagara Falls marathon! Marathon training was fun, and I loved it to only learn later that I won’t be able to run it because race day was few weeks after my U.S. visa had expired and I could potentially have a hard time getting back into the U.S. … bummer! No marathon for me! L At least I knew I could do it J

Then I graduated with my MBA, and it was time to open up another chapter of my life – time to get to work! I have had to learn how to balance a full time job while still trying to get in my daily exercise in. It wasn’t easy, but I joined a local gym and started to run/spin/strength train pretty regularly.  2 years later, I got a new job in Boston at Reebok International. The facilities there were amazing, and fitness, working out was encouraged. I now got to work out at lunch, which was amazing and super convenient. No more excuses of why I couldn’t make it to the gym. The gym was right there! Not a year went by when one of my friends who was into triathlons, asked me to join her during one of her teams offseason practices. I always ran, I did a lot of spinning, so why not! This could be fun! This could be a place where I could unleash my competitiveness again! And that’s how it all began!!! To Be Continued ….