Plain Old FUN

So much has happened recently…I’m behind in all my logs (food, workout, blog),so  I’m going to touch on some highlights. This is primarily my workout log, so I’m not going to go into the more “life” things, such as my 30th high school reunion (yes, it was this weekend) or Fisher family trip to the beach (last week–it was nice, though I would prefer a little variation and more activity). All of it is conspiring to make the days feel very rushed and full.

Lots of new…and good…workout things have been happening!

Marathon Training Begins

I joined Gilbert Tuhabonye’s fall marathon group with Gilbert’s Gazelles. I have several friends who’ve trained with him for years and I got a lot of encouragement to join up.

Being on the road is supposed to be easier on my hamstring than the trail, and I DEFINITELY need to work on recapturing road fitness and speed. Gilbert promised me he’d work with me toward improvement while keeping me healthy. I would like to be proud of my time at the Nike Women’s Marathon in October, not disappointed as I have been with my road marathons over the last almost six years.

The people are really nice. It turns out that a woman I was friends with in 6th grade is in the group! We chatted today once we recognized each other; she lives near me and we may run together some. I have girls to do the long runs with: Kelley, Lindsey, and Brenda. The first one (I was at Port Aransas the first weekend, so I did my first long run by myself on the beach) was on Saturday. Those 10 miles were hard. I just feel like I can’t GO; I’m stuck in one low, slow gear.

Afterward, there were drills and a long stretching session. Afterward, my hips felt quite good. I had no hamstring problems.

Varsity Triathlon Race Report

Triathlete during the run portion of the Varsity Triathlon.
Decked out in my Tri Zones Training kit on the run during the Varsity Triathlon. Photo credit: James Nyfeler

The next morning, we got up early to drive out to Granger Lake for the Varsity Tri. Matthew and I had signed up for this when the Lake Pflugerville tri filled (yes, I procrastinated). This was my son’s first triathlon, so the super sprint distance (300m swim, 11 mile bike, and 2 mile run) was a great introduction. And reintroduction for ME–I was surprised to realize that I hadn’t actually done a tri since Ironman CdA in ’08!!

Oh, I’d MEANT to do several but one thing or another popped up (for example, I’d intended to do Danskin the weekend after Pocatello but I just wasn’t mentally into competing again). I had more nerves and jitters, afraid that something would go wrong for Matthew.

It turned out to be just the right thing.

Matthew, having done two Splash ‘n Dash events, was more than prepared for the swim. We were both disappointed that it was so shallow as to be unswimmable in spots (yes, we both got up and ran in sections, as did everyone else).

It was open racking, so we’d placed our bikes together on the Tri Zones rack (his idea) and I helped him set up his area. I understand he dallied quite a bit during T1 (this report came from his dad and girlfriend, both of who came out to support and cheer). The bike was windy, but I’d expected that, seeing as we were in flatland and then riding on top of a dam. Matthew, being a new and unexperienced rider–I think he rode his bike twice in preparation–struggled with the wind. He said it was tough for him and his speed shows it.

The old ladies were the last wave (Matthew, being young and male, was in the first wave), so I had a lot of ground to make up, and I did pass quite a few people on the bike. I had been averaging close to 19mph until we made the turn off the dam onto 1331 back into the park and the wind there dropped my speed quite a bit…and a lady passed me. Other than that, I had done all the passing on the bike, which is a nice feeling for me.

T2 was uneventful. The run through the park was hot, and I felt like a lumbering dinosaur. It’s really distressing to me to be so slow. But again, I noticed that I was catching people simply because I wasn’t walking.

It was an out and back, with a final loop around the finish. As I came into the loop, I saw Matthew had finished–my son is a triathlete! I came around, caught the woman ahead of me on a slight downhill, and tried to work on finishing well. The final chute into the finish was on grass, and as I made the turn, I heard the woman behind me come around to retake me. Darn! There is NOTHING I hate more than being passed in the finishing chute! I turned it on for all I had but I just couldn’t catch her.

My watch time was 1:16.47, and when I checked the posted times, I was about 2 minutes slower than Matthew’s time, which made me very happy. My time SHOULD’VE been faster but oh, well, I did my best. And best was good enough for my first age group award in a tri! I was third and, you guessed it, the woman who passed me in the chute was 2nd, and the woman who passed me on the bike was 1st.

To top it all off, Matthew took 3rd in his age group as well! It was just about a perfect morning for me.

Mixing Up the Running Workout

Today’s workout rolled around bright and early. I was dreading it because the schedule said “Circuit” and the last time I did that, my first Gazelle’s workout, I was sore as a dog the next 2 days. However, today was different; we went to Zilker and did our drills and ran warm-up on the lovely grass. Two sets of core exercises with more laps. And then we played ball!

Yes, there were teams and a ball and running around and strategy and it was a BLAST. It was so much fun. And the more we played, the looser my hips felt. By the end, I felt like I was moving better and running faster. I think I have so much scar tissue and build-up in my lower body from repetitive movements that I need the stretching and side-to-side, varied movements to get me “opened” back up.

In any case, all of this is just plain FUN. And I love to have fun!

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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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