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April 5, 2013

Family Plank Challenge and Daily Runs Inspired by My Mentor!

I finally met my Mid-Maryland Tri Club (MMTC) mentor, Kim, the week leading up to Easter.  She ROCKS!!!  I joined MMTC during packet pickup @ Irongirl 2012.  You know, the race I ended up being told I couldn’t do right before surgery.  It was probably best.  Looking back, there was no way I was ready for that race.  I did the swim and run (although it was more of a run/walk) during the dress rehearsal, but having ridden on a VERY small part of the bike course, I’m not sure I was mentally prepared to put all that together.  I really had not gotten involved with MMTC until they posted the notice on the yahoo board for the mentor/mentee program.  I signed up and they paired me with Kim.  She suggested we start by doing Cancer to 5K, a program of the Ulman Cancer Fund.  She was going to be one of the coaches and that would give us two days/week to train together.  A couple weeks after getting paired up, we still hadn’t met in person.  She’s a mom to three college kids who all play sports, she works full time in IT, and trains herself for sprints, halfs, Ironmans, and 50 milers.  Put that together with my full time work schedule and Mackenzie’s sports and my tri training schedule and you get two overachiever, Type A women who can’t possibly fit anything else into our already overburdened iphone calendars!

But here we were, finally sitting face to face at 5pm on a Monday at Panera.  We talked for almost two hours about our families, cancer, triathlons, her story of how she got started in the sport at the age of 43, training, heart rate zones, weight loss, and fueling for training and weight loss.  We decided that since swim was the one area I didn’t need work in, I would just swim as much as I could to help improve my endurance on the bike and run  I had been doing some indoor biking on a trainer, but had recently purchased clipless pedals and hadn’t actually ridden without stabilization (i.e., a trainer).  So, once the weather breaks that’s what I’ll be working on….starting with going to the empty church parking lot down the street from my house.

Our initial meeting for Cancer 2 5K had gone well.  I had recently done the Celtic Cater 5K with Joe and my friend, Debby, and with the exception of about ½ mile had run the whole thing.  It was all Debby pushing me.  If she hadn’t been there, I’d have been walking.  The first Cancer 2 5K meet-up, I walked with one of the Sherpas around Centennial Lake (2.4 miles).  A Sherpa is a runner who serves as the expert guide on race day for one of the cancer survivor runners. The Sherpa runs the race at the cancer survivor’s pace, acts as a personal cheerleader, and looks out for the well-being of the survivor.  Since I was going to miss the next week and a half of the training due to being on vacation, Kim told me to just get 20-30 minutes of walking/running in a day for now.  She just wanted me out there beginning to build my endurance.

Fortunately, post cancer treatment, I had gone to a physical therapist that did a VO2 Max test on me.  We had all the information on my five heart rate zones and could use that info in my training.  The next day Mackenzie and I also started a nightly Plank Challenge which consisted of seeing how long we could hold the Plank in the standard position, left side, then right side.

On Day 1 (March 27), I was able to hold the standard position for 32.1 seconds.  The left and right sides…non-existent!   Yesterday, I held the standard position for 53.1 seconds!

Can’t wait to see how much stronger I’m going to get doing this daily for the next month!

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