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The Struggle is Real: Help with Summer Race Schedule (please and thank you!)

A few months ago, I started daydreaming about the Lake to Lake Triathlon, a beauty of a race that is about an hour's drive north of my house. I did the Olympic distance race six (seven? eight?) years ago, and parts of the bike portion are still clear in the cranium-shaped cobweb that sits atop my neck.

I just remember looking at the wide sky, speckled with cloud and rays of sunlight, as I pedaled along and thinking, "This is exactly where I am supposed to be right now."

I don't have that experience often, and while it might be a rainy race day in 2019, I'm intrigued by the idea of at least pedaling the course again.

I also might be missing structured training a little bit; it's been over six months since Katie and I finished Swim Run: Casco Bay, and we spit-balled that training a bit.

I'm not positive I miss the must-do-this-workout today part of it, but I am positive I miss a directed plan, the structure that takes me from where I am today to a finish line in a few months.

Plus, I've realized I really like showing up at master's swimming practices with no idea what the workout is, and simply just doing it. No anxiety about pulling a hard set or take a few seconds off the rest time on a set of 50s. The coach said to do it, the people in my lane are doing it, I just do it. I'd have more of that feeling on a plan.

As you might know by now, I tend to jump in the deep end when a daydream persists. If I do Lake to Lake, the cranium-shaped cobweb says, then I'll be in good enough triathlon shape to...and I create lists of things that fit with Lake to Lake.

This situation is no exception. I made a to-do summer list, but I didn't check it twice until I sat down with Grant and a calendar and realized the 2019 Lake to Lake is the same day as the performances of Hunchback of Notre Dame, put on by Rocky Mountain Theater for Kids. The son will have some kind of role in it—likely two roles: one a bigger role, one a chorus role, which alternate between performances—but that's all I know.

I also realized I am probably trying to do too much—and that I haven't really committed to any one thing yet.

So I'm in a state of limbo and asking for your help:
In the comments below, please choose your top 2 or 3 events for my summer athletic activities. 

CHOICE #1:
June 2: Elephant Rock Ride: 100K

PROS
• Planning on riding with Grant; pre-kids, riding bikes together was our version of a date. I miss that, and so does he.

• I did the 100-mile ride as a training ride for Ironman CDA in 2014, and I do not think back fondly on it. I remember the second half as a slog I would not like to redo. The route for 100K—66 miles—veers from the 100-mile route, so I don't have to redo it, but can have a better memory of Elephant Rock, an institution around the two-wheeled parts of Denver.

• Training for this will force me to get outside on my bike, hopefully with Grant. Fresh air and sunshine always trumps stale, inside air of my basement or the gym.

CONS
• I really can't think of any, except that it's been at least three (four?) years since I've ridden that far on my road bike.

CHOICE #2:
June 22: Lake to Lake Olympic Triathlon: 1.5K swim,
30-mile bike, 10K run

PROS
• See above. I'm craving this race.

CONS
• Scheduling; if Ben has a bigger role in the 1 pm performance, say, It's gonna be tight. (And I'm going to be wiped.)

• I could do the sprint distance and cut the race time in at least half, but I'm not interested in doing that; it feels too far to drive—and too early of an alarm—for that.

• A 10k run feels like a pretty big (and possibly stupid?) stretch, given my 5K-max situation. My usual running these days is 3-4 miles, 2x a week. I would probably maintain the twice a week part, and then, closer to race day, up the distance, through a run/walk pattern, to 5.5 or so miles. Like I said, possibly—and likely—stupid.

Choice #3:
June 22: Tribella Women's Triathlon: .5 mile swim, 10-mile bike, 5K run

PROS
• Same day as Lake to Lake, but sprint distance and super close: I could commute to the race on my bike.

• I love Tribella, a women-centric triathlon shop, and I know the atmosphere at the race will be so encouraging and warm.

CONS
• It feels a little meh compared to Lake to Lake.

• I haven't ridden Lyle, my tri-bike, in years. I retired him to the garage about 2.5 years ago, when my back and leg wouldn't shut up. I don't know if the aero position will still cause pain. I can certainly get help with the fit of it, and I would, but I also am not sure if I want to truly know that chapter of my athletic life is over.

• The 5K is on a concrete bike path, which does my body no favors.

CHOICE #4:
July 13: Tri the Boat Aquabike: 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike

PROS
• This possibility—basically a Half-Ironman without the half-marathon tacked on at the end—also has the butterflies a twitter in my belly: a good thing.

• Steamboat is one of my favorite spots in 'rado, and my memory of the Steamboat Half-Marathon, another beauty, also lives in the cranium-shaped cobweb. We'd make a family weekend out of it.

• I'd have the momentum from Elephant Rock to continue to ride the bike; and since the bike portion ends the race, I could really go for it.

CONS
• See above: The Lyle issue.

CHOICE #5:
July 20: Denver CF Climb: 3,865 Steps in Bronco Stadium

PROS
• This just looks fun to me—and remember, it doesn't have to be fun to be fun.

•One summer plan I know for sure is to climb 14'er with Jo and Jess, my Grand Canyon pals, in early August and this would be a good little training romp around a stadium.

•Benefits CF.

• I could maybe (maybe?) talk one of my kids into doing this with me.

CONS
• It's likely going to be HOT, and there's no swim portion to cool things down.

• I would just wing it, training-wise. No biggie, in theory, except that system can be a little hard for the ego on event day. (I would not look this woman flying up the stairs.)

September 8:
Horsetooth Open Water Swim
: 1.2 or 2.4 miles

PROS
• I've heard about this event for a few years, and it's always piqued my interest.

• I could possibly talk Katie, my swim/run pal, into doing this with me, a friend always exponentially improves any race situation, even if you can't chat in the water.

• As Katie can attest, my open-water swimming—or specifically, my sighting skills—could definitely improve.

• If I don't feel ready for 2.4 miles, I could opt for 1.2, which is what I'd be doing in July in Steamboat.

CONS
• I'm not sure what our fall schedule will look like yet, so this may be a no-go based on volleyball or acting or some other unforeseen event.

• I'd need to spend time in open water to practice; I don't mind doing that—it's what Katie and I did last summer—but it is a commitment, time-wise. It's about an hour round-trip to Chatfield reservoir during the busy month of August.

Ok, ready for your comments and perspective:
Thanks in advance!

50 responses to “The Struggle is Real: Help with Summer Race Schedule (please and thank you!)

  1. Elephant Rock, then Tribella, then Tri the Bike Aquabike – gets you time with Grant and better memories, Tribella you’ll love the vibe (I really WANT you to do L2L but the fam thing and the 10k…) and the Aquabike sounds perfect, swimrun without the run. If you want, throw in the stadium stairs thing as a family event, as you’ll have biked long the weekend before, which means you’ll be trained – and you probably won’t be that sore. Can’t wait to hear what you pick!

  2. Definitely #1 because you could train with Grant and I can relate to “needing” to be outside. If you want to add a second one, I would choose 4 or 8. Enjoy!

  3. You need to do #2, but not this year. Put it on the calendar now and hopefully the rest of the family calendar will make this a reality next year. For this year, #1 sounds like a winner.

  4. 1, 4, 6 (if it fits with the kids schedules register late). I agree with refit or adjust up (I have a hard time in aero and my bars are up). I think concrete is no bueno for you and pushing a larger run distance might not be the best choice. You will have a great time no matter what you pick!

  5. #1…it is the people in your life that ultimately matter. Our kiddos grow up quickly and soon will no longer impact our race decisions but they may move away eventually and then we wont get to see the little things. Plus, we often put the relationship with our spouse on hold when we have little. Keep the spark lit by doing what you enjoy together.

  6. #1 and #4 and if the aero bars aren’t comfortable- ride a road bike. Don’t let the aero stop you. Anxious to hear what you decide either way!

  7. Definitely #1. Maybe 4 and 5 depending on how early training with Lyle goes. I think you could wing #5 and just have fun

  8. ❤❤❤Lake to Lake!!! That said, I think Elephant Rock is great choice this year. Did you know Red Rocks has stair workouts too…so pretty there. Hopefully L2L will align next year! Also, please let us know which 14er you choose.

  9. Do you have to bring Lyle out of retirement for the sprint Tri options? If your roadie fits and you are pain free, that sounds like a win. And as a CF mama, I have to vote for the CF climb too. The CFF puts on great events, so you can’t go wrong.

  10. I vote 1,4,6 BUT if it wasn’t for your back I would say go all in on 2. Only you can know if your body is going to hold up for the 10K. Or maybe know you will walk/jog. Knowing it will be slower than you would like but I would also hate to see you back in so much pain!

  11. Hi Dimity,

    I vote #1 (couple time, only one “con” which reads more like “would I get bored?” As opposed to #2/3/4 that risk injury setbacks) or #5 (coolness factor! Unique! Maybe Kiddo joins you)

    Can’t wait to hear how you decide and why ultimately

  12. I suggest #1, #4, and #6. I think they “roll” into each other well. As for bringing Lyle out of retirement for #4, I echo a sentiment above about riding your road bike instead. I would also encourage you to (if it’s something you are really interested in doing) to get properly “re-fit” on Lyle. Our bodies change and maybe a small adjustment can make a big difference. Best of luck this summer!

  13. I think you should do #1, #5, and #6. As cool as #2 sounds, it also sounds stressful trying to get back in time for the big show. Why stress when something doesn’t go as planned that day and you barely make it or totally miss the performance? That race will be there next year. As far as being on the bike that long, it really doesn’t take long to build up endurance on the bike. Yes, June is coming quick, but there is still plenty of time to train for that! If you insist on a Triathlon, do it on your road bike until the tri bike issues get sorted out.

  14. I’d choose #1 because time with husband sounds awesome! But I would definitely put #2 on the calendar for next year. Give yourself plenty of time to prep and be sure your body is ok with it. Whatever you choose, I hope you have FUN!

  15. #1 and 4. Add in #2 once you find out Ben’s performance schedule if you think you can swing it and be present mentally and physically for the performance. Always have next year if not! And for #4, use your road bike! No need to make the body angry again. Especially if you are doing road bike for #1 then just continue training with it for #4.

  16. #1and #4. If Lyle causes too much pain ride your road bike! I don’t have a tri bike and have done two full flat Ironman races! Go get it!!

  17. #2. It’s what you really want to do!! 10k running does seem like a stretch for your current situation, so maybe also plan to do one of the others, in case this one proves to be not-smart for your back. All will be amazing!

  18. I vote #1 and #4. Throw in #5 if you’re in the mood later this summer! Save Lake to Lake for when you can have the whole experience, no rushing and no feeling stretched. Go Dim!!! Xo

  19. #1 and #5. See how you feel and do Lake to Lake next year – I would say do that and walk/run the 10K, but I see your scheduling issue which would make you want to finish quicker.

  20. Lots of great options! Can you ditch Lyle and use a road bike instead for the longer tris? I’ve done two half ironmans on a road bike – while my bike splits weren’t super speedy, it got it done.

  21. 1, 2, and 4. I’m coming off of a weekend where I feel like my fault if indecisiveness. Maybe you could make some decisions for me??!! Fun format, and thanks for sharing. Sounds like you want to challenge yourself, be on a training plan, and set aside time for you. I think those three options do that. I feel the pain of maybe not going to the performance, but I think if he knew this was your performance – your son would be supportive of you and understand why you couldn’t be there.

  22. I vote for either 1 or 2! The first would mix things up a bit, and it looks BEAUTIFUL. Number 2 seems like the thing you’re really craving and my instinct tells me that you’d be most fulfilled from this one over any of the others.

  23. #1 for sure!!!!! whether you go with the 100k or 100m it sounds like you’ll be happy 😉
    Skip Lake to Lake. You’ll want to enjoy Ben’s performances.
    #5 The Denver CF climb sounds like fun. It’ll be hot, schedule some fun pool time later in the day to cool off.
    If the schedule cooperates it sounds like you’d enjoy Horsetooth Open Water Swim, too! These three would be well spaced throughout the summer. You can reconnect with the hubby, support Ben at his performances, take on a hard and hot hike around the stadium, and maybe squeeze in a fun swim event. Whatever you choose, ENJOY!

  24. I would do #1 and #3. That desired race will always be there. Milestones/events in our kids’ lives are fleeting and working out with your husband with something you both enjoy is a great thing too. I have been a working mom the entire time my kids were young (now soph in college and Jr. in HS). I always worked around their events working mom-guilt). Now that they are older, I have more time to do things on my list and knowing I’m not missing something actually helped me relax a bit during training and the event. Good Luck… you will rock it no matter what your choose!

  25. I’d go over each option and automatically eliminate any that feel “meh” or that don’t set you in fire at least a little bit. Call it the Marie Kondo style of race selection. I’m thinking #1 for sure, and then seeing you take Lyle out for a few rides because #4 seems to have the kind of “light a fire” that you need right now. Lake to lake is a hard one because it seems to be kind of the gold standard (as in what you really want to be doing), but that’s a bit of a scheduling bugaboo. Ouch. Any chance you could set that as an absolute for next year? Good luck!

  26. Choice #1. You have a few more years before you will be an empty nester, but believe me you need to take every opportunity to do things with your husband that don’t involve the kids. It will help you to focus on each other and be a good thing in the long run. My husband and I are almost to that point and we are looking back on the past 20 years and wondering how did we get so off track.

  27. Like 1, 4, and 6. Plus maybe add #5. Haha! I think you can do a century on a road bike (not on a tri-bike) don’t you? I don’t do well in aero position either. And bike dates are awesome. It’s been awhile since I have dated a cyclist.

  28. I like 1, 3, and 5. As an athlete who wishes her significant other would join her on endeavors the ride with Grant sounds like a fun way to spend time together and push each other and support each other. Number 3 fulfills doing a tri. Number 5 just sounds like a super fun event!
    Good luck and have fun with whatever you choose!

  29. #5… different and fun… think I’m doing that one, just for something different and a great cause,,, HOT for sure!

  30. What a fun column and the choices are very much like the ones I would make just a few states over. I am going with the aqua bike (as the acquabike sister) and the open water swim. If your trip bike is too painful, perhaps you could race on a road bike? The acqusbike planning would allow the space for you to enjoy it (family weekend). Looking forward to seeing what you pick.

  31. I’d go wth #1 & #4. Then you can have some nurture time with Grant, support your son in whatever role(s) he plays and still clear something from the cobwebs of your mind. 🙂 Yes! You can have your cake and eat it too! LOL

  32. These sound like fun choices! I say #1, #4 and #5. About the aqua bike (any of the triathlon type events)…since the road bike feels better for your body, is it out of the question to use the road bike in the race instead of Lyle? Not ideal perhaps, but better for your body and just able to get the job done.

  33. I would choose #1 and #5. Neither of those seem to have a high potential for injury, or re-injury. No sense poking that bear. Also, they both seem to have a high fun/enjoyment factor. Good luck with whatever you choose!

  34. Definitely 4! And maybe 2, but might be too much to pick both? Reading between the lines, it sounds like these are the 2 you are most excited about!

  35. #3 and #4…I find that sprint Tri’s are usually pretty fun, on the lower end of training commitment but yet you can still push yourself, if you want to. I have heard Aquabikes are REALLY fun. Many of my Tri friends have done these an RAVE about them. I am not the best swimmer so not as appealing to me, I’d rather do a Du. 🙂

  36. Could you do #1, #4 and #6? That would be bike, bike/swim and swim (right?). 100K bike ride in June is pretty soon–you and Grant would need to get on your bikes right quick! But i like the way those events feed into each other.

    Strange opinion coming from a die-hard runner, but why beat your body up with running if you don’t have to? All those events sound like really cool challenges, a k a “fun”! 🙂

  37. Aquabike the Lake to Lake, even if it’s not “officially”offered. That checks the box of doing the course that you crave and gets you some sooner and fresher for Ben’s performance. If it’s a point to point race, you’ll need a Sherpa.

    Depending on how the bike portion goes, then maybe the longer aquabike race is the next race.

    Whatever you pick, I look forward to updates on your training!!

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