A month to go: Picking up the pace

Jennie Finch checks in during her triathlon training to talk about overcoming her fear of the open water.

It's been so nice this last week to be home with my family and not have an agenda other than to hang out and get back on track with my training. I have to be honest, my training pretty much disappeared the week prior with all the traveling, but that's life.

Being home again also is a reminder of just how grateful I am for my training group. We have so much fun! You get into mommy mode sometimes, and it's great to have a nice escape and a physical challenge all at once. It's also humbling at the same time -- I see and read about all these triathletes, and I'm so impressed.

Coach Grampy pushes me in just about every workout, and there I am thinking, "Hey, this 62-year-old is beating me!" But he's an Ironman, no doubt. He and Lori just did a triathlon last weekend, and he won his age group, which is awesome.

Grampy smoked me in last week's bike time trial -- and Lori beat me, too! I was coming off two weeks of little training and Wednesday morning we swam, then did spin class and ran 2.4 miles afterward. And then we had the 12-mile time trial on the bike that night. I may have gone a little overboard with my training that day. (I'm pretty sure my coach, Gale, won't be very happy when she hears about it, but we didn't get a chance to talk last week!)

But my mentality was that I didn't know if I was going to be able to sneak away from the kids later, so I wanted to get it in and go hard when I could. I suppose you live and learn, but the only good thing about that time trial was the cycling outfit Specialized hooked me up with -- I looked better than my time!

It's been really hot here: 85 degrees and high humidity. The sun is beating down on you. But I know from training for the marathon that if I can train in the heat I can handle anything New York throws at me.

The running interval workout was supposed to be alternating 4 minutes at an effort level of 3, then one minute of recovery. But it felt more like level 4 -- I'm not sure if it was the heat or feeling out of shape, but thankfully Grampy was ahead of me, pulling me along. It felt good, though. It's just been this past week that I've felt like I've finally been able to really focus and find my groove.

I also snuck in a couple more open-water swims. I can still feel the fear overwhelming me each time. But you have to either dominate it or let fear dominate you, so I'm working to face it head-on.

It's a constant progression. This time, a fish swam across my leg and spooked me. We did a mile in a nearby lake swimming a quarter-mile out, a quarter-mile back and then repeated it. Breaking the mile swim into increments makes the distance easier to wrap your head around, but I think but I think in New York it's a mile all in one direction.

Next week I'm heading to NYC for a media day with Aquaphor, and I'm going to meet Gale for the first time. I can't wait to ask her all my questions and talk about the course in person. One month to go!

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