GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Triathlon is closing in, and Shanna and Laura are in the midst of the most intense training stages. They blog about pushing through to the finish line. 

Laura begins with her thoughts:   

"I knew the time would go quickly, but still can't believe we wrapped on week nine of training! Peak phase began this past week -- that means I've reached peak workout length/intensity and I didn't back down! If you're training along, you know two weeks ago was a 'recovery week,' designed by Kari to lessen the workout lengths before cranking up the heat until the end. Let me tell you, I needed that recovery week.

I mentioned in the last blog how difficult scheduling my training was becoming. I even tried to swim with a friend and we simply couldn't find a lap swim that fit both our availability -- what is going on, life?! BUT we are scheduling a call later today, and I encourage you to do that with your support system, too. It's a time to ask questions, voice concerns, and remind yourself that all the hard work has been done, you just need to cross that finish line.

A couple highlights of the last two weeks:

  • Swimming is going better than ever! After FINALLY figuring out a comfortable breathing pattern, slowing down my stroke, and figuring out a good kicking pace, I feel good. Now to shatter that confidence during a swim on the Thornapple River later this week!
  • Running in high humidity is the worst.
  • Running after biking on day six of workouts is the worst. Hello jelly legs!
  • My co-worker Tyler is killing it! He did the WHOLE swim, the WHOLE bike ride, and the WHOLE run on Saturday, back-to-back-to-back. Kudos to him for coming so far in only a few months.

Shanna and I are swimming together this week and the goal is to harass each other and get used to the feeling of swimmers bumping, whacking and smacking us in the race (not on purpose, but that's a lot of people in a small space!). Later we'll head into the Thornapple River, currently at a balmy 55 degrees, to try swimming in open water. THREE MORE WEEKS!"

Shanna shares what she thinks:

"So we're really doing this thing, huh? That's how it feels being just a few weeks away from tri day. Ready or not it's happening -- no longer a distant goal.

Sure, at this point I'm very anxious. I mean... what kind of insane person signs up for a triathlon as their FIRST EVER race? But at the same time, I keep thinking about the sense of pride and accomplishment I will feel when I cross that finish line. That's the moment keeping me motivated during our longest workouts yet. That, and getting some pretty sweet bling (hello, first-ever medal) -- too soon?

Swimming is still my biggest struggle -- no surprise there. But finally this past week I was able to find my "calm" in the water. Instead of just trying to get the workout over with, I let myself relax and pace my strokes. This helped me find a good rhythm for taking deep breaths that I can maintain for a longer distance. I feel my confidence in the water improving. 

Another thing that will help ease my nerves will be an upcoming swim with Laura, and getting out into the open water in the Thornapple River ahead of race day. We're trying to mimic the conditions as much as possible, so there are fewer surprises on during the triathlon (if you know me, you know I'm DREADING the cold water).

Last thing on my mind -- what am I going to do with all my free time when the triathlon is over? Will I love it and want to do another one? Or will I join the rest of the population and say, "they're crazy"?

Time will tell, but referring to myself as a "triathlete" for now is kinda cool."

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