Archive for June, 2010

Week 3

I meant to; I really, truly meant to document my experience training for the triathlon on this blog.  Yet somehow, life got in the way.  Actually, more accurately, my computer got in the way.

Anyhow, here I am, mid-way through week 3 of training.

I guess you can probably assume from the fact that this is week three, that I successfully made it through weeks 1 and 2.  I will try to dutifully post from now on, to keep a nice, accurate record of my experience.

Here are some stats:

  • I am on day 17 of training
  • I have lost 4-5 lbs. since starting, and
  • I have lost 8 or so lbs. since the Holiday season
  • I can now run 1 mile without feeling like I’m going to die
  • I can swim more than 1/3 mile in the pool whichout feeling like I’m going to die
  • I can bike 10 miles in approximately 30 minutes – but I do feel like I might sweat to death
  • I have done more laundry in the last three weeks than at any other point in my life

Yesterday I biked 9 miles and ran for 1 mile before my self-defense class.  I wasn’t supposed to run, but I wanted to try out some new techniques and a new running form that I had been reading about.

A few days ago I posted on my Facebook status that my knees were absolutely killing me, and I wasn’t sure that I was every going to be able to run an entire 4 miles.  An old friend from high school suggested I look at Chi Running.  She had taken a workshop when she was training for her marathon and it had been helpful.

I looked it up.  It all sounded very interesting.  The basic concept is that you tilt a little forward from the hips, strike at the mid-foot, and use gravity (forward motion) to propel yourself, consequently using less energy as you run.  Unfortunately, the workshops are only offered in exciting and glamorous places like SAn Francisco and Seattle (is Seattle glamorous or exciting?).  The book sounded interesting, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the money on something that may or may not work.

So I looked at a couple of videos online and read through some tips, and decided to run a bit yesterday after my bike ride to try it out.

And I was shocked – shocked I tell you – to discover that these tips actually worked!  I ran the 1 mile without any problems with my knee.  Now, when I got off the treadmill, my knee still hurt.  And it still hurts today (though, I guess, not as much as yesterday).  But, the really positive thing about all of this is that I figure less stress on my knee while running will eventually equal less pain in my knee over all.

Today, I need to run for 25 minutes.  This will probably put me in the 2 mile range.  Which means that in order to run for 4 miles, and eventually for 6 (because apparently my sister now wants me to relay in a marathon in October!), I will need to be able to run for an hour.  Right now, running for an hour seems like an eternity, but I really do think that at some point in the future I will be able to do it.

Everyone on Facebook has been very encouraging, though I have to say that my husband has not been as encouraging as I thought he would be.  My suspicion is that he doesn’t think I’ll be able to do it, so he doesn’t want to waste his time.  Which I think is just as bad as the alternative – him not caring at all.

What has really gotten me through these last two and a half weeks has not really been the weight loss or the ability to run farther or longer than I ever have been able to before, or the fact that I have more energy, that I’m in a better mood, and that I’m overall eating better.  What has gotten me through all of this is the thought of not completing the triathlon.  I’ve already registered for it, paid close to $60 to do so.  I’ve spent a lot of money on clothes and shoes and sports bras, etc.  But even that is not what is keeping me going.

I just keep thinking about what everyone will say or think when I fail or when I quit.  They’ll all say, “I knew she wouldn’t keep it up.”  Or, “She quit – once again.”  Or, “I saw that coming.”  Or a number of other unpleasant and disappointing things.  Do I want people to be disappointed with me?  Absolutely not.  I want people to be proud of me.  And because I’ve declared to practically the entire world what I plan to do, I have a lot of people behind me, pushing me, telling me that I can keep it up, that I’ll eventually be able to do the whole thing.  I feel accountable to them.  Even to my co=workers and the clients I work with.  I know they want to see me accomplish something.  And setting my mind to something adn actually doing it, is something that my clients need to see as well  They don’t need to see someone else quitting or giving up.  They’ve seen enough of that.  They need to see someone pushing through pain and a lack of motivation, and bad weather, and lack of time, to finish something.  I want to be an inspiration for them.  But I also want to be an inspiration for me.

How many times have I quit something I’ve started?  Too many to count.  How many times have I just given up when something gets too hard?

I’ve had enough of giving up and quitting.  Who wants to be friends with a quitter anyways?

(Also, I’ve determined that I’m going to get a symbolic tattoo if I complete the triathlon in September.)


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Sunday was a warm day.  In fact, it was almost too warm for my taste.  But I got up early and went downtown to cheer on the runners in the MedCity Marathon.

My sister, my cousin, my sister’s husband’s grandpa (phew), and a good family friend of mine, all competed in the relay portion of the marathon.  They each ran 6 miles.

It was incredibly inspiring to see all of the runners out on the trail.  While we watched, I saw old and young, fat and thin, in shape and, well, not so in shape.  In fact, even in the relay group we were cheering on, there was a huge variety in the ability of the runners.  My sister had been training for a few months, but had never broken 5 miles, always trained on a treadmill, and had been diagnosed with bronchitis just a few days earlier.  We didn’t think she would make it, but she did incredibly well, completing her portion in 1.5 hours.  My sister’s husband’s grandpa ran the first leg of the event.  He was over 60 years old and runs in a lot of marathons.  The first leg was apparently extremely hilly, and he completed his portion in a little over an hour.  My cousin, state-qualifying cross-country runner, flew through the anchor leg of the race, running just over 8 minute miles and completing her portion in just under an hour.  As I watched everyone go by, I felt like I too should be out there running.

Everyone was cheering loudly, and the runners appreciated every applause and cheer.  Our family started talking about getting two teams together for the next year’s marathon, so we would each have someone to run with.  I thought, why not?  I can do that.  It’s only six miles.

Of course, running six miles requires a lot of training and practice.  You can’t just hop on the trail one day and do six miles.  And I need a lot of practice!

As I started thinking about the race, I wished I could do something sooner.  I know that I need to exercise more, and that I need to loose weight.  I have about 30-40 extra pounds to get rid of.  Every time I try a diet, I can’t stick with it.  A few days later, I’m starving and frustrated and I dive right in to McDonald’s or an icecream sandwich.  Every time I try to get into an exercise routine in an attempt to loose weight, I give up after a few weeks when I don’t see any noticeable results.

I decided that what I needed was a goal.  A goal not of loosing x number of pounds, or fitting into a certain dress by a certain time, as those didn’t seem to work – but a goal that would be impossible to avoid.  If I signed up for a race at the end of the summer, I would absolutely have to train.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to coomplete the race and I would be embarassed and probably in a lot of pain.

I’ve always wanted to do a triathlon.  I love to swim and am very good at it.  So I found a training schedule for free on line, which gave me 13 weeks to train.  I also found a triathlon in Hudson, WI on September 4th – exactly 14 weeks from now.

I’ll keep track of my workouts here and my thoughts as the weeks progress.  I’m already kind of terrified after reading all about transitions, the swim portion in open water, and the injuries people have sustained.  But, reading about the people who just completed their first triathlon is also inspiring.  Everyone says that the feeling of finishing that first race is exhilarating.  I want to experience that too.

So, this is week one.

Monday, I was supposed to run 20 minutes and swim for 15.  the pool was closed, so I went to Chester Woods and ran on the trails (more like walked with sporadic running) for about an hour and a half.  It was a nice exercise, but I discovered a few things.  One, I am in desperate need of new exercise clothes, and two, I need trail running shoes.

I ordered a RoadID (in case I croak while out training), a sports bra, bike shorts, sunglasses, and a bike jersey.  My mom is letting me borrow her cross-training bike that she never uses.  And I’m getting a Timex Ironman watch today so I can finally keep track of my laps and time my runs.

This is actually kind of thrilling and I’m super excited to get through all of this.

Today I also start a women’s self defense class, so I imagine I will be very tired after a couple of days of training.

What is my goal?  Well, I want to be able to complete the triathlon in September without a) killing myself, b) killing someone else, and c) finishing dead last.  I’m not particularly concerned about my time – I can worry about that later if I find I love this sport (I hear it is kind of addictive!).  Weight loss is no longer my goal.  Fitness is.  And if I loose weight in the process (which I’m hoping I will) – so much the better.

OK — triathlon in 14 weeks.  Yes I can!

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