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Friday, December 2, 2011

Triathlon Training Update

Not a whole lot to report and what I do want to talk about is sort of scattered and varied.

1. I swam over a mile last night. I can't believe it either. It was easy. It makes me scared that the pool length is not actually 20 yards (I went swimming at the downtown Gold's, their pool is 5y longer than my regular Gold's). I asked a fellow swimmer and he said he paced it out at 17y. That sort of upset me. But then, who makes a 17y pool? Even if Gold's Gym isn't super dedicated to the sport of swimming, why not round up or down to 15y or 20y?

Then to make it worse, a few weeks ago I called them and asked. The guy on the phone said 20y. Yesterday the guy at the front desk said 25y (no way in hell). So which is it? 15y, 17y, 20y, or 25y? It's upsetting because I want to utterly relish in my 1800 yard swim, not worry that I only swam 1500 or worse, only 1300. I think I might call Gold's again today. But if I have to bring a goddamn tape measure to the gym with me next time, then so be it.

2. I'm definitely losing weight and getting into pretty good shape. My swim suit is loose and borderline offensive (or pleasing depending on my audience) when I push off of the edge to do laps. My clothes are getting looser and looser and I'm looking better and better. I've packed my scale away, too, since the damn thing always tells me the same number. Instead, I'm going by what my clothes, reflection and delighted husband tell me. And I'm liking what they're telling me.

I hope that at the end of this experience I'm in the best shape of my life. I don't mean being a size 4 or anything. If I still have some love handles, it is what it is. But what I mean is strength. I want to be able to fully embody what a triathlete is, not just stagger across the finish line and collapse in a puddle of my own vomit. I checked the times for this past October's triathlon and the first woman across did it in a little over an hour. Um excuse me? She swam half a mile in 15 minutes and biked 12 miles, doing less than three minute miles. Then the creep ran three miles in 21 minutes. I'd kill her, if I could ever catch her.

3. My knees... My knees are not happy with me, and that's upsetting me. I'll admit, it's upsetting me a lot more than I care to admit out loud. I've expressed my concerns briefly with Todd and friends but I don't like to disclose my fear that this is the only triathlon I'll be able to do, that I might not even be able to run anymore afterwards. A friend, Juan, gave me a good idea about these tendon band thingies that athletes wear right beneath the knee cap to give added support to those tendons. I'll try that. And I really need to stretch.

Why don't I stretch? I don't know. It's like I have some mental block. Well, actually, it's because I have a child and a family I love spending time with, and if I could get home five minutes quicker by skipping the stretching, then I do it. Stupid, I know. A trainer at Gold's was training for an Iron Man Triathlon (the big daddy of them all), and after months and months of hard work, her knees gave out. She can't run on pavement anymore. So I think I need to talk to her. And stretch. Probably stretch while talking to her. Wearing knee bands and pounding Ibuprofin.

4. Despite that though, this triathlon training is by far the coolest athletic stuff I've ever done. It's inspiring me. Before I'd scoff and say "Well I have a job, a child, a husband and household, I have errands and chores, I'm too busy to work out five or six days a week." but now I make it happen. I ask friends and family to watch Alex for an hour here, an hour there, and I make it happen. I'm sort of getting teary-eyed writing about it, because it's been transformative, really, doing all this. This is a tough challenge, but I'm meeting it head on, taking it one workout at a time. As they say, you eat an elephant* one bite at a time, and my appetite shows no signs of satiation.

See, I was always a good swimmer, or at least, an enthusiastic swimmer. I wasn't terribly efficient with my strokes, breathing or techniques but I enjoyed getting into a pool. I just couldn't last more than 25 minutes before getting tired, water-logged or bored. Now I have a goal, though. I mean, regardless of how long the damn pool was, I still did 90 laps with, at most, a 20 second break between sets of 10. And I can feel the improvement. I feel faster, stronger, sleeker. I'm going to shoot right out of my baggy swimsuit one of these days.

Aside from that though, the best is that I'm taking time out in my life for me. That's important, especially because Todd and I want our family to grow. I will only get busier, tireder, older. So if I set it in stone now that I get 5 hours a week of me time, to improve myself and to strengthen myself inside and out, then I will always have that. This triathlon is mine and no one can take it away from me, except for me. And I'm sticking with it. Knees be damned.

Edited to Add: I called Gold's and he said the pool is 60 feet long. That's 20 yards! I did swim over a mile! Woo hoo!

No elephants were harmed in the writing of this post

1 comment:

  1. since your distance and stamina is getting better on your swimming, you can always add a better fitting suit or bikini to wear under your current suit that is getting loose for some drag and resistance. wear the double suit for like, 4-6 weeks, then try swimming with just the one, you'll feel like a freaking dolphin