Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Month 'Til Triathlon

Oops, I wrote this Saturday night, but it took me so long to finish it posted Sunday morning.

Oops, I've been absent from my blog again.

Oops, I've been eating like the famine is coming. And no, not vegetables.

Oops, I think I put those 5 pounds I lost back on. After my monthly friend leaves I'll let you know if it was permanent or not. I'm thinking yes, as the calories ingested usually don't lie.

Alas, I've had so much to say recently, but as I'd compose so many posts in my head I realized they were the same old story, and I was mildly embarrassed. If you've been with me for any length of time, you've already heard me whine about hormones, about food addictions and restrictions, about my desire to achieve healthy greatness not translating into action. So, I blogged in my head for a bit until I had something new to say. I would have liked to make some workout entries, but time got away from me too, out of habit, out of mind.

But now, I am one month from my sprint triathlon. Not my first, but my first in a very long time, and my first that I won't be focused only on finishing, but rather have some modest goals for myself, too. I have been exercising, including running some, but I don't know that I would use the word "training" with a straight face, and with one month left, I took a "moment of truth" step today- I got on the bike.

Before I tell more, a not-so-quick synopsis for those not in the know on my fitness history:

Childhood- ballet, ballet, ballet. Earliest childhood through sophomore year of high school, I was into progressively more serious ballet. I had a teacher who had been pro in an eastern bloc country, and she bred a couple of pros here. So, as one aged and blossomed, one was chastised for not having a ballerina's body. I practiced 3 times a week and was in the performing group, but was always solidly average. Eventually she told me (and a few of my friends) that if we weren't headed down the path of becoming professional then we were wasting her time and ours. So, not having the physique or the desire, rather than $hitting, I got off the pot.

Middle school through early college- horseback riding. I only figured out how cool riding would be when I met another friend who was doing it. Went to a very proper (kinda snotty) riding school, learned a lot, worked the stables to "train" to work there for about two years before figuring out they weren't going to pay me. Never had a shot of having a horse myself because of money and lack of experience by me or anyone in my family. It's not just a pet and a hobby, it's a whole lifestyle. Freshman year in college I was on the riding team, competing at the lowest level, and then the following year budget cuts resulted in sale of the school's team horses. After that only those who could bring their own mounts to school with them could ride.

My only other school activities through college were singing, theatre, and other non-physical pursuits. That's it. No soccer, no nothing.

Post college, I got into playing volleyball, competitively. I played for several years and wasn't half bad. For a time, I went through a phase of running. Got up to regularly doing 3 miles, didn't keep track of my speed. Then, following the debut of women's hockey in the Olympics, a light bulb went off and I took that up. While I was helping my best friend prepare for entering the FBI Academy and coinciding with turning 30 and feeling weird about it, I entered a 10K. (Should have started with 5!) I swindled another friend into doing it with me, and we walked a lot of it. Felt like dying afterward because when I saw the finish line it looked a lot closer than it was and I sorta sprinted a hideously long way. At 32 I really fell off my rock and entered an Olympic distance tri, and really actually trained, but I trained to be able to start and finish, starting from zero. My goal was to survive, and to finish. I accomplished that, finishing very last, walking the entire 10K, with the course closing around me. But it felt absolutely amazing to accomplish that, one of my best moments. A year or two later prior to having a kid I wanted to do another one, so I did a sprint distance, and barely trained at all. I finished, but it wasn't very fun.

That's it. I'm 38 years old, I have a kid now who is almost 4, I've never taken off the baby weight and accompanying post-baby stress weight, which is why I am writing this blog to work through, and my main forms of exercise now are playing hockey and pole dancing. So, naturally when I found out there was a tri IN MY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD I couldn't help myself.

So, back to the bike. Last weekend at the beach, my butt touched a bike for the first time in 5+ years, and I rode it approx. 12 miles to verify I could deal with that distance. I could, but it was a poor test, because it was a big 'ole beach cruiser bike, and I rode it up and down the boardwalk where I was braking and weaving among other bikes and pedestrians the whole time. Took me an eternity, and my butt and legs were horribly sore upon dismounting. But, I did the "brick" thing and jogged a couple of blocks after to get accustomed to how badly that feels. So today, I climbed on my mountain bike which is outfitted with road tires, and rode it the exact 12 mile course of the tri. The run leg, happily, is advertised as "flat and fast." The bike leg, however, is not. For those familiar with this neighborhood, a good portion of it is hilly. They managed to put it downhill for the very longest and steepest hill, but other than that it is a lot of freakin' uphill. I did the whole thing in 51 minutes. Snail city! But, the cool thing was twofold. First, I had run earlier this morning, so my legs were not fresh, as they won't be after the swim, and second, as awful as I felt DURING the ride, after when I got off I didn't feel half bad, like a run wouldn't have killed me.

So, looks like I will be riding those hills a lot over the next month in an attempt to diminish them. Wish me luck!

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