Archive for March, 2009

Less Than A Month To Go Until First Triathlon Race Day

I have finally gotten through a very crazy-busy work schedule at the  job, and I just returned last night from Chicago, where I attended The Housewares Show. I went to the show on Saturday with the very best of intentions, bringing all of my gym clothes with me, prepared to hit the gym bright and early every morning. But alas, life got in the way. If you’ve never been to a trade show, there is an awful lot of walking involved and it’s pretty exhausting. I didn’t make the gym for the whole three days or today either. Still recovering from not enough sleep and sore feet from walking miles in heels.

Now I have to get back in the swing of things because with just three and a half weeks to go before my race on April 18, I will admit, I’m starting to get a little panicky. The weather is still really cold here on Long Island and I really need to get some outdoor running and biking in. I don’t think they are going to let me run my race on the stationery bike and treadmill.

I’ve been training, albeit slowly, for five months now. Coming from a place of no exercise though, it has been an uphill battle all the way. I’m pretty confident I can finish the triathlon, but I’m finding that the little dialog that goes on in my head has been a little on the negative side and that part of me is wishing I’d waited for the August race so I’d have more time. I suspect though, if I’d waited, when August rolled around, I’d be feeling just like this. This is my first race, ever. I’m excited to be doing it but I’ll admit I’m really anxious too. Maybe that will get the adrenaline flowing and make me run faster? What do you think?

I’m looking forward to getting back to my routine tomorrow. I think once I’m back in the gym, I’ll feel a bit better. In the meantime, I did ok foodwise over the weekend and I’m grateful for that.

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How Far I’ve Come

I had a great run this morning. For me, anyway. I’ve been doing a modified Couch25K running interval training now since December.

And this morning, I ran a full mile without stopping. 12 minutes running without stopping. Did I mention this was great for me? Slow for anyone who is really a runner.  And I only needed 2 minutes walking recovery time before I was able to kick it up again and run the rest of my 2 miles (the distance of my upcoming race). I continued on the treadmill for three miles, but the triumphant part for me was finishing 2 in under 25 minutes (barely).

When I started Couch25K, I could barely run for a minute without feeling like collapsing. When I finally made it to three-minute intervals, I thought I would never get past that. And the first time I ran a 5-minute interval, I thought I might die. But here I am, running 12-minute intervals and now 3 minutes feels like cake. I don’t even notice when the clock goes past a minute anymore.

I’ve come a long, long way. I don’t know that I’m ready for my race in mid-April yet. I’ll be able to finish the 400-meter swim, 6-mile bike and 2-mile run mini triathlon, but I expect to be in the back of the pack. That’s ok. I’ll finish. If you told me a year ago that I’d even ever train for something like this, I would have fallen on the floor laughing.

The running has by far been the hardest part. But this morning it was worth every agonizing step. And I bet on April 18, when I cross the finish line, it will be even more worth it.

The added bonus? I’ve lost 46 pounds so far. Oh yeah, and I finally broke through that plateau with a 3-pound loss last week. Who says exercise isn’t fun?

Struggling Through a Plateau

This morning when I got on the scale, it finally budged. I’ve been battling the same two or three pounds for four or five weeks now (I’d stopped counting) and I’ve been more than a little frustrated. This morning I was down two pounds from my weigh in on Thursday, where I was down a mere .2. That’s a total of 43 pounds but I’ve been stuck right there. I’m going to make sure I eat even healthier this week to keep this momentum going.  It just seems so easy to bail when the scale won’t give you any love.

Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s not all about the number on the scale. I’ve been getting in my workouts and feeling stronger and stronger. And even though I’m still a little worried about my race in a month, I know I’ll be able to finish it, even if I do have to walk some of the run.

My clothes are fitting so much better, and people are taking notice. It’s easy though to get lax when everyone is proud of you and the scale doesn’t want to cooperate. I feel like maybe I’m just fine where I am. But I’m at the plateau that got me the last time. I stopped what I was doing when I hit this weight because I felt good and looked better. I figured it was enough. I know this time though that it is not enough. I don’t want to be super-skinny, but I want to be truly fit. And I know that is going to take at least another 20 pounds, preferably 30. I want to feel like I felt before I had kids. I want to know what it’s like to be able to wear anything I want. No layers. Sleeveless maybe even this summer.

My workouts will get easier as I get smaller too, and that will help my race stats.  This first race is just one I want to complete. But going forward, if I want to “compete,” I’ll need to be in top form. And that means staying on track through this plateau and the next until I’m at a weight and size I know is right for me.

Swimming Lessons

I’ve beswimming1en a swimmer all of my life. I really don’t even remember learning how to swim. I remember being in swimming lessons with my then 6-year-old brother, I think to keep him company and alert my father when he was turning blue from the cold water. Our swimming lessons took place in the Great South Bay on Long Island. My father was a lifeguard when we were young and learning to swim for us was like learning to walk – natural.

Today, I am eternally grateful for my swimming training when I was so young. I was a competitive swimmer in my early teens and a lifeguard, which is by far the best summer job ever, in my late teens and early 20s. I swam and swam and swam.

And then I had kids. And I stopped swimming….until I signed up for this triathlon. My triathlon decision was two-fold. I desperately wanted to get in shape and strong again, and I wanted a reason to start swimming again. Two years ago, I hurt my shoulder. Two partial rotator cuff tendon tears, a torn bicep tendon, tendonosis, bursitis and ultimately, frozen shoulder. It was four months before I even had more than 30% range of motion. I went through physical therapy, doctor stuff and worked my arm until I had range of motion again with minimal pain. My pain doctor told me that if I could tolerate it, swimming was the best thing I could do for my shoulder, considering I’d been a swimmer.

When I started swimming, I was only able to manage 8 25-yard laps without my shoulder reminding me that yeah, I was really out of shape. But within a couple of months, I’m swimming 50 laps and training my body to swim for a race again.

My shoulder feels much better, even though it still aches right after I get out of the pool, my arms are the same size again (after six months of extremely limited movement, my left arm had lost all muscle tone and looked even fatter than the right one), and I find that on swimming days, I’m more relaxed and centered than I am on any other day.

This last week, I finally got to take advantage of the pool in the morning. 6:00 am. It was wonderful. No one was there. The overhead flourescent lights were not on yet, and while the locker room was a little chilly, it was a balmy 92 degrees in the pool area and the water was like bath water.

It was peaceful and meditative and I got a really great workout. I concentrated on my form, my stroke, my breathing and myself.

I met a woman just going into the pool as I came back to the locker room to start my day. She is just learning how to swim, and while she loves the exercise, it’s been tough for her she said to get it right. At that moment, I was even more grateful that I learned to swim like I learned to walk. It’s such a spectacular exercise, and for me to get back to swimming, all it took was getting back in the water.