Challenges

Training continues to chug along.  So far I haven’t missed a day since the Toronto debacle, and I managed to do a couple of the “optional” workouts to boot.  I am starting to get over the “I haven’t exercised in forever and it’s horrible” hump.  It doesn’t feel quite as awful to get out there, particularly to ride my bike(s).  I’m really starting to get into mountain biking, which is an interesting diversion from road biking and a completely different challenge.  It’s a good strength workout for me currently, and always makes my body feel destroyed all over – mostly in a good way.  As an added bonus, when I get back on my road bike, it feels like a rocket ship by comparison.

My biggest challenges right now remain my foot, and my weight.

My foot (specifically my right one) suffers from plantar fasciitis, which is literally a big pain.  It started about a year ago, and when it first hit, it was so bad that it was difficult to walk at times.  Running was definitely out of the question.  I got through what seems to have been the worst of it, but it still rears its head occasionally and makes running an extra challenge.  I think I would be a lot further along in my running progression than I am if I didn’t feel like I was getting shot in the heel every step.  When it’s bad enough, it cramps up my whole right side, all the way to my upper back.  It’s not a fun time.  

Besides therapeutic doses of ibuprofen, the one thing that seems to really help it is this ridiculous boot that I wear at night.  It’s a splint, pretty much like this one, that immobilizes my foot and performs kind of a passive stretch.  It works wonders; when I wake up in the morning, I often no longer even feel the pain, whereas before I sometimes couldn’t stand on my foot because it hurt so badly.  It doesn’t stop it from reacting to runs, particularly on hills, but it helps a lot.

The other thing going on is my weight.  It’s not changing.  At all.  And I don’t really get it.  I’m not eating more; I’m pretty sure I’m eating less.  I’ve made some changes like no stand-alone cheese snacks or added cheese on anything, and I’ve given up cereal for breakfast and I’m only eating oatmeal or eggs.  Nothing drastic, but after 3+ weeks of regular exercise, compared to virtually nothing before that, I thought I would have lost something by now.  My only real theory is that all the cycling I’m doing is building muscle, which weighs more than fat, so I might be dropping some fat but adding muscle.  

To make matters sort of worse, I got this smart scale and it immediately told me I had gained five pounds compared to my previous scale.  It seems accurate relative to itself, so I guess that’s all that really matters, but it was a bit discouraging.  I am liking the features, though, and the ease with which it logs my weight over time, integrates with Apple Health and Fitbit, and even provides me with all sorts of other crazy stats just by apparently smelling my feet.  I don’t put a lot of stock in the secondary stats but it’s interesting.  

We are going camping this weekend as a family so it’ll be another challenge to get my workouts done, but we will be on a lake so I can try my first open water training swim, and we’re bringing the bikes.  We’ll have to see if the weather cooperates, is all.

Bad food and baseball

I went to great lengths last week to ensure that my training would stay intact despite a planned trip to Toronto for the weekend. I rearranged training days so that all of my swimming would be over the weekend, and made sure that the hotel we stayed in would have a pool. I packed light, carrying just a backpack, but made sure it contained my swim gear. I was ready to stick to the plan.

Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. For one thing, it turned out that the pool at the hotel was out of service for some reason. They hadn’t bothered to tell us before arrival. I guess it’s normally just an amenity, but to me it felt like I had gone to a fair amount of effort focused around that pool in particular, only to find out it wasn’t available. I was annoyed.

However, it didn’t take more than a few blocks of walking after leaving the airport to realize that I had also made a fatal undergarments error. What is comfortable on an airplane is not comfortable for walking, especially after being cooped up in stuffy cabins and terminals all day. I was severely chafed by the time I got to the room.

What was worse, though, was a bug I seemed to have picked up just before leaving. Gastrointestinally speaking, things were not good. And they would stay not good for the entire trip. Swimming was definitely not happening.

I salvaged what I could. I got a lot of walking in, as one inevitably does in a city, and managed to keep the chafing under control. I was extremely uncomfortable at times, but luckily it didn’t progress much beyond frequent bathroom visits and awkward walks.

We got to see a lot of baseball, and the Jays swept the series. We went up the CN Tower, an overpriced tourist trap that at least afforded some nice views.

On Monday I had a rest day, and I took it. Since picking things back up this week, I feel pretty good overall. I think the few days of extra rest may have been better for me than I realized.

Frustratingly, my weight remains immobile. I haven’t made any significant diet changes, so I knew weight loss would be slower than I’ve done it in the past, but I really thought I’d see some kind of shift by now.

All Tri’d Up

I’m probably going to stop trying to keep track of the specific training days I’m on according to my schedule here, because it’s kind of a pain and things are getting switched around a lot.  Besides, it’s all on Strava anyway, so this blog serves a different purpose.

Last night I registered for three triathlons.  They are each at least two weeks apart from each other, and happen toward the end of the summer.  After all, that’s what triathlon refers to, right?  Doing three of them?

I have no idea whether I can even do one, at this point.  I’m able to complete distances equivalent to each of the individual legs of a sprint triathlon, so I know I could do them in isolation.  Hopefully I’ve got enough time for training to put them all together.

I also don’t know what kind of recovery time I’ll need in between events, so that’s kind of a gamble.  However, I’ve run a couple of marathons in the past and I know that after two weeks I could have gone for another good long run again, and I think marathons are much harder than sprint triathlons, at least at the speed I’ll be going (slow).

One of the triathlons I registered for has a “Clydesdale” category for men 220 lbs+.  I decided to go for that category rather than the age group I’d be in.  Might as well embrace it.

Training is starting to improve slightly.  I’m less exhausted every day, and the workouts don’t hurt quite so much. Stil a long way to go before I’m at a weight I feel comfortable with and before I can do a workout that feels sufficient to me, but I feel like I’m starting to get over the initial hump of awful.

Day 11 – Run

Distance: 3.43 mi

Time: 42 min (trails)

Weight: 272.4

It is becoming clear that half the struggle of training for a triathlon is going to be the scheduling. So far I’ve managed to do every workout on the plan, but I’ve already had to rearrange it quite a bit to accommodate other things. It’s a fact of life, I suppose, being a working parent and having a modicum of an external life, too. I expected that just figuring out how to do the workouts would be a hard part. But it’s made even harder by the three disciplines. I need to be near water to swim on swim day. I can’t bike in a thunderstorm, or take my bike certain places. There are extra variables that make it more challenging.

11 days of workouts and I would say that progress is slow.  The miles aren’t any easier, I’m exhausted every single day and I don’t feel like it’s getting any better.  I know there’s always a hump to get over when you start up a training program.  I’ve been here a thousand times, it seems, so I haven’t given up hope yet.  I’ve gotten through this part before.  Hopefully I can again.  

This is my relationship with my weight, which closely corresponds to my relationship with exercise:

image

This is why the end goal of this current plan is to establish continuity. ‘Maintain,’ as they say.

It would be nice to have lost at least a pound by now, though.  I’m a little mystified that my weight hasn’t changed at all, considering I went from basically zero activity to full-on endurance workouts every day.  I am doing a lot of hills, though, and cycling for me at this point is essentially a strength workout, so maybe I’m losing a little fat and gaining some muscle and that’s equaling out.  

I don’t think there’s any way that I continue exercising like this and don’t lose weight though, as long as I keep my eating in check.

And I’ve stopped eating cheese, for the love of god. That has to count for something or what is the point of living!?