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:

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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!?

Day 2 – Swim

Time: 11 minutes

Distance: ~150m

Weight: 271 lbs

My primary venue for swim training is going to be an Endless Pool, at least for the foreseeable future. In some ways, this is convenient. It’s at my parents’ house, so I can use it whenever I want. They keep it warm, so I can train at any time of year without a wetsuit. It’s free and easy – I just have to drive there and hop in.

It’s not going to be the same as open water, of course, which is where I’ll most likely be swimming in my first tri. It also doesn’t have a distance gauge on the current generator, so all I have to go on is my watch.

I’m using the Fitbit Ionic, which has a swim exercise function and tells me its estimate of how far I’ve gone. I don’t really know where that comes from, though. My height, and how many times I move my arm, I guess?

So I’ll call that a rough estimate, and focus on time. According to some past tri results I’ve looked at, it seems like I’ll need to be able to swim for 15-20 minutes without stopping to cover the distance of a sprint triathlon. If I can do that, I should be in a good place to compete with triathletes who are 30 years older than me.

I’m ok with that. I’m here to finish.

Day 1 – Strength

Air squats, dumbbell row, bench press, calf raises, crunches – 25 min

Weight: 273 lbs

Day 1 of a 12 week training program for a triathlon, based on Your First Triathlon by Joe Friel. Strength training, using some rusty old free weights I think I purchased in 2001 and the kids’ play mats on the floor in the rec room. The guinea pigs squeaked at me when I started, the dominant one eyeing me from the hutch the whole time as if looking for faults in my form. I have no idea what I’m doing so I’m sure she found a few. She can critique all she wants though; I have opposable thumbs.

The last time I worked out seriously with weights was circa 1994, with my brother at the local gym. Not even after purchasing these weights did I ever really use them. They became just another unused relic of failed intentions along a timeline of inconsistency.

The triathlon is interesting because it’s three sports. Not just one. If you get bored running, no matter, tomorrow is a bike day. If your butt hurts, that’s ok, time for a swim. And on and on into unfailing novelty. That’s the theory anyway, but I don’t have a great deal of optimism if I’m honest. I’ve never been good at sticking to something, and though I’ve run two marathons and biked several 100+ mile bike rides, it has never failed that periods of athletic productivity are followed by inevitable slumps when I fatten up and stagnate utterly. Training for a tri may get the race done after 12 weeks, but then what? My hope is that the three modes will give me enough variety to stick to at least something. And that I’ll be in shape enough to move on to winter sports with some kind of regularity.

It all remains to be seen. For now, I’m just going to focus on meeting the goal of doing the workouts on schedule, despite never seeming to have the time to do much of anything besides parenting and working.

If I can do that, and lose a few pounds in the process, it’ll be something, at least. And these rusty weights will finally see some use.