Back in the zone

4 days down this week, with little to no hesitation or holding back, and things seem to be holding up well. I’ve had moments of tightness but no pain.

I’m trying to take lessons from this experience. It was a very minor injury, all things considered. It hasn’t taken long to get back to training how I want to be training. I missed a couple of runs and bikes but I was still able to swim, and swim pretty hard. My reaction was an emotional one, out of proportion and probably detrimental to other aspects of my life.

It’s yet another example of triathlon teaching life lessons. Find perspective. Things are rarely as bad as they seem. Above all, remember and learn, and apply next time.

This week has been a sudden preview of the coming onslaught of winter, and a test of my cold weather riding gear. My first ride was in 35 degree rain; today it was 28 degrees and snowing. I know I’m going to need an indoor trainer, but I’m putting it off as long as possible. Being outdoors is too important.

On the way home today I rode by my youngest daughter’s outdoor ECO class and stopped by for a visit and some tic tac toe with sticks and leaves. Definitely a highlight of a very cold ride.

Easy run

Today I went out for an easy run. It was on the schedule as an easy chill run anyway, but I took it extra slow, running near 11-minute miles and being really careful on the hills in particular. I stopped a couple of times to stretch also.

I felt the muscle pull but it didn’t hurt. I didn’t feel like it was slowing me down. A few times there were periods where I didn’t feel it at all.

Afterward, I felt it probably more than I had during the run itself. So I don’t think it’s completely better, and I’m not sure what will happen when I get back on the bike. But for now I’m glad to have been able to get out for a quick run at least, and get a green compliance day on TP. I’m trying not to be overconfident about it, but I’m very eager to put those red non-compliance days far behind me soon.

Family Brick

This only barely qualifies as a brick, but I did technically ride a bike and then go for a run, so I’m counting it.

The family and I loaded up the car with all of our bikes, all four of ‘em, and headed to a nearby bike path.  Our kids are still learning how to ride, so the flat, protected area was perfect for them.  

We saw some amusing sights along the way, including a goat corral where goats were being used to help eliminate some poison ivy.  Apparently they love the stuff.

As it turns out, their names are Ruth, Bader and Ginsburg.  Not even kidding.

After we got home, I went out for a longer run, even longer than my run earlier in the week.  I had already begun to think past my third triathlon to next season.  I knew I would have to start extending the time I spent on the roads, both in my shoes and on the wheels.  No time like the present to start that process, I figured.  I had a couple of weeks until triathlon #3 so I wasn’t too worried that I would affect that performance.

A frustrating thing was that my Fitbit Ionic crashed on me during this run, so I wasn’t able to record the GPS data or heart rate, and had to manually calculate my pace after the fact based on the times that I left and returned, and by knowing the distance of the route using Strava.

  • 5.20 mi Distance
  • 51:00 Duration
  • 9:48/mi Pace

That was really a bummer because the stats help motivate me, and this was the longest run I’d done so far in this training program.  I wanted the numbers and the route, as a milestone entry in my log.  But I had to settle for a manual entry.

22-mile ride

  • 22.25mi Distance
  • 1:23:07 Moving Time
  • 1,591ft Elevation
  • 199W Estimated Avg Power
  • 992kJ Energy Output
  • Speed 16.1mi/h avg, 45.6mi/h max
  • Heart Rate 147bpm avg, 182bpm max

This ride was a milestone in my triathlon training adventure.  Not a huge milestone, maybe more like a milepebble.  But it was something that I felt proud of.

When my parents moved a couple of years ago to live closer to us, I jokingly suggested that I could start training for triathlons now, because they were close enough to bike to, and owned an Endless Pool.  At the time it was just a lark.  I was probably 50 pounds overweight and it would be at least a year before they even thought about installing the pool again, after dismantling it from their old house. Not to mention that the route between my house and theirs “ain’t flat” (to use a common expression around these parts).

Still, the idea never completely left my brain.  It sort of percolated.  And eventually, after a series of particular life events, I found myself training again.  And the triathlon plan was a viable possibility.

This ride really solidified the reality of what I was trying to do.  It wasn’t just that I had thought about doing this ride, and then eventually did it.  It was that I could do it.  It took weeks of training and reacquainting myself with my road bike to reach the point where I could ride 20 miles on my own without blowing up, much less on a route like this. But I did it, and that was a thing I did that I was proud of.

The ride was pretty much a steady climb for the first five miles, and included three Category 4 climbs, and my climbing muscles felt it.  I learned a lot about my own personal riding on this ride, paying attention to how I positioned myself on the bike in order to focus on different muscles and relieve the pain of the persistent climb.  I figured out that I could shift that pain around a lot by changing how I was sitting and leaning, and trade the effort off between different parts of my legs.

The payoff was a sweet extended downhill cruise to the flats, topping out at around 46 mph at one point, followed by watching a World Cup game with my Dad.  

It was a good day, and one of the first days since starting this plan that exercise felt really, honestly good.  It was great to have that feeling back again.

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!?