Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thanks Universe. I'm Glad We've Reached an Understanding.

For those who don't know, it's official, I've registered for my very first Triathlon!!!
Which also happens to be my first race of any kind outside of when I was on swimteam in high school. I mean, why start with one sport when I can start with three?
I've always been indecisive, so this kind of eliminated having to pick one sport to concentrate on. Problem solved.

Except for that one thing.
You know the one.

That one where I don't bike.
Or run.
At all.

Ya.... that one....

I've been thinking about signing up for a triathlon for a month or two now, so I'd have something to train for, instead of just "because." Don't get me wrong, there are all kinds of becauses: weight loss, endurance, it's good for me, my heart, my mood, my sleep, you name it. Plenty of because.

But because was getting a little monotonous. I like exercise, and I like all those reasons TO exercise, and while I definitely see progress in my group exercise classes as I can do more and push harder, I wasn't working TOWARD anything, just building habits I intend to keep forever. That's awesome. But kinda boring.

Now a RACE, on the other hand, is exciting!!! Particularly my very FIRST race outside of school sports!

So, I figured, I better at least try out a spin class and see if I can do that.
Now, this may not SOUND like a big deal, but it was to me. I'd tried the spin class about a year ago, and it was AWFUL. I was totally incapable of standing up and pedaling at the same time, I couldn't keep up, and my tenders hurt for a week afterwards.

Did not like.
All I was hoping for was better than that!
Despite my fear, and some worry for my sensitive bits, I gave it a try... AND KICKED THAT SPIN CLASS'S ARSE!!! It was a great work out, but I had no problem keeping up.

Biking: not so scary.

And then I started telling people about my thoughts and saying "probably" instead of "maybe."

And then I did it. I registered for my first race last week!!!!!

Yesterday marked 12 weeks out, or, Tri Training Day 1
I decided to start with the familiar, and hit the pool. I still swim semi-regularly, but I don't track my yardage, I just do whatever sounds fun for 45 minutes to an hour, usually while wearing my fins, and then sit in the hot tub!

So last night I decided to swim about 3/4 of a mile (the distance of the swim in the race), withOUT fins, and see how hard it was/how long it took/etc. I don't know how long the pool at my gym is, so to be safe I counted one length of the pool as 20 yards (instead of the usual 25, because I suspect it's a tad short of that). I got tired of trying to do math, but I know a mile is somewhere between 1800 and 1900 yards, if I was doing it right, so I decided to just swim 1500 to be safe.
I assumed it would take me about 45 minutes to an hour.... And I swam it with no problems in about 25 minutes!

So you may have noticed something...
Former competitive swimmer still swims regularly, so
Swim: check
Tried the spin class, had no problems with a solid hour of hard cycling, so
Bike: needs practice, but check

Running.... Well.... I hate running. I can't stand it. I have never and I mean NEVER liked running. Even at my best physical shape as a competitive swimmer I couldn't complete even 1 lap around the track on the days they forced us to run.

I can't run, I have knee problems.
I can't run, I'm too fat.
I can't run, I get those terrible side stitches when I try.
I can't run.

When I TRY to run I'm fairly convinced that I'm going to shoot lasers out of my eyes in order to destroy the treadmill so that I wont have to run anymore.

But I WANT to be able to run. Having never been able to, I don't actually know, but I THINK being able to run would be really really great. I can't really explain it, but I can picture it, and in my brain it seems pretty fantastic.

I decided to try. Again.
I've tried the Couch to 5k program about 3 or 4 different times, but never made it past week 3. It HURT, so I stopped.

I was riding pretty high on discovering that a 3/4 mile swim is something I can easily work up to practically sprinting in the 12 weeks I have 'till the race...
So I went for it.
I set my alarm 90 minutes early last night.
I actually got up instead of snoozing through it, changed into some freshly washed work out gear and my new shoes (same as my old shoes, but new), gulped down a bunch of water, put on my HRM and earbuds, and left the house!
While it was practically dark out!!!!
I had a plan. There is a little park about 5 blocks from my house with a lake in it, and a nice path all the way around it, and all kinds of cute duckies and gooses and things. I decided to walk briskly from my house to the lake, and then ATTEMPT to just run the whole loop without stopping.
I had no clue how long the loop was, but I've walked it a bunch of times, so I knew it was long enough to be challenging but not so long that I was being crazy.

I've heard people who run say over and over again that there is a part at the beginning where it basically totally sucks, and then they push through that, and hit some kind of pace where they feel good and like they could run forever.

I've heard this enough, from a wide enough variety of people, that it is PROBABLY not just something they say to trick me. But I had my doubts.

I reasoned with myself: these people are probably not trying to trick me. Some of them are older, fatter, creakier, in worse shape, less motivated, or whatever other excuses I use, and they can do it.
I am a human.
I probably have a pace.
I deserve a pace!
I deserve that magical pace place where I feel like I can run forever, and I will find it!!!!

Now how to find it?
The Lulu version: If I am not ACTUALLY going to pass out, or die, or injure myself, I can keep running, even if I don't think I can.

The run started out nervous, but good. I reminded myself that I wasn't worried whatsoever about how slow I go, just that I GO, and don't stop. I had some good tunes, I found a comfortable quick jog, and tried to distract myself as much as possible with the cute duckies and people's dogs, and the children walking to school, and pretty much anything I could find to think about other than the fact that I was running....
And I kept running....
And before I knew it I was half way around the loop and still feeling surprisingly okay!
Was this the magical pace? Did I find it?
Well if I did I lost it about 200yds later, when my legs started to feel like big heavy rubber things, and I was pretty sure I was gasping but couldn't actually hear myself over my earbuds, and wanted more than anything to just slow down to a walk. But I wasn't going to pass out. I wasn't going to die. I wasn't risking injury. There was no good reason not to keep going, I was more than halfway there, just keep going!!!
I just kept telling myself, over and over. I'm not actually going to pass out, die, or injure myself, I can keep going. I can do this. I can meet this goal and run farther on Friday and run 5 whole miles after swimming 3/4 of one and biking 16 on May 20th. I can run this loop!!!
And I did it!!!
I ran the whole loop!!
And I did not pass out or die or injure myself!!!!

When I got home I turned to my old friend the google machine to see just how far I'd managed to run. I was able to do it, so I was guessing a half mile at most, if I was lucky.

The google machine told me that I actually RAN, as in not walked, and I even feel confident in saying it was a little better than a jog for most of MORE THAN A MILE.

1.3 miles to be exact.
ON MY VERY FIRST TRY. And in only about 10 or 11 minutes!!!!!!!
And in the nick of time, because as I stepped into the shower, feeling victorious, it started to rain.

That's right, I ran in the almost sunshine, a whole 1.3 miles, and THEN the rain came.

Just when I thought the universe wasn't on my side.
Thanks universe. I'm glad to see we've come to more of an understanding.

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