Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mental Image meets reality

This morning I decided I was going to switch it up and give my backside a rest for a day, so I chose to walk. Now the longest I have walked in the last 20 years might have been a mile. This morning I decided 2 miles was going to be no problem. My mental image had me cruising around my little one mile route and maybe even occasionally breaking into a jog just for fun. The reality is my body isn't ready for that yet.

I started out good and decided after the first 1/8 mile or so that I may have been a bit optimistic to think that I could throw in some jogging, but I felt strong and was confident I could do the 2 miles and maybe even 3. This feeling pretty much persisted until I approached the 1 and a half mile mark. At that point I started realizing that a good pair of correctly fitting shoes was definitely required. I also realized that It was going to be considerably more of a challenge to complete the 2 miles than I had ever dreamed.

The good news is that I did in fact finish the 2 miles. I actually didn't have much of a choice as I was a half mile from home when I was really starting to feel it. The bad news is how weak my legs felt after the last few steps into the house! I was also sweating much more profusely than I have been on the bike. I realize now that I really did start off with a much more aggressive distance for the walk than I had for the bike. The other thing that hit me was how slow it felt completing the 2 miles in just over 37 minutes which equates to better than 3 miles an hour, but still since its the same course I ride, it seemed very slow.

I have now realized that I can't be as casual with my training for the run/walk portion of the triathlon as I was thinking. I had this mental image that said 3.1 miles is no problem. I can just wait until much closer to the race to work o nit and I'm realizing now that I need to start working on it right away.

I am going to have to adjust my training plan accordingly. I need to be walking and then walking/jogging at least 3 miles a day, 3 days per week in the near future. I'll need to analyze the plan and see how I can make my adjustments. The other thing I need to get working on is my swimming, but that's a whole other post.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The training continues...

Last week I only rode 4 out of 7 days. My goal had been to ride 5 of 7 as I have been doing each week now, but with the days off and staying at the hotel for our mini-vacation I didn't make all 5 days last week. The wind didn't help either.

Starting Sunday I stepped it up again on the distance for the bike rides. My original training plan had me increasing from 6 to 7 miles per ride this week, but I was feeling good and actually increased it to 8. I did 8 miles yesterday and today as well. I really believe I could go farther except my butt is really hurting after 5 and 8 is about as far as I want to go right now.

I am going to have to explore some o[possible options like a new gel seat cover or changing the seat or angle as that is my main problem at the moment. My legs are feeling the work, but its not bad.

I've been tracking my training on Its a great site with lots of information for the reading. They have articles and forums which allow a beginner to ask the questions about their training and what to do/expect to get them into the sport of triathlons.

The one thing I'm noticing is that I really do look forward to my morning rides. the days I don't ride I miss it and feel guilty about not riding. Now I have never been an athlete nor trained for ANY sport in my life. That is one thing that is making this quite an eye opening experience. I've never really tried to push myself physically to do things and to increase my fitness - EVER.

I am hoping my current love of riding will continue for many, many years. I remember way back when I was riding in the March of Dimes Bike-A-Thons in my youth there was always one old gentleman who was in his 70's and he rode in every event. I want to be that person at that age.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How can I say this?

Last Saturday my wife and I volunteered at the Aflac Irongirl Triathlon here in Las Vegas. It was an inspiring, tiring, slightly confusing experience.

It was inspiring watch so many athletes put their heart and soul into an event and complete it. The two 70+ women who completed the entire triathlon were inspiring. The 15 year old, whose bike was parked under our watch eyes, completed the race in good time and was inspiring that she did it so young. The woman who was 9 months pregnant and still completed the swim and the run was inspiring. (She chose not to do the bike for fear of falling). Seeing all of these women doing something that I probably couldn't do right now, was very inspiring.

It was tiring in that we were course marshalls stationed at the transition area and were responsible for directing the athletes the correct way out of the transition depending on what they were going to next - the bike or the run. Because of our stationing in this area we ended up standing there for over 4 hours. Now I have to admit it has been a while since I have stood ANYWHERE for over 2 hours at a time.

It was confusing in that as we directed the athletes in the right direction and clapped and gave them encouragement, a large number of them thanked us! It was something I just hadn't expected to happen. This is what I'm doing a horrible job of expressing: the emotions I felt for being thanked for doing something I thought was simple a small piece in a much bigger picture.

The good news is that Michele has said she might do this event next year. There is a lot of work to be done to get ready for it, but I would be very excited, proud and happy for her if she really did do it!

On a side note, I have been reading many articles and other online information for beginning triathletes and I have decided to change my diet due to the needed carbs for sustained activities. I have been doing a very low carb diet since last September and I have to say there has been a good deal of success on the weight loss front (this morning I got on the scale and it showed 409), but I realize that if I am going to start training harder and for longer periods then my body is in need of more complex carbohydrates. Therefore I am going to start following the weight watchers point system and guidelines.

Friday, May 14, 2010

All it takes is a good plan...

OK, I have been thinking all week about how I am going to get from where I am now in my fitness level, to where I need to be in October and I've come up with a plan. I've sat down with my computer and an Excel spreadsheet and laid out exactly what I hope to accomplish in the weeks leading up to the Pumpkinman.

Right now I am in week P minus 23 and my goals for this week were to bike 5 days going 5 miles each day. Check. Walk 3 days going one mile each day. Only one mile so far, but 2 days left. And to swim at least 100 yards. I did swim a few laps in the small pool in my complex the other night, but I'm not counting those. So this evening we are swimming again and I'm planning on doing many laps (I think one lap is only 13 yards).

At week P minus 18, my goal is to ride 5 days, 10 miles each day; walk/jog 3 days, 2 miles each day and to swim 300 yards one day.

At week P minus 12, my goal is to ride 5 days, 12 miles each day; walk/jog 3 days 4 miles each day and to swim 500 yards one day.

As you can see, I'm definitely not trying to rush things. My goal is to gradually and consistently increase my training distances and work on my times as well. I've looked ahead to the bike coourse for pumpkinman and realized that there is over 1200 feet of elevation change from the lowest to highest point with one grade at over 8%. I am planning on riding th ecourse from Boulder Beach up, into Boulder city at least twice before the event.

I would be glad to share the excel spreadsheet for those who might want to take a peek.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Another decision made…Pumpkinman!!!

OK, I’ve gone and done it now. I’ve actually told a couple of people that I am thinking about trying to complete a Triathlon in October. Specifically the Pumpkinman. Of course I will want to keep it short for my first one, so I would do the Sprint distance which is a 750 meter swim, followed by a 12.4 mile bike ride and last, but by no means least, the 3.1 mile run OK, in my case this is likely going to be more of a walk).

I’ve even taken it a step further and challenged my daughter to do it with me. She has said yes and has actually been to the gym twice in the last 4 days, but I’m not sure if her commitment will last. I hope it does as I think it would be awesome to complete this with her. Only time will tell though.

So, to make it official, and so there is no equivocating on my part – I am going to complete the Pumpkinman Sprint Triathlon this coming October.

I have to say that this Is truly a new thing for me – a public declaration of my intention. I typically like to do things much more quietly so if it becomes too much of an obstacle, I can quietly back out. This is different. I will complete this and you are along for the journey.
Being the geek/nerd that I am, I started doing some online research to find out what I should be doing in preparation for this event. I have found several training guides or plans, but most of them are for fairly “normal” people to get into shape to complete a triathlon, not someone of my, er…stature!

The good news is that I have 24 weeks between now and the triathlon to get myself into shape. It sounds like a long time, but I have a feeling it is going to fly by. I am thinking that I need to work first and foremost on my biking and endurance (according to Mary a large part of the bike leg is uphill from Lake Mead to Boulder City), then my swimming and lastly my running. I list running last because right now, knowing almost nothing, I figure at the very least I can walk the 3.1 miles to the finish.

This is somewhat reinforced by what the Fat Cyclist ( has said about his first Triathlon he recent completed (Ironman, no less!). Essentially his position is that a good cyclist who is a mediocre swimmer and average runner can in fact more easily complete a triathlon than a great runner or swimmer who is not good on the bike. It makes sense to me logically so that is where I will focus the majority of my effort – developing my cycling.

At this point, then I need to put together a plan that will get me from my current ability (or lack thereof) to where I need to be in 24 weeks.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The good and the bad...

The good news is that I rode over the weekend and actually increased my distance by 1/3 this morning to 4 miles. The bad news is that a childhood friend of mine had a massive heart attack over the weekend. Talk about a dose of reality jumping up and smacking you in the face. It was very close for him but they did get him help in time and he should, with work and dedication, recover. On top of a 90% blockage in an artery, they are telling him he is diabetic as well. Before this journey was mainly intellectual - I know I need to lose weight and get in shape for better health. This has made it an emotional journey as well.

Let's face it - that could have been me! This is a very sobering and life changing thought. I know that I need to make the changes I am to get into a more healthy body and lifestyle and I am now willing to truly invest in making that happen.

More updates soon...