Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Endurance Girl I am not

So I have 9 more weeks to train for this triathlon. I am beyond nervous about it, to the point that I've started having nightmares about it. Specifically, the swimming. Last night I had to swim a labyrinth of lake and my feet kept touching the primordial ooze at the bottom of the lake and grossing me out. And, I was the last one to finish swimming and everyone else was done with the race before I even got on my bike. Another time I had to swim in the ocean, only when I got to the beach the ocean was overflowing with all manner of creatures--whales, those crazy eels from the Little Mermaid, turtles, dolphins--and I was too scared to go in and had to forfeit.

Anxious? Me? Noooo.........

At any rate, here's where I'm at with my training:
Swimming - I went swimming three times last week and will do the same this week. I figure I need to continue swimming at LEAST three times a week for the next 9 weeks in order to be prepared for this event. The half mile distance equals about 900 yards, or 18 laps in my 25-yard-long pool at the Y.

Currently, I can swim 18 laps in about 40 minutes, and I have to take a break to breath after pretty much every lap. I often have to flip onto my back and just kick in order to catch my breath. Endurance Girl I am not.

The director at my Y recommended this class to help me train, but, well. I went to check it out and chat with the instructor, and he had me swim just one lap for him before turning me away. He told me that once I could swim 200 yards in 2 minutes, I could come back to the class. Which was humiliating and devastating and led to me crying in the shower until I did the math, and realized...200 yards in 2 minutes. That's 4 laps. That's 30 seconds per lap, or getting from one end of the pool to the other in just 15 seconds. If I could do that, then I'd be swimming all 18 of my laps in just 9 minutes. And if I could do that, I WOULDN'T NEED THE STUPID CLASS IN THE GODDAMN FIRST PLACE!!! Upon realizing this, of course, I stopped crying, logged the whole experience in my workout journal, and went home.

So, I'm back to training on my own. Swimming 18 laps, three times a week, and hoping I eventually learn how to keep going for the whole distance without stopping and panting in the shallow end.

Biking - I bought a bike! Oh, I love it. It's so pretty and shiny and fast. I want to name it and buy it presents and write it love songs.
New Bike!
I do not look cool on my bike. I do not care.

When I tried it out at the store, I pushed off and just felt like a little kid again. The wind in my face, the thrill of the speed. There may as well have been streamers coming off my handlebars, it was so awesome. I went for a 9 or 10 mile ride on Saturday, and while I felt it for sure, it wasn't impossible to get through. I feel fairly certain I could muddle my way through the other 2 - 3 miles come June. As long as the course is fairly flat. Ahem. At any rate, biking 1 - 2 times per week should have me in pretty good shape for this thing, I think.

Running - I'm running the full 5k about once a week now, and last week I shaved another 2 minutes off my time. I can walk 2 minutes then jog 3 minutes consistently for the whole distance. My time now is 45:40 for 3.2 miles. At this point with the running I'm just trying to get stronger, so my legs aren't all wrecked after finishing the distance. I don't mind switching from running to walking, as it really works for me. However, I would like to be able to jog the whole distance. We'll see how far I get.

So, that's where I'm at. Not bad, but not great either. I am certainly doing more now than I was when I started this endeavor, so I've made progress. However, with only 9 weeks left to train, I really need to start sticking to a more stringent schedule (swim x3, jog x1 or 2, bike x1 or 2, every week). And, of course, I haven't starting putting these things together really at all. On Saturday I swam my whole distance in the morning, then biked for 9 or 10 miles later in the afternoon, and then my body was totally wrecked for the next two days and I couldn't do anything without risking injury. Which throws off my schedule--not good. I'm hoping I can start putting at least two of the distances together starting in May. We shall see.

As always, tips and encouragement are totally welcome!!


lorealle said...

you are AMAZING and i am so proud of you! [and you look ADORABLE on yr bike, which is infinitely better than looking cool.]

Dinah said...

Thanks doll! I like this photo because my smile definitely captures the "Wheeeee!" feeling I get when I ride my bike.

tuckova said...

I think you should put streamers on the bike, because then it will be obvious to everybody that the reason you don't look cool is that you have transcended cool. A fact that is simply obvious to anybody reading this, but might need to be spelled out to anybody you're zooming by on your pretty, pretty bike. With handlebar streamers.

Brett said...

I can't believe that swim instructor was so cruel, but good for you for persevering.

I like the bike. I'm sure it will serve you well in training and on race day.


Ka Ching said...

Dinah, the swim instructor at the Y must have been smoking something. 200 yards in under 2 minute is a seriously fast competitive time. Was it a team? Wait...no...I can't think of a Y team anywhere that would have time standards like that...when I swam Division One in college, I was only swimming 1:55-ish 200s at my very fastest (granted, it wasn't my event, but STILL).

Ignore that dude. Seriously.

Dinah said...

You know, Anne, there's an excellent chance I will put streamers on my bike. Then everyone will know how I feel about riding it.

Brett--thanks! I'm still weighing costs between shipping my bike or renting one when I get to Austin, but I'd sure love to have it there for the race.

Jenny--The more I think about it, the more I feel certain he must have mis-spoke, and meant to say 100 yards in 2 minutes, or 200 yards in 4 minutes. EVEN SO that would have me swimming my whole distance in 18 minutes and, again, if I could do that, I wouldn't need his stupid class. So, yeah. I'm ignoring him.

flavorpacket said...

Upon realizing this, of course, I stopped crying, logged the whole experience in my workout journal, and went home.
This makes you far more awesome than I will ever be.

Dinah said...

Yeah, here's what I logged in my Wonder Woman workout journal after that whole thing went down:
"In conclusion,
1. That guy is mean and ugly and I hope he doesn't get laid until he's 40.
2. I will learn to swim on my own
3. Fuck it, dude."

Because sometimes, pure venom is better than tears. ;)

- The M.A.D. Hapa said...

Dude, that guy at the Y was totally high. If I go balls to the wall it would take me at least 3 min and 30 sec to swim 4 laps. I'm not an athlete but I've been swimming consistently for about 10 years (not to mention the whole scuba instructor part of it).

When I do pool workouts, I aim for a one-lap-per-minute pace. If I were you, that's what I'd shoot for. Did you know they make underwater cases for iPods? Maybe it will help if you have some good tunes to listen to (no songs from The Little Mermaid soundtrack, of course).

Julie said...

Hi Dinah! I just popped by your blog to see what you’re up to and was so excited to see that you’re training for a triathlon! I got started doing triathlons last year. In fact, I had trained all summer for my first race, scheduled for August 17 and then Chris got run over on August 14, how's that for timing. So all that training went down the drain. BUT as soon as we got home from NY I made myself sign up for the next race (which was only a few weeks away) and completed it. I was in terrible shape (being underweight, stressed out and having done zero exercise the past two months) and still managed to get through the race. So I am confident that with all of your training you’ll do great.

Personally, I find the most challenging portion of the race to be the mental aspect of the swim, especially if you’re swimming with a bunch of first-timers (which the Danskin race is known for). You’ll have people swimming over you, kicking you in the body, slapping you in the legs, etc. Like Karmer said, it’s like swimming through a flabby armed spanking machine. And, you’re swimming in open water which isn’t clear like the pool, is choppy and has no lane lines to follow. So make sure you do plenty of open water training before your race. And if possible, swim the actual body of water you’ll be racing in at least once before the race. If you have a few friends who are also training for this race you guys should swim together in one lane in the pool so you get used to swimming in tight quarters and navigating around other people while you swim. I would also suggest you take swimming lessons (you may already be doing this). Swimming is very technical and its best to get coaching on proper form for your stroke and kick early on before bad habits form. I might also advise picking up a tri-suit if you think you'll do future triathlons. I have a two piece tri-suit that I train in and a one piece that I race in (the two piece is much easier to take off to go to the bathroom, that’s why I don’t train in a one piece).

I also found a book I really like that has training schedules for different race distances, from sprint to iron man. I’m following the intermediate sprint plan now and will switch to the Olympic plan in May. I’ve found it really useful so far. It’s called The Woman Triathlete by Christina Gandolfo.

I’m doing the Danskin in Orlando this year, which is coming up in a few weeks. Then after that I think I’ll do a few more sprint distances races and then train for an Olympic distance in late August. Florida has a lot of triathlons so it’s a good place to live if you enjoy the sport.

Good luck to you!

Dinah said...

Yeah, Megan, I think that guy was a little high, and/or doing the math wrong in his head. I can shoot for a minute per lap, my problem is the breaks between laps.

Hi Julie! Thanks for all the tips and advice! I'll definitely hit you up for more outside of the blog arena.

Jen Rotert said...

It is terrific that you are doing this. I know I have said it before but really....you are amazing! My Dad was a tri-athlete when I was a kid (like the freakish Iron Man kind) and I can tell you that he would do crazy things to push himself during his training like riding his bike from Denver to Vail. While I don't think that is necessary in your case, you are figuring out what works best for you and that is all that matters.

I am routing for you! Keep up the training.