Tri This: Month 3

I began my triathlon training adventure on June 12. I’d been pondering it for a few weeks, my curiosity having been reactivated by an article in the paper about a local sprint length event. I recall reading it, looking at the distances involved, and saying out loud “I can do that”. More important was my internal voice saying, “I want to do this”.

I let this idea rattle around inside for a bit, journaling about my intentions and a possible plan. Clarity arrived. My goals were to increase my fitness, become healthier, enjoy the process, and get to the point where I was ready for a sprint triathlon in 6 to 8 months. Some of the timing is seasonally driven as there aren’t a lot of triathlons in Colorado during the winter. My plan was to begin the process, logging both my exercise progress and mental /emotional status and reviewing monthly before committing to another month’s effort. If I was not having fun more often than not, then I wouldn’t continue.

Months one and two went well, with adventures and misadventures.Tri training, month 1Tri This: Month 2 Overall, things were positive, and I continued on. This third month had a few more challenges, albeit of a different nature. First, I was entered in a mini triathlon, which added a little intensity and urgency to my training. Coupled with that were travel plans, a wedding in WI and then the eclipse in OR, followed by the race, all in 10 days time. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that travel got all bolluxed up, Eclipsed! Plan Crash and we ended up skipping the wedding and driving to Oregon for the eclipse, which was fabulous. Then I came home, went back to work for a few days and then there was the triathlon.

The race went well, much better than I had anticipated in terms of time. The running was more painful than expected, probably since I had shaved nearly 20 percent off my previous fastest time on the bike course. Oh, my legs felt it big time. Nonetheless, I completed the race and am very pleased and proud to have done my first triathlon.

For me, the biggest question mark in the whole triathlon adventure is running. A long time  ago, I ran off and on, during my high school through med school and residency years. I did a few 10K races during that time. I didn’t train seriously, and while I sometimes enjoyed running, I actually liked the idea of running much more than the actual running. For the past 30 years, I haven’t done any running to speak of. Walking and hiking, yes. Biking, swimming, yoga, and figure skating, yes. Running, no.

Now, as I complete month 3, I’m pleased with my running progress, and I am aware I have a long way to go, both literally and figuratively. My current plan is to keep running 3 days a week, gradually increasing my distances. I did a “long” run on Saturday of 3.6 miles. By the end of month 4, I hope to have my longer runs in the 4 mile range. Thus far, after a rocky start to running, my body is tolerating it fine, although it takes a lot of stretching to remain comfortable.

This post-triathlon interval has been interesting. I’ve been tired; I think the intensity of travel, eclipse, work. home life and triathlon have caught up with me. Its been harder to motivate myself to train, and I’ve honored my need for rest. Slowly, I am finding a new training rhythm. The pace is slower, with fewer days having two events. For now, this feels right, as its clear to me that finding a sustainable pace of training within the context of my life is essential. I’ve had a few episodes of burnout in my past and have zero interest in doing that again.

I’m keeping four weekly slots in my training schedule for “other”. Currently, that’s figure skating twice, and yogalates and gyrotonics once each. Right now, I’m happy with the variety and balance of activities, and I will continue to monitor this.

My original goal in triathlon training: increase my strength and fitness, have fun, and prepare for a sprint length triathlon next spring. Right now, I feel as though these markers are being met, and I’m renewing my contract for another month of this journey. To celebrate the first 3 months and support the next months of this journey, today I ordered my own copy of The Triathlete’s Training Bible. This feels like the next right step to me.

 

5 thoughts on “Tri This: Month 3

  1. Agree that it takes a ton of stretching to keep the body comfortable with the running! I need to do some serious foam rolling tonight, I’ve let up a bit and my body is feeling it, especially with the extra mileage and small amount of sleep I’ve been getting.
    Speaking of that, reading your post makes me want to remedy that. ” I’ve honored my need for rest.” This sentence stuck out to me. I almost felt shame reading it. I’ve not really been honoring my need to rest but it’s been hard for me to let go of the groove I am in. Makes me realize though that I am operating on fear–as if my motivation and drive and ability to be productive is going to be stripped away from me if I slow down. I really need a night’s sleep longer than 5-6 hours. Maybe I will skip writing tonight and try for it.

    Lastly, as always, I really admire your balance of activities–mirrors the balance in other things in your life as well it seems. Love running, but the repetitive motion of all these miles can be wearing.
    Thanks Steph. x

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Cat, I really appreciate your perceptiveness. Some of those awareness and acceptance things I wrote of were learned the hard way. That I need sleep, more than most, (9 is my really happy place, 7 will do). And as you rightly recognized, fear can really be a trap: will I lose my groove? will I be enough if I don’t push, etc. Most of the time I’m able to remember that if it depends on this much drive and ignoring of my own needs, its probably not a good thing for me to be doing.
      I learned a lot of things through my years in medicine, and one of them is about the insatiability of systems. No matter what, the system wants more. Given that, its up to me to monitor what is right for me. In order for that to happen, I have to listen to myself carefully and value and trust what I discover. Even more of a journey than running, or triathloning, I think!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the idea of approaching it as a contract with yourself: aims laid out, whether you’re measuring up and progressing towards them, what changes you need to make if you’re not, and ‘renewing’ with yourself for as long as it’s a fulfilling endeavour. I will make a note of that!

    As someone who has never been there (or anywhere in the US for that matter), how is Colorado as a place? I’ve read plenty of books, memoirs and manuals on running and endurance sport and it seems to be a mecca for athletes to train. I have this idea of willowy, lean people running on dusty trails being a common sight, I wonder how true that is!

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    1. Your image of Colorado isn’t too far off. There are indeed lots of lean people running on the sometimes dusty trails. And then lots of not so lean folks also running, or walking or riding bikes. Its a more physically fit andactive state than much of the US, and by no means is it limited to elite athletes. That said, there are a lot of them around… Come visit sometime. And oh yes, we are at high altitude, which adds to the challenge!

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