Updatey Goodness

I think it is HILARIOUS that I started my last blog post with “I think I’ll write something every Wednesday!”… and then wrote nothing for over a month.  Typical!

I’m still Weight Watching (down 29.8 pounds, woot!  But it barely shows, wahh).  I mean, my clothes are looser, but I can still wear them.  My face looks a little bit thinner, but overall?  It looks like exactly what it is – a drop in the bucket that is my long-term goal.

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I am definitely eating cleaner and healthier, and feeling well and energetic.  I sleep well and I mostly wake up feeling rested and refreshed.  However, when I get tired it hits me fast and hard.  I’m good, I’m good, I’m good… and then I am asleep in a corner, drooling on my arm.

Triathlon training is getting a little intimidating and overwhelming.  Not physically – Coach Irondad knows what he’s doing and doesn’t ask me to do anything I can’t handle – but mentally and emotionally, for sure.  Looking at the days and weeks ahead, I’m feeling a lot of “Oh shit, how am I going to be able to fit this in and make this work?”  But there is really no wiggle room – I HAVE to prepare for the 70.3 I’m doing in December.  Lately I’ve been wondering if I’ll be able to complete it in the time allowed (8 hours, 30 minutes).  I’m honestly not sure.  Though I’ve been training consistently and losing weight, I haven’t really been getting any faster… and I am ridiculously slow. Stress!  Self-doubt!

Nothing to do but keep giving it my best.

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Chugging Along

Nothing exciting to report.  Damn, but progress takes forever!

Weight Watchers is going well.  I love love love that most fruits and veggies are 0 points.  That might be what makes the difference for me this time, and allows me to be successful.  Because, for real, there is always a point at which I feel compelled – either by actual hunger or some feels – to have an eat attack.  And that usually derails me, because I’ve messed up, I’ve blown it – I’ve gone off my diet.  But when those moments strike… you know the ones:

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I can just eat a pile of vegetables and everything is A-OK.

I’ve done my triathlon training workouts as prescribed five days in a row.  That feels pretty good.  I have a Groupon for a massage, and I promised myself that if I do all my workouts through Sunday, I’ll book it as a little reward.

That is the State of the Gina.  How are you doing?

Sup guys?

I just “ran” for the first time in months (and the time before that was probably months as well).  The quotation marks are because I only had to run for a total of 5 minutes – and even that I did at my usual lumbering pace.  It did not feel good.

Platitudes that are not consoling me:

  • Every journey starts with a single step
  • You’re still lapping everyone on the couch!
  • The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen

Still, hey, I’m glad I did it.

The Sting

Wow. There’s so much I want to write about — I’ve had some crazy awesome training over the past week, a bunch of it with Coach Irondad – but I have to write one thing at a time, and I have to start somewhere. So I’ll start with the first thing that comes to mind, and that is the sting of so often being the fattest and the slowest.

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As you know, my life sort of imploded this year. From August through October, I was pretty much in survival mode. I ate whatever I wanted (and didn’t track it), I barely exercised, my sleep schedule was whack, and I certainly was not using my Game Plan. Result: I gained back more than 20 pounds and lost most of my fitness.

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This makes me very sad.

But since then, things have improved. I’m settling into my new job and getting back on the wagon a little bit at a time. And I’ve been trying to take advantage of my LA Tri Club membership, because it’s easier and more fun to do long workouts with a group (and because open water swimming solo is not terribly safe).

But the truth is, I’m really not in good enough shape to keep up. I tried an ocean swim a couple of weeks ago and had to cut it short when I could no longer see the group (in fairness, I did tell them to go on without me because I didn’t want to keep holding them up). I did a group ride on PCH this past Saturday and I believe they waited for me for at least 15 minutes (maybe longer) at the turnaround point, because I rode so much more slowly than everyone else.

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Now, I’ve never been fast, and I don’t really ever expect to be. Even at my best, I was at the back of the pack. But I have to say, it really stings to be working so hard and still coming up short. The feelings always come in stages:

1) Panic as I start to fall behind. (Oh man, I can’t go at the pace they’re going! What’s going to happen?)
2) Irrational blaming of others. (Alex is pushing the pace, with those crazy long legs of his! or They said this route was going to be flat!)
3) Self-loathing. (This always happens. I am the worst. I am a fat slob. Why do I kid myself and even try these things?)
4) Ridiculous determination. (Well, I am just going to run 5 miles, uphill, every day for a year until I’m amazing and this never happens to me again!)
5) Acceptance. (Ok, I’m just gonna swallow my pride, gut it out and finish this, and try again next time.)

Now I KNOW (in my head, if not in my heart) that the last bit is the most important. I know it’s about finishing and doing my best, and not about competing with anyone besides myself. I know that the athletes and friends with whom I train are kind and compassionate people who mean it when they say that it’s ok, and they’ll wait for me, and they hope I come out again.

That doesn’t really stop it from stinging. It’s no fun, being the fattest and the slowest. The only solution, though, is to keep working at it – both my fitness, and my feelings. And that’s one of the things I love about triathlon, constantly working at pushing out of my comfort zone and becoming someone I really like.

Race Report: Big Rock Sprint Triathlon

Saturday was my second triathlon! Here, let me tell you all about it.

The Good

  • I got to share the experience with wonderful people!  My husband and two of my close friends also participated, and it was their first triathlon. The husband of one of those friends was there too, and I made sure he knew that Support Spouses are the unsung but much-appreciated heroes of multi-sport. My Irondad and stepmom came out and cheered us on and took pictures and video. It was so great being there with all these people I love.
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Triathlete husband, Irondad, and me!
Photo credit: Andrea Bonham

  • The course was nice! The water temperature in the lake was pleasant, there were pretty wildflowers growing throughout the recreation area, and there was a paved path to run on.
  • I made a good decision, asking for late check out at the hotel so we could go back to shower and change after the race. I felt so much more human going out to lunch minus all the sweat, sunscreen and cold wet clothing!

The Bad

  • The weather. It was hard to enjoy the scenery because we couldn’t see it – the whole morning was ridiculously foggy. It was also kind of cold, windy, and drizzly on the bike (this didn’t bother me, but Alex was cursing me, thinking “She SAID it was going to be pretty!”).
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Triathletes in the mist!
Photo credit: Scott Evans

  • The race was pretty disorganized. There weren’t enough buoys or kayakers on the swim course, especially considering the visibility issues. The volunteers were all kids who didn’t know what was going on or where anything was. The transition area was not arranged by number (which I know is just how it is sometimes, but I’m not a fan). The run was on the honor system – there was no volunteer or timing mat at the sprint turnaround point, just a small sign.
  • The religious element. Nowhere in the advertising for this did I see anything about it being a Christian event, yet I stood there uncomfortably while they said a pre-race prayer over the PA, and we are now the not-so-proud owners of Big Rock Triathlon t-shirts with bible verses printed across the front. Not cool.
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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come…” (???)
(Best comment from one of our friends: “Pretty sure He got DQed after trying to walk on the swimming stage.”)

Now on to the race itself!

The Swim

It was a Stephen King horrorshow of mist and fog. Triathletes would head out into the water, get about 10 feet away, and completely disappear.

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Photo credit: Scott Evans

My girlfriends and I were in the very last wave, and I know I’m not a particularly strong swimmer. I worried that everyone would just take off and I wouldn’t be able to see anyone or know which way to go… so I threw everything I know about proper swimming technique out the window. I kept my head above water almost the entire time, and did my bizarre breast-stroke doggie-paddle frog-kick swim as fast as I could. It worked! I followed the half-mile course and finished in 19:01.

The Bike

I survived! The 20k course took me 47:53, which is just ok (averaged about 15mph). I know I can ride faster, especially with some hill training and some more practice with clipless pedals). My loaner bike was light and fast, but I am still getting used to the different geometry of it, and the clips still terrify me. I mounted and dismounted very slowly and carefully (but didn’t fall!), and I walked a little bit on the big hill at the end because I was going so slow I was afraid I might fall over, clipped in. All in all, I’m ok with my bike leg.

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Photo credit: Mike Radogna

The Run

Ugh. Not my best 5k. Lots of walking – my calves were cramping and the cardio endurance just wasn’t there. 37:32.

Overall… I’m so glad I did this one. I’m proud of myself and my loved ones for completing it, and it was a good wake-up call that I have some work to do before my longer triathlons this season.  Onward!

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Photo credit: Scott Evans

Book Review: Slow Fat Triathlete

For Christmas, I was given a nifty present: this book. I think my stepmom was nervous to give it to me, worried I’d think she was calling me fat. And slow. Turns out, I kinda am, so whatever, plus I’d really wanted to read it for a while!

I’d recommend this book to anyone considering doing their first triathlon. The information provided is basic and accessible, and doesn’t get too far into the technical side of things (though it does include a nice glossary in case you need to look up awesome-sounding triathlon terminology like “fartlek“).

The book doesn’t tell you anything you can’t look up on the internet, but that’s okay. Her tone is conversational, and if you’re like me – fairly new to multi-sport and not the typical lean mean athlete machine – it’s really great to read her personal stories and get the perspective of a normal human being.