Friday, August 30, 2013

My new mantra: I love to swim.

I'm switching up my schedule next week to break up my biking, but I was wondering about when to do my swimming.  I did what every reasonable person does when in search for info - I googled it.  I saw many people saying swimming every day is ok (even good) and some specific triathlon advice about swimming every day.  So starting Monday, I am swimming M-F, and taking Saturday and Sunday off from swimming.  If all those random people are right, I should see big improvements!

I recently read a great book on triathlons called Triathlon for the Every Woman: You Can Be a Triathlete. Yes. You. by Meredith Atwood - better known as SwimBikeMom.   She recommended that you tell yourself you like doing whatever it is you don't want to do (or are having trouble with).  In my case, this is swimming.  I am working on bilateral breathing and I have a mantra where I say: I (stroke), LOVE (stroke), TO SWIM (breathe) as I flounder through the water.  This way I brainwash myself AND remember when to breathe at the same time!  I am trying to do one thing more swimmerish each day and this bilateral breathing is apparently the best way to go.  Next week, I'll work on putting my head down into the water.  The other big thing I know I need to work on is when/how to kick.  I am going to YouTube like a beast this weekend and see if there are any good swimming tutorials.  I'll report my findings next week.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Blah day - blah workout

I used to be Fat.  Like capital F Fat.  I was almost 300lbs.  I look back and still can't believe I was ever that big.  I had gastric bypass surgery in March of 2003.  I lost 135 lbs and got down to 140.  I was a flabby size 6.  It was at the point where people were telling me not to lose anymore weight.  I can't imagine weighing 125, but that has always been that magic number.  The weight at which I tell myself I will no longer be fat.

I never got to 125.  I maintained my weight at 140/145 for a few years but was diagnosed as bipolar in March 2006.  They put me on Lithium, which made me eat like a crazy person (LOL - I was a crazy person!).  I gained 25 lbs in a month and then refused to take meds anymore.  They tried a few different things until they found the one that has kept me fairly sane for 4 years now without piling on the pounds.  However, during the years following my diagnosis, I put on about 10 lbs a year.  I got back up to 210 lbs before deciding enough was enough and joined Weight Watchers.  I lost 30 lbs before plateauing and quitting because the only thing I was losing the last 6 months was $45/month.  I signed up with My Fitness Pal and have been tracking calories and exercise.  I have lost an additional 15 lbs. pretty slowly over the last 6 months.

Why am I telling you all of this, you ask?  Today I had a terrible workout and I feel blah and fat.  It's easy to see why people get discouraged and quit training if they don't have a goal. Thank goodness I have a goal!!  I know I can't quit and have to go back tomorrow and try, try again regardless of how much of a lump I feel like today.  I also feel a little better writing it all out because I guess I didn't realize until now that I have lost 15 lbs since quitting WW and that IS moving in the right direction.

It doesn't seem to matter how much I work out - it seems to matter what I eat if I want to lose.  In fact, I lose better (MORE) if I'm not working out.  After the Princess Half, I stopped running and lost consistently until I started my training up again.  It's so hard to find the right balance of calories in and calories out.  It should be straight forward to work at a deficit, but for me it doesn't work that easily.  Maybe because of the bypass surgery and my body being used to less calories?  I don't know...  All I do know is that losing weight is hard and I keep wondering at what point I will feel "thin".

And, blah blah, I know I should worry about being HEALTHY and not THIN, but I'm not that evolved.  I want to look good.  (and be healthy, yeah yeah, of course).

Back to my workout.  I swam for 30 minutes yesterday, then did 25 miles on the stationary bike, then ran .5 miles to shake my legs out.  I felt great!  But today, I was tired and couldn't make my legs move.  I did do 10.5 miles on the bike and walked for 3 miles, but I did both much more slowly that usual.  I don't want to burn myself out, so I am going to revise my training plan to not bike three days in a row.  I was doing that schedule because I was trying to shoe horn in biking to an existing marathon training program, but I think I will put the marathon training aside until after my Olympic Triathlon next month.  The marathon (in January) and the half Ironman (next June) will be my next two goals.

Like I said - thank goodness for goals.  They keep me focused and moving forward!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Oh yeah. I better learn to swim too.

Remember how I was going to start swimming two weeks ago?   Yeah, I didn't do that.  I started today.  It's kinda a big deal because (and this might be glaringly obvious), I really, really didn't want to do it.  It's not the actual SWIMMING that bothers me - it's the wedging myself into my 1980s swimsuit and waddling out in front of other people to go swimming.  But I did it this morning and guess what?  It turns out my actual swimming is just as embarrassing as my 80s floral suit.  I swim with my head up... kinda like a fat, shell-less turtle.  I kick my legs way too much and instead of a smooth kick-kick, I do some sort of sideways frog move.  Sure, I move through the water (huffing and puffing), but it is utterly without grace.  And of course there were super smooth (probably professional Olympian) swimmers right in the lanes next to me making me feel even dorkier.

I did 750 meters according to my Garmin 910xt, but it didn't feel very far so I am not sure it's correct.  It was the first time using my watch in the water so I will have to double check it.  For my first day, I was pleased enough.  It took about 20 minutes and that was with liberal breaks at the end of each lap.  If the Garmin is right, I think I can probably do the swim portion better than I thought.  I could definitely use some technique work with the swim, but I guess just getting out there in all my chubby, old lady glory is a good start.

After my swim, I ran 4 miles.  These days, 4 miles is nothing.  I did 13.1 on Saturday and for the first time, I feel like CRAP afterwards: shaky, nauseated, weak.  I'm not sure if it was a nutrition thing or what, but it was pretty awful.  I have my training schedule for the next 4 weeks and it's all multi-sport work-outs.  Swim & Run on Monday & Friday, Bike & Run on Tuesday & Thursday, and my long Bike ride with Swim on Wednesday.  Saturdays are my long run days with Sunday as my much deserved sit-on-my-ass day.

The good news is that my Zainie started 6th grade today (Wil's school started to weeks ago) so both kids are officially IN SCHOOL!!  This makes scheduling work outs a million times easier an hopefully, I can hit it hard over the next few weeks. 

It's 27 days until the big event.  I gotta make these days count!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ok, I didn't fall. Now what?

I wish this damn thing came with training wheels.
Well, I got on the bike and have ridden it around the neighborhood for a few miles at a time.  I need a lot more practice, but at least I don't feel as intimidated.  Tomorrow, I plan to take it out for a longer ride - targeting 12.5 miles - from my house to a local greenway.  It involves going on streets with traffic to get to the greenway, but hopefully, it will be during a lower traffic time.

On thing I noticed on my ride today was that I sweat my ass off.  It was hot outside, sure, but this was EFFORT SWEAT.  I was barely going 7 miles an hour and at the gym, I go about 14.5 mph.  I don't get it.

This is what I look like on my tri bike.
One "win" (I guess) is that I am getting better at shifting.  I read about 50 articles and watched 20 YouTubes on shifting and it still took actual practice to figure it out. 

I am starting to have some serious doubts about this olympic triathlon in 5 weeks.  Is that enough time to get use to the bike and learn proper swimming?  My logical inner voice says HELL NO.  But some stupid part of me says I just need to try harder and things will fall into place.  Who do I listen to?

There is a sprint tri about 1.5 hours away 2 weeks before my oly and I was thinking of doing that for practice.  I need to find $65 not being used to feed my children to register, so it's a little iffy.  I have really blown the budget this month on the bike - plus all the things I needed to ride it!  Helmet, lady saddle, maintenance kit, new pedals, etc, etc, etc.  Triathlons are not the cheapest hobby.

Ok - just wanted to update the blog since the last entry was sad and measly.  I rode the bike and didn't fall.  Yay for forward progress!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I probably can't do this.

Learning to ride a bike is hard.  My daughter said I looked silly trying and it made me cry.  I think I'm not tough enough to be a triathlete.  Not today, anyway.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I bought a bike!! It just got real up in here!

I've been looking on eBay & Craigslist for bikes and I finally went to look at one I liked today.  It is a nice, if a bit older, bike.  What I like about it is that it has upgraded components and is all carbon.  According to my research, this is awesome!  It's also a limited edition Ironman model, which I thought was cool since a half Ironman is my next goal.

But to get though this first triathlon will be enough of a challenge!

You see, I can tear up a stationary bike at the gym, but riding a real bike is more than a bit different.  I did a test ride wearing flip flops (my bad for not remembering to put on real shoes), and the pedals were some super tiny clipless jobbies so it was hard to feel stable.  The bike fits well, but that seat... Lordy, that may be the first thing I switch out.  NOT COMFORTABLE.  I need to head to the bike shop to get a helmet and some regular pedals.  I think I'll start with those instead of buying shoes and pedals since I am really just learning to ride the darn thing.  I have heard the expression, "It's just like riding a bike..."  and... it's really NOT.

Here's a pic of the new ride:

So, that''s my new bike.  I am terrified of look forward to learning to ride it.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

So, I signed up for a triathlon... I've lost it, right?

I don't blog very frequently so a lot happens from one post to the next.  In the time since my last post about the Princess Half Marathon, I spent about 3 months sitting on my ass before deciding I needed a new goal.  Because the first full marathon I wanted to do was the WDW Full in January 2014, I thought about what I wanted to do in the meantime.  For some crazy reason, I decided a triathlon was the answer.

September 21, 2013

This was a ridiculous decision in many ways.  First, I don't have a bike and haven't ridden one since I was 10.  Second, I can "swim" in that I don't drown, but I am no one's life guard material.  Running was ok, but I am still sloooooooooooow.  Oh, and I didn't sign up for a Sprint Tri - I signed up for an Olympic Triathlon.  What?  Yes.  That's 1500 meters open water swim in the ocean, 24.5 miles on the bike, and a 10k (6.2 miles) running.  So, now you agree I'm probably crazy, right?

The good news is that it was 16 weeks away and I had some conditioning with the running.  The first thing I did was join the Y.  In addition to the excellent gym, the kids could enjoy the outdoor pool with twisty slide all summer.  I have been plugging away with cycling and running ever since, but I haven't quite started the swimming yet and I've got about 6 weeks left before race day.  In my defense, I did swim for about a week and the kids told me I looked stupid - LOL.  So, I finally called today about getting some private swim lessons and hopefully, I can get on the right path to swim much more frequently in the next 6 weeks.

I am planning on doing some Sprint Tris as soon as I can get a bike - which I am looking to buy in the next week or so.  I'll post race reports and updates as they happen.  In the meantime, I have talked about weight loss on this blog and my struggles so here's some good news on that front.  I am happy to report that in the last year I've lost 40lbs.  The only full body pic I could find was from 2011, but here is what 40lbs looks like on me:

I'd like to lose about 25 lbs more but I've heard differing reports on how training for a half marathon or triathlon helps or hurts weight loss.  I guess time will tell!

As for running, I have 3 other half marathons on the radar for 2013 - The Run Raleigh Half in October, the City Of Oaks, and Wine & Dine at WDW, both in November.  I'll try to blog more often, in case anyone is interested in my triathlon journey.

Oh, yeah... I almost forgot.  Apparently, I am so convinced I am triathlete material that I went ahead and signed up for the Ironman 70.3 Raleigh that will be held next June.  It's like this:  I have to sign up NOW or it will be sold out by the time I convince myself I can do it.  So I'm doing it.  Last June, we did the balloons for the event.  Next June, I will be working my butt off to finish it!