Posted by: triathlonrookie | March 6, 2010

Congrats… You’ve won…?!

I realize that this update is much delayed…
I do have reasons, or rather, a reason. I haven’t done a dang thing training wise. I’ve nothing but excuses though, and probably not great excuses.

Not a great excuse. Jobs make the world go around, at least the money we earn from jobs is supposed to make the world go around. I’ve been attempting to work my tail off waitressing and hoping that I am doing a good enough job that people think I am worthy of a tip. I’m doing okay, not great, but okay. I guess my tip average is pretty high for starting out, so that is good… But it is still well below what I need to be making to make ends meet! Welcome to the working world right?

I’m finally feeling better. I still have some junk in my chest, but it is all loose now and I am able to breathe normally again and my coughing is only a fraction of what it was. I blame the slow recovery on starting the new job and being exposed to new strains of crud continually. I promise I have not coughed in anyones food, and I wash my hands more often than I need to I am sure… I carry lotion in my apron because my hands are *that* dry from washing all the time. This last week I’ve finally started feeling like I actually have my energy back too, so that is a definite sign that I am well on the way to being better… Finally!

Shin Splints…
Suck. Plain and simple. The first week of working as a waitress I realized the importance of investing in shoes that fit and are supportive. My shin splints were SCREAMING that first week with the cheapo shoes I first bought. Hence, another pair was actually invested in (and I continued to delay working out and running) and there have been dramatic improvements. DRAMATIC. There is still tenderness, but that is to be expected since I am not staying off of my feet. I do ice when I can, and rest as much as possible, but as long as I spend any portion of the day on my feet there will be tenderness. Such is life and life will go on.
Monday I am going to be passing through Appleton and on the way back home I am going to stop in at Fleet Feet to get fitted for new running shoes. They offer free gait analysis and help you to select the shoe that is the best for what you require and what my body mechanics demand. They even have orthotics there so if the shoe alone isn’t enough we can go that next step. I can’t wait to bring home my new running shoes and get back to running again… EVERY DAY! The weather here has been absolutely perfect and I just hate that I haven’t been able to get out and run in it!!! After Monday I will!!!

Was an awesome experience! It was nice to see a whole roomful of triathlon rookies, 90% of which are actually triathlon virgins. It was even better to see the room jammed with experienced triathletes who were ready and eager to help all the rookies have an excellent triathlon experience!

I’m a Kit…
As a result of attending Tri101, and being a member of the Fox Cities Triathlon Club, I have the opportunity to have a mentor to bounce ideas off of and ask questions of during this triathlon season. I’ve been assigned (ok, I requested) a very enthusiastic and very awesome Fox… Therefore I am a Kit! I’m excited to have the opportunity to get to know her better, cheer her on at triathlon’s that I am not entered in (and the Door County 1/2 marathon) and hear her cheering for me when I cross finish lines as well! It’s a great feeling knowing that there is this person out there that is excited that you are trying something new and is willing to encourage you every step of the way!

Also, I actually did win something!
Honestly, I did! A one year membership to USA Triathlon! It was through a Facebook contest even! I got home from Tri101 and saw on the USAT fan page that they were celebrating reaching 20,000 fans by asking everyone to, in 20 words, describe what triathlon is for them. Here’s what I said: “Triathlon is all inclusive and absolutely not exclusive. Athletes are loved, adored, cheered, and supported equally. I can succeed here!” I find out a few days later that my entry was selected as the grand prize winner! How cool is that hook up!

Posted by: triathlonrookie | February 16, 2010

Let the coughing war begin…

Well, I had jinxed myself I’m sure. It wasn’t long ago that I had stated that I was awfully healthy this winter thus far (last winter I dealt with pneumonia for several weeks on top of still having an asthma diagnosis) and then WHAM… I’m sick. Oh well, it was actually perfect timing… I’ve got lovely shin splints too! ACK.

Being sick…
Meh, it happens to everyone. Actually, this is going much better than it ever has in the past. I could attribute part of that to being ‘up-to-date’ on my shots (I got the H1N1 vaccination due to previously being an asthmatic and because I battled pneumonia last year… I guess I was at risk and I worked with children a lot before I moved). It wasn’t long ago that I actually couldn’t even walk a mile without an asthma attack, and now, I CAN run a mile or more without even getting to huffing and puffing. Why the drastic change? ALLERGIES… Or, lack of allergies now. I used to be sooooooooo allergy prone – literally allergic to everything including my horse (whom I love dearly). I began seeing a specialist and actually found out a lot – I had allergy induced asthma which was constant because I had a lovely small resident population of horrible molds and fungi (which I was allergic to – the ones living in me that is) which left my lungs in a constant state of inflammation! EEW. On came the treatments – I still go to the allergist every 6 months religiously – and I was taken off of ALL asthma medications shortly after completing my first triathlon last year. My breathing capacity at rest had improved 300%!!! The doctor said that having done my treatments religiously for 2 years – thus getting to the point where I could do a triathlon without dying – and then completing training and subsequently the triathlon had actually been what was my tipping point! He declared me asthma free this past October!!! I still carry an emergency inhaler, just in case (on bad pollen days I could still see a flare up) and I still take my anti-fungal meds every week, but I’m asthma free! I’m well on my way to being allergy free too! Whew, then things will get drastically easier! To date, I haven’t taken allergy meds since last July.

Shin splints…
UGH! I’ve always been prone to them and was actually laid up for a month before the triathlon last year. This year I even went so far as to buy really really nice and well respected running specific shoes. I did not, and now regret not having done, go to a running store to purchase said shoes and did not have an analysis done. BIG MISTAKE and I’m paying for it. I’m convinced that I should be able to run pain free! Right? Do correct me if I am wrong, but I’m pretty sure that pain isn’t something that I should just deal with. When my shin splints are just mild I do train through them. I stretch the tar out of them, I ice like crazy, and I back off of the length and intensity of my running while maintaining the biking portion of my training. This time though… OUCH. I can hardly even walk at times they are so bad. I’m going to have to get in to a good running store and get an analysis done. Based on the research I’ve done online I’m pretty sure I over-pronate so I need to seek out shoes that provide motion control. I’m hoping that I can be running comfortably again by the middle of March. I have a 5k coming up May 1st for cryin’ out loud!!! And I’m stuck on Week 1 of C25k!!! Cripes! For the time being I have purchased pretty aggressive arch supports and wear them with every pair of shoes I have and they seem to be relieving some of the discomfort (which further supports my over-pronation theory).

On top of all this… I started a job last night FINALLY. I’m serving at Applebee’s, stop on by, say hi, and tip big! 😉 Or, at least appropriately!

February Training totals to date:
Run: 9.5 miles
Bike: 43 miles

2010 Training totals to date:
Run: 15.5 miles
Bike:  73 miles

Comments: Well, shin splints are certainly affecting my ability to run. I’m still doing well with biking though. I’m still happy with where I am at, however, I really want to get over these shin splints in a hurry because I miss running and the amount of stress it really does relieve. I can’t focus on anything but the running that I am doing and the music that I am piping into my ears… When I bike, it just isn’t the same as running. I NEED MY RUNNING BACK. Man, that feels weird to say!

Posted by: triathlonrookie | February 8, 2010

They’re so… Little.

Well, I went out and did it today. I’d been telling myself and telling myself… As well as hearing from other folks… Now is the time to buy triathlon shorts (the kind of goofy ones that have a chamios pad in them for comfort on the bike, but not so much so that you feel like you are wearing a wet diaper after the swim) because the hot shorts of last year are on sale because they are no longer hot. Thus making them more affordable for someone who is 1) on a terribly tight budget and 2) just getting started.

I still had a little bit of Christmas money that I had allocated out for these shorts… $50 to be exact. (Have I mentioned that I am doing these triathlons on a serious tight budget? Well, yea, I am.) I figured I ought to have a pretty decent selection by allocating $50 for JUST SHORTS. Wrong. I made the mistake of thinking that I could purchase a lot with $50… Hey, I can find 2 pair of yoga pants and 2 tank tops for that price at the local big box store. Apparently the same is not true for triathlon clothing.

Not only that, there are decisions to be made here people! Do I want a 3″ inseam (YIKES) or a 8″? Did I want a lot of padding (did I want to waddle is more like it) or just a bit to get me through? Did I want little pockets to stash some gels in or my sunglasses? Did I want a cool color?

I went online first. I found a lot of what I thought to be bargains. Big brands for still big money. I originally thought I would like some cool color, but then decided that I would be better off sticking with basic black because then I could easily wear any tank top that I wanted… Including the one I wore last year which was comfy and cheap… And it was purple’ish pink! Plus, most of last years stock in hot colors is only found in one size… XS. So I stuck with black.

Then I thought I would like to definitely go for a lower end price range… Only to find out that they don’t hold up AT ALL in chlorinated pools. Scratch that idea. (I do most of my swim training in the Masters Swim class at the Y on the weekends because there is an on-deck coach to help me out. I know how to swim, but I want to be better at it.) I also figured, looking back, that if I bought off brand, is the company really going to stand behind the product if there is a problem? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t usually like to take my chances like that, especially with this kind of money and with comfort on the line.

I knew I definitely wanted the handy little pockets. I never know if I want my sunglasses on or not, or if I would need gels… I’d rather have them all with and not need them than bonk out and wish that I had had them or not have the sunglasses and be glaring at the sun off of water risking a mammoth migraine… Yep, bring them with!

Today, at Scheels of all places, I found the shorts. I asked about triathlon shorts, got paired up with an awesome fellow triathlete to help me select them, and went to town. They don’t have a huge selection in right now, but it is enough for me! I found a pair that has just enough padding, two pockets, nice black, and BIG brand (Zoot)… At a rather small price! Not only that, I was totally ready to buy 8″ inseam shorts, I like to be covered up, and found out that they would have been near below my knees!!! I bought what I would have thought, ordering online, to be short shorts at 6″ inseam.

I’m screaming Jaynes’ lycra mantra in my mind as I put my purchase on the counter… Love the LYCRA! Part of her book (Slow Fat Triathlete: Achieving Your Athletic Goals in the Body You Have NOW) focuses on being at ease with your body how it is NOW. And being comfortable enough with the body you have now to wear that short triathlon short made of lycra with the padding and be PROUD! I will… I will.

Have I mentioned that you don’t wear underware with these things? And that, eventually, Chamois Butt’r comes into play to keep things lubed up?

Really, what have I gotten into? I LOVE IT!

Posted by: triathlonrookie | February 5, 2010

Because it helps to make it public…

I will admit, first, that I am new to blogging… Frankly, it kind of intimidates me. However, I think I can figure this all out and eventually get pretty handy with it.

I’m calling this my Journey to Success because, honestly, my very first triathlon (St. Croix Valley Sprint Triathlon, September 5, 2009) wasn’t exactly what I would have considered a glorious and successful experience. I’d given myself minimal time to train – 9 weeks – and I didn’t hop online and get researching on what to do, what to wear, and how to do it all… I wish I had. I came across that finish line, dead last, and vowed that while it was a great accomplishment to have made it to the finish line with as little preparation as I had put in… I was never going to be dead last again!

Let it be known, I am not a born athlete. I was the kid who loathed any physical activity that wasn’t riding my horses or volleyball. I don’t have a slim and trim body… In fact, most doctors will tell you I am obese, at least according to my BMI. I won’t let that stop me, in fact I am going to let that inspire me. It is yet another reason why I should continue this journey to SUCCESS.

So, here I am… Blogging. As the title says, it helps to make your goals and aspirations public. It gives a sense of accountability to yourself and it makes it REAL. So, here is what I have laid out for the coming season…

2 triathlons… 2 weeks apart… 2.5 hour goal finish time for each.

The Door County Sprint Triathlon. July 17th, 2010. 1/4 mile swim in the bay, 18 mile bike along the bayshore, 5k run along the bayshore.

The Aflac Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon in Racine, WI. July 31, 2010. 1/4 mile swim in Lake Michigan (EEK), 18 mile bike in the Racine countryside, 5k run.

There, I’ve done it. I’ve committed myself publicly to each of these triathlons, now it is getting myself prepared to do them (conveniently, they are identical distances for the swim, bike, and run) and then DO THEM, within my goal time.

I’m trying something new this time. Not just the blog. A reward system for reaching goals in my training. The first will come when I reach 100 biking miles (I’m a sissy on a stationary bike at the gym until I actually have a bike… You heard right, I don’t have a bike of my own yet.) and 40 running miles combined. The reward is a really cute race belt (which holds my number for me so it isn’t pinned to my clothing) and is made by Iron Girl. Conveniently, I will have this plenty in advance for my first 5k race (May 1st, 2010 in Penninsula Park here in Door County) which I plan to finish in 30 minutes.

I’m also going to allow myself to admit that I don’t know what I am doing and I am seeking ‘coaching’ from those who have been in my shoes. I’ve joined the Fox Cities Triathlon Club and I hope to make use of the group activities when I can get to them. (They aren’t exactly in my backyard.) There seem to be some really really awesome people involved there who desire nothing more than to see their newbies SHINE! Yeay, that’s me! Also… It’s free to join them. I also am going to be taking advantage of the Masters Swimming at the YMCA, $7/session and there is an on-deck coach on Saturdays and Sundays. My swimming isn’t beginner, but I definitely need help with stroke technique… That’s what they are there for!

It isn’t too far out of the realm of possibility for me to decide to redeem myself at the St. Croix Valley Sprint Triathlon this year either. I’m not an extremely competitive person, but I also don’t like that dead last finish sitting on my shoulders. I’d like to come back and be able to say ‘HA, I can do this better.’ and show that I worked harder this time.

I’m an avid reader… I decided to allow someone to really inspire me and I went out and bought ‘Slow Fat Triathlete: Achieving Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have NOW’. WOWZAS! What an inspiration and what a way to pump up right before I leave to get to Snap. If she can do this, I can certainly do it… And I can learn from her.

January training totals: (I didn’t join Snap until January 15th)
Run miles – 6 miles
Bike miles – 30 miles
Comments – Well, I tried to get through the Couch-To-5k (C25k) program first week and ran into terrible shin splints right away. Fail. Since they are an overuse injury I figured I could just slow down, speed walk, strengthen my calves, then try again with C25k. Biking… I just sucked it up and was a sissy. I totally should have done better there.

Current February training totals:
Run miles – 4 miles
Bike miles – 23 miles
Comments – I’m already ahead of where I was. I’m starting over on the C25k and haven’t had shin splint issues again yet. I have learned that if, during the walk parts, I turn around and walk backwards (tricky  on a treadmill mind you) it relieves some tension in the calves… And it builds balance which apparently I suck at because I did biff it the first time I tried to do this. MUSIC MAKES THE WORKOUT (as Rachael put it) and the better the music I have going the harder I work and the better I do. Period.

2010 training totals to date:
Run miles – 10 miles
Bike miles – 53 miles