Monday, June 29, 2009

Tri-ing To Train

Sometimes I make rash decisions that I regret later. Does this happen to you? Fortunately, it does not occur too often in my life . . . but right now I'm [somewhat] living in regret land. Over what, you ask? I am currently regretting my entrance into the sprint triathlon that's being held in my home city at the end of August. It's not that I haven't been training -- in fact, I have! However, if you read on, you'll discover exactly why I'm none too keen on the triathlon at the moment. Here's a brief overview of how my training is coming along.

August's sprint triathlon begins with a 500 yard swim. This, unfortunately, is where my training falls to pieces. I'm not a good swimmer. I can't do freestyle to save my life, so I had planned to alternate laps of breast and back strokes during the event. These strokes, though, are fairly slow. So my time in the pool is fairly boring, not to mention uncomfortable (I don't like to be wet, I don't enjoy wearing a swimsuit, and my swim cap and goggles give me a headache). Swimming's not my thing -- but I know that. So why in the world did I enter a triathlon? Even if I am participating in the beginners' heat, I think I'm doomed to embarrass myself come summer's end.

My biking training stats are decidedly less dismal than my efforts in the pool. Part two of the August triathlon is a 12+ mile bike ride. I'm happy to report that I've attended my first spinning class in over a year, I have been using the YMCA's nifty Expresso stationary bikes for both endurance and hills (these bikes are so cool -- they have handlebars that you can steer, a screen that displays a virtual ride or a television program of your choice, a built-in radio with great music that you can plug your headphones into, and the computer saves your workout information to the manufacturer's website), and I've been using my mountain bike as a form of transportation now that the weather is warm. I think I'll be ready for the biking component in August.

My running in preparation for the triathlon's 5k run has been . . . fair. I've gone on a couple of runs over the past weeks, but the super-hot weather plus some twinging pain in my left leg's joints has kept me elliptical-ing more than anything else. I have to say that I've done quite a bit of the elliptical, both forward and reverse, but I should probably do more straight-up running around town and on the trails. I'm not sure if that will actually get me more ready than the elliptical in reality, but I believe that it will and so I'll feel better once I get more "real world" miles under my belt -- er, running skort.

I think the most worrisome part of my training efforts is that I just don't feel excited about the triathlon. I know that I won't always feel like working hard to get ready for it, but I'm also simply dreading the event itself. It's started to become something of a task master instead of a fun new challenge to try (tri!).

Do you have any advice? Because I could sure use it! To see what my most recent workouts have entailed, check out my Runner's World widget over on the blog's right sidebar in the space entitled "Current Sweat Level."

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King