Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why Tri?

I was a little hesitant at first to even tell people I know that I was planning on doing a triathlon, but I figured that it would provide some motivation. I'm glad I did because I've gotten lots of encouragement, and knowing people are expecting me to finish is helping me get off my butt and keep training, but it's a little annoying because most people seem to think I'm just doing it to "lose the baby weight".

Just for the record - my main goal with triathlon, running, and fitness in general is not weight loss, although  I assume that I will probably end up losing plenty of weight, or at least reducing my overall body fat. I am eating better, but eating more, rather than dieting, and trying to build muscle as well, neither of which are great for dropping pounds quickly, but both of which make me feel much better than restrictive dieting or focusing on the number on the scale.

So, why do a triathlon? I think the main thing is just because it's there, and it's something nobody, including myself, would have expected me to be able to do. I've never really been a runner, but was just getting into it a year or so ago when I got side-lined by injury then pregnancy-related illness. I'd always told myself I hated it, but found that I really enjoyed the time alone and the feeling in my body after a good trail run or fast walk. The only concern I really had was that I was doing too much for my knees and joints to handle, because I was well over 300 pounds when I started. I'm down to 278 now, but still twice the size of your average female runner, so cycling and swimming seem to be the perfect crosstraining to build up my endurance while giving my knees and ankles a bit of a rest. Also, I loved swimming when I was younger, and used to ride my bike all over, so I am looking forward to enjoying those again.

Right now seems a great time to start, because I actually have the time. I will be probably going back to work part-time in a few more weeks, but this will give me enough time to make a habit of working out before I add more to my schedule. Things are busy and stressful with a new baby at home, but this is making me realize how important it is for me to have some alone time, and running, biking, or swimming gives me this while also burning off tension and relieving stress, and giving me more energy to take care of my family, our home, and work when I go back to that. It also helps me keep "the crazies" at bay by boosting endorphins that help my fight depression and reducing tension and anxiety.

There are also practical reasons for me to get in shape, and choose running and biking as the primary means (swimming is great, and relaxing, but it just sort of came with the territory  - it's kind of a pain if you don't have a pool or live close to a place you can swim). I figure running is pretty practical in a lot of situations - it can get you away from danger quickly or to a place you want to be quickly as well, and cycling is great for going slightly longer distances and not using a car, as well as a great way to hit the National Forest trails around here. They are also both relatively cheap and flexible - good shoes, a secondhand bike, and basic clothes, and you're set for a while - no classes or gym memberships to keep up with, and you can go out and run or ride whenever and almost wherever you feel like it (really good because I'm fitting it around my husband's schedule right now, so he can watch the baby).

While all of those are good things on their own, I chose to train for a specific triathlon instead of just working out when and how I take a notion is because it gives me something concrete to be working towards . The upcoming race gives me a goal and a deadline to have achieved a certain level of fitness, and it seems like more to be able to complete a set goal than to just keep on keeping on. Of course, once I finish one, I will probably keep on trying to beat my previous time and/or go for longer distances, but that's even better because it means there will always be another goal to reach for.

Anyone have advice on triathlon or any of the 3 sports involved (running, biking, &swimming)?


  1. i have no advice whatsoever. since the babe was born ive been insanely lazy..i swear i will start running again...maybe next week...

  2. Wow, good for you. I wish I had the endurance to complete a Triathalon. I love to swim and bike, but I'm really bad at running.
    I wish you all the luck.

  3. I know I should probably do this too - but I am so afraid of failure. Even if I did become healthier in the process, I would be disappointed if I could finish the race.

    Also, I used to pack a TON of stuff, but then I started traveling regularly, like - every weekend, and it just wasn't practical (not that it was to begin with). What I talk my husband is, pack all the underwear you will need, then count how many days you'll be going with out a washer and dryer, and then divide in half, if it's an odd number round up. Bring 1 extra shirt Pack for those days. Bring 1 extra shirt, and then rewear your cleanest bottoms. I am of the mindset that this is probably still too much - but if you do end up needed something, a wal*mart is never too far away to just pick up a $10 pair of shorts or jeans or whatever. I would rather go through all of my clothes and need to buy one more thing, than to carry 4 extra, clean, outfits on a week-long trip.

  4. You rock! I only run when chased...and then very slowly. Kids just suck the energy right out of you, it seems. Maybe one day I'll get enough energy to think about getting back into shape :)
    Stopping by from SITS to say hello!

  5. Thanks for the comments. :)
    Seriously though, if I can do this, almost anyone can, if they can find the time to train/practice (which has been the hardest part for me, other than getting over the fear of people seeing me out there being slow and fat and thinking or saying negative things).

    When I first started out, I tried couch to 5k and couldn't do it, ended up with my first running intervals being 15 seconds because I couldn't run for 30 seconds at a time, and my first postpartum run/walk (almost all walk) was 1/2 a mile in 26 minutes, so I'm not the queen of speed and endurance myself, but I know I'll get better as long as I keep it up.

    Jessica, I think the hard thing for me is I don't plan what to wear, so I have to much and still "nothing" to wear - I had this same problem at home too, but noticed it's easier to find outfits since I gave away a bunch of stuff to Goodwill. One of the funniest trip packing things I know of is a friend of mine with a motorcycle - he'll do multi-state rides and camp along the way, and he packs very light but shops at a thrift store or yard sale at each stop, then donates the clothes again when he moves on.

  6. Dh wants to do a triathalon. I've never been a strong swimmer, though. I'm not in danger of drowning, but that's about all I can say about my swimming.

    Good luck!

    Thanks for visiting me on my SITS day last Monday!


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