Wow – it has been a while since I posted anything.

I got my bike. It’s a Specialized Vita, and I love it. I’ve been out riding with a group that bikes in Mt. Airy. The course is a very hilly 10 – 11 miles long, and I’ve done it three times. Each time seems a little easier, but I’m still usually the slowest in the group.

Spending so much time biking has eaten into the time I have to swim, and it’s showing. I also haven’t been running as much as I should, but I did a 5K in April and did okay. Finding time for all of this training without sacricing other important things is a huge challenge. I’ve also felt very run down the last couple of days and am not sure why.

The pollen levels have been really high, and while I’m okay when I’m out, I’m finding that my allergy symptoms are very bad overall. I’m trying to run and bike at the gym as much or more than going outside at least until the pollen levels drop off a bit. That seems to be helping.

Less than two months to go until my first event. I feel ready, but I know I can improve a lot from where I am now. I’m looking forward to it!

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Today I rode 6….

Aside

Today I rode 6.3 miles on the bike at the gym. The elevation was a lot less than my last ride. Time was 32 minutes.

We went to the local bike shop today to ask about options. The store guy said we live near some really good roads for biking. As in, 60 mile rides on rolling hills with very little traffic. I really worry about cars and  distracted drivers but I know I just need to get out there and take every reasonable precaution. Anxiety is my worst enemy. 

I don’t really want to spend the money on a new bike but I probably should. I love seeing groups of riders going super fast in their sleek cycling outfits. Who knows? Maybe one day I will be one of them.

What I love best about this journey is that doing things I never dreamed possible seem suddenly, in a few short months, within reach. 

Saturday

Completed day two of the Couch to 5K plan today. It was windy out – 15 to 20 mph – and cold with temps right around freezing. I was walking and running directly into a stiff breeze and I felt like it was me against the elements. It was sunny out though and I went all out for the last run segment. I actually felt like I could run relatively fast (for me). 

I did some crunches when I got home – I really need to work on my core muscles more often. 

I was thinking about going to the gym for a ride on the bike but I don’t want to burn myself out so I went shopping instead. Found Princeton Sports in Columbia online. They have a fantastic selection. I bought a new swimsuit and talked with a very helpful sales person about what to wear during a triathlon. She wore a swimsuit with tri shorts. I looked at tri suits but they didn’t have my size. I don’t want to buy one now anyway because I don’t know what size I’ll be in six months. I’ll be going back, I’m sure. They had a great selection of gear for many different activities.

Welcome to My Blog

This is my first blog entry, obviously. I’ve set a goal to complete a triathlon this year, and registered a couple of weeks ago for an event in July in Maryland.

I signed up for a training plan through Ontri, but my plan doesn’t officially begin for a couple of months. What to do in the meantime? I’m working my way through a couch to 5K plan on my iPhone, and it’s pretty cool.

A little bit more about my journey so far…. Until August of 2011 I wasn’t active at all. I had allergies that plagued me on and off and left me exhausted, congested, and barely able to function. My blood pressure, which had always been low, was starting to creep up into the pre-hypertension stage, and my stress levels weren’t going down anytime soon.

I started walking. When that got boring I started running. Then my knees started to hurt. I don’t mean a little soreness – I mean crushing pain that kept me up at night. Ice and Advil helped, but I realized that swimming would be a great way to drop some pounds, build some muscle and slowly build up to running.

My first trip to the pool was pretty depressing. I could barely make it to the end of the pool, and I needed to rest for several minutes to catch my breath. I saw these serious swimmers in the other lanes and knew they had to be wondering what I was even doing there. I was beginning to wonder that myself.

I signed up for an adult swim class, and thought I’d at least pick up some of the proper breathing techique by the end of the six week class. Little did I know I’d pick up the right breathing technique in the first week. I was so anxious about being underwater for any length of time, but slowly I got accustomed to it, by swimming a few times a week. Eventually I learned the right body position, and read a lot of the Total Immersion blogs to figure out how to swim efficiently. Now, I’m swimming about 900 – 1,000 yards, and while I still take a break at the wall I’m stopping for a few seconds, or taking longer breaks of about 30 seconds.

Anyway, more later on what’s happened between August and now. Back to today. Yesterday, actually.

I did a 5.4 mile bike ride at the gym. I didn’t really mean to select the one that I rode – the elevation was 900 feet, which is quite a bit longer and higher than what I had done up until that point. The bike is an Expresso bike, and they have very cool tours. You can track your progress and times against other riders. So far I’ve come in last in almost every one I’ve done, but I keep trying more difficult rides instead of going back to the easier ones. I should do an easy/shorter one just to see if I can improve my ranking. My times do get better as I’m repeating the rides.

I was on a bike that faces the people on the treadmills, stairmasters, etc. and I think they probably all thought I was going to pass out at certain points, like when the tour was at a 37% grade. I felt at times like I was barely going to make it, with my pulse rate at 170 for parts of the way. My target heart rate, supposedly, is 144, but I can work out pretty comfortably at 155. 165 starts to get pretty uncomfortable for more than a minute or so, and 175 is where I tell myself I’ve really got to slow down or take a break.

My time was about 34 minutes. I felt seriously woozy when I got off that bike, like my legs were made of rubber. I’ve got some work to do to make it 10 miles for a sprint distance triathlon. I’l get there – I’ve got 5-6 months to train. It feels great knowing that I could do half the distance, and the hill work will really help make the actual ride seem not too difficult. At least that’s the plan.

I’m writing this blog so that I can record and track my own progress. I’m not necessarily looking for an audience, but who knows, maybe I’ll find one along the way.

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