The Triathlon Chronicles: Update #3- Keep on Truckin’

Triathlon Update #3:

 Back on track and rolling.

 Tick Tock: this countdown seems to be flying by and the “safety net” of the far off date is disappearing a lot faster than I anticipated. (It feels like it anyway…)

So the ever-present clock is still just ticking away and my first Tri ever getting closer and closer. The Escape The Cape Triathlon Sprint Tri (.4mi swim, 10mi Bike, and 3.1mi run) in Cape May, NJ is now only 65 days away.

 So here we go, update #3:

 Swim: Hell Yes. The progress just keeps on coming. (which really just means that I am no longer an offensively horrible swimmer, now I’ve graduated up to the status of your regular, run of the mill bad swimmer) But I hit a milestone for myself this week. I was able to get in the pool and swim 13 laps. The significance of the 13 is that is equivalent of the race distance. Granted, I had to stop and catch my breath quite a bit, but I hit the distance. I know it looked absolutely ridiculous for a guy who just clearly struggled through 13 laps to give a fist pump and a “yes!” at the end; but hell, it was a big deal to me. I now have 2 full months to build upon this result. And considering the current rate of improvement, (even when I factor in the concept that as I get into better “swimming shape” the improvement will slow down a bit due to diminishing returns) I am still currently holding onto the belief that as long as I put in the work, I’ll be able to pull this off. And dare I say it, I might actually come to enjoy swimming a little bit- even if it’s for nothing more than a great cross training option.

 Brick: So now that the insane cold winter has moved out, and I have an actual real life bike to use, I can start doing my bricks outside to get a “really real” feel for what a brick should feel like (as opposed to the 1-2 punch of the stationary bike and treadmill in my gym), and a taste of what I can expect during Escape The Cape. The Jell-O legs are still there, and I imagine that they will actually get worse when you factor in the outside cycling & running. But better to experience and adapt to it now so when it comes to be “go time” I am ready to get it on. A short portion (about a half mile) of the run during the actual race is on the beach, so I will have to get myself accustomed to running on different surfaces as well. I’m going to be incorporating some trail running into the mix to help with this (while admittedly not sand, I have to imagine that a mixed surface of dirt, loose rocks, etc. is better than just straight pavement to get me used to this) until I can get myself on the sand to practice. Unfortunately, there are not a ton of beaches right around the corner from me to practice on exclusively (the Philly suburbs, while close to the Jersey Shore are not close enough to just “pop over” for a quick run)

 Bike: So the 2 (count em’, two!) bikes are back from the shop and ready to rock and roll. Tonight marks my inaugural ride outdoors on an actual (non-stationary) bike. Not only that, but it also will mark my first tandem bike ride ever. I will be heading out tonight with my daughter Tessa in tow. (Thanks to my brand new Weehoo Bike Trailer: Review / Website) I got it all assembled yesterday and pulled her up and down the block real fast to make sure it was good to go for today, and she LOVED IT. …which made me love it. I can’t wait to get out there and really take her for a ride longer than 45 seconds. This is going to be awesome and I’m ready to get a feel for what to expect on the bike in terms of performance, what it feesl like to go fast and have the wind in your face, and all the other ancillary experiences that I will need to get accustomed to related to cycling. (riding with sunglasses and a helmet, traffic, turning, handling, etc. You know, all the stuff you never even have to think about while “spinning” in the gym). I’m also hoping that combo of the heft of the mountain bike that I will be using to ride with Tess along with the weight of the trailer and her in the seat will also add up to increased speed & handling when I go out solo on my road bike (which is the one I will be using for the race, obviously)

 Run: This is and always be the core of my workouts. If all the varied triathlon training has taught me anything thus far, it’s that I am a runner at heart and that will always be the center of what/ who I am (at least fitness-wise) The past 2 weeks have been pretty great, run wise. Even though I made a conscious decision to deviate from the training plan a little. I have gone for 2 5K weekly runs and raced a 5K (along with my running partner rock, which was absolutely awesome) I had grand plans of wrapping up my 5K race with Rock and then heading to the park across the street to get in an additional 4 miles to round out the 7 on the schedule, but it turned out to be such a nice day that as soon as I started I doubled back and decided to bag it, haul ass home and enjoy what turned out to be the first nice warm-ish day in months walking around the neighborhood with the kids. It was awesome. I kept active all week and don’t feel like I missed anything in terms of distance improvement. I’ve rattled off some decent, strong and consistent mid-distance runs and I’m looking forward to this weekend’s long run to get myself back on schedule. I’m almost afraid to say it out loud, but things seem to be going pretty good right now, run-wise.

 So that concludes the section of the post that gives the workout updates. As for the random thoughts section of the update, I have a few things that have been playing on my mind about this process/ my experiences so far.

 Things are starting to get very real now. I’m looking at just over 2 months till race day and I know I’ve mentioned this before, but damn do I have a whole new respect for triathletes.

 Just the sheer volume of training involved in doing this (and doing it right) is a major investment: Financially of course, (3 sports = triple the “stuff”) but also both physically and in terms of time. I am finally getting to the point where I can see the finish line, and to me that also means looking ahead to how these experiences translate into the future now that I have a clear picture of what all goes into this during the day-to-day training. More to come on what the future holds for me… once I figure that out for myself, of course.

 One other thing I wanted to mention though is that while Cross Training is something I have shamefully neglected in the past, the added swimming and cycling are having a pretty awesome effect on me now. As always, I’m not sure if it’s purely physical or if there is a mental component to it as well (and also not sure if whether that distinction even matters), but I have never felt as strong or confident in my runs as I have lately. They are still challenging, and my speed is not where I ideally want to end up, but I am feeling great and running strong. I’m now and officially converted believer in the cross training and will be preaching from now on: I am of the mindset that the addition of the swimming and cycling is clearly going to be making me a better runner.

 Okay, that’s all I’ve got for today.

 As always, thanks so much for reading and I hope that you can gain some sort of insight as to what this experience is really beginning to look like for me.

  As always, Till next time:

 Take it Easy

 Andy

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2 responses to “The Triathlon Chronicles: Update #3- Keep on Truckin’

  1. Sue DiRaimondo

    I’m training for my first Tri right along with you. Funny how just this week I came to the same conclusion about running. It’s just a part of who I am! I also agree with discovering the importance of cross training! Hoping tonight’s ice storm is the last of the season and I can finally get on the road. Tomorrow we do a 20 minute swim, 40 minute bike, and a 30 minute run. I’ve been down most of the week with the flu, so it’ll be interesting! Keep up the good work!

  2. I just found your website thru skinny runner…Great post. Great work.
    I did my first (and only) tri many years ago…but just for a confidence booster for you…
    Swimming was the most difficult for me, I literally had to learn to swim while training, I was afraid of the open water, etc. Just not my thing…The day of the race I walked up to EVERY swim official (They had some going out in boats, etc) and made them take note of my race number on my swim cap…I pointed to it and said, “Keep your eye on me, I am NOT a good swimmer…” They were laughing, I was serious. I even asked them if they wanted me to have a big colored splotch on my cap, so they could easily pick me out and rescue me if needed.
    Well, the race went great, they staggered the swim start nicely, and a rather “professional” looking buff triathlete guy in front of me took a rest break floating on his back before me, and it was a HUGE confidence booster.
    The rest of the race went great…I swear I was so happy that I didn’t die on the swim I could’ve done ANYTHING after that!

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