Tag Archives: beginner tri

Intro to The Triathlon Chronicles

I have been talking for a while now about where to take the blog next. I’ve known for a while the direction I wanted to go but it’s always been a fuzzy goal: an idea of what I want to do but no real steps to actually make it so. Now I am happy say that no more generalities: I have determined where it’s going and have set it all in stone. Buckle up, I am now continuing on and making my story one of a fat dad who went from Couch Potato to Triathlete. So how did I make the decision to push myself and get into a place where I am willingly looking to compete in races that will be the ultimate test of my physical endurance? What the hell am I thinking? There is a lot more to come on the subject, but here’s the introductory info:

By now I’m sure you know the gist of my story thus far. In case you’re new here, let me catch you up real fast:  I had always been a big guy and had come to embrace it. It’s just who I was. But once my wife and I brought our first child into the picture, it was no longer acceptable for me to be like that anymore. They deserved better of me, and I became bound and determined to be that better man, both for myself and for my family. All told, here I sit after losing 130+ pounds in the past year and a half by changing the way I eat and taking up running. But as is usually the case: everything comes with a price. Through my single-minded focus on losing the weight and stepping into the running world (and the subsequent steps into the endurance running world) I put some heavy-duty pressure and wear and tear on my knee, resulting in a breakdown of the cartilage, tendonitis and healthy dose of pain (and as an added bonus…a weird crackling sound) This is all a result of a lot of factors, including beginning running with reckless abandon on a 330 pound body, poor running form, not enough cross/ strength training, and some crappy genetics (arthritis in my knee). So while seeing the Orthopedic Doc and Physical Therapists, they all told me the same things: Cross train: Stop running 100% of the time. A lot of people can do that without any issue, but I am not one of them. What I need to do is simple: Get in the pool, Get on the bike, Get stronger & more flexible. All while keeping up on the running. I am incorporating these other things to compliment the running, not replace it altogether. Do that and it will reduce the constant pounding on my knee, all while making me a more well-rounded athlete and keeping things more balanced by working different muscles. That’s the key to fixing the problem.

Now, if you have read this blog at all you know that I am always looking to ramp things up to the next level, and you will not be surprised at all that after the seed had been planted to add swimming and biking to the mix along with the running, that my mind went directly to Triathlons. Since I have absolutely zero experience in most of what I am about to embark upon, I thought it might be a great thing to capture for the blog. Kind of a first hand account of what it really is like to get into this and take it seriously. All while keeping up on the running, holding down a job, and most importantly, handling the responsibilities of being a Husband and father of a 2-year-old and a newborn.

…it should be interesting, that’s for sure.

And as I am also sure you are not surprised, I already have Triathlon #1 picked out. The first of many tris (I actually have 3 picked out and on the schedule for next year already!) I will compete in is a sprint distance, and is being held in Cape May, NJ. The ESCAPE THE CAPE TRI, presented by Delmo Sports is on 6/8/14, and I will be there. Just shy of a year to get myself totally acclimated to 2 new sports and in fighting shape to get through it all.

Please note: I have gotten a few questions already about this. I may be aggressive, but I’m not insane. Just like road races, Triathlons have different distances to accommodate varying levels of fitness, experience, and expertise. I am starting with the shortest of all the distances, a “sprint” triathlon. I’m looking at a quarter mile swim, 10 mile bike ride, and then a 3.1 mile run. I’m doing that twice. The first time just to take it all in and finish. The second will be to improve upon attempt #1 and get ready for my third triathlon, which will be the next incremental step up in distance and difficulty: An “Olympic” or “International” distance triathlon. (1 mile swim, 25 miles on the bike, 6.2 mile run). This is all in 2014. Hell yes. My ultimate goal for 2015 and beyond will be a “Half Ironman Distance” Triathlon (I actually prefer to refer to it by its alternate name, an “Ironman 70.3” That’s because it’s a 1.2 mile swim, 56 miles on the bike, and 13.1 miles of running: all adding up to 70.3 miles covered in total. Sounds exponentially more badass in my mind)

Just for the record, whenever you say Triathlon, most people think of the Ironman. While “The Ironman” is the most well-known to most people, it is also the most hardcore, reserved for elite athletes and those people who can push themselves to the very limits of endurance. I am not doing an Ironman. I will go on record to say that I will never do an Ironman. (For the record: a “Full Ironman” is a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a full marathon 26.2 miles: yeah…not gonna happen for me). I say again: No.

But coming back to topic, and speaking of the Triathlons I already have set for next year: all 3 of my upcoming triathlon races are organized by Delmo Sports, a South Jersey based company that is behind 3 of the premier triathlon events in the South Jersey area (Escape The Cape, Tri The Wildwoods, and The Atlantic City International Triathlon…and yup, I am competing in all 3 of these in 2014) I had the opportunity to talk with their founder, Steve Delmonte and man, what a great conversation we had. He was super accessible, down to earth, and you’d be hard pressed to find a guy who was more supportive of my efforts. He, without hesitation agreed to grant me access to the races and pointed me to several resources that have provided me with as much info as I can handle in regards to training and preparation. You can look for an interview with him as well as full profiles on each of the races I will be taking on all coming in the future. I am happy to say that I am now part of the Delmo Sports family and will be tailoring my training towards these specific challenges as they come up.

So: where am I at now and what’s the plan looking forward? I have done a lot of reading/ research about Tri’s in general, as well as taking a hard look at all the training plans I can get my hands on, for all the various distances…just to get a feel for them all. The plan is for me to continue on with my working plan for the summer and fall- continuing to rehab the knee and participate in the last race I have on the calendar for the year: The Runner’s World “Five & Dime” in October. I’ll be rocking out back to back 5K & 10K races on that day. Outside of that, it’s all about maintaining the cardio/ strength/ overall fitness for the rest of the year and starting with the new year start training for what has shaped up to be an awesome calendar of races. 2014 is going to be huge for me, and I’m looking forward to getting into it, but for now it’s all about working the running back up to racing form for Runners World in October, continuing the stretching, strengthening, beginning to ride the bike and swimming just to get comfortable with it all.

It’s going to be good and I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you.

Till Next time: Take it easy.

Andy

Back On Track…(A New Track, But Back Nonetheless)

It’s good to be back.

I just wanted to check in and give you a quick update on where I’m at and what the immedate future has in store for me.

I have been going to Physical Therapy to address my crappy knee and build up my legs/ core. It’s been going ok, but it’s not a quick process. I am adjusting to it, adapting it into my daily routine, and having patience and faith that as long as I keep it up and trust the process it’s going to put me where I need to be.

I’m not 100% yet, but all the swelling is gone and I can safely say that the vast majority of the pain is gone as well. I have been cleared to begin working out again…slowly.

There’s a  lot of work for me to do, but pretty much everything I’ve done to date has required a lot of work…so why stop now, right?

So it will be the new and improved workout routine now. Starting with short runs, and alternating with rides on the bike and pool workouts. I got my hands on a hand-me-down road bike which I am slightly obsessed with right now, and I am joining the local YMCA to get myself access to the pool as well. All the pieces are falling into place.

I go on vacation with the family next week, which will free up a lot of time. I am hoping to churn out a handful of reviews I have been meaning to write but running out of hours in the day to get to, start to piece together the panel of people that I want to assemble for the blog to field beginner’s questions, and get some form of workout in every day, alternating between rides on the bike and runs, followed by ice and rest/ playing with my daughter on the beach. (…and probably eating & drinking more than I should be, but hey: I’m on vacation, so it is what it is)

I am looking forward to ending the forced rest break that my crappy knee enforced. But while it did make me lose my mind with no real activity to speak of, I feel like it did me some good too (and not just in the obvious physical sense) This break also provided the “reset” I think I needed to shift my perspective a little bit.

Running will always be a love of mine, but I am really excited about the new multi-sport approach I will be taking.

The more I talk about/ read about/ plan for my Triathlon focus the more excited I get.

And to bring it back home, one of the reasons why I get so fired up about it is because by adding biking and swimming into the mix, it’s going to make me a more well rounded, stronger, more flexible, BETTER runner. So let’s fix this crappy running form of mine and start to build up the rest of my body that has been neglected with the laser focus on the weight loss and endurance running. I am excited and nervous. I am not under and false illusions here: I am fully aware that incorporating not one, but two new sports that are completely foreign to me is going to suck. It will hurt, I’m not going to be good at either (at first) and the temptation to go back to my comfort zone of solely running will always be there, but if I do this and do it right, it will pay off massively (in multiple ways). So as my good friend Lonnie says, “Suck It Up, Princess”…and just get after it.

As I get into it all I know I will have more to share, but for now it’s all about getting the work week wrapped up, getting packed and getting my ass down to the shore.

Anyway, I just wanted to check in and let you know that you can (hopefully) expect a flurry of product reviews from me next week, and give you a peek as to where I’m at both physically and mentally.

Much more to come, but for now:

Take it Easy