Monday, April 8, 2019

Ironman Training Journal, First Month

Here we go again. In the time since I last posted, I officially decided not to do Ironman Texas, and officially registered for Ironman Chattanooga. It was for the reasons I mentioned in my last blog post -- I didn't like the swim in Texas or that part of Texas in general, and I especially didn't like the thought of driving to and from Texas again, ever. Let alone driving back tired and sore from an Ironman with my car full of dirty, smelly gear, especially if I missed a cutoff and didn't finish! That sounded like the most depressing thing in the world. It sounded more depressing than kissing my registration fee goodbye and coughing up another one. So that's what I did. I do not want to think about how much money I threw away for literally nothing, so I'm not going to. La la la la la, what money?

Chattanooga is a better race for me. It's still a drive, but not nearly as far as Texas. Will has friends there that we can stay with for free. Best of all, it has a downcurrent swim. I will need that. I haven't gotten any better at swimming and likely won't, now that I decided I'm not going to masters swimming at 5:30 a.m. I'm completely devoted to coffee and books and the cat in my lap at 5:30 a.m., and also to the sun beating down on me in a bathtub-temperature pool at noon. I haven't really given much thought to the fact that Chattanooga has a hilly bike and there aren't really a lot of hills here to train on, unless you like bridge repeats. (Anyone want to guess whether I like those or not?) I probably need to do something to make my legs stronger, but leg day at the gym is in the same category as masters swimming, in that it's something I've been talking about doing for a long time but made no steps toward actually doing.

In the meantime, I've done the first month of my six-month training plan (MY GOD, 6 MONTHS SOUNDS LIKE A LONG TIME!) and not missed any workouts. Even though it's just the first month, my shortest workouts are an hour and my longest are two hours, and that's six days a week. I'm doing OK in all three disciplines, stellar in none.

Swim: I'm doing the workouts, but haven't been in my wetsuit or in the ocean for quite a while. I bought a bunch of cold-water swim stuff -- the mask, the sleeves, the boots -- and then returned them because I don't want to swim in the ocean when it's cold, period. (And now that I'm training for a September race, I don't have to!) I'm doing swim drills regularly for the first time in my life. I suck at most of them and have made no real progress over a month. I watch the drill videos on YouTube and feel like I am doing exactly what the swimmers in those videos are doing, but somehow I do not look like those swimmers. This swim program has lots of intervals, which I guess is good, but now when I have to swim more than 200 yards straight I feel like I'm dying. I guess I will fix that when I get back to ocean swimming. I have arbitrarily set the acceptable ocean temperature at 75. It's 70 right now but should be warming up soon, I hope.

Bike: I still need a new bike seat, but haven't bought one yet. Buying a new bike seat is actually really complicated, at least it is if the bike shop doesn't have any of the seats I'm actually interested in available for demo. It's not like you can just buy one and return it if you don't like it, which is sort of ridiculous, because they're around $200. Everyone has their favorite bike seat to recommend, but individuals are so different that there really is no "best bike seat," kind of like there is no "best guide dog." There's only the best match, whether we're talking about the match between bike seat and ass or the match between person who is blind and guide dog. The bike seat I currently have is acceptable though I certainly wouldn't go so far as to call it comfortable. Oh, and I can ride in aerobars! That is the most exciting news on the bike front. I was afraid for months and then suddenly I was not afraid. Let me edit that to add I am not afraid as long as there's no wind, the road is perfectly straight, and there's no traffic in sight, bike or vehicle. Hey, I'm pretty proud of myself for that because I was pretty sure that I was going to be the one person who could not learn how to ride in aerobars.

Run: I'm running. I still can't seem to get back to the speed I used to have, even with watching calories and sugar and eating mostly healthy. I don't understand why I have lost hardly any weight. Always in the past, weight loss just happened as workout load increased, even if I was eating garbage, which I am not right now. Every bit of extra weight slows you down on the run, so I may need to explore more radical solutions soon. (And yes, I know I'm not FAT fat -- in fact I think I am extremely fit and healthy -- but I am too fat to run as fast as I want to, something I know runners will understand.) I'm actually running more than my training plan calls for because I'm still hoping to find an early summer marathon somewhere, just to prove to myself that I can still do one. We have had months of perfect running weather. Yesterday was the first run I did this year that was over 90 degrees. I did 12 miles in Tampa in the afternoon. Yes I should have joined Run Tampa in the morning for the group run, which would have been nice and cool, but I was busy. OK, I was reading and having coffee and then going back to sleep and then going to Sage Biscuit with Will for breakfast. My self-imposed punishment was 12 miles in the afternoon heat. I can't complain too much though, because humidity was under 50% and I saw more dolphins along Bayshore than I ever have. I live in a gorgeous place for running, there's no doubt about that!

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