... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ballerinas Don't Run

Doing a triathlon has always sounded like fun.
Okay, perhaps "fun" is not the most accurate word. Perhaps doing a triathlon has always sounded exotic and tough and impressive and I couldn't quite escape the feeling that if I could complete this holy trinity of swimming, biking, and running I would be magically transformed into one of those bronzed badasses who oozes strength and muscle tone from every pore like the ones I had always admired in my dad's Runners magazine. I have never been acquainted with any version of that person within myself, but I have had the sneaking suspicion that swimming until my arms felt like they were falling off, biking until my legs were numb, and running until I could do nothing but crawl are the direct route to uncovering my inner badass.
This thought has been gnawing at me for nearly six years now. That is embarrassing to admit- that I am such a slacker and a procrastinator and a generally lazy asshole that it has taken me six years to decide that I am actually going to do this. But I have decided. No more excuses, no more convincing myself that I could do it if I really wanted to but just don't have the time, and no more fear of the unknown. That bronzed fitness goddess is in there somewhere and it's way past time that I find her. And so, my goal is as follows:

1. I will complete a sprint length triathlon no later than the beginning of June, 2013, consisting of a half mile swim, a twelve mile bike ride, and a three mile run.
2. I will complete an olympic length triathlon by the end of 2013- .93 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike ride, and 6.2 mile run.

Now, just so that you have a realistic picture of me, let's go over some basics of where I am at physically at the beginning of this adventure. I am average height hovering dangerously close to short, of normal weight, and I work out at the gym at least three times a week. Twenty years of ballet have kept me relatively toned and muscular, but erase the image you have of the sylph-like ballerina who could slip through the cracks in hardwood flooring because much to my angsty dismay, that has never been me. I consider myself to be in decent shape, but like everyone I find the sides of my thighs a little more jiggly than I would prefer, my love handles a little too easy to grasp, and my butt a little too willing to give in to gravity.
My diet vacillates between a healthy mix of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and unfortunate incidents involving pasta, cake, and copious amounts of chocolate. I can't lie and say that I am consistent in my eating because I am not. I know better- MUCH better, but it is an ongoing battle to find balance between health and enjoyment. I am curious to see what effect triathlon training has on what I put into my body.

So where do I begin? After six years of fantasizing it is almost overwhelming to take the first steps to make this idea happen. There are so many what-ifs floating around in the back of my mind, and as much as I try to ignore them they insist on making themselves known. What if after all of this time, I try to do this and fail? What if I can't figure out the logistics of a multi-sport race? What if I struggle through this whole thing only to find that no matter what I do, I will never be the bronzed badass on the pages of the sports magazines? The biggest what-if, however, is what keeps urging me forward. What if I think about this year after year and never make it happen? How pathetic am I then?
And so, I turned to the internet. A quick google search of "sprint triathlon training schedule" yielded a plethora of schedules pre-made by experts in the field. Based on the fact that I feel like my legs are made of lead and my lungs are being crushed in a vice after just ten minutes of running, I decided that the beginner's plan was the best for me. Don't judge me. I can do plyometrics, yoga, ballet, and I can stay on the elliptical machine for hours, but ballerinas do not run. Twenty-two weeks seemed like a reasonable amount of time to kick myself into shape, and thus my goal began to take shape via Michael Pate's Total Sprint Training Plan. If you are in better shape than me and want something a little more condensed, check this out for all kinds of great resources and more advanced training plans. Just don't rub it in.

Excited, nervous, and energized are all accurate descriptors of my feelings each time I think about the weeks ahead. This blog will chronicle the process, the training, the frustrations, realizations, and anything else I learn along the way and, in just over five months, it will proudly display the results of my first triathlon. I have the distinct feeling that my body will not be the only thing growing stronger.

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