... my journey from ballerina to triathlete

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Week One Pleasures, Week Two Blues

After my initial false starts, my first week of training went swimmingly. (Get it? Get it?) I swam several miles, biked three times, and did my somewhat pathetic yet still satisfying run-walk combo with great success. Some observations on starting the new training schedule:

1. I love being outside.
Beautiful Waimea run
Sunset bike ride
I have this strange thought each time I gear up for a workout in which I bemoan how little time I have to just enjoy beautiful Hawaii due to hours spent training. This is stupid. I spend at least three times more times in the great outdoors when I'm training versus when I'm not whether it is swimming in the water, cycling on the road, or running on the trails. Plus, I get to enjoy not just the sunshine (and sometimes rain) but a feast for all senses -- the gorgeous landscape full of colors so saturated they hardly seem real, smells of the earth and the flowers, the feel of the wind and water on my face, the sounds of the breeze rustling through the grass and the birds singing, and even the taste of the many fruits that I find along the way (right now it's guava season!). Each time I go out I find something new, things that I never noticed before despite having driven past them countless times. There is something to be said for slowing down and experiencing the outdoors in a more intimate way.

2. It's time for me to start calling it "cycling."

New friend
Having spent the first portion of my triathlon-related life training for a sprint still a newbie and although I now know how to change a tire in theory, I have the distinct feeling that if and when it happens out on the road I will still be completely at a loss, but now that I am training for an Olympic-length tri and riding a fancy bike (more about that in a moment), I am trying to be a better, more "proper" athlete.
triathlon -- the bottom of the triathlon barrel -- and riding a "vintage" road bike

three times as old as I am, I felt somewhat ridiculous talking like a serious endurance athlete. I didn't know how to change a tire, I didn't own a pair of bike shorts, and I didn't know whether the harder gears were "high" or "low." I was a newbie. Now, let's be clear -- I am

3. Fancy bikes are fun.
Another new friend -- my new Cerv
I had grown quite attached to my old Peugeot, and although it was by no means fancy, it represents my first step into the triathlon realm and the fulfillment of a long-term goal. I was all about seeing what my body could do, not what some fancy equipment could do, and while I still subscribe to that mindset, I certainly could not say no when my wonderful employers gave me a gorgeous Cervelo P2C tri bike. I still haven't gotten cleats or shoes to match its fancy Speedplay XR clip-in pedals and thus I am riding using little stubs that look like lollipops for pedals (something that I'm pretty sure flies in the face of everything I said in #2, above...), but it has been really, really fun to experiment with this beautiful piece of cycling engineering. I
still love my old bike, but I am truly enjoying my new toy.

4. My body returns to its pre-broken foot habits very quickly once I restart my training. My pants are immediately looser, my appetite is immediately bigger, but most importantly I immediately have more energy and feel better. My cravings for junk food have already disappeared and I am back to eating like a bottomless pit. There are not enough raspberries, blueberries, tomatoes, green beans, and salmon filets in the world to satiate me -- and I love it!

5. I love the surprises that present themselves during my workouts.
First, I met a very sweet dog who did my whole run with me, then hopped into my car before I could protest, forcing me to drive her home to where she first joined me over a mile away. Then I found an absolutely beautiful road that takes you through rolling, deeply green fields full of sheep and horses before turning a corner and running right next to Mauna Kea. I have seen humongous crabs walking on the ocean floor and I nearly inhaled a full lung of ocean water when I was suddenly surrounded by a gigantic school of fish, at least 1000-strong. Since then, I have also met and made friends with several cows, horses, and goats along the roadways. Today I discovered a road that takes me up into the very hills that I have been lusting after for the past four months. Every day of training is a new adventure, and I can never underestimate what a gift this is.

Despite my first week going so well, however, the changes to my schedule caught up to me quickly. Whereas I would usually make a quick trip to the grocery store on my way home from work, now I must change into running clothes in the office bathroom and find a place to run before it gets dark. When I would normally be cooking, I am swimming, and during the time that I had set aside to write these blogs, I am taking long bike rides. Moving my schedule around caused a chaotic, disorganized feeling that overwhelmed me, resulting in poor diet (not bad food, just not enough food), a messy house, and a very tired me. After fighting it all week, I took Thursday and Friday off to go home and directly to sleep. Starting fresh today with a 12-mile bike ride and 2.5-mile run felt like the two day hiatus did its job. My legs no longer felt like lead and my brain felt  clear and focused. I know that making such big adjustments to both schedule and activity level will take time to get used to, so in the mean time I will listen to my body and try to stay organized.

Week three promises good things.

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