the triathlon pages

THIRD WEEK ~ Ups and downs

Current totals: Other:
Running 14.4 mi / 23.17 K Hiking 7 mi / 11.27 K
Biking 54.8 mi / 88.19 K Canoeing 40 minutes
Swimming 1.59 mi / 2.56 K Soccer 4 games

    When I started training for this triathlon, I expected my performance, endurance, and enjoyment to have a steady upward trajectory. Maybe not a steep slope, but moving consistently upward, anyway. As it turns out, my progress is nothing like that.

    During my first outdoor jog, I enjoyed myself. When I went again this week, I had a lousy time and spent most of the time thinking to myself, "This is so boring. I'm moving so slowly. Bored. I wonder how far I've gone? Bored." Real runners tell me they enjoy running because they can let their mind wander. I wonder how I set my mind free to do that?

    Making matters worse in the running department is my new pedometer. Frankly, it sucks. I ran for 50 minutes and it said I only went a mile. I think it must go by impact, so when I run on grass or gravel it has a hard time sensing every step. Anyway, now I have to retrace my steps on my bike so I can figure out how far I ran.

    ~ * ~

    Swimming, on the other hand, is greatly improving. I remembered my gym (24-Hour Fitness, formerly Hart's) has a pool, so I went there instead of the public pool. It was much nicer for several reasons. First, the pool is available for laps all the time, so it was much less crowded than the public pool which only allows an hour each night for lap swimming. Also, the water smelled and tasted nicer. It was several degrees warmer, too. Finally, it was five feet deep the whole way, and for some reason that makes me feel less tired. I have no idea why this is, but I've noticed that I feel more tired (in the public pool) when I swim in the deep end. It's purely psychological - I don't ever touch the bottom except between laps.

    The gym employees told me that there were 22 laps to a mile, but I think 22 laps to a kilometer seemed more accurate, so I assumed that was the case. This time, I was markedly less tired and was able to swim every lap without resting. (Before, I would rest after one length; now I rested after a lap.) My rests were also much shorter, and I felt generally better. My time went down another 7-8 minutes.

    I found that feeling tired when swimming can be partially overcome by willpower. (This may be related to my asthma.) Toward the end of a lap, I often feel like I'm not breathing often enough. Today, I tried relaxing when that happened, and trying to convince myself that I had enough air, and it helped.

    An unexpected side effect of swimming regularly is that my fingernails are stronger from all the moisture.

    I'm aware that during the triathlon, I'll be swimming in a cold, deep lake instead of a warm, shallow, clean pool. Sometime I need to make that transition and practice a bit in a lake. But I'm going to wait until I shape up a little more.

    ~ * ~

    A 50- to 60-mile bike ride is planned for this weekend - the longest bike ride I have ever done. I'm a little worried, but I think I'll make it. After all, I'll be sitting down the whole time - how hard could it be? Our destination is the Bite of Seattle, so we'll need the long ride to compensate for all the food we'll eat.


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