sometimes katie needs to train [I signed up for a sprint triathlon!]…

…so I have been on a plateau with my weight loss for the past 3 months now. I’ve been sitting at the same weight (within a few pounds) since “The Biggest Loser” ended at work. For the last few weeks I haven’t had much desire to work out, and have even felt some major food cravings happening. And sometimes I’ve given in.

Before this spiraled too much out of control, last week I asked my family and friends for a little extra support and prayer to get me back on track. Little did I know the funny trick God had up His sleeve… A girl in my community group at church posted on Facebook that she had to give up her registration for a sprint triathlon called the “Valley Girl” coming up next month. She’s prettttty pregnant and will be unable to compete. At first when I saw the post I didn’t think anything of it. I had heard that this was a popular race in Spokane and that usually filled up pretty quick. My roommate thought about taking her spot but she said she has difficulty swimming long distance, and so she thought that I should do it. Of course the fear settled in my head and I began thinking that there’s NO way I could complete this race.

waiting for a sign My husband and roommate convinced me to at least talk to this girl on see what she had to say. Sure enough, this super fit pregnant lady was SO encouraging and told me that she would help me with whatever I needed to train for the race. She pretty much made me feel like I could do anything! (This probably has something to do with the fact that she’s a trainer for a women’s-only crossfit gym, so I found a good “coach!”) I found a six week training schedule, and even though I have 5 weeks until the race I figured I could somehow make it work. As soon as I confirmed that I took her spot I got a nervous stomach ache and told my husband I was really freaked out and didn’t think I could do it. Thankfully he is so loving and encouraging that he had no doubt that I could do this race AND finish it. He reminded me that just because I may not think I’m good at something doesn’t mean I can’t work hard to accomplish it. doubtSo here’s how my first week of training went:

Day 1 (Monday): I forgot how much planning it takes when you’re going to be gone the entire day. The night before, I had to set out my work outfit, my gym outfit (including swim gear), and a clean outfit for afterwards. I made sure I had shower gear, and my iPod for listening to music. I also had to make sure I had enough food (which I now call fuel, because I’m gonna need energy for all this craziness), including what I was going to eat for breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack (which would also be my pre-workout fuel), and something to eat right after my workout. THIS IS WHERE I HAVE SO MUCH TO LEARN! Thankfully, I have a lot of people around me to help out with this. My older sister is a nutrition and fitness guru, and I really respect what she has to say about this area. My roommate is currently taking a Nutrition class in college, so she is really breaking it down for me. I also work with several really healthy, active people, so I ask them for advice too.

Anyway, it took me awhile to plan for the day. But when I woke up, I grabbed everything I needed, and got to work pretty quickly. I was a little nervous all day thinking about my first workout, but also excited, because I knew I was finally getting back on track! I threw my gym clothes on at the end of the work day, and headed off to the gym. I thought to myself, wow, the YMCA check-in people are gonna start seeing my face a lot more now! (this positive attitude thing is really refreshing, by the way). I went to put my stuff in the locker, and COULD NOT FIND MY LOCK. I emptied my bag and purse, and it was nowhere. I still have no idea where it is. Because I haven’t worked out in awhile, I can’t even remember the last place I put it. My heart sank. This was the first resistance I felt to this whole process, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me. I ran out to the lobby, checked the Lost & Found (it wasn’t there), and bought a new lock. I was NOT gonna let that stop me.

So then I went to grab my headphones, and they weren’t there either. I was like COME ONNNNN. I knew running without music would be a little tough, but I persevered, and went upstairs to the gym.

Task: “Run 4 km (easy)”: I did a 5 minute warm-up walk at 3.0 to get my legs warm. Then I turned the treadmill (ugh, yes, not a big fan of them, but they are nice when I have a swim to do at the gym) up to 5.0 mph and started running. Immediately felt it in my legs, and knew I had to push through. With the pollen being so thick and nasty outside, my asthma has been pretty bad the last 3 weeks, so I had to take puffs of my inhaler about 4 times.

The first .25 miles went soooooo slow, so I turned it up to 5.5 mph and tried to see how fast I could go. It was tough, so I went back to 5.0. Well, I got SO bored, that I turned it up to 6.0 mph, to make it go faster. Well, that was stupid, because I wasn’t ready for it. Plus, my knee was really hurting on the treadmill. I forgot to tape it, and I had been taking it easy the last 2 weeks after feeling something tear at work (I think it was my meniscus, but didn’t wanna pay for an x-ray and PT so that my insurance company would pay for an MRI to confirm. So I did my own PT at work, and it was much better after 2 weeks.). It was a different kind of pain, like an overall pain around the whole joint, and it felt stiff. I had to get off once and stretch, but it didn’t help much.

SO after playing around with the pace, and being SO BORED, and my knee feeling stiff, and wanting to quit, I eventually made it to 2.5 miles/4.0 km, in 39:10 (this includes the warm-up and cool-down walks). I was SO GLAD IT WAS OVER! But then I thought, wow, I just ran 2.5 miles {basically}  straight, after not running since 4/28… not bad.

you got this  Task: “Swim 8 x25 m (swim easy), rest 30 sec. between each 25 m. Then 100 m (easy swim). Then 4 x25 (hard), rest after each: I was so red, hot, and sweaty from my run (when I run my face gets super red and blotchy, it always has), so it was a relief getting in the water. I have slowly been collecting swim gear since November when I joined the YMCA, so I had on my swimsuit, cap, goggles, and earplugs (I got swimmer’s ear a lot as a kid, and it still really affects me. My tiny little ears don’t create a seal in the water, so when I turn my head it feels like the water is going all the way into my BRAIN and it hurts. I tried several kinds, including the putty you can shape in your ear, but this is the kind that really works for me: earplugs Anyway, the swimming went really fast. I usually just do the breaststroke, because that’s what feels most natural, it doesn’t hurt my right shoulder (years of pitching fastpitch softball made it wear down pretty bad), and it doesn’t hurt my ears. Out of the 16 lengths, I did 1 length backstroke, 2 lengths crawlstroke, and the rest breaststroke. With the rests, it took about 15 minutes or so (I didn’t exactly time the first time). Piece of cake! I rewarded myself by sitting in the hot tub for 10 minutes to sooth my aching low back (gotta strengthen that core.) BAD IDEA. The hot tub made me feel super dehydrated. I couldn’t drink enough water after that. I felt super nauseous, and my head started hurting immediately. This probably had to do with the fact that I didn’t drink enough water today or yesterday, and then I added in this workout regimen. I had meant to eat a Isagenix bar to recover some of what I burned, but I had to make a phone call after the gym and then go to the grocery store to stock up for my Book Club dinner I was hosting later in the week. ANOTHER BAD IDEA. Oh my goodness, not eating + being dehydrated = me feeling miserable. I was dizzy at the grocery store, and wanted to throw up. Trust me, I learned my lesson. I scarfed the bar as soon as I got in the parking lot, chugged water, got home, ate a little more, and went to bed. Thankfully, the headache was gone when I woke up.

 

 

Day 2 (Tuesday):  I felt pretty good in the morning, but my quads were a little sore. This is my biggest problem. My quads are tight, and they are weak. They are the first thing I feel during a workout, and are always sore the day after. I am really working on this. I didn’t have to plan too much for the day, because I knew I would do my bike ride at home. I made sure I drank a TON of water all day so that I didn’t get super dehydrated again like yesterday.

Task: Bike 20-40 km (easy) HA! 12.43 – 24.85 miles??!! The most I have EVER ridden on my bike was 13 miles at the Hiawatha Trail  a couple years ago, and it was mostly downhill, and my butt hurt the whole time.

IMG_0807

I mean, I rode my bike everywhere as a kid, but as an adult it hasn’t been my mode of transportation or exercise. This was a little intimidating, and I knew that I needed to modify this for 1) my butt to get used to it, and 2) me to not get injured by training too hard/too fast. I settled with 8 miles to kick off the bike aspect of my training. My husband loves mountain biking, and he was absolutely ECSTATIC when I asked him to go on a bike ride with me. He loves anything and everything we can do together outside. He helped get my bike ready, pumped up my tires, and wiped the cobwebs off my helmet :). We live in a gorgeous part of town, near the Spokane River, and so we created a loop that brought us down along the river to make the ride scenic and enjoyable.

bike ride

I had to figure out how to shift gears, and when to pedal hard/easy, and I found that OH GOODY, this will be how my quads get strengthened! It was a really pretty ride, my butt didn’t hurt until the last 3 miles or so, and it eased my mind a little about this whole thing. Except the last mile or so was straight uphill at a slow incline, and it was tough. But I pushed hard, and didn’t stop. Even my husband told me he was impressed that I was able to do it. We ended up going 7.97 miles in 50:18. We got home, I hopped off my bike to run and open the front door, and I almost fell over. I thought, OH GREAT! When I have to do this at the race, I’m gonna really fall over! But I figured with practice, this will get better. I wasn’t super hungry after the ride, but I had a little snack, kept drinking water, and felt good the rest of the night.

 

 

Day 3 (Wednesday): When I woke up, my quads were a little tight. But surprisingly, I wasn’t too sore. I knew that tonight I was hosting Book Club at my house, and I was getting off work at 3, so that I could go home and prepare dinner/decorations for them to arrive at 6:30. Well, that was before I knew I had to workout after work. I basically got to work as early as possible to allow me to see my patients, and left at 3:05 pm. I busted it to the gym, and decided to swim first.

Task: Swim 4 x100 m straight (rest 30 sec. after each 100 m): When I get in the water, all is well. I love the coolness of it, and it seems to take away the stress of my day. My mom always called me a “fish” when I was a kid, and it’s true. Some might attribute this to me being a Pisces, but I don’t look too much into that stuff. Anyway, My second swim for the week felt great. I did 14 lengths of breaststroke, and 2 of crawlstroke. When I did the crawlstroke, I really felt it in my sore quads, and felt like it was a harder workout. I told myself to remember this, and to keep adding it in to my swim workouts, even if it’s just for increased heart rate and using different muscles. I completed the swim in 12:32 today (including the rests). I feel like I’m seeing improvement each time I swim.

progress not perfection

Task: Run 4 km (easy): I threw on my gym clothes, threw a headband in my hair, and hopped on a treadmill. I did a warm-up walk (about 5 minutes, as usual), and increased the pace a little more today so that I could get the run over with (I really needed to get home and cook!!!). My right knee was REALLY feeling stiff today, so I had to stop twice for about 30 seconds and just stretch it out. Oh, and I found some headphones, so I listened to some rap/hip-hop to keep me movin’. But jeez, the rap lyrics these days are out of control!

Anyway, I left the gym SUPER SWEATY, ran home, picked up the house, and somehow miraculously put together a fair-themed meal (we read a book about the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893 called “Devil in the White City,” so of course I made it themed). I didn’t have a chance to shower or change clothes, so I hosted all sweaty and gross. Luckily, I have an amazing group of friends in my Book Club, and they didn’t care! Tonight I did start stretching before I went to bed. My biggest culprits: bilateral low back, right hip flexors and right quads (left quads are tight too). Stretching felt niiiiiice.

 

Day 4 (Thursday): I knew I had a busy day today, so my plan was to wake up and run. Wellllll, the vodka-soaked strawberries I put in the lemonade last night made me feel like that wasn’t a good idea when the alarm went off. No big deal, I thought, I’ll go later tonight. I got off work a little early, and knew that I could either get a bike ride or a run in, but not both. Task: Bike 20-40 km (easy): Today was the first day I tried the stationary bike. I made sure not to ride the recumbent bike, because I wanted it to mimic my bike at home. I GOTTA GET USED TO THAT DARNED BIKE SEAT WITH MY BUTT!!! I knew that 1) I didn’t have time to ride 20-40 km, and 2), I am slowly going to get used to riding a bike, and there’s no need to rush up to 25 miles in my first week of training (especially when the race is just about 13 miles).

The ride actually felt pretty good. I ended up doing intervals, and it was 10.66 miles, in 46 minutes. The seat was more tolerable than my bike, and I ended up downloading “The Secret Garden” ebook to read while I rode (it was hard to see on my Samsung Galaxy though, it’s not quite as big as a tablet. I knew I needed something to keep me occupied in the future). Ten miles was all I had time to do, because I had to rush to my slowpitch softball double header. Yes, I played softball after my bike ride. I was almost late to the game because I was pushing the bike to get in as many miles as I could.

My legs actually felt pretty good, and I didn’t need to warm-up much for the game. I was really surprised of how much more energy I had at the game, and how less out of breath I got during the short runs I had to do. I figured it would take longer for my body to feel the effects of all the working out I was doing this week.

My little sister played with us tonight. She ended up losing a ball in the sun, and took a ball off the forehead. Her husband came to take her to Urgent Care, and she ended up with a minor concussion. I was a little rattled by this, and ended up taking a ground ball to the inside of my foot. Holy cow that hurt. It already had a bruise, and my whole ankle was stiff and painful. I iced it, stretched it, and had Jill (my OT friend) do a little mobilization on it (which made it pop and feel SO MUCH BETTER). But I thought, OH GREAT – now I’m not going to be able to run tonight!!

katie hurt softball

Task: Run 4 km (hard): Jill convinced me to take the evening off from running, and to rest my foot. I’m glad I did. I got home at 9:30 p.m., exhausted. I stretched and then fell asleep hard.

 

Day 5 (Friday): I was a little nervous all day, thinking about how tonight I had to do “all 3” at the gym for the first time. My foot was a little sore, but it didn’t bother me too much at work. I taped my knee with KT Tape, a Kinesiology tape that I LOVE and recommend as a Physical Therapist for a lot of orthopedic issues.

kt tape

(this is the tape application for full knee support, and I really feel more supported when I wear it. It’s less bulky than a brace, and I can move without resistance. Instructions here)

Work was really busy today, and so I didn’t actually leave work until 6 pm (this is rare). Of course I didn’t want to go the gym at this point, I wanted to go to dinner with my husband for Date Night. But I knew I had to do it.

Task:  Bike 15 km (easy): I started with the bike today. I downloaded “The Secret Garden” on Audiobook for free  at booksshouldbefree.com (I will DEFINITELY be using this site a lot!), and it helped me get through the bike a lot easier. I was going to just go ~9 miles like the plan said, but as I rode, I started competing with myself. First I wanted to see if I could beat my time yesterday by getting to 10 miles in less than 46 minutes. Well, when I did that, I thought, well, why not see how far I can get in 50 minutes? It was crazy, I really pushed myself, and went further than I thought I could! I ended up riding 11.01 miles in 50:27. Hooray! compete with yourselfAfter my bike ride, I felt pretty tight, and knew I needed to stretch. I spent about 15 minutes stretching my back and legs, and rehydrating. I knew it would set me back for time, but I also knew my body needed it. It felt good, just like it always does.

Task: Run 4 km (easy): My co-worker Jill is a marathon runner, and she recommended to me that I try a different treadmill at the Y, which is designed for longer runs. The belt is more textured instead of flat, and it kinda looks like a tire. I hopped on one of those treadmills, which faces the pool (something besides other people running to look at!). I pushed play on “The Secret Garden,” and took off. I cut my warm-up to 3 minutes, and decided to just keep the pace at 5.0 mph (12 min./mile pace).

I can’t believe how good that run felt. I had taken the pressure off of myself to try to get done faster, or see how fast I can tolerate, and I just enjoyed 30 minutes of running at a steady pace. I sweat like crazy. But my knee felt great, and I didn’t get out of breath. HALLELUJAH! Something is clicking!! I know I’ll have goals for times for each part of the race, but I have never claimed to be a fast runner, and that’s okay. I got a great workout in, and it actually felt good. After the run, I put my swimsuit on, but felt a little light headed. I drank a ton of water, sat for about 10-15 minutes to rest, and ate an apple. Once I felt okay, I went to the pool.

Task: Swim 8 x50 m: After that hot bike and run, the water felt amazing. Once again, all the stresses of the day were gone, I was cool, and knew I was gonna rock this swim. The instructions didn’t say anything about resting, so I just did 16 lengths straight without stopping. I brought a waterproof watch with a timer, and was seeing if I could keep the pace of 40 sec./length or 1:20/lap consistently. I did the breaststroke the entire time, and by the time it was over, I was a little out of breath. But man it felt good. I finished in 10:38. Apparently to get 1/3 mile, I will only need to swim a little over 3 more lengths. EASY! I’m looking forward to the swim in the race, but I wish it was at the end!

After I changed back into normal clothes and left the gym, I almost burst into tears. Not because I was sad or tired, but because I couldn’t believe I had just done that. To complete the sprint triathlon, I would have only needed to bike 2 more miles, run 1/2 of a mile more, and swim 3 more laps. Plus I did it all in 2.5 hours, including resting. You’re given 3.5 hours to complete it on race day. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!! I needed to know I could do that, and it gave me the drive to keep going. limits

 

Day 6 (Saturday): My plan was to get up early, swim, then go play a softball game, then get my hair done, and then go on a long bike ride with my husband.

Task: Swim 2 x 200 m straight (rest 1 min. after each 200 m): I woke up to a text that my softball game was delayed, and therefore I wouldn’t have time to go. I thought about it, and decided to take the morning off from swimming (because 1) swimming is my strong point, and 2) why go to the gym for a 15 minute swim just before you get your hair done?) ;). I was actually really happy with this decision. I was able to leisurely wake up, make my husband breakfast, put some sweats on, work on my blog, and not feel rushed like I do every other day of my life.

Task: Bike 50 km (easy). 31.07 miles?? Not so fast, George Banks. Again, I need to get used to this whole biking thing. My husband and I decided we’d start in the Spokane Valley, and work our way east towards Idaho. The plan was to go 20 miles, so that we were slowly increasing our distance. Well, we got on the trail, and at about 4 miles we both voiced that our butts were ACHING. We both agreed we would at least go 13 miles, so that we were going more than yesterday, and also getting up to the amount I have to do on race day.

I had a pretty nice view ;)

I had a pretty nice view 😉

Other than butt pain, and my quads feeling sore the whole time, the ride was nice. It was gorgeous scenery. I got a little bored at first, but once I hit halfway, I got into competition mode, to see how my speed/time compared with the stationary bike. I kept a steady pace of going 5 miles in 25 minutes, and decided I want to try to make the 20 km ride in an hour or less on race day. I knew that this meant a lot more practice on the bike, and some quad strengthening in between, but I thought it was doable. The tracker on my bike said we went 13 miles, but the GPS on my phone it said 12.44 miles. I might have to check the settings on the thingamabob on my bike. But either way, I finished in 1 hour and 4 minutes. Average pace was 11.5 mph, and that’s where I’ll have to start working on improving.

I always like to try to see how my legs will do after a bike ride. I got off the bike and took a few running steps, and thought I was gonna fall over again. My right knee buckled, and I got nervous. This will be the biggest challenge for me to overcome. If I have to walk a little bit, or stretch out, before the run on race day, so be it. But I want to see if I can do it without stopping. More goals!! This is good though, it will keep me going.

little by little

I survived week one. I rest tomorrow (Sunday), and I am thrilled. I need to keep figuring out the whole eating thing, and also figure out how I’m going to strengthen my quads in the meantime. I am excited about this adventure and how it will change me even more. This last quote really sums up how I feel right now:

shame for a woman

Week One Totals: Run: 8.52 miles Bike: 42.08 miles Swim: 0.75 miles

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One thought on “sometimes katie needs to train [I signed up for a sprint triathlon!]…

  1. Pingback: sometimes katie is a [sprint] triathlete… | sometimeskatie

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