Thursday, January 28, 2010

Time is Fleeting

There are not enough hours in the day to train for an ironman, have a job, have a girlfriend, and have a life. At least it seems that way, an unemployed friend of mine joked about being lucky because he can hit the gym whenever he cares to, which would be really nice, however I think my biggest hurdle will just be to give up a little bit (or a lot) of fun on the weekend and get myself in gear with some long training rides and runs. The week just holds too many things that need to get done, and not enough time to do all of them.

I'm also a big fan of sports leagues, currently playing in a flag football league and a basketball league, however I'm not sure how to quantify the training benefits of such activities (if there are any). Which is giving me trouble, and will most likely result in me dropping them after this season, or maybe after the next, or the one after that, but definitely at some point. This same inability to quantify benefits is making it hard for me to decide to buy a Triathlon Bike. Here is a link to a decent article explaining the differences:

Well written, and semi-informative but the claims just seem vague to me. So my fellow ironman cohorts and I went to a bike shop to talk to some experts. I got pretty much the same sort of vagaries from him as I did from the article. This exchange summed it up pretty nicely:

Me: "So all in all, does a tri bike make a huge difference in a triathlon."

Bike Guy: "I wouldn't say it makes a huge difference."

Me: "Ok"

Bike Guy: "But the difference is drastic, you'll definitely notice"

Not sure how to quantify the difference between a drastic change, or a huge change in performance, but I can say that having a perfectly good road bike already is making me hesitant to drop about 2 grand on a tri-specific bike. Maybe I'll just train on the road bike and rent a tri-bike, or pull the trigger later in the year. At the distances we'll be covering a drastic improvement may be what I need to complete the event.

In other news, New Year resolutions continue to piss me off, my basketball skills are improving, and I'm enjoying bike riding around this city so far. Stay tuned, 3 weeks down 45 to go.

Miles covered:

Biking: 154.7

Running: 38.8

Swimming: 10.25

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just Like riding a Bike

Just like riding a bike is such an incredibly true statement that many of us take it for granted. "Just like riding a bike huh?" one quips to a friend as they sink a ball in pong, or beat Super Mario Bros. 3. I never really thought about it all that much until I got my bike back from the shop and went on a ride over the weekend. Wow, it really does come back quickly, after 2 miles it felt like I hadn't been away from my bike for nearly 2 years, but more like 2 days. Immediately comfortable jockeying for position against the ghastly driving skills of most of Houston as I made my way to the bar to watch the NFL playoffs over the weekend. Aside from some minor seat height adjustments I need to make I'm about ready to get some serious rides under my belt.

On the other side of the coin, do you know what is not just like riding a bike? Playing basketball. Being away from that sport turns you from a potential globetrotter into a 4 year old girl. Seriously one of the most difficult sports to pick back up after being away from it for a while. In my case it had been three and a half years since I played a serious amount of basketball, and it showed. Playing with a few other guys who've been away for about as long as myself didn't help matters any. Long story short we got trounced by a group of guys that had no business playing in a rec league, getting run out of the gym (in some hilarious cosmic joke being in half-marathon shape does not equate to being in basketball shape) and having the game basically decided at half time. In this situation "practice makes perfect", or at least "practice makes better", hopefully this proves true as the season progresses.

2 weeks down 46 to go

Miles covered so far:

Biking: 109.2

Running: 31.05

Swimming: 4.8

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekend Warrior?

There are so many fun things to do on the weekends. Movies, sporting events, dinners, drinking, dancing, sleeping, etc. did you notice what is not on that list? That's right, training for an Ironman.
Not a fun weekend activity.
Which made this weekend, and I'm assuming every weekend from here on out, a serious test of willpower. On Friday my willpower won out, and I hit the pool for the first time, banging out an easy 2 miles (after standing on the pool deck for 10 or so minutes debating whether or not to get in), and hitting the sack early for a possible Saturday mini-triathlon. Saturday was, by training standards, a complete failure (though I had a lovely time failing). St. Arnold's recently moved to new digs north east of downtown Houston, and a few of us decided to check out the place. For $7 you get a free 8 oz. St. Arnold's glass, and 4 drink tokens to sample their delicious brews (tokens apparently can be saved if you flirt with the old man slinging suds, results may vary). After the tour picking up a dresser sounded like a good idea, and after a few more beers during the construction training was out of the question. Inglorious Basterds and a couple of cold ones won the day. Sunday, by contrast, was an unmitigated success, 18.5 miles biking and 4.75 miles running (while watching the NFL playoffs and some college basketball simultaneously, say what you will about huge fitness clubs, they have nice TVs). The moral of the story? Saturday was way more fun than Friday or Sunday, but a 2 out of 3 ain't bad attitude won't get the job done.

One week down. 47 to go.

Miles covered:

Running: 15.05

Biking: 61.5

Swimming: 2

Friday, January 8, 2010

Double Down on New Year's Resolutions

Yesterday evening was the first time I doubled up in a workout. Biking 23 miles and then running 3 was not as hard as I imagined. I was quite pleased with myself until I realized that I was happy about running 11% of a third of the race after biking 20% of another third of the race. Not exactly ironman material yet, but 10% there.

New Year's resolutions are great things. Everyone wants to change something in their lives' and the new year brings to everyone a sense of renewal, and hope that this year will be the year they quit smoking, or learn Spanish, or learn the guitar, anything to better themselves. These resolutions have varying degrees of success, some studies showing around 97% of resolutions will not be kept. Personally, a few years ago I resolved to stop drinking soda which was a great success, I haven't had soda in 5 years (unless there is liquor in it), however nearly every other resolution I have made I have broken. With Americans' waistlines expanding every year weight loss resolutions are becoming increasingly popular, and increasingly a pain in my ass.

It must be a great thing owning a gym, or fitness club and knowing that one or two weeks into the year and you'll have nearly filled your membership quota for the year. And, with 67% of gym memberships going unused and a majority of the rest being underused, those making resolutions to lose weight by joining a gym might as well just send a stacks of bills to the owner. But, the real pain in the ass is the one or two weeks that these helplessly hopeful fools actually follow through with their resolutions, and get in my way. Packed houses everywhere, all over the gym, all over the yoga studio, everywhere. Exercising in jeans, in khaki capris, in ridiculous get-ups because they don't have workout gear for the very same reason their resolution will inevitably fail, they don't work out and never have. Starting with small goals and working towards a healthier lifestyle will be more successful than blindly joining a gym. Set goals for yourself, attainable goals, and once reached set another. Most people set unreachable goals for their resolutions without expecting to accomplish them. Instead, for at least a few weeks, they just make life difficult for me and my quest for ironmandom.

Miles covered so far:

Running: 10.3

Biking: 43

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Biking is the Hardest Part

Hopped on the bike yesterday evening, and because I broke my bike chain about a mile from home last time I tried riding (a good thing that it didn't happen 5, 10, or 15 miles from home), I used a stationary bike at 24 hour fitness. Nothing too crazy, just a little over 20 miles, which I thought was fairly easy... until I got off of the bike. The marathon after the 115 mile ride will definitely be the most difficult part to get through. So I've decided to really focus on the biking in order to have my legs as much as possible for the finishing run. Now I just need to get my bike fixed.

Also I'm going to start tracking my miles covered in training as the year wears on.

Running: 7.3
Biking: 20.25
Swimming: The new year starts tonight.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Begin the Beguine

There was always the thought of it, always the nagging little idea of how cool it would be, how absolutely bad-ass we would be if we did it, how difficult but ultimately rewarding it would be to tackle it.

There were drunken pacts to run it before we were thirty, or within the next few years.

There was absolutely no way it was actually happening.

Until it did.

Hindsight is 20/20 and never is it more so than after doing something so stupid so easily. With a click of the mouse I've undertaken a quest. A quest that was always discussed, but never fully grasped. A quest that will push me to my physical limits, and test my mental toughness. A quest that should have been a hell of a lot harder to undertake than a god damned mouse-click.

A quest for Ironmandom.

I'll be chronicling my (mis)adventures here as I train for this insane undertaking, daily, weekly, monthly, I don't know. So follow along, or don't, and lend any advice/encouragement/discouragement you can, or don't. Just enjoy.

It all goes down Sunday November 22, 2010 a mere 11 months away. I don't know if I'll make it to the end but I do know this is the beginning, and as Buddha said "there are two mistakes one can make along the road... not going all the way, and not starting."

Step one, Check.