Tag Archives: triathlon

Process and Progress

I am trying to upgrade my workout log from my current system; millions of loose pieces of paper scrawled with increasingly tired handwriting as the list goes on. As much as this is wasteful and inefficient, I am too OCD to make a book of partially illegible workouts. I need to come home and print them out neatly. The handwriting is definitely a good measure of how hard the workout was, though. On days when I need to really kick my butt I could look for the page where the words turn to shaky lines and there are traces of tear drops. No matter how authentic the chicken scratch on paper shreds, my personality requires tidy writing. Must be my only quirk.

Next in importance after tidy printing, I have felt the thrill of almost smashing my face in.

I am (carefully) checking off my to- do list, which not so coincidentally is identical to my “you won’t do these again” list as per my surgeon. It is with great proudness I can say I conquered a dumbbell bench press. Started with 20 pounds in each hand, and found it shockingly easy, in a relative sort of way. My spotter encouraged me to keep pounding out reps until my right arm decided it had enough and it careened its’ dumbbell towards my face.

In danger, I close my eyes and brace myself apparently. Awesome life skills. Use a spotter with quick reflexes, friends!

The only thing that remains in that no fly zone is contact sports. I won’t lie, it probably will never be crossed off that list and I’m okay with that. Contact sports will be the one time I will use my shoulder injury as an out. As much as I love thinking I have super strength, my body was not built for combat.

My swimming career is in the making now; I have been in touch with someone who will help me regain (or learn) my strokes and then I’m sure this challenge will feel much more real. Triathlon also comes with the added challenge of finding a flattering one piece bathing suit.

Just kidding.

That doesn’t exist.

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Started From the Bottom Now We’re Here

I am working hard, I am lifting heavy, my body fat has dropped (stay away Polar vortex), and I am building the body that will carry me to my goals this year.

I made the mistake of not taking baselines post injury because I chose to focus on what I hated (my tight pants) instead of appreciating the potential for progress (referencing my tight pants works here too). There have been many times that I have scoffed at people who say, “I want to work out for another month before I set my baselines”, and I easily point out the flaw to their plan without recognizing myself as a fellow baseline avoider. A sheep in trainer’s clothing.

As much as I would love to know how much muscle I have gained, I will forever be left to make assumptions with my biased interpretations of my self image. The only fact I know is that I was not previously ready for beach season. Now I am ready for it. According to women’s fitness magazines, this is a measurement of health.

Have you set baselines? Go weigh, measure, and assess your fitness. Use any dissatisfaction as motivation to chase your goals. I am diligently working away on erasing any “post surgery restrictions” from my file, and adding to my progress daily. I would love to look back on my journey from a statistical point of view and be able to graph it, chart it, and analyse it… if I so desired.

To tackle this year: my first- and hopefully not last- triathlon as well as a 23:59 5km. If you read along last year, you will know that my current PB is 24:32 and yes I expect you to remember these stats. That was a challenge that came together on my second attempt. Word on the street is that Guelph is a great triathlon for newbies and I will do the tried, tested, and true 5km course in London at the Forest City Road Races.

Right now I am focused on building, re-building, and re-creating in the gym. More squatting than trotting. And let me tell you I am standing on the shoulders of giants and I expect big things from myself this year.

Cue the baselines.

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Mountain Climber

My workouts are really coming together. I’m less obviously holding up other people, I get less “what is that girl doing?” looks, and dare I say that in the right lighting- I have some muscular definition.

It seems like things always get worse before they get better. We have to break things down before we can rebuild them and that is never an easy or stress-free process. It is the crucial first step to the process, nevertheless. If we put ourselves through a struggle to get what we want then the reward is always worth it.

This time last year, I hated the way my body looked and I hated that I couldn’t control what was happening to it. I hated that I never felt good about myself and the painkillers made that even harder to deal with. It was hard to train clients who were more mobile, stronger, and more motivated than I was. To be honest, I got so low that I set myself up for an even bigger comeback, which allowed for many more small victories on the way. I am progressing, feeling strong, and I don’t have a limit on how far I will climb.

The last few days at work, the guys have commented on how I am louder, I dance around the gym (again), and even the way I dress is different. No more “basketball shorts” or “homeless man” outfits. Their words, not mine. Following these comments, I like to take the opportunity to flex my tiny arms and make them admit they see muscle. It is one thing to notice change in yourself, but to hear it from those you spend the most time with is a million times better. I hadn’t noticed that I neglected certain pieces of clothing or that I was sparing the workplace from my fantastic dance moves. I guess that is how you know you have a great support system though; they will make sure you see everything you missed.

I have been doing my research on triathlons, and I am finding what I got myself into. Yikes. I have so many questions but I am also really excited because this is far from any other competition I have voluntarily sought to compete in. When I told my family that I had been considering a triathlon, it brought back fond memories of dog paddling/ crying my way through a Learn to Swim class to get my Kinesiology degree. I’m not sure why I think this will be less terrifying but I will have to address one fear at a time. I will probably be more scared of getting back on my bike again, but I’ll save that topic for when it gets here. Once I clean off my helmet, get the SUV hood marks and road rash off my bike then I’ll probably just need a pep talk (or a hundred). This will get interesting.

So what next?!

Now that I’m starting to get the hang of climbing, I’ll need to start learning to swim.

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Gold and Goal

To celebrate my achievement of beating my goal time (by 28 seconds!) and my time from last weekend (by 51 seconds!) I decided to reward myself. So I tried.
Monday was supposed to be a day off from exercise and a guilt- free day to eat anything. One muffin later, my stomach told me to pick something else.
After I was done training for the day, D and K were starting their workouts. Like the good friends they are, they made sure to give me a really hard time about taking the day off. Other tips included “don’t eat cookies!” and “why are you going to bed so early!” which made it feel less like a day celebrating my victory. These guys come in handy when I feel lazy though, so I won’t complain.

So now I am looking ahead at what is next to come. It is too bad that I’m just getting started as racing season is wrapping up but I still have options. I can keep racing through the winter since apparently Mother Nature isn’t totally against me, or I can focus my efforts elsewhere. I have a lot of friends who train and compete in figure competitions so that has crossed my mind but my body is still working on basic level functioning. That would be like trying to take the whole flight of stairs at once.

The best part of making a comeback is passing the benchmark that you had set before.

I still remember my last workout before the car accident. It was the day before and I was feeling great. An easy run to the park, 100 lunges, 10 hill sprints, then I ran home at a 3:51/km pace. I will have to use that as a baseline to see just when I surpass my (old) self. But not yet. Anyways, I am thinking even further ahead than that.

Swimming in a race in a lake terrifies me; the thought of getting back on a bike makes me nervous; but I can absolutely run. So, next summer I will do my first triathlon.

With two attempts, I have achieved my first goal and now it is on to the next one! It is big, and it is challenging, and I am looking forward to every scary step of the way!

Cue the motivation saying!!!

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