Week one of 70.3 training is complete. I didn’t miss a single day. My singular focus for the first 4-8 weeks is simply to build a strong base. By “base” I mean–build a strong foundation.
I want to strengthen the chinks in the chain, by working on my core and spine, doing exercises that strengthen the small muscles in the feet (so lots of walking around in minimalist shoes, though no running in them), and keeping my heart rate low.
Once my gym puts out their annual discounts on training packages that always come out around the holidays, I’m hiring a trainer who works very specifically on strengthening in a core, foundational way.
Then I’m hiring the trainer who is known for completing triathlons, to see what she has to say.
The one tiny-big, possible, (but maybe not) setback?
I’m not yet running. My training plan includes running, but right now I’m simply walking those miles, not running them.
I have an appointment with a podiatrist in early December to check out my feet. That bruise that appeared on my foot from a few weeks ago was probably a soft-tissue irritation–inflammation of the joint, I’m guessing–and since I know that I can wait until mid-January at the latest to start running again, that’s what I’m doing. Why not? I’ve got the time, so let’s not push anything.
Two separate x-rays were done and no stress fractures have turned up, and it isn’t hurting to walk. So–let’s just walk.
The annoying thing, though, is that I’ve had some back pain since starting cycling. I haven’t yet bought my personal bike and am using the ones at the gym. I think they’re not fitted for my body–and I’m short, so I’m already at a disadvantage on most gym equipment–and I’m guessing my sacro-iliac joint is tight, or perhaps my psoas muscles. Date with the chiropractor is being set.
The good news? I’m back in the pool, again. I’m swimming after a few months’ hiatus. While I’ve lost speed, I don’t think I’ve lost technique. When I started swimming over the summer, it had been so many years since I’d last swam that I felt nervous even putting my face in the water. A panicky sensation would start.
To go from that to swimming laps, even if there’s a lot of huffing and puffing happening, is a big leap. Now I’m refining.
Wetsuits and Fear
Have you ever pulled on a wetsuit?
Let me rephrase: Have you ever pulled on a wetsuit when you are 5’3″ and 145 lbs, with D-cup breasts because your auto-immune condition threw your hormones out of whack, causing you to (uncontrollably) gain 15 lbs, with the person on hand to help you a…guy?
(Actually, it was 20 lbs that I gained, but I’ve lost 5 since starting medication).
Only those people know what it felt like to be trying on triathlon wetsuits, which are not really cut for the curvy set. The wetsuits that were big enough to handle the curves were too loose in many other places. The wetsuits that were smaller couldn’t handle the D-cups.
So I was in the dressing room, trying to peel on the gazillionth wet suit–an aerobic feat in and of itself–and the inner critic voices started to really get going.
You are going to look so stupid in this. Who the hell are you, anyway, training for a half-Ironman when you’ve never even done a sprint triathlon? This is so stupid. You feel stupid. Why are you doing this?
But then I gave myself a little pep-talk, namely one that reminded me of a few facts.
Fact: I already know that I can do a sprint distance.
Fact: My 70.3 is still a long ways away.
Fact: The wetsuit will feel awkward to try on the first time, but if I just keep pulling it on and off, eventually it will feel…normal. Totally normal.
Then, at the end of the day, I ended up not getting one because the sales associate in charge of renting them realized that I was going to be swimming in a chlorine pool, and these wet suits were only for open-water swimming.
My gym pool is heated, and I’d mostly wanted the wet suit as “insurance” against freezing cold winter days to come, but I left without the wet suit. Then some other swimmers at the pool tipped me off that you could get skin-tight, very fitted long-sleeve tops made out of swimsuit material, and this could help to provide some added warmth on the colder days.
But the point is…
The point is that everything that is practiced eventually starts to feel normal and natural. The voices that tell you that you’re stupid, or so behind? They’re not the ones you want to act upon. Sure, listen to them. Hear what they have to say, because embedded in there is some clue as to what’s really going on underneath the surface (i.e., I’m feeling insecure about completing a triathlon of this magnitude, and that’s something to take into account).
But just don’t take action because of them. By the time I’d peeled and unpeeled several triathlon wet suits that day, I no longer felt afraid, and my critic wasn’t so harsh. It was just a triathlon wet suit, after all. Nothing to be afraid of.
Coming soon: Buying a bike. I’ve avoided doing it because I feel so overwhelmed by the options, but clearly it just isn’t working for my system to be on those sucky gym bikes that are so terribly mis-aligned.