Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Triathlon, Part Two

Yep, I fell down the stairs. Cause I'm a big klutz. My right foot slipped out from underneath me, leaving my left foot behind. Because of how I landed, I hurt my knee. After a visit to the doctor, I found that I had torn my Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL). It's the muscle that runs along the inside of your knee to stabilize it. And, in case you're wondering - tearing a muscle hurts.

At any rate, after icing and nursing my injury for a week and a half, I saw a knee specialist, who told me that I shouldn't exercise or do any sports until I had no pain, which generally takes 2 to 4 weeks. Since that would take me up to about 2 weeks before the tri, I knew I wouldn't be able to do it.

I won't go into the frustration I felt about injuring myself just when I'd started to enjoy working out or about not being able to reach the goal I had set for myself. I will say, though, that it's been a lot harder not to exercise than I would have ever thought it could be. For someone who hadn't exercised in months before this whole thing, that's saying something! And, now that I've caught the tri-bug, I wasn't satisfied with just giving up.

I hit the four-week mark last night, and I am still experiencing some pain. I see the doctor on Thursday, and I'll hopefully find out if/when I can start exercising again. I suppose I should tell him that I started swimming again about a week ago...

So, once I get the all-clear from the doc, I will start training again. I've already researched other triathlons in my area, and I've decided to sign up for one in April. It's the same as the Turkey Tri, only it's not called the Turkey Tri, cause, well, a Turkey reference in April would just be weird.

Now I just have to decide if I'm going to try the mini or go for the sprint (which is double all the lengths). Hmm... I do have four months to train this time...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Triathlon, Part One

Staci informed me the other day that it’s been far too long since I’ve blogged, and, well...she’s right. So, here we go!

About two months ago, my friend convinced me to start training for a mini-triathlon.

And now that any of you who know me have picked yourself up from the floor where you’ve fallen in surprise, I will continue.

As a kid and a teenager, I enjoyed playing sports. The kids in my neighborhood were constantly getting together for football games and an occasional baseball game. I played basketball and volleyball with the youth at church and, although I was never the best player on any team, I wasn’t too bad at it.

As I’ve gotten older, however, those sports fell by the wayside. I became an average American 20-something-year old, too busy to bother with playing games and too lazy to bother with exercise. While I’d play an occasional game of tag with the nieces and nephews or football with the siblings and sometimes even go to a gym, I was nowhere near what one would call “athletic.”

Now that I’m in my thirties and I’m not invincible anymore (as all 20-something-year olds are), I’ve been trying harder to go to the gym. And (probably like most 30-something-year olds) some weeks I do really well at fitting in exercise and some weeks I don’t.

So, when my friend talked to me about joining her in training for a mini-triathlon, I scoffed. I believe my response was something along the lines of “Yeah, that would be fun… So! How’s your new baby?”

But my friend persisted, insisting that I wasn’t too old or out of shape, that it was just a mini-tri and I could do it easily. She offered to make up a training schedule that I could follow and that would fit into my busy days. Finally, intrigued by the challenge that this training would be and knowing that I needed the exercise anyway, I agreed.

The race consists of a 200 meter swim (in a pool), a 5 mile bike ride and a 1.5 mile run. It’s in St. George, UT in November, and is called the Turkey Triathlon.

I had a few challenges to overcome in order to compete in this race. First, I’m out of shape. REALLY out of shape. I weigh more than I ever have in my life, I get winded walking up a flight of stairs, and I like to eat dessert way too much. Second, I don’t have a bike, and I haven’t ridden a bike for nearly ten years. Third, my swimsuit is falling apart and (possibly most important) I don’t know how to swim. I mean, I can get from one end of the pool to the other, but I'm not very good at it, and I know I don't do it "right."

But I accepted the challenge anyway. My friend made my training schedule, and I began to follow it, using the stationary bikes at the gym until I could borrow my brother-in-law’s mountain bike, walking on a treadmill for two minutes to every one minute run, and enlisting my sister-in-law to teach me how to swim correctly. I started researching triathlons on the internet, learning about the transitions and the overall challenge of the race. And I caught it... The “tri-bug,” as one website put it. I got excited about the prospect, and I began to actually look forward to working out, which is a completely new feeling for me. For three weeks, it was starting to look like I might actually be able to do it.

And then I fell down the stairs…