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Where I’m going and where I’ve been March 31, 2009

Posted by bettyjoan in Cycling, Running, Swimming.
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I’ve updated the “About” page with some information about how I got involved with Team In Training (TNT) and why I decided to undertake a triathlon.  But rather than start documenting my training two months in, I figured I’d try to sum up how things have progressed thus far.

Just so’s ya know, before I started officially training (on January 31, 2009–a day that will live in infamy, haha), here’s where I stood in terms of the three sports.  I hadn’t done any real swimming since I was about 8, and even then I was bad at it.  In fact, when I was on my childhood swim team, they always put me in “exhibition” meets so I would get a little green ribbon just for finishing, and so I wouldn’t mar the team’s standing with my crumminess.  Harsh.  In terms of cycling, I did at least own a bike as of the start of training, and I had been to many many spinning classes.  However, I wasn’t an expert by any means, and I had never clipped into my pedals (heck, I didn’t even HAVE the right pedals or shoes for clipping in).  Running was never my favorite thing to do, but I felt like I at least had the basics down.  Although, at that point, I had never run farther than an 8K, and I had never been able to maintain a consistent, appropriate pace.

As you can see, I had my work cut out for me.

In a nutshell, here’s what I’ve been doing since that fateful winter day…

Swimming: Every Wednesday, I go to Dynamo in Chamblee after work.  From 7:30 to 8 PM, we meet as a team and chat about upcoming events and technique notes.  From 8-9 PM, we swim!  The lanes are organized according to skill and speed, and the workouts have progressed from being very drill-heavy to actually involving swimming.  Last week, we even did a “benchmark” swim, which involved all off us (and there were probably 30-40 folks present) starting at the same time, in the same spot, and swimming up and down the lanes continuously for 10 minutes.  It was a great test of endurance, but more importantly, it showed us that an open-water swim on race day is NOTHING like swimming laps in the pool.  In addition to the group swim practices, I try to swim at my gym at least once a week.

Cycling: This is the hardest part of training for me, just because transporting my bike is such a damn hassle (apparently, because of the wonky shape of my trunk, there’s only one bike rack that works with my car, and it is the WORST ever).  We tend to ride on the weekends as a group, and I continue to enjoy all the different trails we’ve been exploring.  We’ve worked up from about 5 miles to about 25, though I’m still working on my speed and confidence.  I just had clip pedals installed and bought some cycling cleats, so this weekend’s ride should be very interesting!  When I can’t get on my actual bike, I try to use the stationaries at the gym, but it’s just not the same.  My goal from henceforth is to do spinning classes if I have to cycle indoors, because at least then I can clip in.

Running: I’ve never liked to run, but I’ve been fairly diligent about doing it anyway.  Part of that is because I wanted to run the ING Georgia Half Marathon (which I did, this past Sunday–more info to follow in my next post), and part of that is because my 14-month-old pitbull, Jack, is the greatest jogging partner on the planet.  Until he sees a squirrel.  Or another dog.  Or a stick.  Anyway, in addition to regular runs and some assorted 5Ks earlier in the year, I attended a clinic hosted by our track coach, during which I learned more about proper running form AND how to pace myself without looking at a watch.  We usually run for at least 15 minutes or so after each bike ride, too, so I’m getting more comfortable (well, as comfortable as is possible) with the feel of running on non-fresh legs.

April (which I can’t believe is tomorrow) is when things really start to amp up.  Our swims will be more intense, our rides will be longer, and our runs will begin to focus more on speed.  We don’t have any weekends off from training, and we even have the opportunity to do a “super sprint” practice triathlon to start working on transitions.  In other words, there should be a lot of interesting posts in my future.  So stay tuned!

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