I know a couple of people, from work, who compete in major athletic competitions. Seeing them train caused me to entertain the idea of trying a triathlon. I have never been an athlete. When I should have been learning to dribble or catch a pass, I was busy dealing with a debilitating illness. So I like the idea of working on my hand-eye coordination. I want to grow in muscle bulk, and trim down on table fat. Also, I stopped smoking cold turkey on Thanksgiving Day 2002, so I wanted to take advantage the new lung capacity. So for a couple of months last year, I started working out. I got a mountain bike, and bought a pair of running shoes. I'm apparently a Clydesdale, which means I'm over 200lbs. When I started I was 254lbs.
For those who don't already know (I didn't a year ago), a triathlon is a race were you compete in three different sports. In most, it's a swim followed by a bike, and then a run. There is a 'Sprint Tri', 'Olympic Tri', and an 'Iron Man Tri.' I'll explain more details about those in future JE's.
From March to about October of 2003, I worked out every day. I started out doing the best that I could do, but worked up to the point where I was happy with my performance. I rode my bike 20+ miles at least twice a week, and ran from 20-35 miles a week. My longest run was 10 miles. I was in the best shape of my life. I had lost 43 pounds, down to 211. I went from around 23% body fat, down to about 8%. I looked and felt a lot better.
Some time in November, I gave up on things. I got sick, the holiday event always got in the way, and the weather got cold... I had all the excuses and no motivation to get out and pound the ground. I stopped eating well, and stopped working out. I was always telling myself that I would get back to it, but I never did. In what seemed like no time at all, I lost everything I had done. I didn't put back on all the weight, but I was completely out of shape again. That didn't make the idea of starting to workout again any more attractive.
One of the athletic guys that I know offered to coach a couple of the other athletes, and myself, towards a triathlon. I told him I liked the idea, but I held (and still hold) reservations about my abilities. I forced myself to get back on the bike, and I've been out to run a couple of times, but that doesn't help me do anything about my swim. My coach asked me if I could swim, and honestly I answered "yes". He asked, "Do you swim with your face in the water?" I thought back to a couple of years ago when I was in a friends pool and as honest as I could be I said "oh, yeah." So Coach tells me to call him when I'm ready to go swim, he'll meet me at the pool, and we'll start the training.
I couldn't call him. I just went to the pool to make sure that I could swim as well as I remembered. I swam as well as I ever have, which in all honesty, was not very well at all. As I studied the swimmers on both sides of my lane, I noticed how I was doing EVERYTHING wrong. I really don't put my face in the water. I just move my nose back and forth through the water like a facial pendulum. It is true that I "put my face in the water", but only for a spit second. I also noticed that I wasn't using my legs for anything useful. But, that's what coaches are for. They tell you what you are doing wrong, and how to correct it.
The next time I went to the pool, Coach was there waiting on me. I swam two lengths for him and that was enough. He told me that used to teach kids, but he had never taught anyone so novice as me. "*Warning* huge blow to ego". I asked him what to do, and he gave me some drills. So I'm not a swimmer, now I wonder if I'm a biker or a runner. Maybe it just wasn't meant for me to race.
Blah blah blah... that ends this JE, if I ever feel inspired i'll write more.