Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Resolution

My sister and I have been talking about writing a fitness blog for a few months. We have both begun challenging ourselves by encouraging each other to do organized runs, triathlons and other events.

I really want to stay committed to getting fit and training consistently. I am struggling with how to fit in a daily dog walk and a workout in the few hours of daylight available in the unpredictable mid-Atlantic winter. This is especially difficult, because the idea of snuggling under a blanket reading a book or watching a movie totally beats going to the gym. Today, I was at the gym swimming a few laps in the pool. I remembered a challenge that the gym had – 100 miles in 2010 – and started thinking… What I love about swimming is that my mind begins to wander. I didn’t come very close to my goal of finishing those 100 miles (maybe about 60 in 6 months), but I did find the challenge motivating.

Then it hit me.

2011 kilometers in the year 2011

This seemed ambitious doable. Albeit, I was doing the math in my head, which totally made me lose count of my laps in the pool. 2011 kilometers in a year works out to be a little less than 40 km a week. So now, you are thinking, as am I, how am I going to accomplish this goal. That brings me to this post, which will give me a sense of accountability.

My sister and I will track the number of kilometers we run, bike, swim or walk, each with a goal of 2011km in 2011. There is no way for this to be an exact science, but essentially – we are going to count activities that are aerobic. So, a YES to hiking, commuter biking, or walking the dog, but a big fat NO to shopping or walking down the block to Starbucks.

Recording the distance will be fairly easy for many activities. We are going to trust the distance displayed at the pool, on the treadmill, and other machines at the gym and we have odometers on our bikes. It will get a little trickier when running or walking outside, but it will work out with the help of sites like Map My Run and Google Maps (although I am thinking about getting a GPS watch, which would hold all the answers). For times when we can’t actually track the distance – we will just use our average paces. Right now, an hour of spin class will be 20 km because on average I bike about 20 km/h.

My sister is going to have a little bit of a heads up on me because she is currently hiking in Patagonia.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Fear of commitment...

I signed up for the 2011 Zooma 10k. I really want to be able to run the whole thing this year. I did the same beautiful race through downtown Annapolis last year - although not that successfully.

Of course in 2009, I signed up about 4 months before the race, I was very excited, hoping that the 6.2-mile distance would be enough to encourage me to train. I began walking/running a couple times a week. I bought new shoes and talked about the race so much, my mother and sister also signed up. It did not take long for the novelty (and therefore the training) to wear off.

Once again, I woke up early one morning facing a very long run for which I was not prepared. With the support of my family and a fancy technique they call "9 and 1" (where we run for 9 minutes and then walk for 1 full minute), we all finished the race in 1hr and 22.00min. They could have finished much faster than I could, but instead they walked with me for a good portion of mile 5.

Are you noticing a pattern here? Everything seems like a good idea, when you have plenty of days to train. Yet, for some reason, I have the worst trouble committing to and completing the training. I suppose that most blogs start so that the writer can hold himself or herself accountable.

I have already picked a few events that I want to do in 2011, including this 10k. Yet, I have not been to the gym in over 2 months. I am using a foot injury as justification for my laziness – even though the doctor cleared me to swim and bike.

It's almost like a fear of commitment - if I actually commit to the training - then I no longer have an excuse when I fail. Hopefully, I can make the commitment to completing this blog and therefore completing my training.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I am an athlete

This is composed by kritter, but posted by aritter, as kritter is removed from the technological world, hiking in Patagonia.

"Yeah, but you're a really good athlete.""This is kritter, our resident athlete.""I'm not nearly as athletic as you are"

I've gotten all of these comments in the last few months, and I'm still getting used to them. I grew up thinking of myself as fairly
un-athletic. I was tiny in high school and sucked at gym class. I'm not fast in anything.

Over the years, I've come to see myself as more of an athlete. I joined a varsity team at my D-III college. I started working out at gyms, signed up for a few events (my first 2 triathlons) mostly because someone asked me to and I liked being the kind of person who said yes to a challenge. Somewhere along the way I became an athlete.
I know it's true, because:When I swim, I often outlast multiple lane-sharers

I ride my bike up a hill as fast as I can everyday to get to schoolMy idea of an awesome vacation is 6 days and 20km of open water swimming. I can sign up for a 10K, run 4 times in 5 weeks, and still finish in 1:05 with no walking.

Let’s address that last point a bit. After the Dewey Tri, I signed up for a 10K close to home. I had run it last year and had a really fun time. I had 6 weeks to train, which would have allowed me to increase my distance from the tri (5K) easily. Except I didn’t train. School, life, and a horrible cold got in the way, and I only ran 3 or 4 times, never for more than 4 miles.

The week before the race I told my mom I was feeling better and I was just going to wing it. And so I did. I thought maybe I’d have to walk part, but no, I ran the whole thing and even beat last year’s time by almost 5 minutes. Awesome. More evidence that I am turning into a pretty good little athlete. Except the next day: Not Awesome. I could barely walk. It hurt to stand up, it hurt to walk, it hurt to go up and down stairs. So I learned my lesson. If I really want to consider myself an athlete, I need to train. I can’t just sign up for things and wing them. I know I’ll keep signing up for things (especially with Sister talking me into them), and hopefully this blog will help me keep my training on track.

Monday, October 25, 2010

This seemed like such a good idea... 3 months ago.

In 2007, my sister and I were convinced to try a triathlon, by none other than our mother. After spending every summer in Rehoboth Beach Delaware, she suggested the Dewey Beach Sprint Triathlon, held every September (Sept 15, 2007). This triathlon begins with a 0.5 mile ocean swim, followed by a 7.2 mile bike ride, and ends with 3.5 mile run.

I think the conversation went something like this:
Mom: I think we should all sign up for the Dewey Tri
Me: ??
Mom: Its a swim, bike, run.
Sister: Oh, this could be fun.
Me: I can swim, I have ridden a bike, but I am allergic to running.
Mom: It’s July, we have plenty of time to train.
Sister: I think we can do it
Me: I guess, we do have 3 months.

So, we all sign up for the 2007 Dewey Beach Triathlon.

I grew up at the beach and I love to swim. I think of myself as a pretty good swimmer (I made it to shark at the local YMCA's swim lessons). I belonged to a gym, and was regularly swimming. The next step was to buy a bike (the fun part) and learn to run (the part I was dreading). The countdown to race day began.

My mother began training regularly, running weekly 5Ks and working with a swim coach. My sister was so excited, she signed up for a longer triathlon. I, on the other hand, could not get up the courage to start running. I would swim and bike several times a week.

Needless to say, September quickly approached. The Friday night before the race was rainy and very windy. In an ocean triathlon, if the ocean water is too rough, it turns into a biathlon. As my luck would have it, we would run twice. NO THANK YOU!

As morning approached, the skies cleared up and we would swim. At 5:15, we drove to the transition area, set up our station and headed to ocean. We were novices and our last name starts with R, placing us in a heat very near last. The air gun sounded and we were in the water. It was more difficult than I expected; my sister and I rounded the last buoy and both got caught in a rip tide trying to get to shore. Next, came the bike - a nice flat 7 mile ride. We rode into the transition area for the final time, dismounted and began the run. To my surprise, my mother took off and was out of site in a few short moments. My lovely sister decided to run with me.

The run is on the main drag of Dewey Beach, passing all the locals and the vacationers trying to salvage one last weekend at the beach. About a quarter of a mile into a three and a half mile race, I wanted to quit. My sister was very encouraging:

Me: I want to quit.
Sister: We can do it! Are you out of breath?
Me: No.
Sister: Do you feet hurt?
Me: No.
Sister: Are your legs tired?
Me: No.
Sister: Then, why do you want to quit?
Me: I don’t know.

I pause, and just as we are passing a bunch of people having breakfast outside, I say, quite a bit louder than I realized: Who's idea was this? It was the worst idea ever!

The entire establishment erupts with laughter.

It was on that day, when I finished the race with a time of 1hr and 46min and 59sec, that the Dewey Beach Sprint Triathlon ruined my life. It has only made me want to complete more events. I have participated in many events since then: the 2010 Dewey Beach Tri, a few indoor tri events, a couple 5Ks, a 10K, and a crazy “pedal and paddle” event which involved biking 46 miles stopping only to swim laps in 20 different pools. During each and every event, I want to quit, and wonder what I was doing. I always think, "This seemed like such a good idea... 3 months ago."