Publix sponsors a series of Family Fitness Weekends across Florida, I've signed up to make the St. Leo Sprint Triathlon the weekend of June 14-15 my first triathlon, and I can already feel the nerves....
On the morning of Sam and Amber's wedding day, brother-in-law, Michael, found me on the treadmill at the hotel and we started talking fitness and triathlons - he and Dudley did at least one together years ago. Mike tells me the Cypress Gardens Triathlon is a great course for beginners because the swim portion has a rope along the entire distance. Since I hadn't been in the pool yet this season I appreciated that kind of thinking. So I check it out online and find it's a fall event around Sam's birthday....hmm...perhaps a family get-together?....
But then I notice the St. Leo event - not too far from home and a great way to celebrate turning 53 on the 13th - learning to do new things is supposed to help keep your brain young, and signing up for an event will get me in the pool - one of my fitness goals for the year. The downside is that its so soon and after 32+ years of almost no swimming (playing with the kids in the gulf or a pool doesn't count) I haven't been in the pool yet or transitioned to using my bike shoes and clips yet.
So a week ago I ran a 5k, swam laps (with many rests) totalling over 600 meters at the Seminole pool and, since the bike course description reads "hills, hills, and more hills" did a 15 mile bike ride on the only hills I have close by - the overpasses of the "south" portion of the Pinellas trail. A repeat of the bike along with a shorter run and swim the next day, a real rest day on Sunday, complete with pajamas and lots of sitting, and I plunked down the cash for registration.
I'm hoping to ride some of those Pasco County hills this holiday weekend because I am worried about my ability to push through 10 miles of them - I am definitely a flatlander. On the swimming, I've found that if I do a lap on my back after a lap of freestyle, I can recover enough to do another freestyle lap without a rest in-between, but I'm fighting toe cramps during every swim and trying to figure out how to stay on course if I have to swim 400 meters on my back. Surviving the swim with enough left to bike and run is my goal, not speed - if I am able to finish the sprint in 2.5 hours or less (it was in the 90's while I biked yesterday) I will be happy.
I'm doing reasonably well these past couple weeks working in about 3-4 runs , 3 swims, 3 bike rides and a little more rest per week. I'm keeping my mid-week weight workout, but dropping my weekend session in favor of the increased cardio. I'm hoping to work in a high incline session on the treadmill, a couple more pilates sessions to help my abs for swimming, and a "thrashing" session in the pool these next 2 weeks. I'm eating more bananas and spinach and walking around on tip toe to help with the toe cramps, and trying to find solutions to questions like: Since I won't be wearing my contacts (the meds I take for allergies dry my eyes out too much) will I be able to find my way to my bike without my glasses (hmm, steal the bright orange flag from the kiddie cruiser?) or should I try to find some goggles that can be worn over my glasses.
David teased me about my "anxiety" level yesterday as he was printing a bike course map for me so I can ride it this weekend. All I can say is, now I understand how the pre-triathlon prep that seems somewhat obsessive to non-participating friends and family members seems to be simply common sense to the one trying to prepare for the challenge.
The photo above is from a 5k race the summer of 1983, if I'm reading the shirt correctly. It was my 3rd 5k race, and my last until the turkey trot in 2007. Notice how enthusiastic my shirtless sons are to pose with sweat-drenched mom.