Why Am I Here?

I promise, this is not an existential question.

Several years ago, I decided I would celebrate my 50th birthday in September 2015 by completing an Olympic-distance triathlon. For those who are unfamiliar, or who have some how escaped my nearly-continual blather about multi-sport over the past three years, an Olympic-distance triathlon is a 1500-meter swim, a 40-km bike ride, and a 10-km run. All in a row. On the same day. By yourself.

At the time, I weighed approximately sixteen stone. (I’m 5’6″.) At my heaviest, I weighed nearly eighteen stone (I stopped weighing myself after 17.5 stone). I’d lost a stone or two cycling a lot. I commuted bike a few days a week, and I went on long rides on the weekend. Every year, I’d set a goal of riding a century (100 miles) by the end of the season. Every year, boredom or over-use injuries would stop me from getting there. One year, in mid-October, I was on a long ride. At 76 miles, my rear tire flatted. I gave up and called for a ride. Twice, I’ve ridden 76 miles in one day; that’s the closest I come to my century ride.

At the time I decided to take up triathlon, I viewed running as something one does to avoid getting too fat in the winter. (Clearly, at 16 stone, I was not as successful at reaching that goal as I thought I’d be.) And I didn’t swim. I flat-out disliked swimming.

There were a lot of ups and downs, which is getting me – albeit, slowly – to my answering the question posed by the title of this entry. In Summer 2015, I was lucky enough to have a coach. In the “interview” process – it’s as important for the coach to know she wants to work with an athlete as it is for the athlete to know she wants to work with the coach – I wrote very detailed descriptions of the events I’d raced in during the previous season: what went well, what went not-so well, what things I think I could change, as well as my challenges with cycling and trying to train around commuting by bike.

Throughout training, I wrote lengthy emails describing workouts, what I hated, what I liked. CC commented that it was helpful, because it gave her a good picture of what was going on in my head.

We both miss those emails! And that’s why I’m doing this blog. I found writing about the workouts to be helpful for me. I keyed in on specifics where I could improve. When I tried something new during a workout or a “B” race, I had a good explanation for why I’d do it again during a race that mattered or why I would never ever ever do that again ever.

I’m now training for my first half-marathon – it’s in five & a half days – and I’ve decided to go back to my endless blather about my workouts. If you’re reading this, here are few things you should know:

  1. I misspell a lot of words. Prior to email becoming my primary means of communication, I didn’t misspell as many words. Over the last decade, I’ve developed the disturbing tendency to write a homophone instead of the word I wanted. Both disturb me deeply. I can be a little sensitive about it. If you see that I’ve edited an entry repeatedly, it’s likely because I keep seeing typos.
  2. Unless I specifically say I’m looking for advice, I’m most likely not interested in advice. If you give me advice, do not be surprised if I:
    1. Mock your advice, because it’s wildly inappropriate given my chronic health conditions and previous injuries or it has zero empirical evidence to support its efficacy,
    2. Ignore that you offered the advice, because I recognize you were trying to be helpful, or,
    3. Tell you to keep your opinion to yourself because while I do not doubt that what you suggested worked for you I think it is incredibly bad advice absent medical supervision.
    4. However, if you are a professional, I’m far more tolerant of unsolicited advice, but I’m still likely to ignore you because I’m hella stubborn.
  3. I now weigh about 14 stone. An ideal racing weight would be around 11 stone. I’m working toward that, but if I never get there, that’s okay. As long as I’m strong, healthy, and I can ride my bike, I’ll be happy.
  4. I am not a nutritionist, a coach, or a physical therapist. I’m a chubby, middle-aged woman with a full-time desk job, hypertension, a strong family history of Type II diabetes who doesn’t stretch enough or do enough strength training or torture sessions with foam rollers. You probably should not emulate anything I do.

Thanks for reading!

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