June 01, 2006

Triathlons are HARD (Week 2)

So, last week I rediscovered the wonderful world of swimming, and how, in fact, how not-so-wonderful it turns out to be. I'd already been dreading the run, so the only leg of the race (which, in my case, is a term used VERY loosely) that I felt confident in was the cycling.

Then I got on a spinning bike.

Spinning bikes are stationary, but differ from traditional exercise bikes in that the seat is the same height as the handlebars, forcing the rider to hunch over like you would in an actual race to reduce drag. They also have simpler, non-electronic controls, making it easier to train in groups. Lastly, where exercise bike are somewhat comfortable and will let you ride for miles without too much pain, spinning bikes are torture devices that create huge sore areas on your toccous and force you to use muscles that you hadn't used in years.

Guess which one's more akin to how the actual race will be?

So, after 25 minutes filled with "climbing" intervals (setting the bike to high resistance and coming out of the seat to peddle slowly with good cadence), I was half-past dead. It didn't help that before the spinning, our training group worked on our "core" muscles (or "muscles you don't actually use unless doing crunches, passing medicine balls or fluttering your legs up and down") for 25 minutes beforehand.

Depite all my complaining, I was able to walk out of the gym, albeit somewhat oddly, thanks to dead glute muscles and a sore butt and made it to the grovery store. They say never go grocery shopping when you're hungry. I say ALWAYS go grocery shopping after getting you butt kicked on a spinning bike. I have to say that in four years my diet has gone through drastic changes, but nothing like what happened last night. In college, it was pizza, Rand burritos and Coke. As a "bachelor", it was pizza, burgers, Taco Bell, Fried chicken, more pizza, Coke and beer. After getting married, it became chicken patties, Hot Pockets, Ritz Chips, Diet Coke (with some sort of flavoring to cover up the taste), and the occasional (three times a week) fast food meal when I was too lazy to make my own lunch. The last wasn't too bad a diet, but after the butt-whooping I got last night, I figured it was time to change again, and Meagan has never balked at healthy foods, so I took a deep breath (along with one last, longing look at the Golden Arches) and took the plunge into really healthy eating.

Instead of chicken patties for sandwiches, microwavable skinless pre-grilled chicken breasts. Instead of Golden Grahams, Whole Wheat Chex. Ritz Chips were replaced by 100% Whole Wheat Wheat Thins and Triscuits. Fruit snacks were replaced by actual fruit. Extra granola bars were bought for pre-workout snacking. Bagged stir-fry with cream sauces became both bagged stir fry in soy sauce and fresh peppers/pre-stripped microwavable grilled chicken to make fresh stir-fry.

And, lastly, against all odds and any visions I ever had for my eating habits: 1% Milk (which, admittedly, was a stretch to begin with) became Skim Milk.

I will say this though -- it seems to be worth it. In a week and a half of training, I've lost 6 pounds, going from 225 to 219. Granted, that still puts me 49 lbs deep into the "Clydesdale" division, but I don't think I'd ever want to be skinny enough to weigh 170. The swimming has gotten better -- over the past weekend, I did a 75m endurance lap, which I was pretty psyched about, and in both swim sessions managed to do 500m, though there were a lot of breaks in between.

Really, I think that the training classes have brought out something in me. It made me realize that I was really sold on the idea of finishing this triathlon, even if it takes twice as long as everyone else. I've found that's the best way for an O'Neill to acheive something; totally sell them on an idea so that they're too stubborn to quit even if the odds are bad and the prospects of success dire. My family's done some amazing things that way, and come July 29, Meagan and I will happily keep the family tradition.

But, man, are we gonna be sore.


At 5:07 PM, Blogger Bridgette said...

That's awesome! I feel the same way - I HAVE TO FINISH...even if I am the last one across the line & they are packing up the food tent! But you know they say if it were easy everyone would do it. (thx Jason!)


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