Tag Archives: triathlon training

Preparing for Iron Girl

I wish I had a clever post title but I don’t.  This post is precisely about what I did to prepare for my first triathlon that also happened to be the all women’s sprint triathlon, Iron Girl.  I’m trying to think of the best way to make this easily readable because I really feel like I could dedicate a month of posts to my Iron Girl experience.  Let’s start at the beginning.

October 2008 – my office posts a story online about several women in the company that did the Iron Girl.  I think, “Hey – I could do that!”  I convince myself that a 0.62 mile swim, 17.5 mile bike and a 3.4 mile run won’t be that bad.  I also convince a friend to sign up with me.

November 2008 – registered.  I didn’t think I’d need to start training seriously until the summer.

February 2009 – decide that I should build up some strength and take a stab at p90x.  I thought I’d end up super strong and in Michael Phelps/Lance Armstrong shape.

May 2009 – Hurt my back.  Don’t finish p90x (in the final week!)

June 2009 – Realize that I haven’t done shit to prepare for the triathlon.  My amazing triathlon/marathon friend tells me about a club that does twice weekly workouts at a pool.  I go to my first one and hate/love it.  Realize I am an awful swimmer and that I need more work.  Convince myself that I will stick with these twice weekly workouts until the triathlon.

July 2009 – Miss my first swim workout and then stop going altogether.  Go to 1 tri-club practice workout in open water.  Have a panic attack in the water and have to stop.  Spend the next 2 weeks avoiding water.  Go swim in a pool for a pitiful workout (apparently I can’t motivate myself to swim for a long time).

August 2009 – Holy shit, Iron Girl is this month.  Where the fuck did the time go?  I haven’t done anything!  Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit fart turd yarg narf.  Crap.  My awesome triathlon/marathon friend convinces me to do a mini triathlon workout with her in open water.  We take it 100 yards at a time.  I am able to swim 1000 yards with a lot of coaching from my friend.  Bike 8.5 miles.  My ass hurts.  Want to run 2 miles, can only do 1.

Holy crap – I am unprepared.  Go on one more bike ride the day before to the farmer’s market.  This doesn’t really count as practice.

To sum up how I trained for the triathlon:

I swam 4 times in a pool (3 of which were triathlon workouts) and twice in open water (with one ending quickly because I freaked out). 

I biked twice and only once was a semi-serious ride. 

I did, however, keep up with running.

That brings us to the week of the triathlon.  I start to panic.  I didn’t prepare.  I stress out so much that I make myself sick.  Crap!  I’m sick.  I have to run 10 miles for my marathon training.  Push myself to cover 10 miles 2 days before the triathlon (wtf was I thinking?!)

I attend a few meetings about the triathlon.  I realize that I am SO unprepared but check out the other ladies and think, “well they don’t look like serious triathletes… I can do this.”

I learn that the oldest Iron Girl registered is a 79 year old woman (that does it every year).  The youngest competitor is 12. 

I learn that the best way to pee while competing is during the long bike ride.  Just pedal and pee.  Or stand up while riding and pee.  Apparently most people know this, do this and then don’t really talk about it.  I’m advised not to wear white socks.

… the next post is about my actual Iron Girl experience.

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Dropped the Ball

Holy shit – the Iron Girl triathlon is less than 2 weeks away.  I had totally let this slip off of my radar and slacked on any sort of triathlon training during the summer.  That whole triathlon club thing I was doing at the end of June?  Yeah… totally stopped doing that.

Biking?  Eh, not so much.

I’ve been so engrossed with marathon training that I completely stopped doing anything related to triathlon training (although I guess I could argue that running is sort of training for the triathlon).

I participated in a mini triathlon workout in the beginning of July at Gunpowder State Park and it went terribly.  I panicked about 25 yards into my open water swim because WTF – I couldn’t see a gd thing in the water and I was being molested by sea grass. 

My amazing marathoning/triathloning friend suggested a mini triathlon workout on Sunday with just the two of us (we can make it if we trrrrryyy… don’t pretend that song didn’t just pop into your head).  I was hesitant about how poorly I would do but my friend is a great motivator and she encouraged me when I needed it and stopped when I needed it.  All in all – I swam 1000 yards (Iron Girl is 1100 yards) with small breaks every 100 yards.  I didn’t panic despite being attacked by sea grass again.  Seriously – that sea grass is out of control.  At one point, I had a wig of sea grass on my head.  Insane.

We biked 8.5 miles and I got to use her fancy road bike.  And holy hell – there is quite a difference between her competitive bike and my old lady bike.  I can’t believe I thought I’d be able to race with my cruiser?

And then we ran.  I wasn’t prepared for how jello-like my legs would feel after the bike ride and oy.  I had planned to do an easy 2 miles.  I could only do 1.

My friend suggested a bike/run workout this evening and I truly hope I don’t die.

The rest of the day on Sunday was spent with me complaining about how I couldn’t possibly move and yet was so hungry.  Annoyingly – Jeremy did not interpret that to mean that he should pick up or cook some food for me and feed it to me.  He is so selfish sometimes.  Gah!

But I guess its good that I got this out of the way, right?

I read an interesting article this morning about how dreaming can affect my performance.  So – if I dream that I can do it, I’ll be able to do it.  Is there a way to force this dream into my brain?  I can’t even sleep these days let alone dream.  Come on brain – let’s visualize me being awesome.

Anywho – I realize this is probably a boring post to anyone that doesn’t give a crap about triathlons so let me see if I can chat about something else.

POOP!  It is honestly one of my favorite topics.  I found myself having a hilarious conversation last week in the microwave area of my office building with a manager about how beets can be quite traumatizing after a meal if you don’t know what to expect.  Are you guys catching my drift here?  Beets are a very deep crimson color.  Eating lots of beets can cause interesting results later.  Catching on yet?

Beets turn your poop red.

I was happy that my friend warned me about this before I consumed a beet salad awhile ago because I’m pretty sure I would have called 911 to tell them that I’m shitting blood only to have a bunch of EMTs tell me I’m an idiot when they realize that I’ve eaten a bunch of beets.

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Excuses Excuses

Remember that Triathlon club I mentioned previously?  Yeah – well, I’ve totally slacked on the workouts.  I went 3 times total.  Each workout made me want to cry but each workout ended with me feeling like I had accomplished something great.

And then something happened.  I skipped a workout. 

In all fairness, I skipped the workout to spend time with my dogs.  I had taken the day off for a fun day of shopping and got home much later than anticipated.  My dogs needed some lovin’!

But that started me down the path of slackerdom. 

I skipped the Monday workout because I felt physically drained.  I couldn’t possibly work out feeling like crap, right?

I skipped the following Thursday workout because I just didn’t feel like going and I had to pack for Chicago (my flight was at 6am!).  I needed to spend quality time with Jeremy.  I mean, what if my plane crashed?!  We must cherish all of our moments with our loved ones, people.

This past Monday?  Totally skipped it.  I had a doctor’s appt at 4pm and felt too rushed when I got home.

There is a workout tonight and I’ll be honest… I want to skip it.  But do I have a good reason to skip?  Jeremy has taken a half day from work to go home and study for his final exam so I can’t use the dogs as a reason and I’m not doing anything after work (except to maybe watch Grey Gardens… jealous?)

Although…

I took a kickboxing class taught by a 25-year old fitness model/barbie doll.  My inner thighs and butt hurt so much that I actually wimper everytime I get up from my chair.  I’ve been walking around the office as though a baby is crowning from my vag.

Good enough reason to skip?  I need to give my body time to heal.

Ladies and gents – THIS is why I work out daily.  It is way too easy for me to get derailed if I haven’t made something a part of my normal routine.

Either that or I’m just getting really depressed about my birthday next week.  I really do feel old and it didn’t help to hear 25-year old fitness model state how depressed she was for being a “quarter of a century” old. 

I wanted to punch her.

Instead, however, I decided to try to keep up with her during her class (oh – she’s giving the higher intensity version?  F her – I can totally keep up.  Watch me jump squat, punch and kick). 

I think she may have won this battle.

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Don’t Focus on Drowning

Because the IronGirl triathlon is officially less than 2 months away and I hadn’t done much in terms of triathlon training, I decided last week that I really needed to do something about it.  My inspirational triathlon/marathoning friend told me about a local triathlon club that met up for workouts twice a week at a gym in Towson.

I e-mailed the contact person for some info on the club and he informed me of the twice a week workouts AND the 2 free sessions.  How could I say no?  I’m a sucker for a freebie.

I grappled with going to the ONE HOUR swim workout last week for awhile. 

I had attempted a swim the day before with atrocious results (another incident where my superstar husband annoyed the crap out of me).

I also sometimes suffer from a socially crippling anxiety that does not allow me to go to new places where there are strangers and I am supposed to show some measure of skill.  It was especially difficult to get over the fact that I would be wearing a very unflattering one piece swimsuit with equally unflattering swim goggles.

I figured I had no choice – I had to act like a normal adult and just do it. 

I felt like a complete nerd for the first 20 minutes.  There were many skilled (and surprisingly much older) swimmers in the group.  Some of these women were in amazing shape.  WTF was I doing there?  On top of that – the coach, who was very nice and patient, had me stand in front of the group and explain the workouts for the night (he had to give me a quick lesson on what they meant).

My worst nightmare was coming true!  I was afraid he was going to make me demonstrate how crappy of a swimmer I was next but thankfully he didn’t.

He had me swim a few laps on my own and then he came over to talk to me about my form.  Not surprisingly, I had bad form.  The good news is that I can keep myself from drowning. 

He gave me some pointers and a drill to work on – the freestyle kick.  The drill consists of holding my arms stretched out in front of my head and kicking.  The drill is supposed to help me keep my head down.  Who knew that this slight change in form would keep my butt from sinking?  Only when I need to breathe do I take a stroke and lean my head out of the water.

After doing this for awhile, he had me swim 200 yards straight… without stopping.  I’m sure that doesn’t seem like much to any of you but I thought I was going to DIE.  And when I get tired, my form gets sloppy, I panic, I swallow water and then I think I’m drowning.  Not fun.

The coach gave me a really nice pep talk that inspired me to finish.  I was the last swimmer (since it was taking forever) and the class cheered me on.  I felt like a dork but it was nice to have the motivation.

I went back on Thursday for the 45 minutes of swim followed by 45 minutes of cycle.  I felt good this time.  I thought my form had improved and that this particular swim would be much easier. 

I’m not sure what the f happened but I thought I was going to die in this class.  My legs kept cramping up, my ankles were killing me from the kicking and I just didn’t have the energy.

I had a breakthrough at one point (towards the end – go figure) where I realized that if I just relaxed and not focus so much on the potential of drowning – I can actually swim 300 yards.  Amazing.

I’m going back for more torture tonight.  You’d think I would have stopped (it is exhausting to workout in the morning, work all day and then fit in an intense workout in the evening) but my inability to swim with ease just makes me realize that I NEED this class.  And yes, I probably should ditch the morning workouts but I have scaled them back and dammit, I need them to wake up.  It is a part of my routine.  Don’t judge me.

 I was so exhausted after Thursday night’s workout that I had to call Theresa to confirm the news of Michael Jackson because it was just so out of the blue.  I had to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.  And I wasn’t.

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Butt Cramp

Crap!  I think I pulled a muscle in my right butt cheek.  I’ve been walking around like someone stuck an ice stick in my bum all day. 

And don’t you hate when someone doubts your skills?  I was having a conversation about how I’m totally doing the Philly marathon (right, Ian?) and someone brought up Iron Girl.  Yeah… I really haven’t done much training for it but I still have some time, right?  I’m on a runner’s high lately – I’m focusing on the 10-miler run next week.  Regardless, I don’t particularly care about placing anywhere in the top rankings of the Iron Girl.  My only goal is to beat the majority of the women in my company that registered.  I am a little iffy about beating one woman… that was until a co-worker basically said I had no chance of beating that women.

Oh it’s on, biotch.  My goal is to now beat EVERY woman that works at the same company as me in that damn triathlon.

On to fun news… I just booked a weekend trip to Chicago with my pal, Angie.  I’m super excited because I’ve never been to Chicago and I never see Angie very much.  Yippee!

I’m ready for the weekend…

Tonight, I’m scraping the old paint off of my back patio so it can be repainted and I can finally start cooking dinners again and having friends over (like Jamie and Geoff!).  I had a fab dinner with them and they reminded me that’s it has been way too long since we’ve done anything like that and I definitely need a kick in the pants to get going with the backyard projects.

Tomorrow, lots of festivals…

Sunday, I’m doing the bike tour.  I’m super stoked about it especially since it seemed nobody wanted to do it with me.  Should I be concerned about how the fact that me and my friend’s husband registered as a “couple” looks?  It was cheaper than registering as single riders!  We’re being frugal.

I’m off to ice my butt.  Have a good weekend!

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Can I Sew in Boob Pads?

I picked up my trisuit yesterday.  If you recall from my previous post, the trisuit isn’t exactly built for flattery.

I knew the biggest problem I’d have with the trisuit was the fact that it’s a spandex unitard.  That means no boob pads.  For a girl without boobs, this poses a problem.  For a girl that is shaped like a rectangle (from the front and side), this poses a problem.

Ladies and gents, I bring you the most unflattering outfit I will ever wear in my 20s.


I have contemplated sewing in tiny boob pads so that I at least look like a woman in the all women’s triathlon.  However, I think the little pads will soak up too much water in my swim and I’m sure it wouldn’t be very attractive (or time-efficient) to have to squeeze the water out of my chesticles during the race.

Jeremy tried to assure me that there would be a lot of other flat-chested women in the race as well.  I have my doubts.

But if this doesn’t work out, Summer Olympics 2012 here I come!  I think I have a pretty good chance for passing as a 16 year old gymnast.

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Week 4 of p90x and other things

I’m in week 4 of the p90x workout.  This means I’m in the “rest” week.  I’ve always associated rest with actually RESTING (call me crazy) but according to p90x, it means I’m doing a lot of stretching and cardio… just no strength workouts for the week. 

This morning was yoga.  Doing yoga in my living room vs. a room full of yogis is quite different.  Actually – doing yoga with Jeremy in our house vs. a room full of serious yogis is different in that we’re comfortable enough to fart (a lot) and I don’t really push myself as hard as I would with the serious yogis only because I don’t feel the need to impress Jeremy with my flexibility.  I mean – he already married me.  I’m done impressing.

Also – I asked Jeremy if my diet was going to change and he pointed out that I’m actually eating more carbs than I’m supposed to (because I’m still running outside of the p90x workout) so it looks like I’m sticking with it for another 30 days.  Yum.  [sarcasm]

I’ve actually gotten very used to it though.  Like I said – not having to worry about what I’m going to eat is kind of relieving.  But I still allow myself to stray on the weekends (in that I’m eating other things for dinner but am trying to stay within the guidelines of the diet).

I even displayed some amazing willpower at my nephew’s 1st birthday party.  I snacked on fruit & veggies for the most part.  The several rice krispie squares and handfuls of chex mix don’t count.  Hey – I was at a birthday party.

Side note – if you’re ever teetering on the idea of having a baby but are just not sure, attend a 1-year old’s birthday party.  Jeremy and I kind of stayed away from the swarms of children because quite frankly – they’re scary.  And they put a lot of things into their mouths.  Toy truck?  Yeah – it’s getting taste-tested.  Soccer ball?  Sure – it’s getting licked.  Babies and kids are cute – but I don’t think I can handle the idea of my kid licking everything on the ground just yet.  I’m pretty sure my head would explode.   I mean… I won’t even touch the door handles to a fast food restaurant.  Do you think I can handle the germ love-fest of kids’ toys?

Anywho – now that it’s March and the triathlon is a mere 5 months away, I’ve decided that I need to get over my fear of looking like an idiot in the pool and start swimming.  Smack linked to a fabulous blog of a girl training for the same triathlon and holy hell… I’m so far behind in training.  My thought was that I’d use the p90x workout to give me a baseline of strength and I’d go from there… as though this workout is going to transform me into a Lance Armstrong/Michael Phelps hybrid.  Don’t ask me about my thought process.  It made sense at the time.

The pool thing is a big issue for me.  I’m not really a swimmer.  I can swim but I’m not a swimmer.  I don’t want to doggie paddle or breast stroke for 0.62 miles but I don’t know how to “front crawl”  (apparently its the fastest style of swimming).  I can’t really afford to take lessons nor can I really afford to join a pool.

My graduate school has an indoor pool and lucky for me, access to this pool comes with the bajillion dollars I pay in tuition fees.  My problem?  I feel like a super turd.  Not being a swimmer makes the idea of going to an indoor pool where there are swimmers very very scary.  I need a crutch (a friend willing to look like a food with me) but sadly – I’m not really pals with anyone in my classes enough for me to say, “hey – wanna take a dip in the pool sometime?”  Kristin works at a gym with a pool and she said she can get me guest passes but I don’t want to abuse it.  Ugh.  How do I get over this fear?

Plus I need to get a swimmer’s bathing suit.  That means I’m going to look like a Chinese gymnast.  Why don’t they make those Speedo one-pieces with padding?  So not only will I look like a turd trying to swim, I’m going to look like an underaged asian olympian.  Oy.

Okay – I will get over this.  I am an adult.  I am in training.  I can do this… I can do this… I can do this.

So um… anyone wanna meet up with me and take a dip in the pool sometime?

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