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The Fallout

October 7, 2014 3 comments

ride alarm

This morning I made it back into the gym.  After taking some time yesterday to draft up a high-level training schedule, I hauled my ass out of bed this morning (barely) and got back into the gym.  Upon arriving at the gym, I was rudely greeted by the firm, undeniable reality of my extended training absence: the scale.

We meet again!

It had been months since I had stepped on a scale.  The last time being weeks before my ‘A’ race of the season, and having weighed a post-highschool low of 227lbs, I knew I wouldn’t be so lucky as to still weight the same amount.  After all, there was a lot of pizza, and nachos, and beer, and BBQ, and other delightfully-yummy-but-not-condusive-to-weight-loss foods over the past few months.  Just how much crap had I eaten?  Apparently about 13lbs worth.  240lbs – I thought I had long since left you in the past.  Crap.

5stagesofgrief

I think my honest first reaction was to test the scale.  Surely that couldn’t be right.  Maybe if I just slid the little weight thinger a bit to the left, it would still be level, and all would be forgiven?  Right?  Right?!?  Nope.  The scale doesn’t lie.  So I went and got onto the exercise bike and did what everyone does when stuck on an exercise bike for a prolonged period of time – I fumed!  Why the hell did I take so much time off?!?  Why the hell did I eat like crap these past few months?!!!!!?  Sure, there’s lots of excuses – we were on vacation for two weeks (and seriously: who diets while on vacation?!), I switched jobs and am still adjusting to the new commute and schedule, my wife had a birthday that needed celebrating, etc. etc.  Lots of great excuses, but they’re all just that: excuses.  It’s my own fault I fell off the wagon!  I fumed all the way into the office this morning, burnt my breakfast bagel, and then finally sat down at my computer and spent a few minutes looking at my new training schedule, trying to find something I could tweak to short-cut this fix.  There’s no short cut.  Just hard work ahead of me.

I think I’m somewhere in the Depression stage right now (though perhaps by writing out this blog post I’m moving towards the Acceptance stage).  I wouldn’t say I screwed up – It’s been a good few months; I’ve had a lot of fun, and had the down time that I needed.  But now I need to get back to it.  If there’s a silver lining to this big fat cloud, it’s that I’ve inadvertently done a nice social self experiment: if/when I decide to walk away from triathlon some day, will I be able to maintain the improved body weight and health that I’ve worked hard to attain.  And the answer – based on who I am today – is ‘no’.  I liken it (as best I understand) to an addict.  I can take control of my situation – I can own it, and improve it indefinitely.  But the moment I decide that it’s reached a desired state and I can stop working on it is the moment that it will win, and I will fall right back to where I was.  I suspect I probably have a food addiction.  I definitely have a “lazy” addiction.  And my health is something I’m always going to have to work on.

Nothing to do from here, though, except get back on the horse.  I got up for the gym this morning, and I’ll get up again tomorrow morning.  I’ve written a 5 week training plan – deliberately no more – and I’ll re-evaluate after 5 weeks before planning out the next chunck.  I’ve re-activated my account on Lose It! and am starting to pay closer attention to what I eat (I had leftover potatoe and kale soup for lunch today – a good start).  There’s no better time of year – for a triathlete – than right now to work on improving body composition.  I’m not going to let this beat me again!

~DO’G

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Friday Stray Thoughts

July 25, 2014 2 comments

FridayImage by Glenn McCoy

Happy Friday everyone!  For those of you looking for a little light lunchtime internet distraction to tide you over until quitting time, here’s a few Stray Thoughts for your Friday Afternoon

– – – – –SubaruMy third – and likely final – triathlon of the season goes this weekend.  This time, my first ever Try-a-Tri distance race at the Subaru Grimsby/Niagara Race (they can’t seem to get their marketing lined up.  Is it Grimsby?  Is it Niagara?  Let’s pick one folks!)

Anyway… I’m looking forward to this one:

1) It’s a FLAT course – should be fast, and fun

2) It’s an all-out intensity effort, as opposed to an endurance effort (which is new to me)

3) It’ll be done in under an hour

4) I’m racing with a couple buddies from high school who are tackling their first tri.  Really excited to see them pull this off.  And for the celebratory beer after 🙂

What’s breaking my brain is the 1:15pm race start time.  I’ve not done an afternoon race before.  I’m not sure how to handle this.  I have a morning routine – when to wake up, what (and when) to eat.  What do I do now – do I sleep in?  Do I eat a big breakfast?  Do I eat lunch?  Do I go for a walk or a jog in the morning?  Do I drive down early, or hang around at home in the morning?  I’m being a little OCD here, but my routine is broken and I’m not sure what to do about it!

Anyone out there with any advice for an afternoon race start?

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broken bike

I may have had a little crash last week (about 10 days ago), while bike commuting to work.  A bit scary at the time – fortunately it amounted to just scrapes and bruises in the long run.  All things heal.  My commuter bike, however, needed several hundred dollars worth of repair work.  Yikes!

(no, that’s not my bike above – that’s just a stock picture.  I’m not on the ball enough to have taken a pic of my own bike)

Thus, I haven’t done an ounce of biking since my last race 2 weeks ago (well, if you don’t count the ~3km from my house to the crash site that one morning… which I don’t).  The cuts and scrapes on my arms and legs have kept me out of the pool.  I did manage one training run this week – a quick slow treadmill 5k at the gym on Monday that felt TERRIBLE!  Seriously – it’s a treadmill; I know exactly what speed I’m running at, and how long I’ve run it for.  I KNOW my numbers used to be better than that.  Where has all my fitness gone this summer?!?  Apparently racing every other week, and not doing much of any training in between, does not constitute maintaining the fitness you built in the off-season.  Whoops.

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weight-loss-scale

The nice thing about that one trip to the treadmill (and the gym in general) is that I got to step on the scale there.  I am losing fitness, for sure, but I’m also losing weight (proof, I’ll assume, that weight loss is much more driven by diet then by exercise).  My weight is at an all-time post-highschool low, and dropping.  Which is good.  Which is really good.

Except it coincides with lost fitness, and I don’t like that.  It probably suggests I’m losing more muscle mass than I should.  I don’t like that either.  Which isn’t to say that I’m not totally ecstatic about losing weight, and really happy that my eating habits (in general) are finally supporting this rather than hindering it.  But it also tells me I really need to get my ass back in the gym and do some strength work.  I find it very easy to remember to get out for a run, or a bike ride.  Well, relatively easy, at least.  Those are directly relate to my training goals (plus, going faster is fun)!  I need to remember to continue to hit the weights.  I think that’s going to be this off season’s #1 priority.

Yes – it’s mid July, and I’m talking off season already…

– – – – –

Have a great weekend everybody!  Good Luck to everyone racing or training this weekend!!!

Stop the Couch-fest!!

October 9, 2013 Leave a comment

GetOffTheCouch

It’s been nearly a month now since my race season ended.  It’s been a really sluggish month.  What started out as great R&R time quickly turned into laziness.  Time spent on the couch, watching TV, eating crap.  And I quickly discovered something about myself: I’m not in my 20s anymore.

Seriously – that’s not as dumb a statement as it sounds.  My body can’t take laying on the couch for hours days anymore.  My body can’t eat cafeteria crap and drink beer like it did back in my University days anymore.  My mind still remembers these things as being fun and relaxing, and rewarding.  The mind can stay young, but the body still grows up.  And I have to take care of it differently now than I did a decade ago.

And that’s really why I got into Triathlon in the first place.  Because I sure as shit didn’t get into it to win races!  I got into it as a motivator to get my life in shape – get my body in shape.  To be a healthier me for myself, my wife, and my family and friends.

Last week my wife and I bought gym memberships at the local YMCA.  One of the first things I did on my first trip to the gym was to step on the scale.  I haven’t stepped on a scale in months.  234.5 lbs.  Holy shit.  I haven’t seen a number that low since high school (probably early high school at that)!  It’s easy for me to trumpet about improved running, biking, or swimming times – because I have gotten faster over this past year.  But that’s the number that sticks with me.  That’s the number that I choose to define my race season.  I know weight isn’t the end-all metric of a person’s health, but it’s a metric.  It’s an easy metric.  And it’s improved.

But it won’t continue to improve if I don’t continue to work.  The post race season couch-fest has got to stop.  It’s time to get back to work.  And sometimes it takes a number like this to remind me how far I’ve come, and to keep working.

I’ve added one last race to my 2013 schedule – I’m going to be running the Hamilton Road2Hope 10K with my cousin (and possibly my wife, and a few friends of ours) in a couple of weeks.  On one hand, after the magnitude of some of the races I’ve done this summer, it’s easy to say “oh, it’s just a 10K run”.  On the other hand, it’s so much more to me than that.  It’s symbolic of everything I’ve worked for, and why I do this:

  • It’s the second year we’ve run this race together (that makes it a tradition, doesn’t it?)
  • It’s a run with family and friends, and a chance to share this activity with them
  • It’s a race where cheering each other across the finish line is just as important as the PB time we’re running for

What better reason is there to get off the couch than that!!!

 

Friday Stray Thoughts

August 2, 2013 1 comment

Friday

Image by Glenn McCoy

Happy Friday everyone!  For those of you looking for a little light lunchtime internet distraction to tide you over until quitting time, here’s a Few Stray Thoughts for your Friday Afternoon

– – – – –

cg_econ_leg_press1a500

My good friend/personal trainer forwarded to me this article from Runner’s World Magazine, highlighting a study that found benefits to running economy for those who do high weight/low rep resistance training.

I don’t think resistance training being of value to endurance athletes is news to, well, anybody probably.  I, for one, HATE weight training.  Bleh.  So boring.  As a triathlete, I want to run and bike and swim – because those are fun (that’s why I race).  I know resistance training will help make me faster (and healthier), so that’s why I do it.  But because I don’t enjoy it, I’m often guilty of doing many reps of a lesser weight – because if I’m not enjoying something, it’s easy to cop out.  But I guess if I have to be in the weight room I’d rather get more bang for my buck – and hey, doing less reps probably means I get it over with faster, amiright?

– – – – –

brickThis one from our good friend Twitter…

This article posits that – for long course triathlon (which I don’t do today… though I’m certainly contemplating a Half Iron in the next few years) more so than short course races – the value of brick workouts may be overrated.

Well, that’s stirring the pot of conventional logic a bit… it’s an interesting argument, which I’m not sure if I’m in agreement with or not.  And maybe that’s because I only do short distance racing at this point.  From our earliest days of triathlon training, we’re taught to do our brick sessions.  Keep doing bricks – they suck, but they’re good for you!  It’s like eating your brussels sprouts!  But maybe there is an argument to doing more of your run training on fresh legs, when you can practice good form and pacing and really running your best, as opposed to run training on dead legs.  It sure would make training schedules a lot easier…

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Finally, here’s one from Canadian Running magazine outlining 10 common rookie mistakes beginner runners should avoid.

Think back to your early days of running.  How many of these were you guilty of?  #1, #6, and #10 were my vices.

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Have a great weekend everybody!

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