It's Been a Year

It's been a year since I started the fitness and diet programs. First, I changed my diet and then started to exercise. Then, I started to sign up for the events. I had a great time, lost 20 pounds and learned a lot about both diet and exercise. It's more than I ever learned while playing sports 12 months a year back in high school.

I boiled what I learned down to a couple simple truths.

  • It's what you eat and when you eat it.
  • It's what you do and how often you do it.

I also came to the resolution that I wanted something different for the second year. After the triathlon, I realized I really didn't care about the distance. The process of getting to the triathlon was what mattered most, improvement was second. Looking back at the events over the last twelve months I really enjoyed the middle-distance events. It could've been that the shorter running events occured in hot weather or the endurance event, the marathon, occured in 29-degree temperatures with drizzle, while the middle distance events occured in perfect temperatures. However it happened or whatever contributed, I had the most fun with the half-marathons and the sprint triathlon, and for that reason, those are the events I'll participate in for the twelve months.

  • January 29 - 3M Half Marathon
  • February - Austin Half Marathon
  • March 19 - River City Ten Miler
  • April 2 - Capital 10,000
  • May 29 - CapTex Tri (sprint triathlon)
  • June - nothing planned
  • July - Aquarena Sprint Triathlon (maybe)
  • August - nothing planned
  • September 10 - Dilloman (sprint triathlon) or Sept 17 Texas Man Sprint or Olympic, Las Calinas, Irving Texas
  • October 16 - Pervasive 10-Miler
  • November 20 - Motive Half Marathon
  • December - nothing planned

When I started I had no real training plan. In fact, the first training plan didn't include enough time to build a base, so that's what I'm doing now. If after building the base, I add more miles and can include a marathon, Olympic distance triathlon or half-Ironman, that's great. If not, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. There are plenty of events in the middle distance to keep me occupied, as well as improve the fitness I have now.

I also believe Americans in general have a Super-Size Me fascination with food, cars, homes and fitness events. It can also be extended to toys, such as the triathlon bikes I saw last week. The longer the event, the better. Sprint triathlon, Olympic, Half-Ironman, Ironman, Ultraman, Ultra-Bizillion-mile-man. I don't think so. I don't mean to put down the endurance events, it's just that to to that distance well, it takes a lot of time, time from other things. To finish a really long, impossible ditance or to do an event and compete, seems to be the question.

One person asked after the triathlon if I was now ready to persue the Ironman. No. No and no. One doesn't always realize the amount of time it takes to train for such an event. Looking at Ironman participants, the ones that do it right, they tend to train between 30 and 40 hours per week. That's like having another job. That leaves very little else in one's life for the majority of the year. I want to read. I want to cook. I want to garden. I want to take a vacation and not wonder if the hotel has a 50-meter lap pool or a trail to run.

Another reason for the choice of events was recovery and injury. I was lucky this past year with my knees and other parts of the body. It took me several weeks to recover from the marathon. Partly due to the lack of training miles and partly due to getting the flu the week before, the marathon took a heavy toll on my body. I liked feeling almost no discomfort after the triathlon. Two hours into any event I was still smiling and I having fun. By the fourth or fifth hour of an event, I was asking how much longer could this go on. I was cramping and not feeling well at all.

Maybe my fitness will improve to the point that four hours will feel like two of today's hours. If so, I'll do the endureance event in a heartbeat. If not, I'll stay within my two hours and improve on that.

June, July and August will be spent continuing to build the base. My time will also be spent in the gym, lifting weights as I need to increase the power in my legs. More powerful hamstrings and quads are on order. So although triathlon season just started, I see my triathlon last week ending the season and the next season starting with another triathlon in September.


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