How many more days?

I’m starting to get ridiculously excited about my upcoming triathlon.  I feel like I’m ready!  I want to go now!

Problem is that the race isn’t for another few weeks.   24 days, I believe.  I don’t even have my Team Fight gear yet.  Gotta get that, hope it fits, and practice in it.  Nothing new on race day, after all.

I’m excited that I’m excited about the race.  I know that sounds weird, but usually at this point before a race of a new distance, I’m freaking out and worrying if I’ll be able to finish, if my training has been enough, and if I have enough time to truly complete my training before race day.  But I feel like this time, I’ve done something right.

Of course, I still will freakout sometime in the week leading up to the race.  It’s pretty much a guarantee.  It’s how I roll.

And I do still have plenty of work to do. I need to work on my swimming form so that I can swim faster or at least expend less energy in the water.  I’ve got one more open water swim practice to attend.  It’s a clinic, but I’m at the point where I need less clinic and more experience in the water.  So I’m going just for that experience.

I need to keep my bike skills up and ride the course as many times as possible (2 more rides on the schedule).  I need to run as much as possible to keep my legs used to the motion.  And to be ready for the half marathon a few weeks later… I wonder what that course time limit is.  Oh well, that’s a problem for Future Megan.

I also “have” to celebrate Betsy‘s bachelorette (as if it’s going to be difficult), which I am treating as the beginning of my taper week.  Can we do some carb loading, B?

But soon enough, race day will be here.  Just gotta keep my head in the game.  And I will be ready.

What goes up must come down

Due to some construction, this weekend we rode a different bike course, one used for other triathlons in the area and one that used to be the course for Iron Girl Columbia.

I prefer the new course.  These hills were tough.

oldIG

The hill that got me was weirdly the one at mile 3.  I’m not sure if I just wasn’t warmed up or what, but I was painfully out of breath after that hill.  Mile 6 wasn’t much better.  But after that, it felt pretty good.   The hill at mile 14 is on both courses, and I actually really like that hill.  I know, I’m weird.

Now, you experienced hill bikers are probably like “That’s nothing!”  And it’s true – it’s a pretty mild course, all things considered.  But for someone still learning her gears, this is a challenge.  I’m getting better each ride and am looking forward to race day where I get to find out what happens.

Swim waves just came out and we Athenas lucked out this year.  We’re in the 7am wave!  I’m pumped.  That means I will be off the course earlier, so it will be a bit cooler for my run, and it also means that there won’t be tons of bikers in front of me who don’t know what they’re doing.  Apparently, at this race every year, there are a bunch of people who show up and have no idea what they’re doing on the bike course.  Some haven’t ridden a bike in years and think that the course is going to be easy.  It’s not easy.  And there are people who refuse to follow the rules of triathlon biking (single file line, pass in 15 seconds, pass on the left, etc.).  So the fewer people already on the course, the better off I am.

Less than a month to go!

 

 

 

 

 

Truth in Recording

Lately, I find myself looking into WiFi scales.  You know, the ones that weigh you and then automatically upload that number so you can’t forget in the minutes between weighing and going to the computer to log.  The ones that make it so you can’t “forget” to log your weight.

I use an app on my phone to track my weight.  I make it a point to weigh every day so I can get a good idea of what food and exercise does to my body.  It helps me see if there is a trend going on with my weight.  If I’m suddenly up 2 pounds in a day, I don’t worry about it as long as those two pounds disappear.  If I’m surprisingly down 2 pounds in a day, I can’t let that motivate me too much – I’m probably just dehydrated.

But there are definitely days where I see the number on the scale and I just don’t want to write it down.  It’s higher than I want it to be and I know it’s because I’ve been eating poorly.  So I don’t write it down.  Because if it’s not written down, it’s not real, right?

Wrong.  And maybe this is the problem that I’ve been having with losing weight all along.  It’s a struggle to find balance to properly fuel my body for training without overfueling, but that’s not the issue.  The issue is that I lie to myself.  “Well, tomorrow is my Weight Watchers reset day, so it doesn’t matter what I eat today because points reset tomorrow.”  Yeah, that doesn’t work so well, self.

So the key here is to be honest with myself.  Because of my training, I don’t expect to lose weight fast.  I know that some of it is building muscle.  But the belly fat isn’t muscle and it needs to go.  And to encourage it to leave, I need to be accountable to myself.

Being a Bigger Runner or Triathlete

In triathlons, we have these fun categories called Athena and Clydesdale.  A lot of people think that means “fat,” but really, it just means heavier.  It’s a way to recognize that some people are lugging a lot more bulk.

So what qualifies you as an Athena or a Clydesdale?  Well, some races have different rules, but USA Triathlon, the governing body for triathlons (and the group that creates the rules we all follow) says that an Athena is a woman 165 pounds or over and a Clydesdale is a man 220 pounds or over.  What this doesn’t account for is height.  A woman who is 5’10” is in a healthy weight range at 165 pounds according to the BMI charts.

But I’m getting off track.

The stereotypical runner is someone with a long and lean body.  That’s what we think of when we think of runners and who we typically see competing at the Olympics.   And there’s nothing wrong with having that body type.  I’m not about thin shaming or fat shaming.  People come in all sizes.

What I do want to talk about is some of the difficulties that bigger athletes face.  I read an article from Active about it a few weeks ago and it stuck in my head.

First off, a lot of people worry that they are too big to get into the sport.  Not because they’re worried about their health, but because they’re worried what others will think.  WHO CARES?  Don’t let that bother you.  Go out and do your thing.  Yesterday, driving home, I was behind a bigger girl biking down the road, and I was so impressed with her ability to power up the hill.  Also with her confidence in traffic.  I only work 7 miles from home but I don’t bike it because the traffic terrifies me.  You go, girl.

Bigger runners do have to think a little differently about shoes.  You might want more cushioning under your feet because you’re putting more pressure on your poor footsies.  But there are many awesome shoes out there.

Gear can be tough.  There are some awesome companies, like Sparkle Skirts, that carry up to 3XL (theirs is equivalent to a 24-26) for bigger female runners.  And men have somewhat of an advantage in that football players tend to be big guys.  They need wicking clothing to workout in, so hey, the average runner can probably get some too.  But a lot of companies don’t make clothes for the bigger runner.  Heck, I’m not THAT big and I find myself buying gear in 2XLs just so it fits without suffocating.  And let’s not even talk about wetsuits.  Those are made of torture.   For sports bras, I’m an Enell fan.

One big key for bigger athletes of either gender is that your nutrition and hydration needs might be different than a smaller athlete.  I know runners who can get through a half marathon with one gel.  I cannot.  I actively get hungry if I don’t have more than 100 calories while out on the course.  I’m not sure if that’s a function of my weight or a function of the fact that I’m out there longer.  Either way, I’ve had to find a fueling method that works for me.  The same goes with hydration.  If you sweat more, you need to drink more.

Every so often, I do a sweat test.  Before you workout, get on the scale in the buff.  Record your weight.  Go for a run.  Take your water bottle with you, but make sure you know how much water is in it.  When you get back from a run, strip off your sweaty gear and wipe off as much sweat as possible (ick).  Weigh yourself again.  Subtract the number of ounces of water you drank and that’s how much weight you lost in sweat.  So that’s how much water you should be drinking to rehydrate.  Ideally, your weights should be about the same.

We often talk about the look of the stereotypical athlete.  Let’s keep changing that stereotype.  Get out there and be awesome.

 

Injured and Proud

small__4044545394photo credit: TheKenChan via photopin cc

I’m lucky in that I haven’t been seriously injured while running.  Sprains and strains here and there and the occasional  battle with Plantar Fasciitis or Runner’s Knee, but for the most part, I’m in pretty decent shape.

That said, here’s a current list of tweaks and twinges annoying me:

  • Scraped right knee
  • Scraped left shin
  • Giant bruise on left quad (I have no idea)
  • Hyperextended right thumb (also clueless on this one)
  • Massive bug bite on right quad
  • Fading sunburn on backs of shoulders (because I can’t properly apply my own sunscreen, apparently)

So not too bad, but if you look at me in shorts and a t-shirt, I look a mess.  And you know what?  I’m pretty proud of it.  It was a big debate as to whether I was going to wear a skirt for today’s meetings or pants to hide my legs.  (Ultimately, I decided on pants, not to hide the injuries, but rather because shaving around all the scrapes is annoying and I’m too vain to go out with hairy legs… at least to work.  I couldn’t care less about how I look for tonight’s swim practice.)

Admittedly, most of these injuries are because I’m just kind of clumsy, but it’s still kind of fun to look like a weekend warrior who went out and got messy and fell down and had a great time.

But I really should figure out some of these unexplained injuries.  Maybe someone is beating me up in my sleep.