Alternatively Entitled: If only little things like “Work” and “Sleep” could be taken off the table, this thing would be a piece of (birthday) cake!
For most of the things I have undertaken in recent years, I have committed myself to completing something without putting forth a lot of thought about how to complete it. My philosophy has been to give myself a goal and figure out along the way how to live up to it. The B-Fit B-Day Challenge was no exception. After reading through that first email from Roman, I immediately thought “Absolutely- Sign Me Up!” and I did. That was months ago.
Thinking through a little bit later, I emailed him and asked if I could do it early, with the intent of completing the challenge in like July or August while the days were still long, the temps were still warm, and I was training for 2 half-iron distances anyway. He said sure, but I still managed to procrastinate it until October, the month of my real 39th birthday on October 25th.
As the big day approached, I started thinking more intently about how and when I could get it slipped in with minimal disruptions to my work and home life, not sure if I would really get it done. Early in October, my son’s football team was finishing up their season, necessitating a lot of energy focused that direction. Later in the month, I had a week-long seminar to attend a long daily commute away. And the wintertime-is-upon-us blues were settling in, with windy, cold, rainy weather and shorter daylight. The bike and the run could be diced up into manageable chunks I thought after some careful consideration, but the swim was the monkey wrench in the equation. With the onset of cooler temps, the outdoor pool has been closed for several weeks and the indoor pool hours through the city are very limited, with just 2 hours available in the evenings Monday through Thursday. To me that meant that in order to meet the 24-hour timeframe for the Gold Challenge I wanted to do, I either had to figure out a way to do the swim on an evening the pool was open and then finish what I could that evening and the following day, or start the bike/run portion the night before a pool day and finish up the challenge with a swim.
My birthday came and went this past weekend, and I was in a funk. I wanted to do the challenge, but just couldn’t get motivated enough to start it off. Then the email came from Roman again, with a last call for B-Fit race reports. “There is just 4 days left to submit,” he wrote. That was the kick in the pants I needed so I started that evening.
(I forgot to take the obligatory picture of myself at the pool looking down the lane and putting on my goggles. This one will have to do ..... just go with it)
Run Leg #1:
Monday, I got home from work and quickly changed into my run clothes. I thought I might be a little insane because as I drove home there were flurries of light snow all around me, the first snowflakes of the season, and it was windy as hell outside. I dressed in my warmer gear, found some mitties and I was out the door. Those of you that know me, probably know that I am slower than snot on the run. It is my least favorite of the tri legs, and therefore I don’t spend as much time at it as I should a lot of the time. I ran my cold slow little run until it was starting to get dark outside, then I headed for home.
Run Leg #1: 5.42 miles in 1:18. (Don’t calculate my pace, just trust me that it was turtle speed)
Bike Leg #1:
Once home from the run, I got my buns warmed up, dumped the data from my Garmin into training center and changed into some bike clothes. It was dark outside, which took biking outdoors off the table, and to be honest with y’all I am not much of a snow/cold weather cyclist. One of the things I got for myself for my birthday was a cadence sensor for my Garmin Forerunner and I thought that I could test it out with this ride on a trainer and get my miles on for the Challenge at the same time.
Although there is nothing too exciting to report about a trainer ride, I forgot how nice it is to be able to hop off the bike and switch the laundry or watch TV while still getting miles in the saddle. (BTW: Cadence sensor review: It seems very accurate and was extremely easy to use. Highly recommended so far!)
Bike Leg #1: 23 miles at 1:38
Bike Leg #2:
After a quick night’s sleep, I was up bright and early to get some more bike time in before work. Watched the morning news and warmed up the Trakstand’s bearings for as long as I could until it was time to shower up and go to work.
Anyone who knows me well knows what a colossal achievement it was to get my crack out of the sack at 5:30. I am NOT a morning person, so this was a supreme sacrifice for the cause!
Bike Leg #2: 7.01 miles in :33
Run Leg #2:
After a late meeting that ran over, I hurried home to get the remainder of the run done. Thankfully it was marginally warmer than yesterday and no longer snowing, but still a bit windy. The legs were a touch sore from the previous day and morning bikes/run, so I was not speedy again today. Forward motion is still forward so I just took it easy and slogged out the last 3 1/2 miles.
Run #2: 3.6 miles in 51.32
Bike Leg #3:
What can I say about another trainer ride?
Bike #3: 9.01 miles in 35.38
The plan was to arrive at 6pm sharp when the pool opened and get in as many yards as I could in the 2 hour timeframe or 3 swim miles, whichever came first. Wasn't sure I could do it all in the allotted time, but gave it a shot.
There isn't much to say about lap swimming except I went back and forth lots of times. I watched the waterwalkers in the next lane (I nicknamed them the Solid Gold Dancers because they did all their walking on tippy-toes in the swimsuits with skirts). I chatted a few minutes with Alison, and a few other folks I knew there. Mostly I did lap after lap. Had a few problems with foot and calf cramps that responded well to switching to pull buoys when I had problems and it all just worked itself out.
Swim: 3 miles in 1:41
FINAL TIMES: 6:36 Total Time
3 Mile Swim: 1:41
39.01 mile bike: 1:38 + :33 + -:35 = 2:46
9.02 mile Run: 1:18 + :51 = 2:09
This little exercise in triathlonism, was for me a vivid reminder that I need to find a way to achieve my goals and live my vision by whatever means possible. I had envisioned doing this in one warm, sunny, single monumental day. In reality, it became a goal that I chipped away at a little bit at a time, working around my need to work and collect a paycheck and a need to sleep at night, little by little in manageable chunks, until I had it done. It was an illustration of how I need to fit triathlon and health into my life by whatever means I can and just make it work and be creative in fitting it in.
Four years ago, I weighed in at over 300 pounds and would never imagine myself displaying this amount of tenacity in reaching a fitness goal. What a long, strange trip it has been so far….. and thanks for coming along on the journey!
Many thanks to Roman for dreaming this up and making it a reality. And thanks to all of you for keeping it evolving and growing, and for motivating me to make myself better by sharing your own experiences and goals.
January 1st is all of our “Triathlon Birthdays” as we call it in my house. This is the day when many of us have to report ourselves when we register for events as the age we will be at the end of that calendar year. It will be my 40th triathlon birthday, anyone interested in completing a “Triathlon Bday” challenge in January?