Friday, November 30, 2007

Scratch the Pool

So I didn't make it to the pool tonight. :O( I got out of work late, had to drive to the swim store to get equipment, which was in the opposite direction of the pool, forgot to grab a lock, and after all that stress, a migraine popped up that finished me off. Home I went. I'll try again on Thursday when I'm back in the office.

"Saga" of Joining a Gym

So I didn't think it would be so hard to join a gym. Well, I suppose the joining part is easy - agree to a contract and sign your money away - but finding a gym that has everything I must have, that's the tough part.

First off, I need a pool. I'm a triathlete and part of my training requires swimming. The number of gyms in my area that have a pool numbers in the single digits; single digits meaning one. Sure, there's the college nearby that has a pool, but you join just the pool and not a gym, so I would have to find some place else to lift. Not to mention their hours (more about that later). Now the one gym is the local community gym, so there are lots of programs in their two pools: swim team, aerobics, on so on. So I would end up competing for pool time with the however-many other adults that want to swim but can only hit the gym at night meaning they only have at most 1.5 hours to get their workout in during the weekday. During the week there are 1 - 1.5 evening hours to get into the pool for lap swimming and that's it. It's a little better on the weekends, but not great. The college pool that I mentioned above - no better. And those hours are cutting into dinner time. *Sigh* So it looks like I can't find a gym near home. Time to look an hour away at work....

So my company has a deal with a local gym - no registration fee, which saves $150. A good start. This gym has no contracts, so you pay month-to-month until you decide to leave the gym. Another good point. I was surprised since many gyms in the area have, at minimum, year long contracts. Not to say that I would have a problem of entering into that type of contract, but I'm all about flexibility. The best part? They use the pool for class for only three hours a week. Yes, three hours per WEEK. If I decide in the middle of a work day that I need to go swim, I can. Or if I leave work late and want to get my workout in, I can. Not to mention the high ceilings, open floor plan, 20+ treadmills, flat screen TVs, the five different types of weight lifting equipment and everything else that's great about the gym.

So I checked out the gym Wednesday, joined yesterday, and will have my first pool workout today. It's been a while since I've been a member of a gym, so this is a nice change. Let my off-season begin!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Goal Race Picked

After much consideration, I've decided to pick the Delaware Diamondman Triathlon on September 7th, 2008 as my goal race. I was hoping for a race a little later in the season (late-October or November time frame), but that means I'd have to go south, and I'd like to have as many friends and family members there as possible so I decided to keep it local instead.

Now it's time to purchase a gym/pool membership, pick my intermediate races, and get training, not necessarily in that order.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

First Century Completed

Well, I did it. I set a big goal this year and accomplished it. Yippie! But before I get to that, let me start from the beginning.

2005 was the year I starting cycling after a 12 year hiatus off the wheels. I completed a sprint distance triathlon in June using a sporadic and unfocused training plan, so I survived more than I competed in that race. At the end of September, I turned a 100 mile ride for MS into 50 miles after I determined that my once-again sporadic and unfocused training plan was not going to get me through 100 miles. I suffered through that ride and for the week after. Both events I was training on my own with little help from books and others. Lesson learned.

2006 I spent rock climbing. I was frustrated from my (lack-of) training and poor performances in 2005, so I decided to do something else that I enjoyed and focused on one sport instead of three. I had a great year.

So after "resting" last year, I decided that I had the century fever like so many of my other coworkers. Early in the year, I decided that the Seagull Century was the century for me - nice and flat. D-day was October 6th, so I had several months to get myself together. I rode somewhat regularly in to work (22 miles round trip) and built up my base miles. Then I graduated to hitting the roads in Frederick. It's hilly there, but a great training area after the first 5 miles as there are unlimited slightly-traveled roads available. I learned how to climb hills without hitting 200 bpm (that's not a typo), and no longer had "asthma" symptoms (see Aug 2006 post). I was thrilled. No, I was much more than thrilled, but I don't think words can describe how I felt. :O)

I got in all my long rides - 40, 50, 70 miles - before the century, and I felt great. I didn't have as many base miles as I needed and suffered one week of overtraining, so I was careful not to repeat that. My nutrition was good, my training was good, and I was ready for my century.

I finished the century in 5 hours 42 minutes. I averaged over 17 mph, which is what I had been shooting for. I was averaging 15 mph in the hills of Frederick, and my training buddy, who was on his 20th century, estimated we should average 2 mph faster than our Frederick average. I had no problems eating and drinking on the bike and I felt pretty good throughout. I ended up with a black and blue big toe, and haven't been able to figure out how I got it. I hope it's gone by the time sandal season starts back up, or else I'm going to have to polish my toes (or look really tough)!

I had some month-old wounds that I needed to let heal, so I haven't been on the bike since October 6th. Tonight is my first Triathlon Club meeting, so I think that'll change very soon. With my cycling season being successful - amazing what a regimented training plan can do - I've decided that I'd like to attempt another triathlon, or a few, during next season. I'm doing lots of reading (as I did with my century prep) and am looking forward to learning from more-experienced triathletes as well. I'm shooting for a sprint distance, and will consider Olympic distance if it looks like I'll have the time for the training. So there are the goals for 2008. Once I take a look at the triathlon schedule for next year, I'll start planning out which race(s) I want to enter. It's going to be fun!