While in some ways I've been training unofficially for quite some time, this week it got real. That's because I made a training schedule spreadsheet:
Spreadsheet = Official
I based the spreadsheet around a training schedule from one of my triathlon library books entitled The Woman Triathlete. As I said in the past, I checked out several triathlon books, and I picked this one because it had a training schedule that covered the exact amount of weeks (nine) until my triathlon. Plus I love the "girls only" vibe of a woman-centered triathlon book. That and a book for women doesn't involve a lot of complicated math when it comes to measuring time and/or distance. It just says stuff like, Run really fast to the bench on the corner, and then run back.
I kid, I kid. I edit math textbooks, remember? And some of my best friends are female mathematician-types. Plus we all know it's science where women really suck. Science can just be so icky sometimes!
Anyway, the triathlon.
Now, as much as the mere enrollment in the triathlon bumped up the stress factor of my routine exercise, the presence of the spreadsheet multiplied this phenomenon by, like, a million. Suddenly training for this dumb triathlon feels like a part-time job.
(My mom is so happy right now, you guys.)
I mean, I wasn't altogether terrible about dragging myself to the gym in the past, but I always kept the option of flaking in the back of my mind on a day-to-day basis. Now, though? Flaking is NOT AN OPTION. I MUST GO. IT SAYS SO ON THE SPREADSHEET.
(Again, Mom, you're welcome.)
The mere act of making the spreadsheet kind of exhausted me, because I knew that the exercise requirement contained in each individual cell would be a challenge. Trainer Jill tried to remind me that I would work up to the challenges of some of the later weeks, so that I would actually be in better shape to tackle those workouts when the time came.
But Week One has already been kind of a major challenge.
The triathlon training week starts on Monday, which kind of bugs me because Sunday is the first day of the week. But that's how the schedule in the book was set up, and I figured it would be less confusing to keep it that way when making my schedule.
So, this past Monday was Day 1. I put the shortest workout, time-wise, on Mondays, so I could also meet with Trainer Jill for weightlifting. So, the day's workout was "Run 20 minutes." Now, the thing is, I can only actually run for ten minutes straight. But I'm figuring it still counts if I run 20 total minutes with added time for walking breaks in between, because I still go the same distance, right? So I did 10 minutes of running, took a walking break, and did 5 more minutes of running, at which point it was time for my appointment with Jill, and I kind of wanted to barf. So, I kind of felt like I shortchanged myself there a little by only doing 15 minutes of running, but after another 30 minutes of weightlifting (okay, 25) I was DONE.
Day 2 was a swim day. Yay! Now, I spent the previous paragraph (slash previous posts, slash previous years) kind of dumping on myself, so I will say something to toot my own horn. The swim workouts in the triathlon training book were actually a little too easy for me. So, when making my own schedule, I actually doubled the swim workouts. (This also helped me account for the fact that the book's workouts were listed in meters, whereas this is America and my pool is measured in yards. And yes, I understand that a meter is not twice as long as a yard. But I figured doubling the yardage helped me more than cover my bases regarding the meter-to-yard conversion, and gave me a little extra challenge.)
Day 3 was where it got ugly. Since I do try my darndest to go to spin at the gym every Wednesday, I set up Wednesdays to be a bike day. However, the only weekly bike workout in the book that could be appropriately tailored to spin also included a 15-minute run afterward. This is what is known as a "brick workout" in the triathlon world, because the particular muscular transition required to go from biking to running kind of makes your legs feel like bricks. So, I ducked out of spin before the warmup and stretching, so my muscles would still be in full brick mode. I hopped on a treadmill for my 15-minute run ... and proceeded to run for 90 seconds. I decided I was doing enough by running off and on (but mostly off) for 15 minutes. I walked most of it, but seriously, who does an extra workout after spin? I consider it a small victory that I actually periodically felt like I wanted (almost needed) to run.
Now, it was during this post-spin treadmill workout that I started to get a little emotional. I was close to tears, and probably would have cried actual tears if I had any bodily fluid left after all that sweating. Because, toughing it out on the treadmill, thinking about all the workouts left to go, It just gets so hard, people.
A voice said, You can do it.
If it were easy, everyone would do it, said another.
Pain is temporary, but pride is forever, said a third, echoing something I read on a t-shirt.
But an even louder voice said, You're fat and you can't do this.
(In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have hired that entourage to talk to me while I work out. That last candidate was a particularly poor hiring decision.)
Meanwhile, during that workout, an actual real person at the gym had apparently warned the gym employee to look out for me while I was doing this difficult workout, as though I'm that out of shape and/or incapable of recognizing when to quit before passing out. So that was a real vote of confidence.
Anyway, I'm just taking it one day at a time. Especially today, which is a scheduled day off! The book emphasized the importance of full recovery days, and who am I to argue?
And perhaps my biggest motivator comes from something that I read in one of the other triathlon books. Did you know that in triathlon-speak, the "larger" participants are known as Clydesdales? I mean, I get it, a clydesdale is a creature that is powerful and graceful despite its large size, and it brings us delicious Budweiser beer, so it's not an altogether bad label. But still, do they have to compare you to a goddamn horse? Why not just call you an Elephant? I mean, elephants are excellent swimmers, and they can run pretty well. (There's no evidence of an elephant's biking skills, but then there's no evidence of a clydesdale's biking skills either.)
So, since my weight is dangerously close to Clydesdale range, I am desperately trying to keep up with my workouts and diet. No need to carry around a bunch of extra weight in that triathlon, right? So now, when I go to open the refrigerator, I just think, Clydesdale.
So far it's really just made me drink more beer.