Friday, 23 August 2013

Triathlon training, weeks 1 and 2: I swam! I walked! I... what was that thing with the wheels again? by Marilisa

Like learning how to ride a bike

So here I am, at the end of my first two weeks of training for a triathlon, and I have found my nemesis. 


No, not the little boy. I found him and he found me some time ago, at the end of a very long nine months. I'm talking about the contraption he is sitting on.

Somehow when I signed up for this challenge it never occurred to me that riding a bike after so many years would be tricky. It is, after all, the absolute archetype of the thing you never forget how to do.

Well, not so much, perhaps. Thankfully I have exercised my social conscience by training, for the moment, in the isolation of my back garden rather than inflicting myself on the already terrifying streets of London. After two weeks I have achieved
  • all of 0.64km of cycling
  • an intimate knowledge of exactly how hard the saddle is
  • a serious dent in my pride.
I think it's safe to say that the little boy was more successful than me in this venture, and his feet are about a mile from reaching the pedals.

On the plus side...

For all that I've been intimidated by the bike, I have very much enjoyed my first two weeks of training. I have had two lovely sessions in the pool, where I discovered, to my surprise, that there *are* people slower than me (just). The second time I even remembered to take my earplugs, so managed to try out my very rusty front crawl, without the risk of losing even more of my dignity to the tilted-head-hop-on-one-leg dance that follows the inevitable water-in-ears scenario. My technical challenge for the moment is stopping myself from doing a breaststroke kick when I come up for a breath and thus losing my momentum completely; for some reason my brain is interpreting "breathe" as "do a frog kick" - too many years of only swimming breaststroke, I guess.

I have also very much been enjoying walking. I am prone to knee injuries, so am planning to walk for the first few months to regain some fitness before attempting higher-impact activity. I did my first long walk on a beautiful evening last week, and the first thing I noticed walking out of the house were the delicious smells coming from the Indian takeout on the corner. 

It felt very fitting, somehow; while I was dealing with HG, that takeout was my worst nightmare precisely because of the smell of curry, which made me feel extremely ill. We spent the whole summer that year with the windows shut, sweltering inside the house, because I couldn't cope with the smells from outside. We'd frantically go round the house at 4 or 5 in the morning, opening windows to let some air through at a safe time when no one was cooking. 

So at the start of my first walk, I took a deep breath, and felt very grateful that I no longer have to deal with that. Before HG I would have taken little things like that completely for granted.

The boring numbers

For those inclined to stats, here's what I've done so far:

Week 1

Swim: 1 session, 400m, 23min
Walk: 4 sessions, 13.91k total, 2h28min
Bike: Let's just not talk about that, ok?
Also: One 10-minute weights session

Week 2

Swim: 1 session, 500m, 25min
Walk: 3 sessions, 11.31k total, 2h04min
Bike: I stayed on there for 10 minutes! During some of which I was even pedalling! 0.64k.
Also: Two 10-minute weights sessions

Now please excuse me while I go sit on some very soft cushions for a bit.


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4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Looking into it! My current one is not really right for me, I don't think. Ouch!

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  2. You can get gel shorts too. Nothing really makes a bike comfortable but it helps.

    I got back on my bike after 15 years or so and was dreadful. Now trying to convince small person that the bike helmet won't kill her and the bike child seat is not a torture device. It may be another 15 years before I am back on it again.

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    Replies
    1. I think I'll be trying the shorts next time as I've picked up a couple of pairs. And you're very brave taking the small girl out with you! I am too much of a menace on the bike to try that!

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