Tuesday, February 25, 2014

a rocky start

I'm a couple days late on this one - but Sunday Mark and I joined the Chicago Athletic Club Tri Club.  Easily the best decision, because we are only two training sessions in and I can already feel the camaraderie and push from the group.  Especially being in a group with veterans (the instructor today had completed 15 tris in only about 7 years!) and newcomers alike.  I know it's only been two days - but if you're considering doing something like this, it really is the way to go and I am sure that come August I will still be saying the same thing.

Now - the training sessions...

Monday, the first day, was swim, and I just know this will be the Achilles' Heel.  While I can float, I cannot swim properly, and have learned I have the smallest lung capacity imaginable.  So needless to say that did not go so well, especially when you are in a pool full of people who are literally swimming laps around you.  

The absolute worst feeling is being told to swim laps, when you haven't ever swam a complete lap in your life.  Let alone not even sure of what proper form is.  But I did my best - and I know eventually I will get it.  Once I figure out how to breathe and not feel like I am in a constant state of gasping for air, and build up some lung capacity....

Today's session was just some spinning and then a run.  Not too difficult, but I did have some serious jelly legs afterwards.  

PS - Despite how hard it is to get up at 5am and work out before work - I would suggest it to anyone.  You just feel so great the rest of the day.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

the accident athlete

I am not an athlete…anyone who knows me well knows this.  Yes, I played khoury league baseball on and off throughout my younger years, have four years of grade school basketball under my belt, and have dabbled in the finer art of gym-going here and there, but it never sticks.  I eventually quit. 

With Khoury league I had to stop in high school since I was never good enough to play select …and my high school team was a group of girls that had been playing together on select forever…and were good.  With basketball, at first I thought it was a good idea because I liked playing PIG (HORSE?) with my brothers, and all the cool kids were signing up.  It was fun for the first couple of years and I wasn’t even that bad– I always ran suicides – washboards, whatever – the fastest AND in 6th grade I made the A squad.  But then most of the cool kids quit and we were left with those who were serious about the sport…and me.  I played until graduating 8th grade because it was like band…I started so I had to see it through.  I may have made three baskets total…in four years, but I do have a trophy for free throws.  With the gym…I just got busy with life (code for lazy, didn’t want to get up at 5am anymore).  Maybe I won’t ever be an athlete…but at least I can be athletic...

Luckily (or unluckily) I am one of those people, who no matter what I eat or my exercise level, that has a great metabolism.  And I have certainly taken advantage of it – as illustrated by daily Cokes and pretty consistent fast food binges.  I always say I am going to give it up since it is so bad for your health, and did give up soda for about 9 months last year, but I always go back. 

Not being able to outwardly see the consequences of my unhealthy ways does not help, I just continue to eat what I want.  But reading about studies that show what processed foods, added sugar, and a sedentary life does to your body should be enough to set anyone on a healthy lifestyle kick.  As we all know, that is easier said than done, and it’s unrealistic to think that one can cut everything that’s bad for you out of your diet. 

And then there is the fact that eating healthy is definitely not as convenient as eating something already prepared every night that you just stick in the oven or microwave.  I read an article the other day that said that 54% of food items sold in Walmart wouldn’t be allowed on the shelves of Whole Foods due to unacceptable ingredients (like artificial sweetners, artificial flavors, etc.).  

 My lifestyle is about to change - diet, exercise, the whole nine yards - as I have wanted it to for some time now.  My fiancĂ©e, Mark, decided he wants to stop talking about getting in shape and eating better – and actually do something for a change.  So he’s signed up for the Chicago Triathalon (the full triathalon, not the sprint) in August, and the Chicago Half Marathon in September.  Being extremely stubborn and not wanting to be outdone by anything he does, I'm signing up too.   The furthest I have ever ran is 3.1 miles (and I’ve only done that twice), pretty sure I haven’t been on a bike since grade school, and I can’t swim other than doggy-paddle (I have an unusually high number of friends were at one time lifeguards, luckily). 

I invite you to follow my journey as I train for these events, and hold me accountable to follow through.