Friday, February 12, 2010

In Honor of Valentine's Day: Why I Love Tri

For the last week, TNT has been posting "Why I Love Running" entries on our website, so today I have decided it's my turn to post my own. Here, then, in easy to read list form, is "Why I Love Tri:"

  • Early Morning Workouts in the Dead of Winter: You know those days when you're like "oh, it's not as cold as they said it was going to be today!" Actually, it was that cold 6am. And now I get to spend the rest of the day feeling tough (and frostbitten).
  • Running on the East River: The baffling presence of fisherman from 23rd-14th streets, practitioners of tai chi and backwards running under the FDR by the Manhattan Bridge, bewildered tourists at the Seaport.
  • Running Tights on NYC Subways: Because you don't know funny looks until you ride the subway in skin-tight spandex. And because with that post-run sweat, it's the only time you'll find your own space on a crowded train.
  • Making friends with people in your lane at group swim training and immediately forgetting who they are in the locker room when you no longer have a swim cap and goggles covering your face, then awkwardly re-meeting again. Twice as many friends!
  • Cookies: See. Want. Eat.
  • Bike Shorts: Indispensible on the bike. Irrefutably comical on the walk from bike to subway.
  • Bike Shoes: Ditto.
  • BRick Workouts: Have you ever ridden a horse? Have you ever tried to walk after getting off that horse? Imagine that feeling but say you had been on that horse for 2 hours and then someone said go run a few miles.
  • Sculling: What it is - A swim drill in which you stick your head in the water, place a pull buoy between your knees, keep your elbows out and use only your wrists and hands to get you across the pool. What it looks like - A desperate attempt to will oneself across the pool has failed miserably and the individual has stuck her head in the water while her but breaks the surface. In other words: cute.
  • Cookies: See. Want. Eat More.

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm asking everyone to please make a donation to my site and if you feel so inclined, leave a message there about what silly fitness endeavor you love.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Watch Your Wheaties Box, Phelps

Last night, I rocked a 20-minute half mile in the pool during our group swim. Actually, let me qualify "rocked" by noting that I have no idea if that time is fast or not. What I do know is our coach said "Swim for 20 minutes. A half mile is 33 laps." So when I successfully completed 33.5 laps in that time, I decided this was cause for celebration, cookies, and a new blog entry.

This is a particularly momentous achievement for me since swimming has never been one of my favorite activities. I didn't learn to properly swim until I was about 9, and up until about two years ago, I was that weirdo holding my nose when jumping in the water. At summer camp I managed to avoid swimming as much as possible, and believe it or not, there aren't all that many moments in life that call for swimming skills beyond the doggie paddle.

And yet for some reason in 2008 I thought it was a good idea to train myself for a triathlon. The first time I got in the pool with my training buddy, she laughed at my absurd swim form (every time I took a breath I would pop my head straight out of the water facing forward). The swim during the tri was the longest swim of my life. As you may recall from my first post, I came out of the lake looking like this:

For days and days I kept telling everyone how "OMG I totally thought I was going to DIE on the swim" and "Swimming is stupid!" and "I'm hungry from this triathlon, please give me cookies." Mmmm cookies.

Anyway, it would seem completely logical then that a year later I would decide not only to take on another triathlon but to do one where the swim is almost 3 times as long. Sweet. For the past three months sheer fear has driven me to the NYC rec center pools twice a week, braving sticky locker-room floors, frigid water temps, and fellow swimmers who consider their ability to doggie paddle a reason to be in the "fast" lane. As I've worked to improve my technique I've swallowed and inhaled pool water that contained many things worse than chlorine, questioned various popping noises in my shoulders, rocked some sweet goggle marks for the better part of an hour post-swim, and bravely donned the most unflattering of swimsuits (seriously, Speedo? Seriously?).

After last night, I'm willing to say it's been worth it. Next stop: Olympics!

Feel free to congratulate me on my achievement with a donation here: