Since signing up, it's been hard waiting for the official triathlon training program to begin. I've definitely been more active...but not as much as I should have been.
I swam competitively with my club team through high school and swam for 4 years on my Varsity swim team in high school.
Then college happened...I swam every once in awhile, but not often.
Then Peace Corps happened...it was the desert; aka, no water; aka not my fault that I couldn't swim!
So, I've since lost most of my swimming muscles. Swimming really does use different muscles than any other sport and it takes time to get back into swim shape.
So, I joined a master's swim team in Oakland: the Temescal Aquatic Masters
The workouts are divided up by swimming lane and each lane is denoted an animal. For one of my very first practices, I went into the lane that I thought would be good for me...not too fast, not too slow, but a slight challenge to ease myself back into swimming shape. The groups switch which lane they're in every week so you're not constantly in a lane against the side wall.
This is in fact the worst! I scraped by knuckles against the wall while swimming backstroke. Since I was in that lane the entire week, I kept scraping the same knuckles over and over again. It took the entire next week, when I wasn't against the wall, for my hand to heal!
Ok, second practice: A LOT LIKE THE FIRST, aka it felt like death. After 15 minutes, I finally finished a set before being lapped by everybody. A glorious 15 seconds of rest for me! That 15 seconds felt like a million bucks. A huge goal accomplished. (it's the little things that should make you happy, right?!) During those wondrous 15 seconds, I decided to use my precious breath to make a friend with someone in my lane..."Wow, I haven't swam in a long time! You Dolphins are fast!" My new friend looked at me like I was crazy. "This is the Orcas lane," she responded before pushing off the wall to continue. THE ORCAS?! THAT IS THE FASTEST GROUP ON THE TEAM. I did not waste one second. I hopped out of the lane, grabbed my stuff, and found my way to the Orcas I had thought I was swimming with.
The next practices: So much better! Swimming with a group that was my speed made all the difference. Instead of discouragement, I was feeling hopeful that I would get back my swim muscles and work my way up the speed totem pole of the TEME Masters team! After about a week, I moved up a group. I am currently swimming with the Sharks and hope to be in the Humpbacks soon!
133 degrees fahrenheit. I did not know it was humanly possible to be that hot and survive. It is...you just sweat a lot and you feel pretty miserable. So, I have done quite a bit of outdoor biking in the past few years. If you recall from a previous blog post, I participated in a fundraiser during Peace Corps where we biked around the entire country to raise money for women's equality. I was doing bike rides upwards of 130 kilometers in a day, in that heat.
Outdoor biking in a city with paved roads and vehicles is another story though...I finally got a road bike! I have no idea if it will be a good one for a triathlon. That will have to be determined by my coach. I hope it works though because I don't want to buy another! I started riding my bike to work every once in awhile (emphasis on "awhile" as it has been a good month since I did last). It's an easy 4 mile ride to work from my house.
My spiffy new bike hanging out in my office!
So, I've been a little nervous to take on the training on the road by myself. That will have to come with the training group. I have stepped up my indoor cycling classes. So, at least I'm building up cycling muscles and working on form! I take at least one cycle class per week and sometimes up to 4 or 5 a week at the gym.
I go through phases with running. Sometimes, I run a lot and my body feels comfortable doing short distances. I've never been a runner before. It's always been a challenge for me and I always feel like I'm not quite in the groove yet when I'm on runs. It just feels strained...like it's not natural to my body. I'm hoping this is something that will get better with my training. I'm hoping there's a small alteration in my form or something that I will easily adjust and then magically I will become a runner! Is that too much to hope for?
Since moving to Lake Merritt, I have been running around the lake pretty frequently. Whenever I can't swim or make it to the gym, I run the 4 miles around the lake. So, when my good friend Elyse asked me to sign up for a 5k with her in New York, I thought EASY PEASY!
I was just in New York a couple of weeks ago. The first part of my visit was beautiful; sunlight, warmth, I was actually hot in what I packed to wear. Interestingly (more like cruelly), the weather took a turn towards cold the night before our 5k. Another unfortunate aspect was the race being located along the waterfront. WATERFRONT + 39 DEGREES = CHILLY WINDS (and also frozen muscles).
For some reason, I had only packed California running clothes. So, spandex pants that end mid-calf (my lower half of my calves were very upset about this) and a t-shirt (not long sleeve!). I had an extremely thin sweatshirt that I had packed, so I threw that on as well. This was definitely the coldest run of my life. It felt like my muscles were frozen and that they might crack with the movement of my legs. My throat was burning as I breathed in and out. My eyes were watering from the wind hitting them. And there was so much cold wind coming off of the water! It was a very miserable race for me. It felt like the longest 5k of my life.
This is our group picture before the Turkey Trot run. Elyse and I are on the right side, second row. Do not be deceived by that sunlight...it provided no warmth!
The 5k was a good wake up call though. My body felt very different running in a climate that I was not currently used to. I am sure the climate in Hawaii at the time of my race will be different than that of where I am training. So, I need to really be prepared athletically because my body will have to overcome other obstacles that I cannot train with in California.
At the end of the race, there were awards announced. I was not in the top 3 finishers who received medals. However, they had small prizes (gift cards to various shops) that they drew like a raffle, using our bib numbers to select winners. I felt determined to win something after freezing my tush off! I experienced the usual roller coaster of raffle emotions...hopeful and excited with each new drawing, followed by disappointment at not being selected. Apparently my emotions were in my head, as well as outloud...with gasps and sighs of disappointment. I realized that people had started looking my way. I wasn't embarrassed. There was one prize left and I didn't want to lose focus (as if me being focused could cause them to select my number at random).
They pulled out the final number. I could make it out from the backside of the paper that was facing me. IT WAS MY NUMBER. I waited for confirmation until they called it out. They said it. 71! I screamed "YES!!!" and jumped up in the air with my arms stretched to the sky. Then, I started approaching the announcer.
"That's not your number, Hayley, You are number 72," Elyse told me. "I'm number 71," she said.
Extremely embarrassed and disappointed, with everybody staring at me, all I could think to say was, "Oh." Then, I turned and walked back to where I had been standing. I was pretty bummed. Elyse came back with her prize and said, "I don't like Jamba Juice anyways. You can have it." What a great friend!
Overall, I think I could have trained more on my own. I am very excited to get started with my team and really get to work!
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