Our coach proposed a body fat challenge this week going forward to competition week, which frustrated me because I’ve already noticed significant changes to my body in the past three weeks. All that progress not being counted! Then I thought about the fact that it took me over three weeks to start chronicling my adventures in tri-training, and I realized that beginning in medias res doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Just as I’ve made significant changes to my body shape in a short time, I’ve also had some radical reversals in thought.
A sprint triathlon is relatively short. The Memphis in May Sprint is 1/4 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 3 mile run. How many times in the first week did I look at those distances and say, “Oh I could totally do it now but it would take me a while!”? How naive. Three weeks has given me more respect for what I’m actually taking on, and three weeks has been enough time to weed out a lot of my negative, self-defeating thoughts once I got that first reality check of how hard the training is and how far I have to go. The past three weeks have also set a tone for my training and solidified my goals. Here they are:
2. feel positive about my performance and what I’ve accomplished
3. make leaps and bounds in my physical fitness
4. become a more confident swimmer, cyclist, and runner
I don’t know if I could have verbalized these goals at the beginning of my training. I may have said I wanted to lose weight, or that I wanted to finish in a certain time. Looking back, both those things seem shallow and uninformed. I know it’s only been three weeks, but my perspective has changed so radically, and I feel really great about it.
Today’s swim was 1000 meters, consisting of a warm up, cool down, some drills, and 500 freestyle meters timed. I must admit, I totally psyched myself out for the timed swim, and not in a good way. A week or so before official training started, we had to time 500 meters. I made so many improvements in my stroke and form since then (read: learned the stroke and form!), I was certain I would slash my time in half. Or, at least half-ish. No way, dude. 45 seconds! I must admit I’m devastated at such a seemingly minuscule improvement. But then I remind myself, hey, you can actually swim now instead of thrashing around in the water like a puppy. I’m trying not to beat myself up. Also, (and this will sound like an excuse) my early morning workouts have pretty much all sucked. I still have a lot to learn about my body, fuel, sleep, hydration, etc.
This brings me full circle back to the body fat challenge. In many ways I am bummed that I don’t know my definitive starting point. That would be nice to brag about, even if just to myself, or to the annoyance of my partner (who is thus far very gracious about my incessant training talk). But I think about my goals, and I realize that a beginning/end, start/finish approach doesn’t fit there. Those goals are about attitude, mental and physical determination, and building self-worth. It doesn’t make sense to be disappointed in my swim, because time is only one small factor in my performance. It also wouldn’t make sense to get caught up in body fat or weight loss, because I can get so body image obsessive so fast when those things are my focus. All in all, I’m glad I don’t know where I started, so I don’t have a number to judge myself by.