Tuesday, January 31, 2012

my journey from the couch to the Ironman...

...in 12 short years.

Previously in my writings I had mentioned that I have been active my whole life, except for a large chunk of my 20's. In college I ran for a few months, I lifted for a few months, I skied a lot, I played a lot of racquetball, rode my Mt. Bike to class and on the trails a little.  I ran competitively in junior high and high school, fall, winter and spring.  In the summer and weekends was swim team and driveway basketball and backyard football and summer camp with all manners of running around.  If I think even further back I remember being one of the worst players on one of the best teams in the12 and under children's soccer league...We were good.  We won Championships!  Well, Willy won championships.  Willy and Dicky and Robbie and Robbie's Dad, the coach and Tommy, who was the toughest kid I knew.  But my point is that I rarely went more then a few days without doing something physical, some game or sport or activity that required human movement.

This next part of my story is so common among the "20 something college grad" set that it should have a name, "responsabilititis?".  I no longer had an easy outlet for recreational sports.  I was a little burned out on running and there was no good mt. bike trails where I lived in FL.  I didn't have a gym membership because things were tight and I didn't want to spend on a gym membership.  So I went to work every day and then I would come home and watch "Jeopardy" and I would drink a beer.  The weekends were more of the same.  Home Depot does *not* a workout make.  Then one day I turned 28 and my dog looked me in the eye and said, "Dude, we are fat!  Take me for a walk!  Tonight!"  Actually he said something that sounded more like, "HHHHhhrrrrumph..."but I could read his eyes and that's what they said.  So we walked for 20 minutes that night and 30 minutes the next.  Two weeks later we were walking a full hour nearly every night.  I still ate like normal, some good, some not so good.  Then we, Daisy and I, started running. First for 10 minutes to start the hour, then 20 minutes, etc.  Week after week, month after month as I would slowly build up the miles I also slowly took off the extra 37 lbs.  I would go running every two or three days, I was up to a comfortable 12 -15 miles per week.  Several years had passed in this manner, 2-3 per week and 5-6 per run, and I was getting bored with running again.  I needed a new challenge so I made a decision.  I issued myself a challenge.  In the middle of December in 1999 I resolved to run a marathon in 2000.  By January of 2004 I had finally run my marathon.  It only took me a touch over 4 years (and 3 hours 36 minutes).  Ya see, wha' ha' happ'n wuz...I kept getting hurt.  I would build up my miles too fast and then hurt a knee or a foot or the other knee or back to the first knee again.  Each time I took 2-4 months off and each time I came back I would build up the miles too fast and then get hurt again.  All these injuries led me to do more cross training.  Spin class then riding, yoga, lifting, swimming and running all had an equal place in my weekly schedule.  It also lead me to really think about the body and what it does and how it should move and the potential of it all, which lead me to do two things. By November of 2004 I became a personal trainer, so I can help others with what I have learned.   In September of 2007 I became an Ironman because it is just a frickin' cool thing to be able to say. 

So here I am right now, on the precipice of history(at least my own personal history), standing in the doorway of greatness (in my own mind) and I still need to remind myself of the lesson learned in 2000-2003.  Slow down, don't get too excited about short term gains, keep the long range plan in sight.  BUILD UP SLOWLY!  My plan is to only add 2 miles per week, per month.  So in Jan. I went 4 miles per week, in Feb I'll do 6 miles per week, etc.  I tried to do my first 4 miler over the weekend, I made it 3 1/2 before I had to walk it home, it's all good.  The next day I did a lovely 2 miles at tempo and felt great.  Monday was a rest day, Tuesday I taught spin, and yoga'd, Wednesday I lifted again.  All of this is going to work, it's just going to take a while.  But that's ok, nothing worth doing ever came easy, nothing worth having came with out a price.

3 1/2 miles easy on Saturday, 2 miles at tempo on Sunday.  Both felt as expected, hard but getting a little easier each time.

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