Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Marathon Hiatus


The last several months have been frustrating, at least from a running perspective. I went through too much denial about my injury, then basically hoped it would heal itself. I'm back to where I can run 25 miles a week. On Sunday, I even went on a 9-mile run. Not bad. Something is not quite right. I still love to run, but I'm tired of it a bit. I trained so hard for the sub-3 marathon. It exhausted me, stripped away 10 pounds, and, worst of all, left me with a nagging injury.

I need a change of pace for a bit. About 10 days ago, I finally joined a gym. I went totally old school by choosing the YMCA. Getting back into the pool was a big factor. As you can see from the photo, I used to swim as a child. (I'm the one in the front. As one unnamed party said, "You are a different scale than your family.") A couple times last week and the last two days, I've swum, nothing serious, just a bunch of laps. Today I did 2,000 yards. That's about an 8k. It's strange to swim again. My arms get sore, there's lactic acid buildup, and flip turns confuse me. Yet I like it. I zone out in the water; it exhausts me. The upside: no soreness. Muscles can get a little sore but there's none of the trauma of running that's sometimes left me feeling like someone ran over me in a van.

I want to do a triathlon. I'm not running a marathon during the spring. For the past few months, I haven't trained and just run aimlessly. A tri is a new challenge and something to focus on. There's a lot of work to be done. I don't even own a bike, and riding about 20 miles with JPSCalifornia made my legs shake a bit. Still, my cardio levels are presumably high and the endurance part shouldn't be a problem. It should be interesting to see how much the years of running translate to new activities. I'm clueless about training and getting help with it. I'll swim and bike at the Y the rest of the winter, as well as run, then get a road bike. Not at all sure if I should settle for a sprint or do an Olympic distance. Maybe both. It should be humbling.

No matter what, though, I'm still a runner. Murakami talks about this in "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running." He's done many triathlons but still considers himself a runner. "For a runner like me, what's really important is reaching the goal I set for myself, under my own power. I give it everything I have, endure what needs enduring, and am able, in my own way, to be satisfied."

Swim: 2,000 yards, 44 minutes

6 comments:

Danielle in Iowa said...

I would say go Olympic if running and swimming are stronger for you! Sprints are usually bike heavy (proportionally - which is why I can place in a sprint, being strongest at biking).

JPS said...

Welcome to the world of triathlons! I really miss them - it's a much quirkier world than marathons. It's a much different kind of accomplishment. I can help w/ bike ideas when the time comes.

Jean said...

Sounds like a great decision. I like the YMCA choice too..

BTW, this swim team pic keeps popping up. I like previous year's pic better, fwiw...

Greg On the Run said...

Here's where your heart rate data can come into play. It will help you figure out what equivalent effort feels like. I find it much harder to get my heart rate up while on the bike, so much so that my quads and knees just ache when I do. But, like all physical endeavors, we adapt to the training load.

me said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
me said...

Good luck. I was a runner first, before becoming a triathlete, and the road included a few stops in duathlon-ville. As a marathoner, I'd say you'll probably feel a greater sense of accomplishment with an Olympic distance race. As someone who went from running to triathlon, I also suggest doing a sprint first - to get a sense of what it actually feels like to do a multisport race.