Sunday, February 21, 2010

Home improvement gets personal

So yes, it's been ages since I have been consistent with my blogging. Where have I been, you ask? Besides all the work on the farm and around the house (and at the job), I've added one more task to my plate.

While it's not really anything pertaining to homesteading, sustainable living or being green, I've decided to sign up for my first triathlon. I've been an on-again, off-again cyclist for the past 6 years and I've always been somewhat of an athlete, so it's not really that big of a stretch...or so I thought. Turns out, swimming is hard! I find that I am remembering a lot of what I learned or knew as a child in terms of technique, but cardiovascularly, it's a challenge. I'm also not much of a runner. In fact, I have had foot trouble (or shin splints) most of my life and it's the main reason I started biking. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to ramp my running up to the necessary levels without pain, but I have since made a few discoveries that have helped.

My first race is May 8th. I'll be doing a 'sprint' triathlon and this one has a pool swim. I'll be swimming 500 yards, then biking 12.5 miles and then running a 5K. My goal is to get a time that I can be proud of...I have no illusions of winning anything including my age group (which I believe is one of the most competitive ones for women). I'm actually really enjoying the training. It's fun to have 3 sports to train in knowing that I'll have to perform in all three of them this spring. I'm also trying to get in some regular strength training, too. Lastly, I'd still like to drop some weight - but to be perfectly honest, I'm not focusing on it right now. I'm trying to eat well and make good choices, but I cannot bring myself to count calories or points or carbs or anything else, right now.

I'm debating about what will happen for me after this tri. There are others in the area that I am tempted to try. There is another sprint distance one in June that has an open water (lake) swim for which I may sign up. I've also got an Olympic distance try picked out in September that I might do. Olympic distances are typically twice the 'sprint' distances. The one I'm considering has a slightly longer bike ride (30 miles) and a slightly shorter run that is on a trail (5 miles), so it really appeals to me.

I mentioned above that I've found a way to avoid foot pain when I run. That method is to run barefoot. I started by learning the Chi Running technique which is a method of running that uses a midfoot strike (as opposed to a heel strike) and that was working to some degree. I was still running with my highly structured orthotics in my highly stabalizing shoes and to be honest, it was hard to get the right form down. I took off my shoes and tried it barefoot for a few minutes. Wow, what a difference!! The correct form was so much easier! I have been very careful to s l o w l y ramp up the minutes barefoot to allow my feet and calves to adjust to it. As a result, my feet are stronger and the pain is gone. I've also removed the orthtics from my shoes when I do run shod and I'm amazed at how little pain I am experiencing. Knock on wood, this trend will continue. I'm only up to about 3 miles and I'd like to be able to run further, but for now, this is good.

Anyway, that's what has been occupying my non-homesteading time. That and occasionally hanging with good friends or going out with my wonderful husband. Life is good.

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