I'm coming up on five weeks away from my April 13 ICE Breaker Triathlon, and I'm at the end of my second "R&R" week in my 12-week training program. Time to assess where I'm at.
Weight/body shape: While I've managed to finally drop to 191 pounds, I still feel like I've been losing the same damn three pounds over and over and over again as the scale has been cycling between 192 and 195 (now 191 and 194) for a month. I weigh myself every morning as a check-in, and I so wish I could see a 189 one of these days. I'm definitely on a plateau here and need to push through. On the other hand, while my weight is hovering in the same range of numbers, my body shape has shifted dramatically. Case in point: last weekend, in a hurry to go swim out before making dinner, I grabbed a pair of chinos to change into post-swim. Last Spring, I had to squeeze into these size 36 chinos, and when I put them on after drying off from my swim, they barely hung onto my hips (no belt). Wow. that felt good! Thanks to the swimming and lifting, I'm getting more of a V shape to my torso and my abs are a lot more defined than ever before. My own body image is definitely on the up and up.
Running: I feel really good about my running ability, in that I've got a solid base to work from. I know I'm not fast, but I feel like I've got the endurance now to go and go and go. I've made it past the "I don't like running" phase, and I actually enjoy my time pounding the pavement. (Especially given my Nike+ iPod system). In the next week, I'll cross the 100-mile threshold since using the Nike+ transmitter, and I'm looking forward to hitting that milestone. As I think about my 2008 goals post-triathlon, I'm seriously considering adding Rock-n-Roll San Jose Half Marathon to the list (October 5), especially if I think I'm going to do my first marathon next year when I turn 40.
Bicycling: This has always been my favorite sport of the three, and I truly enjoy my time on the bike. Given my endurance bent, the only thing that holds me back from doing more miles on the bike is the time and the caution going to far as a solo rider. I've got a nice K2 Astral 3.0 hybrid to ride, and while I'd like to upgrade to a street bike, I've told myself to hold off on any equipment upgrades until after I do my first race.
Swimming: Of the three disciplines, this is the one in which I've made the most gains (hard not to, since I started out at ZERO experience). I've learned to enjoy the laps in the pool, and think I've done a pretty good job of teaching myself the basic form and function, I also see that this is the area in which I'll need to get some outside help. I know I can complete the half-mile swim in the race (I'll have at least one open-water swim practice before the race), I just don't want to rag myself out doing so. At this point, I need someone to critique my form and give me tips on how to be more efficient. A friend has given me contact info for a good swim coach, and I now need to schedule the intervention. I've also gotten to know the Masters coach and he's more than happy to have me join the program immediately, but I don't want to over-train on the swimming portion of the tri. Once the tri is over, however, I am going to join the Masters program. Why? Because I was able to finagle a registration to do the 13th Annual Alcatraz Swim on Sept 20. It's a mile-and-a-half open water swim, and the thought of it scares the bejeezus out of me. All the more reason to do it! (Sí, se puede!)
Overall: While I'm enjoying the training, I can also tell I'm beginning to suffer from trying to do it alone. The motivational kick needs to be a bit stronger, so I think it's time to join a club. Poking around the net a bit, I think I've found one already: the Silicon Valley Triathlon Club. While I've missed all the beginning of the year specials, it looks like I can hop in on the New to the Sport (NTTS) activities at any time, and they've got regular weekend workouts nearby.
I'll keep you posted on how the interventions go.