Saturday, June 16, 2018

I gave up triathlon for a year and this is what happened....

I always seem to click on those articles...

  • I did plank every day for 2 weeks and this is what happened.
  • I drank a gallon of water every day for a month and this is what happened.
  • I had sex every day for a day and this is what happened.
Blatant but effective click bait titling.    

Most of those articles are because the author made a definitive choice to do something, or not do something for a specific amount of time.  This is not one of those articles.  

I didn't intentionally give up triathlon.  Up until July 17, 2017 I was training for IM Racine 70.3.  Kindof.  Sortof.  I was training in the sense that I woke up every morning knowing what I was supposed to do that day to be ready for the race...then went to bed each not having not done anything.  My job interfered; my family needed me to neglect them from up close, not afar; and my heart just wasn't in it.  I just couldn't muster up the energy to get on a bike for 3 hours, or to get my long runs in.  I just didn't care enough.

But still we went to Racine.  It was my husband's first 70.3, and I brought all my stuff with me on the chance that I would get caught up in all the excitement and decide to just suffer through it anyway.  Ultimately I chose to be a spectator, and drove and rode my way around Racine cheering, waving, and forgetting to take pictures as he rode, ran and walked by me.  

It wasn't until we were heading back to Indiana that I realized the mental load I had been carrying while training not training for the race.  I suddenly felt this weight lift off my shoulders when I realized that I was not scheduled for a single race.  NOT.  A.  SINGLE.  RACE.   For the first time in over 5 years I had nothing on the calendar.  And it was bliss.

In March 2017 my doctor told me that I probably needed a therapist because I was so despondent about gaining back the 40 lbs I lost training for Ironman.  I decided to get a personal trainer instead. In April I met my tormentor trainer Kim.  She changed my workout routine to incorporate weight training.  At this time, I finished a Sprint Tri in May, was committed to a Ragnar Relay in June and was still training for the Racine 70.3.  Over the summer, slowly and stealthily our weekly sessions incorporated Cross Fit style exercises and I found myself learning Dead Lifts, Back Squats and kettle bell swings.

When the pictures were posted for the Sprint I completed in May, I was horrified.  There, posted on Facebook, was all the photographic evidence of my weight gain.  Just having a trainer wasn't going to be enough so I decided to start going to Indiana Medical Weight Loss Center, and get help and guidance from a fellow triathlete Dr. Stacy Braff.  Stacy changed my diet to increase my intake of protein and eliminate white carbs, fried food and sugar.  I began to take a mild appetite suppressant and supplements to help curb carb cravings.  The weight started to come off about a pound a week.  I was still working out 5 days a week, but not to the level that I needed to have the endurance to get me through 70.3 miles.  

Muncie May Triathlon 2017

Post Racine, while wrapped in the bliss of not having a single race on my schedule, I continued to follow Stacy's weight loss program, and submit myself to Kim's weekly beat downs.  I added a 4th day of weight training each week.  The pounds kept coming off.  This continued on through the Fall, the Holidays, the Winter. Somehow I found myself in a Cross Fit class once a week, something I regularly swore I would never do. I finally found a workout schedule that I could sustain 5 to 6 days a week.  This time, as the pounds came off, something strange was happening.  There were hard spots on my body.  I had lost weight before...probably the same weight over and over...but this thing with the hard spots was new.  Turns out when you do a weight loss program along with strength training...you lose fat and gain muscle.  I had never experienced that before!

So winter turned to Spring, and thought started turning to registering for the Muncie May Triathlon that I had done every year.  I was bummed because it happened to be on the same day that my oldest son was graduating from college.  Then it dawned on me...I hadn't been on my bike in nearly 10 months.  It will have been over a year since I had done a triathlon.

Hence the click bait title.

So in the year since my last triathlon, I have lost 40 lbs of fat, and actually gained muscle from when I started with Stacy.  I also succumbed to peer pressure and registered for a Sprint Spartan race in July 2018 with a bunch of friends.  But because I'm an idiot, I decided to actually go for a Spartan Trifecta, and completed a Super in May of this year, and just finished a Beast earlier this month.  I'll get my trifecta with the shortest race next month...the race that was supposed to be my first and another thing I swore I would never do.

Spartan Ohio Beast, June 2018
Spartan Ohio Beast, June 2018


I haven't given up triathlon forever.  I still get teary eyed every time I think of crossing the finish line at Ironman Florida, and would like to attempt it again and this time try and finish without crashing. This is not a post to promote quitting triathlon, or promoting Cross Fit or Spartan.  This is a post about how one day I woke up and realized that what I was doing wasn't working so I did something different. I wanted my outside appearance to look like the athlete I knew I was on the inside.  For me it meant building muscle, giving up sugar, and making sure every mouthful that I put in my body had some sort of nutritional benefit.

I know that my identity isn't a number on a scale.  Proof of that is that I weigh as much now as I did when I completed Ironman.  But now I'm much stronger.  I'm much leaner.  My clothes are smaller.  I'm not training like it's a part time job.




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