Tuesday, January 18, 2005

A New Year and A Triathlon

Well. It’s today Wednesday, January 18, 2005, and I decided on SUNDAY, just four days ago, to participate in a triathlon. I’m not really sure which one—I think it will be a sprint distance, but perhaps and Olympic distance before the end of the year. What got me started? I don’ t know, the new year, a desire for a new goal, a direction to my exercise life rather than the endless weight training to nowhere stuff I’ve been doing lately.

I went to a party the night I decided to entertain the idea for the first time. I was asked what I was up to by an acquaintance, Will. He asked what I was up to, and having no real answer, as my acting career is practically nil at this point, I told him that I was considering doing a triathlon this year. A woman who was standing there said, “Excellent idea!” It turned out she had done several. Will was an avid cyclist, and had cycled and then walked the LA marathon a few times. On one occasion, mile 22 of the marathon actually went by my house, and I joined him for the final six miles. Anyway, Will and Robin—the woman—both told me, yes, do it, it will be fun, and great, and wonderful. I was directed to another guy at the party: “See that guy?” said Will. “That’s Jeff. He used to work at a bike store. Ask him about bikes."

Bad idea. When I asked him, he initially said he didn’t know very much. 45 minutes later my head was spinning. Christ, shut up, I thought. He was talking shear forces and wind noise, and helmets that protected the C vertebrae. Jesus. He told me so many things I remember almost nothing of what he said.

The next morning, bright and early at 5:30, I struck out for the 24 hour FITNESS facility a couple of mile form where I live. I’d never been there, but I have an all-gym pass to 24 hour fitness, and I knew this place had a pool, which my local gym does not. Taking the program from a Fitness Guide as a guideline on how to train, I dutifully performed what the book suggested for day one of triathlon training: 16 50-meter laps, done with 15 seconds between reps and a 90 second break between sets of four. Sounded easy enough.

I nearly died. An old shoulder injury started bugging me; I mixed up when to inhale and exhale and wound up sucking up a bunch of pool water with my head in the water. I was sucking wind after the first two and that continued until the workout ended. Needless to say, I didn’t do the 25-minute run after that which the Fitness book had recommened. I simply staggered home. O my god, swimming is so hard!

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