I started working with my coach today, which means I started training for the Ironman today. Most of my life will now revolve around my training goals. I'll inevitably have to give things up to make room for the hours and hours needed to prepare for the race. But I'll also be gaining a lot. This will be a year full of new experiences.
The first week involves a test in each of the three sports to establish my training zones. Just like every test I've ever taken, they're making me nervous. I want to do my best not only to see what I'm capable of, but to be sure my training is challenging enough. I tend to be lazy and need a push to work to my full capacity. But I also don't want to push too hard and give a performance I have no chance of repeating.
First up was my swim test. I needed to swim a 500 yard time trial after a warm up to establish my pace per 100. I love swimming so I was looking forward to this. Yet despite that, my motivation dried up and I procrastinated for hours. I finally dragged myself into the city around 5:00. I checked in at the gym and noticed a sign apologizing that the pool was closed due to a pump issue. A pump issue?!?! Are you kidding? I didn't know what to do. My immediate thought was to turn around and go home. I can't control the pool closing, right? But then I thought about the bike and run workout on the schedule for tomorrow and realized my entire week would be screwed up and it was only the first day. I sat for a minute to think. I decided to get back on the train and go to the pool at Columbus Circle. I couldn't let an obstacle stop me on Day 1.
I'd never been to this location before so I had no idea what to expect. The pool was 25 meters instead of yards so the distances were slightly different than what I'm used to. There were two swimmers per lane so I approached the medium lane and let one of the swimmers know I was joining. Instead of the usual cordial acknowledgment she said, "I'm almost finished," and continued swimming. I was incredibly annoyed, but after the whole pump debacle, I really didn't mind waiting a minute or two. But then she proceeded to do 200 and take a rest. I was just getting ready to join when she started up another set. Now I was really annoyed. Her lanemate said he'd had "words" with her and she was rude and unpleasant. Lucky me. Finally, the lifeguard approached and told me to enter the lane. She said the girl had no right to tell people when they could and could not start swimming. So I hopped in next to the guy and waited for her to reach the wall before taking off. She tried to say something but I ignored her. She had wasted enough of my time.
I did 200 meters to warm up, rested for a bit and started my 500 meter time trial. I felt really good and made an effort to keep up a strong pace throughout. My lanemate was pretty fast so that also helped. When I finished and saw my time I was pretty excited. I've been averaging about 2:00/100 yards and on better days, between 1:55-1:58/100 yards, but on this swim, I averaged 1:41 so it was a huge improvement for me. Especially considering I could barely do 100 in 3 minutes just six months ago.
I also had strength training on my schedule today so I dried off, put pants over my swimsuit and hit the gym. I got some strange looks but it was the only way to fit it all in given how late it was. I left feeling really proud that I found a way to make it work. The old me, the lazy one I still battle every day, would have just gone home. But the new me wants to do an Ironman.
Distance - 500 meters (546.81 yards)
Time - 9:13
Distance - 700 meters (765.53 yards)
Time - 13:37