Update No. 3 – Back in training 2014: Preparing for a half-marathon & triathlon

Trenton Half Marathon
Atlantic City Triathlon logo

Just wanted to post a quick update on my training for the Atlantic City International Triathlon, which I’ll be competing in on Sept. 14, 2014. (See the January 18 update and original post below for background information.)

As I mentioned in my last update, I struggled during my first day in the pool at the local community college. The triathlon starts with a one-mile swim, which equates to roughly 70 1/2 laps in a 25-yard pool…but I barely made it through 26 laps that first time out. Granted, I knew I wasn’t going to swim a mile right out of the box, especially since my technique is terrible and my muscles aren’t conditioned for that kind of swimming.

However, I have been reading up and watching videos on proper swim technique (breathing, balance, stroke, etc.) and it’s already starting to pay off as I have quickly been able to increase the number of laps I am able to complete.

During my second time in the pool, on January 27, I completed 50 laps. Two days later, I successfully completed 72 laps–about 1.02 miles–in approximately 50 minutes (although I’m not too concerned about time right now). Granted, I was still taking frequent breaks and falling back into bad form, but I covered the distance. That was an important goal for me. It would be disastrous if I failed to complete the swim during the triathlon. At least I now know that I’m capable of swimming one mile, even if I have to take a short break or dial it down a bit at times.

Still, though, I need to continue getting stronger and more efficient in the pool. That will make my life a whole lot easier come September 14.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back to cycling and running in the next couple of weeks. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m also training for the Trenton Half-Marathon in November.

Please see the Training Tracker below to follow my major training swims, rides and runs.

1/18/2014 UPDATE:
Earlier this month (see original post below), I wrote about training for my first half-marathon, the Trenton (N.J.) Half-Marathon taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, and my other goal of reaching a target weight of 168 pounds.

Well, when I wrote that, I was also eyeing another ridiculously ambitious goal…competing and finishing in the Atlantic City International Triathlon on Sept. 14, 2014. However, I was still waiting to hear back from the organizers regarding a question about my bike. Well, I was given the information I needed and have officially registered for the event, which includes a one-mile swim, a 20-mile bike ride and a 10K (6.2-mile) run.

I’ve never done an official half-marathon before, but at least I’ve run 13.1 miles in training  so I know I can do it. I have completed a swim of around a mile, have ridden 20 miles on a bike many times before and have 6.2 miles several times. However, I am in no way ready to do all of these in sequence at one time, but I’m learning as fast as I can how to get myself trained and conditioned for it.

So I must revise the 2014 fitness goals I listed in the original post. They are now: 1) get weight down to (and stay at/near) 168 pounds, 2) complete the Atlantic City International Triathlon, and 3) complete the Trenton Half-Marathon.

Wow…when you write it all out, it looks daunting. What was I thinking? Oh well, nothing to do now but to get in shape and ready to compete.

At the bottom of each of these posts, you will find a training tracker so you can follow my progress.

Original Post – January 9, 2014:
Last year, I tracked my training for the Trenton 10K, which took place Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. It was the first organized race I have run other than a 5K. I finished the Trenton 10K with a chip time of 59:46.399, and my goal was to finish in less than an hour…so mission accomplished.

But as I watched the half-marathon runners start their race that morning, I regretted not being more ambitious with my running goals. After finally shaking off a persistent head cold I came down with the day after the race, I mapped out a route and completed a test run of 13.1 miles in 2:27:27—and, admittedly, that included about a half-mile of walking.

Now that I know I can do it, I want to announce here that I have registered for the 2014 Trenton Half-Marathon, taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.

I also want to use this opportunity to finally get into the proverbial “best shape of my life”— a sports cliché used by so many aging veterans heading into training camp. The holidays and two bouts with colds have basically put me back to square one as far as conditioning is concerned, but next week I’m going to start getting serious about working out everyday and tracking my caloric intake. And, of course, I’ll be tracking my training runs here on the blog.

In addition to training for the half marathon, it is my goal to finally get down to 168 pounds, which means losing about 23 pounds. I had lost 35 pounds back in 2006 after a false heart disease scare, but my weight-loss efforts stalled at 173—leaving me five pounds shy of my goal. Unfortunately, I gained nearly all of the weight I lost back again within the following year and have only been able to lose about 10-15 pounds a couple of times since then.

So…those are my two main goals for 2014: 1) complete the Trenton Half Marathon, 2) get down (and stay at/near) 168 pounds.

Training Tracker
I’ll be posting updates on my progress here every so often. The table below includes my swim/bike/run distances and times during this training period:
Date Swim/Bike/Run Distance Time
12/5/2013 13.12 miles (run) 2:27:27 – longest distance run
1/24/2014 0.37 miles (swim) – 26 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 30 minutes
1/27/2014 0.71 miles (swim) – 50 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 40 minutes
1/29/2014 1.02 miles (swim) – 72 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 50 minutes

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