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April 4th, 2007

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09:29 am - BHAG 2007
"Built to Last", as well as (in generalized terms) any number of other advice books, advocates for the setting of BHAGs: Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals.

My training programs have historically been weak on cardio, because cardio is boring and time consuming and not as immediately gratifying as achieving physical feats with one's body. Going from 5 to 12 pull ups is so much cooler than adding another mile of distance. Over time, cardio is more practical and at least as beneficial; but when it comes to self motivation, I've had trouble with it.

Sometime around December, I got it into mind that it might be fun to try a triathlon. I'm not sure why "fun" is an appropriate word, but the concept stuck. Previously, when I had been working out it had been undirected. Working with a personal trainer, before, I had been asked my goals and fallen back to a flippant "look better naked". I have worked on general strength and some agility skills for ultimate... but I've never really taken on a training program. Ultimate is not important enough for me to train and specialize for.

What I like about triathlon is that you have a structured means of demonstrating fitness. One does not complete any triathlon without some degree of being fit. Some degree of crazy and of stubbornness, as well, I suppose.

So sometime around January, I decided to go for it. I signed up for the Philadelphia Triathlon -- Sprint distance. I started following the Weight Watchers system (not as religiously lately). Joined the JCC for the pool and a personal trainer. I've been working out 5 days a week, fairly consistently, for about 7 weeks now. I bought a decent (2006 Felt F80) road bike. I've lost about 15 pounds so far.

A Sprint distance triathlon is a nice race:
  • 750m swim (open water)
  • 20km bike (time trial style, no drafting)
  • 5km run

Within their sport, none of these events are particularly crazy. Putting them all together, as a race that starts when you hit the water and ends when you run across the finish line, adds the intensity. And dramatically increases the training requirements. (For any of you that do any two of those events, experiment: do one intensely and then try to immediately transition to the other. It is a wild feeling).

My goal has been to finish. Now that I am already getting to the point where I can do any one or two of those events at a time, I'm feeling better about it. I'm enjoying the cross training requirements. Work seems less serious now that I have training I have to do -- the prospect of the race and its distances are still intimidating. I have even less time, of course -- but if anyone wants to go for a long or fast ride or run, I'm always game. I'm doing things like committing to 5-10k races and distance rides, because they fit with my conditioning requirements.

OK, so I'm a little crazy. But the BHAAs (Accomplishments) of 2006 left me still standing, so I'm back for more.

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