Monday, October 24, 2011

Ironman, Leg 2

When I'm floating in the pool, doing my version of a backstroke (which hardly creates a ripple), I have a lot of time to think. Only twice have I gotten so distracted that I ran into the wall because I wasn't watching where I was. I only hoped nobody noticed.

Today, during my ceiling-staring time, I made a decision, and a goal: I'm going to finish an Ironman Triathlon. Obviously I'm a long way from being able to complete a course that long, but it seems that long-term goals have become more prevalent in my life.

My heath goals all seem to be really long term.

  • Weight loss - long term. My goal is to lose 50 pounds. I'd love to lose it all in the next week, but it seems like a year is more reasonable. Losing one pound per week is probably a healthy way to lose weight. And by losing it that slowly, I'll know that I'm creating long-term habits of healthier eating and more exercise.
  • Getting my arthritis under control - long term. The rheumatologist has some ideas, but nobody really knows what will be the most effective treatment.
  • Getting my voice back - long term. I'm on antibiotics - another round - which always brings my voice back. But as soon as I go off them, the voice leaves again. Remember I said I have a lot of thinking time in the pool? Well I came to another decision this morning. When I call my ENT in SLC, regardless of the outcome of this latest round of antibiotics, regardless of what my voice is doing at that time, I'm done trying to solve it. I've lived without a voice for nearly 2 years. I'm tired of trying this and trying that, having this test and that test, and 127 other tests. Either my voice will come back, or it won't. Either way, I'm just going to live with what I have. Now it's entirely possible I'll change my mind, but if I'm deciding today: no more experimenting.
  • Employment - long term. I wish I knew now what I'm supposed to be doing, where I'm supposed to be going, but I don't. God hasn't given me a flash of inspiration, so for the time being I'm just living day-to-day, which is the opposite of long-term living. My direction may be long-term, but my life is being lived short-term.
Back to the Ironman Triathlon ...

It's a lot longer than the mini triathlon I finished this month. Plus, I'll have to improve a lot just to be able to compete and make the time cut-offs.
  • 2.4 mile swim ... 2 hour 20 minute limit
  • 112 mile bike ... 8 hour 10 minute limit (10:30 after the official start)
  • 26.2 mile run ... 6 hour 30 minute limit (17 hours after the official start, midnight)
I think I could do all those distances today, but slowly.
  • The 2.4 mile swim would take me about 5 hours. I've been swimming 1/2 mile in the mornings, which takes me about an hour. It's not non-stop; I do take breaks.
  • The 112 mile bike ride would take me 9 to 10 hours.
  • The marathon would take about 9 hours. I can walk 3 mph, and I can do that a long time.
Total time for me would be: 24 hours, 7 hours over the time limit. Plus, there's no nap time scheduled in that day.

So I have a lot of work to do. The thing is though, I think I can do it. I'm sure I'll be one of the last finishers, but I'm hopeful. I feel like a goal this big helps tie my long term goals together with my short term living. I can't complete this in a year, so my time frame is to finish an Ironman in 2017. To accomplish that, I need to keep going to the gym one day at a time. All I can do is workout today, eat healthy today, get plenty of rest today, focus on my health today. Add up enough days and I'll be ready. Between now and then I'll need to find some other, shorter triathlons to participate in. The first one will be in February 2012. It'll be interesting to see the improvement (I'm taking for granted there will be improvement) between now and then.

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