Hello! Welcome to my blog. So after taking almost one and a half year off from blogging (my old travel blog www.journey26.com/blog), I think I found another thing to blog about this time and is my training for the New York 2012 Ironman. I guess this will be another journey for me which will be challenging and rewarding at the same time (only after I have done it) or it can be very disappointing and time consuming.
Just a continuation of my story from 2009, so after returning from a 10 months backpacking trip across 40ish countries in June 2010, I started to pick up running. I wasn’t a really a runner then but my friend HeeJu got bitten by a running bug and was training for the 2010 NYC marathon then and encouraged me to run with her. I still remember running 3 miles, 2 loops around the reservoir in Central Park in June 2010 and felt exhausted, that was my limit then. I was also looking to get back into the job market back then, so running was something that made me felt productive since I wasn’t employed. Running is something that I find is measurable which is pretty gratifying because I can easily measure the result, my workout and the improvement in pace, distance and stamina. It’s also a cheap way to keep fit, since only a pair of sneaker is required. At first running seemed pretty boring to me but I guess the only thing kept my going is the challenge of setting and achieving goals. I ran my first half marathon in July 2010 which was the Queens half marathon, my goal was to finish it within 2 hours. The weather was sweltering hot and humid then, it’s one of the warmest day of the summer and I had a torturous time finishing it in 1:57, then I ran the Bronx half in Aug, finished it in 1:45 and ran the 2010 Philadelphia marathon in Nov 2010 and finished it in 3:48.
After Philadelphia marathon, I was introduced to this group called Dashing Whippets by Hideki. I started to run some NYRR races with the team and after the 2011 Brooklyn half marathon, which I ran for a friend, I started to meet more people in the team and started attending their training runs. I started to do more interval and tempo training runs and managed to improve my pace, as I ran faster and got some PRs, running has become more satisfying especially I got to meet some cool, positive people from all walks of life in the running community.
I signed up for the 2011 NYC Marathon with Team for Kids which I had to raise fund for charity since I didn’t qualify through the guaranteed entry option. Raising money was a challenged itself and it’s harder than I thought but was lucky to be able to pull through. Did some long training runs for the marathon with the whippets and was really looking forward to the runs every time especially I don’t have to slug through the long runs by myself around Central Park alone in the dark like last year. Before the NYC marathon, my best time for a half marathon was the Staten Island half which I ran in Sep in 1:27. And in Oct, I had high hopes for the NYC marathon and was shooting for a time below 3:10 but instead I got cramps at mile 16 and had to slug through the last 10 miles and walked most of the last 5 miles. I still did it in 3:43 which is a better time than last year, but I was a little disappointed so I went on Craigslist and bought a bib for the 2012 Philadelphia marathon which I ran 2 weeks later with a time of 3:21. So that’s my PR for now, but I am still hoping to hit 3:10 some point soon.
So that’s a summary of my running story.
Regarding biking, I signed up for the TD 5 Borough Bike tour on May 1st 2011 and bought a bike 2 weeks before the bike ride cause I thought it’s a better investment to buy a bicycle instead of renting it (I got a GMC Denali online). The ride was only around 40 miles long, it’s pretty fun and wasn’t too bad at all. Since I got a bicycle, my buddy Jacob invited me for a bike ride, we rode from midtown to Cold Spring which was around 60 miles on a weekend. We met Merryl along the way and she mentioned about a sprint triathlon that she signed up for. That got me started to think about triathlon. After attending a seminar by NYRR about triathlon, that got me excited. Furthermore, WTC decided to bring the Ironman to NYC. After thinking about it for a few days, on June 15th, once they open up the registration page at 12pm, I signed up. All the $895 slots were sold out in just 11 minutes, I couldn’t believe I didn’t get a spot because I spent time filled up those stupid questionnaires. The next available spots were charity slots and that cost $1600, my hands were hesitant to hit to button because it’s so pricey, but my unconscious mind just said fuck it, so I ended up paying a crazy amount for the most expensive sporting event I have ever signed up. Next step was to buy a triathlon bike and I ended up getting a used Specialized Tri bike in Westchester through craigslist. My first long ride was to Poughkeepsie, upstate NY from the city which was 90 miles away, I did it all by myself and was pretty proud about that. Joined New York Cycling Club, and joined a few of their rides but they dislike tri bike, so I stopped riding with them. Did the NYC Century bike ride on Sep 18th 2010, which was fun. It’s a 100 miles ride across the 5 boroughs, it took a long time but got to see a lot of the city which was awesome. Biked a couple of times during summer, thought that will be a cross training to improve my running time, but don’t think that helped a lot, running and biking are just different animals even though both use a lot of our cardiovascular fitness. That’s my biking story, now comes to the swimming part.
So my biggest problem is in swimming. I can’t swim freestyle at all, not even 10 yards. I can swim breaststroke but that’s not usable in triathlon because it’s too slow and used up too much leg muscles. I have been procrastinating about swimming for the whole summer because I was just so concentrated in running. So I signed up for a membership with the NYC Parks & Recreation in Oct and was lucky enough to get a free swimming lessons. My first lesson was in mid Nov 2010, currently I have taken 5 lessons and can swim 50 yards in the pool. Swimming is my weakness and I am still pretty concern about open water swim, but just have to do it one step at a time I guess. It’s too late to back out now.