Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Becoming a faster triathlete...and a stronger person

I am a triathlete.

I remember how epic it was when uttering that statement became a reality for me. I've been a runner on and off for over 20 years and always carried finishing a triathlon as a dream in my heart but never banked on it happening so soon. On Mother's Day of 2008, however, I participated in my first sprint triathlon with my mother-in-law--the Danskin Orlando at Disney. I was hooked; I'd caught the tri bug! I swam, I biked, and I ran my way to a finish line I'd been fantasizing over for several years.

My purpose in running and tri-ing is multifold. Of course using goals related to my sports are a way that I hold myself to a consistency regarding training and fitness. Most everybody knows how variables can play out in our lives to pull us away from regular exercise programs. Staying in healthy condition from the inside out is of prime importance to me because I know that it has a direct correlation upon how we feel and how positive and happy our lives are. Training for a triathlon, a marathon or even for a shorter foot race like a 5K is exciting and motivational.

A big part of why I "tri" is the comaraderie with the friends with whom I train. My son, Dustin, even trains with me and this is really a superior bonding opportunity. It's setting both of us up with quality memories and is giving Dustin and our daughters a positive image to cleave to in setting up the self standards for their own quality of life--I know that fitness is important to all 3 of them. In addition to these expected relational bonds, there is also an unspoken but powerful tie that you experience with the other people (in the case of the triathlons that I have done: all women) at the event itself. At the all-women tri's I've raced in people of literally all shapes, sizes and fitness levels come together for the common purpose of crossing the finish line. There is such a sense of excitement, loving support for all, kindness and goodwill. It's priceless to be a part of it all.

Notice that I did not mention that one of my goals was to place and take home a trophy. Winning in my age category or an overall prize is not something that I covet. Don't get me wrong. I've won a few 5K trophies in my life (admittedly for smaller races where the competition was less fierce!) and it feels GREAT! I would welcome the occasion again. It's just not an idea that consumes my thinking. My goals are more personal. My intention, with each triathlon, is to have a personal best--to shave time off of my overall race results with each event. It was also obvious to me that I would somehow need to become more confidant during open water swims because that was a source of trepidation that I'd somehow managed to plow through during my 1st two triathlons.

Back in May of this year I became an Independent BeachBody Coach and received the popular P90X training program. We excitedly embarqued on the P90X journey: a 90 day workout/nutrition plan which, as it says on the inner case, is your 'gym in a box!' I was no stranger to pushups and to weight work; I'd been working out at the gym along with the variety of cardio work. P90X, however, took Matt and I to a level of strength that was crazy exciting! Trainer Tony Horton takes you through every kind of pushup imaginable as well as a plethora of strength training moves--many very innovative--which made it imaginative and fun. We rode the P90X wave for the full 90 days...completing our workouts and drinking the awsome P90X recovery drink. I remember the realization that there was SOMEthing positive going on with my body because I'd run my hands up and down my upper arms and could feel a new tightness and definition materializing. Then there was the fact that I could now do the moves that I couldn't do when we began the program such as the entire YogaX dvd (even reverse half moon!) and divebomber pushups! The real proof would lie in my triathlon performance.

The main goal I listed everytime I completed my sweepstakes registration form (there's a chance to win EVERYDAY when you log into BeachBody's virtual gym while you work out) was: To gain strength and become a faster runner and triathlete. I knew that I had the new Trek Series Women's Sprint Triathlon looming in the distance. In fact, the event would occur 2 weeks after Matt and I were scheduled to complete our 1st 90 day round of P90X. That was perfect, I thought. So...I completed the triathlon this past Sunday...wanna know how I did?

Let me tell YOU! P90X ROCKS! I shaved about 6 minutes off of my overall time! That's a wonderful accomplishment. Even greater than that, however, was the difference it made for me in the water. Of course I got the prerace jitters right before Sally Edwards sent our wave into the lake (I still even get the jitters prior to 5Ks!) but the instant I hit the water I felt relaxed and calm. I felt STRONG! During my 1st two triathlons I had to take seemingly endless breaststroke breaks, got winded really easily, and even felt fairly freaked out in the water just because of the idea of it. THIS time I was able to power through the water with much less effort. I felt relaxed and happy. At one point, I recall coming to this realization I remember smiling as I freestyled my way around the course. My mouth actually busted out into a big grin with face under the water; the fish must have thought, "Who is this nutty red-headed woman with grin on her face while she's swimming?" (oh wait a minute, I had my navy-colored beanie stretched over my head...they couldn't see my hair. haha)!

The actual amount of time I improved over my last tri swim was just a minute's worth but the difference in how I felt during this leg of the tri was absolutely transformed! It was a pleasure and a joy to do the swim this time. It was awsome to feel the positive results from having trained to become better. Now I know that I can confidantly power myself even more quickly through the water rather than saving my energies in case I get tired. What was really great, too, was that my legs still felt strong and true as I ran out of the water as opposed to feeling like cooked spaghetti.

So, it worked! P90X trained me up like no other training I'd done before. Matt and I are giving ourselves 1 more week of break while we do other workouts and then we're going to hit it again. This time we'll be doing a round of P90X doubles (which involves throwing in extra cardio while you go through the program). I want to continue to get stronger and more fit not only for my triathlon and running goals but for the other obvious benefits the program brought me. I no longer experience low back pain. I'd gotten to the point of waking up every single morning completely locked up in bed...and I'm no granny! I'm a relatively young thing! Just a couple of weeks into P90X the back pain was gone. I feel more relaxed than ever and am getting full, restful nights of sleep. I can lift all kinds of crazy stuff around the house with ease, lol! Yardwork ain't nuthin' but a thang for me. I am Lisa; hear me roar!

Wanna jump on my parade and get stronger? fitter? faster? Pop on over to my website and order your P90X set! Don't wait a second longer! Go to www.beachbodycoach.com/LisaErin (be sure to include that last /LisaErin bit and make sure the site says "Coach Lisa" once you're there) and order it today. There are loads of other success stories you can read about as well. I'd love to hear YOUR story!

~~To your health...and your strength~~


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