Now that I've run in a [very small] handful of races, I've got the bug. I want to do more, to participate in more events! They are incredibly fun, even while remaining physically challenging, and I really enjoy the sense of camaraderie and community at such events. What's more, my daily workouts seem rote and pointless now. I think I need a goal. So I've set myself a few, and they're not small.
The first is coming up quickly. It's the Pengelly Double Dip race, a grueling 13 mile run/hike up and down a mountain to benefit Youth Homes (an organization which provides homes for kids like some of my students, who don't have a safe place to live). I will not be racing up a mountain, thank you very much. Instead, I hope to tackle the much more sane Single Dip course, which treks up about 1.25 miles, then levels out for a couple of miles before coming back down the mountain for a total of 5 miles. I have been practicing running hills and hiking steep inclines. I haven't yet decided if I'll try to run the steep part of the race (and it is steep, let me tell you); at the moment I planning on speed walking the steep section and running the rest. In my nifty new running shoes, of course. A nice perk is that that weekend my mother is coming all the way from New Jersey for a visit, so I'll be able to show off a little for her. Or embarrass myself. Either way, it will be fun and different for her.
My next goal is far heftier. At the end of August, my city will be hosting its very own triathlon. Consisting of a 500 meter swim, a 12.8 mile bike ride, and a 3.3 mile run, it's considered a sprint triathlon. I will not be sprinting, however. I will be racing to finish. I'm not a strong biker, and I feel fairly uncomfortable in the water. But I like the multi-sport challenge, and I've already started training. Yesterday and today I did 500 meters of laps in the YMCA pool, which took about 20 minutes per 500 meters. I hate putting my face in the water, so I swapped out doing back stroke and a modified back stroke. I would like to go to the coach lap swim that the YMCA offers, so I can at least get some pointers on form and what not, and maybe even try out freestyle. I'll have to get some goggles, I think.
I also have added biking to my fitness repertoire. I started with short 3 mile rides on the stationary bike, and today I did a 13+ mile ride over mostly flat terrain in just over 50 minutes. Last weekend, I even hit the trails by bike with the Best Husband Ever and one of our dogs. It was pretty scary -- I hate going downhill, my gears were acting wonky, and I was terrified of hitting Jackson, our pup -- but I'm still proud of myself for going. I even surprised myself a bit by enjoying and feeling strong over uphill portions, which I thought would totally defeat me. Thankfully, my husband was forgiving if disturbed by my bike-related fears and crankiness. I'm hoping that working on the stationary bike more will yield greater confidence on a "real" bike. We shall see!
At least I know that the August triathlon's distances in the water and on the bike are doable for me. And I've already run a 5K, so I know I can do that. Now we'll just have to see if I can complete all three back to back. There's a good challenge, don't you think? This particular race offers a "Try a Tri" heat, which is reserved for first-time triathletes. I think I'll tri -- er, try it. I definitely don't want to end up racing with elite competitors! No sense is giving myself more nerves than necessary. And I am nervous about the thought of "trying a tri," but I think it will be turn out to be more than worthwhile when all is said, done, and run.