Swim, Bike, Walk

Thanks to the new fancy gym (yes, they made it better, and I will be blathering at length about how wonderful the gym is… later) I am back to swimming, and back to ENJOYING it, which is more important. I swam my half mile yesterday in 22 minutes, not bad for someone who quit swimming for 8 months.

I am not, however, back to running.

I got new shoes. They fit very nicely. But after about a mile and a half of running — hell, let’s be honest, “jogging” (my pace is nowhere near where it used to be, and I think I can speedwalk at the same rate) — my knee hurts, my shin hurts, and I hurt. The change in my gait is noticeable on a treadmill or on pavement, it literally *sounds different* when my right foot hits the ground than my left.  I’ve given it 3 good runs, between 1 and 3 miles each, and they end with me either limping, or walking a significant portion, or both.

At some point when running the half last year, I did something to that knee and I think in my bike training I cemented whatever it was. My kneecap, which I used to get taped for running, is very much different on my left than on my right. Looking down, my right kneecap is pretty flat, a normal kneecap. My left one is at about a 25 degree angle. It doesn’t bother me to walk, or swim, or bike (within the first 60 miles), but running? Running is a whole new branch of hell. Frankly, I do not wish to go back to physical therapy. I think the sports med doctor hit it on the nail when he gave me the choice: you can do phys therapy and finish out this run, and then you have to decide what you are going to do. You either keep up with physical therapy and keep running, or you don’t, but there will be no half measures.

I just didn’t realize he really meant “no half measures” included such previously thought small jaunts as a 3-mile run. I can remember a time where a 3-mile run was the “short run” for the week — and I can remember enjoying it. I figured he was talking about half-marathons.

Even the wonderful Music of Kevin that I got a year plus back is not helping overcome it. Instead of the beauteous endorphin rush I used to get two miles in, I get more and more pissed off, more and more angry, and more and more pain as I run. I am not, in short, having fun.

I Have Decided: no more running.

I’ll do tri’s, I absolutely will: but I will not do runs. I will speedwalk or jog and then walk (Because, having resolved to walk, I will see others run and feel all peppy in the moment). I will attempt to make up the time in the bike and swim parts, which I will enjoy. And I will take advantage of my new fancy gym, with its bevy of classes (including pilates and kickboxing).

I am not running anymore. There, I’ve said it twice, in a public forum. This time it’s real…

PS: Mindimus, I will still do the Rock and Roll Half with you… speedwalking 🙂

Fancy Gym Fail

Dear Columbia Fitness,

I am so not happy with you.

Right now, I pay something on the order of $56 (after tax) per month to use your Sammamish branch. It’s nice, it has a decent set of equipment, and the people are awesome. It does, however, lack a pool, and if I am to be training for tris I need a pool.

I have until now been driving to Mercer Island to use their pool (at $5.25/pop, plus $0.25 for the lockers, plus roughly $4 in gas roundtrip) and the Spreadsheet tells me that if I pay for your fancy Pine Lake Club membership (which includes use of a pool) that I can break even at a mere two swims a week.

I talked with your people via email, got pool schedules, and arrived at 5pm today to fork over an additional $60/month and have you watch my kid and swim.

Not only were your membership people too busy (which surprises me, I don’t really need a membership person, because I’m already a member I should just be able to have the front desk person upgrade me, right?) but the kids club was closed. This surprised me, because kids club is supposed to be open on Fridays until 8. It says so on the website.

The unhelpful person behind the counter pointed out that on Fridays they close if they don’t have a reservation. Well, your site indicates this phenomena on Sundays, but not on Fridays.

I left your club, and left an email for the membership person I had been talking to, expressing my discontent.

Then I decided to call, spoke to her, and am to arrive tomorrow at 9am to swim and upgrade membership, assured that someone will be there to watch the boychild. Then it occurred to me: kids club opens at 8, so why don’t I just show up at 8 and swim and then sign? I mean, I never got an answer to whether or not a front desk flunky can upgrade my membership for me, right?

So I called. And got ahold of the same unhelpful (if not, vacuous) person as before. Yes, I can totally talk to anyone and even call to upgrade my membership. I said great, can we do that now? No, no I can’t do that because I need to wait until 9am tomorrow: when the membership person is in.

Am I crazy for thinking this is stupid? That Joe Clueless should have been able to figure out that by asking if I could get this out of the way, and by asking if I could come swim at 8am, that I was asking if I could get to talk to ANYONE that would get the damn thing upgraded? Only one of the four lanes is open at 9am and I have no idea how busy it will be or what I will have to deal with. And I’m not altogether confident things will go smoothly.

The axiom of gym memberships is that you’re happy to take money and assume people won’t show up. I want to give you money and show up, you don’t seem to want to let me.


Chlorine is put in pools to sanitize it — it bonds to the gunk you leave behind (you do know you leave behind gunk, right?) and turns the gunk into organic  “Chloramines“, which sounds so much nicer than gunk.  Those organic compounds then ostensibly get filtered out so we can all go enjoy the pool.

Chlorinated pool water tastes awful, by the way.

I checked out the Mercer Island pool this morning (at 6:30 AM, yo!) and did some laps; as I suspected I am woefully out of swim shape. While I actually can be faster (with my lap time I could get a half mile done in 16 minutes!) I don’t have the endurance (that would be 16 minutes plus another 16 worth of breaks!) and I have but four weeks (oh, slightly less now) to get that in gear.

I will note that the Mercer Island pool has just enough chlorine to sanitize and not so much that it makes your eyes horribly red; and unlike the LA Fitness in Bellevue it does appear as though they clean it occasionally. The locker rooms leave much to be desired — body consciousness is not a privilege you have there — but they are serviceable. There are actually seven (7) signs in the locker room reinforcing basic hygiene (wash your hands, wash your kids butt after diaper changes and before putting them in the pool, and – I kid not – do not let a kid with diarrhea swim).

Biking is still my favorite.

Swim Bike Run… more Bike, less Swim and Run?

Today I went on a lovely figure-8 jaunt of Lake Union with Ms. Krieant that featured brunch at Dish. I could rave about Dish, and I should, given that a garden omelette with eggbeaters was clearly so awesome that I scarfed it in seconds (note: Dish does not take cards. I do not carry cash. The bar next door has a cash machine, and sells Bitburger. Ok that’s enough plug there.)

Biking is now my favorite of the three pieces of a tri. Running is to the state where I am having to tape, and whine, and I suspect new shoes will be purchased and ibuprofen and glucosamine will feature as regular items in my morning routine. Swimming is not hot either, what with the hair messiness of it all (I just got it did, okay?) Also, swimming isn’t nearly as social. If you think it is, I invite you to go swimming laps with a friend and carry on a conversation. And I don’t think you can bring your tunes with you.

I am realizing though how much better a day is with *some* form of exercise. It’s better than coffee… (yes, I really did just say that).

Inanity, or Insanity?

Insanity is defined as doing something over and over the same way and same time and expecting a different outcome.

I run, my left knee and foot hurt. I stop, I walk. I run again, my left knee and foot hurt. I wait a couple of days, I run, my left knee and foot hurt.

I have toyed with the idea of new shoes, going back to physical therapy, walking the end of the tri, etc. I’m still not sure what I’m going to do. I can’t not do events of some sort, because it is what keeps me (barely) honest when it comes to regular exercise.

It’s a pretty problem.

Glub Glub

Very little in my life is safe from the rationalization that an Excel spreadsheet offers. Within rows and columns, little formulas and “if” statements valiantly try to take the somewhat-partial data I have and render a decision for me. The spreadsheets are rarely seen by anyone other than myself, as it would be akin to airing my entire thought process — even those thoughts that you don’t tell anyone you have but you actually have. I have a coefficient for budget splurges based on average monthly temperature, for example.

The spreadsheet has had me purchase a triathlon wetsuit. I’m totally blaming the spreadsheet.

Renting a triathlon wetsuit is $40 for a six-day span (Thurs-Tues). Purchasing a decent one is about $160. I have 6  weekends of swimming ahead of me, and more if I end up doing the Black Diamond. $240 being patently more money than $160, I caved.

Would that it were that easy to get back in the water again. Swimming laps in a pool is a semi-boring chore that offers at least the diversion of the occasional mouthful of chlorinated water. Swimming in the open water means that occasional mouthful is of something that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike water. There are *things* floating in there. It doesn’t taste good. 

The thing is,  having done a tri before, I’m shirking more than I ought. Even though my first few runs have been at a pathetic pace, I’m still in the “oh three miles no big deal it’s not like I have to actually *train* or anything” mindset, and this is naturally extending to my lack of workouts (only 2 in the last 4 days) and thusly the scale making noises at me.

I need to build a spreadsheet for that, I think.