Thursday, July 15, 2010

Post-departum depression

I think by now most folks are aware there is a real and serious condition called postpartum depression that occurs in some women following childbirth. It's a situation where they become depressed due to a drastic hormone change in the 24 hours after the birth of their baby. What I'm experiencing is a far less well known and far less serious condition called postdepartum depression. It occurs when you go from seeing this every day:

To seeing this every day:

Yep, aside from coming home from the most beautiful place I've ever seen, the weather here in Boston has been pretty much crap since we got home back. It probably wouldn't be that big a deal, except that we've now gone 11 days without a formal workout. Yes, we walked all over Western Europe, and we climbed to gigantic monuments, but we have run, swam, or biked in almost 2 weeks. Some of that was our hectic schedule catching up to us on the trip, and the rest can be attributed to Rach's cold getting worse.

If you're a longtime reader you're probably thinking, "Wait a minute! Wasn't he making a huge deal about wanting to bike on his trip, and going on and on about the glory of cities with bike sharing programs?" Guilty as changed. But remember back to elementary school when you got caught giving a piece of gum to a friend? The teacher would say "Unless you have enough for everyone, you have to get rid of it", knowing full well you don't keep 30 pieces of gum in your pocket and if you did, you wouldn't be inclined to share it with John, the guy who eats paste.

That leads us to the point that sharing isn't really sharing unless it's with everyone. So, it is with sadness that I must share that the Paris bike share system didn't share with me. Unlike seemingly every store in Paris, the bike share kiosks wouldn't take my debit card. I was pretty disappointed standing there in front of a row of city bikes just waiting for a rider, and not being able to partake of their upright riding goodness.

 I can share some interesting tidbits on the process. You can purchase daily, weekly, or monthly passes, and the cost of the ride is very cheap on a daily basis. You swipe your debitcredit or monthly pass card, pick a bike that has its battery fully charged, and away you go. Yes, I said battery. It's not there to assist the locomotion, but it does power the lights and perhaps an automatic shifting mechanism, as I couldn't find one on the bikes I saw. They're covered in an interesting shell of metal and plastic, and the kickstands must add 5 pounds to the weight of the bike. They offer integrated locks, a shock absorbing seatpost, and a front mounted basket. If only I'd been able to ride one.

So here we stand with a mere 3 days until the Massachusetts State Triathlon. Our lack of recent training is of some concern, but I'm weighing the fact that we essentially did endurance training as part of our forced march through the streets of London and Paris. And while I haven't done any biking lately, climbing the Arc d' Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower stairs certainly has to provide a similar benefit. Not as much as I'd probably like, but I'm banking that getting the heart rate way up and pushing myself as long as I could before I needed rest wasn't bad for me.

I admit this is the least prepared I've gone into a race since my very first one. I have far more training under my belt this year, and I'm going to run and swim tonight and bike and swim tomorrow before taking Saturday off to rest. But we've never seen the course, it's our longest race in all 3 distances thus far, oh and did I mention we've taken basically the last 2 weeks off?

The .9 mile open water swim will likely be the biggest challenge in the day, as we've trained this distance but never swam that far in a single open water session. Rach did a lot better in her last swim, but she's still struggling with open water, so we're hoping to get out twice before the race. It may be too warm for wetsuits, but I'm not sure if that will be an advantage or disadvantage for her. Ideally, she can get used to it these next couple days and wear it on Sunday.

The bike is a mere 24.4 miles, which we have exceeded in training on many occasions. The difference of course is that we don't know the course, and I'm told there's at least one long hill about 3/4 of a mile long that we'll see twice as it's a loop course. Watching the course video tells me it's not a steep hill just a semi-continuous climb for an extended period.

The run is where the interesting part comes into play. I destroyed my best shoes in Paris, so I'm on my backup shoes. My running, never my strong suit, tends to get weaker over longer distances. This will be our longest day of effort before the running even starts. With highs expected in the mid 80's it will be very warm by the time I take the run course. It looks to be a mostly flat run, so that's certainly a good thing.

The strange thing is, I'm not scared this time. Maybe it's because of everything that's been going on that I simply haven't had time to worry about it. Even with these past couple of days to start focusing on it, I know I can finish this race. I'm hopeful I can finish this race on a pace that shows me on track to finish Timberman within the time limit. And I'm confident the time I have remaining to train following this race will allow me get to where I need to be.


- I will eventually stop talking about Europe and get back to weight loss and working out, so please bare with me.

- Rach has covered all of the details I seem to be missing from our tip on her blog.

- I weighed 314 again this morning. The 310 plateau as a brief stay prior to the trip, but I'll get back down there once we start training again.

- Now that I'm back, I am hungry all the time, but especially when I wake up. My stomach is on Paris time, and thinks I've missed 2 meals by the time I get into work at 8 AM.

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