Category Archives: Triathlon

Triathloning: Shaking It Up

In my last triathloning column, I talked about the protein fetish.

The protein shake proposition frightens me. I associate protein shakes with Ivan Drago, Gold’s Gym, and overly zealous lifters knocking off a few reps and chugging down a supplement-packed slurry. Consuming more than a day’s worth of protein in liquid form feels unnatural and unbalanced; but if you want to get vascular, and you do, then out with milquetoast beverages and in with bodybuilder’s delight. Milkshakes no more—that is, unless they contain 100 grams of whey protein isolate. Continue reading

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Filed under Columbia University, Drinks, Triathlon

Triathloning: The Protein Fetish

In my last triathloning column, I talked about the stasis of swimming.

During my marathon preparation, I abandoned weight lifting for six weeks. This was not my wisest decision, since I proceeded to lose all my (already negligible) muscle mass. Unlike aerobic activities like running—and now, swimming—which I enjoy, I hate the exhausting pain of weight lifting. In order to perform well in my upcoming triathlon, however, I need to build a functional base of  strength. Besides the constant, low-level muscular exertion of swimming, I started using a few free weights, too. Beginning back at the little dumbbells feels a little disheartening—but I’ve learned a little patience over the last semester. Not surprisingly, I crave meat and high-protein foods constantly—eating animals indeed. Weight lifting calls for increased protein intake, because all those microscopically torn muscles require repair. Continue reading

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Filed under New York City, Restaurants, Triathlon

Triathloning: Swimming to Nowhere

In my last triathloning column, I discussed heat acclimation.

On Monday, I irritated my iliotibial (IT) band, and now my left knee hurts bad enough to keep me off the streets. I’ve previously written about eating through injuries, and this time, I at least have an alternative form of exercise available: swimming. The worst part about running injuries is not not (excuse the double negative, not) being able to run; the second worst part is confinement to the treadmill during rehab. Treadmills pervert the very purpose of running—instead of moving forwards, the treadmill forces the runner to remain stationary. In fact, treadmills originated as a method of disciplining prisoners. Following a 1779 prison reform act, English prisoners were required to perform “labor of the hardest and most servile kind.”  To meet this strange regulation, William Cubbitt designed an ingenious device that forced inmates to walk on belted platforms, simultaneously operating a mill. Sydney Smith described the 19th century treadmill as “irksome, dull, monotonous, and disgusting to the last degree.” In The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Oscar Wilde puts it a bit more poetically: “We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns / And sweated on the mill.” Since the mid-19th century, the word treadmill has also meant any exhausting work that leads nowhere. Unless you have a lake, sea, ocean, or similarly expansive body of water within easy reach, swimming resembles running on a treadmill. Moving back and forth across the pool, you endlessly traverse the same territory—the illusion of progress merely disguises a kind of numbing stasis. Continue reading

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Filed under Recipes, Triathlon

Triathloning: Heat Acclimation with Aged Duck

In my last triathloning column, I discussed my dislike of swimming.

72 degrees and I’m schvitzing. Central Park feels like an oven, roasting me to a perfect degree of doneness. Gusts of warm air buffet my back, and I start counting down the miles to a water break. Going from Fargo—a frigid 55 in the mornings—to New York shocked my system. Simple runs proved unnaturally difficult and I dreaded heading out into the “heat.” Explaining my poor performance as a problem of “heat acclimation” seemed ridiculous, since I was actually exercising at room temperature. But with high humidity intensifying the temperature and a poorly prepared personal thermostat, I was experiencing all the symptoms of heat acclimation: an inability to sweat enough, a too high concentration of salt in my sweat, and accelerated heart rate. Continue reading

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Filed under Running, Triathlon

Triathloning: Freestyling to Dinner

The word “marathoning” is of dubious validity; triathloning just seems made-up. In order to continue my Friday series on endurance sports though, I needed to adjust the name to reflect the new subject matter. My next race will not be a marathon. Instead, I plan on completing a triathlon in August—something under the half-Iron Man distance, most likely a one mile swim, 40 mile bike ride, and eight mile run. I’m a capable cyclist and an experienced distance runner. Unfortunately, I’ve allowed my swimming skills to lapse over the last six years. Struggling to complete a seemingly mediocre workout is a humbling experience; it is easy to forget the initial difficulties of a new exercise regimen. Hopefully, in six weeks I will have become a significantly more proficient swimmer. Continue reading

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