Dispatch: The Baker’s Dozen – Race #1 (AKA How I Plan To Melt My Muffin Top)

In 2013, Holly Bennett will race 13 races - one per month, plus one.

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“Dispatch” is an online column from Triathlete Editor-at-Large Holly Bennett that features pro updates, industry news, happenings afield and otherwise random reports related to multi-sport. Look for “Dispatch” every Thursday on Triathlete.com.

I’ve lived in Boulder, Colo. – the Mecca for all things multisport – for three years now. And I’m the least fit I’ve been in a long time. It makes no sense. I’m surrounded by perfect places to train and a plethora of training partners, yet my fitness has floundered. Sure, I have a handful of excuses. I’ve been injured more often in those three years than I care to remember – certainly more often than not. I’m convinced I’ll never fully adjust to the altitude (try running beside me and my asthmatic wheezing will convince you of the same). As I’ve scrambled to manage my professional and personal obligations, I’ve sacrificed more than a few workout sessions. And I have to admit, I’ve grown three years older.

So with the start of the New Year, I decided I had two choices. I could continue letting the chub rub, or I could get off my duff and do something. I miss feeling fit and strong. I miss keeping up with friends (and occasionally even crushing them) on rides and runs. I hate being stuck in the slow lane at Masters, yet still struggling to keep up. Seriously? Is this the same body that five times finished an Ironman? I sure don’t feel like that girl anymore. And along with my formerly fit self, I miss racing. Whether in top form or not, I really love competition. Thus I crafted a New Year’s resolution, a plan to melt my muffin top and regain some of my competitive gusto. It’s a plan I call The Baker’s Dozen.

Here’s the deal: In 2013, I’ll race 13 races – one per month, plus one. The Baker’s Dozen can include any sort of endurance sport event – triathlon, running, swimming, snowshoeing, mountain biking – although I’ll likely stick with mostly runs and tris. I do have one “A” race on my docket already – Challenge Penticton on Aug. 25 – and I hope to add a few other destination events. But I’m equally excited to log some local 5K and 10K runs and sprint triathlons to keep my fast-twitch muscles firing. In the fine print of this agreement I’ll allow myself two “outs”, but I hope I won’t need to use them. However, in case my sometimes-hectic travel schedule keeps me from reaching a race goal in any given month, I’ll substitute an organized event with simulated competition conditions and an all-out 10-kilometer run.

To kick off my plan, last Sunday I raced Boulder’s Fast and Flurry-ous four-mile cross-country run. Now, rocking up to a race start line in Boulder is intimidating to me even at my peak fitness. This town is simply abnormal in that nearly everyone is uber-fit. It’s a fabulous thing, but at times (like when my run pace is a full minute or two sub-par) it’s a bit much. I sent a panic text to a friend just before the start: What if I’m last? She reassured me I’d be fine, and sure enough she was right. The four miles flew by flawlessly, if not terribly fast. In fact, I finished far closer to the pointy end of the field than to the final spot. And although afterward I was as exhausted as if I had run a full marathon, I was also elated with my first step back to feeling fit.

One down, twelve to go. Anyone care to join me?

More “Dispatch” from Holly Bennett.

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