Thursday, January 30, 2014

This Winter Weather

North Carolina is not known for having particularly rough winter weather.  From time to time, we might get a significant snowfall, or perhaps ice, but most often it's a dusting of snow or temps in the 30's for a period of time.

This winter has been on the rougher side for us.  It's been cold, off and on, for a while, with temps down in the single digits and this week in particular has been a wild weather ride.

It was 67 degrees all the way back on Monday.  I was at the park with the dog in jeans and a long sleeve shirt enjoying the beautiful day.

On Tuesday, it started in the 50's and dropped to the 20's and we had four inches of snow on the ground by Wednesday morning.  School was closed Tuesday, even though the snow didn't start until 5:30 p.m. or so, and if you want to know why, just google Atlanta, GA, January 2014 snowstorm, or Raleigh, NC, January 2005 snowstorm.

Anyway, my tri training has derailed a bit this week.  Yes, I could have done something Monday, but I didn't, as they are my designated day off.  And I could have swam on Tuesday morning, but the girls were off of school and I didn't quite make it to the 9:30 a.m. class, and I worked at 1:00, so ...

Wednesday was too icy and snowy, and today the option for Run Club was to run inside on the treadmills.  Ugh.  Big sour face.  Just shoot me, thanks!  Tomorrow I will finally jump back into the fray with an hour long cycle class followed by another hour in the pool.

I sort of feel guilty about missing four days.  Even with tomorrow's exercise, there's no way I can make up the time missed.  While I want to say that it's not that big of a deal to me, I know I need to keep my momentum going strong and I know I could have exercised this week and was basically too lazy to do so.  I used the weather as a handy excuse to complement my lack of motivation.

Ah well.  Here's hoping this is the last of this wintry nonsense.  I moved south for a reason after all.  (Oh my God, I can't imagine if I were still in Baltimore right now - I'd be going INSANE).  Saturday is the first day of February, which is the real start to my New Year's resolutions anyway.  January is always a lot of nonsense to me  - a lot of new year noise if you will.  I'm ready for February, to take the new year by storm, to welcome warmer weather, and to be able to ride my bike outside again without packing on two or three extra layers.  So ... Bye bye snow, don't let the door hit ya'.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tri Training Week 2

Tri Club training is in it's second week, and already it seems like it's been longer than that.  But things are going swimmingly (ha!).

Hubby came by a decent racing bike, via a generous co-worker who does longer length races and bought a newer one a while back.  Price was a donation to the animal shelter and we can deal with that.  The bike is currently being tuned up, with some new parts and tires, at Spoke Cycles, a new shop in Wake Forest for roughly $200 or so - not too bad.  Bike currently has clip-in pedals and he's going to give that a go as that will be new for him.  I prefer to stick with my regular pedals on my Giant Escape hybrid.  I have no desire for a racing bike right now.  I was able to eek out a respectable 16 mph in my first race and I expect to do better this time around.  So, I'm good.

First night of training was Run Club, where we did warm-ups and dynamic stretching, a timed 1 mile test (10:30 for me, 7:30 for hubby), etc.  First night of Tri Club training included core weight training - lots of planks and TRX - and a half hour of swimming (about 800 yards), followed by four days of stomach soreness like you would not believe.  Guess my core needs some work!

A 400 yard and 100 yard swim test a few days later put me at about 1:45 or thereabout for my swim time.  Also expecting that to improve.  Haven't really been in the water much lately, after all.

The following week included time in the pool -  2000 yards of snaking, alternating easy and fast swimming, more core work and cycling, Run Club with hill repeats, more cycling class (too cold to go outside), then another class with 600 yards of snaking (sets of 150 followed by running up and back down the outside stairs to get used to the transition for the race), and a 5k run-through of the run course.  I was supposed to swim today, but it's supposed to snow and the kiddos are off school, so I will do it later this week!

All in all, it's going well.  I tweaked a stomach muscle during the timed swim test, but that seems to be improving, and my core muscle soreness has subsided.  Right calf is tight, but that is pretty usual for me.  I did not like the run course for the race.  There's a fair amount of off road / loose gravel to it and I can't really understand why the race organizers couldn't come up with an all-paved option.  It's a weird course, and kind of dicey if you ask me.  But, I'm easily completing a 5k now and that's a huge improvement over last year.  Running is not my thing.

In all events, I can safely say that I am built more for endurance than speed.  Sigh.  Hubby is better than me.  And he's competitive - voted most likely to get caught up in the whole race thing, but more on that later.  It's been fun, and nice to know that a 43-year-old broad can still hang.  Cheers!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Triathlon Training in the New Year

Well, it's a new year folks, and guess what?   I am not immune to the new year's resolution craze.

I work at a gym, so that doesn't help either, nor does the fact that our club does a Biggest Chooser fitness challenge that kicks off every January.  I participated in that last year as age has not been kind to me and I had reached a weight threshold I never thought would happen (I broke 140 pounds - a little too much on my 5'5" frame and a good 15 pound over my personal ideal weight).  I lost ten pounds or so, but over the past year, some of that has found its way back onto my stomach and so, here I am again.

This year, though, I am doing the tri club.  So is my husband, though we have somewhat different goals.  I want to run a few races this year, stay in shape, and prove that a 40-something broad can still kick ass.  My husband also has these goals, but he thinks he'd like to work toward a half Iron Man - a little too ambitious for my taste.

A side note ... My husband and I are both in our early forties.  We totally fall into the cliche.  I laughed at a recent Frazz comic strip, (you know, the one with the main character who looks like an adult Calvin) in which one of the characters basically said that running triathlons are what people do when they hit 40.  It's sadly so true.

For those unfamiliar with the specifics, I will outline them to the best of my knowledge.  A sprint or mini tri, is typically a 250 to 500 yard swim, a 10 - 14 mile bike, and a 5k.  Distances can vary depending on the race, but they typically can be completed in an hour and half to two hours tops.  They're great for a beginner to get their feet wet.  A half Ironman is a huge jump in my opinion.  That typically involves a 1.2 mile swim, usually open water, a 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run.

I ran a sprint tri last year - the Smile Train - in June.  I'd never done one before and wanted to prove to myself that I could.  And, like I said, I'm in my early forties.  The Smile Train tri is a 250 yard swim, 12 mile bike and 5k and I finished with a respectable time of 01:31:27:000.  Considering I could not swim 25 yards across a pool three years or so ago, I feel I've come a long way.   My husband has never done a sprint tri, yet I feel confident he would still kick my butt in time.

So we ponied up the money, and went to the "meet and greet" last night, hosted by our trainers, Janice and Robert.  I know them both - Robert is a phenomenal swimmer but has been only doing sprint tri's for three years or so.  Still, he usually finishes in the top three overall.  Janice does half Ironman races.  She's short, loud, and abrupt, and you either love her or hate her.  Me being a fellow Yankee in a sea of southerners, and having a tendency to be abrupt sometimes myself, I don't mind her so much.

Janice spent an hour and a half discussing the training.  It's my opinion that with some training of her own, she could have easily shaved 30 minutes off that time.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is, I'm middle of the pack in terms of how serious I will be taking the training and the races.  By this, I mean people who are REALLY into it, are REALLY into it.  I, however, do not intend to buy $150 running shoes, or a $1000 race bike and I know that my $400 hybrid will do just fine as that's what I used for the Smile Train, and I'm quite happy with it.  I will probably not spend $75 to get my bike professionally fit and I won't be buying cold weather gear for outside biking.  My $2.50 knit gloves from Five Below are just fine.  This is a short race, not Kona.  My husband, since I know him so well, may get a little more carried away with things.

That being said, I am excited about the regimen.  There are nine of us in all - some have done tri's, some are swimmers, some are runners only.  We all have something to gain.  We're looking at two hours each week of each event - so six hours training.  That's not too bad.  A couple of hour-long swims, two bike rides or cycle classes, and two runs per week.  I can handle that in my busy mom schedule.  I'm also looking very forward to learning some tips and improving my swim-to-bike transition and transition times in general (they weren't so good for Smile Train!), and hopefully keeping myself from getting injured.

I will post more info as the training begins (next week).  I did hop on the bike today for a nice 12-mile ride on the greenways and clearly, it's been a while since I biked (a new teenage puppy in October seriously derailed me (no pun intended!!!)  But here I go, into a bold new year!!