Saturday, March 27, 2010
So I'm registered for a local half-iron "Aquabike" event on July 11.
That's 1.2 mi (2000m) swimming in open water, followed by 56 mi (90 km) on a bike.
We won't get into the fact that I've never done a triathlon before, let alone the advisability of jumping into a half-iron. Or that I haven't done any chip- timed event before. It's all good, though, because all I want to do is finish.
I registered to scare myself into staying in shape. And boy, howdy! is it ever working as far as getting me to exercise. Because I'm finding out that the half-iron is actually kind of a big deal.
The training calendar I'm using was free and came from beginnertriathlete.com
It's designed for 20 weeks. I got a late start because I slacked off for what I thought was the first week and turned out to be the second week because I'd counted wrong, so I had to jump in on the third week of training... Good thing I've been doing spin class 2-3x/week and swimming 1000-1500m 2x/week all along.
Since I'm not going to be running (knee arthritis) I'm crossing out the running parts of the schedule and putting in my other activities like weight lifting and kayaking.
Even so, now the activity, especially the swimming, has kicked into high gear. This is what I've done so far this week:
Mon - OFF
Tue - Personal trainer kicking my butt lifting followed by 1 hrspinning
Wed - 2250 m of swimming (sprint intervals, pant pant)
Thu - 1 hr spin, 30 min lift, 1 hr spin
Fri - 2300 m of swimming (long & steady)
There was originally scheduled a group ride leaving from the local bike shop at 8am on Saturday (20 mi, 15mph) and I was planning on riding the 14 miles from my house to it, and the 14 miles home. They canceled it due to weather so instead I'll do an extended elliptical & lifting session in my basement.
I'm finding it sort of challenging to schedule the recommended trainings for the week around the available activities. I try to put the bike rides on Tuesday or Thursday (spin days) or Saturday (long outside ride day) and the swimming on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
This coming Sunday is the last kayak pool rolling session in Syracuse and after that Sundays will be available for biking (outside or a spin class) or swimming.
Speaking of the swimming, it's my weak link. Although I learned very young and swam recreationally for years, my stroke is really inefficient. I'm slow and I'm really tense. And now that I've lost all this fat and gained all this muscle, my buoyancy has really changed, as well.
I stumbled onto these videos over at beginnertriathlete.com and they really made sense:
Work less to swim better. Part one of this video series covers the philosophy of Total Immersion swimming and looks at some common freestyle swimming misconceptions.
Work less to swim better. Part two of this video series covers the principles of active streamlining to swim faster with less effort.
In this third part, Terry Laughlin discusses how to achieve an optimal freestyle stroke and what drills go into developing a good stroke.
They have a free downloadable "Easy Freestyle" book at the TI website:
So I tried it last night and really emphasized the relaxing and the glide just to see how it felt. I definitely found a difference in letting my head hang in the water and by the end of the 2300m it already felt so much more comfortable to try his method over what I've been doing. So I'm going to slow down my stroke and work on this kind of form and see how it goes.
I also found a local coach in this method so I'm going to investigate getting a few sessions with her to see if I can fix whatever I haven't picked up from the book and DVD I ordered at Amazon...
Easy Freestyle Swimming by Terry Laughlin
Total Immersion: The Revolutionary Way To Swim Better, Faster, and Easier
I hope the DVD and book have more information that what I've already gotten for free!
As far as the cycling, I think I'm in pretty good shape for that. I've got a lot more experience with distance riding than swimming - I used to ride 100-mile centuries in high school and college with my big brother and rode with the college team on their "easy" days - this is the same college team that Eric Heiden had been on a few years before I arrived at the school.
I've got a nice new ultra light racing bike and as soon as the weather warms up will be out on it. And I actually LIVE along the race route, so it's really easy for me to train on the exact course I'll be racing on. LOL
Based on how I did on the group ride last Saturday, I'm actually in better cycling shape than ever, thanks to the spinning. And I can say this without any doubt, because my old bike is the exact same one I bought in 1981 with babysitting money - the exact same (and only) bike I've ever owned, that I rode those centuries on and all those 20-mile training rides in college. And I've never been able to keep a pace like I did on Saturday, nor feel as fresh and ready to go again when it was over.
So that's what I've been up to, mostly. I am fortunate that my schedule is so flexible, with no one else to consider in my food and exercise plans. I can't imagine how people with families fit something like this in.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Last autumn there was a "where are they now" Biggest Loser show that featured past contestants and caught up with how they're doing. Many said they'd gained some weight back.
In my latest Second Helping Online column I take a look at how much weight, over how long, and where they sort out according to various research definitions of "successful" maintenance.
The results just might surprise you!
Monday, March 22, 2010
There is a diabetes fund raising ride coming up on June 26 in Watkins Glen, NY that I've registered for:
If you live in the area and would like to ride in it too, I've created a team for us Spark people. See the red "Join My Team" button.
If you don't live nearby or the date doesn't work for you, would you consider donating a small amount to support diabetes research? Even five dollars would be awesome!
(See the red "support me" button)
Here's the team page listing current members:
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Gearing up for that triathlon swim-bike coming up in July...
Started the swim workouts on Wednesday, and you know what? Going 100% in intervals kicked my @$$ big-time. At first I felt bad about that because it made me realize how far I have to go. Then a light went off in my head - if just a lap of freestyle all-out killed me like that, then I have hit the MOTHER LODE of calorie-burning. Because even spinning doesn't wipe me like that.
So, BRING IT ON, baby! I am thrilled to have found something that will work me so hard in a short period of time.
And on the cycling front, I did my first outdoor ride this morning with the local bike shop "women's" ride (20 miles, ~15mph) and did it on my old Peugeot U-O9 which is steel and weighs half a ton. And aside from falling over THREE times because I'm still not used to stopping in the clip-in pedals, it was too slow and too short.
I could have gone faster, and I could have gone farther. I think I'm ready for their Tuesday night 30-mile rides (with -gasp- MEN! LOL) www.genevabikes.com/new/news.html
Afterward I went into the bike store where we'd met and dropped lots of ca$h: leg warmers, a gore-tex jacket, new lycra shorts (I'm shrinking out of the current ones), and a NEW BIKE.
I'll shower, take a nap with the kitties, and then I think I'll go back out again this afternoon and see how it goes. This new ride is very very very light and sweet.
I'll continue to train on the old heavy bike since it's good practice, and possibly start commuting the 15 miles each way to work on it. I've got a rack and panniers so I could even do my shopping if I need to.
UPDATE: Here are pictures of me on the old bike on Saturday taken by the ride leader and employee at the shop, Suzanne:
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
...turns out there isn't a universal definition out there, even for the scientists studying it!
Next column: taking a look at the past Biggest Loser contestants to see how they've done on maintenance.
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