12/21/07

Today I dressed like a runner!

I've been smiling a bit bigger this week. I can finally run and I'm feeling really good about it. Unfortunantly, I think my position and components on my road bike needs to be fixed so Karel and I will work on that this weekend. My crankset is a bit different than my tri bike and old Blue so Karel is going to swap his Cervelo crankset with mine.....or something like that. Not sure what he does with my bike but I trust him 100%. He is the best mechanic in my opinion and he is a true perfectionist only because he is so passionate about bikes. I think my groin bursitis is not healing as quickly due to the bike so I've been laying low on the cycling this week. Luckily, it is working and I can run!! I'm planning on riding with the guys tomorrow but I think just resting my leg a bit and not riding as much is helping a lot! Anyways, yesterday I thought it couldn't get any better. After a 3,000 yrd easy swim workout I jumped on the treadmill and started walking. After 5 min. I was ready to jog. I did a total of 38 min. of running with some walk breaks after 10-13 min. of running. I did 5 miles and I felt really good running at 6.3 mph. I was feeling really good towards the last 10 min. so I had to take it up to 6.5 mph. I didn't want to get too worked up at the beginning but everyone at the gym knew how happy I was to be running for so long on the treadmill. Yay! So this morning my cell phone alarm went off at 5:30am and Karel and I were both up ready to get some coffee going. Karel debated about going to the gym with me since it rained all last night but he decided to ride. I think he is enjoying his morning ride cause I'm back from the gym and he is still gone! MY mission this morning was to run. I told myself that I would be running this morning on the treadmill. Therefore, I dressed like a runner. I've been wearing regular sport shorts with an elastic waist and semi-breathable material. No reason to wear running shorts if I'm not running. Well, today I called myself a runner. I put on my Favorite Blue Nike shorts that i wore at the Miami marathon (my first marathon in 2006). I absolutely love these shorts. The shorts have slits on the sides which validate that they are running shorts and i enjoyed showing a little leg today since I was planning on running. To make a long story short, I covered 5.6 miles and felt great. 10 minute warm-up and I started running. 20 minutes at 6.4-6.5 mph. Wow, i couldn't believe it! I wasn't even running half that speed before Kona. I couldn't even move my legs at 3 mph for a walk without hurting. I couldn't even walk the entire month of September without hurting. To make my run even better today, I walked another 10 minutes and then ran again at 6.8 mph for another 20 minutes. I don't care about how fast i was running a year ago and I don't care if people are running faster than me right now...Today I could dress like a runner and I felt like a runner!
Not sure who reads my blog but for the people out there (and we all know one of them) that aspire to do a marathon, a half marathon, a 15K or even a couple miles on the treadmill....I give them so much credit for their completion. I hear so many times "Am I a runner if I don't do races? Am I a runner if I do 5 min. miles? If I walk and jog, does that make me a runner? YES!!! It's a running race and you a part of it. Never let someone tell you that you don't belong. I do feel that slower runners should stay near the back of the pack for safety reasons and to give the faster runners more space, but that doesn't mean that you have to run x-speed to sign up for a race. If you have a goal of doing a marathon or a 10K, sign up and train for it. You can do it! Even if your fastest time for a 5K is 45 min, you have just as much right to be out there as those running it in 15 min. I would be so upset if someone told me that I wasn't a runner if I was jogging in a race right now. Enjoy the fact that you are out there with so many people who share similar goals. When you sign up for a race everyone wants to reach the finish line but we all have different ways of getting there. And most of all, dress like the runner you are! Have a healthy day!

12/19/07

Spinning

I haven't been on my bike since Sat. but I've been running and swimming to keep myself feeling some kind of burn. I love my road bike but sometimes I get bored riding the same routes all the time. Unfortunantly, I'm not blessed with hills or open roads in the clearwater area. I'd love to get to Georgia, Clermont or Colorado so that I can get some good climbs on my bike. For the people stuck in freezing weather, snow drifts and ice I am sure that my complaining about 70-degree winter weather and no climbs is pretty inconsiderate of me. I know I have talked about my start in triathlons but I wanted to talk about my love for spinning (spin class). When I heard about a triathon which involved swim, bike and run I thought that would be a lot of fun. However, I've never really biked, only for fun. I had almost finished my Junior year of college and was getting burnt-out of competitive swimming. I had so many back problems from swimming 200 butterfly, 200 IM and 100 breastroke and the 7000+ yard swim practices were becoming tiresome. I had been swimming year round since I was 12 and I decided I would do cross country my senior year and I debated even swimming my senior year (I did swim my senior year to finish off 4-years of college swimming and very glad I did!). I signed up for a triathlon but had no bike. I belonged to Golds for many many years and decided I would take a spin class. Let me tell you about my first spin class. I signed up the day ahead for a 5:15am spin class at Golds in lexington, KY (where I am from). I showed up around 5:10 to set my bike up for my first time ever spinning. Well, because I was one of the last people in the class they accidently gave out too many passes and there weren't enough bikes. Because the teacher sat in the front of the class on a 2-foot platform I was the only one without a bike. As I was leaving the teacher came up to me and said I could have her bike since I got up so early for this class. I guess in the moment I said ok but then as I was getting on her bike I had about 30 eyes on me. She set up the bike to my fit and comfort and the music started and I had no idea what to do. I got through that 50 min. spin class and I actually enjoyed it aside from being the center of attention as the teacher walked around the room. I got into a zone when I was spinning and I just forgot that I was facing everyone in the room. It was kinda like a new aerobics class where everyone but you knows the moves. I had no idea what to do when she would call out something to do. I guess since then I have enjoyed spinning and the rush, energy and sweat you get from a good spin class. After many more classes on my own spin bike (and not the teachers' bike) I knew I wanted to teach spin. I got a job at the Y to do personal training and water aerobics but in order to teach spin there I needed to take 15 hours of spinning. No big deal since I had signed up for a triathlon and didn't have a bike. I took spinning at the Y for over a month and the week before my first triathlon I got a hybrid bike. Haha...when I got that bike I thought it was the coolest thing ever!!! I road that bike everywhere for a week before my first triathlon. I think my longest ride was 8 miles before a sprint triathlon in the rolling hills of Owensboro, KY. To my surprise, when I got to the triathlon my hybrid didn't look like the bikes of everyone else. I was first out of the water but when I got on the bike it was a tough, long bike ride. I got through the run since I enjoyed running and I ended up first in my age group. Since my first triathlon I have been taking and teaching spin and I really enjoy it. Aside from getting a great workout myself, I love teaching others and well, making them suffer :) This morning at the Y I had a great class. The Y was kinda dead but my class was filled as usual. The people in my 5:45am class are really dedicated and I've had some of the same people in my class since last summer when I started. We do 5-6 sets lasting from 2-4 min. The class is a total of 45 minutes and we recover for 1-2 min. after every set. We do a short warm-up and the rest of the class is filled with intervals. We climb, we do rollers, we do jumps, we sprint and we do single leg drills. I have them sweating by the first 10 min. and I'm sure you can imagine my enthusiasm early in the morning. I love being infront of my class and just keeping them going. My normal triathlon self-talk comes out during my class and it works so well for keeping the class motivated. I always shout "mind over muscles" to my class and I tell myself that so many times when I am training.
As the off-season is in full swing, check out a YMCA, a wellness center or a gym for a spin class. You might have to pay a guest fee if you aren't a member but it's worth the cost. You'll really enjoy a group setting for a spin class and it's great when the lots are off and the music is thumping. Ask around and find an instructor who teaches with good music and he/she has a lot of energy. The beauty of spinning is that you can control the resistance and your energy output. Also, be sure that the spin bike is a good quality bike and you might want to look for pedals where you can clip in your cycling shoes. Enjoy your holiday season and stay happy and healthy!

12/18/07

Could it get any worse??

Since I usually write about myself on this blog I'd like to feature Karel and his up and down weekend. As I mentioned in the last blog, Karel forgot his key on sat. morning. He headed out for a 3-hour ride and it was one of his hardest workouts this season. 87 min. tempo ride just below threshold. Since he uses his power meter he usually stays in the lower 200's (I think around 230W) for his power. I'm not really sure exactly but I know he always comes home beat up when he has to hold his wattage for almost an hour and a half! Not only that, he has already trained for 4 days, including the weight training that we are doing right now. So I am on Sand Key bridge doing repeaters and around 9:15am I see Karel climbing over the bridge on his way home. I give him a quick smile and a 2-finger wave (the kind where you are holding on to your bars but you can kinda raise 2 fingers for a wave) as I am climbing up. NO talking for me as i am climbing but as I am descending and about to climb again there is no sign of Karel. I knew he was ready to go home after his ride. I finished up my ride around 9:45am and I checked my phone on my way home. Karel had called me 3 times and I called him back wondering if he was just checking in on me. Well, poor thing had been riding around trying to find a credit card to try to unlock the door (for some reason, he is really good at that!!! hehe). He couldn't get in and he even jumped our fence to try to get in from the back. No luck so he headed towards Clearwater to find me. Although he had a great strong workout, he was so depleted from the hour of frustration after his workout that there were no words between us as we were riding home. He had enough energy to poor whey protein powder into a shaker with milk and water and then he crashed on the couch while I showered. As it has happened to me lots of times during my IM training, I can understand with bonking so I just kept my mouth shut and cooked us breakfast. Everything was good after he ate and he cleaned up his Pinarello before we headed to Jacksonville. Karel rides a beautiful white Pinarello so he is meticulous for keeping it clean. I'm lucky if I remember to lube my chain!! We headed to jacksonville and planned on being there around 4:30pm. Well, we ended up making great time but we got stuck in horrible traffic as we were approaching the exit for 95. A mall was close to the road which we took and the traffic was awful!!! We contemplated about parking the car and just riding our bikes to the hotel. I am not good with traffic, waiting or sitting still but Karel does a really good job of keeping his cool. Therefore, it's easy for me to just sit and try to think happy thoughts about the situation. I have to really try hard about not saying negative things. And even if I say something negative, I'm just waisting my breath since there is nothing I can do to make the cars move. Even after Karel's horrible morning, he didn't complain about sitting in traffic for over 30 min (to go about 2 miles). We were meeting the manager at the ABC bike shop in Jacksonville beach so we kinda wanted to be there around 5. No worries about our tardiness since Karel was planning on doing a 6 hour ride with some of the guys in the morning. We ended up at the shop around 5:45. Karel needed to go up to Jacksonville to pick up his new bike which he will be racing on this year. Although it is a great bike, Karel has gone from a Colnago to a Pinarello to a Cervelo. Lucky boy! It is kinda sad how many bike frames we have in our two-bedroom place :) After we checked into our hotel on the beach we met one of my best friends from HS (lexington, KY) at Caraba's. Allie just had a baby so Karel and I enjoyed being around two little kids (7 months and almost 2). Although we both love kids, I think it will be a while before we thinking about replacing our bike's with cribs. After a yummy dinner (w/ great bread and a great salad) we were ready for bed. Unfortunately, the hotel was filled with loud people (a wedding and kids off from school), our air conditioner was messed up making weird noises and it was pouring rain outside. What a night. Again, no complaining for Karel but getting no sleep was the last thing he needed before a 110 mile ride. We woke up around 4:45am so that Karel could get a little oatmeal and coffee in his system and I drove him a mile down the road to the bike shop. Not a great feeling when it is raining out and you are planning on riding 40 miles to meet the group for a ride. Karel met the team manager Jeff (who is super nice!) at the shop and around 6am they were off for a 40 mile ride (just to meet the group!). I headed back to the hotel and I ended up getting in a great 1 1/2 hour walk/run on the treadmill. I covered 6 miles and felt so great running. My leg soreness is up and down so I take it when it's good and just "run with it" :) Well, back to Karel. So, as if things couldn't get any worse I get a call from Karel around 6:45am as I am walking on the treadmill. He had a mechanical problem with his bike so he was waiting for Jeff to ride back to the shop to pick up the car to get Karel. So scratch the 40 mile ride, now they have to drive to the group ride. Karel didn't complain but he was upset that he ruined the ride. I can totally understand and I'm sure so many people have gone to a new ride, run or swim and something just didn't go right. I told him that it was something that couldn't have been predicted and you have to shut it out and move on. Luckily, he had a great ride and he felt super strong during the entire ride. He even confessed that he wasn't too tired after the ride but he worked really hard during the ride. Although he had so many ups and downs during his day I am so impressed on how he handles his emotions. I really learn a lot from him and it is good to have him around, especially when I am having a bad day (yes-it happens!). I think we should all surround ourselves with positive people and people who live life in the moment, yet seek new opportunities for the future. There will always be another day, another opportunity or another chance. And if you think it is your only time to do something, just be happy that you were working your way to conquer your "only time" goal. For to to others, they may never have that opportunity to do something athletic, adventurous or challenging. Hum...I feel like i should look back at my Kona blogs when I thought it was the end of the world when I was injured. I guess I should have been happy that my "only time" to get to kona was achieved at my first IM when I thought that just finishing the race was the best thing of my life. Once again, I have learned so much more about life and myself just from the sport of triathlons and from the people I surround myself with. :) Have a healthy day!