Thursday, February 25, 2010

Back in the saddle again

This week I got back on my bike for the first time in a while. It felt good. Biking is my favorite of the three sports for so many different reasons. It is the only one of the three that I would actually consider a legitimate mode of transportation. Realistically, I could and will ride my bike to work. It is about 18 miles each way and there is a bike path almost the entire way. I would never consider walking, running, or swimming (?!?) to work. It is also the only one of the three that you could still be moving forward if you stopped to take a breather for a second.

I have always wanted to just hop on my bike with nothing but water, a bit of food, and my credit card and ride the entire loop of the Emerald Necklace. For those of you not from Cleveland, the Emerald Necklace is the series of metroparks and bike trails that loop about 80 miles around the city and suburbs. It is very beautiful and I have ridden several miles of it when I was in training for another bike race I did years ago with a friend of mine called Pedal to the Point. That is a 2 day 160 mile bike ride from Cleveland to Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. Ironically, that is where the Rev3 triathlon is taking place. I guess all roads lead to Cedar Point.

Getting back to my original point, my work out consisted of warming up, I started in an low gear working my way up and down the cogset. I spent 2 minutes on each gear with no rest between gears, then did a cool down. I was on the bike about 45 minutes. I hope to build this drill so I am doing 5 minutes on each gear. This was a good drill to literally and figuratively get back in the saddle. The only drawback is my bum is sore from not riding in so long. I wish there was an easier way to ease back into that.

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Training Plan

First off – don’t you just love the new McDonalds Filet-o-Fish commercial where the guy gets a message on his blackberry from the singing fish? I do. It cracks me up every time I see it. We DVR all our shows and actually rewind every time the commercial comes on. It has both my boys wanting to try fish for the first time ever. The jingle would make a great ring tone too.

Filet-O-Fish commercial 2010

Anyway, I just got back from my second chiropractor visit this week. I originally was seeing her 3 times a week for two weeks, then 2 times a week. That was supposed to last for 3-4 weeks but I’m progressing well and have been dropped down to one visit a week. This is great news. This means I am getting stronger and am able to hold the adjustments she makes for longer periods of time. She did a review of my progress today. My pain is almost 100% gone and the mobility in my neck is greatly improved. I was able to do so much more than I could just 4 weeks ago.

This past week I have been working on setting up my training schedule for the 26 weeks prior to September 12th.
Eric sent me a blank template to get me started. I have been staring at it for the last couple of weeks hoping it would fill itself in. When that didn’t work, I decided to fill it in myself. I got a book from the library a while ago called “Triathlete Magazine’s Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide: Plans, Scheduling Tips, and Workout Goals for Triathletes of All Levels.” It is a simple book in that it really only just provides you with training plans. There are 10-12 levels for each distance – Sprint, Olympic, Half-ironman and Ironman. I chose Half-ironman Level 2. It says it will give me a little more than the bare bones minimum for a half-ironman finish. I definitely want to do more than the minimum but also don’t want to over do it either. If (when) I make it through this one, I can bump up the intensity next time. Right now my main goal is to finish.

Training includes nine workouts per week and starts with 4,300 yards of swimming, 3hours 5 minutes of cycling and 2 hours of running the first week. It peaks with 7,050 yards of swimming, 5hours 55 minutes of cycling and 2 hours 20 minutes of running three weeks before the race. Scary. Scary.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Green Light

I have been seeing my chiropractor for 4 weeks now and have been given the green light to do cardio workouts. This is good news because I have felt like such a lazy bum the last few weeks. I did manage to catch up on all my couch potato activities like watching TV and reading all my magazines.

Yesterday I went to Bally’s at lunch and swam 1000 yards. I did a few drills and mostly easy swimming. I should be on track soon.

I am trying to teach myself how to do a flip turn. It is something I was not taught in my adult swim class at the YMCA. I actually went on YouTube and there is a very informative 5 step video by Go Swim that teaches flip turns. I am currently on step 3 and progressing nicely. However, it is harder than I thought it would be. I get a little dizzy when I flip.

Freestyle flip turn Step 1

Freestyle flip turn Step 2

Freestyle flip turn Step 3

Freestyle flip turn Step 4

Freestyle flip turn Step 5

A couple times when I was using the noodle to practice flipping, I whacked the guy in the lane next to me because I couldn’t hold onto the noodle. I’m pretty sure he forgave me the first time it happened. But if looks could kill, I’d be dead after the second time it happened. Oops. My bad :-)

Today at lunch I rode on the Life Cycle at Bally’s. I haven’t been biking much at all since I was fitted to my bike in November, because of my neck. It really aggravated the pain. The Lifecycle is a good way to ease my way back in. So far - so good.

I need to get back into laying the base work for my training. My training officially starts on March 15th. Yikes! Its coming up fast.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Get the Duck to do it.

Last Saturday, there was a local race called ‘Tackle the Tower.’ It was a race that was 37 flights consisting of 646 stairs at the Tower at Erieview in downtown Cleveland. My running partner and mentor, Jean Toth, has been trying to convince me to do this race for two years. She tried to get me to do it last year but I was too afraid. She didn’t push because she said if I’m telling myself I can’t do it, then I won’t be able to do it. This year I had made plans to do it this year, but since I hurt my neck and shoulders, I was advised I shouldn’t by my trusted chiropractor, Dr. Lori Christian (

So instead, I was the official chauffer and jacket holder during the race. Jean and my oldest son Sam did it while Tommy and I waited for them. Jean finished in 10:35 min and Sam finished in 8:05 min. The overall winner completed this task in 3:48 min. Yikes.

We were hanging around because we knew we had at least one winner. Jean is 73, soon to be 74 in a couple months. Were fairly sure she would get an age group award. Turns out she did – first place. Yea Jean! Second was a 66 year old woman who did it in 12:05 min.

While we were hanging around, Sam decided he wanted to try again because he felt he could do it faster second time around since he now knew what to expect. Against my better judgment, I let him do it. He was the last to go and he wanted to break 8 min. You would think his second go around would be slower but it wasn’t. He did it in 7:58 min. It was good for 12th place in his age group. I think that is great! I seriously doubt I could have done it in 12:05 min. However, I did put the race on my calendar for 2011.

Any time we do a race, we try to find the ones with the best goodie bags or food afterwards – because that is what its all about – eating and stuff! The goodie bags at this race included 3 rolls of Duck brand duct tape. They even gave a goodie bag to me and Tommy even though we didn’t do the race. We got a second round of goodie bags when Sam did the race a second time. I think they were mostly just trying to get rid of the bags at this point.

If you could have seen my boys, you would have thought that goodie bags contained the best present ever. They were completely overjoyed. All I could think of was “All this - over duct tape?” And noooo, it wasn’t just ordinary gray. It was a rainbow of duct tape. There was every color you could possibly imagine. When we got home, my boys logged onto the Duck Brand website (
) and began an afternoon of Ductivities (it is a real word – at least on their web site) that consisted of making duct tape wallets, ipod cases, cell phone cases, coin purses, flowers, even a 3D campfire made from the brown, orange and yellow tape. It kept them occupied for HOURS. If I would have known they would have this much fun with something so simple, I would have bought some years ago. I actually had to wrestle them for a couple rolls just so Lou could get some too. I managed to smuggle two rolls before getting caught.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Can We Do It? Yes We Can!

When my youngest son, Tommy was 4 or 5 (he is 9 now), my mother in law and his Nana, bought him a two piece towel set that has Bob the Builder on it. He loved it and used it for years – that is until I discovered it was the perfect thickness for a transition towel. So last year, I don’t remember when, I grabbed it out of the closet and stuffed it into my back pack.

When Tommy noticed I was using it, he was a little upset that I stole his towel. But he is a very sensitive soul, wise beyond his years. I have always said he is a 35 year old man trapped in the body of a child. He said he wanted me to have it because he loved me and wanted me to think of him when I’m racing.

The reason I’m talking about this is because Bob the Builder is also a very wise soul. Every time I look at that towel – and it is frequent because I use it at the gym too – I realize he most definitely has the right attitude. Right on the towel for me and everyone to read it says ‘Can We Do It? Yes We Can!’

It has become my mantra and helps especially when I’m have a down day. I do not think I could have picked a better transition towel and will always remember that Tommy gave his beloved towel to me simply because I liked it as much as he did.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bike Porn Part 1

Is it wrong to love an inanimate object? I have asked myself that many times in my life. I loved my first car. I bought it myself. It was a 1990 blue Chevy Cavalier Z24 with a 3.1 litre 6 cylinder engine. That was a lot of engine for such a little car. I think I took more pictures of that car than I did my first boyfriend. I don’t even think I took any pictures of my first boyfriend. Hmmmm.

Anyway, I digress. I just want to say that I love my bike. I bought it used on eBay and got a good deal. My bike is a silver 2006 Cannondale CAAD 8 with full Shimano Ultregra components. It is a perfect fit. It is a 50cm frame. Throughout the process of looking for a bike and trying to decide what I want and how much to spend I discovered something about myself that I never realized. Despite the fact that I am 5’8”, have a 32 in. inseam, and ginormous monkey arms, I apparently have the torso of a 5’2” woman. I am short waisted! I am guessing that is why I had back pain when I rode for long distances on my old bike. It was too big.

I needed to get a new bike to do the half iron distance REV3 because my mountain bike was not efficient and fast enough. Now, I have to give credit where credit is due – Aimee offered to loan me her road bike like she did for the Lorain triathlon. I truly appreciate that. She and Eric have been so generous to me getting started in triathlons. However, I knew they loan her road bike out to several people over the season and I didn’t want to be a bike hog. Plus I wanted one of my own.

Eric and Aimee came over at the end of November and Eric gave it a good tune up. I took some pictures of him doing this. Eric was the one who suggested I post the pictures as bike porn. I’m sure I will be doing this every now and again…especially in the spring when I put new tape on the handlebars. I’ll make a video then. That should make for really good bike porn. Until then, the still shots will have to do.