Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Psyched Out

Here's a first: I'm already nervous about Wildflower.

Which is in May.

Whoo! This is gonna be an intense season!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Zen and the Art of Swimming -or- How to Turn that Frown Upside Down

I have never gotten a ticket.

The closest I've ever come to a vehicular citation was when some power-trippin' USC campus parking official cited me for "parking" my car in a no parking zone (never mind the fact that everyone stops there to pick people up, and I was clearly standing just a few yards away, waiting for a friend to come down from her dormitory). So when I got pulled over for running a red light (you ever spend a couple seconds looking directly at a yellow light without realizing it's yellow? Yeah, I don't think that should seem too extraordinary at 5:15 am), it didn't exactly make my day.

In fact, it totally sucked. I didn't want to go into the gym and teach my track workout, I didn't want to cry (and I was crying, as I pulled into the parking lot) in front of all the awesome athletes I coach, and I really, really didn't want to do my scheduled endurance swim.

I dragged myself into the locker room, changed grumpily into my swimming suit, and clomped out to the aquatics area like a sulking four-year-old. I kept telling myself that I didn't want to be there, I didn't want to swim, it's recovery week anyway so what will it matter if I skip my workout . . . I forced myself to climb into the pool, thinking, "Aw, man, it's gonna be so cold" (the pool is never cooler than 81 degrees), and reassured myself, bracingly, that it's a short workout this week and I would only be in the pool for 45 minutes or so.

Warmed up 100 swim, pull, kick. Drilled for 600 yards, which went by sooooo slowly. Then got into my main set: 3x300 time trial to establish a T-pace for my swim intervals, which I start incorporating hardcore next week.

And I worked my ass off on those intervals. Somewhere in that first 300, I zoned out and could only feel my legs and arms swishing through the water, my heart and lungs pounding to get oxygen out to my limbs. It didn't feel effortless, by any means, but it felt good. And by the end of that workout, I felt awesome, and I didn't really care that I got my first ticket ever.

Also, I swam my 300s in 5:35, 5:25, 5:35, which--if you'll remember that I was swimming my 200s in 4:15 last week--I felt really proud of.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Beginners' Guide: Setting Out

My first few months of triathlon are a blur. I can't remember what the original impetus was that caused me to sign up for my first race. A few of my friends did races, which was my primary exposure to the sport; I watched a film at an Intervarsity Chrisfitan Fellowship retreat about Dick and Rick Hoyt; there was a girl in my songwriting class who was training with the USC Tri team . . . I think that all of those separate events combined to make me ask, "If they can do it, why not me?" So I browsed around online, found a race close (but not too close) to where I live, and told myself in my mind, "I'm gonna do it." How, then, do you get started in this sport? If you're an absolute, true beginner here's your first step: Find a race, and commit to doing it. Tell other people that you're shooting for that race. Register and start making travel plans. Invest time and money in making that race a reality for you. The more real you can make it in your mind, the more likely you'll be to work hard to get there.

Well, Jamie, that's all well and good. But what exactly do I do?! Never fear, grasshopper; just ask yourself a few questions . . .

- What distance race are you going to do? Figure out your weakest sport (for most people, it's swimming), and decide how far you'll be able to go by the time your race rolls around. That's the upper limit of your racing distance. For example, when I first started out to do a triathlon, I couldn't swim. I had to take a swim class so that I wouldn't drown. I couldn't swim 50 yards without stopping. But I was pretty sure that I would be able to swim at least 800 yards straight by the summer. So I looked for a race that had a swim of 800 yards or less, and settled on Shawnee Mission, because I originally thought that the short course race required a 600 yard swim. And I knew that I could do that. (Note: I actually ended up swimming 1000 meters in my first race because I had mistaken how long the short course option was at Shawnee Mission--500 meters. I knew that the short course wouldn't pose enough of a challenge, so I decided in the last month to go for the long course. All that to say that you might eventually surprise yourself with how far you can go.)
When should you race? I would recommend racing sometime in June (if you're in North America). Racing early in the season gives you the option of recovering and training for another race if you get hooked (which you will). And it's generally cooler in June than in July or August, so you don't have to worry as much about problems involving heat and dehydration. Finally, you're going to be so excited to race that you won't want to wait until late in the season to get that first race under your belt! (Note: If you'd really like to get that first race out of the way a bit earlier, look for a small, indoor race. We've had three of those this winter in the Wichita area, so I know they're out there!)
- How should you train? This merits a whole post in itself--several actually--and I'll address it in greater detail later in the series. Basic rule, start by finding a training plan. For the true beginner, I recommend using Ontri, because that's what I used and my experience with it was very good. I've also heard lots of good things about Beginner Triathlete, although I have no personal experience. And there are lots of places online where you can purchase a training plan for minimal cost (Active, Ontri, and Beginner Triathlete all have those services). Once you have a training plan, just get out and do what it says!
- What are your goals?
Make this question a priority. Even if you can swim, bike, and run, having some tangible goals will make your training and racing more exciting and more fulfilling. For most people, the goal at their first triathlon is to finish, and that's an awesome goal. If you achieve that, you've already accomplished something that most people will never even attempt. But I recommend that you set two or three goals, organized hierarchically. In my first race, I made three goals: finish, don't be last, and run on a 10-minute pace. I managed the first two (although just barely; I finished second-to-last). The first goal was the bare minimum, the second was more ambitious (and I had less control over it), and the last goal was a true challenge for me at that point. So set a series of progressively harder goals; that will encourage you to really push yourself to achieve without completely destroying you if you don't meet your most difficult goal.

That's it, guys. Find a race, find a plan, get out there, and start training! Train train train!

p.s. Note that in the photo above, all the bikes are already racked in T2. All of them (except for those belonging to people who had already gone home). I was the last one out on the bike course.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Spring is in the Air

Last night, when I got home from work, it smelled like spring

And this weekend, we're supposedly in for a preview.

60 degrees this weekend?! Hurray!

33 MPH winds?! Um . . . maybe I'll stay on my trainer after all . . .

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Please Pass the Calories!


I have not done a 3,000 yard workout in a looooong time. I feel completely drained. We'll see how much energy is left for my tempo run, later.

Warm up
100 SPK

Drill Set
50 6/6, 50 3/3*
50 fingertip drag, 50 regular swim
50 catch-up, 50 regular swim
50 fist swim, 50 regular swim

Main Set
7x200 on 4:30**
7x100 on 2:15

Cool down
50 easy swim

*For the 6/6 drill, start by floating and kicking gently on your side. Kick for 6 beats, then take one stroke to switch onto your other side. After 6 beats, stroke back to the first side. The 3/3 drill is the same, only you stroke every 3 beats. Think of it as swimming with an exagerated glide.
**I actually switched to a 5:00 interval about halfway through, to give myself more time for rest (I was swimming the 200s on about a 4:20). Use an interval that will give you 15-30 seconds rest.

This was the first week I managed to get my intervals workout in, and boy was it a killer. I'm a little discouraged that my times are so slow . . . 200s in 4:20? 100s in 2:05? My goal is to get my 100 time to a 1:45-1:50 average. But I guess as a starting point, it's not bad. I just need to keep thinking about working with where I am, not where I want to be. Like I want to be averagin 20 MPH on my bike rides, but if I try to ride that fast right now, I probably won't be able to hold it for more than a few miles at a time. It's hard to make myself slow down, do what I need to do, and wait for the results.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Recipe: Quick Chili

I work a lot. And when I'm not working, I'm generally working out. Often, that leaves me very little time or energy for cooking. So when I find something that tastes awesome and takes about 5 minutes to make . . . Well, it's about time for a recipe, anyway.

Quick and Easy Chili

1 can chili beans
1 can tomato sauce
1 can green chilies
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Chili seasoning

Yeah, I think that's all that I put in it. Start by combining the first three ingredients in a saucepan. After it's started warming up, add in your cocoa powder, then start throwing in seasoning a little bit at a time until it tastes the way you want. Be sure that you add it just a little bit at a time; after it's in, you can't take it out! See? Quick and easy (and delicious)!

The chili gives you a total of 135 calories. Yeah, not a lot. Split it into two servings (which is what I did) and you only get 67 calories. I had half of it over angel hair spaghetti--which was awesome!--and the other half over rice. If you want healthier, keep to whole grain spaghetti or brown rice. Either way, you really need to have it with something in order to get enough energy to consider it a meal. But it's great for weight-loss, because it's very filling without many calories. And this is the kind of thing that will freeze really easily, so I can make a ton of it and then have it on hand to grab as I run out the door in the mornings.

Full nutrition info:

135 calories
1 g fat
880 mg sodium
230 mg potassium
25 g carbohydrate
7 g protein
6% RDA vitamin A
4% RDA vitamin C
4% RDA calcium
12% RDA iron

Monday, January 21, 2008

Proving It

I am not a coddled, West Coast wimp.

I am a hardy, fierce, nothing-stands-in-the-way-of-a-good-time, good ol' Midwestern girl.

That's right; I finally got outside for my run.

It was 37 degrees F, yesterday afternoon, with 17 MPH winds (gusting to 30 MPH), which marked the wind chill at just below freezing. But it was a perfect day for a run.

Beides which, it is currently 34 degrees F, and my first thought when I saw that was, "Hmm, I should go out for a run before it gets cold again."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

It's . . . Still Not Worth It

After discussing with some fellow triathlete/bloggers about outdoor, winter running, I felt shamed into getting my long run outdoors today. Seven miles, all of them outside. And . . .

It's just too cold.

I got about half a mile from the club, swearing the whole way, turned around and ran back. My original intention was to get my gloves and head back out, but then the steam room sounded like a much, much, much better idea.

So I've decided that I need to work up to this, a little bit. For this week, I'll wait until tomorrow for my long run, because it's supposed to be warmer tomorrow. Today, I'll do my long bike (indoors on my trainer). For my next outdoor run, I'll try warming up on the treadmill or trainer for ten minutes or so, just enough that I'm already warmed up when I head out. And I will remember my gloves and hat. And I will maybe purchase a wicking base layer.

Because I might be able to handle a 30-minute tempo run on a treadmill, but if I have to run my long runs without going anywhere, I'm gonna go crazy!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's Not Worth It

Yes, I am an athlete, and yes, I am used to making sacrifices. I am willing to undergo what normal people would consider extreme pain in the pursuit of faster speed. I even enjoy pushing my body well beyond the point of uncomfortable.

And I tell myself that it's not that bad. Once I get going, it will feel great. That I just have to go for a couple miles, and then I'm done for the day.

But you know what? 13 F is just too cold for a tempo run.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Evo Tri

The online tri community is all abuzz with news of this press release, announcing the formation of a new and exciting triathlon team.

I don't think I'll apply (I think the team is a little bit more into the longer-distance races, and I want to focus more on olympic distance and shorter), but Iron Wil has gotten me thinking about my contribution to the tri community. When I was just starting out with triathlon, preparing for my first time through Shawnee Mission, I used The site has a resource that allows you to input race distance, race date, and your fitness level, and it spits out a free training plan for you. They also have a pretty strong online community, full of helpful, experienced athletes willing to offer advice to the timid newbies who stumble upon them. It was an important resource for me, as I freaked out about all the intangibles of race day, not really sure what I was supposed to do for training, or for racing, or for anything.

In the spirit of giving back, I'm establishing a beginners' guide to triathlon. Granted, I'm not much more than a greenhorn myself, but I do this for a living, ya know; I can offer at least a few tidbits, I think.

In the future, look for the "beginner" label for posts. I have plans to provide basic information about base training, goal setting, as well as swim workouts, track workouts, and of course spinning workouts. If you stumble upon this site looking for a particular resource, let me know; I'll see what I can do.

And I guess we'll see where this takes us.

It's Worth It

You know how to sacrifice. Whether you're a runner, a triathlete, a duathlete, or a weekend warrior at the gym, you know how to sacrifice.

You know about 5:30 wake-up calls to get in a workout before work. You know about 4:30 wake-up calls to get plenty of time in the transition area before your race. You know about forking over thousands for a bike, a new cassette, the deepest dished wheels, the slightest aerodynamic advantage. You know about missing weekend revelries because you want to prepare your body for the next day's long run. Maybe most significantly, you know how to deal with temporary suffering in the moment--the grueling intensities required for threshold workouts and race day performance--in pursuit of a goal that means that much to you.

You--an athlete--know how to sacrifice.

Regular people, not so much.

This article comes from the annals of personal finance (another topic of great interest to me, poor, debt-laden college student that I am). It touches on the idea that people would rather have what they want now (a $4 latte, God forbid) than something immeasurably better later (a $50,000 college fund). I would guess that athletes aren't quite as bad at this, at least in a relative sense; if nothing else, I would bet that you're able to discipline your spending better now than you could before you started making the sacrifices required for training--or would be capable of that discipline if you tried. Of course, we might forgo the $50,000 college fund for a $5,000 bike, but the principle still applies: we're used to sacrificing; we are athletes.

I want to talk briefly about an investment that I believe is worth sacrifice: a gym membership. First I'll cover what I see as the benefits of gym membership, then the
sacrifices necessary for gym membership, then I'll add some caveats. And in the interest of full-disclosure, I'll also note that I am not a member of a gym; I am an employee. In other words, I don't pay for my gym membership. So know that while I try to convince you why you should.

First of all, believe it or not, my gym membership saves me money. My gym provides shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, hairspray, blow dryers, and towels (I'm sure there are other things, but these are the ones I use). Since I'm at the gym pretty frequently, I mostly shower there; it's a rare day when I shower at home. If I were really serious about my frugality, I could conceivably avoid showering at home altogether. The point is, I don't spend much money on toiletries. I use shampoo maybe once a week; I don't have to own body wash; my deodorant sees half the use it normally would. I actually don't use hairspray or a blow dryer, but if I ever want to, I don't have to buy them first. Are the savings from these toiletries significant? Nah, not really. And I still have to budget for toiletries, because I still have to buy toothpaste, floss, toothbrushes, and face wash. But these are little benefits of gym membership that you could make work for you, if you were so inclined.

But there are many other benefits of gym membership besides the minuscule savings related to toiletries. The biggest one, at least in my mind, is a swimming pool. I live in Kansas. It is currently snowing outside. Now in the summer, I can usually find time to go out to the lake and swim for free (if in dirty, fish-infested, slimy, dark, disgusting, algae-filled water). In the winter, not so much. If I don't have a gym membership, I don't do swim training between October and April. Well, November and March, if it's a warm year. In addition, my gym has a hot tub, a heated therapy pool, a dry sauna, a steam room, and--this is a big one--a SwimEx. That means that my longest swim this season will not be 60 laps in a short-course pool, but rather an hour spent swimming in place, with no need for turns or the consequent disruption of my pace. All of these things are out of reach for me. I have no idea how much an indoor, never-ending pool would cost, but I'm pretty sure that the gym membership is a better deal.

In addition, I have my choice of a variety of cardio and weight machines, lots of free weights, stability balls, wobble boards, foam rollers, yoga mats and tools . . . some of those things I have at home, but there's no way I can get the variety in my workouts that I am able to have at the gym; I simply don't have enough money for all that equipment (not to mention I have no place to store it).

Finally, my gym offers a wide variety of aerobics, pilates, cycling, water aerobics, and yoga classes. All these classes are taught by certified instructors, a.k.a. people who know what they're doing. Which means that if you don't know what you're doing, you can exercise in a safe and supportive environment because you have a fitness professional watching out for you. All of these factors add up, and so I think that a gym membership is going to be beneficial for most people.

As I've pointed out, there's no way you could afford to equip yourself with the kind of resources (equipment and personnel) that are available at a gym. But still, the money for your membership fees has got to come from somewhere. You can total up those little toiletry savings and see exactly what they could do for you. I can't really guess what those savings would be; I don't know how much soap you use. But I know for sure that it's not enough to pay for a gym membership every month. So this is where you get into the real sacrifices. At my gym, you'd have to sacrifice $40-$50 a month for a membership. Where does that money come from?

My best suggestion is to kill two birds with one stone by trimming off habits that are both calorically and financially expensive. For example, my mom eats lunch out every day. Not only does this cost $4-$7 every day, she's probably getting 200-300 more calories per day on average than she needs at lunch. So, conservatively, if she were to make her own lunch--or even bring something like a Healthy Choice microwave thingy (shudder)--she could save a couple bucks every day and cut back on the number of calories she consumes. And there's your gym membership. Another one I've heard at work (I'm not a membership sales person, by the way; I'm a fitness class instructor and trainer) is smokers claiming that they want to join a gym but can't afford it. Well if you have an addictive habit (I'm looking at you guys with an overpriced coffee in your hand), get rid of it, or at least scale back. Like get a cup of coffee once a month, or go out to lunch once a week with friends, or limit yourself to only smoking cigars occasionally. Or--and here's one that hits close to home--only have one drink when you go out to a bar (if there's a two-drink minimum, make the second drink something without alcohol).

I know it's not as easy as I make it out to be; when you don't buy your morning shot of caffeine, it's not like that money goes into a special high-yield fund; it just languishes in your checking account until you do something else with it. Or anyway, that's how mine works. My point is that the money is there if you want it; I'm trying to take away that excuse of "I just don't make enough." No, you make enough; it's a question of priorities.

But money isn't the only thing you have to budget; the other resource you need to make a gym membership work is time. I know several people who have been members at Genesis since last fall, who are just now getting into the gym. The trick, once again, is sacrifice. Are you a mother of two who works full time, makes delicious and nutritious lunches for your husband and kids, knits, is on the PTA, and volunteers at soup kitchen on Saturdays? Yikes, your schedule's full! And you still make delicious and nutritious lunches for your kids and
your husband? I am impressed!

But can you wake up at 5:00, get a 5:30 aerobics class in, and be home in time to wake the kids up for school? Probably, yeah. It might be hard to get used to it; you might be a very cranky aerobics participant for the first week or so; but you can budget your time to get a workout in. Once again, just a question of priorities.

I'm not saying that everyone should belong to a gym. You know, a lot of people would be fine with walking on a bike path three or four times a week, or running on a treadmill while watching a movie with the family. And those are good options. You definitely don't need to be spending $450-$600 a year on a gym membership in order to be healthy and fit. What I'm saying is that membership at a gym, with the availability of showers, saunas, steam rooms, pools, multiple cardio and weight machines, group fitness classes, and fitness professionals, is a worthwhile investment. You might own a treadmill and some dumbbells, but there's no way you could afford to have the variety of equipment available at a gym. And you can always rent a yoga or aerobics video at the library, but that's nothing compared to having a certified instructor come over and physically adjust your position so that you get the safest and most effective stretch.

If you're reading this, you're probably an athlete. You know how to sacrifice. But maybe you're not an athlete; maybe you're not even particularly fit, physically. I can tell you from experience (before I got into triathlon, I was not physically active at all) that it might be a long process to get used to making these kinds of sacrifices, but it's not particularly difficult if you ease into it. Before long, you won't even miss that overpriced coffee.

::Note:: This is the first time I've tried to write anything relating to finance; it's not really my topic, but I felt inspired. Any feedback is totally welcome and appreciated.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Yikes, that was a difficult swim workout. I warmed up, drilled, and did a few hard 50s to get the heart going, then I hopped in the SwimEx for my long, continuous swim. Last week I swam 20 minutes; this week I swam 24. And I swear I could tell when 20 minutes had passed, because I felt sooooo tired.

I'm hoping that it's just because I lifted yesterday morning, and my arms are tired from that. Otherwise, I'm going to have to reconsider increasing my volume by 20% every week.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sh-sh-sh-sugar high!

Oh. My. Goodness.

I need to get my consumption of sweets under control.

Which is sort of a strange thing to say, because I don't eat a ton of sweets. I might indulge in a cup (not a bowl, mind you--a cup) of ice cream with my family every now and then . . . I might even add some hot fudge and melted peanut butter (I know, I'm going to triathlete hell). But in general, dessert for me is frosted shredded wheat with 1% milk, whole grain bread with 2 tbsp (exactly) of peanut butter, or an apple.

But for some reason, the past two days I have not been able to keep my hands off the sugar! Well, to be fair, today it wasn't just the sugar. I wanted to eat everything in sight. But this past weekend, I consumed all kinds of junk with nary a thought for my energy needs, high-quality fuel, my health!

And tonight, I think I paid the price.

Now I'm not sure if this is psychosomatic or a legitimate problem, but my heart felt . . . erm, flighty tonight. Agitated. Like it was beating too many times, fluttering away in my chest, trying to escape (probably from the bad food I've been pouring into it). Which is a strange feeling. What exactly does a heart murmur feel like? Could this be a result of too much sugar? Because even though I've had more than usual today, it's still not that much (relative to the general population).

At any rate, it's settled down now, and I'm not sure what to do about it. Am I craving those simple carbs because my body's not getting enough fuel? Along with the 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls and the high-volume base training (not to mention the daily Group Ride classes), is eating less than 2,000 calories a day simply asking too much of my body's recovery capacity? Should I up the intake a little bit, keep the deficit to 500-1000 calories a day? Or am I just lazy/hormonal/stressed to the point that I have to stay out of the kitchen to prevent (bad) food from constantly entering my mouth?

It's a real dilemma; is it better for my health to eat more, or am I just using the high volume as an excuse to eat?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Just Warming Up: Jan 7-13

If you look a little to the right, you'll notice I've added my entries at the Trifuel training log as an RSS feed.  It's a little screwed up right now (that first entry is actually an entry for Shawnee Mission 08), but it'll start to look normal after this next week.

And now that I'm into the bulk of the season, you can expect more workouts and recipes.

With that out of the way, I'll tell you a little bit about my first week back in the flow.

It's been an interesting week.  I didn't get in all of the workouts I've scheduled, and a few that I did get in sucked.  It's okay, though; this is also the first week of full schedule for the Genesis Multisport Club--this means that I'm not only up at 4:30 every morning, but also that I'm teaching a total of 25 hours, between GMC classes, water aerobics, and spinning.  Honestly, the 4:30 wake up calls were getting to me, by Friday.  After a weekend of sleeping in and resting, I'm feeling quite a bit better, but my weeks are going to be loooooong.  I hope that my body will get used to this new regimen; otherwise, the lack of sleep will be one more element keeping me on the line between training and overtraining.

My long runs have been the highlight of my week--long swims, too, for that matter--so much so that I'm really looking forward to doing my endurance swim; in fact, I wish that it were scheduled for tomorrow instead of Tuesday.  And both of my long runs (both 6 miles) have felt so wonderful!  I've felt strong and fast and completely capable . . . I can pick up my leg speed or extend my stride at any point during those 6 miles with minimal effort.  My heart rate goes up, of course, but it's not like I'm barely shuffling along.  And I'm having no trouble keeping my heart rate in zone 3 (although I have been debating exactly where zone 3 is . . .)

For bike volume, I'm primarily on a spinning bike.  I know, I know . . . far from ideal.  But I got a flat on my long run at 18 miles last week and now I can't find my tire levers!  So even though I have spare tubes and a pump and everything I need, I can't change my tire.  And for crying out loud, today was a lousy day to have my bike be inaccessible!  It was absolutely perfect out today . . . warm enough that I rolled my windows down on the way home, with absolutely no window and a beautiful, big, blue sky . . . but no bike for me.  Sad face.  I'll buy new tire levers this week and change my tire and go ahead and get in a long ride . . . but the weather will probably be crap and I'll have to do it all inside watching TV or listening to Endurance Planet or something.  Sigh . . .

In the meantime, I teach five cycling classes a week.  I've finally done Group Ride enough that I've trained my heart rate to stay low.  The first time I did the class, I think my max heart rate was 181 or 185 or something (too lazy to whip out the training log right now).  Now I keep my heart rate in zone 3 the whole time, without a great deal of effort (although I do cheat on adding resistance).  Bottom line, I'm getting plenty of saddle time (like upwards of 5 hours a week), if not in my actual saddle (or on an actual road).

That's been my week.  I'm loving it, now more than ever.  I can't wait to see the adaptations my body makes in this 2008 season.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Full Swing

Two very important things happened this week.

First of all, I began my training on Saturday with a 6-mile long run. It felt amazing. It was cool enough that I started with a sweater, but warm enough that I was ready to take it off by the end of the jog. The sky was slightly overcast, the wind was minimal, and my ipod was pumping out some great tunes (I have to admit that I may have thrown in some fartlek-type sprint intervals because of the songs I was listening to . . . so much for staying in zone 3). My pace was apparently 10:55 (according to gmap pedometers), which surprised; I felt like I was running much faster. I suppose I shouldn't be too concerned with pace, at this point in the season. My main concern is that I felt awesome during the whole run! I also got in an 18-mile bike on Sunday (it was supposed to be 30 miles, but I flatted around mile 18 . . . I had a spare, but no air pump). Amazingly, the weather was even nicer on Sunday than it had been Saturday, and I passed a ton of cyclists, walkers, joggers, and parents out with their kids. Tuesday was my first endurance swim workout, and I felt amazing. I did my warm-up and drill sets in the pool, then hopped into the Swim-Ex (I know! how cool is is that my gym has a swimming treadmill?) for my endurance set--a 20-minute continuous swim. I set the timer, found a speed that felt challenging but aerobic, and started swimming. I had the speed set at 2.3 MPH (covered about 1325 yds in 20 minutes), which is probably the fastest I've ever done an endurance set. But I'm skeptical about the merits of swimming in the current; I think the current might provide extra buoyancy. All-in-all, it's been a good start to the season!

The second big thing that happened this week was the beginning of Genesis Multisport workouts. All-in-all--between multisport workouts, cycling classes, and water aerobics--I'm teaching about 25 hours a week. As jobs go, that's not a lot of time, but it seems like a lot more with coaching. Also, my days begin at 4:30, now, every weekday, thanks to the multisport club's 5:30 a.m. workouts (but I can't complain too much, since I'm the one who set up the schedule). That's not so bad on Mondays and Wednesdays, when I get to go home at noon, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when I have to be in town from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., it can be exhausting.

Fortunately, coaching the multisport club is incredibly rewarding. Right now, we have a solid member base of about 12 people (although I'm sure we'll build momentum in the next few weeks; after all, it's only been three days!), half of whom have been coming to the 5:30 a.m. workouts every single day. They're a dedicated group, and I look forward to seeing how they improve in the next several months. And I'm holding up okay, so far; I've been able to get plenty of nap time in, and I'm having a surprisingly easy time of waking up at 4:30 (so far).

It's shaping up to be a very good, very exciting year!

Friday, January 4, 2008

:Rev: :Rev: :Vroooom:

I got my February issue of Triathlete this week. Normally, I would have torn straight through it by now.

But I've barely read five pages.

Part of the reason is that, as we all know, Triathlete has become ridiculously populated with advertisements. Seriously. It's ridiculous.

But the other reason is that I cannot stand to read another article about triathlon. Because I just have to get out there and train.

I think that means I'm ready. It's time to start. And the forecast for this weekend is for temperatures in the 60s.

There could not be a more perfect week to phase out of the off-season.

Oh, and also the Genesis multisport club starts training on Monday. At 5:30 a.m. So I will be at the gym at 5:30 on Monday. And every morning after that.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Workout Mix

All of these songs have tempos between 90 and 95 BPM, which will allow you to run/bike to them at 90-95 RPM. Just a little mix to let you know I care.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I Passed!

This morning I took my National Strength and Conditioning Association certification exam.

And I passed!

Which means that I am now officially a certified personal trainer!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ringing the New Year in Right

What was the first thing I did in 2008?

Did I have a glass of champagne? Did I kiss a pretty girl? Did I sing about old acquaintances?

No, no, and no.

Because at 12:00 a.m. on January 1, 2008, I pulled on my shoes and went out for a jog.

And that's how I rang in this new year.

Best wishes for 2008, all!