Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Laying a Brick

It's been embarrassingly long since my last brick workout, but I finally remedied that tonight with a spin class/run workout.  I wasn't sure how my legs would feel on the run and was surprised with how strong I felt and the pace I was able to maintain.  

This is the second week in a row that I've taken spin class with Cindy and she teaches an awesome class.  Unlike some other instructors who seem to have no clue, she has a knowledgeable approach that seems to relate to "real" riding.  Her classes are heavy on intervals with a lot of high resistance riding and simulated hills.  Because I haven't been able to ride outside I've been making sure to push as hard as possible during my classes and tonight was no exception.

As class was coming to a close and the other riders were going through their stretching routines, I started the clock on T2.  Before class I'd placed my bag at the edge of the room with everything I needed for my run.  I tried to simulate the urgency of race day but I can't say it was my fastest transition; for now I'll blame it on all the extra stuff I needed for a night run in the semi-cold (headlamp, gloves, Road ID, reflective singlet, etc.).  Once I was all suited up I hit the road for roughly 4.5 miles at an 8:15 pace and it felt great: I could hardly tell that I had just been riding for an hour.  

I'm not sure that I'll incorporate a weekly brick workout through the winter, nor do I think I need to until training really kicks up.  Nonetheless, tonight was definitely a confidence building training session.  It reminded me how far I've come as a triathlete and let me know that the base I've been working on this winter is strong.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Check Your Ego at the Door

So...continuing on my quest of trying new things/workouts, Saturday I took my first step aerobics class. After a solid core workout and some swimming strength exercises I still had some time to kill before spin class began and figured I'd give it a try.  Before this class my only experience with a steps had been during some circuit training at a Planet Fitness in Texas, the basic moves of the Wii Fit, and those brutal days when my old elevator broke forcing me to trek up 4 stories.  

A quick glance around the room and a scan of the sweatsuit-clad instructor gave me the confidence that this class wouldn’t be a problem.  Surely I was as fit as or fitter than anyone else in the room; how hard could this be?  It turns out that “stepping” is pretty damn hard.  The difficulty for me came not from the physical exertion (although I’ll admit that by the end my legs did start to tire) but instead from the coordinated moves and the abbreviated commands being shouted at me.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Dangerous Out There

I used to laugh at my mom when she’d suggest that I pass up on “dangerous” activities before any major life event.  Scoffing at authority any chance I got, I usually disregarded her advice; she was only being an overprotective mother after all.  I think it was only once or twice that she had the last laugh (although she likely didn’t think it was funny nor was she glad to be right): “don’t go play outside, you are getting Bar Mitzvah-ed soon” of course led to a good rollerblading crash and knee-skinning.  But I digress.  

As I become more involved in triathlon I find myself beginning to worry about injuring myself doing anything other than swimming, biking, or running.  Surely anything can happen while doing any of those three things, but that doesn’t count.  This past weekend I went snowboarding up in Hunter Mountain.  Note: Yes, generally it is good for snow to have fallen in order to snowboard but it seems like that won’t be happening this “winter.”  We had to rely on the crappy manmade stuff which, having been brushed off by midday, gave way to the typical unforgiving iciness of the northeast.  

My boarding is progressing a lot (I’ve probably been out a total of 7 days in my life) and my confidence is growing too.  After a few smooth runs on a long blue trail (moderate difficulty) I decided to try my feet at an “easier” black diamond.  The guys who mentioned the trails difficulty left out the part about the moguls:  “seriously guys.”  The run featured a confidence-shattering series of falls, just as what little snow on the ground was fading to ice.  It was during the latter part of this run that I couldn’t help but get nervous about jeopardizing my ability to SBR.  I put in a few more runs in the afternoon with less success than I'd had in the morning (much of it caused by the brutal conditions). The soreness I’m still feeling and the bruises I am wearing are proof that the ground was rock hard: like falling on pavement.  Yesterday I felt like I’d been in a car wreck and today the pain lingers albeit it’s a bit duller.  I missed my typical back-to-back spin classes yesterday in order to rest my body, but I'll be swimming today despite the remaining aches.

I’ve never been one to let fear prevail or to skip out because there’s a chance something could happen, but I’ve known quite a few people who’ve had to miss a big event because of injury (large or small, tri-related or not).   I suppose I’ll just have to be smart about what to do when.  Right now I am still 8.5 months out from IMAZ and have a cushion to recover if anything was to happen.  As the big day gets closer I’ll have to be more careful and cautious.  I’ve already decided that I won’t be doing the northeast Tough Mudder (which I’d been eyeing for awhile) to minimize the chance of injury.  Injury prevention from training is already a big part of being a triathlete, this is just one more thing to think about.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A New Kind of Workout

Today, as I made my way through a variety of uneventful errands, I took notice of a unique type of run workout.  It doesn't require any warmup, a watch of any kind, special gear, or even running shoes, yet dozens of Long Islanders (those who are fit and those who are not so much) seem to have it down pat.  It's called the "damn it's cold, I need to get in that store or back to my car, shuffle."  It is very reminiscent of the South Florida summer version, "damn that's some serious rain, I better hurry up."  Sidebar: the Mythbusters say that you actually get wetter when you run in the rain.

Despite the cold, I went about my business today without breaking into the cold-weather trot.  Instead I saved my energy for an afternoon of indoor rock climbing, which was followed by a blustery 6-mile evening run.  I have to say that I'm getting more and more comfortable running in the cold; with the proper gear it has actually begun to border on enjoyable and invigorating (I guess that's what people have to tell themselves in the winter).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

He Does Exist (and is Still a Triathlete)

My apologies to those very few of you (hi Mom) who check this site often in the hopes of finding something new to read.  The last month or so has been a whirlwind: New Year, new job, new home, new climate, new training grounds.  The beginning of 2012 has been about making adjustments in every sense of the word.  I miss my life in Miami and the luxuries it afforded, but I am getting more comfortable in my new home.