Daily Archives: June 28, 2012

The Return of Two-A-Days

Back during my high school field-hockey days, preseason practices meant the return of two-a-days:  mornings promised conditioning exercises and sharpening skills through countless drills; evenings brought inter-squad scrimmages.  Playing was my favorite.  It’s not that I didn’t like conditioning—as a budding runnerd, I enjoyed blowing past my teammates during our timed-mile tests—but scrimmaging was much more fun.  However, both morning and evening practices were integral to our team’s success as a whole. (FYI—Both the conditioning and scrimmaging totally paid off.  During my senior year, we won the sectional title!)

Although these glory days have come to an end, I’ve taken the concept of two-a-day workouts to heart:  Today, as an aspiring triathlete, I’m bringing brick sweat sessions, and today’s training scheduled called for swimming and biking.

Workout #1 – Swimming

Coming off of last night’s successful CNY Triathlon training series, I was psyched to get in the pool and become a better swimmer.  At the YMCA this morning, I completed a total of 24 laps, which equates to 400m.  Like last night, I managed to do the freestyle for the first 200m, but then I switched to a breaststroke-front crawl combo. (My goggles kept fogging up, so I had to stop multiple times and wipe them off before I could continue—anyone else have this problem?) On a whim, for the final two laps, I used a kickboard to isolate my legs, work on kicking, and fight through fatigue.  I sure felt the burn!  Swimmers, what drills or sequences do you recommend for a novice like me?  By mid-August, I would like to be able to swim 1000m comfortably because the Cazenovia Triathlon’s OWS is 800m.

Workout #2 – Biking with Women and Wheels

After I rinsed off and slammed an energy gel, I headed over to Panera Bread to meet up with Syracuse Bicycle’s Women on Wheels riding group.  Like last week’s ride, our group lucked out with the weather—warm temperatures (around 80 degrees) and plenty of sunshine (and sunscreen!).  Trish led the six-women strong, 22.5-mile ride, and I had a blast!

This Facebook status update pretty much sums it up.

There was a ton of triathlon, running, and fitness talk, and I also had an in-depth conversation with one lady about women’s reproductive rights:  She told me all about the research she’s conducting for her doctoral degree, and thanks to my Women’s Studies minor, I kept an informed and critical (but still appropriate for a fun bike ride) conversation going.  Check out this list of money-words we mentioned:  agency, advocates, voting, Gloria Steinem, activism, feminist activism.  Cycling and feminism?  Sounds like a win-win to me!

Dinner

Today’s uneventful eats included a familiar breakfast, lunch with my mom and sisters at King David’s (poor lighting ruined all my photos!), plus some carrot sticks, yogurt, and mini-pretzels with PB.  Cedar plank salmon with brown sugar and cracked pepper blend and roasted veggies were on tonight’s menu.

I’m obsessed with salmon, and this dish is no exception.

I’m off to find some fruit.  Have a great night!

Aquabiking It

Wednesday night means CNY Triathlon Club training for this aspiring triathlete.  Although this was only my second time attending—and attempting to complete a swim-bike-run combination—I can already feel my abilities improving and confidence growing.  Let’s break it down!

I arrived at Jamesville Beach around 5:30 p.m.  First off, I checked in and got my number.

Next, I set up my transition area; I positioned my bike and laid out my helmet, towel, sneakers, and socks before wiggling into my new Zoot wetsuit.

Even though I left my Bodyglide at home (really, Carrie?), the suit went on without a hitch.  Just as when I tried it on at Fleet Feet, I worked it over my left calf and my leg first; once the suit sat on my hip, I switched over to the right side.  I slipped into the sleeves—left, then right—zipped it up, and that was that!  As I headed down to the waterfront, I saw Mike helping out with swimmer counting!  He completed the Ironman Syracuse 70.3 this past weekend, and it was great to see a familiar face.

Last night, I waited until it was time for the third and final wave of swimmers to wade into the lake; there’s no way I can hang with the speedsters in the first two waves!  Like last training session, the triangular course included stops at three buoys, and the total loop allotted to 400m.  Somehow—let’s call it beginner’s luck—I took the lead of my wave and swim to the first buoy, which was positioned about 200m away.  That’s right—I did the front crawl for 200m straight!  I know this isn’t a big accomplishment for most triathletes, but this was a personal improvement from last time.  After making a right turn around the orange buoy, I changed to the breaststroke—and continued to alternate between the freestyle and breaststroke for the rest of the course—but this was progress.  Don’t get me wrong—I was still winded after finishing the 400m-triangle, and I still have a long way to go. (For the Cazenovia Triathlon, I’ll have to do an 800m OWS.) However, the combination of knowing what to expect, my new wetsuit, and a little more swimming stamina than last time made the course easier.  It’s all about improving a little bit.

In transition one (T1, changing from swimming to biking), I didn’t take my sweet time, but I also didn’t speed through stripping off my wetsuit, drying off my feet, and putting on my socks and shoes.  As I was wiping off my feet—the path from the beach to the transition area goes through sand, stones, and grass—I heard someone say something very basic, but it really resonated with me:  “Don’t worry about drying off your legs and your body—they will dry on the bike in no time.”  This seems like a “well, duh!” piece of advice, but I moved through T1 much quicker by not wiping down my arms and legs.

Going into the training session, I planned to do just the swim and bike, a combination known as “aquabike.”  A lot of triathlons offer this duathlon option, and since I went running already, I decided working on my two not-so-strong events would be a wise choice; since I’m relatively new to road biking and a total OWS rookie, I know I will benefit more from working out alongside others.  Knowing I had to bike 10.8 miles and would be done for the evening, I wanted to open things up:  after going to Women on Wheels last week, I feel much more confident riding and shifting; and since I’ve been spinning regularly, I’ve built my lower-body muscles that determine cycling success.  Overall, I wanted to push myself during the bike portion, but not empty my gas tank completely.  My mentality for the training session—and my overall triathlon mantra—was to (hypothetically) set myself up for a good run.

I felt like a completely different cyclist tackling the course than during the first training session.  I knew the path, I had a good idea of its terrain, and I felt more comfortable biking, steering, and changing gears.  I actually passed lots of people, a few of whom I overtook on hills!  Other bikers still passed me, but fewer than during the previous training session.  One of the evening’s highlights was when an older gentleman rode alongside me after we climbed a hill.  “You sure looked good on that hill!” he exclaimed.  “I tried to pass you, but you tackled that hill and made it look so effortless!”  Later, before he set out on his run, he said more of the same:  “I can’t believe how easily you climbed that hill—you totally broke away from me!”  Again, let’s call it beginner’s luck.

Not only did I have a total blast at the training session, but I also know I’m improving:  The swim, although still challenging, was a little easier; my time in T1 was shorter and spent more effectively; the bike was actually a lot of fun; and running is my first love—I’m beginning to experience firsthand how so many people get hooked on triathloning.

There’s no training next week because of the 4th of July, but I will be more than ready to take on the course on July 11.

PS – In terms of the job search, I have an interview with a diet and fitness publication!