Sunday, February 28, 2010

Orbea owner

I am the proud owner of an all carbon women specific Orbea road bike with Ultegra and 105 components! After test riding bikes for weeks and spending hours on the computer researching, when I got on this bike, I was screaming YES, THIS IS IT before I could get too far. When I returned to the store with the bike, the look on my face told everyone in the store that this was my bike! I still had to go back to another bike store and spend quite a few more hours on the computer before handing over the card today, but boy, am I happy!

Who knew that bikes did not come with pedals??? I sure didn't!! Plus you need special shoes to be able to use the special pedals. I decided to go with the road shoe with pedals that I have to clip in to, so there is a big learning curve there. I have plenty of accessories to get  and learn how to change a flat tire before heading out on the road.

Running again!

I was really timid about starting to run again. My pulmonologist told me in mid January that I still had one spot on my lung that could be a little bit of pneumonia or could be a spot that just had not cleared up from my bout with pneumonia. He asked that I get another x ray in another month. So, I was scared to run because in my mind there was a possibility that I still had a touch of pneumonia and I didn't want to push myself. I didn't admit this to anyone and just kept it moving. My focus was primarily on spinning and swimming and walking/jogging a little on the treadmill due to the weather and walking outside. I went back to see him on Thursday and the spot on my lung is gone. So today, I ran. Did you hear that?? TODAY I RAN!!! Well... I jogged, but we won't get all technical about it.

My friend Adrienne committed to running the GW Classic with me on April 25th and to start training with me at least once per week for the next 8 weeks. Isn't it funny how I am recruiting all of my friends to train with me?? I wonder if they realize what I'm doing?? I drove out to her house and showed up bright and early at 8am even though flurries were falling. I pretended that I didn't see the flurries when she first brought them up, in fear that she would say, "oh hellz no, I ain't running in the snow!". She was a trooper about it and put on her skiing gear and we headed out. We tried to go to this cool park in Rockville but the paths were snow covered, so we ran in her neighborhood. We covered 2 miles. Mostly running. We did walk a bit, but I feel like we ran more than we walked. The goal is to eventually cover the distance without walking. The total distance that we will cover without stopping one day is 3 miles. THANKS ADRIENNE FOR RUNNING WITH ME!! YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The Travel Diva and I hit up her fabulous gym today for a run on the treadmill and a splash in the pool. She offered to help out a wanna be Triathlete that can't swim and of course I took her up on her offer! She has the patience of Jesus! We started out by trying to get me to relax in the water and not tense up like somebody that's about to get tasered. Once again I freaked out while on my back, but I committed to practicing the backstroke between now and our next meet up.  We moved it over to the lap pool and tried to get me to perfect turning and breathing while I freestyled. She said that my technique was good and we started to work on me not stopping so quickly. I kept stopping and panting and I didn't know why, until we were about to get out of the pool. I realized that when I come up for air, instead of taking a big deep breath in, I was breathing out when I lifted my head out of the water. Therefore, I was not taking any air IN and getting tired and having to stop. So now that we have identified what the problem is, I will be more mindful to take in a big gulp of air when I take my head out of the water. Sounds like common sense, huh? Well, it wasn't for me.... Before long, I will be swimming the entire length of the pool. And next? I will be swimming laps baby! Yes, ME swimming laps! You... betcha!!!! Thanks Travel Diva!! You are EVERYTHING!!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pain in the butt

I got back to spinning class after a week off. I liked the instructor and when she started the music, I had to fight back my smile! I actually missed spinning! I even got to class 15 minutes early so that I could get in a full 60 minutes of spinning. I was feeling good until.... we had to stand. Standing made me realize that my butt went numb even though I had on bike shorts. Maybe I have too much " junk in my trunk" or something, because, my butt was hurting... I stuck in out and was glad that she had us standing a lot to give my butt a break. Sore butt and all, I can truly say that I missed spinning!! I burned over 800 calories in 1 hour! I may go back in the morning....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Getting back on the horse

I took a few days off from swimming while I traveled. The plan was to get back on the horse on Monday. I had several awesome friends write to me with words of encouragement and I truly appreciate them for doing so. I even had 2 fabulous friends offer to spend some time with me at the pool! I will surely take them up on the offer.

I showed up to the pool at American University a little early on yesterday to give my self plenty of time to visualize myself swimming and doing all of the techniques that I have been taught. I saw one of the swim coaches who told me the strokes they worked on during Sunday's class in my absence. My total time in the pool was 45 minutes and while I can't say that I left being a pro, I can say that I am much better than I was when I showed up. I didn't swallow too much water last night and still don't feel totally comfy on my back, by I am better. I will go back tomorrow and will leave being able to say that I am even better than yesterday.

The plan was to swim Monday- Thursday, but I didn't make it today. Today was the perfect example of why I should get to bed at night, get plenty of rest and get most of my training done in the mornings. I did not work out today at all. Getting up and getting to the gym at opening time on tomorrow may be the best plan of action for tomorrow. We'll see how that works out...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I just don't get it

I just don't get it. Kids can do it, the mentally challenged can do it, hell there are even some 70+ year olds at the dang pool doing it, but I JUST DON"T GET IT!! This is so frustrating to me. I figured that I would sign up for some private lessons, join a swim group, do what I am told, practice and whala.... I would catch on and be swimming in no time. NOT. I see what they are doing. I understand what they are telling me to do. However, when it's my time to try it, I freak out because I'm on my back or I can't breathe or I just don't do things in the proper order and wind up with lungs full of water. *sigh* The other night I felt like I had a small pool in my belly with the amount of water I swallowed.

I just don't get it. And it's frustrating. And it's making me re-think this whole personal challenge that I have set for myself. But I can't quit just yet.  I will go to practice in the morning, take a few days off while traveling and will re-commit to it. I will practice daily and go to AU to get some help. If I am not comfortable by my next group meet, then I may have to re-think this thing for real. I want to get it. I truly do. I WANT TO GET IT!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Last night I went to the pool at American Universiy to practice swimming. I went there instead of my gym, because there were swim coaches there that could give me some tips. I really don't know why I am not comfortable on my back in the water. Perhaps it's a control issue? Maybe it's because I can't see where I'm going?? I'm not sure what it is. The coach that was there, Dennis, gave me some tips to help me to relax more and let the water support me. It looks so easy and I really want to do it so badly, however I didn't leave as comfortable as I would have liked to be. I will go back again tonight to practice and  hope to leave being comfortable on my back and able to do some of the fancy stuff that the rest of the group learned to do on Sunday. I hope to perfect what they learned on tomorrow and practice what my private coach taught me too.

I am going out of town on Thursday and not returning until Sunday, so  I probably won't get any swimming in while away. I have to be honest and say that this is really making me wonder about my ability to be able to complete the race if it's tough for me to get the basics. Most people are trying to perfect their swim and I am in the infantile stages. I have 12 weeks until the first race and 18 weeks until the next one. I am hoping to get comfortable in the water, and learn to swim soon so I can master my freestyle stroke and be able to complete my races.

Off to buy some new running shoes and another bathing suit. The goal is to run for 30 minutes and then head to swim practice. Wish me luck....

You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

Sunday, February 14, 2010

On my back

Today I started the  American University's Masters Swim program for Triathletes and joined the beginners group. The other members of the group are NOT what I would consider beginners. I feel that some of them should have been in the intermediate group. I learned from my last swim instructor that I am not comfortable on my back while swimming or trying to float. Guess where we stated out today? You betcha... on our backs! She first asked us to swim the length of the 25m pool and back so she could see what she was working with. I did make it down and back with a few breaks. However, when it was time to get on our backs, baaaby, I PANICKED. The instructor worked with me through it and gave me instructions while the class moved on to turning and doing all sorts of other fancy stuff. The entie 90 minute class, I worked on swimming on my back and not sinking...

I spoke with the folks who run the program. They encouraged me to come to the daily swim practices and promised to help get me up to speed. Appartently, some of the people in our beginner's class are doing the beginner's for a secon time. Unfortunately, I won't be there next weekend, but they said that if I come to practice they would get me up to speed. This is really not a good time for me to take a weekend trip, as I will miss a gear clinic with my club too. But, I have committed and spend my hard earned cash on this plane ticket, so I'm going. I can really see how this sport can consume all of your time. I really want to be good and to get there I need to practice. I hope that Dawn and I can get in some runs and maybe even a spin class while hanging out this weekend.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Learning to breathe

Today I got back in the water after a week's break due to this chemical dermititis situation that I had. When I think about it, I wonder if it was really the chlorine that did my skin in or if it was that product that I left on my face a little longer than usual after swimming the last time. My face was tight and itchy, so I thought leaving this stuff on would help and that's when the problem started. Anywhoo.. my face has peeled and looks much better (even smoother than before), so I headed back to swimming lessons today.

I really didn't perfect what my swim instructor taught me the last time and needed some more help with technique. I really have it now and she taught me some new techniques today. I am learning to breathe while swimming. I read that there is a cadence while swimming too and you should breathe like every 2 or 3 strokes, but I just didn't understand how. Well today, she taught me the techniques I practiced them. Once I get this down, I will be able to swim for longer periods of time and I can't wait.

American University has a  6 week Masters Swimming program for beginners that I will be starting tomorrow. I'm thinking that swiming with this group, my private instructor and praticing several times a week will get me to average swimmers status. Then there will be  6 weeks left after the Masters Swimming program and these private lessons for another run with a private instructor to fine tune my skills before my first Triathlon on May 9th.

Bike buying clinic

With the excepton of this one day mast May, I had not been on a bike since I was a little girl. It's true that you never forget how to ride, but I was a little wobbly at first.

I went to Conte's for a bike buying clinic this morning with my Tri DC NTP group. It was quite the learning experience. At first I just thought that I would just borrow my friend Pier's bike to train and compete in my Triathlons, but then I thought it would be cool to own my own bike. I had started to research bikes lately, and  baaaby there is more than I ever thought there would be to buying a bike. And they are so... expensive. The bike that I think I want (today) is over $2K. I took it and another bike for a test ride and I thought this one particular bike fitted me perfectly. It was a woman specific carbon bike with 105 componets by Specialized and it was super light weight.
I have enough information to now go into a couple of other stores and look around online. I hope to be the owner of a fancy new bike in the next few weeks. I think the one that I liked today was a bit costly, so I will try to modify my taste and be more economical about this whole thing.

I think Tri Unify is having a bike clinic soon. If not, I will go over to Arrow bikes and talk to those folks and see what they have. One of my customers told me to look at the Trek brand too. Decisions... decisions...

I'm off to a swim lesson now. Toodles....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Heart Rate Monitor

I am in love with my Heart Rate Monitor (HRM)! I think I am turning into a techy/geeky chic because I can't wait to get this other one that measures distance too! I put on my HRM today before I headed out for another day of trekking through the snow. I went to my friend Jolie's house and walked her mommy to the store and back and then I walked to the gym. By the time I got to the gym, I noticed that I had burned almost 900 calories already, so I was syked!!That gym is always packed! Man, folks in Columbia Heights believe in getting their work out in! I'm usually opposed to standing in lines, but no one was in front of me, so I waited for a treadmill. The goal was to run 30 minutes. I ended up walking/running it, as I was getting shin splints and had to take little breaks (and breathing breaks too, if I'm totally honest). It took me 30 minutes to cover 2 miles, but I did it. When I got off, I realized that I still had a little more in me, so I decided to do 30 more minutes of cardio. There was a longer line for treadmills, so I jumped on an elliptical machine.

I walked home, dug my car out for 1 1/2 hours and when I got inside, my HRM showed that I had burned 3,285 calories for the day!! See, with my HRM giving me that much feedback, it encourages me to be more active. I will try to continue to walk to the gym. If I can do it when there is snow on the ground and I can't drive, then I can do it at any other time. My HRM has encouraged me to live a more healthy lifestyle. Yes, it's confirmed, I love my HRM. He's my new boo. What shall I name him? How about Timex?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blame it on the Blizzard of 2010

I had been doing pretty good with keeping up with my workouts, despite the weather until today. What we had this past weekend was called a blizzard, but I still managed to get out and walk 6 blocks to the gym in it. Today? There was NO walking in that madness. We had 43mph winds and after my experience of snow blowing into my eyes last night, I wasn't about to try to walk anywhere today. Residents were highly encouraged to stay indoors, as the visibility was poor and to get anywhere, it is almost a must to walk in the streets, which would be extremely dangerous with motorists on the road. So, long story short, due to the blizzard today, I did not get to the gym to run today. I planned to play with my Nintendo Wii Fit Plus, but the desire to sleep, catch up with friends by phone and watch Lifetime has taken precedence. So, since I am now tied up into another Lifetime movie and simply don't feel like doing anything other than relax, I will not do anything to train today. Therefore, my reason/excuse for not training today is due to the blizzard of 2010. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Tomorrow's plan: see yesterday's post

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My new favorite thing

I have determined that spinning is for me. It's my new favorite thing! I was told by Gladys that it would be good to help build by endurance for cycling outdoors and Lloyd mentioned that he took spinning classes a lot when he first started doing Triathlons. I went to the gym today with the plan to bike for 30 minutes and jog for 30 minutes. Maybe it was because the federal government was off today, but the gym was PACKED. Like, every machine was taken, except this fancy stationary bike. I got on and immediately fell in love with this machine. I was able to pick my courses  (I rode along a cliff by the ocean) and how long I wanted to ride for (mileage wise). It ROCKED. I wound up staying on it for 1 hour and 5 minutes. The best thing was that I knew all about cadence. I tried to stick to 90 rpms, but that was tough! I now have a feeling for how fast I need to go on the bike to be competitive. Now, I just need to learn about how to select proper gears and tie it all together. I won't be learning about gears again tonight, as my Merlot is starting to kick in again....

Tomorrow's plan: run 30 minutes (maybe spinning again too!)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cycling Cadence

Last week I wondered how fast I should be going on the bike. Well, today in spinning class, the instructor keep saying "increase your cadence" and I had no idea what he meant. I recalled that Travel Diva mentioned that running with a cadence helped her get back into the sport, but on a bike? I was completely lost. I just kept pedaling away and committed to looking it up when I got home.

Apparently, cadence is how fast you are pedaling and is measured in rpms (revolutions per minute). When racing, a good cadence to keep is 90 rpms. What gear your bike is in factors into this somehow. My Merlot is kicking in, so that's all I learned today.

In my very short spinning experience (minus the fact that I don't have padded shorts yet to avoid a sore butt), spinning is the TRUTH. It's a good workout, you burn lots of calories and it seems to be just what I need to do to build my base. See, with the exception of that day in May when I sprained my ankle, I haven't been on a bike in like, 20 years! So, before I go out and purchase a bike (I am attending 2 bike clinics this week to learn more about purchasing a bike, weather permitting) and get outside, at least I will know how hard I should push myself by taking these spinning classes. Thanks to Gladys, Adrienne and Fergie, I worked up the nerve to start spinning classes, and boy am I sure glad I did! It's all... coming together (with a long way to go). More tomorrow....

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow workout?

I'm not sure if I am wimping out or not, but I burned 724 today walking to 2 different ATMs (the first one wasn't working) to get cash to pay the guy who dug my car out. Walking in snow that is knee deep and in some places thigh deep is a workout! Yeah... yeah... I know it's not a 30 minute run and a 30 min swim (or kicks like I planned to do, since I have this Chemical Dermatitis thing going on). Isn't burning 724 calories workout enough for one day? Plus, I plan to walk to and from the metro (14 blocks roundtrip) later when I go to watch the Superbowl. I think that is enough. Perhaps I will double up on tomorrow and do a spin class and then run?

Forehead like braille: Chlorine rash (Chemical dermatitis)

After swimming on Thursday, my face was unusually tight and itchy. I can home and washed it with my usual stuff and since then, my forehead has turned into a braille like texture that's red, rash-like and hurts. It awakened me at 5:30 this morning! I did a little research and apparently, when you are submerged in water for a period of time, water removes the thin layer of surface oil of the skin that normally locks in moisture. Without that protective layer, fluid in the skin and surrounding cells evaporate rapidly, drying the skin. Lack of moisture also causes tiny fissures to develop, causing the skin to become irritated and itchy. And if you have sensitive skin like I do,  this is a nightmare! Along with the moisture loss how about the chlorine? Chlorine is an irritant if you have sensitive skin.

Some call it the the swimming pool rash or Chlorine rash. This can occur the skin is exposed to excessive amounts of chlorine, which is a skin irritant. Chlorine is a necessary component in swimming pools in order to kill bacteria that can lead to skin and health problems. If the strength of the chlorine in the water is too strong or if repetitive exposure to chlorinated water occurs, a chlorine rash or chlorine itch may develop. This is a form of chemical dermatitis.

So, the best treatment or remedy is to stay away from chlorinated water for a while to let the skin recover from the chlorine exposure. But how am I going to do this when I am trying to learn to swim and get ready for my race?? I found that certain lotions can be applied to the skin prior to swimming to block the effects of chlorine on the skin. This is a useful procedure for those who need to be in swimming pools such as competitive swimmers.

I ordered a brand called DermaSwim Pro from this morning. I am also going to try a line of products by Dermalogica for my regular cleansing and moisture routine for awhile.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Rest day

There were 2 things that they stressed to us in the informational and those were 1. Consistency is important (the training plan calls for 6 days of training per week) and 2. Rest is even more important. I see what they mean. After that 6:30am spin class and 5 prior days of trying to get my endurance up with jogging again, learning to swim and conquering my 1st spin class, baby I was wiped out. The plan was to work from home on yesterday, but I ended up taking 2 naps before the end of the work day. I am glad that today is considered a rest day, because I can sure use it.

Sunday's plan: Swim 30 minutes + run 30 minutes

Friday, February 5, 2010

Spinning away

I headed back into my second spin class today determined to not leave feeling so beat up. This instructor was very helpful in setting up my bike (the right way) and even gave me some good tips. Throughout the class she kept an eye on me and motioned me to not bike with my legs gaped open and told me to relax my shoulders. Her music even rocked! I did suffer a tad bit with achy shoulders and butt, but I have a strategy to overcome those aches.

I want to know why all my friends who have taken spinning class never told me about getting padded shorts!?! That seat was killing my butt. I have to see about getting some of those in advance of the next class.

The class was 45 minutes and I burned 662 calories! I think I can get used to starting my day this way. Maybe the new goal will be to spin on M-W-F until I get my bike and then bike out doors on those days.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Garmin, Polar or Timex? How do I choose???

I really would like a watch that has a heart rate monitor, records calories burned as well record distance on the bike, run and swim. I found one that I can get by Garmin that does all 3, yet the reviews are terrible for the swim capabilities. So, do I buy the one that I can use for the bike and the run and get another one for the swim?? Decisions... Decisions.... and these these are so expensive! Tonight is research night on the Polar brand and maybe I'll look up the Timex one on tomorrow. I am going to go broke messing around with all of these gadgets and lessons. But I am LOVING every minute of it! This is such a huge deal for me. I'm so excited that I got started!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Treadmill snafu

Today's plan was to run for 30 minutes. I wasn't about to risk going outside and slipping in the snow, so I brought it to the gym. After 12 1/2 minutes, I wanted to go home to my couch! I much rather run outside. My shins started hurting and I just felt like if I was going to doing all that running, I should be going somewhere! I think the only thing that kept me going was this chic that was 3 times my size that was running about 3 times faster than me on the treadmill next to me. I started to try to hang with her and go as fast as she was, but almost slid off the back of the darn thing...

I hung in there, walked a bit, stretched a bit and managed to stay on for 35  minutes total including a warm up/cool down, but it was tough. Day 3 down and 136 days to go until the big race on June 20th.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Changing my stripes

I went to the pool today at my gym all proud and ready to practice my new swim techniques that I just learned on Sunday and was quickly intimidated by the other inhabitants of the pools swimming like they were natural born amphibians! (Did you know that dolphins are not amphibians? They are actually cetaceans, which are a kind of ocean dwelling mammal.)

I am determined to not only learn to swim, but to swim like the dolphins! I hope this swim instructor can help to change my stripes sooner than later, but I know that will only come with lots of practice. Maybe I will try going to practice in the mornings when the Michael Phelps wannabes are still asleep??

Monday, February 1, 2010

Spin baby spin!

Well... this isn't exactly what I looked like when class was over, but inside I was like gobeccagobeccagobeccaGO! I don't think my instructor set up my bike properly so my shoulders hurt...and my butt, wrists and ankles too. But I was happy that I overcame the intimidation of the dreaded spin class! I discovered that my handlebars need to be higher so my shoulders and wrists don't hurt, my feet should not be pointed so my ankles don't hurt and I should really stand when they stand and pedal so my butt won't hurt so bad. All in all? Not so bad! I may even go back on Friday!