Giving it a Tri

A new year means something different to everyone. For me it means time to reassess goals, priorities and maybe just do something that intimidates me. While I have a list of goals/aspirations for 2015, my first opportunity to do something that I’ve never done was presented just a few days into the year.

Lifetime Fitness held a weekend full of events to get people off on the right foot. One such event was an indoor triathlon. Josh and some of my other friends have been encouraging me to do a triathlon. I swam in high school and having running down. While I know how to ride a bike, it’s not my strong suit. I figured an indoor event would be perfect, especially because I don’t even own a bike.

The very beginner friendly event was arranged by time rather than distance. 10 minute swim (10 minute transition time), 30 minute bicycle (five minute transition) and 20 minute run. I did a few brick workouts and tried to swim once a week in order to prepare myself for the ‘race.’

Come race day I was ready. I checked in and prepared for my swim.

I was none too excited that I had a nasty head cold. With the heat in front of us complete, I hopped in for a quick warm-up. I was so glad I did because the water was freezing! When the whistle blew, I swam as fast as my breathe would allow me. I had to switch from freestyle to breaststroke a few times because I needed the break to catch my breathe. I swam 450 yards.

As I changed into my biking/running gear I chatted up another woman who was a seasoned triathlete. She recommended a local women-only tri that is great for first timers. Noted, we headed to the spin studio.

One of the Lifetime employees helped me adjust my bike and off I went. They had a DJ playing music which was really nice. I was just in my own zone but could see out of the corner of my eye the woman next to me continuously checking my computer to see how far I’d ridden. My legs were starting to fatigue towards the end and I adjusted the resistance down a bit. Total distance: 9.6 miles

One more event to go and I was feeling good. I was enjoying the change of pace to hours of running. I went up the stairs, picked a treadmill and waited to get the green light to start. I wasn’t really sure what speed to go for. I started at about a 8 min/mile pace and tried to pick it up every quarter mile. The 20 minutes flew by and before I knew it, I was done. Total distance: 2.55 miles

When I was done, I went over to stretch a bit and finish my Nuuns which tasted so good. The ending was pretty unceremonious. They just said, you’re done, have a good day. Not that I was expecting much, but something more like a refreshment table or something would have been nice.

Not that they really mattered, but I was curious as to how I stacked up against the other participants. I was 46th overall of 86 and 13th in women’s open of 36.

There is another indoor tri sometime in March or April. I think I’ll participate again and hopefully see improvements. I’m stilling thinking about an outdoor triathlon this summer, but with fall marathon plans, we’ll see how training shapes up.

Swim, bike, run – Getting my feet wet

About a month ago I got an email from Lifetime Fitness about its Commitment Day Festival. It starts with a New Year’s Day 5k and concludes with an indoor triathlon. Knowing we’d likely already be out of pocket for New Year’s Day I decided to register for the indoor triathlon. I’ve never done one, but decided that the start of the a new year was the perfect time to try it out.

This is a very beginner friendly event. Rather that prescribed distance for each portion of the race, it’s done by time. We start with a 10 minute swim, followed by 30 minutes on a bike and 20 minutes running. Between each portion there are allotted transition times which is nice. No need to feel super rushed.

While I have not been following any sort of official training plan, I’ve been incorporating swimming and biking into my weekly routine in addition to my three runs. Over the past several couple of weeks my weeks have looked something like this:

Monday – Swim/Bike

Tuesday – Run

Wednesday – Group class/Bike

Thursday – Bike/Run

Friday – Group class or off

Saturday – Long Run

Sunday – Swim

Not all weeks go as planned but I’ve been pretty good at swimming and biking at least two days per week.

Here’s what I’ve learned about my fitness level for an event like this.

1. Being in running shape and swimming shape are not the same at all. Getting back into swimming has been challenging. Each week I see improvements in my fitness. For example, two weeks ago in 30 minutes I only swam 900 yards alternating between freestyle and breaststroke. Today I swam 1200 yards in the same amount of time, still alternating strokes.

2. Stationary bikes are way more comfortable than Spin bikes. We will be on spinning bikes for the event so I’ve been going into the cycling room when there is not a class. Those seats hurt after more than 15 minutes. I need some padded shorts.

3. My legs are jello when I start to running after biking. It’s such a different motion, my legs are confused about what is going on.

I did a trial triathlon this morning just to see how my body did. I made it a bit longer than the one I’ll be doing just to see how it went, plus 10 minutes in the pool is hardly worth getting wet.

In 90 minutes I completed a 1200 yd swim, rode 6.9 miles and ran 3.5 miles. It felt really good and surprisingly less difficult than I anticipated. That was a relief. I’m excited for the 4th!

We’ll see, I may just like this triathlon thing and register for the outdoor one this summer at the lake across the street from my house.

New Routine with a Plan

Sadly I started this post two weeks ago. I really need to figure out how to blog in a timely manner.

I always struggle after a long training cycle with continuing a routine. Without a specific race to train for, I kind of just dilly dally my way through exercising a few times a week. Some of this is obviously training fatigue and recovery after a goal race. Some of it is just not knowing how to keep myself busy without getting bored. However, since we just joined a new gym I think it’s going to be different this time around.

We joined our local Lifetime Fitness. Beautiful gym, lots of nice amenities like a salon and spa, healthy little cafe, pool and free childcare. It also costs a small fortune. The cost plus, an nice incentive from our insurance company to go at least 12 times/month for a discount on the membership, have been enough to get me there as much as possible. I’ve tried some new classes, swam and hit the salon for a new do and massage.

Over the past two weeks my routine has looked something like this:

Monday – Cardio and some form of strength or Barre class

Tuesday – Run 3-5 miles (plus weights if I have time)

Wednesday – Swim for one hour

Thursday – Run 3-5 miles

Friday – Off

Saturday – Longish (9-10 miles) run with group

Sunday – Class or other cross-training

So far I’ve tried barre, cycle/sculpt and 50/50 cardio weights classes. There a several more classes I want to try including a variety of yoga classes. The kids really like the childcare area which is a nice bonus. One day a week Ella is also doing a Preschool Adventure Camp for 3.5 hours in the morning. This makes me feel a little less guilty about taking time for myself during the day.

We have just a few more weeks until Thanksgiving and one of several turkey trots in the Indianapolis area. I’m planning on doing a bit of speed work between now and then. We’ll see if a I sneak one more PR in this year.

Taper Is Here

I’m officially in taper mode. Last weekend I did my longest training run – 22 miles! For the first time, I also got to run it on part of the marathon course before race day. Lifetime Fitness has an annual run on the last 10 miles of the Twin Cities course – The Capital Run. When one of my fellow mother runners told me about it a few months ago, I was all over it!

Bright and early Saturday morning, I met Amy to carpool over to St. Paul. We arrived with time to enjoy our view on the capital building.

capital building

With the lines for check-in and the porta potties growing they waited a few extra minutes to start releasing waves of runners for the 10 mile and 20 mile courses.

Jess and Amy CR

Just after 7 am we were off. The first few miles we hit several stop lights which was annoying but Amy and I chatted with a nice guy who was trying to run a marathon in all 50 states this year. We lost him at a water stop, but enjoyed hearing about his aspirations.

One of the biggest concerns I’ve had about this race is the long hill (3 miles long) that starts about mile 20.

F_2014_MarathonCourseMap_ElevationThe trail we run on for our long training runs has lots of smaller rolling hills, so I’ve gotten in some practice, but a three mile long hill? Eek.

As we ran down it, I thought to myself, this isn’t so bad. It’s not too steep and seems much shorter. The view of beautiful houses didn’t hurt. We ran past the 10 mile turnaround until we hit 10.5 miles. It was shaping up to be a beautiful day. The temps were in the high 40s, low 50s by that point and we were both feeling great. It really was an ideal dress rehearsal for the race. Now I know that if we have similar temps, I’ll likely wear a tank top and capris. We stopped for waters and gels before gearing up to run back up the hill.

I was amazed that when we got to the base of the hill, it didn’t look all that big. Not as big as the course map would have you believe. We powered up, slowing down slightly to a 9:10 pace. Yes, I said slowing down to that pace. When we got to the top, we saw a tent with Swedish Fish and Gummy Bears. We were so hungry our stomachs were growling. We grabbed a handful of candy before we realized it was a running club’s tent and not part of our Lifetime Run. Oops. They were nice and we thanked them profusely before continuing on.

When we made the final turn and saw the capital building in front of us, we had some extra pep in our steps. We were both hungry, but overall feeling really good. We hit 21 miles just as we made it to the tented area with food. Amy went to hit the bathroom and grab us snacks while I finished one more mile.

Our average running pace for the run was 8:48 min/miles. That is purely time spent running. Add in there a few stops for water where we bumped into other members of our running group, you could probably add 10 minutes to that. I’d say we have both sped up this training cycle considering we never stopped talking during the run.

After to stretching and talking to a few other runners, we snapped a pictures, not the most flattering picture of me, not sure what my weird stance was.

After CR

On the car ride home we enjoyed the ice cold Cokes Amy brought, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins I brought and the chips from the event. They were delicious!

This was such a confidence booster. Over the next couple weeks I’m going to really think about my race strategy. Do I want to utilize pacers? Wear my own water or depend on the water stops? Maybe if I focus on those things I won’t drive myself crazy thinking I’m feeling marathon ruining mystery injuries.