Wordless Wednesday – the Suit

Because I felt ballsy this morning…

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Thanks for reading!

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March 28, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Weight Loss, wordless wednesday. 1 comment.

Some Extra Motivation

I have received so much positive feedback from yesterday’s post about triathlon training and for that I am beyond grateful.

This morning I received a message from Meredith C. (@meredithclark) who is one of Monica’s Losers in the Birthday Challenge and a phenomenal and inspirational woman. She shared this story with me and it brought me to tears. I had to share it with you. Meredith is a very special person and I hope you take a few minutes to read this article.

I hope it will inspire you to promote health and wellness and become a positive role model for others the way Meredith has. I know it inspired me to follow in her footsteps.

Check it out: Meredith’s Triathlon

Thanks for reading!

March 21, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Monica's Birthday Challenge, Triathlon. Leave a comment.

And So It Begins

I have started to realize more and more lately that I greatly underestimate my capabilities; especially when it comes to running and the Couch to 5K program. Each Saturday starts a new week of the program for me and each Saturday I get scared wondering if I will be able to survive it.

Why? Why am I getting scared? I am still early on in the program and the most amount of running I am doing is five minutes at a time. In January I ran a mile, without stopping, in ~11 minutes so why the heck do I freak out about 5 minutes???

It’s because in my head I am still 286 pounds and completely incapable of doing such things.

It still hasn’t sunk in that I have spent the past 13 months exercising, building up strength, setting goals and accomplishing them.

Well, that might have been true until Sunday came and I put my body to a test. I surpassed my expectations which ended up completely changing my state of mind. But before I get to the test let me first tell you how it all started.

You remember how Paul decided recently that he wanted to start training for a triathlon? Then he went out and bought a new road bike? I was super excited for him. I thought triathlon training and cycling would be a great hobby for him and I was ready to take my spot on the sidelines cheering him on.

We started doing some research trying to figure out which tri he was going to do first. I started learning more about triathlons and the different levels (not sure that is the right word) you can choose to do. You probably know of the most famous triathlon- the Iron Man which is pretty freaking hardcore with a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run. That’s just nuts.

But did you know that they aren’t all that far? One of the ones Paul was looking into had three levels; super sprint, sprint, and Olympic. The super sprint (the shortest distance) is 200m swim, 10 mile bike, and 2 mile run. Hmmmm….that seems pretty reasonable for a beginner.

That seems pretty reasonable for eve a beginner like me.

I mean why shouldn’t I try to do a triathlon? I am already training to run a 5K (which is 1.1 miles longer than the 2 mile run in the super sprint), I ride the stationary bike all the time and most days I ride farther than 10 miles, and I’ve started to incorporate swimming into my workout routine 2-3 days a week so doesn’t it seem logical that I could quite possibly do a super sprint after a few months of training? I kind of started to think that it was.

Before I committing myself to this challenge and a new more demanding workout schedule I thought maybe I should do my own version of a super sprint tri at the gym (with the events done in reverse order for ease) to see if I had the strength and stamina to endure doing these three activities back to back. Heck, I don’t think there could have been a better time to push the envelope a little.

So Sunday I headed out to the gym on post for my own version of a super sprint triathlon.

First up was the 2 mile run. This portion made me nervous since I knew I could do the distances on the bike and in the swim but I had never ran for more than one mile so running two was going to be a challenge. It was also a challenge because I wanted to go all out but knew I had to conserve some energy in order to do the other two events.

I ended up finishing the two mile run in 23 minutes flat. I ran the first mile in 11 minutes but ended up walking a portion of mile two so that one took me a minute longer at 12 minutes. I was still thrilled beyond belief. I was pushing to try and complete it in 24 minutes (as a stretch goal) so to finish in 23 was a huge victory for me.

Then I hit the bike and man my legs were super loose and I was able to blow through those ten miles in 27:49, which is the fastest I have ever ridden 10 miles in. Yes! Another huge accomplishment for me and I was feeling fantastic.

Then I had to make a mad dash for the locker room, quick change into my swim suit and into the pool. 200m is only 4 laps at the pool I use and I thought I would just push, push, push my way through them the best I could. I’m not a great swimmer, my technique is shit, but damn I am buoyant and that certainly helps.

I did not have any gas left in my metaphoric tank or the looseness in my legs anymore and those four laps were BRUTAL. It took me 6:50 minutes to finish. Even though that is probably slow by most people’s standards it was better than I expected. Doing the swim portion last I was hoping to stay at/below a 2 minute lap and I finished at a 1:42 lap time. I was thrilled. Exhausted but thrilled.

So there I was, chillin in the pool, with a million thoughts running through my head. Last year at this triathlon I was looking into the person who came in first in my age group did it in one hour and seven minutes. That of course includes the transition times (swim to bike and bike to run) without the transitions her time was one hour and five minutes. Of course it is a lot more difficult to run and bike outdoors and swimming in a pool filled with racers is probably similar to swimming against a current so I am not thinking my 57 minutes and 39 seconds would be anywhere close to what it would be come race day (I am thinking outdoors this would have taken me at least 50% longer) but damn if it’s not a good starting point, right?

This made me very excited. I saw competing in a triathlon as a growing reality and started to view myself as an athlete in training instead of the 286 pound couch potato I once was. I was so excited I wanted to tell everyone I knew that I was going to start training for a triathlon but then I stopped myself and said that I really needed to discuss this with Paul first (who was out on a 40 mile bike ride) and so I waited.

At brunch I told him about my results (he knew I was going to do that test at the gym) and that I was really excited about how well I did. He asked me if this is something I wanted to do and I said yes. His response was sheer happiness. He said ‘great, that’s what I was hoping you would say’. He had such an amazing time out on his ride that all he wanted was for me to want to join him- for us to have this hobby and common interest we could do and train for together. That was awesome. I was now even more excited. Then he said ‘well, I guess we need to go bike shopping for you’. And after brunch that is what we did.

I’m going to skip all of the details of bike shopping (including the one about the douche at one of the stores we went to that wasn’t very helpful or the one about the guy at a different store that was super duper amazing and ended up selling me my first road bike) and I’m going to skip to some pictures. Isn’t she beautiful?

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Last night we went and bought my road bike and got it all set up and I bought all the necessities which included a bike rack for our car. Tim, the most amazing salesman and bike fit specialist in the history of cycling (who works at Bike World in Alamo Heights every day except Tuesday and Thursday) spent hours with me on Sunday and again last night getting me all set up on the bike. When he couldn’t get the fit just right he even swapped out the factory seat post for a better one and that made it just right. I could not be happier. Can’t you tell from my facial expression during the bike fitting?

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So here I go. Off to start a new adventure. Am I crazy? Maybe a little but is that necessarily a bad thing? 😉

Thanks for reading!

March 20, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness. 7 comments.

Pool PT

I didn’t even think to show a picture on yesterday’s post of the bathing suit I ended up getting. It’s a Speedo swim dress. I wanted to get a bathing suit that would hold up to frequent pool usage and that was meant to swim/exercise in opposed to beach wear. Although it is a swim dress it is a fitness suit, designed for swimming. It is hella comfortable and I love it.

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*Images from the Speedo website

I also love the fact that the on post gym has an indoor pool that opens at 5a on weekdays. This morning I was at the pool at 5a on the dot, with Paul by my side, for my morning workout.

After I had bought the suit Sunday I went to the pool with Paul so he could show me what the soldiers do during their pool PT sessions. I am not a great swimmer so I wanted to incorporate more exercises into my workout in addition to swimming laps.

This morning I took the exercises Paul taught me and created my own routine.

I thought I would share in case you are looking to add something new to your workouts.

Equipment Needed:

Pool (Aqua Fitness) Dumbbells-2

Buoyancy Belt

Using pool dumbbells do 20 reps each of;

Jumping Jacks- One dumbbell in each hand. Arms stay under water the whole time. Should have resistance on dumbbells in both directions

Push Ups- One dumbbell in each hand, under water. Slightly hunched over. Arms in front of chest with elbows bent. Push the dumbbells out in front and bring back in towards the body. Arms move like they would in a pushup while body remains in the same position.

Dips-One dumbbell in each arm, underwater. Knees slightly bent. Arms at side, hip level, with bent elbows. Push dumbbells down while straightening arms. Pull back to bent position.

One minute of cross-country skiing using dumbbells. Keep dumbbells under water. Move in place like you are cross-country skiing- alternate arm/leg movement back and forth.

One lap each;

Arms only-Take one dumbbell and place it between your legs down towards the knee. Swim one lap using just your arms. If you don’t have dumbbells try crossing your legs at the ankles and swim using your arms only.

Legs only- Take one dumbbell in each hand and swim with arms straight out in front, kicking only. If you don’t have dumbbells then just extend your arms in front and kick only.

Bicycle- Take one dumbbell in each hand and hold them underwater by your side. Bend forward and move your legs in circles to simulate riding a bicycle. If you don’t bend forward then you will end up staying in place.

Freestyle with dumbbells- Take one dumbbell in each hand and swim freestyle. This is a difficult exercise because of the added resistance of the dumbbell moving through and out of the water. You will feel the burn 🙂

Running- strap on the buoyancy belt and run (make sure to use your arms, too) one lap

Repeat both the exercise and laps

Once I completed two rounds of exercises and laps I swam regular laps (alternating breast stroke and freestyle) for ten minutes.

It was a great workout. I was in the pool for 45 minutes and it felt great. I have decided to make it a very regular part of my routine. So I am going to make that routine above my Wednesday and Friday workout and then on Sunday I will hit the pool again but probably just for lap swim.

Do you workout in the pool? Do you have any fun exercises or routines you would like to share?

Thanks for reading!

March 14, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness, Swimming. 1 comment.

Training

Two things happened yesterday that I foresee impacting my routine. First, Paul went to purchase a bike. A Cannondale CAAD 10 road bike specifically. So he can start training for his first triathlon in June. This is crazy to me because I am just barely two weeks into training for a 5K and now my husband is starting triathlon training. Jeez, I may never catch up to his level of athleticism.

What does this mean for me? Well it means a husband who is training almost daily. But unlike when he was training for the marathon he won’t be doing it with the Army. This means he will still need to get in his PT as well. Which means early mornings spent doing Army PT and evenings spent doing Tri training. I am super happy for him to start and I know he is going to love it. It just means less time together and I really like Paul so that is kind of sad 😦

It’s not all bad though. Yesterday while I was at the gym I noticed they have a 5am Zumba class AND it’s free. So I grabbed a copy of the weekly class schedule and saw that on Monday, Wednesday and Friday they have 5am Zumba classes so I asked the desk attendant if they were all free and he said yes. Score! Free classes work perfectly for my budget right now. It’s also the incentive I need to go back to morning workouts. Between the Zumba classes, biking at the gym and doing Couch to 5K I think I can easily fill my weekday mornings.

This means I will be able to come home after work and spend some time with Paul before he heads out to train. I think it will be good. It will give me more time to do other things like take the girls for long walks, take a leisurely bike ride around the city (I’m signing up for a B-cycle card- San Antonio’s bike sharing program), or hit up an aqua fitness class- if I ever get around to buying a bathing suit. It seems like the tri training and my morning workout routine will be a win-win for us both.

Paul is even thinking about joining a local team that specializes in triathlon training called Alamo 180. One of the cool things about this group, aside from having coaches there to help you, is that they have a run every Saturday morning that is open to the public. I am thinking that once I get better at my running I will hopefully be able to join up with them. It would be a lot of fun.

When Paul bought the bike yesterday he also snagged a Polar heart rate monitor for me from the shop for super cheap. I am pretty excited to start using it to help with my running. I am hoping to have it all set up for my next C25K training day on Saturday. It’s week 3, day 1 and my jogging intervals are about to get longer. I really happy I decided to start this program. I will let you know if I feel the same by the end of this week 😉

Oh, and I wanted to mention to all the readers who are also participating in Monica’s Birthday Challenge- I changed up what I am going to do for my personal challenge. I am hoping to not only do it tomorrow but also have some of it recorded so I can show it to you. Look for my slightly embarrassing video to pop up this weekend 🙂

Are you currently training for anything? Do you have any fitness goals you would like to achieve this year?

Thanks for reading!

March 8, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness. 2 comments.