Spinning In The Twighlight Zone

No, my spin class is not held in the middle of the night.  Let me explain.

After months of saying I was going to get back to spin class, I finally bit the bullet and went.  Alarm was off at 5am and I was up, fed and out the door by 530.  This was my first time taking spin at this L.A. Fitness; the one I went to prior to moving had a spin class that was never full so I was shocked to see only 3 empty bikes when I got to class, which was five minutes early.  I found a bike in the back corner and got set up.  The seat was broke.  I moved to the only other open bike, which was crammed even further in the corner and got on just in time for class to start.

Then I entered the twilight zone…

  • The instructor was overweight.  And I don’t mean a few pounds.  I don’t even mean heavy.  I mean, her BMI is likely to place her in the obese category.  Of course I was a little surprised by this, but figured she was legit since the class was packed- I mean, no one is going to go to a 545am class if it sucks.
  • The instructor kept getting off the bike.  This is without a doubt the oddest thing I have ever witnessed at a spin class.  Now I have to assume that she herself cannot complete the entire class, but still…I would think she would at least stay on the bike.  Seriously, every 4 or 5 minutes, she would get off the bike and walk around in between the bikes cheering on the class.
  • And by cheering I mean screaming.  This woman was loud with a capital L!
  • And she made us do countdowns for everything- 10-9-8-7…you get the idea.  And there was this old guy who needed to be louder than everyone, including the instructor and not only was it annoying, it was downright creeping me out.

When we got back into the locker room, a bunch of the ladies from class were talking about how great the class was…and one asked if I as new.  I explained that I was new to this class but not to spinning.  They asked me what I thought- I wasn’t as honest as I was in the bullets above, but I did mention that I thought it was odd that she got off the bike.  Every single one of them agreed that they thought the same thing when they first took the class but they all came back because there is just something about her that makes the class good.  And they are right.  And her weight had nothing to do with her ability to give people a good workout.  I can’t even pinpoint what made it so great because I seriously felt like I was in the twilight zone the entire time and at times I was downright annoyed.  But I broke a major sweat, felt totally energized and ready for the day when it was over and had the urge to go back.

So even if it is a little weird…and not quite what I have ever experienced before…I will be going back.  I’ll need to get there earlier so I can get a bike that isn’t in the corner without air circulation and I might need some earplugs to drown out the loud countdowns and creepy dude, but it looks like spin class on Tuesdays is a sure thing!

What is the weirdest experience you ever had with a class?

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The Road Ahead…

The MRI results will not be in until Monday.  Keep those fingers crossed.  And toes.  And anything else that is crossable.  Crossable??

I really feel like I am going to get the greenlight back to training (and I don’t want to think about not getting it) because other than some stiffness in the mornings after a tough PT workout, I feel really good.  On Wednesday, I threw in some jogging with my run…about a minute running for every ten walking.  I know I have a long way to go, and that I am basically starting over but I feel really good about getting back into training. 

If I get the okay to begin running again, I am going to think about jog/walking Broad Street.  It is 10 miles.  I cannot run it.  But is it worth it to just jog/walk?  I love the race, it is already paid for and I think it would feel good to get back out there.  Honestly, it’ll probably come down to the weather.  Nice weather I run…crappy weather I sit home and pout.  I know I cannot run 10 miles on what would only be three weeks of training.  I mean, I could…but I won’t.  I am going to follow that 10% rule like God will strike me if I push too hard!  Start slow…continue slow and eventually stop being slow! 

Whether or not I can run again come Monday…real training picks back up.  As for running…well, that is yet to be seen.  But…if I cannot run, I will spend that training time either walking/jogging or on the elliptical.  Back to consistent morning workouts and two-a-days.  Back to feeling great again!!!

In other news…I bought myself these babies yesterday: 

Oh yes, my first pair of cycling shoes!  I figure, since it is my third season of triathlon and I am becoming more serious about it, time for me to step it up!  I think I’ll try them out at spin class first and then work my way up to using them for a bike ride.  Don’t forget…I am not exactly a pro on the bike!

 

Hope everyone is enjoying their Friday!  I am soaking up every last bit of my Spring break, that is for sure!

2010 Goals-Tri’s, Running and Working Out

With only a few weeks left in the year I guess it is time to lay out the yearly goals.  🙂

This is going to be a three-part post (all together would be far too long) divided up between these goals, nutrition goals and goals for my blog in 2010.

When it comes to tri’s, running and working out:

Tri:

  • Finish an Olympic Tri- I am already signed up for the NJ State Olympic Triathlon and I am really looking forward to the race.  I have only so far completed sprint distance races and I am excited about the challenge.
  • Better biking- This is obvious.  I need to not suck at biking.  I did get a trainer so I am hoping that, combined with all my spinning, it gets me more comfortable on the bike.
  • Attend more OWS– Last summer I only attended three open water swims (OWS) and it was reflected in my racing.  I am a really good swimmer, but mostly all my practice is in a pool.  My team is working on securing a lake for OWS and I really hope this goes through because I would benefit greatly.  The pool is great for drills and general swimming, but it is difficult to work on sighting and deep and dark waters.

Running:

  • Get the 2:10:00- My half-marathon goal time for 2010.  I have 5 definite 1/2’s planned and two maybe races…a possibility of seven total chances to meet this goal.  It will require me to pace at @ 9:55 for the entire 13.1 miles.  To date, my best time is 2:27 so this would be a substantial difference!
  • See a 28:??- I don’t care if it is 28:59, I just want to get under 29:00 for a 5k.
  • Brave the cold- I have a 1/2 planned for February and one planned for March.  I really hate the treadmill but usually choose it in the winter because I also really hate the cold.  I need to suck it up and run outside.  I am limited because of the dark nights but the goal is to do all my weekend runs outside and if I have a chance (like a day off) use that as another opportunity as well.
  • Up the mileage- My goal for 2010 is to run 650 miles.  By the end of this year I will have run close to 400 miles.  This is since March, when I started keeping track, so it is not an exact number given that I had actually started running again in February.  400 seems like nothing in comparison to some runners, but for me, that number is huge!  Up until two years ago, I never thought about running at all…then to run almost 400 miles in 11 months…huge!  I think 650 is a completely attainable goal, yet something I will still need to be diligent about in order to meet.

Working-out:

  • Get Strong- I usually strength train 2-3 times a week depending on what my training schedule looks like, but I want to make it a point to focus on my strength training this year at least three times a week.  This way, I can dedicate each day to a specific work-out for my arms, legs and core.
  • Stretch it out- I am so bad at remembering to stretch before work-outs.  I am really good with it before and after runs, but for some reason always forget before any other work-out.
  • Push-Up Challenge-I am going to begin this challenge right after the new year.  As of right now I can do about 8-10 comfortably in one rep…yeah, I have a long way to go!!!  I work my arms out pretty good as it is, but I am looking for more definition and think this is a good avenue to explore- time to get my arms jacked!!!
  • Sit-Up Challenge- I am not tracking this one in the same way as the push-up challenge…this one is all my own.  My goal is to complete 500 crunches a week.  A while ago I tried to do 200 a night, but that is just unrealistic for me.  And it was overkill.  500 is a good number for the week because I can commit to five days/nights a week without a problem.  Hello six pack…here I come!
  • Pilates- My gym has a pilates class once a week at night and I am going to make it a point to incorporate this into my weekly routine.  I was going to start going last week but with finals and now Christmas, it is just too much.  Therefore, I will be starting the week after Christmas.  Hopefully it goes better than yoga did!
  • No Overloading- Sometimes I get so backed up that I end up sqeezing too much into one work-out.  My goal for 2010 is to work-out/train four to five days a week as consistently as possible so that I don’t get into the habit of overloading myself again.
  • More two-a-days- I love two-a-days but I definitely slacked off on morning work-outs once it started getting cold.  I would much rather kill two work-outs in one day and free up another day for myself, so this is something I am going to re-focus on after the new year.

That is all for now…I am sure I will add to this and I assure you I will be re-visiting it at different points throughout the year, but for now I think this is a really good start.

Stay tuned for the nutrition and blog goal coming up within the week.

What are some of your 2010 goals when it comes to training and working out?

 

Bike Helmets

During my time down the shore,  I was witness to an accident on the boardwalk one weekend and the following weekend a lady was hit by a car down the street from where I stay while on her bike.  I took serious notice of the fact that very few people wore helmets while riding on their bikes.  Some had children with helmets, but they themselves were not wearing one (do they think it doesn’t hurt if you are an adult??) and in too many cases there were kids without helmets as well. Pure danger.

This is the lesson:

  • When riding a bike, always wear a helmet.

This is why:

  • If you are in an accident while on your bike, and you aren’t wearing a helmet, you could die.

So in summary:

  • Wear a helmet; don’t chance dying.

Belmar Tri Photos

Here are some photos to hold you over until I can write my race report tomorrow.  Right now, I need sleep in the worst way; been up since 3am and I am exhausted!  I will say this…it was a great race and I will for sure be doing this one again next year.  I made it through my first ocean swim- another hurdle jumped!!!

bel5Coming in from the swim

bel6Just riding along on the bike 🙂

belrunSprinting into the finish

Stay tuned for the race report.

Does tomorrow HAVE to be Monday??? I need more weekend in my life!

It’s Just Like Riding a Bike

You know the old adage…”its just like riding a bike”…right, well that saying doesn’t so much work for me.

Let me explain.

When I was little, like most kids, I owned a bike.  My first “big girl” bike was pink and I learned how to ride it at the Firehouse around the corner from where I lived.  After a few years I grew out of that bike and bought a really cool blue 10 speed.  In middle school I got an even cooler bike…a 12 speed!  One day, when a girl too big for my bike was riding it despite the fact, she bent the rim and I could no longer ride the bike.  Obviously this was much more horrible for her than me, but still….I was out a bike.  And I never bothered to get it fixed and I never bought a new one…until last year when I decided to do a Tri.  And it was like starting over. And given that I was never very bike savvy to begin with, I had a long road ahead of me. Loooonnnnnnggggggg.

The thing is, even though I owned bikes growing up and at one point even mastered the “no hands” technique, I was always hesitant to ride on busy streets or go too fast.  I never felt quite right, or comfortable, on the bike.  I would have much preferred to walk places and, unless we were specifically going for a bike ride, I usually chose that option.  In addition, the town I grew up in is really small (read: 2.5 sq miles of land and @ 3,500 total population) and getting to a friends house, even the ones that lived the furthest from me, didn’t necessarily require a bike.  Although it was a faster mode of transportation, I never minded just walking. 

I still don’t mind just walking. However, in a Tri it’s swim-bike-run, not swim-walk-run. 

It was late fall when I first started thinking about a Tri, but I didn’t commit to the idea until after the first of the year.  When I started telling people they were exicted but most of them, at some point questions my bike riding skills.  The questions ranged from “When did you last ride a bike?” to “Do you own a bike?” to my favorite, “Do you even know how to ride a bike?”  The answers were as follows: 13 years, no and I’m not sure.

But I was about to find out.

Since it was January and I had zero intentions of riding a bike in the cold, I put off the purchase pretty much until I could no longer put it off.  I had decided to just go with a regular bike, nothing fancy or expensive just in case I ended up hating the bike and therefore hating Tri’s.  It took a few trips to a few different stores and a lot of my mom’s patience, but finally I found a bike that I thought could work.  When I finally found the bike I liked (and by liked I mean it was pretty and I could sit on it without panicking) I felt slightly better about riding.  Until I went for my first bike ride, if you can even call it that.  I was a biking mess. I made it around the block twice and then entire time I was petrified of falling and would only stop up against a curb where I could put my feet out to help me stop. Real professional, huh?  What I needed was some Biking for Dummies, but instead I just didn’t ride for a few weeks as if it would come to me in my sleep. Clearly this plan was not working.  I eventually came to my senses and with about a month until race time I bit the bullet and got back on the bike.  I don’t think I ever went more than 5 miles and I definitely never went fast, but I went.  And I survived.  And with very little practice, the race came and it was go time whether I was ready or not. 

And I wasn’t.

The bike portion of my race could only be summed up sufficiently as a disaster.  A disaster by the way, that I still have trouble talking about.  Maybe in another post.  Just take my word for it- it sucked. I sucked. But I finished and I survived.

And I am back for more.

I saved up and with some help from my parents, I went out and bought a new road bike.  A bike that from the first second I rode, I was comfortable on.  I love my new bike.  It isnt that I hated my old bike, or even didn’t like it…I just never felt quite right on it.  It didn’t fit me well and wasn’t suitable for long term anyway.  I rode my new bike more in the first two weeks I owned it than I did the entire time I had my old bike.  I still go fairly slow and I still carry a fear of falling but my confidence level is so much higher.  I am so ready for my race next weekend and even though I am sure I’ll be nervous on the bike, I also believe I will do well.  Just another sign of how far I have come.

Below are two pics from last year. 

This first one is right when I arrived.  Notice, the bike is a Schwinn.  Here is something you might not know about Schwinns…they weight like 98427239lbs! Holy cow! Getting that bike on and off the rack was insane and I am really glad I only had to do it once for a race.  My new bike is so light I can carry it with one hand.

blog1

This second one is just as I approach bike dismount.  Don’t let the smile fool you, I plastered it on my face to keep from crying.  In my head I am thinking “thank god this is over…holy crap I still have to run!”

blog3

Rain, Rain, Rain…

That is all it has been doing here in Jersey…raining!  Seriously, there have only been 5 rain free days in the month of June.  UGH!  So depressing!

Okay…in not so depressed land…

I had two really good workout days in a row yesterday and this morning.  I ran 3 miles last night pain free and had a great swim.  This morning I decided I was going to get back into the morning workout groove and I got my butt to spinning at 545am 🙂  This was my first class at my new gym (same gym actually, just new location since I moved) and it went really well.  I haven’t been to a morning spin class since March (ugh!!!!) and have avoided weekday AM workouts entirely the month of May and, until this morning, June.  I was determined to get back into the swing of things.  I was definitely a little out of sorts at first but after about ten minutes I was back in the game.  The instructor was good and kept the energy super high; he talked enough to keep us entertained and was upbeat but without being all perky annoying.  Do you know what I am talking about?  When I was going to spin last summer, the women who ran the Thurs morning made me crazy- it was like she downed an entire pot of coffee before class.  There is only a certain level of perky that works at 545am!  Anyway, because I have to be at work at 8am and traffic is an absolute ridiculous nightmare sucks I have to cut out of the class 15 mins early so I can shower and get ready.  Still, the 40 mins I was there were great and I feel so good about getting back in the groove.

Well not totally in the groove…I totally forgot my towel today!

I packed my bag last night, checked it this morning and went off.  The whole way to the gym I kept thinking I forgot something and then it hit me when I got in the locker room (like when the mom in Home Alone is on the plane and can’t shake the feeling that she forgot something- it was like that…but a towel, not a kid).  Ugh…no towel.  This has never happened and I needed to do some quick thinking.  There way NO WAY I was going back home and not working out, but I also knew there would be no time to go home and get ready after spin either.  All I had was the small towel I take to class so I sucked it up, went to class without a towel and used my washcloth version of a real towel to dry off after my shower.  Of course, I still had to deal with my dripping wet hair.  That is when I came up with a genius idea. I turned my T-shirt (I only wear it into the gym, not while working out) into a hair towel.  It worked perfectly. 

In other news, I am still up in the air about this weekends 5k.  I want to run it because I want to run outside and because a few of my friends are participating so I think it will just depend on the weather.  I haven’t ran or biked outside in almost two weeks.  Have I mentioned the rain in Jersey!  Blech!  I miss the sun!

I hope everyone is having a great week. 

Oh, and if you get a chance, check out Racevine a SUPER easy way to find races.  Like Jill said (not me, another Jill- I didn’t start talking in third person), it is super simple- Sometimes the whole KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) philosophy works so much better!  So check em out and show them your support 🙂