Triathlon

I Miss My Training

Yep. A few months ago I never would have imagined that I would actually miss working out, but it’s true. I’ve been plagued with foot pain ever since I got back from visiting my brother in Seattle. I thought it would go away, but eventually saw a doctor who ordered both an X-Ray and MRI. There were no broken bones and no fractures, just inflammation and fluid build up in my sesamoid joint. Delightful.

I’m so glad it’s not fractured, but it still hurts and I still have to stay off it. This has put a damper in my working out, which I hate. There’s no excuse for not swimming though, so starting this week I’m going to get in the pool at least three times. That’s my goal. The doctor said I could run under water, so maybe I’ll swim and do some underwater running to just keep my body in some semblance of running shape.

My plan was to compete in anther tri tomorrow, but obviously that’s not happening. So, then I thought that I’d do a few 5K’s this fall and winter just to keep in shape. Plus, the run is the hardest part for me, so I really want to get it down before tri season starts up again. But, who knows how long this foot will take to heal! It’s so frustrating! So, I guess I’ve just got to swim now, then get back into biking in another week or two, and then hopefully be running by the end of the month. This is not the end of my triathlon journey!

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I Did It

Yep. I did it. I competed in a triathlon and I didn’t die. I actually had a great time and did pretty well for my first go at it. I am so proud of myself for setting a goal and sticking with it. I’m amazed that I set out to do this completely on my own and that I followed through. When I showed up on Saturday for the pre-race meetings, it was somewhat intimidating. There were groups of women and girls who had been training together and were all huddled together giggling and laughing together. I was by myself, which was fine, but a little scary. I was feeling so many mixed emotions on Saturday. I was so excited, but also nervous and terrified. I had no idea what to expect except what I had read in my book beforehand.

I spent the night in a hotel nearby so that I wouldn’t have to drive out to Sandy Hook early in the morning. Of course I woke up at three am and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I was running on four hours of sleep for my race. Good job Amanda. Rob drove me out to the race site and sent me on my way. I felt good about my transition spot and felt like I had plenty of space for all my things. Rob found his was to the transition area and snapped this shot before I headed out to the water. I’m ready to take on the world. 2012-09-09 06.43.57
One of the things that I really stressed out about was whether or not to wear my wetsuit. There was a tornado the day before and so the water was really quite warm, but I was still worried about the shock of getting into the water. I decided to wear it and wasn’t alone. I felt good about wearing it.

I was starting to feel really excited about what was about to happen and so I headed over to the water area. It wasn’t close to the transition area at all. And you had to walk over this nasty gravel that tore your feet apart. Good job Sandy Hook. I was already dreading having to head back to the transition after the swim. One of the first things that I saw when I got to the water were two medical stretchers. Yep. Just in case I died in the water. I guess thats reassuring, but still somewhat alarming. I moved on and focused on the water and the buoys that were in place.

Once the race started and I saw the Elite category women start their swim, I was ready. I knew this was going to be fun. I waited patiently and started towards the back of my wave.

Once I was in the water and got past the crowd of the first 100m, something took over and I became a water beast. I swam faster and more consistent than I ever have. I was passing people left and right. I was in a rhythm and nothing was going to stop me. When I hit the end I knew that I had swam at the top of my wave. I got out and started the treacherous trek back to the transition area.

Rob was there cheering me on. He’s the best ever.


The bike started off great. The first five miles felt pretty darn good. I wasn’t as fast as I wanted. but I was keeping a consistent pace. Then the last five miles happened. Once you made the loop back, there was the wind. It was blowing hard. In your face. Off the ocean. It was really hard. I had to peddle so hard just to keep going, forget about going fast. This slowed me down quite a bit. I was also starting to feel tired and I really didn’t want to push myself too hard. I knew that I still had coming and my goal was to not stop, so I held back a little.

Then came the run. Rob was there once again cheering me on. Here I go into the run. 2012-09-09 08.52.36
My legs didn’t feel like lead, which was so surprising and great. I was tired, but actually felt like I could do it. I’m a slow runner and this was no different in the race. I didn’t want to stop, so I keep a slow pace. This is the hardest part of the race for me, so I need to really up my run training. But, I’m still happy that I didn’t have to stop running.

I crossed the finish line and go my medal. I’m a winner.
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I received 939th place out of 1189 people. That means that there were 250 people slower than me. I’ll take it. Here were my official final times. I’m pretty proud of them. Especially the swim time. Race Times
I’m already plotting how to get faster and how to improve at my next triathlon. Yep. You heard it here first. My next triathlon. There will be another one. Soon. I’ll keep you posted as to when.

I encourage everyone out there reading this to set a goal for yourself that really challenges you but also makes you a better person in the process. There is no better feeling than accomplishment. Now that my first goal has been accomplished, I have set a whole other set of goals and will push to achieve them. I encourage you to do the same.
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1235! Huzzah!

1235. That’s my race number. Yep. It’s happening. I’m competing in a triathlon in two days and I will be wearing the number 1235. Ahh!

It really started to hit me this morning when I realized that this was my last swim before my tri and that yesterday was my last run. Wow. I can’t believe it’s happened so fast.

As I’ve been tapering this week, I’ve noticed a lot of fatigue. I think that might have even been part of the reason I’ve for cold I’ve had. My body is probably trying to tell me something. REST YOU CRAZY LADY. Luckily I’m feeling much better and really ready for the race. About two weeks ago I felt like I was in tip top shape and I’ve been going ever since, albeit slower, so hopefully my body will respond well on Sunday. That’s all I want. I want to finish the race and I’d love it if I did it without having to stop in any portion. If I can swim, bike and run the whole time without having to take a break, I will consider myself really accomplished. However, I’m not going to deny myself a break if it’s what my body needs. There’s no shame in walking a portion of the run. It’s really about the training leading up to the race and about crossing the finish line.

My boyfriend will be there to take embarrassing pictures of me with snot flying out of my nose and my hair in a big frizz ball, so don’t worry. I won’t deny you those gems.
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I'm boring

I’m falling behind on my blogging! School started today and while it feels good to get back into a routine, it’s daunting to think about the training that I have to work in this week. And then I think about blogging! I’m letting you all down. Sorry about that.

My triathlon is less than a week away and I’m so excited! I did my first swim in a wetsuit last weekend and it was weird! I felt like a seal. A weird looking lady seal, but a seal nonetheless. It was a pretty cool feeling. The buoyancy it gives you is crazy. I’m excited about getting another swim in this week in the suit.

I’ve also caught another cold. Grrr. I guess it’s all this working out and the seasons that are starting to change. I took an extra day off to let my body rest, but I have to get back at it tomorrow so that I’ll be ready on Sunday. I’m glad my tri is this week because it would be hard to balance school and such a strict training program. It’ll be nice to get into a new routine that has a little more flexibility.

That’s about all I have. I’m boring. You hate me. I know.
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Getting Better

On Tuesday I did NOT want to work out. I spent the day with Dr. Amin and Dr. Branski at the NYU Voice Center watching them work with patients. It was fascinating, but I knew I had to leave there and hit the pool. I took my gym bag with me and headed to NYU’s Palladium. The facilities there are really nice. I love swimming in this pool.rp_primary_natatorium
I had an easy swim mostly consisting of short distance, higher zone intensity drills, so that was good. I felt good after and was happy that I didn’t come up with an excuse to skip it. I thought the week would get easier, but no.

Wednesday was biking and if I thought I wasn’t in the mood on Tuesday, I didn’t know what was coming on Wednesday. I just didn’t want to do it. It’s not that I’m not excited about my triathlon, but I just didn’t want to do anything on Wednesday. Well, I wanted to do anything but bike. I know that my body is tired at this point, so I have to attribute some of that to fatigue and not get to down on myself for wanting rest. But, I biked anyway. The weather was iffy, so I once again biked indoors at the gym. I really hate doing that, but it’s better than not doing it.

Luckily things got better yesterday! I had a 30 minute run planned. The goal of the workout was to run for 30 minutes and see how far you get so you have a sense of how well you are progressing towards race distance. I made it 2.5 miles in 28:00. I was so proud of myself! I ran outside for the first time. The weather is finally forgiving enough to do so, so I took advantage of it! I was so impressed I just couldn’t even stand it! I was running about a 14 minute mile when I started and I ran my first mile in 10:11 and my second mile in 10:58. That is something I never thought possible. I am so proud of my accomplishments so far in this journey. I’ve done things that I never thought I would do.

Yesterday was a big inspiration and I feel less lethargic and fatigued. I swam my 500m swim this morning in about 10:15. Another improvement from Sunday’s 11:53. These small victories are keeping me going. I can’t even imagine how much better I will be in 2.5 more weeks once I race in my triathlon. I’m excited to find out!
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Accomplishing Goals

Yesterday was a big workout for me. It was my first combo workout that included all three sports. I started with a 500m swim and was able to get it done in 11:53. This may not be a good time for some, but I was really happy with it. I was mostly happy that I made it without stopping! I then moved to the bike for a 50 minute bike ride. At this point I was running behind schedule and had to cut it a bit short because I had to go to work. Note to self: Allow more time for these combo workouts. I stopped my ride at 43:07 because that’s when I hit 10 miles. My race is 10 miles, so I thought this was a good place to stop so that I wasn’t late to work. I then started my 10 minute run. I’m running about a 12 minute mile right now, so in 10 minutes I made it .8 of a mile. I’m also really proud of the 12 minute mile. My asthma has always held me back when it comes to running. I was running about a 14 minute mile when I started, so shaving 2 minutes off is big progress.

My triathlon is three weeks from yesterday and I have to say that I actually feel like I’m going to be ready. I’m starting to get really excited about it. I’m going to try and stay really focused these next few weeks and try and not let football season and school get in the way mentally with what I’m doing. I’m starting to feel like I can actually do this and that’s a great feeling! A few months ago I would have never thought that I was able to accomplish the things I did yesterday. It’s so great to set goals for yourself and actually see yourself accomplish those goals.
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Weekend Update

Wow! What a weekend! I’ve fallen behind on blogging because my weekend was filled with so much excitement and adventure. I’ll break my weekend into three parts for you so you can skip the parts that might not interest you. Hopefully that won’t be the entire thing.

Part I: No Longer A Seahawk Virgin

Yep. I watched my first game as an official Seahawk fan, and to top it all off, my brother was the starting quarterback. Not a bad way to start off your weekend. I had a few friends over and we drank, ate and watched my brother do what he does best. I made cupcakes and was proudly sporting my new Seahawks shirt. My brother hasn’t bought my jersey for me yet. Hint, hint if you’re reading this Matt.
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My friends came over and watched with me, which really helps calm my nerves. I have good friends.
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I still get a kick out of seeing Matt on television. Can you tell?
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Yep, I took pictures of him on the screen. I’m officially as dorky as you thought I was.

I was really pleased with how well Matt played. Matt is a cerebral quarterback and plays the game that is in front of him. He can read a defense like nobody’s business. He’s not out to please the crowd or show off his arm strength. He’s there to move the football down the field with smart, accurate football. He wants to win games by helping his team put points on the board, not by being the hero. Of course, this is translated in the media as not having a strong arm and being too safe on the field. Frankly, the media makes me crazy and has always made me crazy. Somewhere along the way, someone decided Matt had a weak arm and now it’s all people talk about. Has anyone ever seen him miss a long throw in a game because of his lack of ability to throw the ball? Nope. It’s just something that the media clings to because it was said at one point in his career. Maybe he doesn’t throw as hard as some people, but that doesn’t automatically make him weak. When he played with JaMarcus Russell in college, of course he had a weaker arm than JaMarcus. So did everyone else on the planet. No one has every thrown a ball harder than JaMarcus Russell. Playing quarterback is not about being the best athlete on the field. It’s about being the best quarterback on the field, and there’s a lot more to that than athleticism.

End Soapbox.

Next week we play the Broncos and my brother has been given the opportunity to start again. I’m excited about him getting another week of starter reps. That does more good for him than anything else. Hopefully this quarterback competition will come to an end soon, and I hope that my brother proves the victor. He’s earned this. It’s his time.

Part II: A Trip To Cap Cod

Rob and I got up Sunday morning and took a two day getaway to Cap Cod. We were craving the beach and some time away from NYC, so this was the perfect fit. We had some amazing seafood. It started with unbelievable clam chowder with homemade cornbread from The Blue Eyed Crab in Plymouth, MA. It was the best clam chowder I’ve ever had. The clam was so fresh and it was perfectly balanced.
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I had a lobster roll because I love lobster rolls and I wasn’t disappointed. It was super light and fresh and the bun was just toasted enough to add a little bit of crunch. Yum!
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The next day, we headed out on an adventure. We decided to do some biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail. We packed our backpacks and bikes and headed out. We biked about 9 miles to the beach and spent some time laying out and enjoying the water. The water was about 59 degrees so I didn’t venture too far out, but Rob loved it. It was seriously a beautiful day.
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We biked back and enjoyed another seafood feast for dinner. We headed home the next morning and stopped at a great place in Providence, RI called Olga’s Cup and Saucer. It was adorable and the food was delicious. I highly recommend it if you are passing through Providence. I had the Mayan Chicken Salad Sandwich and Rob had the Mozzarella and ham calzone. Yum! It was a delightful getaway filled with beaches and seafood. Two of my favorite things!

Part III: Training With A Crazy Schedule

I knew that my weekend was going to be crazy, so I headed to the gym first thing Saturday morning. I had a 30 minute workout on the books. 5 minute walk/run warmup, 20 minute run, and 5 minute walk cool down. I was worried about the 20 minute run, but I made it through. I was really proud of myself.

My original intention was to wake up early Sunday and get my combo workout in before heading out of town. Because the game was so late on the East Coast on Saturday night, I was way too tired to get up early. There was no way to make it happen. So, we headed to MA and I decided that I would take Sunday as my day off instead of Monday. I knew that we were going to be biking a lot on Monday, so I wanted to be fresh. This was a great opportunity to get more action with Taylor Dayne and see how she did with her tires freshly filled and on a new course. It was just what I needed. I finally felt like I got the hang of biking and particularly biking with Taylor. It’s taken me a while, but I did it! I now feel like I can bike well. We biked about 18 miles all together, which was a nice way to get more miles in on the bike.

We got home yesterday and after a long, stressful drive, I was in no mood for a workout. I decided that I wasn’t going to get behind though, so I put on my suit and headed out for my swim. When I got to the pool, it was jam packed. I mean, at least two people in every lane and two classes going on. I just couldn’t deal with it. Horrible attitude, I know, but I just couldn’t do it. So, I went home. I felt defeated and exhausted. I hate feeling both of those things.

I woke up this morning and was determined to play catch up. I headed straight to the pool and caught it at the perfect time. There was no one there! Amazing!! I did my swim and felt great. I headed home and rested for about an hour and then decided that it was time to catch up. Typically I bike for about an hour on Wednesday, but since I did logged serious miles on Monday, I decided that today I would do my missed workout from Sunday. It was my combo workout of biking and running. I nailed it. Seriously. I felt so good. I could have kept going on my run, but didn’t. I was worried about overdoing it, so I stopped.

I’m determined to stay on schedule from this point forward. Barring injury or illness, I should be able to make that happen. I have 25 days until my triathlon. I can’t afford to miss any workouts in this last home stretch. This weekend was a good test for what training will be like when I’m back in school in a few weeks. I really have to prioritize my training schedule into my life or I’ll find myself falling behind.
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Triathlon Newbie, Party of 1

Well, I feel like in idiot. Can I just remind everyone that I’ve never competed in a triathlon before and that this is all new to me. So, I’ve been struggling with my bike. If you have been reading my blog, you will remember my post about my first bike ride in Central Park and how frackin’ hard it was. So, I realized that my tires were a little low. I decided that this must be why I was having such a hard time on my bike. Sounds reasonable, right?

I headed to The BIke Stop in Astoria this morning to get a frame pump since I didn’t have one. I thought, “This way I can pump my tires before going out on my ride.” They are always super helpful there and they helped me pick one out that had a foot bar and a gauge. Pretty fancy for a frame pump. I headed back home to start pumping before heading to Central Park.

I’d like to have a word with bike accessory manufacturers please. Would it kill you to include an instruction manual? I mean, seriously! I get that you bikers are an elite breed of superhuman that don’t require eye contact or instruction manuals, but I could have used a little help. So I did the best I could and did manage to get a small amount of air into my tires. I probably would have been better of blowing into the tire, but I was determined to learn how to use my new fangled gadget. I headed to Central Park with Taylor Dayne (that’s my bike’s name). We were ready. I looked her in the eye and said, “I will make peace with you Taylor. I will learn to ride you well.” She didn’t respond. Typical.photo 3
It was a beautiful day for a ride, so I was feeling good.
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Things started off a little better. I noticed that my bike was riding much smoother, but as the ride continued, I started to feel the tires sinking. What the crap? After the hour I just spent trying to use my alien contraption to get more air in there? Seriously? After two laps (yes, this time I found the shorter path, thank you sweet baby Jesus) I had to head home. I stopped by my house and grabbed the air blower contraption and took it to The Bike Stop so they could solve this air-tire-alien-pumper-thing situation for me. They took one squeeze of my tires and said, “You have hardly any air in here!” Thank you Captain Obvious. They very kindly showed me how to use the frame pump and I realized just how low the tires actually were. Wow. Could I have been more dumb? No wonder it’s been so hard to ride. I’m lucky I didn’t’ damage my poor baby Taylor. I knew I was a better biker than this bike was allowing me to be. I hoped on the bike for half a block as I was headed home and it was a totally different bike. Thank you to the amazing staff at The Bike Shop in Astoria. If you live in the area, you should check them out. They are great.
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It’s taking me a while to figure out all the nuts and bolts of this triathlon business, but I’m getting there. I’m determined to be successful and learn as much as I can, even if it takes having a few idiot moments like riding your bike on almost empty tires. I will master the triathlon.
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Rainy Days and Mondays...

No matter what Karen Carpenter says, I love Mondays right now and they definitely don’t get me down. They are my day off from training and I love it. It gives me an excuse to sit on the couch in my pajamas and flip between the NFL Network and the Olympics all day long. This might be my favorite activity of all time.

This weekend presented both major inspiration and challenges. I had trouble sleeping Friday night and was up around 3:15. I knew that the women’s triathlon came on at 4am, so I decided to stay up and watch. I’m so glad I did! It was really inspirational. Those women are amazing athletes with better endurance than I’ve ever seen. It was incredible watching them work so hard and let nothing stand in their way. There were falls on the biking portion that left some really nasty bruises and cuts, but they kept going. I even saw the American Gwen Jorgensen actually ride her bike over the midsection of a fallen rider. Women’s Triathlon: Take No Prisoners. The Americans Laura Bennet and Sarah Groff were really incredible. Laura was in the lead for the first part of the race, but couldn’t hold on. Sarah played it a bit safer. She stayed towards the front most of the time, but pushed herself into the leader pack towards the end and was so close to a medal! Probably the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in an Olympic sport happened towards the end of the race. After 2+ hours of swimming, biking, and running, these women had it in them to start sprinting towards the finish!! I mean, look at them! They are running for their lives like they haven’t just been racing for two hours.
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They were so close that it came down to a photo finish. It took them a good 10 minutes to determine the winner. It was ultimately Spirig from Switzerland who got her toe across the line a few cms before Norden from Sweden.
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I mean, wow. What inspiration that was. I’m so glad I watched. Sarah Groff was so close and even though it’s really frustrating to get 4th place in the Olympics, she’s only 30 and I foresee her taking a medal at the next Olympics!

Saturday got away from me and I missed my workout. I was devastated. So, I decided that I wasn’t going to let it get me down or throw my training off. I woke up early on Sunday and did my run workout that I missed on Saturday. Then I went back to the gym Sunday evening and did my scheduled Sunday workout. Yes! I was so proud of myself for doing that. It would have been so easy to miss the second workout after going to brunch with my friends and then watching a movie. Typical lazy Sunday. But, I wasn’t going to let that happen!

The Sunday workout was particularly important because it was my first combination workout. The workout consisted of a 30 minute bike ride and then a quick transition into a 10 minute run. I did it! It was easy! I pushed through any sort of asthma issues I was having to make it through the run. It was the best way to cap off what was an excellent week of training. It’s the best feeling to feel accomplished and feel like I’m getting better at this. I may be able to pull this triathlon business off after all.
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Mental Toughness

I am going to start off by saying welcome to my new blog followers. So if you are one of them, welcome! It’s amazing what happens when your best-friend-forever Warren Moon retweets you. I’ll buy him an ice cream sundae next time I see him. And by next time I mean first time because we’ve never met.

I started this blog last month to chronicle my attempt at a triathlon in September. So far, so good. Once again I struggled less with my swim today. This is great news! I ran easy yesterday and swam easy today. Maybe I’ll be able to pull of this triathlon business after all. Who knew!

Joe Friel talks a lot about mental toughness and wellness as being an essential part of your triathlon training. I’ve spent A LOT of time around athletes and I can say that your mental state really does separate the men from the boys (or women from the girls to be politically correct). It’s so important to stay tough mentally in order to be on top of your game. I’m finding this particularly true with endurance sports. I’ve never been good at endurance. I mean, I get winded walking up my third floor walkup. I used to pat myself on the back if I made it 15 minutes on the elliptical. I mean, I’ve really always sucked at endurance. This is one of the things that is so challenging with my training: pushing myself into endurance. I find that my mental state has a lot to do with whether or not I can make it through a workout. Can I push for the last few minutes of my workout? Can I swim another 50m? Yes! I can! I have to find ways to stay motivated.

I think of two things that I find inspiring, and not surprisingly, they are both family members. I think of my older brother Adam who is a normal dude who pushed himself and has competed in a few triathlons. If he can find time to train everyday between running his business, making rounds as a doctor, and tending to his four children, then I have no excuse. Here he is competing in his last his last triathlon. (I also wrote more about him in my first post, so scroll down for that)
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I also find the mental toughness and discipline of my younger brother is pretty amazing. He handles pressure better than anyone I know. He is always calm and collected especially when it matters the most. He has always been disciplined and focused on his NFL goal for many, many years. I look to him as the prime example of mental toughness and discipline. If I can find an ounce of that inside me, I just might make it!
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Easy Peasy

Guess what! I had an easy workout! It was my first and I feel like this was a huge accomplishment. Running is my weakest part of the triathlon. I have asthma and while it is under control with my medicine, I’ve always struggled with endurance. This has always made running really hard. But, today I didn’t struggle with my running. I can’t tell you how good this felt. I wanted to keep going on the treadmill, but I stopped when I was supposed to. I didn’t want to overdo it.

I should also say that I’m really sore! I’ve made it through the first few weeks with no soreness and now I’m crazy sore. What gives? After my swim earlier this week, my triceps have been burning. I did a sprint workout this week and my quads and groin are tight. This makes getting up in the morning and getting my workout in really hard, but I’m digging deep and finding the motivation to do it. I just find it odd that I’ve not been sore until now. Maybe I’m starting to kick my workouts into a higher gear? Either way, the workout are finally getting easier and I’m really grateful for that!
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Tri-ing on a Budget

Rest feels so good. Seriously. I got back in the pool yesterday and while I was still a little slower than I wanted, I wasn’t going to push myself. I decided to let my body do what it wanted and stop when it told me to. Today I had a nice hour long bike ride scheduled. Thunderstorms were also predicted for the day, so I headed to the gym since I didn’t want to risk getting soaked. I was a little bummed about this because I still need to log more hours on Taylor in order to get used to her and I don’t like the gym bikes that much. I wish I had a trainer so I could set the bike up inside, but a trainer isn’t really in my budget, so beggars can’t be choosers. Speaking of budget…

Tri gear is expensive! Wowzers! This is not a poor man’s sport. However, I’m determined to not miss out on anything that I need based on my budget. I’m going to find ways to make it work despite my budget constraints.

The biggest investment is the bike. You have to have one to compete in a triathlon. So, I started my research. I started by seeing what the cheapest investment was. I went to Kmart to see what they had. Most of the bikes there are lower quality, but completely acceptable for some things. However, I knew that it wasn’t what I needed for a triathlon. After talking to my brother, he said that I should start with a road bike. So, I narrowed my search and created my budget. I knew that I couldn’t spend over $300 on a bike. This makes for some really limited options, but of the few that I found, Taylor Dayne was the best reviewed and came pretty highly recommended, so I went with her. So far so good.

It’s amazing how many people kept saying to me, “well, if you just spend another hundred dollars or so you could get yadda yadda yadda,” or “once you start riding you are really going to want yadda yadda yadda, so you need to invest more now.” I kept asking these people if they were going to give me the extra money for the bike, because if they were, I’d be happy to buy the best bike available. No one seemed to understand that the budget wasn’t moveable. I couldn’t go over $300 no matter how bad I wanted to. So, this left a limited range of bikes to choose from, but I opted for Taylor Dayne and so far I’m really pleased with her. She’s a Vilano and they make a variety of bikes. I recommend them. www.vilanobikes.com

I needed some gear, so I decided to visit Roadrunner Sports on 14th Street because I read online that it was a great place dedicated to the triathlete. And let me say that this shop is great, but I learned quickly how expensive this gear was. I was looking at the prices trying to not gasp from sticker shock when I was approached by the saleswoman. She was tall, athletic, and had a glow about her that seemed to be a product of loving her job, or loving triathlons (or perhaps both). She even seems to glisten a little as if she had just come from a workout. Maybe they spray down their employees in the back in order to make sure they constantly have the post workout glisten and glow?

I wanted cycling shorts, but I don’t have $100 to spend on them. How about cycling gloves? Nope. I don’t have $50 for those. I didn’t even look at the triathlon suits because I knew they weren’t going to be an option. Roadrunner is an excellent store, and if I had the money, I’d have a field day there! But alas, my budget dictates otherwise. So, I went home and was determined to find what I could online for a much cheaper rate. I raided ebay and found some amazing deals! I was able to get three pairs of cycling shorts for about $50 total. I got a cycling jersey of $8. Cycling gloves for $9. I even got a trisuit for $40 brand new! The bargain shopper in me is really happy. So is my bank account.
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The Importance of Rest

If you’ve been reading this blog, then you are probably my mother. Hi mom! If you have been reading this blog and aren’t my mother, I’m happy that you are still reading this blog. You have probably noticed that my two workouts this week were rougher than expected. I struggled in my easy swim on Tuesday and yesterday’s biking session, while eventful, was also a struggle. Well, I finally have answers! I’m sick!

Typically when you have a cold, you aren’t so excited about it, but I was thrilled to finally know why my body wasn’t cooperating. I was noticing a few allergy symptoms this week, but should have taken the physical struggle as a sign from my body. It was trying to get me to slow down! So today, I rest. And I mean really rest. Like, I’m-still-in-my-pajamas-at-2:00 kind of rest.

The problem with resting for me is that I have a pretty active lifestyle. If I had to name my current occupation, I would call myself a gradstudent-waitress-performer-teacher because I spend most of my time doing one of those things. I love all of my jobs and they definitely keep me busy, but it’s the second on the occupation list that takes the most physical toll. I work at an amazing restaurant that I love so, so, much. It’s like my second family, but being on your feet for 8-10 hours without sitting down and or stopping to rest, doesn’t go along with triathlon training. Especially when you spend your training rest day working at said restaurant. This is what I did this week. BIG MISTAKE! So, when I was supposed to be resting from training, I was working on my feet for 8 hours. THIS WAS NOT SMART.

So, I learned my lesson. Rest is essential to successful training. And real rest, not just “I won’t go to the gym today rest.” So, my body has taught me this the hard way and I am now giving it what it wants. Real rest.
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Oh, Hey There Central Park

Today was bike riding day. Hooray! I’ve been dying to get my new bike out and about. Speaking of my new bike. I’d like to take this time to introduce you to my new best friend, Taylor Dayne.
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Yep. I named my bike after the 80’s singer. I figured that if I ever got lost, love would leave me back. I know. Horrible joke. Stop yelling at me.

Taylor arrived last Thursday in a big box and my boyfriend and I took her to the Bike Stop around the corner on Saturday to be assembled.
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I rode her for a short rid on Saturday, but I soon realized that the seat was too high and I needed to take her back to the shop for a few adjustments. So, today she got a new fancy water bottle holder and a seat adjustment then we were off to Central Park for a ride.

I’ve never had a bike in the city, so this was my first time navigating the subway with one. I’m glad I chose to go in the middle of the day because traffic was low. Here’s Taylor patiently waiting for the train while garnering some inspiration for her upcoming ride. I think she’s ready.
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Not sure about me though.
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I got to Central Park, which is really only 4 stops from my apartment, so it’s not that big of a commute, and started looking for the bike paths. You’d think there would be a sign somewhere, but no. I mean, I’ve been to Central Park a million times and I always see bikers scooting along, but never really paid much attention. After a bit of trial and error that included just following other bikers, I found the bike lane and Taylor and I started working.

I’m still getting used to Taylor and which gears feel the best where and all that jazz. I suck when it comes to knowing what to do with the gears, so that was my goal of today. Futz around and figure her out. The ride started out really great. The first few minutes were mostly flat with a few small hills and I was feeling like the queen of biking. I could see myself in London next week biking alongside the Olympians. Then it started. I reached my first real hill and everything changed. Now, clearly I never really thought this through. If you had asked me, “Hey Amanda. What type of terrain is Central Park?” I would have said, “What a great question. It’s really hilly.” Then maybe what was about to happen to me would not have come as such a surprise. I started up this hill and about halfway up, I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore. I had to get off and walk Taylor up the hill. I thought, “OK. I need to get warmed up and figure out what I’m doing. Once I get over this hill, it’ll be downhill for a while.” Holy Mother of Pearl was I wrong.

The hills kept coming. I know that this was my first “real” bike ride, but even I was shocked at how hard it was. Last week I did my rides on the bike at the gym since Taylor wasn’t here yet, so riding in the park is a whole new ballgame. So, I shouldn’t beat myself up about struggling with this. As I was riding along, I kept thinking, “it’s gonna go downhill just over this bend,” yet it seemed to continue to move upwards. It was almost completely uphill. How is that even possible?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Central Park, this is what it look like. The turquoise trail is the bike path and the red arrow is where I started.
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Since I started on the furthermore SE corner of the of turquoise trail, I intended to cut across West at 72nd street in order to not overdo it today. I was only supposed to bike for 30 minutes, so that seemed fair. I could always loop again, right? Well, I must have been distracted by the monstrous hills that laid before me because once I decided to check where I was on my phone. This is where I was.
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Yep. I was committed to biking at this point. I assumed that since I was at the halfway point there would be lots of downhill to come. I was wrong again. It was as if the hills just got steeper and steeper. Once again I ask, how is this even possible? There was more walking in my future, but I did the best I could. By the end of the ride, I did feel like I was getting the hang of Taylor and her gears. I was finally able to keep a good pace going up and down a hill, so that’s progress. I also managed to grab a great picture of the Reservoir while I was taking a quick break. It was a beautiful day here today.
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I was amazed at the bikers who kept passing me on the hills. Wowzers. They are really, really, good. Instead of beating myself up about it though, I decided to look towards them for inspiration. Someday I’ll bike as well as them. Or at least be able to bike up a hill. Baby steps.
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First Sign of Weakness

Yesterday was my day off and it was glorious. My brain actually wanted to train, which was a new experience, but I let my body rest completely. I knew that I was entering week two of training and I didn’t want to hit a wall.

Today I swam and I struggled. This sucked. Last week I swam 200m without stopping, and I was pretty sure that no one had ever swam this far. In my mind, I was the pinnacle of swimming perfection. In this deluded fantasy Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte were fighting over my hand in marriage because of how far I could effortlessly swim. Now, I know that 200m is just about as short as it gets, but for me, this was a huge accomplishment. Naturally, since I did this with no problem last week, I was certain that today I would easily be swimming 400m with no problem. Not the case. I struggled to get through the 200m swim today. I guess it was partially just fatigue from working out so consistently over the last week and partially from making adjustments to my technique. I’m definitely pulling more now instead of relying solely on my kick. This is a big improvement on my technique, particularly for a triathlon. I also realized quickly last week that I was a one sided breather and that I needed to breath equally on each side. This has also improved. Today I focused on fully breathing out while under the water so that I would be actually refilling my lungs when I breath. This is also an adjustment to my technique. So, I guess that even though I struggled with endurance, I am making technical strides that will pay off in the long run. This is something to celebrate.

On a side note, I’ve been doing much of my swimming at the Astoria Sports Complex. This gym draws quite the crowd. Today there were two, ahem, *older* ladies in the lane next to me. I’m not sure what they were actually doing in the water, because they never moved from the wall, but they were wearing floral print shower caps, so I didn’t complain. What’s not to love about a, ahem *more seasoned* swimmer in a floral shower cap. They did, however, begin to take out their dentures and compare denture glues. Yep. Astoria Sports Complex: Harboring Denture Bacteria since 2012. Training for a triathlon is seriously dangerous work.

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First Goal Accomplished!

Well, I made it through my first official week of training! (Insert pat on back or perhaps a golf clap.) I spent two week unofficially training, but decided that I needed a more structured program to help me make the most of my training time. I bought Joe Friel’s book, “Your First Triathlon” and it has been an amazing help! I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for an intro into triathlons. You can even follow Joe on Twitter at @jfriel.
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I have 8 weeks until my triathlon in New Jersey, so I decided to start his 12 week training program at 8 weeks out. This seemed to work well for me because I was already in moderate shape. What is great about this program is that the training sessions aren’t that intense and overwhelming. You are given a very doable, specific task that makes the workout fun. There is no, “now go run for 65 minutes on the treadmill.” That type of working out makes me quit. I made it through the first week of training and I’m so proud of myself. I did every workout session and even did most of the optional exercises as well. This is huge.

Also, I bought a bike!! After much deliberation with my brother, we picked a bike that fit my extremely modest budget and it arrived on Friday. I had it put together at my lock bike shop, The Bike Stop on 28th Ave. in Astoria, NY, and went for my first ride. I need to make some adjustments to the seat, but besides that, she’s riding quite nice! I can’t wait to really break her in this week.
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I'm Gonna 'tri' Blogging

So, I started training for a triathlon. I know what you’re saying. “Don’t you have asthma, Amanda?” or “Don’t you hate going to the gym?” and “Aren’t you terribly out of shape?” Yes dammit! I say yes to all of those things. Stop yelling at me.

BUT, I’m tired of feeling sluggish all the time. I’ve also been diagnosed with mild IBD and know that exercise and better eating habits will make me feel better. I rejoined Weight Watchers to try and get my eating habits under control and I decided that I needed something to kick my exercise habit into gear. I do hate the mundane routine of going to the gym and feeling like you have tasks to accomplish, but I love being active when it’s fun. I read an article in the most recent issue of Weight Watcher’s Magazine about triathlons and how almost anyone can complete a triathlon as long as you are in relatively good health and can commit to a training program. So, I decided I would give it a try. After all, I love swimming and cycling, it’s just running that feels like a task.

My older brother Adam has competed in a few triathlons and has been trying to get me to give it a try, so he has been a good resource as I get started in my training. Here he is on the left with his best friend Bruce after the Toyota U.S. Open Triathlon in Dallas.
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And with my dad, stepmom, and nieces after the tri. Don’t they look happy?
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Now, my brother has never really been the epitome of physical fitness. He’s a healthy guy who was an excellent golfer in college. He was on golf scholarship at Baylor and even competed with Tiger Woods during his NCAA days. However, I don’t consider golf to be much of an endurance sport. Then, after medical school and once my brother became a dad, his new hobby became food and wine. Also not an endurance sport (although my family would beg to differ). Then my brother and his friend Bruce decided that they were only happy when competing with each other, so they naturally opted for a triathlon. My brother even got his wife to compete. And his daughter. This is Adam with my Goddaughter Lexi after her first tri.
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I mean, come on. She’s cute right! If she can do it, surely I can. Right? Right? RIGHT? Anyone?


I’m also only doing this so that someone out there will make signs like this for me. Find your inner sparkle? Why yes, I think I will.
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