Getting Back Into The Swim/Bike/Run Routine

So on a whim I decided to try a swim/bike/run routine this morning. At first I thought that I’d only for a nice long swim, but figured that now was a good of time as any to take an assessment of where I’m at, physically, for the triathlon in November.

Let’s just say I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me!

I arrived at the pool at around 6:15am or so. It was so empty. The lanes were absolutely calm and there was no one in the water. I’ve historically had challenges with the pools at 24 Hour Fitness, especially in Hollywood. (I cancelled my all-club pass after I stopped working full-time, but I really enjoyed the pool in Northridge. So clean!!!) I rinsed off and hopped in. The water felt just right.

In my usual fashion I spent a good deal of my time just getting used to being in the water again. Swam mostly using the backstroke but after a short warmup I began transitioning halfway into the freestyle crawl. I really need to learn the breaststroke (who wants to teach me?!) so that I can use that stroke for resting during the triathlon. I came into a bit of trouble switching to the backstroke in open water during the LA Triathlon last September and was either kicked or swam in the wrong direction.

While swimming, I thought of the swim boot camp I had considered joining (http://www.bootcamph2o.com/) and even a masters swim program at Occidental College (http://www.catriathlon.com/swim.html). I am sure they are worth the price…and I’m sure with the right amount of scrimping and saving I can probably go for one or the other. The boot camp is much shorter commute but the cost of the masters swim program is just right. I wonder which will be a better investment based on my goals. (Hey, the program at Occidental is also through the CA Triathlon club…) On Sundays there’s an awesome meetup in the south bay for beginner ocean swimmers. I’ve attended a few of their meetups and it is really fun. Once I get some more work in maybe I can join them again!

After the short swim, I proceeded to the stationary bike. I totally felt cheated out of a cycling experience. There I was, riding a bike…going nowhere. Nothing like riding in the outdoors with the wind in your face and the sights and sounds of the city. Maybe next time I’ll just hit the road instead. It’s much, MUCH more gratifying. Anyways, it was a really boring hour unfortunately.

And, to top that off, the run wasn’t much better. Again, I should’ve just left and ran around the neighborhood. I hate treadmills and gyms but I really wanted to get everything timed on location. The run was harder than the bike ride. I was starting to huff and puff on the bike and I wasn’t even going that fast. I’ve definitely lost some conditioning in the time I’ve been gone (not to mention the slight weight gain) but I’m sure with a bit of work I’ll be back to where I was…if not, better.

I also can’t tell if my performance was lacking based on my level of deconditioning or if it was diet related. When I came back home I wasn’t even hungry for a couple of hours, but I forced some food into me. Then the fatigue set in like a brick wall. After waking up from my mid-day nap I can say that I probably need another one and will sleep quite well tonight.

All in all, I enjoyed the swim portion the most…and that’s saying something. I should hit the pool a bit more regularly and then consider joining one of the programs to keep me going. I can never tell if I should focus on one sport at a time, two, or just go nutty and do all three. I need to do some legitimate research on some half Ironman training plans or just find a reasonable coach that I can afford.

Also came across this nugget of inspiration. What an awesome guy!

See Ya, 2011!

One last post before I hit the road…

Hope you are all having (or will have later tonight) a wonderful New Years!

This year I accomplished a lot. Starting with a small, short personal challenge to run for 21 days, it has blossomed into a newfound passion that has bled into every aspect of my life. My friends, family, and you have watched me transform from a sedentary blogger to what I am today, and for that, I’m thankful.

It was a busy year — In my RunKeeper I posted 333 activities, 1,414 miles, and 130,800 calories burned. That’s major since the prior 12 months I posted probably less than 20 miles.

Next year, I am looking forward to the following:

  • Racing in the 2012 Honda LA Marathon and leading all of my teammates to the finish line
  • Racing in my first 70.3 in November
  • Becoming an ACE Certified Personal Trainer
  • Becoming a CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
  • Becoming an Usui Reiki Practicioner
  • Becoming a health and wellness professional to help others live healthier, happier, and more wholesome lives
Thankfully, all of the work that needs to be done has already been started. 2012 — let’s do this!!!
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Fitness Friday: RunKeeper + GainFitness 1-2 Punch!

I’ve decided in the short amount of time that I’ve been working out that there are two iPhone apps that I could not live without.

One I’ve been using for almost a year now…the other, I’ve been using for just a few days. What’s great is that I think they really complement each other.

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I use RunKeeper to track all of my activities — swimming, biking, running, walking, hiking, etc. Its GPS tracker helps give me accurate measurements of distance and pace and gives me a really nice interface to view it all in. I’ve been an Elite member since February, which means I get detailed statistics and reports on my workouts. I’ve also enrolled in a few of their running classes, which are really helpful to get you across the finish line for your first 5K, 10K, half marathon, or full marathon.

But, as you probably already know, cardio is just one fraction of the entire picture.

I’ve recently started using GAIN Fitness to help me with resistance training. All you do is put in your height, weight, where you’re working out, what equipment you have, and they’ll come up with a workout for you! They take the guesswork out of everything by illustrating proper form via video or photo.

What’s also neat is that you don’t need to have an iPhone to use their services — the basics of what both services offer are also available as a web-only component to your health and wellness regimen.

What other apps do you find motivating and inspiring?

Motivation Monday: If You Want It, Get It

I’m a firm believer that you have to want change in your life in order to achieve it.

If you’re training for a new job or a marathon, you have to want to do it enough. Otherwise, you’ll never go through with it. Let’s take an example of Ben. He was overweight (like I was). He became unhappy with his life (much in the same way I did). Then, one day, he woke up and decided to do something about it. (We’re more alike than we think.)

Check out his journey and tell me that it doesn’t make you want to get up and run a 5K around your neighborhood right now.

 

2011 Ironman World Championship is Here

Good luck to all of the competitors out there in Kona today!

“The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.” -Baron de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games

I know that one day I will have to wake up to an Ironman…and chances are, I will have been asleep for very long. I have problems falling asleep the day before short races, like half marathons. To think of what will be going through my mind the night before an Ironman. Ooh the anticipation!

To celebrate so many men and women achieving Ironman status today, I’ve compiled some of my most favorite triathlon and Ironman videos. Enjoy!

“Ironman is every person trying to find out what he can do, trying to find out what his limits are, and convincing himself that he can push through them. You can quit, but nobody else cares, and you’ll always know.”

 

Fitness Friday: Someone Busier Than You Is Running Right Now

Getting started with a running program can be challenging, especially for people who is strapped for time.

However, something you have to realize is that everyone has a busy life, a demanding family, and lots of time commitments. However, what separates runners from non-runners is that a runner makes the time for them.

Health and fitness is important to your well being. No one should have to remind you that you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else’s problems, whether it’s at work or at home. Take control of your life and tell yourself that you’re worth 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour today.

Give yourself a fighting chance to be the person you want to be — healthy, happy, and full of life.

What I find most promising is my charity training team — Team Dress for Success. We’re all working towards finishing the LA Marathon in 2012 all the while fundraising $1,000 along the way. It’s no small feat but the rewards are indescribable. I was gone for a few weeks and everyone trained on their own. I shot off an email last night and already, people who signed up for the team never having ran a mile in their lives are now up to 8 or 9 miles in their training.

I’m so proud of them. They made a commitment and are seeing it all of the way through. These people have time commitments that could undermine their training and fitness regimen. However, they decide to prioritize their needs so that they can better serve others. So inspirational!

What are you so busy doing that you haven’t made time for yourself yet? Let me know below. I’ll probably be able to help you rationalize yourself out of your excuse!

 

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Who Dares to Brave the Stiletto Dash?

At this weekend’s Zappos Rock n Roll Marathon weekend, they hosted a few other events…including their very own Stiletto Dash!

 

The Stiletto Dash was a 50-yard race in (a minimum of) 3 inch heels on a fancy red carpet. Dashers sprinted through The Palazzo‘s Casino and raised money for charity while racing for a purse prize of $5,000! Amazing idea. (I hope no one got hurt.)

I passed by the event while on my way to the Rock n Roll Marathon expo on Saturday to pick up my swag bag, bib, and check out some cool vendors. Check out my video of the dash below!

Would you ever participate in a stiletto dash?

Race Recap: 2011 Zappos Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon

What a race! First of all, congratulations to everyone who finished the race.

It was definitely a fun yet challenging course, based on all of the feedback I’ve sifted through online. All in all I think the race was a success — with 44,000 runners on the Vegas Strip at night, there was bound to be a number of problems. However, I think most of the issues that came up were all preventable if the race directors had taken the Murphy’s Law approach — whatever can go wrong, will go wrong — and anticipated these problems beforehand.

English: The strip in Las Vegas
Image via Wikipedia

First off, Vegas is a fun destination. Combine that with a race and you’re bound to get lots of excitement. Seeing as though this is the Rock ‘n Roll series, you’d think that the Vegas race would be the most special of all. I’m not sure if it was the vibe or the cold or just the throngs of people but the excitement was something that was missing from this race. (It might’ve also just been me, since I got some pretty bad news on Friday.) I’m not sure how I would’ve performed if I were running the actual marathon on Sunday but the half marathon seemed like a perfect distance and a decent workout.

Because of my experience in Athens, I knew that running in the cold was going to be very tough. I was hoping that Vegas would be a little warmer but unfortunately, when I arrived, it was pretty cold (40 degrees F) and windy. Despite my better judgement of not trying anything new before a race I went out and bought some cold weather gear. I’d rather have to deal with breaking in my equipment DURING a race than to race through very cold conditions and getting sick for a week afterwards.

For the race I picked up:

  • Base layer Champion running tights
  • Base layer Nike long sleeved running shirt
  • Top layer Champion windbreaker jacket
  • Champion running beanie
  • Nike fleece gloves

During the race, I also stuck with my essentials:

  • Brooks Addiction running shoes
  • Champion thin no-show running socks
  • iFitness race belt
  • iPod shuffle
  • iPhone + RunKeeper
  • Champion technical tank top
  • UnderArmour sports bra
  • I even dabbed on a little eye makeup for the eventual finish line photo!
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 05:  Runners fill the...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

I left a few hours early for the race, even though my hotel was a mile away. We parked at New York New York and LVPD had already shut down most of the Vegas strip. The start line corrals were set up and I arrived on time to watch the final marathoners take off on their 26.2 mile journey. There was a lot of downtime to head to the portapotties, snap photos, and get into the corrals. I was surprised that by the time we circled around it was not the familiar wave start I had grown accustomed to (like the RnRLA race), but rather a sequential mass start. This caused a lot of problems since the start was not particularly well policed and walkers were ahead of runners. (I think anyone could see why this would be a problem.)

The race started with a decent pace. The key is to always start a little slower than you are used to so that you keep a decent overall pace. I felt better than anticipated and tried to conserve my energy before weaving too much in the crowd. It was pretty dark on the course since it was a night race — my first! — you had to be extra mindful of every footfall. The strip was pretty well lit and it was fun seeing the spectators cheer us on. We ran down the strip all the way to Old Las Vegas (Downtown Las Vegas, for some of you) and then back to the strip again.
As a child I remember walking around and snapping photos with my family all around Vegas, so it was very interesting to see the landmarks from such a different perspective. It was my first race in Las Vegas and I have to say that I am officially hooked on destination races. I can’t wait to scope out what is available next year! Overall this race was great — I didn’t PR but I had a great run, I finished feeling great, I never once got cold, and my boyfriend was waiting for me at the end. What more could I ask for?

Let’s get some of these issues out of the way so that I can just focus on the positives of the race!

  1. Start corrals/waves were not enforced, which led to walkers and runners clashing throughout the entire course.
  2. Marathoners eventually had to merge with the half-marathoners during the last half of the race, which meant people were getting in each other’s way.
  3. Water stations were not optimally set up, so runners were having to go without water.
  4. There was a massive bottleneck at the finish line because of the small number of step and repeats (photo backgrounds) for race photography. Therefore, people were passing out and/or getting cold.
  5. The finish line festivities were hosted outside during a winter night with NO external sources of heat (i.e. gaslamps or heaters).
  6. Most of Las Vegas Blvd + Tropicana Ave was shut down so if you came by car, you were stuck in traffic for at least a few hours.
  7. Mandalay Bay was very overcrowded and could barely handle the extra foot traffic inside their casino.
  8. The staff ran out of medals, which meant that course bandits were able to jump into the race, finish, and grab medals without having registered.
  9. Swag bag was empty per usual, but at the end of the day that’s not a really big problem.
Okay, admittedly that seems like a pretty big list of bad things. However, that’s not to say that I had a decent race. Unfortunately I did not set a PR (personal record) for the race that I was hoping to but I’ve come to terms with that and a way to achieve it next time!

 

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