Indoor riding?

This diminishing sunlight has definitely put a damper on my riding as of late, and my rather strong dislike of working out at a gym has brought me to the idea of indoor cycling.

I remember when I religiously went to the gym in VA you could use the spinning bikes even if you were not taking a class. And, along with some other nuts like myself, you could find me on one of those machines most of the day.

I was recently looking at getting an indoor spin bike since I have gobs of room to put it, but have you seen how expensive those things are? And I’ve decided to go ahead and purchase a trainer for my bike. Which means no excuses for no riding. With a trainer and not a spin cycling machine, I will be able to use my own bike for my workouts. Mind you, this is a last alternative for when the weather is too cold to ride my bike, or it is pouring outside, or I can’t catch enough sunlight in the day.

I was reading about triathletes training for Ironman distance triathlons, and if those hardcore athletes can use an indoor trainer, so can I.

I mentioned that I purchased an indoor kurt kinetic fluid trainer, and, it’s pretty sweet, and expensive to say the least. I can use my own bike with it, but in order to save my nice tires, I purchased a tire specific for these fluid resistance trainers. Today the training mat and “Kinetic power computer” arrived. The whole other system will not arrive for another couple days. But I also bought some training DVD’s with intervals and drills you can do with the trainer- from the “competition series”–which have videos specific to triathlon cycling and endurance cycling.

Kurt Kinetic Indoor rider

I’ll keep you updated on when the rest arrives!

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Training for a triathlon

Recently, someone gave me some information on Mooseman in June:

“Be prepared for a possible cold swim. Two and three years ago the water temp was in the high 50’s. This past year was a fluke with water in the high 60’s. I don’t expect it to be that warm next year.

Be ready for a huge climb on the bike (2-3 miles, gets steeper as it goes); in other words, if you can, preview the climb and adjust your gearing accordingly. I pushed a 39×25 up that hill and that was too hard of a gear to push, for me. They tried to make it a one loop bike course last year, but made it a modified two loop (due to bad roads). Hopefully they can make it a one loop this year, which will make the course climb up that hill once, instead of twice.”

and someone else replied:

“Did the 70.3 as my first HIM ever last year. It’s a beautiful course…. pretty tough too, since it was raining for a good part of it. A friend DNF’d because he’s a no-body-fat runner, got hypothermia on the bike — teeth chattering and hands shaking with wet slippery brake levers is no way to go down that one big hill on the course.

That hill is tough. You go up it twice. You kind of step-ladder up it, until the very sharp climb at the end. Doable, though I saw a lot of people walking their bikes too.”

After reading those two comments, I admit, I was somewhat nervous, since I am not a fan of biking hills.Nor becoming hypothermic. Alas, the time has come for me to prepare for the training program for the HIM. I consider this this time as a “warm up” for the actual training program, since the plan does not start for another couple of weeks.

This is the first time I’ve actually searched and studied training plans. I briefly touched upon the fact that I do not really train for races–for marathons I’ve done, something would come up and interfere with my training, so I’d end up saying, “oh, bag it!”For my “training” that I did do, for recent duathlons, I didn’t really follow a plan; I would just run and ride my bike on my days off, or quick run before work. My sleep habits were poor- my body did not seem to know which way was up, and which was down, which affected how I was able to train.

A triathlon training plan encorporates weekly scheduled  bike, runs, and swim sessions. There are days where you need to both swim and run, or days that you run and bike. There are workouts which are built on endurance, and on speed. There are also workouts where you work on transitions. The first couple weeks build on base endurance through tough work and periods of recovery.

Over time, the amount of hours you spend training increases- as the workouts get longer, they also get harder. This is going to be a challenge with a rotating schedule like I have.

The plan I’m following suggests doing activities outside if you can (fine by me!). But, a major fact is I miss most of the daylight from my job. (That’s why I run in the night, and just bought a Kurt Kinetic Road Bike trainer, so I can bike indoors). The cold, crappy weather, however, should not affect my ability to train at Bard.

For my training today (first training day, woohoo!), I went for a five mile run on the treadmill since it was pouring outside. I’m not a fan of treadills, but if there is a hard rainfall and dark outside, I’m taking it to the gym. Treadmills are not that bad-they help when you want to do speed intervals. But honestly I prefer to run outside as much as I can.

I also went to the pool this afternoon around noon, which was a time designated for lap swimmers. There are different workouts that can be done. I just swam for 50minutes.The swim actually went well, and tomorrow my workout will be a total of 1000yards. By the end of the training. your swim workout leads you to swill 2500 yards to prepare for the 1.4 mile swim at the race.

I could actually go on about this. There are numerous books out on the market for triathlon training, The Triathlete’s Training Bible by Joe Friel, is excellent….I’ll be sure and keep you updated!

Night Running

As many people are aware, the days are getting shorter, which stinks for those who work at night and sleep during the day. Less daylight means less time to run or do outdoors activities while the sun is still out. Recently, though, I decided not to let the lack of sunlight stop me from doing activities I love. Plus, when you are the only one awake at 3am, what else is there to do? Hence, I started running at night.

If you have never experienced night running, you might not realize that when the moon is out, it provides more light than you would think. And once your eyes adjust, there is enough light to run in (I need to eat more carrots).Then again, if clouds roll in, and hide the moon, you have a problem, as witnessed by the scrapes and bruises on my knee and elbow from tripping (it was the leaves on the grounds fault though, not mine).

There are definite perks to running at night or in the dark (depending on the time of day). There are fewer cars on the roads, which is nice for me, because route 308 is not a nice road to run along with cars which are flying. I do, however, choose my routes wisely when I run in the dark, because runners or walkers are not seen as easily by drivers. I stick with the back roads where fewer cars generally drive.

The feeling of night running is much different than during the day. You really feel like you are the only one awake (and, probably are if you are running at 3am).

I do have a couple of helpful hints for those of you who are forced to run at times there is no sunlight, or at night.

1. Wear lots of reflective gear. Night Gear has some fantastic products on the market. It really is for your own safety, because a runner blends in with the darkness and when cars do pass, they don’t see you. I have reflective gloves, reflective leg bands, and a reflective vest. It may sound excessive, but believe me, cars never miss me.  This does not only relate to running. For biking, it’s a good idea to have a bike lamp, and there are lots of reflective cycling jackets out there.

2. Wear a head lamp. If you are ever driving through Dutchess county and pass a crazy runner at 3am with a head lamp, it’s probably me. I have a smaller headlamp now, but plan on purchasing a larger, all weather lamp (that website has some great stuff). This way, I do not need to rely on the moon and the possibility of it disappearing behind clouds as my light source for runs.

3. Stick to roads which have street lamps, if you can. Unfortunetly, I live in an area where the sidewalks are poorly lit, and the sidewalks themselves are in poor condition (and covered in leaves).

4. This is a safety tip for running in general: always bring some sort of identification with you. Whether it is a scrap of paper with your name and number of a close friend scribbled on it, or a Road ID product. I recently ordered a wrist sport ID band after my last mishap on my bike. You never know when you are going to have an accident–why else are they called accidents in the first place?

5. Run routes you are familiar with. Deciding to run in foreign territory in the dark is not the best idea, believe me, I’d be one to know.

6. Have fun!

Splish Splash

Last week I returned to my water roots–the pool–for the first time in thirteen years. I know, long time to be out of the water, right? I’m not saying I have never gone swimming since I was eleven–I’ve fooled around in lakes and small bodies of water, but never entered the water in order to have a workout.

As many know, over the past couple of months, I’ve been toying with the idea of starting to swim, because that is a vital component of triathlons. Commentators say that you can’t win a triathlon by the swim, but you can definitely lose the race because of the swim. It is the shortest, fastest portion of the triathlon distance wise, and is where the race starts.I have no idea what the commentator meant, but am thinking it is going to be a difficult leg for a non-swimmer like myself.

Back and forth I’d debate the pros and cons of swimming and doing triathlons. I’m perfectly content doing Biathlons at the moment with just the bike and running.I was able to stay away from pools for so long because many local triathlons had duathlon options. Now, after signing up for the Ironman Mooseman 70.3, I need to go into the pool, and live there for the next couple of months in order to become a more proficient swimmer in what is my weakest part of the race.

It was saturday afternoon and I worked the night before, so I was slightly tired after taking a nap from getting home from work. And I thought, I really should try out this swimming thing now. Not just dip my toes in the water, but dive right in. So I packed my gym bag and headed over to Bard university, which has a small pool–25meter I think. After changing quickly out of my clothes into my bathing suit,I walked over to the showers and sprinkled under the water to get wet, and opened the door to the pool. Ahh,  the sweet smell of locker room mildew mixed with chlorine and perspiration–nothing like it.

There were a few empty lanes to chose from, and  chose the  middle one, #4, to reintroduce my body to the sport.

I put on my swimcap (havent had one of those on in yeaaaaars) and googgles and jumped right in, not noticing I was on the short end of the pool, where the depth is 5 feet deep. I would suggest knowing the depth of the water you are jumping in before going in.

Unfortunately, I was not really prepared with drills or what I was exactly going to do in the pool, and considered this a pre-test to my soon-to-be swimming career. I made it for about 30 minutes, freestyle, breaststroke…staring steadily at the black line down the middle of the pool.

It is always important to bring a bottle of water with you to sit at the end of the pool somewhere so when you need to drink, you can do so. Swimming is different that in running and cycling, you can sweat, and you can sweat a lot and become very dehydrated. Now, you can still get dehydrated swimming, because you sweat just as much as if you were say, walking. When I swim, I bring a sports  bottle with water and leave it close to the lane I am swimming in.

I’m glad to say I passed the pre-test and did not drown, and can start doing swimming drills when I next go.

Running, check. Biking, check. Swimming– ehh, needs more work…

So, Bard, I’ll be seeing more of you in the near future.

What It Takes to Be a Triathlete

Tell me, how can you not want to do an IM after watching that?

**

It’s a completely different kind of test, one where passion has a funny way of trumping logic…

The Road Not Taken

I’m continuously amazed by the beauty of this area. There’s nothing like riding solo on back country roads, like the road below. Just you and nature. No cars to be seen. The gentle rustle of leaves, chirping of birds, whistle of the breeze. Worries fade; your senses heighten. Surrounded by trees speckled in gold, auburn, and crimson. A perfect moment in time.

Reminded me of Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Are You Nuts?

 

Chrissie Wellington, one of the top female triathletes

 

“Okay, Mol, what did you do?”

“Umm, signed up for a Half Ironman in June.”

“Are you nuts?”

“It’s not a full one.”

I actually think I passed “nuts”  and plopped myself right into the “almost-crazy” category today. After lots of searching and researching about triathlons and races, and knowing that I really want to start doing tri’s next year instead of only duathlons, I decided to sign up for a HIM, or Half Ironman 70.3 as they are more commonly known as. It’s been on my mind lately, and after following the Kona Ironman, which was last weekend, I decided it’s something I want to do. Well, for me to do a full IM I’d really need to be crazy, and rich. Plus, you need to start somewhere. Yes, yes, I know, a start would be a sprint triathlon, but my brain does not function in that manner. It does not know what the word “moderation” means. This will be a springtime destination race–I’ll make a mini vacation out of it. The weather should not be too ridiculously hot at that time of year either. I’ll need to keep my sanity somehow this winter, and having something to work towards is just what I need.

They are referred to as 70.3 because that is the total mileage of the race: a 1.2mile swim, 56mile bike ride, and half marathon (13.1miles).

What does this mean?

Well, for one, I need to start swimming.

Two, I need to start running again on a more normal schedule. My bike has been stealing all my attention as of late.

Three, find a training plan and stick to it.

Four, find another job so that I can fund this new addiction of mine.

Five, maybe I should consider therapy?

Little Tumble

Every cyclist has a time where he/she comes into very close, personal contact with the surface they are riding on. I’ve had a couple of falls as of late–all of which I blame on my cycling shoes–but as much as I would like to blame my fall yesterday on my shoes, they were not at fault. This time it was completely due to a silly driver, my poor coordination and clumsiness…And a tree branch.

After a horrible couple of weeks, I decided my bike needed some love and attention, so I went for a bike ride. What better way to spend a Friday afternoon, especially when you’ve been trapped inside for what seems to have been years? I figured, short spin through Dutchess County, never hurt anyone.

Contrary to what other people I cycle with think–I err on the side of being indecisive on where go, as I’m riding–I do go out with a vague idea of where I want to when I head out. My route may change about twenty times on that ride, but I generally end up where I planned. Yesterday though, my indecisiveness had taken over and I could not decide where I wanted to go. I made it to Red Hook but then was at a loss of which direction to take — do I go over to Bard? I was just over that way last week. Maybe head north? No, it’ll be dark soon.

Since I could not decide, I ended up doing a couple of circles around the quaint little town. As I was approaching the main intersection on my second loop, a car door opened–which I was not expecting. I steered out of the way quickly in time to avoid a collision with the driver, only to lose my balance and fall over after trying to avoid a large branch-one I swear was not there before.

I know every cyclist needs to be aware of drivers opening doors. And since I’ve been riding I have never had the issue of near-collisions.

Alas, I guess every cyclist also needs to have near-misses with door-opening fools in a high traffic areas on Friday afternoons.

Falls happen when you are least expecting them to happen. It’s a whirlwind experience–you are on your bike one second, clipped in, and then next, boom, are on the ground. I must say, I’ve never unclipped from my pedals with such ease and speed before. Why couldn’t I do that during my last race?

Of course, the first thing I think of after falling is, “Ohh crap is my bike damaged?” Not, “Ohh, thank God I didn’t fall into on-coming traffic and die.” Yes, you know what my priorities are.

It just so happened that a Dutchess County Sheriff I passed (twice, might I add) was parked on the other side of the street and came to my rescue.

“Are you okay ma’am?”

I gazed up at the officer after making sure my bike was intact (again, a normal person might make sure their limbs are intact). Am I old enough to be called ma’am?

I’m not sure if it was the startle from falling, or the fact that I realized he was somewhat good-looking, made my usual mute-self even more speechless.

“I’m going to call–”

“No, no, I’m fine.” I interrupted him.

“You’re bleeding.” Now nick-named ‘Mr-Really-Attractive-Officer’  pointed to my leg. I glanced at my shin which had a stream of blood trickling down. Damn you, chainrings! Why must you be so sharp?!?

“Ahh.”

I picked up my bike and hobbled over to the curb where I crouched down, leaning my bike up against my knees (no one is allowed to lean my bike against the pavement) and took a closer look at my pathetic wound. Mr. Attractive actually stopped traffic, and picked up my water bottle. He also took my bike and leaned it against a tree before kneeling in front of me to take a better look at my leg.

There I was sitting on the curb: sweaty, bloody, greasy, exhausted, sporting a jersey and spandex cycling shorts, and becoming more and more aware of my appearance. Is this really happening to me?

Why wouldn’t it?My life is a comedy, remember?

“I’m okay,” I muttered and took a used tissue from my jersey pocket and started wiping away the blood.

“Hold on–” he held up his finger and then ran back to his car.  I could feel my cheeks becoming flushed and warm with embarrassment. As he left for a minute, I poured some water out of my bottle, wet the tissue a little, and went to work on my leg, thinking, all I wanted to do was go for a ride.

The officer came back from across the street and handed me tape and gauze,”Here, use this.”

“Who has gauze and tape?” I was not blessed with the ability to make small talk with attractive people, can you tell?

“First Aid kit, and I was a paramedic.”

Ohh Lord, Mr. Really Attractive fights crime and has dabbled in the medical field? I was crying inside.

“Thanks.” I took the supplies from his hand, ripped a piece of tape, slapped the gauze on and stood up, still silently hoping this was all a dream.

“Are you sure you are okay?”

“I’m fine. Thank you for your help.”

“You’re welcome,” he took my bike and handed it to me.

And so, I was off again–all fixed, having attracted the attention of the drivers in a small town, being saved by a kind D.Co Sheriff, and learning the lesson that you are never fully prepared to fall off your bike.

Stages of a Runner

I just so happened to stumbled upon this website with Jeff Galloway’s Five Stages of A Runner earlier today; he was spot on with the stages. If you are a runner, I suggest checking it out.

 

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away…But Not in My Job field

catskills

As my Aussie side kick’s last day in upstate New York, unsure of what other activity we could do to show her the splendor of the state, and pretty sure she would not go on another bike ride with me ever again (let’s just say my idea of a “short ride” is not really a “short ride” to non-cyclists, and our last ride was a bit lengthy), I decided to bring her apple picking. It had been a horrible week, and I needed something fun. What’s more therapeutic than picking apples off trees? Plus, my side kick  had never picked an apple off a tree, and the only places I have picked apples are from a large bin in the grocery store, so this was the perfect late Sunday afternoon activity.

I mentioned a couple of the farms that are in the area in a post already, and after some contemplation, decided to go to Grieg’s Farm in Red Hook–where I had picked blueberries and raspberries in the summer. Picking your own fruit takes “supporting your local agricultural community” to a whole different level.

apple tree

We drove to the farm, which is open on weekends until 6pm (great for when you wake up at 4pm), and found just what we were expecting: apples on trees! You could also pick your own pumpkins and autumn raspberries–I still do not know the difference between summer and fall raspberries. I thought a raspberry was a raspberry. I guess I was wrong.

The farm was quite busy with other families thinking a day at the farm was a nice Sunday afternoon activity, but not overly crowded. We grabbed our bags and started picking. Unfortunately, my knowledge of apples consists of what color they are, and if they are sour or not, so when Danielle asked which type was best to pick, I was useless. We decided simply to pick a mixture.

Eating the forbidden fruit

After trying the apples out (quite tasty) and with more apples than needed, we went to the raspberry bushes and started picking autumn raspberries for a while. I think we ended up eating more than we actually brought back. Personally, nothing beats blueberries, but any berry is tasty, especially when right off the bush.

Then, we went on to the pumpkin patch. Since Danielle had picked a pumpkin before, and I picked mini ones in my back yard, we decided to skip the pumpkin picking and head back with our fresh goodies.

pumpkins pumpkins everywhere

Long story short, it was a fun afternoon, and I have a feeling my kitchen will be overflowing with apple pies and other apple creations in the near future.

When was the last crazy post written?

October 2010
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