But, Baby, It’s Cold Outside…

It really was cold outside. And is today. I don’t quite understand why banks in the U.S. tell you the time and temperature outside on those flashing boards, but it is handy in reaffirming the non-welcoming idea that it is becoming too cold to ride outside.

Then again, 35 isn’t freezing yet.

It’s almost the end of my first week of training, which was not too bad. As my trainer said, it won’t be too bad until the weeks in April when I’ll be spending 15hrs a week either bike/swim/or running when I’ll be re-thinking why I’m doing such a race. Thus far, I managed to STICK to the plan, and might I add, is the first week I’ve ever stuck to a training plan in my LIFE. Ok, well, I followed the swimming and running, but did a bit more on the bike rides, just because the inability to feel my extremities was so fun I needed to be on my bike more than 60 minutes. To be honest, I do not think I’ve ever gone for a 6o minute bike ride, unless under racing conditions. I simply don’t feel like that is a workout, same as I feel a 3mile run is nothing–except, again, under racing conditions. However, racing is different. You are pushing yourself beyond your natural limits, with your legs and body despising you throughout the whole race…If you compete in races, you know exactly what I mean. There is no other feeling like finishing a race exhausted, in pain, and feeling like you are going to puke your guts out.

 

"Mol, what are you doing?" "I lost a screw for the odometer." "I think you've lost screws in your head."

Swimming

My time at Bard has been getting better and better. Despite my watch breaking, so it’s harder to keep track of lap/lap time, and consuming too much chlorinated water, I think I’m improving. First two times in the pool I despised it. Now, I don’t mind heading to the pool, especially when the weather is horrible outside. I still suck at the sport, and while I’m gasping for air, the 70 year old lady in the lane next to me is (1)swimming faster than me and (2) makes it look so natural. I kick myself now for stopping swimming when I was thirteen years old. I’ve learned to completely shut off my brain (which, for me, who thinks 24/7, is pretty impressive) when I swim, and just concentrate on strokes…And not drowning, or swimming into the person next to me.

Biking

My rides this week have been going well, no change there.I went for a training ride yesterday and passed a sign declaring it was only 35 degrees out. For some odd reason, my frozen fingers and toes could have sworn it was more like 32. I guess if I want to spend as much time as possible off my trainer, the inability to feel your phalanges will be a phenomenon I’ll need to get used to. Unlike the running and swimming where I’ve followed my plan to the T, my rides have been a bit longer, simply because I hate my trainer. Despite my three layers of socks and two sets of gloves, I still get cold. Just a helpful hint, it’s a bit dangerous riding with your hands in fists to try to gain feeling back into your fingers, because when you need to break or shift….Just trust me on that one. Don’t do it.

Running

The running is fine. I’m actually getting better at that discipline, I feel the burning-of-thighs-and-lungs by doing hill work on my bike have definitely helped my tolerance for pain running up hills. My pace is actually quicker than it was before I had begun cycling again, as seen by the 5k race I did last week.

Random Thoughts

Food

I’ve heard hardcore endurance athletes concerned about what they eat–glycemic index of foods, people who watch their carbohydrate/fat/protein intake. At one point in my life, it was an obsession, I admit it. Everyone has that phase. Then I realized I love food too much to worry about what I eat.

Until work the other night, when I found myself looking at the carb content, fat, and protein of peanut butter (graham crackers and peanut butter seem to be my staple meal while working…we never had peanut butter at the Children’s Hospital where I used to work). A colleague of mine noticed me looking at the Nutrition label and stated, “You are one of those athletes who is concerned at the content of food, aren’t you?”

I jumped at first, not because of his comment, but because he scared me. Then, it dawned on me, “Holy crap, I’m looking at the nutrition content of food.”

Have I become a crazy, obsessed, nutritional freak?

No, not yet. I’ll start becoming concerned about my “peak racing weight” after the holidays.

I did notice that on little containers of peanut butter there is a warning that the “Product contains nuts.” So, for those of you who are allergic to nuts, please, do not eat PeaNUT Butter.

Men

Apparently, according to a friend, I intimidate men. Honestly, I do not understand how I am intimidating. I’m the most approachable, non-intimidating person on the existence of this planet. But my friend noticed a conversation I had with a male the other day, and brought it to my attention that some men do not find it attractive when your response to their answer is a long sigh with a frown on your face, or when you try to contain your laughter after they speak.

“Mol, your obsession with racing is just intimidating to men.”

“It’s not like I asked him what his PR for a mile is or anything.”

The conversation went like this:

Me: “Do you run at all?”

(Let’s call him B): “Ugh, please. I don’t understand how people find it appealing to run for no reason.”

Me: “Do you like to bike?”

B: “Mmm, no, not really.”

Me: “What’s not really mean?”

B: “I hate it.”

Me (feeling like someone just jabbed me in the heart with a knife and, according to my friend, had a “disgusted” look on my face): “Oh. How about hiking?”

B: “I did once this summer when it was warm.”

Me: “What do you do for fun then?”

B: “I whittle.”

Me (after trying to contain laughter and, I guess, too long of a pause, and deep inhale): “Oh…”

B: “What do you like to do?”

Me: “Everything you hate.”

How is that intimidating? Okay, in all honestly, he lost 175% of my attention when he said he hates biking. But, I was able to hold a straight face when he said he whittles for fun. Please, no offense to you whittlers out there. I give you lots of credit, because you are able to carve intricate items out of wood. I cannot slice tomatoes without somehow slicing my finger by accident. Just fair warning, my life revolves around running, cycling, and swimming. You’re digging yourself a bigger grave when you say you hate one of those activities.

More Randmoness

Below is a short video; I cannot help but laugh when I watch it. No, I’m not training for a full Ironman. I need to conquer the HIM, and just triathlons in general without dying, before that can happen. Although, I do know when next years Lake Placid race is…

Yes, I’m crazy.

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Watch Out, Lance….

…Molly G. is speeding up.

Following my recent post about the three tests I had to do for my trainer/coach Dorothy, I have now completed two of them–the bike 10mile time trial, and the swimming test. And, I’m going to tell you about them. The times, however, are between my coach and myself.  Maybe one day I will share them with others.

1. Time Trial: Pro Cyclists- be warned!

Lance Armstrong on a Time Trial during the TdF a couple years ago

 

The weather, thank goodness, was bearable–it seems like forever since I have ridden outside (have I mentioned I dislike riding on a trainer indoors? Does not even come close to being outside). It was chilly, but I kept bundled up, and did not have to worry about my water getting warm! I started off on route 308, just outside my house to the “fork in the road” (literally, there is a fork in the road in Milan) for my time trial. It was the first time I’ve done a time trial, other than my racing in duathlons, and first time I’ve gone out on a bike ride specifically to go as fast and push as hard as I could for ten miles.

Milan's Fork in the Road

It was painful, not going to lie. If I had aero bars, and a TT bike, and an aerodynamic helmet, I would have been faster (ok I’m done making up excuses for my poor time). It was windy. Bodily fluids were flowing from my nose and eyes with no plans on stopping. If you’ve ever run or biked or hiked or done any physical activity outside with me, you might have noticed that I carry wads of tissues with me. My nose just starts running whenever I do anything, and I am either constantly sniffling or blowing my nose. Really attractive, right? I’m a sad miserable mess in spandex when I ride– nothing attractive about it.

My best friend when doing anything active

At any rate, I did it. And after the ten miles, I decided to continue for a little further, because the weather was so nice. And, as a result of having issues with runny noses, I have mastered the art of removing gloves/blowing my nose/ applying chapstick all while steering clear of cars whilst riding–I’m pretty sure if you pass me while I’m in the midst of it, I look like a clown. And probably do. But those things are small accomplishments in my eyes.

2. Pool

I spent my third morning ever in Bard’s pool yesterday morning, doing test numero deux for my coach: a  2x 100yard fly  sprints. It is amazing how different the muscles used in swimming are. I know in running, you use your legs, as well as arms. And for road cycling, you have to have powerful legs (have you seen the the pro cyclists’s thighs? You can see their rectus femorii, vastus lateralii, and vastus medii–in non-medical terms, thigh muscles, with no problems. Pro cyclists are incredible incredible shape!) But I never realized how much you use your legs in swimming either. And, you use your upper body much more as well. You can sometimes tell if someone is a swimmer by looking at their upper body–they have muscular, broad shoulders. And, now I know why. Swimming is all about upper body, too.

Let me stop here just say, pro athletes in general are in amazing shape. Whether cycler, swimmer, sprinter, triathlete. You can look at them in spandex or swimsuits and say, “Wow, you are in amazing shape. And, attractive. And, can bike, swim, and run. Will you marry me?”

Sorry for that little side note. Back to my swimming. I went to the pool when it just opened for lap time at 0730 and shared a lane with a nice older lady. I warmed up with a couple slow laps (100 yards) and then did sprint numero uno. Holy cow. By my fourth lap of that 100yards (I swim in a 25yard pool), my legs were  burning like they do when I am riding up mountains, and I had to breathe for air with every upstroke. I am not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing when swimming (I know nothing about the sport, except for how to spot a swimmer, as I mentioned above). When I got to the wall, my heart rate was 188 (somewhat on the higher end of my heart rate training zone for my age) and the time was 2:10–other swimmers, please, no laughing. I could have been faster had I known how to do flip turns. This is the third time I’ve been in a pool for over 13 years, let alone doing laps.

I waited three minutes, as told by Dorothy, and then did the second sprint. She was right when she told me I would hate it. It was horrible. But I did the second one and completed it.

After the two sprints, I decided I needed to spend more time in the pool to get somewhat of a workout in, so I just did laps (total of 20x 100yards, so 2000yards) alternating sprinting and using kickboards. Yes, if you are a swimmer, or coach, or know what you are doing, you probably think I am doing my swim workouts all wrong. That’s why I have Dorothy.

At this time, I’m not too fond of swimming in a pool. Yes, you can stay warm when it is cold outside, and do not need to worry about blowing a flat in your tire (that story will come shortly). But, in a pool, I feel I am getting nowhere. On a bike, or on a run, I am going somewhere, getting close to some destination. But in the pool, you are swimming from one side to the other. Back and forth. Ohh boy, this training for the race in June will be fun fun 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.

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