Monday, March 26, 2012

If it is important to you....

Need motivation? Don't look here. Now don't take that wrong. I'm a firm believer that motivation has to come from within. You have to want it. TRULY WANT IT. You have to want the good health enough to give up the crappy habit. 

I cannot make you do this. I can help you create a schedule. I can help you with your workouts. I can help you with your nutrition, but you have to do the work. 

When I set up my workouts, I use a monthly calendar and put my workouts down in writing. Due to Ironman Louisville, I actually have my workouts planned all the way through August 26th. I make changes each week as my family's schedule is revealed. 
Source: via Carla on Pinterest

Now some of you may be surprised, but I do not love to swim, bike or run. I don't look forward to doing any of those activities. So why do I do it? Because I love the feeling when I am DONE. I love the feeling of accomplishment. I love knowing that I have done something good for my body. 

If you are getting started, my suggestion is to find something that you enjoy and do it MOST DAYS OF THE WEEK. Maybe you like to play tennis or volleyball. Maybe you don't like the impact of running and need to go out for a walk. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Go for a walk: Find a local trail to walk on if you need a change of scenery
  2. Go hiking: Starved Rock has fantastic trails.
  3. Go for a family bike ride.
  4. Find a ZUMBA class. The dance workout is FUN and yes, you can get a good workout. 
  5. Join a group fitness class at a local facility: Try a yoga class, kick boxing, or a boot camp class. 
  6. Ask a friend to play tennis or volleyball. 
If you would like to do a 5k, you have two options to ease into a 5k: 

If you need additional motivation, download podcasts onto your ipod and listen to them while you walk or even while you get ready for work in the morning. I love to listen to the following podcasts which you can download in iTunes or on Stitcher:
  1. Jillian Michaels
  2. Dr. Fitness and the Fat Guy
  3. Get Fit Guy's Quick and Dirty Tips
  4. Another Mother Runner Radio
  5. The Nutrition Diva's Quick & Dirty Tips
  6. Anytime Health Radio
Surround yourself with motivating people who have similar goals as you. Look around you for motivation. People everywhere are working hard and accomplishing their goals. I rode my bike this weekend with a woman who has lost 120 pounds and is now training for an Ironman. SHE is an inspiration! People change their lives every day. All it takes is small steps. 

And then ask yourself: Why not me? 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Technology Wins

Excited to play with my new toy, I drove to the pool for a swim workout. My goal for the day was to learn about my swim stroke rate and of course, about my new watch.

One of the comments by Terry Laughlin of Total Immersion stuck in my head. Don't try to do too much at one time if you are trying to make a change. Break down your sets to smaller distances to facilitate change and imprint the change into your mind. I decided to do a series of 50 yard laps, pause briefly and re-start. My focus was on rotating my hips for propulsion and relaxing my arm. For the first few 50s, my stroke rate was 19 which is actually a little high on my personal efficiency rate (PER). I started to focus on my glide and trying to reduce my stroke rate. I was able to bring my stroke rate down to 18, but couldn't push it either further. 

My next goal was to work on bilateral breathing. Breathing to my right just doesn't feel as natural as my left, but I'm really worried that I will be looking directly into the sun on the race day and be mad that I didn't work on my right side breathing. Part of the breathing to my right also has to do with my hip rotation. I know when I am just swimming I don't rotate my hips enough to the right. I worked on rotating to my right, engaging my core as my right elbow comes forward in order to keep my head from diving back into the water. It took some work, but I have a lot more work to do. All in all I completed 1300 yards focusing on technique and stroke rate.
Interesting Sculpture along
the riverfront

Because I live in a small town of about 2000 people, my running routes get really boring. The actually town is about 8 blocks by 15 blocks; therefore, I get tired of running past the same houses week after week. As a result, I decided to stay in Peoria on Tuesday after my swim, eat a delicious lunch at Panera Bread and then run along the riverfront. 

Returning to the Riverplex, I turned on my watch and started off with a nice easy jog to get the joints loose. A few minutes into my run, I stopped to turn on my Endomonodo app and re-started. Running along the riverfront was definitely a nice change of pace. I was distracted by the people, the scenery and finding my route. The distance on my watch spinned away when all of the sudden I heard Endomondo through my headphones: 1 mile complete....Hmm, wait what?  That didn't match my watch. Well, I figured it was because I started the app after my watch. No problem. I continued working on my intervals, 400 strong, 400 relaxed. My goal was 5 miles in my brand new New Balance running shoes. I watched as my distance ticked away, and noticed my pace: 6:30. What? I am not running that fast...nor can I run that fast except maybe a 100 yard dash. My watch ticked over to 5 and I stopped at a near bench to take a look. What was going on? ??? My watch says Are you kidding me? 

Another lesson with a new toy. Make sure you distance measurement is set up correctly. I switched the distance to Statute. Grrr. Time to get up and finish my 5 MILES then. 

Couldn't I just live in the fantasy that I completed my 5 miles in 33 minutes? Please? 

Lessons learned. Technology: 2. Carla: 0. 

I completed 1300 yards and decided

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Casting Off The Training Wheels

Sometimes I wonder what, if anything, actually filters through my small brain. On Saturday, I needed to do a long run somewhere between 10-15 miles. You know - just depending on how I felt. I want to work on pushing my lactate threshold. 

Suddenly, via Facebook, I see the T3 group is planning a group ride on Saturday at 1 pm. I watch...and it looks like there may be a couple of groups riding at various levels. Cool! I'm in! I need to cast off the trainer and hit a real road. 

Saturday morning I taught Body Flow in Pekin at Parkside Athletics and I just brought my running gear with me so I could run in a different area for a nice change of pace. By the time I finished teaching and chatted it up with my participants, I found myself in the locker room with a couple of other instructors asking about a good running route for a longer distance. Delay after delay, I finally took off to hit the trail which starts behind Parkside Athletics. 

Ignore the long line heading back to Tremont. I forgot to hit reset before taking off on my bike. Grr. Oh well. Anyway, Pekin has a nice trail which starts in Mineral Springs Park and then across Parkway Drive to Coal Miner's Park.  From there, I caught Allenton out to Veterans Drive and looped back to Pekin. I completed the 12.05 miles in 2:11:26.4 for a 10:55 pace. A little slower than I wanted. I was trying to stay on a 10:39 pace, but I have time to work on that. 

By the time I got home to eat some food, I only had 30 minutes to change, reload my bike and head out for the group ride. My husband thought I was nuts and so did some small part of myself, but I felt like I needed a reality check anyway. Boy did I get one.  I've always wondered what the Bovine Loop was that all of the T3 group spoke so highly of. Today was my day to find out.  I showed up late, unloaded my bike and we took off. Or I should say they took off. Me? I was spinning, spinning, spinning, but going nowhere fast. Cadence? Between 100-120. Oh yah, I have gears on my bike. HA! I need to change them. Spin spin spin. What the heck? 

I know I've had problems changing my front ring in the past and I couldn't get it to move! I was feeling frustrated as the pack continued to move away from me. Not that I was upset with them, but because I felt like an idiot who didn't know how to work her bike! Suddenly it occurred to me. To change my front ring, I need to use my left gear shift. (I can't even believe I am admitting this in public.) Oh, yes, Dolce, my sweet bike, I remember you!

Suddenly, I wasn't spinning, but actually moving forward..until I turned into the wind. The spring wind was coming out of the SW and it was strong. Add that to my tired legs and you already have a preview of how well my first bike outing went. 

The pack was waiting for me about 6 miles out. They were all smiling, cheering me on, but I am sure silently they were saying, "Are we going to have to wait for her all day?"

I was horrified to watch everyone fly by me. I knew my legs were tired, but even with fresh legs I knew there was no way I was going to keep up with that group. I told Mr. Muscle I was going to turn around, but he wouldn't hear it. He would ride up the hill once, come back down and head up again while I was chugging through my first time. Oh how I hated that. Not that I blame him, but because I felt so lame and weak. 

Actually, Mr. Muscle was a great help. After the first long hill, he started talking to me about when to shift gears and how much pressure I should feel on my legs. The thing is I know I am strong. I know my legs can get me through this Ironman. It may not be fast, but I will get it done. The problem is conserving your legs during the 112 mile bike ride so you can get through the marathon at the end. It's all about balance and find the right mixture of tension and cadence to propel you through the bike and onto a relaxing run. 

Another thing I hate to admit? Did you see it? My speed. 13.6 mph. Oh good Lord. Seriously? I have a lot of work to do. I declared March to be the MONTH OF THE SWIM.  I guess that means April needs to be the MONTH OF THE BIKE. I will be spending a lot of time on that bike thinking about gears, shifting and ignoring my backside as I ride over the crappy Central Illinois roads.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

My new toy

Everyone loves a new toy. It's shiny and fresh and provides hours of entertainment. I received a new toy this weekend. 
The newly released Garmin 910XT. Ohhh....ahhhh. Why am I so excited about the new Garmin? Because it now provides swim metrics from an indoor pool!

Now keep in mind when you first open your 910XT, you will receive 12 different manuals each in a different language. 
I set up my user profile, set the default length on the pool for 25 yards and drove over to the Riverplex with Awesome Cheryl. I completed my first 50 yards and obsessively looked at my watch. Right on! Next I did a few drills some which did not use a freestyle arm movement and found the distance on my watch was not correct. Was it because I didn't use the freestyle stroke? I did a few more laps and looked and it was right on. A few again. I was feeling a little bit frustrated. It seemed to only count half of my lap not my full length. WTF? If you spend $500 on a toy, you want it to work. 

I came home and did some googling. My favorite blogger for product reviews is DC Rainmaker. He did his product review of the 910XT last October.  He did note in the review the new Garmin watch measures distance using accelerometer data. Because you are inside, the watch cannot necessarily identify that you have switched directions. You need to push off the wall strongly in order for the watch to identify the change in acceleration. 

So I guess my new watch is going to take a little more play time, but I am anxious to check out the new swim metrics such as stroke/length & stroke efficiency. I'm hoping my new watch will help me learn even more about my swim demons. 

Immersing into The Swim

The Swim. The one leg of the triathlon which can quickly make or break you no matter how long the distance. Recently, Triathlete Magazine (January 2012) had a graphic which showing how much effort goes into each leg of the triathlon. Swim: 10%, Bike: 50%, Run: 40%. Considering the mileage involved? Yes, I agree. Considering the fear factor? No, I don't. 

In my constant quest to learn more about the swim and what I can do to come out of the water before The Legend, I found the Total Immersion videos which are on YouTube. 

I spent almost two hours watching the "Work Less, Swim Better" series as well as the "Total Immersion Perpetual Motion" series. I liked these DVDs by Terry Laughlin because there were specifically for long distance training not sprints. Here are some of the things I will focusing on in the water:

HANDS: Hands pierce the water with a relaxed (not stiff hand). Fingers are separated. The hand reaches out in front of the shoulder, not to the midline. The arms drops slightly so you have a natural slope in our arm. Fingers are below the wrist. Wrist below elbow. 

ROTATION: Rotate just enough to clear your shoulder from the water. The rotation is less than you would think. Don't stack hips & shoulders on top of each other. This only creates instability. The propulsion is created as the weight rolls from side to side. As the elbow comes up out of the water, it should be outside the center line of your body, not directly above the shoulder. Don't worry about pushing the hand past the hip. It's just a waste energy which you need to conserve for the bike & run. During most of the swim, the legs are in a drafting position just relaxed behind the body. The kick is a 2 beat kick which is best for long distance swimming. Do not activate the leg muscles. Think of just flicking the toes. As you rotate to the right, the right foot flicks as the right arm comes back to the right hip. (Left foot drives as my right hand pierces)

Based on my height my PERSONAL EFFICIENCY RANGE (PER) would be 16-19 strokes per 25 yards. So I guess I will focus on counting my strokes and perfecting my technique over the next few months, but especially during MARCH: THE MONTH OF THE SWIM. 

After watching the videos, I went to the Riverplex for a swim workout. I felt like I flew through the the workout. So now that I have a plan for my swim workouts I will focus on my technique completing the correct amount of strokes per length. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Focus on the swim

When I registered for Ironman Louisville, I was more than a little freaked out about swimming 2.4 miles. I had mental issues. I doubted my abilities. So I pushed myself to prove that I will be ready for the distance. I started covering some distance. And then I got bored. I got tired of putting my face in the water and just swimming. So I changed my plan again. I started focusing on technique.

Last Friday I went swimming with Mr. Muscle & one of the Intimidators. I thought I was mentally prepared, but I could feel the exhaustion in my muscles after a long week of workouts, after teaching PUMP that morning. I focused on technique again, but I only completed 1000 yards. I wasn't happy with the low yardage. 

Over the weekend while attending the Midwest Les Mills Quarterly, I thought about my swim workouts and my personality. As much as I like to wing it, I also know that I like structure and suddenly it hit me. I need a plan! I need a planned workout. No more just arriving at the pool and swimming until I felt like I had done enough. 

I went back to the Trifuel 36 week Ironman Training Program and decided to check out the swim workouts. In the beginning, the swim workouts didn't seem to be preparing me for the distance. There were a lot of drills, small sets. When I looked at where I should be in the plan, I liked what I saw. 

I took my swim training plan to the pool on Tuesday, reviewed it before I got out of the car and went into the pool.

Warm up: 2x200
Main Set: 2 sets of (3x300 w/20 sec in between) w/60 sec in between sets
Cool Down: 4x75 with 10 second rest  I did 10x75 with 10 second rest. Poor memory helped me get more yards. 

While swimming, I calculated my total yardage: 2950. Wait! What? 50 yards short of 3000 yards. Oh hell no! I did an extra 50 to hit 3000 yards. I was very happy with the workout, the plan and more importantly the results.

Diablo? Diablo who? He may have been on my shoulder for the warm up, but he soon sank back to the bottom of the pool. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Plan for the week

Channing Tatum
Originally, I thought I'd go swimming today or maybe go for a run, but then I had the chance to go watch Channing Tatum in "The Vow" and all thoughts left my head....until I saw his abs and then all I wanted to do was suck my own in. 

Actually, I did decide to take today as a rest day in more ways than one. I wanted to rest my body as well as prepare my mind for the busy week ahead.  

I thought it might help for me to write out my week's workouts in order to hit prime motivation!

MONDAY: Teaching PUMP & ZUMBA as well as playing adult volleyball. For the bike trainer: 10 minute warm up followed by 5 minutes of intervals and 5 minutes of steady work at 80% effort. The main set is two intervals with 20 minutes at 100-105% followed by 2 minutes at 68-73% followed by a cool down of 5 minutes. 

TUESDAY: Teaching PUMP & then FLOW. For running: Warm up for 10-20 minutes, 3x2000 (400 rest interval), followed by  10 cool down. For swimming:  Warm up with 2x200, Main Set: 2 sets of (3x300 w/20 sec in between) w/60 sec in between sets, and then a cool down of 4x75 with 10 second rest. 

WEDNESDAY: For the bike trainer: 10 minute warm up followed by 3 sets of 5 minutes at 77% then 83% and then a 5 minute cool down. Teaching FLOW and then PUMP.

THURSDAY: Teaching FLOW. For running1 mile easy, 2 miles @ mid-tempo, 1 mile easy, 2 miles @ mid-tempo, 1 mile easy. For swimming:  Warm up with a 400 yard swim and 12x25 with 10 seconds rest alternating between swim, kick and choice. Main set: 1500 straight swim followed by a 200 yard cool down. 

FRIDAY: Teaching PUMP. For the bike trainer: 10 minute warm up followed by 3 sets of 10 minutes at 94-100%, then 3 minutes at 68-73% and then a 5 minute cool down. 

SATURDAY: Teaching FLOW. For running: 10-15 miles.

SUNDAY: Optional swim: Warm up with 800 yards (3 lengths swim, 1 length kick), main set 1000 yards loco swim. Rest 60 seconds before continuing with 6 x (100 @85, 50 easy) {900 total} and finally a 6x50 with 10 seconds rest. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Meeting Glen

If I ever switch to the timeline format on Facebook, I think I will have to add March 3, 2012: The Day I met Glen. 

The weekend was fast and furious and nearly flew right on by, but it was also an inspiring, invigorating 24 hours full of sweat and laughter. Kelsey and I left for Chicago about 7 pm after I finished teaching ZUMBA. By the time we settled in our hotel, it was bedtime, but we chattered away for another hour or so. You know - solving all of life's problems and such. 

A tight squeeze to fit everyone in
We agreed we wanted to arrive at the Quarterly early in the morning in case we had a chance to meet Glen before Pump, but we didn't arrive until 7:30 am. By the time we registered, signed waivers and made our way to the floor, we were three-fourths of the way to the back of the room. The platforms & bars were squeezed in so very close staggered slightly to allow room for the lunge track. 

My New Shirt!
We claimed a spot in the nose bleed seats, unloaded our bags in an aerobics room and then walked over to the expo. I was anxious to see what kind of goodies I could pick up. Just before leaving I received an email advertising a shirt they would have at the Quarterly saying "I Pumped with Glen". You know I was going to get one! The check out line was super long so Kelsey & I agreed we'd come back later to do some shopping. 
Glen welcoming everyone!

Finally, it was time to start Pump. Kelsey & I were debating which release Glen would be previewing. The music for 80 was playing the background which made us slightly nervous. I wanted to do something new, not the same old release I was already presenting to my classes!! Glen came out on the stage and welcomed everyone to Midwest Quarterly Release of Body Pump Eighty-----1!

I love the new music for BP81. And the moves? Ohhhh....lots of singles for the squat track. A new clean and press combination in the back track. Lots of pressure building up in the bicep track and more propulsion lunges. My class participants won't like that!

Bicep Track
As we moved into the abs & cool down track, Kelsey & I decided to bale and hit the expo again. I claimed my new shirt, and another as well as a few other "must haves". As I waited on Kelsey to finish checking out, I turned around to see Glen doing a meet and greet with the instructors. OH MY GOSH!!!! I couldn't get Kelsey through that line fast enough!

Kelsey, Glen & I 
We stood in line to meet Glen with our expo goodies in a bag holding yoga mats for our class participants back home while we giggled about fixing our make up. Finally we made it to the front of the line. 

What do you say to someone you admire without gushing and sounding like an idiot? Me? I said, "Glen, it's a pleasure to meet you." Yes, really impactful. Profound. We took a group picture, but we didn't like the cropping on the picture. So we got back in line like the little stalkers that we are. 

Kelsey & Glen
Glen & I 
We made our way back to the aerobics room to participate in Body Step & Body Combat. MMMMM I love Body Combat. If it weren't for IMLOU, I would be finishing my Body Combat video now and sending it in for assessment. Snif. Yes, I miss my Body Combat, but I also have to be realistic about my time management and realize that I will just need to attend training again next fall to complete my video. 

After gorging ourselves on pizza at Giordano's, we returned to Quarterly for CXWorx and Body Flow. All in all it was a wonderful day. A day full of inspiration and laughs...and some good old fashioned sweat. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Od' to Glen

This weekend I am going to attend the spring Les Mills Quarterly in Chicago, IL. I attended one last fall and had a blast participating in all of the different Les Mills classes. I came home tired, but inspired. Once I signed up for IMLOU, I swore that I wouldn't sign up for another quarterly until my Ironman was over. Taking a weekend to do classes would interrupt my Ironman training schedule. I usually plan a long run on Saturday so my muscles can recover on Sunday before starting the new week. 

Then the announcement came out regarding the March Quarterly and my heart stopped. The one and only Glen Ostergaard would be in both Chicago and St. Louis for the Midwest events. Who is Glen Ostergaard? 

Glen is the International Program Director for both RPM & Body Pump. My first Les Mills training was for RPM in May of 2010. Glen and his wife, Sarah, were the stars of RPM 50. Glen coached, coaxed and pushed his class participants through the workout. My third Les Mills training was for Body Pump 77 in April 2011. Again, Glen led the class like a master so that you get to the end of the workout you are crying for more!

I'm looking forward to the opportunity to meet Glen this weekend, but most of all I'm looking forward to drinking in more of the Les Mills kool-aid. 

My Reader who loves Me

Last week I wrote about Chrissie Wellington's CNN article on "Train Your Brain" and how she uses a mantra to help her push through some of the tougher points in training. 

A few weeks ago, I created my own mantra to help me push harder:

“I am strong. I am an Ironman.” 

I used it yesterday during my run when I wanted to cut my run short. I used it Sunday when I went swimming with Awesome Cheryl. I used it this week when working on the trainer as I try to increase my bike cadence.

Today when my husband came home, he brought in the mail and handed me a package. Something he had ordered for me. 

Three maroon wristbands - one side says "Ironman Louisville 2012"

The other side says "I am Strong. I am Iron." He ran out of letters, but that's ok. I still hear the message ringing in my head. 

The message? Yes, I am strong. I am an Ironman, but most importantly I am loved by someone who listens to what is important to me and supports me so that I can achieve my goals. 

Thanks, babe. I love you. You are the best road crew ever!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spring is in the air

Give me a beautiful sunny day & some thumping music and I'll give you an exhilarating six mile run. 

Today the weather was beautiful. Gorgeous. There was the big bright ball in the sky which spread it's rays of light all around my little town. Oh yes!

Ironman Yurbuds
My goal for the day was to run 6 miles at a relaxed pace. I wasn't really in the mood to run. I wanted to chill and sit on my computer and veg and do NOTHING, but once I got outside I felt GREAT. 

I purchased new headphones at Wal-Mart: Ironman Yurbuds. Combine the new headphones with new music from release #81 of Les Mills Body Pump and you get a highly motivated Ironman wannabe. 

I ran my six miles in 56:03 with an average moving pace of 9:20 minutes/mile. Am I breaking land speed records? No, but for me that is a good pace and the best part is that I felt good throughout my run. 

Moving Time:56:03
Elapsed Time:56:03
Avg Pace:9:20 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:9:20 min/mi
Best Pace:7:41 min/mi
Spring is in the air. It's March 1st. Booooyah! Are you ready for spring?