Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tri Training: Learning Breaststroke

There was a slight fear this morning with my tri training group as we realized it was pool day.  Every Tuesday, it is all about swimming.  Last week we discovered that swimming is a full body sport so we knew that we were ready for a workout.  After some quick tips on what to eat prior, during, and after  training, we found ourselves in the pool.  Today's lesson: Breaststroke. 

Breaststroke Fun Facts:
- Considered slowest of the competitive strokes
- Thought to be one of the oldest swim strokes
- Regarded one of the most difficult strokes

Breaststroke is MY favorite stroke as you are able to swim with your head above water.  Again, I am unable to breath underwater and have to hold my nose so the breaststroke is my go to.  That being said, we broke down each of the elements in practice today.  I have not thought of the individual components of this stroke. 

We practiced the cupping of the hands, the movement of the feet (frog legs), and then the glide.  We went up and down the lane with our kick boards as we worked on the leg movements.  Then we put all together.

Some of the ladies preferred this stroke over freestyle, some did not.  From the first lap to the last, I was able to see immediate improvements on the ladies progress.  Even myself, I was able to slow down and think about each action.  Our swim coach noticed on my feet that I was not bringing my feet together to provide a good line for gliding.  I was able to make that adjustment. 

Tuesday is becoming one of my favorite days!  It was difficult to get out of the pool and not stay swimming.  I remembered the summers of biking up to the neighborhood pool and spending all day there.  (I also remember the snow cones).  After tri training, I wonder if there are any adult swim leagues.  Not that I would be competitive, but it would be fun to incorporate swimming into my fitness routine. 

Bike Loot Review: June 2013 Box

My favorite thing in camp was the daily letters from my mother.  My amazing mom a different card everyday with a customized message.  That way, I always had mail everyday!  It is with that same ethuasim in which I look forward to my mail subscription services.  

There are tons of boxes out there for every type of like, hobby, person.  Being one of my favorite
hobbies and workout is biking, I was excited to find a bicycle theme box.  Bike Loot (www.bikeloot.com) is a bike for your cycling lifestyle.  I received the June box in which 6 different companies provided goodies.  

Bottle Bright (www.cleanethics.com): This is advertised as the "safest and most effective solution for cleaning your hard to clean drinking vessels and water bottles."  It is a small tablet in which you drop in the bottle within warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes to clean.  I typically use a new water bottle every day and hand wash so this was difficult to test.  I did test it on my coffee thermos which holds 10 cups of coffee. I put the tablet in and let it set for 5 minutes. My thermos was a little less dark on the side and the smell of coffee was removed.  There was no chemical taste afterwards.  I wish I soaked the thermos longer to see if it could completely remove the coffee stain. Bottle Bright would be perfect for campers.  I look forward to carry them with us when we riding the Missouri Katy Trail later on this year.

Pro Gold Chain Lubrication (bikes.progoldmfr.com): This lube is advertised as "chain luge formula for long distance and exterme off-road conditions".  It "resists build-up".  Okay...as you can tell by the picture, I am a female.  I would LOVE to say that I work on my own bike, but I can't even change my own car tire.  I have a boyfriend love repairs and restores vintage bikes.  I provided the lube to him, and we have yet to test it. 

Surface Sun (surfacesunsystems.com): This sunscreen is advertised as a "high quality suncare products to the athletes and faces of action sports".  Sunscreen is a daily application for me especially since even just running errands can burn you!  This sunscreen did not have an overwhelme scent and was not greasy.  I spread easily and did not leave a strange residue.  It was difficult to test as it was in a small sample size package similar to one time use creams.  I wish I could have tried more to see how it covered more body area.  

Body Glove Surge (www.bodyglovesurge.com): This is an energy gel which is advertised as delivering "more concerntrated energy than Red Bull, Monster, Rock Start or 5 Hour Energy".  I recieved both flavors in which they carry: chocolate & double espresso.  Their gels are a little higher in sugar vs. the Gu gel that I am used to taking, but Body Glove does have whey protein, coconut water, and green tea in it.  I took a Body Glove Espresso during my long run, and it did provide a bridge to continue with my exercising.  It had a good coffee taste to which I did prefer over the Gu, but just slighty a little too sweet.  I would consider buying this product again.  (Looking on their website, they have two shots as well in which flavors I would prefer more)

Cremo Company Shaving Cream (http://cremocompany.com): This shaving cream is advertised as a foam-leass cream "which leaves your skin astonishingly smooth".  Bike Loot made note that they use it on their leg hairs.  Again, since I am a female, I had to test the product on my legs.  The cream is a concerted cream in which you need a small amount to cover a significant body area.  This was a great benefit as with other shaving creams, you have to have a fair amount on could create a slipping mess in your shower.  A small dime size all that was needed for one leg.  It provided a smooth surface when made shaving quite easy.  

Body Glide Chamois Balm (www.bodyglide.com): This balm is help keep you dry when riding.  It applies similar to deodorant.  So I am a commuter biker right now and do not ride long enough to be able to take advantage of the benefits of reducing chaffing.  Because of this, I am unable to provide a review of this product.  I am keeping it when I am ready to increase my mileage.  

Overall: All and all, there were some interesting things in the Bike Loot bike.  I did feel the product choices were male orientated with some of the products could be found in similar boxes for runners.  When reviewing the box, I did think to myself, "What would I wanted from a cycling box?"  I would rather have 2-3 quality items vs. 5-7 smaller items.  I would  have liked a box in which I could have received a new light, lock system, patch repair kit, etc.  If you have a male in your household which loves competative biking, this would be a great gift for them. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tri Training: Day of Improvements

I woke up super excited this morning when I realized it was start of my second week of tri training.  My Mondays will be a longer workout day as the first hour will be strength training at Thrive Personal Fitness (http://www.thrivepersonalfitness.com) and then tri training (cardio) at the YMCA Ward Branch. So after a kettle bell workout at Thrive, I was able to get to tri training and get ready for our workout.

After a humid 5-mile bike ride last night on my own, I was excited to be spinning inside this morning without sweating.  The bike adjustment worked well this morning.  We worked on “hills” as on the course there is a “monster” of a hill.  I was able to sustain a long-standing time with resistance, but not as long as I wanted to.  I have to realize it takes time to get to the point the others are.  I cannot compare myself to them, just compare on my progress.

I was able to ride 6.2 miles with different resistance in the thirty minutes.  My challenge this week will to be able to find cycling shoes as the pedals on the spin bike dug into my soles. Since we will be running right after biking, we transitioned to running after biking.  I was prepared for my running and was able to transition quickly.

For my personal running drills, I have been training on my long runs at 30 seconds running/45 seconds walking.  Since distance was limited on the tri training runs, I really pushed my running into a full out run vs. shuffling I do during my long runs.  My focus on that adjustment made a significant difference! 
I PR’ed my mile pace this AM at 13:38!  For someone who was averaging a 17-minute pace during a 5K two months ago, I am excited about this new pace. 

So today was a great day to already see improvements on just a couple adjustments to my training.  Tomorrow, the YMCA will provide a brief nutrition seminar prior to a full class of swimming. After last week’s swim lessons, I am excited to get back in the pool to see what improvements I can make on my swimming.   

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five Things For Friday: What Athletes Can Learn From Toddlers & Tiaras

Lately, I have been obsessively watching the past seasons of Toddlers & Tiaras.  I am unsure what
fascinates me about the show.  I know there is a lot of controversy around the show with the young girls and the moms, but maybe that is why it is so popular.  My partner has informed me that the like hood of having a female in his family is limited; I must live in the potential dreams.

This week, when watching an episode, I realized the correlation from pageants with athletes.  So for my five for Friday…the lessons in which athletes can learn from Toddlers & Tiaras:
  1. Be Prepared & Practice:  All of these girls are shown practicing their routines prior to the pageant.  When athletes are preparing for a goal/race, every workout is a practice.   If the girls do not practice and make small steps in their stage show, they do not win the ultimate grand supreme.  If we do not practice by strength training, increase mileages, working on speed drills, etc., we won’t get the results we want or worse we get injured.  Consider your daily workout as practice for your pageant.
  2. Have the Right Outfit: The hair, the makeup, and those glitz dresses make up the beauty portion of the pageant.  Some thing with athletes, the outfit, the shoes, and sometimes the equipment makes the difference.  Now that does not mean you have to cash out 401K like some of these parents do, but good, quality gear is important to ensure the ability to train long term.  When I started running, the best investment I made where my shoes.  Before I had them, I could not walk 2 miles without pain, now I am able to run my intervals and train without pain.  Extra bonus points for cute gear in which you could use as your “Outfit of Choice” 
  3. Posture & Performance: For the beauty walk, girls work specifically on their shoulder posture, their form, and making eye contact.  Same thing as an athlete!  When strength training, the form and posture is critical to make the impact you want and to keep your injury free.  When running, the posture and form are important again to give you long-term success.  Even eye position is important.  When I started running, I would look to the ground in which pulled my posture down.  Now I run looking ahead, shoulders back, and arms up. 
  4. Everyone Wins: Most pageant are structured that even if you do not get a high title, you always win a “Princess” title.  Every girl typically gets some bling (crown/trophy).  As a back of the pack runner, I realize while I might not get the bling, I am getting the same benefits of the first place runner.  By finishing last, you are still winning and improving your health.  By showing up and challenging yourself, you get named “Princess”
  5. Have Fun: The majority of the girls LOVE to be in pageant.  One of the episodes I won this week showed one of the girls staying on stage during the beauty portion because she truly loved being on stage.  During your training and competition, you should be having fun the whole time.  If you are not having fun, then find another form of exercise that works for you.  If you don’t like running, sign up for a spinning class.  Don’t care for Jazzercising, try yoga.  As long as you are moving and having fun, you will win Ultimate Grand Supreme.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Triathlon Training: It's Pool Time

Day two of triathlon training for me was really day three for the ladies.  I had to miss the second day due to a significant migraine in which floored me for two days.  I don’t get migraines often, but when I do..I cannot do anything.  Our Thursday’s sessions will always be a combination class: Swim/Run, Bike/Run, or Swim/Bike.  Today it was Swim/Bike.

During my first session, I had concerns on how my bike was set up. Best tip with any training: Ask questions or request assistance if you have concerns!  By outreaching to the program director, I was able to get a great fit on my spinning bike prior to our session and even wrote it down those settings so I will remember!  The goal for me in every group training session is to take that knowledge to adapt to my own training.  Now, I am good to go on my spinning bike.

We started out the session in the pool.  I was quickly reminded of the swimming lessons in my younger years at our neighborhood swim club.  My kryptonite when I was younger was the ability to put my face in the water without swallowing water.   This is the case here as well.  We started out with the basics of the freestyle swimming by talking about the pull of your hands when they hit the water and then the minimalist action of kicking your feet.  Fun fact: Most people believe your feet propel you; it really is your arms and shoulders.

Then we were off on our laps.  The first round we did was with a kick board only.  My muscles were fully aware of a new type of exercise in which they were being used for.  Again, when the focus of the pull of your hands is the most significant propel motion, using just your feet exhausted me down and back.  The next two laps were without the use of the board and with our coach of the day, Kyla, helping us with form.  

I quickly became aware of how much energy and muscles you use to swim as well as how freestyle is not my strong stroke.  I have always preferred the breast stroke, and it showed today in my strength.  I believe for my training I am going to do a combination of both strokes.  We did three laps total so we are halfway there for the sprint triathlon.  We ended the training working on cadence on the spin bike: same RPM for a long period of time. 

After the first week, I am so glad to have this resource to get me ready to my sprint triathlon.  It is a perfect way not only to work on getting healthy in a different way, but also to get prepared for my next goal.  In addition, it is great to working out with a great group of ladies who have the same goal for me.  Tomorrow is a day of rest and then Saturday is back running!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

So Obesity is a Disease: Will Anything Change?

So in my two-day marathon migraine suffering, I was able to catch the big news of the week: obesity is now disease.  The American Medical Association changed obesity status from “a major public health problem” to a chronic disease.  The AMA’s hope is that insurance companies will start being able to put the resources (i.e. money) behind treatment options for obesity. 
Age 21: Obese
As someone who has been considered obese since the age of 16 and at one time consider morbidly obese, I have little fate in this change.  I believe most doctors have long concerned obesity a disease in their patients.  While I do not believe there would be a change is that doctors are still not treating obesity as the only factor. That is, they are still waiting for another risk factor (blood pressure, diabetes) which resulted from the obesity to discuss someone’s size. 

A discussion came up last week for a fellow blogger “From Fatty To..” about doctors’ fear of approaching the subject of obesity (http://www.fromfattyto.com/are-doctors-being-too-nice/).  She and I had similar experiences in that fact a doctor never sat me down to get to the route of my problem.  Every year they would make note of my increase weight, but never said…we should get you to a nutritionist, exercise consultant, a psychologist.

If they did mention my obesity, I might have brushed them off, but it was their responsibility to mention to me their concerns before I had additional medical concerns.  During my early adult years, I did not know how to take care of myself by nutrition and exercise.  But every year, a doctor would brush that aside and take the opportunity to discuss the general concerns of a college woman (birth control, binge drinking) and not the concerns in which would impact me long term.  

When I decided to make the change to lose weight, it was my decision.  I informed my doctor of wanting to look into a nutritionist and look into the psychology effects of why I binge eat.  If I was not an advocate for myself, I wonder with fear where the status of my health would be now instead of where it is.  

Is obesity a disease?  Yes, I do believe it is. Is it a disease in which we can break?  Yes, I believe and know we can.  We just need the medical profession to stand up to us, tell us to change, and provide the resources to change.  If not, we will continue as a society to create unhealthy habits which impacts our society.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Why Not Tri: Training Day 1

Today was my first day of training for my upcoming Sprint Triathlon.  This is right, triathlon.  In my
effort to keep pushing myself beyond what I thought was possible, I decided my next goal is to swim, bike, and run in a timed matter.  (300 yards swimming, 12 miles biking, and 5k) I know I am able to do all three, but back to back..it will provide a challenge to me. 
Shirt from Running Chics

Unsure of how to handle the training for this program, I signed up for a woman's only triathlon training program with the downtown YMCA in partnership of the Healthy Living Alliance (http://hlaspringfield.org). I am even going to be able to participate in the training with additional members of iBody Directory here in Springfield.  A great group of ladies working towards a healthy lifestyle.

Knowing that this was the first day of training, I thought I would be showing up for an orientation: This is what to expect, this is the building, this is how you set up your bike.  That was not the case.  I found myself immediately on a bike.  This was my first time using a spinning bike, and I was not prepared for all of the adjustments necessary.  

Right away, the instructor started off peddling.  I was unable to get the bike adjusted in a way I felt comfortable, and I did not want to stop the instructor's flow.  I did speak up a couple of times, but still could not get the bike adjusted the right way.  Due to this and wanting to stay injury free...I just did basic biking.  I was able to do 4 miles on the bike.  After class, I talked to one of the instructors about meeting her in the next couple of days to get a spinning 101 session so I am caught up with the rest of the class.  

As I was leaving, I was talking to one of my new workout buddies, Wendy.  She explained that after two years of having medicial restrictions, she was finally able to cleared to work out.  While others may be working towards the goal of the triathlon, she has the goal just to get back in shape.  Her goal of getting healthy reminded me that while I struggled with the spinning aspect, that we were both on the same mission on working towards a healthier life.  

So three times a week (sometimes just two for me), I will be biking, swimming, or running.  The sessions are broken up where in most cases you are going to be doing two of the same things at once just like on race days!  So continue to follow me in my next challenge to tri the triathlon!