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I’m done swimming outside, and my long bike rides are coming to an end with the colder weather, so I’m back at the gym, checking out Harvard’s group ex classes.  Every year I tell myself I’m going to step outside of my comfort zone (at least once) and try a new gym class. So far I’ve tried 5 new ones!  And I will probably continue attending 2 of them.

Balletone!  No.  I flunked out of ballet once already (ok, I was 5, but still).  At least there were some moves that could be called exercise as opposed to only floaty graceful arm movements.  Requires more choreography than I care for.

Zumba! No.  I guess I can see the appeal, but by the time I figured out the moves, the class was over and I didn’t even raise my heart rate or  sweat.  Actually I never did figure out the moves, and I felt more  uncoordinated than usual.  I’ll stick to straight forward exercise, thanks.  No need to sugarcoat it for me.  I do love to dance, but the deadhead in me doesn’t do well with specific moves  or being told what to do.  Maybe that  says more about my problem with authority? 😉

Aqua Fitness! Fun, but unlikely to do again.  If I’m in the water, I’d rather be swimming laps.  I can see doing it in a pinch, though, or with a group of friends.

HIIT Cardio!  Yes!  Clear, obvious exercise.

Barre!  Yes! I was a little worried that it would be too much like ballet, but the class seems to cull the exercise part  from the dancing part.  I can work with that.  Lots of small movements that really focus on specific muscles.

What’s your favorite class?  What should I keep an eye out for and try next?

And in eating news…  my mom and I made cookies when I visited recently.  They’re safe and secure in the freezer so they won’t disappear before Thanksgiving.

 


I bought 6 pairs of goggles, one being my old safety – Tyr Nest Pro – so I’ll be giving feedback on the 5 new-to-me pairs, compared to the Nest Pros.6-goggles

This is a pretty dry, boring post, so I’m posting  my unscientific, totally subjective, “conclusions”  in the next paragraph (if you even care to read that much).  After that, I blab about  my impressions if you want  to delve further into my goggle obsession.  Don’t be surprised by random sentence fragments.

The takeaway – it turns out that I bought basically 2 types/styles of goggles:  ones like the Nest Pros that sit  a little wider on the face and fit slightly more outside the  eye socket, and ones that are lower profile -and better for racing, but maybe not for open water – that fit more inside the bony area (but not as much as eyeball-sucking socket rockets).  From my experience with the Tyr Special Ops, polarization isn’t worth the extra cost.  None of the goggles I sampled  were as comfortable as what I’ve been wearing, so I guess I’ll stay in my Nest Pro rut!

nest-pro

Tyr Nest Pro

How I’m reviewing.  I wore each pair at least 2 times.  Mostly in the pool, but I tried the polarized ones in full sun in  open water. I tried them all with my Finis DUO MP3 player

Categories:

  • fit/feel on 3-point scale: OW!/OK/I’m wearing goggles? Right away feel, over time feel (at least 1000 yds), and taking them off/putting them back on) feel
  • best suited for pool or open water or both? Competition vs fitness – stay on w/push off and dive? peripheral vision?
  • can I use my Finis Duo with them?

Zoggs Phantom Elite – “OK” Similar to Nest Pros, as long as I get them placed perfectly.  Even then, I noticed a slight headache  after wearing them a while.  I started to feel pressure (pain) on my cheekbones after ~1000 yds when I added  my DUO.  No pain w/taking them off. Good peripheral vision.  Suitable for OW swimming and fitness.  zoggsI’m less sure about using them for competition.  The eye area profile isn’t super high, but I felt some downward pressure on the googles, and the strap folded over when I pushed off the wall.  I’m not confident they’d stay on for a dive start.  I’m not that great at keeping my goggles on anyway, but I’m sure that says more about my technique than the goggles!  Still, the folding goggle strap caused by a strong push-off would be a problem (for me) unless I wore a cap over them.

Tyr Special Ops 2.0 polarized – “OK” and almost “I’M WEARING GOGGLES?” but not quite.  Comfortable.  No pain w/taking them off.  Feel very much like Nest Pros, but a little more substantial, special-opspolarization didn’t seem to help.  I actually felt like I couldn’t see as well when swimming right into the sun. Good peripheral vision so good for OW, but I wouldn’t pay extra for the polarized ones.  I only wore these in open water, so I don’t know how they’d be w/push-off, or dive, but I doubt I’d be able to keep them on. OK w/DUO.

Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 – felt “OK” right away, but not so great after ~1000 yards, so maybe the rating should be “OK-“?  Hurt taking them off. REALLY hurt w/DUO attached.  Low profile, so they don’t catch with a strong push-off.  vanquisherI imagine I’d be able to dive with them.  Peripheral vision is not that great, so I wouldn’t wear them for OW.  Even though they’re not the most comfortable goggles, I’d wear them for pool competition.  I might wear them for practice, but since my side vision was somewhat limited, maybe not.  I like to see where my lane-mates are! Extra nose-pieces included in the package so you can adjust the width.

Blueseventy Element – “OW!”  Not horrible for short periods. Hurt taking them off. I can blueseventysee racing with them since they stay on well w/push-off, and probably would with diving.  Not comfortable with DUO.

 

Tyr Black Hawk Racing – “OW!” at first.  I had to fiddle with them after about 500 yards, but once I got them situated they were “OK”.  Low profile, didn’t move w/strong push-off, and would  probably be fine with diving. Hurt a little less taking them off than the Blueseventy and Vanquisher goggles.  Not comfortable  w/DUO. Extra nose-pieces included in the package so you can adjust the width.black-hawk

 

 

So there you have it!  As a reward for getting this far, here are a couple pictures of the Madeleines I made recently. Yum.Madeleines 2.jpgmadeleines


Swim:  Results are up from the USMS one-hour swim.  I was 30th in the women’s 45-49 age-group.  Not bad.  Then we went on vacation (ahh, warmth – our winter escape from New England) and I didn’t swim for 2 weeks.  Wow, getting back in the water and moving with anything like speed or grace was tough.  It IMG_0141took me about a week to convince myself that this whole swimming thing was a good idea.  Then last week I swam 5 days in a row, so I think I can say I’m mostly back now.  Phew.  Sometimes I really wish that my favorite exercise did not involve being cold and wet.  I find that February and March are tough for me motivation-wise.  Do you have a time of year that’s hard for you?  I’m making myself go through the motions – go to gym classes, get to the pool, put one foot in front of the other… I’ll get there, I just hope it’s soon!

Bike:  We got home from vacation to deal with the aftermath of a blizzard.  We were actually delayed in Chicago a couple nights because we couldn’t get home.  So after 2 weeks of lazing in the sun in Baja, we had to shovel.  Or, more accurately, my husband ran the snow-blower while I unpacked and did laundry.  I shoveled a little…  ugh.  No bike commuting for a bit – the roads were too icy and narrow.    And after being away and warm, I’m having a tough time biking in the cold.  I rode (commuted, that is) in temps in the teens before vacation, but I think now it needs to be in the 20s at least!  Another month and I’m hoping to get out on my road bike for some real riding.  Spin classes just aren’t the same, but I’m trying to go at least twice/week.

Read:  The trashier the better while on vacation, right?!  I cruised through about 5 books while lying around the pool, none really worth remembering although Oxygen, by Carol Cassella, was pretty good and a little more substantive than say, Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven (which I think I read in a day).  If you’re into silly dog humor, Thereby Hangs a Tail is just plain fun.  Now I’m working on Freud’s Sister, by Goce Smilevski.  We’ll see how that goes.  Never mind that one:  couldn’t get into it.  Now I’m reading Swim:  Why We Love the Water, by Lynn Sherr.  Much better!

and EAT:  nothing compares w/fresh flour tortillas right from the tortilleria!  But that seems like a distant memory now, so I’ll have to console myself (and husband) with “kitchen sink” cookies.  AKA your basic toll-house chocolate chip recipe with other stuff that I find in the drawer.  This batch was by request with the following additions: molasses (back off a little on the sugar, and add maybe a couple Tablespoons molasses), white chocolate chips (so use fewer choc chips), dried cranberries, chopped nuts (walnuts were handy, sometimes I add pecans), some shredded coconut.  Yum.  I better get back into my exercise routine or I’ll be in trouble!



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