and eat!

Tag Archives: interval training

michelin-tire guy

how I feel on my commute

A friend of mine has a cut-off temperature for outside biking.  At one point it was 60 degrees, although she has been out in lower temps since she told me that.  I think she might have dropped the threshold a few points as she became a more experienced rider.  What’s my cut-off?  I’m not exactly sure, but I think we’re there!  I know I’m not happy riding in the 40s, and it snowed (ok, flurried) over the weekend.  Sure, I’ll continue to commute my 3-4 miles each way to work and swim, bundled up like the Michelin tire guy – unless it’s icy – but I am by no means hard-core enough to road ride through the winter.  Do you have a temperature range?

I did the Rapha Women’s metric century ride over the summer.  FUN!  There’s another one in December.  The Rapha Women’s Braver than the Elements Ride.  NOT SO FUN!  I won’t be doing that one – I’m really not braver than the elements.  I get cranky when my hands and feet go numb and turn funny colors.


SWIM!  My last Walden Pond swim was on September 23rd.  It wasn’t awful in terms of being cold, but I could tell I was done.  I rejoined Cambridge Masters Swim Club and am happily (?) getting my ass kicked in the pool 3-4 times/week.  I need a push every few years – I was due.  I’m curious to see if my shoulders get bigger with the increased yardage and effort.  I’ll keep you informed.  I might even do a pool meet in the Spring.  Oh shoot, now that I’ve said that, I might actually have to do it.  Something I found out:  stroke workout right after spin class doesn’t work so well for me.  Swim fail!

BIKE!  See above.  No more outside riding for me.  I finished the season by joining some friends to do another metric century:  The Calhoun Cancer Challenge Ride and Walk on October 5th (early and chilly!).  It was my first benefit ride, and I hope to do it again next year.

Calhoun Cancer Challenge

first snack stop

It was a very well-supported ride through a scenic part of CT.  I got out for a few more rides after that, and now I’m adjusting to ~3-4 spin classes/week.  It might be time to put a crappy tire on my bike and set up my trainer, though.  There’s only so much “Maniac” and “Eye of the Tiger” that this former Deadhead can take.  I get gym class music stuck in my head and it stays there for days.  That can’t be healthy.

READ!  The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern.  Suspend disbelief and let yourself be taken away.  A Nation in Pain:  Healing Our Biggest Health Problem, by Judy Foreman (friend from Cambridge Masters).  This book explores chronic pain and how it is misunderstood and mistreated and a HUGE problem. It is accessible but still not a super easy read.  I might be working on this one for a while.  Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, by Mary Roach.  I just started it.

and EAT!  Fig and Pear Crumbles by Frugal Feeding.  Wow!  Next up:  something with apples since we just bought 3 bags of them at Clarkdale Fruit Farms while in Western MA for Cider Days in Franklin County.


bethel maine happy


Now what?  The race season is over – and has been, for me, for a couple months already.  My husband and I went on a VBT cycling trip to Croatia in mid-September – it was fantastic.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And now it’s Fall in New England.  There’s still outdoor riding to be done, but it’s definitely getting colder, and I’m not sure how many layers it’s worth putting on! – especially when my feet turn a funny shade of yellow and/or purple, even with shoe covers!  So spin classes and gym classes here I come.  I’m still trying to venture out of my comfort zone (once in a while) so this might be the year I try a step class.  I just hope there’s enough room around me so when I go the wrong way I don’t take anybody out like I almost did in cardiokicks (not pretty) a couple weeks ago.  And there’s always the pool.

SWIM:  trying to get to the pool 3-4 times per week.  That’s the goal, anyway.  Sometimes it’s only 2xweek.  I didn’t swim much while on vacation, so I’m just starting up again.  I do ~2000-3000 yds each time – more often 2k than 3k!  Here’s a fun swim workout I did today.

BIKE:  hoping for a few more rides outside before heading indoors to spin class hell.

READ:  The Shell Collector:  Stories, by Anthony Doerr was a really nice collection.  Where’d You Go Bernadette, by Maria Semple, was a fun quick read.  I’m into Claire Messud right now.  I read The Woman Upstairs – wow what well-described rage!, and I just started The Emperor’s Children.  I really like her writing.  I’m looking forward to reading Survival Lessons, by Alice Hoffman, one of my favorite authors.

and eat! I haven’t been that inspired lately.  But I did manage to make jam bars and peanut butter squares (yum), and vegan banana biscuits (from Julie Hasson’s Vegan Diner) recently.

is not quite enough and hurts every time!

Just a quick post.

After last weekend’s swim in the tri (I was part of a relay), I realized that I MUST swim with faster others if I hope to get faster myself.  So I went to a master practice yesterday.  Wow.  Kicked my butt.  I’m a little sore today, but that could also have something to do with the pre-work interval challenge class or the post-work total body conditioning class I went to!  It seems to be all or nothing some days.  I might just swim at the pond today to stretch it all out.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I get kind of lost when I go to the gym on my own.  So rather than suffer the embarrassment of gymnesia, I attend group exercise classes.  They can be hard, fun, and/or goofy, but I (almost) always get something out of the experience.

I  go to classes through Harvard Recreation – minimal cost, go to any class anytime, and pick from a range of offerings.  I make it to Indoor Cycling and Interval Challenge classes pretty regularly through the winter, so that’s nothing new.  I tried IndoRow (weird), and CardioKicks (one time it was fun, the next time a bust – instructor-related).  I’ve also tried total body conditioning and yoga, and I keep telling myself I’ll try a Step class one of these years – I’m not very coordinated, so that could be a problem.  Left?  Oh THAT left!  Sorry!

Every semester, Harvard Rec. offers specialty classes for a little extra money.  So, with the encouragement of my husband (who is probably just curious to see how crazy I am) I signed up for TRX sessions.  4 sessions in May – 1xwk for 30 minutes.  It will either kill me or make me stronger.  I’m hoping for the latter.  I’m a little worried about injuring myself, but I’m also really intrigued by TRX, so we’ll see what happens.  I just hope it doesn’t adversely affect my swimming.

Have you tried TRX?  Should I be scared?

I guess I’m supposed to do some cross-training – it has been suggested more than once.  Actually I think I do a LOT of cross-training – the whole I’m-sort-of-a-triathlete thing – but what I mean is, I guess I should be doing more specific weight-training.  I don’t mind the idea of it.  I can see how it might be helpful to my performance and fitness.  But as I commented to Waterblogged, I suffer from gymnesia when I walk into the gym alone.  Even when I write circuits down, I manage to “forget” what I intended to do.  Self-sabotage?  Perhaps.  Self-consciousness?  Definitely.  I go to gym classes at Harvard.  There’s an Interval Challenge class I like: HIGH-intensity simple heart pumping cardio drills combined with muscle conditioning exercises to give you a total body workout.  Be prepared to sweat! And I’ve been known to attend Total Body ConditioningThe focus of this class is to strengthen all muscle groups using hand weights, your own body weight, and much more! So it’s not like I don’t have a clue.  Except when I walk into the gym. Alone.  And I don’t have a clue.

In the spirit of trying new things – or old things that I haven’t done in a long time – and working on expanding my exercise boundaries, I’m going to make a concerted effort at… jumping rope.  As a kid I used to spend afternoons jumping rope in my driveway.  Imagine my surprise when I tried to jump rope the other day and could barely manage.  Of course I blamed the jumprope.  Well, it WAS a sucky rope:  plastic, too light, too long.  Did I mention I’m good at excuses?  Stomping my feet, complaining, I cried to my husband.  I wanted a REAL rope.  He made me one.  Shit.  I mean OH BOY!  It’s real rope.  It’s just the right heft.  I can adjust the length by wrapping the ends around my hands.  It’s just like I remember from childhood!jump rope

First real attempt.  After swimming 2500 yds, I went next door to one of the gyms that isn’t very busy (maybe 3 people there!) and did my best to hide in a corner.  Got my supplies:  my rope, some weights, a ball, a step.  My idea was to just do a few rounds:  alternating jumping rope with triceps, biceps, planks, core stuff.  Takeaway – probably best to be a little more systematic about the whole thing and not just wing it!  And doing all this after swimming?  I was a little tired.  I’m not sure I would have gone swimming afterward, though.  What order do people do this stuff in?  Swim first and then I’m tired, but probably still getting some benefit.  Swim after and I’d be tired and probably end up with a lousy swim and leg cramps.  A work in progress.  I topped it off with a spin class after work.  I’m trying for that full-body thrashing!

%d bloggers like this: