and eat!

Tag Archives: training

Tomorrow!  I guess this 1/2 IM aquabike thing is really going to happen.  June 17th had to come around sometime, after all.  Am I ready?  Eh.  We’ll see.  Shady and I are going to see the Wonder Woman movie today – maybe I can channel WW’s awesomeness during the race.  After race reward planned?  You bet!  We’re going to see Dead & Co. Sunday night.

Patriot packet

Wish me luck (I’ll just wish myself luck, since I don’t think anybody reads this anyway)!


In the throes of an endorphin-filled haze, I signed up for an event. Not just any event, but one of the bigger, more competitive races in my area:  The Patriot Half IM.  I’m not completely crazy – I’m doing the aquabike (since I don’t really run), but still:  1.2-mile swim + 56-mile bike is pretty ambitious for me!  If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you may recall that I run hot and cold about racing. Usually cold, unless it’s a swim-only event.

So how did this crazy lapse in judgement occur?  COMPUTRAINER!  Evil.  Painful.  And that glorious feeling of being capable of doing anything when the session was over.  That feeling apparently lasted until I got home and whipped out my credit card to register.  That was in mid-December.  The race has been on my mind ever since.  Now it’s a month away.  Yikes!  Am I ready?  We’ll see!

So what else is new?  In addition to the tried and true swim/bike/(hobble)run, I’m trying to do more regular weight-training.  It’s not as bad as I feared! I had a few sessions with a personal trainer (LOVE my trainer!), and I take some circuit-training type gym classes.  It’s really helpful having someone tell me what to do.

Swim:  My usual pool routine, but now that it’s (finally) getting warmer, I’ll be wriggling into my wetsuit (and 2 caps, and booties – it’s not THAT warm yet) and heading out to Walden Pond and Mystic Lake for some OWS.

Bike:  Ramping up mileage so the 56-mile Patriot course won’t completely destroy me (it WILL destroy me, but I’ll pretend it won’t for the sake of saving face).  I’m riding with my friends again!  It’s wonderful to be outside rather than stuck in spin class.  Computrainer is a whole ‘nother beast from spin.  I went to quite a few computrainer classes at Grace Bicycles over the winter, and I’m pretty sure my masochism has paid off in at least a little extra speed.  That’s the hope, anyway.

Read:  I read everything by Anita Shreve and Jodi Picoult, and lucky me, they both came out with new books recently.  The Stars are Fire, by Anita Shreve, and Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult.  Both are really good. I’m not going to give anything away.  Get them.  Read them. I also read a lot of crap, which I definitely won’t recommend.

Happy Spring!  Happy Training!

 

 


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


Landshark towel

Landshark ½, 1, & 2-mile swim, Saturday, June 4, 2016, Lake Gardner, Amesbury, MA  

I’m a fair-weather racer, so I waited, waited, waited, and checked the weather obsessively through the week.  I’d been planning to swim this event for months, and was hoping for optimal conditions.  I was willing to pay the extra $5 to sign up on race day rather than take the chance of crappy weather.  Unlike triathlons, swim events rarely sell out!

Race day promised to be beautiful, and it was.  The early morning clouds cleared off and the sun came out.  The water was reported to be 68 degrees – I was perfectly comfortable in my shorty wetsuit.  Most participants, but by no means all, opted for wetsuits.

The course was a ½ -mile loop, so the ½-milers did 1 lap, the 1-milers did 2, and the 2-milers did 4 laps.

19 half-mile racers went off at 10am, followed by 71 two-milers at 10:05am, and 49 one-mile swimmers at 10:10am.  The participants’ ages ranged from 11-72.

I did the 2-mile swim.  The first lap was pretty crowded (in other words, I got kicked, pawed, bumped, and probably did my fair share of kicking, pawing, and bumping – unintentionally, of course!) but we spread out by the second lap, and spread out even more on the third and fourth ones.  We were instructed to yell out our numbers as we swam around the last buoy before going off on the next lap.  That wasn’t nearly as disruptive or disorienting as in races where you have to run out and back in the water.  I have such a hard time recovering from standing up, running and flopping back down.

54:24 and done.  Good enough for 1st in my age group – aging up has its benefits!

Landshark podium

This is a nice, fairly small, local race through B&S Event Management.  I’ve done some of their other races (runs and swims) and they run a good event.  Keep ‘em in mind!

Next up?  Maybe the Mashpee SuperSwim (3 miles) on 6/18, and the Lake Terramuggus swims in CT on 6/19.  Hello, summer!


My Finis Inc. Neptune (which I was never that crazy about design-wise) was starting to fail and I wanted to replace it.  I started noticing which  waterproof audio devices people were using in the pool and did  some research. I didn’t want another Neptune, and I kept seeing people with little ipod shuffles clipped to their goggle straps. Seemed like a good idea. Until I got one (see review below).  Then I looked at the Finis Inc. site and HEY! they developed a new device, more like the low-profile SwiMP3 that I used to have. And since I had an old Neptune, I could send that  back and upgrade to the DUO   (for a small fee, of course – $75).

Here are my completely unscientific, totally subjective findings, written in a  somewhat stream of consciousness fashion.

Finis: I’ve been using their devices  for years, from bulky to sleek, back to bulky, and now the sleek DUO (I don’t have a picture of the original unit, but it was cumbersome, even bulkier than the Neptune.  I like the blue one below best).

 

  • Pros for the DUO: comfort, nothing in my ears – ear paddles rest on your cheekbones and conduct sound through bone, short cable  between ear paddles, good  sound quality, I can still hear what’s going on around me, fine  customer service.  Holds plenty of music.
  • Cons: the clip (where it attaches to your goggle strap) on the ear paddles seems like it’s designed for flat goggle straps.
    DUO on round and flat goggle straps

    DUO on round and flat goggle straps

    It works on round straps  but it’s not as easy to attach or  adjust, for in-water use only, notification lights are not quite as advertised – blinking green when charging?  No, I only saw  solid green when charging – or nothing.  Blinking red when low on charge? No, I saw steady red and it was still  playing.  Whatever.  When I asked about charging, I was told to plug it into a wall charger for best results.  It doesn’t say anything about a wall charger in the info and doesn’t come with one, so … really?  The connection on the charger might be a little iffy.  I say that because when I had it plugged in (using the wall charger), the light was green and then blinked a little and went off, indicating a  lost connection. It actually seems to work better plugged into my computer.  A charge is supposed to last for ~7 hours of playing time.  The red light came on after 2 swims (a little over 2 hours), but the device  was still playing, so I don’t know how long it will really hold a charge.  I’ll be sure to charge often just in case 7 hours is optimistic!

Underwater Audio: I was skeptical because I don’t like things in my ears, but I’ve been seeing so many more of these lately.  I thought I’d give it a try (pictured below with upgraded earbuds).

Underwater Audio

Underwater Audio – came with a lot of stuff

  • Pros: IF a good seal is obtained, I imagine the sound would be great.  Small waterproofed lightweight genuine ipod shuffle, can be used in or out of the water, short earphone cord doesn’t get in the way, comes with an extension to lengthen the cord, many earbud options, great customer service.  Holds plenty of music.

    ipod shuffle on goggle strap

    ipod shuffle on goggle strap

  • Cons: I couldn’t get a good seal so water pretty quickly got in my ears and rendered the  device useless – I couldn’t hear the music.  When I spoke to a customer service rep, I learned that the earbuds that come with the unit apparently AREN’T that great when doing flip turns (although the info says they’re fine), and upgrading the buds supposedly costs another $70 (I fought not to pay – like I said, great customer service).  The better earpieces still didn’t  work for me.  Vaseline is recommended to get a good seal.  I feel slimy just thinking about that, but I tried it.  Yuck, and it didn’t help.  I just ended up with gooey ears. The function buttons are stiff due to the waterproofing process – not a huge deal, but worth being aware of.

The takeaway:  I really, really don’t like things in my ears, and I really, really do like hearing what’s going on around me.  This type of device is not a good choice for me, but it appears to be good for others.  It’s not returnable so now I have a waterproof shuffle that I don’t need.  The DUO is a better option for me.

[*update:  the charger that came with the DUO is crap.  After some back and forth with customer service, I was informed that there is now a charger that attaches more securely, and one is being sent to me.  Isn’t this something the company would know without me bugging them?!  Like a recall that owners are contacted about?  We’ll see how the new one works… an annoyance, but I still like the DUO well enough. 7/12/16]


Do I even want to learn new tricks?  I’ve toyed with the idea of swim lessons off  and on  (mostly off), and  although I know they can  be helpful, I wonder if it’s worth it.  Lessons are  an investment – both time and money – and there’s that  annoying  part where you change something and feel slower and less comfortable for a while… Do I want to go through that?  I wouldn’t mind being faster (duh).  I wouldn’t mind avoiding shoulder pain (now THERE’S a concept!).

Enter Winning Swimming.  I got a coupon for a “swim test” and figured I’d  check it out.  A couple of women on my tri team have gone to Coach Caron and report that  she was helpful.  What did I have to lose?  I was curious:  what would she say?  I’ve been swimming since I was 4.  That’s not to say that I know everything about swimming, more like my stroke is pretty well ingrained by now and it would  be hard to change!

What’s it be like to swim in an endless pool?  I’ve never tried one and was intrigued.  I’d have to drive about an hour to Merrimack, NH – land of the outlet mall! –  so I figured if it was a bust, at least there was an opportunity for  post swim-test-trauma retail therapy! (I’m not a big shopper, but we did  need to replace a pyrex…).  I decided to take the plunge (that was bad.  Sorry).

I contacted Coach Caron about how to get started.  The first step was  to fill out some paperwork and take the “swim test” – what the coupon I got referred to.  I made an appointment.  Road Trip!  My husband and I drove up to look at the facility, talk about my goals, and try out the pool.  Coach Caron had me swim so she could see what she was working with and determine how best to align her coaching skills with my swimming ability and goals.  My husband got to hang around  and take pictures – thanks, Shady!

The facility is a converted garage with an endless pool taking up roughly half  of the space. Up a few stairs is the bathroom/shower/changing and waiting area.  It was  nice and warm.  That’s one thing that was different from swim lessons in a pool – I always get  cold at clinics and lessons.  Not a problem at Winning Swimming.

DSCN2088 DSCN2091As I mentioned, I’ve never tried swimming in an endless pool.  I told Coach Caron my 100 yd pace, she got the jets going, and I entered the current. Whoa, wild!  She played around with the speed until it was about right. I was kind of  stressed out at first thinking I had to keep up, but was eventually able to relax (a little) into my swim.  I expect I’ll be better at getting into  my usual rhythm  when I do it again.

The pool setup:  There’s  a mirror on the bottom of the pool  so the swimmer can see their  body position and hand entry (totally cool), and there are 4 camera  views  projected  onto the wall so Coach Caron  can watch what the swimmer is doing from various angles.  DSCN2098

Video analysis is offered (see “improve your swim” on the website for the full range of services).

The upshot?  Coach Caron really listens.  She wants to know your swim goals and will work with you to achieve them – not only freestyle; she can help with the other strokes, too.  I only had the short swim test, but I feel  really comfortable that she can  offer some technique tips to help with my goal of swimming longer distance events  without destroying myself (and maybe even go faster!).  She already suggested a few  things that I’m trying to incorporate into my stroke.  I  plan  to see how the next month or so goes, and then schedule a more in-depth lesson.

DSCN2117

we traded caps!

Oh, and although there was no swim test* trauma, we succumbed to the call of the outlets and bought a new pyrex (among other things) on our way home!

[*silly me, it was a “test swim” not a “swim test”!]



%d bloggers like this: