Sunday, February 10, 2013

Swim, Bike, Run, Sweat: My week of tri-ing new things


As many of you know, I've got this deep-down desire to get into triathlons eventually.

Even though up to this past week I hadn't been on a bike since I was 12 or really ever swum in any organized way. (I doubt that sitting pool side with a cocktail and splashing around to cool off counts.)

But yet, I'm oddly attracted to the idea of triathlons.

I was in LA last week working on some stuff with my business partner Angela. Angela has participated in a few smaller triathlons but has recently decided to go for a 70.3 at REV3 Maine in August so she's getting serious about training. She is even blogging about her journey and you can read about her progress at Another Hole in the Head.

Since she's training I thought I would tag along on some of the other triathlon activities that I don't usually get to do.

While I'm still not ready to fully commit (I still need to figure out logistics for training) I did enjoy my exploration of tri stuff this week.


Only in LA can you show up to an outdoor pool at 7PM on a Wednesday night and train in the middle of February. It was a little chilly outside (about 55 degrees) but the pool is heated so once in and swimming it was comfortable. I signed up for a free 1 class pass with SCAQ (Southern California Aquatics) for a swim clinic. We were greeted by a friendly guy named Clay. Clay asked about our experience (me: none, Angela, just a bit more) and he told us to get going.

He corrected technique, gave us tons of pointers and I felt like I learned a lot in a very short amount of time.

Clay was great but I had no idea how great this guy was until I looked him up. Clay is Clay Evans a former Olympian swimmer who had won a silver and bronze medal! WHAT!? In fact SCAQ is one of the largest Masters swimming programs in the country. Hey why not start at the top for my first lesson - huh?

Clay was great and gave us a ton of attention and coaching. I loved this guy and if (when) I live here and if (when) I'm making good money, I'm so joining SCAQ.

Bonus: the natural facelift the swim cap gives… 
Verdict: I can see myself liking swimming and I can see the awesome challenge it would be to get good at it. After 50 minutes though my calves cramped when I left the water! Not sure if that was a hydration thing, exertion thing or the fact that I wore flippers part of the time but that was unexpected. Luckily, the cramping was short lived.


Oy. For some reason it didn't occur to me that it might take a minute to get used to being on a bike again but I have to tell you that the first time in getting on a bike in more than 25 years was pretty nerve-wracking! I borrowed my friend Sara's mountain bike and I realized that I didn't even know how or why/when to switch gears! The last time I was on a bike it was my "Pink Thunder" Huffy and I used the 'ol pedal backwards to brake and the 'ol stand up and pedal my ass off to power up a hill.

Pink Thunder. Helluva bike probably not ideal for triathlon

Anyway, so we go to this bike path that runs along the "LA river" from Culver City to the beach. I started off super rocky and was a nervous wreck! I was gripping the handle bars for dear life and it took me a while to get in a groove and feel in control of the bike. I just kept reminding myself of the old ladies and crack heads I see in the park - if they could do it, I could friggen learn to ride a bike again.

Parts of the path is a little sketch and narrow and I had visions of falling into the concrete 'river.' As we were riding, Ang gave me a little lesson in gear shifting (Sara had tried to explain it before taking off but I couldn't remember what to do) and I eventually got acclimated. We rode about five miles out (it was gray and chilly - well, chilly for LA) and five miles back - about an hour, which I thought was good for the first attempt.

Verdict: While it took me a bit to warm up I all in all enjoyed biking. I may buy a cheap hybrid from Target for now just to keep riding and stuff. 


I ran a half marathon this week. This is nothing new but I like the fact that I did all three things this week and thus the reason it's in this blog. You can read all about my race here.

Verdict: Running and I are still BFFs


So you may know from this post that I've been recently giving yoga a try. I have cramping in my legs and very tight hamstrings and calves so my hope is that yoga will help those muscles out.  While here in LA, Angela thought it would be cool for us to check out Bikram. All I knew about Bikram was that the room is kept at a million degrees (104) and you do yoga moves. Um. I naturally have assumed for years that this would be a living hell that I would really hate.

First of all, we were late - LA traffic made going 6 miles into a near hour affair. So there's nothing better than charging into hot yoga late and as a newcomer, that got me even more nervous. Finally we were in and kinda settled - we missed the 'breathing' part, which was kind of OK with me because if it meant that I'd have to spend five less seconds in this fricken hot smelly room - great.

Within the first five minutes I went thru a bunch of emotions - one being, "wtf was I thinking?" and "Holy crap, how long do we do this for?" I really suck at all yoga - my flexibility is ass and even 'comfortable' poses for most (like sitting "Japanese" style or crossed leg, hurt. ) I never sweated like that before. But I did the best I could and by the end I actually found a very weird appreciation for it. Huh. Who knew? I would even go again. In hind-sight, I think I really liked it even.

Wiped out after Bikram but we loved the sign over our head
Angela has been having fun with her GoPro and I'm just learning how to edit (be kind - I have a lot to learn) but here's a little video journey of my week in swim, bike, run, sweat - don't know what happened to the quality when I converted it - I'm sure it doesn't have to look like that I'll figure it out eventually…

All in all it was a great week of fitness and business. I really liked delving into these other activities and hope to keep on doing it!!

What new things have you tried lately?


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