Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tri training: Wearing many hats

Swim-bike-run hats
I am kind of digging this tri training thing. While it's super humbling to be so bad rusty at swimming and biking it's also exciting and fun to be doing something different and mixing things up. I mean if I don't feel like running, I can get in the pool and if I don't feel like swimming I can bike or take a spin class. In a weird way it's freeing.

My swimming is getting better (slowly) but better. I'm feeling slightly more confident and I've been focusing on properly tilting my head to breathe. I am sure that when I'm in an open-water situation it's going to be a whole other ball game but I will deal when I get there…

Speaking of which. HOLY freakin' CRAP. I signed up for a sprint tri for July 21st! YIKES. This totally wasn't supposed to pan out that way.  I recently went to root on a friend during her tri and got an ad on my car for a triathlon that's pretty close to home. HERE IS THE TRI.

Pequannock Sprint, NJ

Well, I toyed with the idea of doing the "try-a-tri" because I figured it would be totally doable for me (a 150 meter swim, 6 mile bike and 2 mile run) perfect. I was pretty set to do that and then I told my bff Angela about it and she scoffed, "Come on, you can do the sprint!" (1/4 mile swim, 11 mile bike, 5K). 

And then I ran it by my Moms In Motion coach, Dana, and she agreed. So I did it. I signed up for the sprint. Hopefully I'm not biting off too much too soon. I definitely would've felt a million times more comfortable with the "try/tri" but I guess pushing yourself outside of comfort zones is where you grow… or drown. But whatever. 

Today was actually my very first time on a real life outside bike since February and that ride was a little shaky. So the hat I wore was a helmut. Happy to say the bike went pretty good. I was nervous for a bit and I had to fight quite a bit of people congestion in the park today but I managed 8 miles and felt much better about the bike.  I was really lucky to get a loaner bike from my friend Rox. (Remember her - I ran the NJ half with her!

testing out the wheels with son by my side pre-ride
BTW, I found a cool app if you're starting to bike and want to track distance/mph/calories burned called Map My Ride. I downloaded before going and it was pretty handy. 

Map My run stats

I was so relieved and pumped after the ride that I got off and decided to run a mile to test how my legs would feel off the bike... a "brick" as all the cool tri kids would say. It was a pretty fast mile considering - 10 minutes flat. The first quarter of a mile my knees felt funky but after I warmed up I felt strong and proud of myself. So I did finish with my runner's hat on.

I'm enjoying wearing the many hats of tri training. I really am.

Even so, I'll admit I'm a little freaked out about the sprint - It's less than a month away and of-course I'll be going back to KY for another week of work which will make training a bit of a challenge. No guts, no glory or so they say.

Don't forget! If you're interested in doing the IronGirl Tri with me or any of the others around the country then use coupon code IGFINISHLINE to save $10!

Also I'm giving away a cool Armpocket arm band - a great way to carry your smart phone on your runs (or rides!) So click here to enter!

What's your favorite hat to wear?


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Armpocket review and giveaway!

I am a woman who needs music on the run. As such, I'm always on the search for the perfect way to carry my music. Since my music/Nike+ Ap is on my iPhone I have to find something comfortable and convenient to run with.

Armpocket is it! I've tried tons of arm running carriers before and they've never worked out. Too big, too small, the velcro craps out after just a few runs, it chafes, it slips. You name it, I've dealt with it. For the last year or so I've been just carrying my phone in a running belt but running belts are bulky and overkill for short runs so I really wanted to find an arm carrier that worked for me.

I chose this pink one

I love my Armpocket. It's super comfortable, it has several little compartments to put other stuff like a key, money and ID. Plus it's water resistant, machine washable, has headphone music ports, it's durable, has an easy touch control window, it's eco-friendly, features no-slip memory foam and the strap is comfortably vented!

Interested in winning one?

Here are a few chances to win:

Mandatory: Follow my blog. Then visit the Arm Pocket website and tell me which one would be best for you. (Post in comments below)

Extra entry 1: Follow Armpocket on Twitter and tell them that @FatToFinishLine sent you = 1 extra credit (post in comments that you've done this)

Extra entry 2: Go to Armpocket on Facebook, become a Facebook fan and tell them From Fat To Finish Line sent you! And then post below and let me know you've done this!

Do you need music when you run?


PS: I forgot to mention that I wasn't compensated for this review (except I was given an arm pocket to check out under no obligation to review)

PSS: You can enter this contest until July 15th and a winner will be announced on or around July 15th.

Good luck!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tri Training: Cramping my style

Angela and me at Culver City Pool - pre swim class

I am sorry my posts have been few and far in-between. Bad blogger.

One thing I'm learning about this Tri training is, it's very humbling and it's not for the weak at heart or the vain.

I have spoken of it before and I hate to speak it again. I really do try to be all positive, 'rah-rah' I-love-my-body "because it's strong" and "My legs are perfect because they are healthy" but the truth is, I hate my upper thighs. They are dimpled with cellulite, wide and white. Pretty - right? So putting on a bathing suit makes me want to die. I literally had to talk myself out of buying a suit with a skirt because I figured that wouldn't be conducive to Tri training…

But I've done it. I am wearing a bathing suit in front of other people on the regular - one without a skirt. I guess maybe the up side is it'll help me get over myself. I mean, if I hated how I looked in a bathing suit before, I only get more attractive when the swim cap is taking away all my hair and the goggles are on. Oy.

To make matters worse the damage lingers. The other day I noticed that I was developing dark circles under my eyes - WTF!? I later realized that it was left behind indentations from the goggles. Boy, Triathlon training is trying to make me feel ugly! ;)

It's all good though. I'm enjoying the training and mixing up the different sports. I'm still not great in the water but I'm trying.  And I've only been on a spin bike but I plan on picking up a real-life outside bike pretty soon.

Last week I was in Los Angeles and had the chance to take a swimming clinic with SCAQ and once again under the coaching of Clay Evans - Olympic medalist swimmer. No pressure. Truth is, he's super nice and super supportive of us 'guppies.' I learned a few good tips and also learned that I am a very ineffective breather. I tend to lift my head out of the water instead of just tilting my head to the side. Who knew? I'm told that breathing right will save me crucial energy and time - I just have to figure out how to do it right. It doesn't feel natural to me and I feel like I'm going to swallow a lot of water this way. It's something I have to practice.

Unfortunately, I had to quit the class a little early. It's a full hour and 40 minutes in my calves and feet began to cramp awfully. I shook it out the best I could but by 45 mins in, even Clay told me to grab a towel, "Enough for you for today." He was kind, he did say that when you're not used to using your feet and legs like this, it happens. I still felt disappointed though. I definitely only had about 18 oz. of water that day and hardly anything the day before so I was probably dehydrated to boot. But ugh. So annoyed with the cramping. The upside was that it was the most straight swimming I'd ever done - up to that point my swim workouts have only been about 20 minutes.

This week I'm heading back to KY to finally wrap the pilot we've been working on. There is a beautiful lake there and my friend and producing partner and I are planning to do some open-water swimming for practice.

Rip and Jen - we ran out of time on line to meet him so
we improvised this picture!
Also while in Cali, Angela and I went to see a very interesting lecture / book signing with Rip Esselstyn who has written 2 books about being "plant strong" and living a life without meat, dairy or fish. His latest book is "My Beef With Meat." His father was one of the Doctors in "Forks Over Knives" and both the movie and Rip have very compelling reasons for living plant strong and meat free. He was an all-American swimmer and triathlete. He is now a health activist and author. He's pretty interesting and you should check him out. It made me want to "someday" consider being somewhat meat-free. I actually do believe it's probably best I'm just not ready to make that move. Though I think I will begin to strive for more meat-free meals.

Don't forget! If you are interested in doing an IronGirl - you can save $10 with Iron Girl coupon code: IGFINISHLINE

How do you get over feeling insecure or self-conscious in a bathing suit? Would you ever be completely meat free?


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Koss Fit Series Headphones for women review

I am a runner who enjoys music on my runs especially when on the treadmill. There is no doubt that The Black Eyed Peas has helped me to "Get it Started" and Eminem has been there, "Until I Collapse."

There are two things that have always plagued me - finding the right headphones and the right way to carry my iPhone. I will talk more about carrying my tunes in another post but for now - let's talk headphones.

The folks at Koss Fit offered to send me a pair of headphones for review. Specifically, the one's they sent me are from their Fit Series and are headphones "for women, made by women."

When they first arrived my immediate thought was "oh, oh." They sent me the kind that wrap around the ear kind and I've never had luck with that type. With that said, they were super lightweight and in a bright, pretty color and figured I'd give them a shot.

Actually, I really liked them. They worked well, the sound quality was exceptional and they were so light, I forgot I was wearing them. They also have the bud type too:

Here are some of the features from the Koss website:

Key Features:
●  Designed for Women. By Women.
●  Sweat resistant
●  Ultra lightweight
●  Extreme durability
●  Soft flexible clips
●  Three cushion sizes: small, medium, large
●  Covered under the Limited Lifetime Warranty

Whatever you do, please remember to use caution when running outside with headphones. I try to always keep one ear headphone free when running amongst traffic or even a busy path. You need to be aware of your surroundings an safety first. 

What's your favorite running song?


PS: I was given these headphones for review but was under no obligation. This is my opinion. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

IronGirl training: Just keep swimming

So I went to my fancy new gym and decided to get in the water for ten minutes and see how many laps I could do without stopping for ten minutes.

I don't know. I think it was about 14 laps at 25 meters each - for about 350 meters. That's pretty slow.
I did have to stop here and there for a second or two because I was sharing a lane and I'd have to stop to navigate. I also got a weird foot cramp in the arch of my foot that I had to shake out.  I've been getting a lot of cramps lately as a matter of fact. Last night I had to jump out of bed three times because of charley horses. I really have to figure out what I'm deficient in and fix it. Hmmm.

Anyway, although slow and still kind of awkward, I did feel a little better in the water today than I did the other day. So that's some progress.

After the swim I jumped on the treadmill for three miles. I was pleased with my run it was a good speed for me. And I felt both dorky and cool with my new "I tri" bondi band that my friend Dawn sent me in this load of Moms In Motion goodies last week:

I got a huge care package of stuff!
Thanks Dawn P.!
In other news I'm very annoyed with my weight. I've been meticulously counting points/calories. I've been exercising more (at least I feel like it) and most annoyingly, I've cut way down on alcohol - and I'm up a pound! WTF? I'm not liking that plus I'm sober and hungry. Grr. 

Oh well. I will keep plugging away - maybe if I just keep swimming?


Sunday, June 2, 2013

IronGirl Triathlon training: The beginning day 1

So last week I decided to make a bold move. I decided to leave my very affordable gym and join the fancy 24 Hr. Fitness Sport up the block. The 24 Hr. Fitness is more than twice my old gym membership and a little fight ensued in the household with hubby about it.

I argued I needed a gym with a pool now that I'm training for a tri. His comeback was, "Who told you to sign up for a triathlon?" Uh. Well. Who tells me to sign up for anything?

Plus, I argued, that this gym has step, boot camp class, spin, Zumba, yoga, strength training and all these classes that I would love to take. My no-frills gym offered none of it so I was often grouponing classes on the side anyway!

Hubby grumbled.

After swearing to give up my weekly Chipolte habit to cover the extra cost per month he finally gave me the blessing and I signed up on Friday. :)

Wow. I LOVE this gym. It's spectacular. It was like going from a ghetto-flea infested motel 6 to The Ritz Carlton in Paris.

I actually think that on top of the fact that it has classes and a pool, it's the type of place I'm going to want to work out in. You walk in and they hand you a towel. And the locker room looks like a spa. And there's a bunch of racquetball courts and a full-size basketball court (not that I'll probably ever use either but it sure is pretty to look at. 

So on to the training. 

earned a few activity points today


I arrived to the pool and per my Moms In Motion coach, I decided to swim for 20 minutes. (On my own I decided to follow it up with 10 minutes of bike and run so I could get a sense for the whole 'tri' thing).


The water is nice and I share a lane with a guy who seems as slow as I.

I note the time.

I swim one lap. The time feels like it hasn't changed and I'm already out of breath. Shit. Swimming is hard and this is going to be the longest 20 minutes in history.

But I press on. I begged for this dumb gym with the pool. ;) I try to remember what Clay taught me, I have to stop here and there. I try to cheat with all different types of strokes and swim moves. I wonder how I'm going to do a half mile swim in a bay. I figure I'm wasting all kinds of energy with my flailing. Oh boy. I might need to use a noodle. Finally time is up. I'm tired but I'm proud that I did the whole swim and a little bummed about all the breaks I took here and there - thinking, "there's no place to rest in the ocean."

Transition - at least 10 minutes as I shower the chlorine off, get changed, grab my water bottle - decide to use the ladies room and head out to the cardio stuff.


getting on the bike
I use the bikes that do not have the big comfy bucket seat but the one that most resembles an outdoor bike. I get on. and start pedaling. I turn it up to a 5 which feels resistant but not too hard and do that for 10 minutes. I've gone 2.25 miles. I don't feel too tired or stressed but will admit that my legs still felt a little jelly-like as I get on treadmill. It's like 13.5 mph which I think is slow. I feel like my real tri friends go a million times faster but gotta start someplace.

Transition - a minute to gather my crap and move it from the bike to the treadmill.


As soon as I start to run, my parents call from Europe. I feel obligated to answer so I run at 5.5 for few minutes so I can have a conversation with them and then keep upping the pace so I can finish a mile during my ten minute run. Guy on the treadmill next to me tells me that "be careful, the treadmill is addicting." Find that an odd comment. Half tempted to launch into a conversation about running but decide to listen to iPod instead.

All in all - my neck and shoulders feel a little sore but I'm excited to keep going and getting better. Swim is definitely going to be the biggest challenge for me.

Do you do triathlons? What's the biggest challenge?

Want to sign up for an Iron Girl? Use coupon code IGFINISHLINE and save $10 on registration!