Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Iron Christmas 70.3- SUCCESS!

Well friends, not only did I complete the Iron Christmas challenge, I WON!

I stuck to my aforementioned schedule, with my only complaint being that I ran really slow those last couple days. We were in Colorado with Husband's family, and I didn't have a treadmill to force me to keep a decent pace. I did, however, have a nice Labrador and a great lake trail to keep me company.

The final rundown can be found here at the Super Fatlete. I kind of feel like I cheated being on a spin bike and watching a movie, but there were no rules against it.

I ended up doing the 1.2 mile swim in three sessions in 56 minutes. The 56 mile bike I did in two sessions in 2 hours 45 minutes. The 13.1 mile run was broken into four or five sessions and took me 2:27 (which is funny to me, because I did the halloween half in 2:05. Why was I going so slow?)

Can't wait to get the prize in the mail!

Things I learned:
- I can swim. And it's kind of fun.
- I can find time to work out for multiple hours a day if I am motivated enough.
- If you act like you know what you're doing, the gym staff will not question you (case in point- wheeling the spin bike all the way across the gym to the cardio cinema room).
- I am not scared to do my first real triathlon anymore.

Huge thanks to Luke for putting all this together!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Iron Christmas 70.3- or "Why I Spent 2.5 Hours on a Spin Bike"

Want to hear something funny?

This guy, whose blog I have never viewed until the other day, put out a challenge to complete a half Ironman in a 4 day time period- December 20th to the 24th. The legs can be done in as many segments and in any order, and recorded on a spreadsheet. The one to complete the full 70.3 miles in the best total time wins! Prizes are TBD, something about a gift basket or something with a value of $70.30. But prizes are not important! What is important is that somebody challenged me to do something, and I can't say no to that. Even if I have never really swam before.

Here is my strategy:

Swimming- Get through the best I can. I had never done a pool workout until this challenge. I did take a few lessons with a friend who is a swim coach and triathlete, so relying on the few things I learned from her and basic instincts of not drowning, I think I'm doing okay.

Cycling- Spin bike, low tension, and watch a movie. 20 mph pace easily. Wish I had rollers...

Running- I can hold a 8:30 minute mile, but only for 1 or 2 miles. Because I can break up the running in however many segments I need, it is beneficial to do fewer miles per session to achieve a faster time.

So, to complete this challenge, I must swim for 1.2 miles, bike for 56, run 13.1. Over 5 days. Actually, 4 and a half because I started it midway through day 1.

Day 1 (Mon): 2 mile run, 800 meter swim
Day 2 (Tues): 56 mile bike (in two sessions), 2 mile run
Day 3 (Wed): 2 mile run, 1129 meter swim (in two sessions)
Day 4 (today): 3.1 run
Day 5 (Christmas Eve): 4 mile run (in two sessions)

Not too bad, huh? Finishing in plenty of time.

While we're speaking of accomplishments, I stepped out of the pool at 8:30am and was at my desk fully showered, clothed and makeupped at 9:00am. Boo yah.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

first brick training: success

Brick training is "training on two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with minimal or no interruption in between, just as you would do in a race" (definition from This may not seem like a big deal, but your muscles work so differently for the different legs of a triathlon, it is difficult to jump off the bike and go straight to running. So I heard- I hadn't tried it till last weekend.

Husband and I had some time last Saturday afternoon, and didn't feel like going on a long ride, so we tried our first brick training. We don't have a specific triathlon in mind, but I imagine we'll do our first in the spring. Anyway, we headed out to do a 14 mile out and back (destination: Canyon Bicycles to pick up some lube to clean my chain). Generally flat, with one hill (well, the same hill twice) up to the Oquirrh temple. Our average speed was 17.5 mph. Considering a) I am generally slow at everything and b) there were stoplights along the way, I felt pretty good about that. As soon as we got home we jumped off, put on running shoes and headed back out.

Note: it is a good idea to switch to a low gear the last couple minutes on the bike to get your legs used to a higher cadence.

Once I got used to the switch from cycling to running, I got to a comfortable pace and felt pretty good. Would have stayed that way if Husband actually enjoyed running a tiny bit and didn't want to stop a mile in. Oh well. Something to work on.

Also, how intense is Kona??? There was a cool documentary on this weekend.

photo from here

Thursday, December 16, 2010

don't let the holidays defeat you!

For those who try to eat healthily, the holidays are a tricky time. It starts with the Halloween candy, continues with Thanksgiving festivities (pumpkin cookies.... mmmm), and then of course the whole month of December comes with treats, special meals and celebrations galore.

I had actually been doing pretty well until last weekend, when we went to a super great restaurant (Tucano's) for Husband's work party, and then my office exploded with candy and goodies every where. Dove dark chocolate in the conference room! Mint Hershey kisses at the front desk! They know my weaknesses.

Unfortunately, the holidays are associated with treats and overeating. I'm certainly not one to condemn any and all splurging, but let's not try to get too crazy. How do you still enjoy the holiday treats without going overboard? How do you prevent entering the new year 5 lbs more than the previous?

1. Plan ahead. Before going into a party or place where you know you may overeat, decide what your plan of attack will be and tell someone about it. That way you can stay more accountable. My coworker and I were going into a conference room to practice a presentation. Before heading in, we agreed neither of us would have any of the chocolate on the table. And it was fine! No one died. With that said, ...

2. Don't make ridiculous rules about what you won't eat. (ie: "I will not have any of the cookies at the office holiday party" or "I will refuse any hot chocolate that is offered to me".) Sure, you can try the array of cookies, but maybe choose 3 that look especially good to you or split with a friend. If hot chocolate is something that is really tempting to you, go for the hot chocolate but pass on the brownies that go with it.  It's all about portion control.

3. Keep exercising. I know it's not as much fun to be working out if you're stuck inside due to weather, but you can't expect to lose or maintain weight if you ditch the workout all together. Try some new things, such as swimming laps, focusing on weight training, or that one cardio machine you always make excuses not to do (stair stepper, anyone?). The other day I did intervals on the treadmill- 4 minutes walking on a steep incline, 4 minutes running at a 8:00 minute pace. Try some new classes! I, of course, highly recommend spinning. And just because it's cold doesn't mean you can't go outside. With proper layering techniques, running or cycling outside can be perfectly enjoyable. If you know you're going to be eating more, go for a nightly walk to curb the calories.

4. Know your weaknesses, and work around them. For example, maybe you should avoid baking. It's one thing to make baked goods for your kid's class party, but do you seriously want to endanger yourself by having 2 dozen cookies around the house? "But I have to bring something to the church party!" So, bring a fruit platter instead!

I'm certainly not the shining example for all of these things, but so far I have been successful at maintaining my weight this season (so far being the key words). Any other pointers you'd like to share?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

saturday fatterday ride to suncrest

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Husband and I participated in a group ride with Epic Biking. The "Saturday Fatterday Ride" went from the cycling shop in Saratoga Springs to the the Suncrest  development in Draper and back.

It was COLD.  And I solved my dilemma of only having cycling shorts! I didn't want to go out and spend a lot of money on cycling tights, so I used the spandex capris I wear to work out in all the time and added $2 knee length socks from Target. Who needs to spend all that money on new pants or cycling socks?

Only a few people showed but we had a great time with them. One of the store owners had a helmet cam on, and the raw footage can be found here on on youtube. (Not that it's exciting to watch  beginning to end.... but if you're dying to see what Utah cycling looks like, then go for it. Mountains and all.) Epic Biking had hot chocolate waiting for us back at the store.. normally I don't believe in liquid calories, but it was perfect for the weather.

Topo Map:

Not too often you get to see 3 miles of 6-7% grade. But, what comes up, most come down! Anyone who hasn't experienced going 35mph on a bike for a couple miles hasn't lived.

The road leading up to the Suncrest housing development (the steep hill) is wide and does not have many cars on it. It has an open view to the mountains and makes for a great climb and descent! I think we'll be adding this to our route repertoire.

Thanks, Epic Biking of Saratoga Springs, UT!

Monday, December 6, 2010

stuff i dig: clif z bars

Clif Z Bars!
photo and other information from the Clif website

While the regular Clif bars are great, with 240 calories they are best for hiking, cycling, or other endurance related activities.  These kids Clif Z Bars are only 130 calories; perfect for a desk snack! I am a big proponent of eating snacks and small meals every couple hours, and these bars are great for that. They are surprisingly satisfying for their size. And organic, too!  The only area I feel they could be improved is their protein content. With only 3 grams, it can hardly be a post workout snack.

They come in these flavors: chocolate brownie, chocolate chip, honey graham (my favorite, I think. And I'm normally a chocolate lover!), blueberry, peanut butter, and s'mores.

Z Bars are only 45 cents per bar when you get them at Costco in the 24 pack.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

fun gift ideas for your favorite fitness friend

Happy December 1st! Now you can legitimately play Christmas music and light up your tree.

When looking for gifts for your exercising friend or family member, there are a ton of different ways to go.  Heart rate moniters, magazine subscriptions, water bottles, and yoga mats are always appreciated. But if you're looking for something a little more unique, check out my holiday gift guide!

I am convinced that foam rollers are magic. They help with soreness, tight muscles, IT band pain, and cancer. Maybe. Check out these sources if you don't believe me and some suggested exercises.
About $25 (prices vary on brand, length, and circumference) from REI or here .

Best way to light your bike at night: BikeGlow. Unlike other bike lights, this allows the rider to be seen from the side. While I admit it looks kind of goofy, it sure is a good way to be seen! $24.95 from

Know someone who needs some motivation waking up in the morning? This is an alarm clock that you've got to pump to get it to shut off. $15 from

This neato bike chain bowl would be a great addition to a cyclist's home or office. Made from recycled bike chains. $88 from Resource Revival- and check out the picture frames and bracelets, too!

Who wouldn't want this cute (and handy!) bike pizza cutter? Only $11.99 from here

I think these Measure Up bowls are GENIUS. Portion control in a bowl! The two different sizes measure in increments of 1/2 cup to 2 cups. $13.99 - $29.99 from Measure Up Bowls.

The popularity of Vibram FiveFinger shoes is increasing exponentially, and for good reason. They allow you to run/walk with a more natural, correct form, and users have reported alleviation of back and joint pain. Not to mention you look like a ninja in them. The KSO model is my fave with the additional strap and cover. $85 from REI. If anybody wants to buy them for me, I am a size 38. Thanks.

Commute to work? Want to bring your coffee/hot chocolate/smoothie with you? Eliminate the balancing act (it's rough; I've done it) with this Felt coffee cup holder. $12.99 from here.

If you're like me, you love to save numbers and even chip timers from races. But they only look good sitting on your dresser for so long. Solution: BibFolio. A great way to organize and showcase your bibs! $39.99 from . Check out their other cute stuff, too!

Raising triathletes, one baby at a time. This baby bib and hat combo made from organic material is so darling, it makes me want to have a baby myself. $30 from Trix Gear.

As good as we've gotten with balancing the camera on various rocks and trees along the trail, this flexible tripod would be a great addition to any nature lover's collection. The Joby Gorillapod, $15 from Amazon.

There's a large variety of hydration belts on the market. They all seem fairly similar and after reading reviews (I liked BestCovery's take on it best), it seems like it may just depend on your body shape. The three listed below seem to be the most popular, although I would recommend a trial run (ha, pun!) to make sure there's not too much jostling or awkwardness. 

FuelBelt Helium 2 $21-$41.99 on Amazon (pictured left)
Nathan Trail Mix Waistbelt $45 at REI
Amphipod RunLite 4 $42.99 on Amazon