We're in the 2nd full week of 2014. What does this mean? Gyms are beginning to thin out and restaurants are filling up.
Between now and the first week of February the most common new year's resolutions will be placed on the back burner until 2015. It's a sad reality, but only 1% of resolutioners make it past the first hump and make a life change. Changing your life from one day to another (December 31st to January 1st) is nearly imposable. Especially when you're including a mass of different components.
Let's take the most common resolution. Lose weight. This is much more than just shrinking your waistline. There are XX components for which to adhere. Exercise, eat healthier foods, and eat less. All three can be easily done on e their own or for short periods, but why is it so hard to stick to them?Exercise
Getting off the couch is always the hardest step to take. When setting an initial start goal we tend to want to hit the ground running. I've made this mistake far too many times. Everything is set. The weather is perfect, shoes are on, playlist set, and It's time to get out there and work out. Woohoo!
Let's take running as an example. It's cheap, effective in burning calories, and easily available. Just step out the door and you're set.
Here's the first mistake. Running. Yes, the first mistake is that you've chosen to run. Your body has been relatively sedentary for a year or longer and you've embarked on the sport that burns the most calories per hour. There's a reason that running burns so many calories. It's a lot of work for your body. Your lungs are pumping, you're moving every muscle at the same time, and you're doing this while carrying all of your body weight times 3. Yes, three times your weight.
Think of the physics behind the act of running. You're, in essence, jumping with one leg and catching yourself with the other. Over and over again. That single leg is catching a propelled body every step.
After your first run you will be sore for a few days. Sore in places you've never felt before. After sucking it up and running trough the soreness you can begin to feel your first injuries. ITB, shin splints, you name it. After two weeks of this, you'll be back on the couch. Just in time for the winter season premier of Downton Abbey. Those network execs really know the market.
How could this have been prevented? It's easier said than done. Start easy.
And I don't mean doing walk-run intervals. I mean easier. Don't run at all. Stay off of the treadmill, elliptical, Stairmaster ®, or whatever is always full at the gym. You certainly want to work out, but you want to keep impact and "the burn" to minimum. Here's a tip: look for the grandmas at the gym - then follow their step. Yes, walk around the track with a two pound weight. Use the rowing machine at zero resistance, and ride the stationary recumbent bike for 20 minutes. Will you sweat? Absolutely not. Will your heat start racing? Nope. Will you see results? Yes.
Yes, you will. But not because you're working out. I'll get back to that in a bit.
So you're going to the gym and not "really" working out. That's great. Because you're allowing your body to wake up and realize that's time to get things going. You only have to hand out with the AARP gals for a week or so. Come week 2 you're ready to play with the big boys. No, not the meatheads or marathoners. You're ready to work out with the grandpas. You can now walk faster around the track, start using some of the weight machines (10 to 15 pounds max), add a little resistance to the rowing machine, and ride the upright stationary for 30 minutes.
At this point you've begun to tell your body that it's about to get some real pain thrown at it. You're now 3 to 4 weeks into a workout routine. New experience: this is how the gym looks for the rest of the year. Much more quiet and holy crap there are available treadmills! Good. Now it's time to get started. Time to start sweating. You have built a small fitness base and you can ride a spin bike, row for "5000 meters," start some run-walk intervals on the track or treadmill. And by walk-run, I mean walk for 5 minutes and run for one on day one, then slowly ramp it up when you feel like you won't be hurting the next day. There are two important things here. Don't stick to just one exercise and don't push yourself. You're not training yet. You're just working out. Listen to your body and you'll know when it's time to start running.Eat better
This concept sounds simple, and it is, but we tend to make it complicated. The first thing that we do is decide to not eat out. Yes, this is great for two reasons. First you know exactly what's in your food and secondly you will save money. However, you still have to prepare all of your food. All of it. This includes time spent looking up recipes, time spent shopping (add more time looking for the obscure ingredients), more time prepping, an additional 30 minutes to an hour cooking, then packaging it all for the rest of the week. It's exciting the first time, but it's going to get old very quickly and you'll be heading for Taco Bell before week three.
So how can this be prevented? Keep it simple, stupid. You don't need to try something new every single day. Before you decided to eat well, you probably ate at the same 3-4 restaurants every week. And while you told yourself that you wanted to try something new, you always end up ordering the same plate every time. I'm not talking about when you go out on a date or are having a foodie experience. I mean the day-to-day lunch break. Your new healthy self doesn't have to be any different. There is no need to be the constant culinary explorer. Save that for the weekend. To get through Monday through Friday, a bowl of rice, some pasta, a sandwich, soup, etc. will be more than enough. If you eat out, don't be afraid to be "that person." You know, the one that eats like a bird and asks for everything on the side. The soup and salad lunch special really is a great meal. If you're afraid that you'll be hungry - I'll cover that next.Eat less
So you've eased into working out. You're not hurting, still going to the gym, and simplified your meals. But that soup and salad is gonna keep you hungry and heading to the vending machine within an hour. Here is something that I learned from endurance racing. When you're running a long race your body is burning nearly 1000 calories per hour. Your first thought would be to eat 1000 calories to maintain your energy level. No. Your body can only absorb 200 to 300 calories per hour. Anything else will just sit in your stomach and cause severe pain while racing. Throwing up in a race is more common than not. And it's all because of poor nutritional management.
So what does this have to do with day-to-day eating? Let's say that you've portioned your food out for the day. 400 calories for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 600 for dinner. Maybe a Kellogg's 100 calorie bar between lunch and dinner. You've only eaten 1700 calories, but you were hungry all day. Your stomach can only take this feeling for so long until you freak out and just give in to the urges of Snickers and M&Ms.
I think that the idea of eating less is the biggest problem. You should be eating less. You should be doing the opposite. Eat more and more often. So that soup and salad lunch was fine at the time, but two hours later you're hungry again. Of course you are. You consumed 400 calories and that was all absorbed in an hour and a half. So what should you do? Eat again. But instead of a candy bar or a bag of chips go for a piece of fruit or a mini Cliff bar. 100 calories or less. Then, when your hungry again in an hour, eat another sensible snack. Eat something small (100 calories or less) every hour. This will keep you from feeling hungry and come dinner time, you'll only want to eat a small 300 to 400 calorie meal. For example: 100 calorie yogurt for breakfast, 3 100- calorie snacks before lunch, 400 calories at lunch, 3 more 100- calorie snacks before dinner and a 400 calorie dinner. That's only 1500 calories and you've been eating all day. You can even snack a bit before going to bed and still only have eaten 1600 to 1800 calories in one day.
If you ate out for lunch and just had to have that 800 calorie meal. Don't freak out. Just remember that if you only eat half of your meal, you can have the second half for dinner or lunch the next day. That's two 400 calorie meals.
Simplify and enjoy your new life. I may be grumbling when the pool lanes are still full, come July, but I'll be glad to see more familiar faces at races and workouts.
This past weekend I finally purchased a time trial bike. It's a used 2010 Scott Plasma 2 LTD. 16 pounds of wind tunnel carbon fiber love.
I took her out on Sunday for 43 miles and light weight and aerodynamics really do make a difference. A huge difference. Though this was my first time on a TT bike, I felt great on it. Yes, my arms did get tired from the aero position, but it was well worth it.
A few things that I did notice about riding on carbon fiber versus steel, aluminum, and titanium. Similar to aluminum, the frame lacks life. It just doesn't have the same soul as my CrMo Serrotta or Ti Mongoose. The bike is built for speed and no nonsense.
As I learned today.
I was doing a sprint distance BRICK (bike/run combination). It was very windy and the roads were wet from late night rain. I had a strong tail wind on my way back home, before changing shoes and heading for a run. I used the wind to my advantage. For a mile I was averaging ~27 MPH. As I reached the final mile, I wasn't slowing down. Not even to take a corner.
I was in a zone and feeling great. I approached the corner, opened my turn, got off of the aero bars, checked the roads to make sure it was clear, and went for it. I was booking at 28.4 MPH and about 45° into the turn, I realized that I wasn't gonna clear it. I was heading toward the median. I hit the brakes. Began to fish-tail to the left. I let off the brakes. The bike began to stand up again, but i was still heading toward the median. So I reached for the brakes again. It didn't matter. I over corrected and began to fall to my left.
At this point, I had to relax and let the road take its course. And that was a halt at the median.
I first made sure that I wasn't in the middle of the road. Then checked my limbs. Nothing was broken. I got up and checked the bike. It was fine. At least as fine as a checkup in the dark could tell. A few items fell out. Spare tube and CO2 adapter. I found the tube, but not the adapter. I wasn't gonna stand there looking for it, so I just grabbed my bike and walked up to the sidewalk.
The rear wheel was rubbing against the brake pad, so I fixed that and put the chain back on the rings. I was okay to slowly ride home. At home I told Colleen that I had crashed, as she was barely awake. Then I remember leaning against the bathroom door and all of a sudden Colleen was behind me and all of the lights were on. I had passed out standing up.
No, I didn't hurt my head, I was just in shock. After eating, drinking, and sitting in a hot bath I was feeling fine. Minus the scrapes and bruising.
First, I learned to be more cautious. Second, I learned that this new bike is fast. Stupid fast. TO the point where you do stupid things at high speeds. Below is a graph of my ride. I especially like how it went from 28.4 MPH to 0 very quickly. :-(
As I posted in July, when my tri season was at it's birth, I'm now posting as my short-lived season is about to end. I jumped into the triathlon season a bit late in the year. I ran my first 5k in June, then a duathlon that same month. Followed by more 5k races and one tri each month. Summarized it doesn't seem like much. But, as 5 5k races, 2 10k races, 1 15k race, a duathlon, and 3 sprint triathlons in 4 months. It's a lot more than I had ever expected. Especially when, in February, I couldn't run for one mile at a time.
After the Battle of the Bridges Triathlon on Sunday, I'll be gearing up for my first 1/2 marathon on December 1st. Then, it's time to plan my 2014 triathlon season.
I had this all planned out and had scheduled to have some rest weeks before tri races. That didn't happen. I just kept adding running races whenever my weekends were open. And some times when they weren't open at all. My body may not feel like running a long run come Monday mornings, but I still managed to keep it up. Best of all, I picked up a running partner. Kai. He's run at all of the same running races as me. He will run the 5k races when I'm running a longer stretch. At the Turtle Krawl 5k, he managed to run more than me. After we had both finished the race, he went on to run a 1 mile kids' run. I've created a monster. I still do my morning workouts before the rest of the family wake up, but I also get to do some running after work with the kids. If I never race again, this is more than I could ever ask for.
But, let's be honest. I'm not gonna stop any time soon. ;-)
In 2014 I would like to enter a few olympic length triathlons while still racing sprint lengths. I'd also like to keep running and hopefully the kids can enter some tri races, too. They'll be doing an aquathlon in a week and Kai might be racing in his first tri in October. If the scheduling for Daphne's gymnastics meet in Gainsville works out.
If you don't know me - I'm a skate punk, turned MTB racer, turned couch potato. Or I was. But I'll get into that in a minute. In college I raced. I raced a lot. At one point I was racing every week while training between classes or on my way to and from work. I was constantly scabbed and under nourished. But I was loving life. Then, I had to make a choice. Keep racing or focus on school. I chose school.
There are no regrets there. While I wasn't racing, I was still riding. And riding a lot. Through mountain biking I met the greatest people on earth. Some of which are still my closest friends. Then, we all got married, had kids, and did a lot les riding. In fact, I did none. The most would be a short ride to the park with the kids.
I had gotten lazy, tired, and extremely fat. Then, when my wife was signing the kids up for swim lessons at the gym around the corner, we decided to renew our family membership.
At first I worked out once or twice a week. I changed how and what I ate. And it was hard. I was hungry, tired, and frustrated. Then, I made it over the initial hump. I was losing some weight. I was starting to get used to eating less. And, best of all, I was feeling energetic. I started to work out more often and added walking and yoga to my exercises. Yes, yoga.
After a few months my walks turned into walk/run intervals and I was at the gym 5 times a week. I got into an eating routine and clothes were fitting again.
Losing weight was my initial goal, but it wasn't enough. I went to USA Cycling and was surprised that, while inactive, my racing license was still in the system. I looked at MTB races in the area and was pretty disapointed that most race venues were 3 to 4 to 9 hours away. And with no local trail, my dreames of racing again were quickly fading.
Then, I received an email from the organization that runs my gym. They were holding a free 5k fun run. It looked interesting and something worth trying. I signed up the whole family and set a goal. My walk/runs turned into daily runs and I was working out every day. The day of the run came and it felt great. I wasn't dieing and I didn't finish too badly either.
My pace was better at the organized run than it had ever been while training, but still not worthy of racing. Besides, I hate running. So, while Daphne was in gymnastics practice, I sat in the gym lobby and started to browse on my phone for events nearby. A duathlon stood out. I can ride for ever. That's a given. And I did okay running. Why not try it out. Then it hit me. I've been surfing my whole life. I'm comfortable in the water and after seeing the swim lengths in beginner triathlons, I felt like I could totally do it. So I signed up for my first triathlon. Yes, the same people that I mocked when I worked at bike shops.
For the next month I either swam, biked, or ran every day. I checked the event website, weighed my training times against past results, scoped out the competition, and read everything that I could find about tri races. Then the week of the event was upon me. I was ready. I checked the event Facebook page and there it was. A person had posted that the lake in wich the event was to be held was contaminated and swimming was prohibited. What to do? What to do? I called the park to see if they would open the lake for the event. They said that it was all up to the event coordinator. I panicked. Then, I received an email from the event team. The lake was, in fact, contaminated. If it didn't clear up before the race, all competitor will be running a duathlon.
Yes, I had looked at trying a duathlon earlier. But, remember, I hate running. And a duathlon includes a run, bike, then another run. I would have opted for a bike run bike. ;-)
It turns out that the lake didn't clear up and I was stuck running a du. I did alright. Fifth overall out of 12 newbie men. But I wasn't satisfied. I trained for a tri, and that's what I wanted to do.
Somehow, in the mix, I signed up for a running series and two more triathlons. This is without having run an actual running race or a triathlon. I did my first running race a few weeks later. As expected I finished well, but no podium. I finished 12th in my age group. Then, it was time to race in my first tri. The race was in the same venue as the first attempt. The water report wasn't good. The lake had been closed to swimmers for two weeks. I didn't freak out and had accepted that I might have to run a du again.
With the thought of another du on my mind, I didn't obsess as much as I did before my first race. It was a few days before the race and I received an email from the event team. The water was good and the tri was on. Now, I'm freaking out. I'm actually gonna have to do this thing.
The night before the race had come and I wasn't ready. My bag wasn't packed my tri suit was still in the hamper and I hadn't checked out the bike. I tuned up the bike, got my stuff together and before I knew it, it was close to 10:00pm. Crap. I'm not gonna get enough sleep before leaving the house at 4:00am. Double crap. I still have to shave my legs. Yes, I did it when I raced MTBs, too. Okay, I'm packed, everything's in the car, nutrition ready, legs shaved, and I'm ready to go to sleep. Crap! It's 11:00pm. I somehow woke up at 4:00am to take a shower and make breakfast before leaving for the race.
Well, the training worked out. I finished 1st overall for the first-timers. Now, I'm getting ready for another 5k race and triathlon in August. My biggest concern about the tri is that the run includes a bridge crossing. Twice. I'll start by adding the following to my 10k training run.
Some time nex week or the week after, I'll have to incorporate the Eau Gallie Bridge on my training.
But, this is my final target. Run this bridge twice after I've swam in the Atlantic and biked up and down A1A. All in a town that I've never visited. Woohoo!
I guess that now makes me more of a skate punk, turned MTB racer, turned couch potato, turned tri geek.