Wednesday Workout Recap

Last week was the last big push before this weekend’s race.  I’m not going to lie.  It hurt.

Monday – Rest Day.  Okay, this one didn’t hurt.

Tuesday – Treadmill hill repeats.  3 one mile hills.  Awesome.  Actually, this workout went better than I expected. I had to knock the speed WAY down, so I would have been beating no one, but I managed to rock it out while still keeping my heart rate down, and for me, that’s the biggest challenge when it comes to hills.

Wednesday – An hour on the bike trainer.  I love trainer workouts and am looking forward to a winter on the trainer.  I can definitely tell that I’m getting stronger.  The puddle of sweat is less than awesome though.

Thursday – Team Fight Swim.  As per usual, I didn’t want to go, went, and had a blast.  We did sprints and I was sore for two days.  Which means that I needed those sprints.  I’m not much of a sprinter, but I can only believe that it makes me faster.

Friday – Rest day.  I’m good at these.

Saturday – Ten freaking miles on the treadmill.  I was exhausted today and wasn’t sure I could make it through all ten miles, so I decided to get on the mill and do what I could.  And I ended up rocking out all ten miles.  They weren’t the prettiest, but I got them done.

Sunday – Went to the Billy Joel concert last night and it was AWESOME.  But I didn’t get home til 2 am.  So getting up at 7 to bike with the group didn’t happen.  But I got on the trainer and put in the 1:40 that Coach wanted me to do.  Then I took a nap.

I’ve been really struggling with my training lately.  I wondered if it was overtraining, but I think it’s just life.  I’m not getting enough sleep through my own fault and I’ve also been dealing with some huge projects at work.  Thankfully, I’m not putting in a significant amount of extra time at the office, but I’ve been going pretty much full speed while I’m there.  I successfully hit three major deadlines, so I’m hoping in the next month or so, things ease up a tiny bit.  We’ve been saying this for the past year, so I don’t have much hope, but a girl can dream.

DeskCycle Review

I received a DeskCycle to try in exchange for this review.  All comments are my own.

Features600Over the past few weeks, I have had the chance to try out the DeskCycle under desk bike. I have toyed with the idea of getting some sort of a cycling product for under my desk, so I jumped at the opportunity to try this out.

I was not disappointed.

IMG_0662.JPGNote: I am never going to argue that the Desk Cycle counts as a workout. It does not. But does it make sitting at your desk all day slightly less unhealthy?  I think so. I am a chronic fidgeter, so for me, this was a different way to add motion to my work day.
IMG_0663.JPG As expected, the Desk Cycle comes packaged in parts so you have to put it together, but the instructions were easy and also pretty obvious. Put base on. Put pedals on. Set up and start pedaling.  It’s also easy to take back apart for ease in moving.  It’s quite sturdy when assembled.  And it’s heavy!  It’s not going anywhere when you pedal.

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There is no good way to take a picture of your feet pedaling.

This thing is great.  It uses magnetic resistance, so it’s pretty much silent, which makes it great for using in the office.  The pedal motion is incredibly smooth.  And the resistance is adjustable.  Personally, I like it at a high resistance so I can just pedal slowly.  I joked to a coworker that it’s how I power my brain.  Very slow pedaling to make the cogs in my head turn.   I’m sure you could pedal quickly at a low resistance and high cadence, but that sounds like it would make working a bit more challenging.  Though it could be something to occupy you while you’re on a muted conference call.

One weird thing I noticed is that using this has really improved my posture.  Because of the positioning of the pedals, I can’t slouch while I sit at my desk.

The DeskCycle does come with a display so you can see your speed and calorie burn.  But even the creators of DeskCycle say it’s not quite accurate.  It all depends on what resistance they have the bike set at.  But they have a calculator on the website so you can input your resistance and the data from the display to figure out how many calories you’re burning.

My opinion on that?  Ignore it.  Ignore all of the calorie burn calculations.  Are you burning more calories than you would be just sitting?  Probably.  But to me, if you’re calculating your calorie burn, then you’re treating this as a workout.  This isn’t a workout.  To me, it’s an antidote to the effects of sitting all day.  Think of it the same way you would think of a standing desk. You’re working muscles there too, but you wouldn’t consider it a workout or think about how many calories you’ve earned.

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I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t recommend riding with flip flops. I’m a rebel.

What do my coworkers think of the DeskCycle?  Well, at first they thought I was insane.  (But I’m not sure that’s because I have a bike under my desk.   I think that’s just their general opinion.)  But now they’re jealous.  More than once, I’ve come back from a meeting to find someone pedaling away at my desk while they review a document.

The DeskCycle doesn’t have to be used at a desk.  For a while, I had it underneath my dining room table, where I often work.  I also tried it in front of the tv.  (My road bike was on the trainer next to me, mocking me silently.)  It was a littler harder to use on the couch, since my couch is pretty deep, but you could make it work if you wanted to.

So if you’ve considered some sort of under desk bike to add a bit of movement to your workday, I can’t recommend this enough.  The DeskCycle is a great, high quality product.  It’s quiet, won’t distract your coworkers, and lets you get a bit of “exercise” while you work.

This has been a sponsored review by DeskCycle.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Because Tomorrow Needs Her

I just discovered a project by Doctors Without Borders called “Because Tomorrow Needs Her.”  It is an incredible multimedia project about the challenges women face in getting proper medical care in developing countries.

Every day, 800 women around the world die from pregnancy-related causes.  The project uses videos, pictures, and even a journal from one of the doctors to tell the stories of some of these very preventable deaths.

I spent way too much time on this site last night, and recommend that you take the time to check out the project.

Wednesday Workout Recap

This heat is killing me.  It’s so hard to workout in the heat, but I know that it’s good for me, and as my coach pointed out, even the bad workouts are making me stronger.

Monday – Rest day.  Okay, so maybe I didn’t get stronger on this particular day, but rest days are so key to any fitness schedule.

Tuesday – So… I should have gotten up early and done my workout in the morning.  I did not.  Whatever, I raced this weekend.  Instead, I went to the Taylor Swift concert and danced the night away. And it was awesome.

Wednesday – No more excuses.  On the trainer for a speed workout.  This one was really hard.  I don’t know if it was because my legs were tired from the night before or if I was just lazy.  Either way, it was a struggle.

Thursday – Team Fight swim.  I ended up with a total of 2100m in a bit under an hour.  Continuing my trend for the week, I did not want to go, but I was so glad to get the workout in.  I’m noticing just how much my form fades when I get tired.

Friday – Rest day.  Today, I got a massage and ran a bunch of errands and then went to a meal prep place with some friends.  I need to be better about eating healthy, and having meals ready-to-cook in the freezer is a great way for me to do that.

Saturday – Ten miles.  On the treadmill.  There were storms looming, which either meant the risk of getting caught in the storm, or potentially more painful, oppressive humidity.  So I hit the treadmill.  It was a slog.  I didn’t even try for my required paces, which I should have done.  I just focused on getting it done.

Sunday – Hit the old Iron Girl course again, with some mileage tacked on.  I hadn’t been feeling stellar the day before and was probably terribly dehydrated, so Liz and I didn’t quite meet our distance/time goal.  Just a little bit under, but we still got out there and got it done.

Planning for a better week this week.  Every mile counts.

 

Iron Girl Columbia Tips and Tricks

IG-Columbia-tri-10thI’ve had a lot of hits to my site coming from people looking for information about Iron Girl Columbia.  The race is in less than a month (August 16th) and you can sign up until Friday, so if you’re on the fence, now is the time!

I am racing again this year and it will be my third year.  I’ve learned a lot since my first Iron Girl Columbia (which was only my second triathlon and significantly longer than my first tri).  I, of course, blogged about both years:

2013 Iron Girl Columbia

2014 Iron Girl Columbia

I really like this race.  Obviously, since I’m coming back for a third year.  I have a soft spot in my heart for it since it was my first big race (my first tri was a beginner race) and because it supports the Ulman Cancer Fund.

Now, I won’t lie.  It’s not a super easy race.  The course is challenging, but you can definitely do it.

Transition

At Iron Girl Columbia, you have to rack your bike the day before.  Don’t worry, there are people out there with your bike all night so it won’t get lonely.  You don’t put out the rest of your gear until race morning, so don’t think you have to leave your running shoes out all night.  Those can stay with you til race morning.

If you have any questions in transition, just ask.  There are plenty of experienced racers at this race who are happy to help, and the volunteers are phenomenal as well.

There are a lot of people in this race.  Last year, there were over 1000 racers.  So transition can seem big.  Just remember where your bike is.  Take a look at transition.  Where do you come in from the swim (hint, it’s the side near the lake)?  When you run in from the water, which way will you go to your bike?  How will you get your bike out (hint, it’s up the hill)?  And so on and so forth.  Some people will say to tie a balloon where your bike is racked – that isn’t allowed at this race, or at most races.  So you have to figure out another way to remember.  Brightly colored transition towels help.  One year, I was racked near a tree, so that was my landmark.  Another year, I was five rows in.  Worst case, the bikes are racked by race number, so take a look at the number written on your arm and find your spot that way.

The day before the race, when you rack your bike, I recommend walking transition, getting an idea of what you will be doing on race morning.  Coming in here from the swim, out there for the bike, back in from the bike, and then out this way to the run.  The visualization always helps me.

The Swim

Last year, UCF instituted a new type of start known as a Time Trial start.  What this means is that you go into the water two-by-two instead of each wave starting in a mass start.  This helps spread out the people and for a lot of racers, takes away some of the stress of the mass start.  Unfortunately, this means you can’t get in the water to warm up before the race.

What I did last year, that I think helped, was that I dumped a bunch of cold water on my head and down my kit before the race.  It may have looked ridiculous, but then getting into the water wasn’t a shock to my system.

Some people will tell you that Centennial Lake is gross.  It’s not the clearest of lakes, that’s for sure, but it’s also not the grossest water I’ve been in for a triathlon.  Besides, you’re just going to go get sweaty on the bike and the run.  Who cares!

This swim is probably the best supported swim I’ve seen.  There are so many kayakers out in the water ready to help anyone who needs it.  If you need to stop for any reason, just grab onto a kayak.  Maybe you need to adjust your goggles, or you’re coughing on some water or maybe you just need a moment to get out of your head.  It’s all okay.  And don’t worry – the more races you do, the less you’ll need it.

The Bike

Columbia is hilly.  If you can, go ride the bike course before the race.  Princeton Sports does course previews every Sunday morning.  Right now, they’re actually riding the old Iron Girl course, which is similar and gives you a good taste of Columbia hills, but I believe as the race gets closer, they will start doing the current course.  You can also go out without a big group, but don’t go alone.  And be careful on Route 40.  Race day will be fine, but every other day, it’s all open to traffic, as most roads are.

If nothing else, drive the course before the race.  Get an idea of the course.  The hills aren’t too bad.  Worst case, you get off your bike and walk.  My first year, I saw a girl running her bike up a hill.  More power to her.  And besides, what goes up must come down.  Enjoy the speed on those downhills!

The Run

Remember those hills?  Yeah, they didn’t go away.  There’s one glorious hill known as Gatorade Hill, and you get to go up it twice.  But you can do it.  And the best part is the spectators at this race.  There are so many people out there cheering you on.  Enjoy the run!  You’ve made it, and you’re going to have an awesome finish!