Saturday, March 26, 2011


Received the email yesterday confirming my acceptance to the 2011 Team Aquaphor!!  This will be my fourth consecutive year on this awesome team!!  I've never had such a performance enhancing experience!  Being on this team has made me train and race harder than any other time in my 26 years of racing!  So happy to be back for another season!!

"Aquaphor, Aquaphor,
Use it on your chafes and sores,
It will help you heal your cuts,
Use it on your baby's butt!
Look out!
Here comes Team Aquaphor!!!!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Little Engine

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.....

Friends are planning a 100 miler on Friday - 20 mph pace.  I haven't been on my bike in a couple weeks.  My longest ride has been 60.  Should I stay or should I go......

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Back In The Pool

I finally got back to the pool!!  I haven't swum since last October!  The pool that I use is indoor but not usually heated, so the thought of jumping into really cold water when it's REALLY cold outside isn't very appealing.  It's a very nice facility at the Brunswick County Community College - the Dinah E. Gore Aquatic and Fitness Center. 

My first swim was last week, I swam 3100 yards.  I could tell that my endurance is down, felt the fatigue set into my arms, shoulders and lats pretty early into the workout.  Because it's was my first swim of the season I did the distance but not on any intervals, just used 10-15 seconds rest.  Yesterday I went ahead and tried to make my intervals - it went just fine. It is so good to get back in the water again!  I only wish that the pool wasn't so far from my house, I know I'd be more consistent if the pool was closer.  It's a 42 mile roundtrip.

8 Lane Lap Pool and Warm Water Therapy Pool
Here is what I did last week (3100):
Warm Up:
2 x (300 Swim / 4 X 50Kick / 100 Stroke / 100Swim)
Main Set:
400 Swim (7:00)
2 X 200 Pull (3:30)
4 X 100 Swim (1:45, 1:40, 1:35, 1:30)
200 Kick
Cool Down:
300 Easy

Yesterday (3000):
Warm Up:
500 Swim
Main Set:
5 X 150 Pull @2:45
5 X 100 Swim @ 1:45
5 X 150 Swim @2:45 (50 Swim / 50 Stroke / 50 Swim)
6 X 50 Swim @ 1:00
Cool Down:
200 Swim/Kick

Felt much better yesterday in the pool.  There were two older gentlemen in the lanes next to me.  They both seemed to take turns racing me for a 50 here and there.  It's pretty obvious when they take off right when you come by to flip.  I will admit that I didn't let either of them beat me!  Ah.. the old spirit of competition!!

One stopped at the end of the pool to chat while I was waiting in between an interval. He told me that he competed in the Senior Games in the 70-74 age group.  He swam some in high school and took it back up when his back problems forced him to stop playing golf.  He asked me for some pointers, so I swam a few lengths with him watching him swim.  He was a good swimmer, just needed to drop his head a little so his body alignment would come up in the water.  It was really nice to see other people at the pool that swim well. 

When I got to the car the weather driving home was so beautiful that when I got home I grabbed a book and went to the Resident Center pool here in my subdivision and sat in the sun to read.  What a life!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Transitions 101

The local triathlon season is starting!!  I think there is no better time to go through some pointers about transitions.  Transitions are what I like to refer to as "Free Speed".  Think about it - how long would you have to train to take 15 seconds off of your 5K race split?  But you can easily take that much time off of your T1 (swim to bike) and T2 (bike to run) times.  All it takes is some planning, mental preparation and practice.  Unless there is a really long run from swim to bike my transitions are usually right around 60 seconds.

I use the TYR Transition Bag, because it's big enough to hold everything for a race. This is actually more important to me after the race than before. The night before the race I pack my bag all nice and neat with everything in it's correct place.  After the race?  All the wet and soggy clothing and stuff kind of just gets tossed into the bag so the big bag is awesome.  It's also a backpack, which I think is a necessity.  A lot of times the parking area is far from the transition area and being able to ride my bike to and from the car to the site is important.  I keep a "Cap Light" in my bag too, for early or late season races when it's still dark outside so I can see on my way over and see into my bag while I'm setting up my transition area.

There are things that live in my bag year round:

One small Ziploc bag that includes:
A Mini Stapler
Roll of Electrical Tape
An extra C02 Cartridge
A Leatherman Micra Tool
Cap Light

2nd Small Ziploc Bag:
Small Baby Powder
Travel size pack of wet wipes
A tube of Aquaphor!
Little Packet of Advil - for post race, just in case.
A couple Band-Aids - ditto on the band-aids.

Also in one of the pockets:
A Water Bottle with a can of Hutchinson Fast Air - I keep this in a water bottle in one of the cages during the race wrapped in a piece of neoprene so it won't rattle.
Brightly Colored Swim Cap from a previous race - Goes on the end of your
bike rack to help you locate your row of bikes.   If the transition area is on concrete or asphalt a line of Baby Powder on the ground works really well too. 
Large Plastic Bag - I use this if the transition area is on grass and it's really wet.  If it looks like it may rain I take a plastic bag - like the kind you get at packet pick up and cut one side open, so it opens like a triangle.  I put my running shoes, race number belt and hat in in and hold down the corner with a water bottle.
Transition Towel - Mine is pink and a Hello Kitty towel (I love Hello Kitty)!  Easy to locate when you're looking for your spot when you're coming in off the bike. 

I pack my bag the night before the race.  I plan my list in the order of events - and mentally go through each part of the race as I pack.

Wetsuit and Skinsuit - I HATE wearing a wetsuit.  I know, I know - they're much faster in the water.  After 26 years of racing I still have "Wetsuit Panic".  Because I live in a warmer climate most of my races are non-wetsuit races anyway.  But if the water is at least 75 degrees I'll opt to wear my skinsuit.  My tri-suit isn't skin tight so the drag I feel in it while swimming is distracting.  Here is a good one - back in 2003 I was doing the swim and bike of the Cali Half in Oceanside.  The water was really cold - 58 degrees.  I started the swim and within just a few hundred feet started to panic.  I was thinking "great, I came all this way, schlepped the bike and all only to drop out in the very beginning of the swim".  So I swam over to a girl on a longboard and had her upzip my wetsuit - ripped it off, gave it to her and swam like crazy to try and catch up the other girls in my swim wave.  I was working hard enough that only my feet, face and hands were really uncomfortable.  Then in 2005, I went to Panama City Beach, FL to race the Gulf Coast Half.  Same thing happened at the start of the swim, I made it to the first buoy.  Panic set in again, this time I flipped over onto my back and stripped off my wetsuit and let it float away into the Gulf of Mexico.  Goodbye stupid wetsuit - good riddance!  I'm sure it washed up on the shore somewhere and I can only imagine what thoughts someone had when they found it.
Swim Cap
Goggles - one pair clear, one pair smoke.  It's always good to have an extra pair of goggles.  I keep one of each to use depending on the weather on race morning.  Clear if it's overcast - Smoke if it's sunny. 

Helmet - Goes on the aerobars facing the correct way to easily put it on your head.  Straps are out and straightened.
Sunglasses - Cradled in your helmet, earpieces open.
Cycling Shoes - I go sockless on the bike, my shoes are clipped onto the pedals.   If the weather or water is cold I also put toe covers on my shoes.  It makes a big difference when you start the run and you can feel your toes.

Running Shoes - I usually wear running shoes to the race in the morning, but have my racing shoes in my bag.  I like to warm up in my regular training shoes not my racing flats.
Socks - I always wear socks for the run, even if it's just a 5K.  I've raced barefoot before but always seem to get a blister or hot spot.  For some reason I can't block out the pain if I start to get a blister and it effects my run mentally.  It may take me an extra 10 seconds to put them on, but for me it's totally worth the time.  If you are wearing socks roll/crumple them down and place one in each respective shoe. 
Race Number Belt - My favorite race number belt is by TNI, I like it because it has little elastic loops for a gel (it actually holds 3).  You have to pin your number on it, but I like it better that way so I can place it where I want it.
Hat - Some people race without a hat, for me it would never be an option.  I kind of like hiding under the brim when I've got that horrible grimace on my face.  I guess a better name for it is my "Race Face".

TNI Race Number Belt - it holds a gel
for the run - just in case!
My favorite gel - Crank E-Gel!

Sometimes all of the following gets left in the car, it just depends on how far the car is from the transition area.
Wet Washcloth in Ziploc Bag - One of my race essentials.  I put a little bit of liquid soap (usually Warm Vanilla Sugar from Bath & Body Works) on the washcloth and wipe off after the race!  I always get the "You don't look like you've even raced" comments.  Plus I smell nice too!  Have you ever had your race numbers on your arms and legs stenciled onto your skin from the sun?
Dry Clothing in Ziploc Bag - Some people are just as happy to hang around post race in their wet tri-suits, me personally, I like to dry off and get into some clean clothes. 
Flip Flops - Ditto with my feet, usually my running shoes are wet and soggy.  Unless it's really chilly I'll put on flip flops.
Dry Hat - Just makes me feel better to have a clean, dry hat.
Slim Fast High Protein - My favorite post race recovery drink - it's shelf stable and doesn't need refrigeration.

Usually I try to get my race packet the day or night before the race but sometimes I'll get it on race morning.  I take the "bike number" and trim down the sides of the number (cutting off the tape) to where just the number remains.  Now you know what the Leatherman Micra is for!  I don't like to tape the number to my frame on the top tube because my bike is really small and if I do then I can't get a water bottle out of the cage on the down tube.  So I make it smaller and put it around the seat post.  I staple it together  in about 4 places after I wrap it around the seat post, then use a little piece of the tape I cut off the edges to hold it in place, this keeps it from moving around during the race. See the picture with me by my bike above.

So here is how I set up my transition area.  I'm one of those "get to the race site early" people.  I'm already nervous enough about the race and don't need to stress myself out any more by being late.  Usually no later than an hour and a half before the first swim wave starts.  I'm happier with 2 hours.

I rack my bike by the nose of the saddle, these days most people do it this way, but in days gone by everyone tried to cram their bikes onto the racks using the brake levers.  First, you have to roll your back backwards if you do this which turns the cranks so that they aren't in the right position for when you mount your bike, and second it takes up too much room on the rack.  I like to be considerate of my neighbors!

My bike shoes are already mounted on the bike with the pedals at 9:00 and 3:00, with a little baby powder in each shoe. The absolute best way to practice having your shoes already on your bike is to leave them on there all the time.  Every ride you go on practice getting into your shoes after you start riding and getting out of them when you finish the ride.  Learning this when you're not under race stress will shorten your learning curve.  My helmet is cradled in the aerobars with the straps open and my sunglasses are resting in the helmet.  Depending on the distance of the bike I may use tape an energy Gel to the top tube by the headset.
Bogey not included.
My transition towel goes on the right hand side of my bike - the side that I get on my bike.  On the towel goes my race hat, race number belt and shoes with socks (with a little baby powder in each) rolled up in each on top.  I put my shoes on top as a reminder to put my shoes on and then grab my hat and number belt and put them on while I'm running.  Anything you can do while you're moving will save you time. 

One last thing I always do is go over my transition in my head as I approach the end of the swim and the bike.  I've done this hundreds of times but I still do a mental rehearsal in each race. 

Does this all sound like I've given it a lot of thought???  

Monday, March 7, 2011

I'm Certifiable!

In the last two weeks I've taken a Spinning Instructor Certification and a Water Fitness Instructor Certification!  Does that mean I'm certifiable?

I spent last Saturday at Brunswick Community College getting my United States Water Fitness Instructor Certification!  Last fall after I finished a swim workout at BCC the Water Fitness Instructor who had just finished her class told me about the certification.  There was a class last September that I really wanted to take but it was on the same day as the Wilmington YMCA Triathlon.  So when I saw the information for this month's class I signed up immediately!

There are certain populations  of people who can't, for medical or physical reasons, get a good aerobic workout on land.  It may be arthritis or other physical challenges that keep them sedentary.  And with our ever increasing life spans there needs to be an alternative workout for those who can't exercise any other way. Working out in the water, either in shallow (chest deep) or deep water with a flotation belt provides an extremely low impact way of exercising, and  it's really a lot of fun. The most important things that the USWFA stresses in their classes is that they need to be fun and safe. 

There are so many different classes you can teach or take, some of the more recently popular classes include Aqua Tai Chi, Water Pilates, Water Yoga and Aqua Zumba.  I'm thinking that I would really like to teach Aqua Zumba and Water Kickboxing!  In Dallas I did a lot of Aerobic Kickboxing and even had a bunch of Billy Blanks Tae Bo videos. Do any of you rememeber Tae Bo?  I think I could easily adapt a lot of the moves to be used in the water, and even did use some or my Water Test on Saturday in a punch series.

"Aquatic Personal Training" is the fastest growing segment of water fitness,  more and more people are hiring private Aquatic Personal Trainers for private, semi-private or small group sessions.  This also sounds like something I might enjoy.

We were sent a big three ring notebook with the USWFA Instructor Certification material.  It was the most studying that I've done since college.  I was really anxious and stressed about the testing.  We met at 9:00 am with our Instructor Trainer, Sandra Huth.  She was the same person who had approached me last fall about taking the class and becoming an instructor!  I'd also seen her last week when she came into the Bath & Body Works store where I work - the world is small.  We went over a little bit of the material and after a short break came back to the classroom for the written test.  A passing score of 80% is required to be certified. 

After a short break for lunch it was back to the classroom for a short time to discuss our Water Test.  Then we changed and met in the Therapy Pool.  We started with Sandy leading us in some of the teaching techniques that she uses including Aqua Pilates.  Then it was time for our testing.  We each were given a theme for our class, they all differed.  Mine was to teach a "Fun Class for Seniors".  We had already turned in our lesson plan for our choreographed workout with our pre-course materials.  We each led our brief 8 minute workout leading the others in the class as our students.  Everyone was quite nervous, I opted to go first.  As usual, I was way too worried about it.  I did just fine and found out afterwards that I scored a 99 on the water test and a 98 on the written test!

I hope to teach some classes at the community college and also try to develop classes this summer for some of the local pools in the different subdivisions.  How convenient would it be for residents to be able to ride their bikes or walk to the pool and get some great exercise while staying cool and not having to drive anywhere?

Sandy, the instructor invited me to come to any of her workouts and teach a little of her class for some experience.  She liked my enthusiasm and said we need people in her classes to keep the energy and liveliness up!   Really????  Me????  Lively????

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Clipless Pedal Initiation

So I went to my favorite bike shop last Thursday, Hawley's Bicycle World!!  Got to see and visit with some good friends!  I picked up some mountain bike shoes and clipless pedals for Bill's bike and put them on his Rockhopper the next day. 

A couple days later we took the bikes out for a ride on the abandoned golf course across the street from where we live.  I gave Bill some basic instruction on clipless pedals.  In typical husband fashion he listened to part of what I said and claimed he knew what to do.  We started off down the road and in just a few hundred feet realized we were underdressed and turned back to go and get our wind vests. 

We pulled up onto the driveway and came to a stop by the garage door.  I got there first and was off my bike to get the garage door opener, turned to watch as Bill came up the driveway.  He rolled up to a stop, a complete stop, hovered for a moment and then ..... fell over onto his side, feet still clipped into the pedals.  At  first I was worried, then when I saw him smiling I couldn't help myself, I cracked up laughing.  Do you remember the guy on the tricycle on "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In"?  I wish I'd had a camera!  Bill stayed there on the driveway for a minute - flat on his back, both of us laughing so hard that my face started to hurt. 

It's pretty much a given that the first or second time you get clipless pedals that you're going to fall over.  I've done it, I think everyone I know has fallen.  Bill has a couple of bruises, a couple of scrapes on his knee and a sore wrist.  (Yes, he was wearing a helmet.) 

You know what they say about cyclists?  There are two kinds.... "Those who have fallen, and those who are going to fall."   Initiation complete!