10:30 PM

Anyone see me outside doing my warm weather dance this weekend? No? Not to worry. It’s a dance done fully clothed, more like a prayer than a dance. If you did see me, well, you should have stopped to help! I am obviously in desperate need of assistance, as the East Coast remains in a deep freeze. I believe I speak for all (or at least the vast majority) of us when I say ENOUGH! Saturday debuted a chilly 28 degrees and Sunday was not much better. I was able to sneak in a long run Saturday afternoon (brrr) followed by spin class Sunday morning (ah, warmth).

Monday morning dawned bright and early (3am to be exact) and off I was to even chillier Boston. A tough week ahead of all day meetings, evening events and not a lot of time for sleep, let alone training. After giving myself a much needed reprieve on Monday, it was up and on the treadmill at 5:45am this morning before 9 hours of meetings, followed by cocktails and dinner (trying to be mindful of calorie and alcohol consumption in preparation for this weekends AC April Fool’s run is quite difficult). Tomorrow I hope to get in a swim at the end of another long day of meetings. Cannot do 3 straight days of early mornings; I’m just too tired. (Can you guys hear the violins playing in the background)?

I am looking forward to this weekend’s run and I recently heard there is a beer garden afterwards. What?!? Never mind the fact that the race starts at 10am. Surely we’ll be ready for a post race adult beverage by 11am, right? Who’s in?

Stephanie

Friday, March 25th 10pm
It’s been a relatively uneventful week in terms of training, which is not necessarily a bad thing. After a much hyped first ride on my new, still unnamed bike, I have yet to venture back out (but she still looks so pretty sitting in my garage, beckoning to me each time I come in or out). My attempt at Herb’s spin class was foiled this morning (unfortunately, not until after I spent 25 min at the gym, waiting to see how things would shake out with the sign in list) and despite my plans to go for a ride this afternoon, the weather and my work schedule were just not accommodating.

Swimming is ok at best, I am definitely going to further investigate some swimming lessons, as I am convinced I am hindering my training with bad form and ultimately, wasting much needed energy with improper technique. One of the greatest things about the tri club is having access to so much at your fingertips- group rides, group runs, training plans and private swim lessons. I’m pretty sure that a few lessons will give me a better platform for training and a dose of much needed confidence. In the interim, I’m continuing my plan to get in the water, stay active and swim at least a 1/4 of a mile 1x or 2x a week.

(This week, I think they might have had to fill up the pool a bit more after my swim, I swallowed waaaay too much water while working out. The good news… no aqua joggers this week)!

Running, which is my forte (and please don’t confuse forte with fast), has taken somewhat of a back seat to my new friendship with biking and swimming (well, swimming and I are still getting acquainted) and I am a bit worried that I should be more focused on some distance runs in preparation for the AC April Fools Run next weekend. Since I am unable to participate in tomorrow’s South Harrison 5K or group bike ride, I am hoping to sneak in a 6 or 7 miler tomorrow afternoon.

To my fellow “clubbers” (oh what a different meaning that has than 10 years ago), I wish all of you participating in the South Harrison 5K a great run tomorrow morning, in particular my friend and neighbor Laura Longo! Also wishing Jen “the gazelle” McCarthy a great run on Sunday in the OC 10 miler. Go girls!

I bought a bikeI bought a bike… I BOUGHT A BIKE! For those who know me, you probably saw this coming a mile away. For those who don’t, well, I’m sure you can relate to my desire to purchase a road bike and throw myself into tri training 100%, weighted against my hesitancy to invest money into something I’m not sure I’ll be doing over and over again. However, I must say that Saturday’s elements aside, I truly enjoyed biking in a way that I haven’t enjoyed a new exercise in quite some time (zumba anyone)? I am feeling pretty certain that I have a future as a duathlete if not a triathlete.

So, off to Action Wheels I went!

During the Cycling 101 seminar two weeks ago, Patty demonstrated with a bike that I fell in love with. Call me materialistic, but she was beautiful. All gleaming green and white, sleek and lightweight- a supermodel of sorts! All the specifics and technological aspects? Well that’s still a bit above me, but she sure was pretty. It must be fate, because the 1st bike they pulled when I went in this weekend was that bike. It practically had my name on it already! After several spins around the shop, I was officially in love (or lust, as even I admit, this was a bit quick). (Note to newbies: while test riding bikes at Action Wheels beware of the dumpster around back. It sneaks up on you). Patty assured me my new ride would allow me to keep up with the pack better (and by assuring me, she offered to buy the bike back if I felt otherwise, she was that confident). So, all smiles and giddy with excitement, I left Saturday with the promise to return the following week to pick up my new purchase.

And so I did. A bike, bottle rack, cadence computer, gloves and flat tire kit later, I left Action Wheels late yesterday with my bike tucked safely in the back of my car. She needs a name. Any suggestions?

I rode with my neighbor Laura this morning and it was great! According to my snazzy new computer, we clocked 12 miles in just under 50 minutes. Not too shabby. It was a bit colder than Saturday, but not nearly as windy and as promised, the bike was a lot easier to ride than the hybrid. Now I must reiterate, I do not feel it necessary, nor am I suggesting all newbies run out immediately and purchase a bike for a triathlon. However, if you, like me, think that riding could become an ongoing habit (obsession?) than I do highly recommend heading on down to Action Wheels for a few test rides around the dumpster. It will be well worth it.

Stephanie

March 20, 2011
8:00 pm

The good news is, the second half of the week was definitely more productive than then first half, with of course, some great blogging fodder along the way. After a crazy busy Wednesday, I was able to slip in a less stressful run-swim-run on Thursday. I’m definitely still getting acclimated to the swimming aspect of training and have secured, what I believe, is another good tip for newbies: Don’t swim laps while an aqua aerobics class is underway.

For all of you who know exactly what I’m talking about, please do tell your newbie friends about this and read on for a good laugh. For those of you scratching your heads slightly, also read on for a good laugh and some sound advice.

About 3 laps into my swim, I should have noticed the aqua class had begun to jog in a circle around their portion of the pool. I didn’t. About 4 laps into my swim, I definitely should have noticed the shift in water as I headed toward the far end, but me, being so focused on breathing (and by breathing I mean not gulping water), I again, did not. On my 5th lap, I was about three quarters of the way to the end when all of a sudden I felt like I’d hit a wall. Now this feeling is not totally foreign to me; I have definitely experienced this while running, but never quite so abruptly. I knew I was getting tired, but I was honestly thinking to myself, “Self, this is crazy”! As I momentarily lifted my face out of the water, I felt my body move backwards (yes, backwards) in the whirlpool that had been created by the aqua joggers! I actually burst out laughing. I turned around and swam back to the other end. After a few more futile tries, I eventually gave up and hauled my tired self out of the pool. The lifeguard on duty chuckled as I walked by and said “I give you a lot of credit, most people just give up and get out.” She thought she was paying me a well deserved compliment, but in truth I honestly didn’t know any better (you can give up and get out? Without finishing? Really?) and was too ashamed to admit that it took me a while to even realize what was happening. (For a moment I thought my 34 year old body was failing me).

So that behind me, I was on to a Friday spin class (shout out to those who take Herb’s class, you bad-asses) and was very much looking forward to my first group ride on Saturday. At 7am (not so much looking forward to that part).

7am dawned cold and windy. And windy. And windy. But I packed my bike into my car (remember, the “hybrid” bike, the Fred Flintstone bike), grabbed a cup of coffee and off I went w/ my newbie neighbor to my (our) inaugural ride. I loved it! At least on the way out. The wind in my hair, the sun rising over the fields, the quiet and peacefulness of it all…… Right before the turnaround I saw the two leaders (who I have since discovered is my fellow blogger) and smiled and waved. Yes, they were well ahead of me, but weren’t we all loving it? (I think I might have been the one they shouted out to about the wind, but I didn’t hear it. It was, evidently, lost in the wind). Honestly, it was crazy! It was like my swim all over again. Where were the aqua joggers? Were they haunting me? Had they morphed into wind, pushing me further and further back as I tried in vain to pedal my HYBRID up each hill.

I won’t belabor the details of the wind (although I could. I must have told my husband about it at least 5 times yesterday), but after reader Cheryl “the addict’s” blog, I am thrilled to know that while I absolutely loved the experience on the bike, that wind was not the norm and I will not be facing that (or the aqua joggers) each and every time I get on a bike or go for a swim.

Whew. What a relief.

Stephanie

8:48 PM

What is it they say about the best laid plans? Because I’m pretty sure my personal mission statement would encompass this theory in some way… if I had one… which I don’t… But let me back up. I last posted on Monday from NYC, where I was bemoaning my late scheduled run in my basement. Which never happened. I was also complaining about my early morning flight to Nashville, TN. Which did happen. After a sleepless night spent jockeying the kids out of our bed and into theirs (Hello out there? Anyone else have this problem with their kids?), I was off to the airport by 6am. Needless to say I did not work out yesterday either. Instead, I spent the better half of the precious nighttime hours I so desperately covet complaining about how much I should work out, followed by all the reasons why I was too tired to. Thankfully today brought a new outlook with the promise of clearing skies and warmer weather.

Here I come 6 mile run! (Or so I said at 9am). Then came the flurry of emails, conference call invites and trips to the grocery store, school and UPS.

Here I come 5 mile run! (Or so I said at 1pm). Then it was time to feed the baby (oops, I should probably remember to eat at some point too), fold the laundry and finish the project needed for the 3pm conference call.

So a 4 mile run it was! It was so nice to get outside (see you treadmill in the dungeon), I really enjoyed running through downtown. I did, however, cut my run so close to my conference call that I literally ran back into the development, up the street, in my house, up the stairs and dutifully dialed into my 3:00 conference call at 2:59:58. If only someone was standing in my kitchen holding a paper cup of water I could have at least treated my kitchen as a water station and walked through it. I am sure my heavy breathing prompted a few raised eyebrows on the conference call, but I can’t worry about that now.

With my workout behind me, I set my sights on a trip to Action Wheels to have them look at my bike and peruse the closeouts. After I a somewhat rushed dinner, my husband and I decided to divide and conquer- he and the boy’s to Dick’s to purchase my eldest son’s soccer gear for his inaugural game this weekend and me and the baby to Action Wheels (probably not the ideal place to bring a baby, but what the hell). We swung into the parking lot at 7:15 all smiles and excitement… Only… it was closed. What did I just say about the best plaid plans…?

Oh well. Maybe another day.

Stephanie

1:30pm

I’m not sure how many of you saw Colleen’s email today, but I was so touched. She called me a fantastic writer! How flattering! Too bad I can’t win a triathlon on paper. Anyway, I hope I’ve picked up a few new (newbie? New-newbie?) readers along the way (not too hard to do as my husband and Colleen have been my only followers thus far). I hope I can amuse and inspire you with my training recaps and stories, so come along for the ride (run and swim)!
 
This week will be a busy week for sure. I am in NYC as I write this (my view, like Colleen’s in Arizona, is pretty cool), however, I am only up and back for the day, so I do not have the opportunity to take a nice jaunt around Central Park or anywhere else in the city for that matter. Sadly, I will probably be logging miles on my treadmill in the basement tonight (herein knows as “the dungeon”) after I put the kiddos to bed. Then it’s up and off to Nashville, TN at 6am tomorrow.
 
I am looking forward to this weekend’s first group ride, although I am unsure what to do about a bike. As I’ve mentioned previously, I have a bike, much in the same way that Fred Flintstone “had a car.” It will get the job done, but imagine Fred out on the road, pedaling alongside a nice BMW 3 series. (Or anything with a motor for that matter). If I can squeeze in some time this week, I plan to venture to Action Wheels to “try out” (read: buy) a close out bike. If not, I will be joining the group w/ my current ride (sigh). Would love any suggestions here on what to purchase as a newbie who is unsure if this tri thing is a “bucket list” item or a new life long passion (and by passion please know I am not putting this on the same tier as my “passion” for wine, more on the level with my passion for staying fit, healthy and a good example for my kids).
 
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Please post comments on my blog (this will make me look so cool and like an official blogger).

Stephanie

Today I decided to try my hand at swimming after my usual workout on the treadmill (definitely too rainy to run outside. Despite what Jason said on Monday night about the joys of rain-running, I only do it when I want to feel like a bad ass… like in June or July, not in dreary, cold March). Orchestrating the workout was quite hilarious. First, I had to call a friend to ask the “rules of the pool”, especially after hearing a horror story from a neighbor and friend about a not-so-friendly-male-swimmer at the same gym earlier in the week. Do I need to reserve a lane? Do I need to share a lane? What’s the distance of each lap? Do I need to wear a swim cap? Goggles? A bathing suit? (Just kidding, the last one is clearly obvious, but probably so were the other questions to an experienced swimmer). Needless to say, my friend was very patient and detailed, although I was getting a little intimidated once she started talking about “circle swimming” while lane sharing.
 
Now that I was armed with what I felt was sufficient info that would keep me from screaming “novice” the second I opened the door to the pool, I still felt I needed to do some additional research before taking the first dip. So what’s a novice to do before heading out for what I considered my 1st “real” swim? (Yes, I’ve decided to discount my many, many, many laps in my in-laws pool swimming from diving board to shallow end to alternatively catch one of the kids jumping from the diving board to my “beverage” located at the opposite end). But I digress. So what’s a “newbie” to do….? You Tube! I watched a few videos before I left, some informative, some a little too basic (I think I’m beyond the “learning how to blow bubbles stage”), but all in all I ventured out to Future Fitness motivated and excited for my swim.
 
Overall, the experience was fine. Like biking, I have a lot to learn and thankfully, a lot of time to do it. I kept the running light, 2 miles in 18 min and the swimming lighter, 12 lengths of the pool. I tried my best to breathe every third stroke, but as I would assume is common w/ someone new to swimming, I started out much too fast. The more out of breath I became, the harder it was to gasp in one quick breath before putting my face back in the water. I took some breaks in between laps and even floated on my back once or twice. Michael Phelps I was not. But proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone of running? That I was.
 
Happy Friday all!

Stephanie

Tonight I attended my second tri club meeting within a week, cycling 101. (Look at me, so dedicated to meetings. Let’s hope I can translate this into actual physical activity)! I don’t know why I was (am) so presumably worried about the swimming aspect of the tri when there are the less obvious fearful activities involved like biking. It is an understatement to say I have a LOT to learn. New words and phrases like “pedal stroke”, “hood” and “clipless shoes” (which, incidentally CLIP into the pedal) are banging around in my head knocking out more pertinent info like my to do list, car pool schedule and doctor appointments. And this is all before I’ve even gotten on the bike!

I do, however, need to backtrack and say that the folks at Action Wheels are amazing. Patty was so knowledgeable and informative (and she is the self proclaimed non tech guru of the group). She couldn’t have been friendlier or more welcoming, simultaneously self deprecating and impressive as she took us through her store’s humble beginnings and her recent bike ride from North California to Las Vegas (for those non geographically savvy types like me, this is over Six.Hundred.Miles…. in six days)! 

In the hour and a half that we were there Patty stressed the importance of choosing a bike that has been professionally fit for you, the need for pumping up your tires before every ride, helmet safety and the basic necessities for a ride (bottle cage and bottle of water for every 20 miles you plan to ride and a flat tire kit). She also reviewed some of the more intricate aspects of cycling, such as how to remove a tire and how to put all your weight into a pump to extract every ounce of needed air pressure for your tires. (Note to newbies: for the water bottle cage, you need to have the appropriate water bottle, not a disposable 8 ouncer of Poland Spring. This can apparently dislodge and cause some major havoc on the road. Who knew?!). 

Below are a few additional take-a-ways:
~ I can’t change a flat on my car, but need to learn how to do on a bike. Realistic? Probably not. I will be sure my cell phone is fully charged before each ride. (anyone know if AAA has road side bike assistance)?
~ The inside of a bike helmet is made of similar material to that of a cooler. (Similar? Same? I can’t remember, I got side tracked thinking of how my new $45 helmet will be doing double duty as a cooler for wine)!
~ The largest muscle group on your body is your gluts… that explains a lot

All joking aside though, I think Patty so eloquently put it (on a Wednesday night, in the middle of a bike shop, surrounded by “newbies”), that one of the most exciting things about signing up for a triathlon is the personal challenge it evokes, one that is truly for us the “individual”, the “athlete” not us, the “mom”, the “employee”, the “friend/daughter/confidante” we so often are. It is something we can (and will!) accomplish simply for us and it will belong to no one else. I like that. I like that a lot.

Stephanie

Hello,
I’m Stephanie Wood, a 34 year old, full time working mom (I’m exhausted just typing that). I was a college athlete (Rutgers field hockey goalie) and am an avid (albeit slow) runner. I actively participate in a few 5K, 10K races each year, as well the Broad St Run. I have also done a few half marathons. I have decided to foray into the sport of triathlons for a few reasons:
1. I need to shake things up as I try to lose the last 10 lbs of baby weight (Yes, I’ll be registering as an “athena” even if I do lose the weight)!
2. I love a new challenge and while I don’t think I can commit to a marathon at this stage in my life, I do want to do something that not everyone has done (<1 % of the population has completed a tri??!?! Sign me up)!
3. My neighbor Jen McCarthy had great things to say about the Mullica Hill club (aww, how sweet of Jen).
 
I have decided to blog about my experience for a few more:
1. I love to write.
2. I’m certainly not winning any triathlons now (or ever), so I hope to inspire those not in the 7-min-mile-club.
 
All that being said, here’s how I ”officially” got started on my journey: After receiving a few emails regarding the Mullica Hill Tri Club off I went to the launch party at Carolina Blues. Great drinks! Compelling stories! What fun! I signed up, attempted to win a slot in a few races (no luck on Broad St, boo), and left feeling completely motivated. Colleen seemed so nice and put together (how did her voice..and patience… last for all those raffles?), Jennifer MacHenry so inspiring (was there a dry eye in the house as she told, so stoically, her mother’s story)?
 
Last night I attended the “newbie” meeting at Gloucester County Library and was again, motivated and inspired by the stories and training advice given by Jason. Except…. (isn’t there always an except or a but)… how am I going to do this? I work full time. I travel some of the time. I have three kids under the age of four. I know how to swim, but not well and am pretty certain my form is a mess. My bike is a hybrid (I had to ask my husband to know, I’m that unfamiliar with cycling terminology) and I have no idea how long it will take me to bike 15 miles. But….(there it is again) I can do this! I’m relatively fit (can run 5-6 miles comfortably) and know that I have a decent amount of time to train before the Queen of the Hill Triathlon in June. I just signed up for the AC April Fools Run (will be joined by other club members), so I’ll spend the next few weeks focusing on that and moving forward from there (see I’m already following Jason’s advice). I’m stalking Jen McCarthy (a fellow member and collegiate swimmer) to teach me how to swim correctly and have started taking spin to better prepare for the biking portion of the tri.  Can I do this…. ? Stay tuned……

Stephanie

Okay… so lets see how this goes.  Our tri suits are in and in Action Wheels.  We ended up going with Sugoi which is a nice brand.  I have heard they are fitting a little tight to be sure to try them on ! We can only keep them at Action Wheels until March 15th!  These suits are going to look SO awesome when we all wear them as a group on the starting line!