Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What a Difference a Little Persistence Can Make

Wow!!! There is nothing like visual confirmation that something you've been working at for a very long time is coming to fruition. For me this year was really about doing some races and addressing the area of changing my body composition so that I could see some economy benefits in cycling and running. What a difference a year and three months, some exercise, more sleep and about 60 days of counting calories can make. Even I am shocked by these pictures. The cool thing is I haven't been training more than a few hours a week since Thanksgiving. And I haven't counted calories since then either. I've been taking things pretty easy, enjoying my unstructured training time and doing a little yoga here and there.

A little over a year ago, I started out with just a goal of becoming fitter and healthier, and maybe doing a few races. I can't begin to tell you how many times along the way I was sure nothing was happening or that I was sliding backwards instead of moving forward. So whatever your goals are for the coming year keep working at them and you will see results. Here's a bit of proof and hopefully some inspiration. Happy New Year everyone!

Photos on the left taken 08-17-07. Photos on the right taken 12-29-08

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Yoga, Strength Training, Running.... (and other random stuff)

So this week I taught my third yoga class. All I can say is the difference between "doing" yoga and "teaching" yoga is not to be underestimated. The drawback to teacher training courses I would suspect is that while you will get teaching time in front of a group of students in one form or another, most of the "students" you will be teaching are already familiar with yoga, if not aspiring yoga teachers themselves. Within five minutes, I realized this was not going to be the case with the class I was teaching. I was really excited about this because it meant I was going to have to really understand the poses I was presenting and be able to communicate this understanding clearly to others who quite possibly had never been to a yoga class before. I think for this reason alone, I'm so glad to have taken this route for my teaching journey instead of the more traditional one which would have had me teach at a yoga studio. Plus correct me if I'm wrong, but there are plenty of yoga teachers for traditional yoga students with an ongoing practice. I want to be someone who serves as a fun and non-threatening introduction to yoga.

I also started my preparation for winter training after a few weeks of completely non-structured training. My runs have been really good, including a 17:00 3 mile run about a week ago. I was really encouraged by this run. It means that the weight loss and the core work and everything else I've been doing are paying off even without structured workouts. I'm getting faster by just by being good to myself. Gotta love it when that happens. Sweet. And I'm seeing the same thing on the bike. Though I haven't been on the tri bike outside in a while, the Moots is putting up some pretty fast times in my informal time trials.

One thing I'm noticing on the bike and in my running (I don't time swims at this time of year so, I'm clueless here) is I'm conscious of engaging and using my core more and more. Again I'm going to have to give the credit to both yoga and the handstand push ups I've become obsessed about doing recently. Yep, you read that correctly. I am obsessed with doing handstand pushups. Honestly I have no idea why, and aside from the core muscles necessary to pull it off for the balance and stability, it is probably a bit of a stretch to make the case for this type of work in the context of triathlon training. But what the hey, that's just the way I roll. Check this out. See if it doesn't get to you just a little.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Beginning Of Things

Today's training was to be fairly straight forward, Yoga for an hour and a half, easy 30 minute run, followed by an easy 2.5 hour bike ride. It looked simple enough on paper. Too bad it didn't go that way. Yoga was about the only thing that did. On the run my pace didn't seem excessive, though in retrospect I'm either going to have to get a Garmin or start wearing the foot pod for my Polar again. My perceive effort was about a 3 or a 4 but at one point on the run I looked down and my heart rate was 181. What the hey??? And it wasn't a fluke. What was weird was the feeling of ease that I thought I had and yet my chest should have felt like it was going to explode. But it didn't. Weird.

So I finished the run and looked at the sky to attempt to gauge whether or not I should ride. It looked like rain. But then I thought about how great it was on Saturday while I was at work. I got angry and decided to ride rain or shine. I would just wrap my stuff up in baggies and go. While it didn't rain, a front blew in half way through the ride dropping temperatures about 10 to 15 degrees in a matter of minutes. That wasn't so bad but what was a problem was the wind. I'm not sure because I forgot to check when I got back in but I think at some points the gusts were up to 30 mph. Coming from the North. And I had ridden South. :( Needless to say going home wasn't very pleasant. And keeping my heart rate down again proved challenging.

When I got home I was spent. There was one point on the way back where I was going up hill into the wind and I swear I felt my leg muscles separate from the bone I was pushing so hard to keep the bike moving. This is not a feeling I would wish on anyone. And I for one hope never to experience it again.

But I got the work in. And there is always tomorrow which should be interesting. As I'm typing this blog, I see that it's snowing. In Austin, Tx. Wow. I suppose I should just be thankful it didn't happen while I was out on the bike.