Category Archives: Workouts

Motivation

Lately I have been lacking a little bit of mojo in my training. Namely, it’s the biking that’s getting me down. I am a runner through and through, and sometimes I question my decision to sign up for Ironman again. The Sunday rides are getting long, like 5-6 hours long. Steve and I did a 30 mile hilly ride  last night, and I was up bright and early this morning for a 16 mile run. When I got home I crashed for a bit, and then decided I needed to find some motivation. I love watching Ironman clips on YouTube and after watching a few, I started to get excited again. This is the video they show during the athlete’s dinner two nights before the race, and it really gets everyone pumped up.

Ironman–You Will Do This

Then I dug through my computer and found a video of me about to cross the finish line in 2009. Steve took this from the bleachers at the finish line, and I had no idea where he was.

Ironman WI Finish 2009

You can hear Mike Riley say my name at the end, but the video cut out before he said “You are an Ironman!!”

What is it about watching these that gives me the chills and gets me a little choked up? What’s the big deal?

It’s the fact that after months and months of hard work, you have one day to put it all out there. You sacrifice during training. You give up sleep, late night drinks, a clean house, and sometimes your sanity. You train like it’s your part time job, because that’s how much time it takes. You work out twice a day because you have to. You get up at 5:25 and head to the pool to swim endless laps before work. You set your alarm for 6am on a Saturday to go on your long run before the heat tries to kill you. You give up your entire Sunday because you will be out riding all.freakin’.day. You give up a lot and for what?

Dare I say that what you gain actually outweighs all of it. It’s a chance to learn what you are made of, and what you are capable of. When you cross that finish line, you are not just finishing that race on that one day. You have come to the starting line ready, prepared, because of all you have given up and all of the work that you have done. When you cross that line you are finishing what took months or even years to build up to. Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to go on this journey. It’s not always smooth and there are highs and lows, but the outcome is worth it. I try to remember that.

We are capable of more than we think.

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Filed under The bike, The run, The swim, Triathlon, Workouts

Packed summer Saturday

Summer is finally here! After several weeks of cool temperatures and massive rain storms, Wisconsin finally got with the program and produced a gorgeous summer Saturday. We started it off with a quick 17 mile bike ride with a friend followed by an 11 mile run. We were actually supposed to run for 2 hours, but had to cut it about 20 mins short so I could dash home, shower, and get to my haircut appointment on time. Turns out my hairdresser was running late, and asked if I could come 30 mins later, so we could have gotten those two extra miles in. Oh well, I’m sure my legs will be grateful I didn’t run any further during our 70 mile bike ride today.

After my haircut, Steve and I walked to a restaurant called Hotch-A-Do for brunch. I had a Groupon that was expiring yesterday, and there’s no way I was letting it go to waste. We got lucky and scored the only open outdoor table, and immediately ordered some drinks.

That bloody mary was fantastic, and came with a tasty beer chaser. I’m not sure what it was, but it was good beer, and not some Miller Lite crap that a lot of places like to give me. I ordered the breakfast burrito:

Two organic eggs scrambled, green peppers, onions, morning spuds, vege chili, cheddar cheese all wrapped in a flour tortilla Includes a side of sour cream, our homemade salsa and topped with fresh avocado.

When the food came I died. This burrito was seriously the size of my head.

I pretty much just ate all of the delicious filling out of the tortilla so I wouldn’t explode. I would definitely recommend this place, and hope to go back to try their dinner sometime.

We kept right on rolling after brunch and headed out to Pewaukee Lake for Beach Party. It’s basically a little festival on the waterfront with food, music, and a water skiing show. We met up with my mom and Joe to watch the festivities.

These ladies were skiing on saucers with chairs balanced on top. Crazy.

Joe was the big winner of the ski club raffle, and won 15 sno-cones and a straw hat!

I got coconut mango. Mmmmm….

I know it’s hard to believe, but I ate this sno-cone instead of ice cream, rather than in addition to. I don’t even know who I am anymore. Eventually some of out friends showed up and we hung out and drank margaritas until about 9:30. Late night partying, I know. Me and my best running buddy Cara:

Cara and Mike have the cutest ever 3 month old baby Gavin, and they were out for the first time while leaving him with a baby sitter (her sister). Time to party it up!

Steve was almost abducted by a UFO, but I saved him.

On our way home I had a hankering for some real food, as my breakfast burrito finally felt digested after 8 hours. We stopped at Classic Slice for some giant slices of pizza. Steve eats here for lunch sometimes, but I had never experienced the ginormity that is their pizza. We each ordered a slice that was the size of at least half of a large pizza. Steve posed with his food without me even asking him to. Awesome.

My slice had tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and enough garlic that my sweat will probably smell during my bike ride today.

In case you are wondering if I ate that whole slice at 10:30pm, the answer is absolutely I did. The crust was very thin which is my favorite because I can eat more that way. And with that, it was time for bed.

What a great summer day. I love packing as much as possible into my day when it is nice out. Gotta take advantage while we can!

What did you do this weekend? Was it packed with anything exciting?

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Filed under Food, Friends, Fun, The bike, The run, Workouts

Father’s Day Fun

I don’t want to talk too much about Saturday morning’s bike ride because, frankly, it sucked. I think my hard ride Thursday night followed by a decent 25-miler Friday morning just caught up with my legs and they said enough already.

Interestingly, we did a short brick run after the bike ride and I felt fine. Good, as a matter of fact.

After the workout it was time for more important things. Like going to my Dad’s house to celebrate Father’s Day! On the way there we made a stop at Walgreens to pick up some cards, when this happened.

I split this little package of deliciousness with Steve. I think all of the candy companies are trying to kill me with the addition of coconut options lately, along with Starbucks and their evil coconut mocha frappacino.

We got to my dad’s house and dug into some snacks before heading out on the boat.

Steve is driving here because my dad decided to do a little water skiing. I believe he has now gone 6 years in a row getting up on skis on his first try.

I contemplated skiing, but decided that the water was a bit too chilly for me yet. So I just hung out on the boat and soaked up some sun.

When we got back to the house my dad fired up the grill, and again, I did what I do best.

And that would be lounge around and drink beer. I wish I took a picture of the lake from the deck, because it really is a great view. Eventually I wandered over to see what the grill master had cookin’.

Sea bass, asparagus, potatoes, and breadsticks. He also grilled a steak for Steve because he is crazy and doesn’t like fish.

This meal was so so good. I actually inhaled half of that potato before I remembered to snap a pic. I don’t think there is anything better than dinner off of the grill during summer. And grilled breadsticks = genius.

As if dinner wasn’t tasty enough, Steve and I had made a little stop at Milwaukee Cupcake Co for dessert.

I think my dad is going to start his own blog.

I had the s’more cupcake.

Other flavors included chocolate pb cup (still the best ever), strawberry, and chocolate on chocolate. Milwaukee Cupcake Co still reigns supreme in my book.

Happy Father’s Day Dad! I love you!!

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Filed under Dessert, Family, Food, The bike, The run, Workouts

Bring the heat

For many people, running in hot weather is a dreaded reality of summer. For me, I say bring it on! I tend to thrive in the heat, which means for 9 months out of the year I question why I continue to live in Wisconsin. (For the record, it is because I have separation issues and I could never live without being close to my entire family. I am working on getting everyone to move to the Caribbean together, where we will all live happily ever after.) Enduring the long, bleak, cold Wisconsin winter does in fact make summer that much sweeter, but I feel like I could live somewhere that is warm year round and still appreciate it.

Last night when I got home from work, it was 86 degrees and humid, and I was ready to run. I wasn’t sure how my pace would be since my body is not exactly acclimated to the heat yet, but I was excited to get out there. The first half-mile or so my legs felt like lead, which I blamed on my 2-hour bike ride the day before. After that, I started moving. I never really felt like I was running fast, but surprisingly I was, clocking most miles out of the 7.5 that I ran between 7:09-7:45 pace. I’ll admit the heat got to me a little towards the end, not to mention the strong headwinds at the lakefront. When I got home I pretended that I felt like this:

When I really felt more like this:

Welcome back oh glorious dripping sweat and beat red face. I have missed thee.

This brings me to some tips for managing the heat during exercise.

1. Take it slow. Obviously, I did not do this yesterday because I was feeling good, but in general it takes about two weeks for your body to adapt to the heat. During that time, don’t be afraid to dial back the pace and intensity until your body tells you it’s ok to crank it. Run by effort level instead of time or pace.

2. Run early in the morning. This is a no-brainer, as it is usually cooler first thing in the morning.

3. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Your body is going to require more water before, during, and after exercise to deal with your increased sweat rate. I am lucky that my regular running route passes by several drinking fountains. For longer runs and races, I carry a water bottle, like in the 50k trail race I ran last year. Also, if you are running longer than 90 mins, sports drink is crucial to replace those electrolytes.

4. Wear the right gear. I don’t think anyone really runs in cotton anymore, but in the heat it is especially important to wear moisture-wicking clothing. I also like to wear a light mesh hat to absorb sweat and block some sun, as well as sunglasses.

5. Know your limits. Even though I love the heat, I doubt I would dare to run outside if it was 95 degrees and humid at high noon. If you can’t get out early enough on a super-hot day, there’s nothing wrong with taking your workout inside and enjoying the air conditioning. This applies especially to tempo and speed work days. It does you no good to end up with heat stroke.

Did I miss anything? Please share some of your hot-weather workout tips!

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Filed under The run, Workouts

To Gold’s or not to Gold’s

First of all, to whoever found this blog by googling “ice cream and pancakes ben and jerrys,” let’s be best friends, ok?

Over the weekend Steve and I took a tour of the brand spankin’ new Gold’s Gym in downtown Milwaukee. We are members at the Y which does have a convenient downtown location, but the problem is the lack of a pool downtown. I swim at a Y that is located in, how shall I say, well a less desirable location. We’ll put it that way. Steve swims at a Y near his work, which is not really too convenient. Enter Gold’s Gym and their pool downtown.

We received a flyer in the mail promising $19.99/month membership and no commitment. Yeah, obviously too good to be true, but the flyer did its job of getting us through the door. Oh my gosh you guys, this gym is the bomb diggity. It is five stories tall. They have over 150 pieces of cardio equipment with NO TIME LIMITS!!! Most of the treadmills at the Y are set to stop after 30 minutes. A select few are set for an hour. Either way, highly annoying when you are trying to do a longer workout and you have to stop and restart the treadmill. And no, nobody is waiting. Usually when I run in the morning, there are at least 23 other treadmills open and at the ready. Anyways, almost all of the cardio equipment at Gold’s has a personal tv attached with cable built-in. Many of them overlook the river. The spin bikes actually sway back and forth to better simulate the feel of outdoor riding. Apparently only a few gyms in the country have them. There is a cardio cinema. For real, there is a huge movie screen up front so you can run/bike/ellipticise while enjoying a flick. Everything is brand new and high tech. They have 2 Woodway treadmills (they are self-propelled). The pool is a salt water saline pool no there would be no smelling like chlorine for 3 days after a swim. All group classes are included, even yoga.

After we were wowed with the tour, we sat down at the sales desk. I was bracing myself for a super-high pressured sales pitch, but that never happened. The sales guy (Matt) told us that he hates the $19.99 flyer because it is misleading. So what’s the catch? For $19.99 a month you can use the gym only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Um, seriously?

So in actuality the membership fees aren’t too bad, but it is definitely more than we pay at the Y. If we did a one year commitment at Golds it would be $19/month more than the Y, and if we did a two-year commitment it would be $14/month more. Plus the one time joining fee of around $150 or something like that. So is it worth it? I am going to make a pro/con list.

Pros

Pool downtown, even though it is a 20 meter pool instead of 25 yards which is weird (this would be more convenient for both of us, but especially for Steve)

Awesome state of the art equipment with no time limit (and plenty of equipment so there would never be a problem getting a machine)

Cable TV’s on treadmills & cardio cinema

Yoga included (Group classes are included at the Y, but not yoga)

Smoothie cafe

Cons

More expensive

No free parking between 8am – 5pm weekdays (normally this isn’t a huge deal but sometimes I have off during the day and this would present a problem because parking is $$$ during the day)

No spin classes on Sundays (as of now), and I really like taking spin on Sunday to recover from my Saturday long run

As the weather gets nicer I will really only be using the gym to swim and maybe lift weights (who am I kidding with the lifting weights part?)

So is it worth it? The main pro is the pool and the main con is the price. Everything else is pretty secondary. Help! What would you do?

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Filed under Miscellany, Workouts