Sunday, June 26, 2011

Clip and Fall

Please donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma goal is $5,000 and every dollar counts! Just click here!

Hello, friends!  I hope you had a fabulous weekend.  So here's my latest adventure...cycling shoes and clipless pedals!  If you're new to cycling like I am, let me explain.  Cyclists wear special shoes that help for several reasons:
1. The stiff sole allows for more energy to be directly transferred to the pedal versus a running shoe where the rubber absorbs part of the energy exerted before transferring to the pedal.  YEAH PHYSICS!
2. The shoes clip into the pedals.  This allows for a cyclist to not only push down on the pedal...but also lift up versus a plain old gym shoe.  This also give more bang (energy input) for your buck (pedaling). Can you tell I'm a scientist? Nerd alert!

Once you buy the shoes, you have to buy the corresponding pedal.  I ended up getting the 2-prong shoe versus the 3-prong shoe.  It's not as stiff as the 3-prong so you can walk around in them without looking like a penguin.  My main reason was because I went to Pro Bike Inc in Oklahoma City and they happened to have a pair of cycling shoes, in my size, that were half off!  I guess a lady wore them once, decided they were too small, and returned them.  As I mentioned before, cycling is expensive so I will save where I can!  The shoes were $45 and the pedals were only $35 or so.  John at Pro Bike did a fantastic job at helping me out.  Plus he gave me 10% off!  I call him "Astronaut John" since he has an article on the wall about Pro Bike sponsoring an astronaut named John...the first Native American in space!  Turns out they are two different John's but I'll still call him "Astronaut John."  I try to get the best value with each of the items I buy because is usually a wide range of pricing on cycling items.

John placed the new pedals on my bike and trimmed my shoes down to clip in perfectly.  He set me up on a stationary bike holder to practice clipping my shoes on and off the pedals.  It took me quite awhile to figure out how to line up my foot with the pedal.  Next, it was time to move out to the parking lot to give it a try! I felt like I was learning how to ride a bike for the first time.  Success!  Thanks to my new coach, John, for the help.

Falling for the First Time

We had a TNT group ride this past Saturday morning at Lake Stanley Draper so I thought it would be the perfect time to try out my new shoes and pedals!  The first part of the ride felt fantastic!  It was earlier in the day so the temperatures weren't unbearable and the scenery at Lake Stanley Draper is beautiful!  All of the trees reminded me of some of the beautiful parks I miss from Appalachia.  We turned around at the 10 mile mark to come back and I realized why it was so pleasant - most of our ride was downhill with a tailwind.  Not we had to go uphill and into the wind!  It wasn't so bad since the topography blocked out the wind at times.  It was a good time to practice shifting my gears to a lower resistance to keep the same pace, or cadence.  I think we were averaging 15-17 mph so it wasn't too bad!  Here's a picture with my riding buddies - Joleen and Heather.  Heather is getting married next Saturday! Congrats!

I've been told by seasoned cyclists that everybody falls when they first use clipless pedals. For some reason I thought I was special and that it wouldn't happen.  In fear of falling, I was extra cautious in unclipping my shoes before braking.  But that's not how I fell, oddly enough!  A few of us in front decided to stop and wait for the others to catch up and take a break for water.  When it was time to get going again I clipped my left foot in and was about to start pedaling with the right when a big gust of wind shifted my balance and knocked me onto my left side.  It felt like it was in slow motion and yet I couldn't do anything but scream!  Thankfully I did not break, strain, or twist anything but I did get a nasty gash and bruise on my left knee. 

I guess I'm not so special after all!  It did not feel great but the fall made me more determined to get back to finish the ride so I could clean myself up. 

After a 20 mile bike ride on a hot, windy morning, Joleen and I decided to treat ourselves to a snow cone.  What a treat!

I survived my first fall! On the plus side, this gave me an excuse to use my pirate band aids!  They are all I have in my first aid kit!

Thanks for checking in and have a great week!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Flat, New Friends

Please donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma goal is $5,000 and every dollar counts! Just click here!

Hello, friends!  I've decided to take a moment to blog while my thoughts are fresh.  I just got finished with my 3rd overall group ride and my 2nd group ride with the Oklahoma Bicycle Society.  I've mentioned this fabulous group of individuals in one of my first entries.  They are an amazing group of people!  The first time I cycled with OBS, it was very windy.  This time the wind was down but it was in the upper 90s! YIKES! That's HOT for a girl from up north!

The OBS group ride features 3 different level groups from advanced, intermediate, to casual rides.  My first time I went with the casual ride where we biked around 12 mph for 25 miles.  Today I went with the intermediate riders and we were cruising between 14 and 17 mph!  Much faster! And boy, did it make a difference!

Good thing my "coaches" from last time were still around to guide me.  Last time I didn't get a picture of Smitty, one of my original coaches.  He's given me great advice these past 2 rides.  We talked about what to eat while riding.  He says some people say eating food versus the gels takes more energy due to your body working to digest.  I'll have to test it out.  In the end all I care about is what goes down the best without upsetting my stomach.  Another option is Jelly Belly "Sport Beans."  It's basically candy but better for you.  I'm a big fan.
Here are a few new friends I made along the ride, Pat and Andrew (I think your name is Andrew! Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm bad with names!).  I chatted it up a bit with these two during the ride, although I couldn't talk quite as much this time due to the increased speed.  Sometimes I was out of breath!  Pat hooked me up with a sample of Chamois Butt' help prevent chaffing, ahem, down there.

There are several new things I've learned on this ride.
1. Pack plenty of water when it's hot out! I used both of my water bottles.
2. Apparently experienced riders are afraid of new cyclists because they don't ride in a straight line.  When I paid attention to my riding, they were right.  I wobbled a lot.  One of my new "coaches" suggested I use the white line on the side of the road to practice staying straight.
3.  You save 30% of your energy by riding right behind someone.  Even more if you stay in the middle of the "pack."  However, drafting will not be allowed for race day.
4.  Make sure to switch up positions on the handle bars and stand up to ride/stretch occasionally.  This will help the bum!
5.  If you fall behind, don't try to speed up to catch up with the group.  You will expend too much energy.  Just keep up a good pace and hopefully you will catch up with them in due time.
6.  Potholes = bad.

First Flat

About half way through the 25 mile ride I was struggling up a hill and hit a huge pothole at a fast speed. I knew it probably wasn't good for my tire but continued on and tried to catch up with the group.  After we turned a corner I heard a sound that just didn't sound right.  We stopped at a stop sign and I looked down to see, sure enough, I had a flat tire in the front!  So I yelled, "Oh no! I have a flat! What do I do?"  Thankfully, I am with a group of very helpful and friendly cyclists.
Two of the riders quickly came to my aid and helped me out.  The picture above is a reenactment :) I didn't have my camera with me on the ride!  He is one of the guys that helped me out though.  So here's what happened in a matter of minutes.  One guy took my wheel off, took the inflatable tire out from under the rubber.  The second guy (shown above) whipped out his repair kit that included a mini CO2 pump to quickly fill up a brand new inflatable band.  They put the new band in under the rubber and inflated.  Voila!  Apparently the front tire is easier than the back.  I will need to practice this for race day!
I will also need to purchase several more items.  I've said it before and will say it again...participating in a triathlon and namely CYCLING is expensive!  A few of my new friends showed me what pump I need to buy for my bike.  These pumps were about $35, so not too bad.  I need to buy cycle shoes and pedals as well as a bike bag and repair kit.  Oh, and "Chamois Butt'r" or "Hoo Ha Ride Glide"...yeah, that's really its name.

Finally, I realized what I am in for.  We started at 6pm, got back at 8pm...and that's less than half of what I have to ride for race day.  I'm in for at least 4 hours of cycling.  Holy crap.  I was exhausted from 25 miles.  How can I work up to 56 miles...after 1.2 miles of swimming and then have to run a half marathon? I've got some serious work to do! AH!

Thanks for reading and please spread the word and leave any comments or questions! Have a good one!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Please donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma goal is $5,000 and every dollar counts! Just click here!

Hello again, friends!  So I decided the day before the race to sign up for the OCCC SuperSprint Triathlon on Saturday, June 11th!  Talk about last minute!  Thankfully, they still let me register.  The reasons why I waited so long? Excuses. Money, time, and likely fear.  So on a whim, I decided to register.  Boy, am I glad that I did! I picked up my registration Friday afternoon at OCCC.

Here's a picture of the 50 meter Olympic pool for the race.  A big thanks to Mike and Marlene Shugart of the OCCC Triathlon Club for showing me around the course and explaining how to transition!  I had no idea!  I guess I am not alone.  Mike says 80% of the 200 people or so participating in the event are new to triathlons!  For some reason that made me feel better.

I had no clue what I was supposed to eat the night before, so I went with a chicken sandwich...I figured protein and carbs is a good idea.  Next, I made myself go to bed at 9:30pm knowing I had to wake up 7 hours later.  I made some tea, coffee, eggs, and toast, packed my bag, grabbed my bike and headed out the door.  Thankfully the thunderstorms from overnight were long gone.

Setting Up

The transition area opened at 5:30am.  I arrived around that time to find several bikes already in place.  Thanks to Mike's coaching the day before, I knew where to park my bike.

Mike also helped me set up that morning.  I placed my bright pink towel next to my bike to locate my spot.  I laid out my helmet, sunglasses, socks, running shoes, and headband.  Marlene lent me her tri shorts and race belt.  I need to get both of those things.  I bought a Team In Training tri shirt to wear over my sports bra.  Again, all of this is new to me!

Next, I went to the marking station to have someone write my number on my legs and arms in sharpie.  Race volunteers also mark the age of the racer on his/her calf so that officials and correlate racer with his/her age group. This also made me feel like crap later when I had racers 20 to 30 years older than me passing by...haha.  Next I picked up my race chip that goes on my ankle for the entire race.  We run/cycle over race mats to monitor our times.

The OCCC SuperSprint is a Team in Training event so a bunch of TNT participants were there as well for race day.  It was nice to have a bunch of team mates around to support each other...even though I didn't really train with these people.  I guess that's the great thing about Team in Training!

Race Time

After a quick warm up in the pool, we all sat down in the bleachers and waited for our numbers to be called in increments of 10. Once on deck, we lined up in order and were released into the water 15 seconds apart.  When I registered for the race, the coordinator asked my 500 meter swim time.  I haven't timed myself lately, so I guessed 10 minutes.  Either I am much faster or other people lied...because I passed 6 people!  Then again, swimming is my strong suit and I think my swim team mentality kicked in as soon as I slid into the pool.  To calm my nerves and keep a pace, I like to play a song in my head.  For most of the race it was "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele.

Once I finished the snake swim (up and down the lanes from right to left until you've done a 500), I ran out via the wheelchair ramp and outside.  All the while I threw on my shirt over my sports bra since I decided in warm up that it was too big and would add too much drag.

The mat led us outside, up a hill, to the transition area.  From there I quickly rolled my socks on, put my shoes, sunglasses, and helmet on and ran to the mount area with my bike.  It was a bit wobbly getting on Michael Jackson (the name of my black and white bike) but I made it through.  We did 2 laps around side streets near the OCCC campus.  The streets were well marked and protected by police officers.  There were a few community members out to cheer us on...that made me smile.  The conditions were great with the exception of a breezy spot and a section of terrible roadway.

Cycling is my week point right now.  I tried to push through but several people passed me.  This put me back in check after feeling great from the swim.  The people passing me were 40 or 50 years old and very friendly.  Almost every time someone passed me they said something encouraging like "way to go TEAM!" or "looking strong!"  It made it hard to believe it was a competition.  Apparently triathletes are very friendly!  It's also hard to gauge where you are at considering people start at all different times during the race...but you can guess by looking at their number.

Once I finished the 2 loops and went over the electronic mat twice, it was time to transition to running.  I had a bit of trouble trying to re-rack my bike but eventually got it.  I threw off the helmet and sunglasses and threw on my race belt.  At first it felt like my legs weren't working.  I literally asked one of the officials as I was running, "I feel like I'm not moving!" and he said, "Yes, you are! Just give your legs a chance to loosen up!"  He was right.  After the first mile my legs didn't feel like bricks any more.  I was starting to get hot and it as only 9AM.  It makes me wonder how I will fare running in the middle of the afternoon for the Redman.  I'm hoping the Oklahoma summer heat will prepare me.

I started getting tired towards the end and noticed a few people slowing down or stopping.  I made sure not to stop.  I like to use the trick of staring at the clouds or trees to calm my nerves and keep my mind off of how tired I am. I'm sure I will use this for the Redman.
Finally, the moment of truth! I finished!  Someone yelled at me to finish strong so I sprinted the last quarter mile.  I could barely catch my breath at the end but I did it! I finished my first triathlon in 1:20.  Apparently that's not a bad time.  I had a blast but I know I have a lot of training to go before I upgrade to a half Ironman!
After wards I grabbed some water, ate part of a bagel, got a free sports massage, and met up with the other TNT members to cheer on all the other racers.

What a nutty bunch! These guys are ready to party! Too bad I had to go back to work :) But first, I changed and headed up to the awards ceremony where I won an hour long message and placed second in my age group (out of 4 people)! I placed 51st out of about 200 participants.
This lady won overall for the women! Way to go!  In conclusion, I'm so glad I did this sprint triathlon to get an idea of what race day is going to be like.  Turns out I enjoy the sport! Great news because I'm invested!  If you have any inkling to try TRI, I would start out at this race - the OCCC SuperSprint.  Everyone was very friendly and the route was easy to follow.  Thanks for reading friends and feel free to leave comments or questions!  Have a good one!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's Wrong With This Picture?

I returned a swim suit to in exchange for a smaller size.  This is what I got in the mail today.  I guess it is smaller? Haha. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Heat Wave, Snow Cones, & God

Please donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma goal is $5,000 and every dollar counts! Just click here!

Hello, friends! So it's time for a friendly update! Friday I swam with my friend and swim buddy, Ashley Perri.  We swam a 2000. That's 80 laps (25 yards each lap) or a little over a mile (1760 yards).  I just googled and this is about the distance of 1.2 miles...what I will be swimming for the race!  Not too bad! Of course, this was in a pool and not an open water swim.  I bought new goggles and am very excited about them! They change colors in different lights and have UV protection for when I run outside!

On to Saturday! Now announcing TEAM JO & EM!  My Saturday evening co-anchor and friend, Joleen Chaney, jumped on board with Team in Training for the Oklahoma City Redman! I am so excited to have a buddy along the journey.  She also has a blog, check it out!
She purchased her bike from Schlegels as well and wanted to give it a spin for the first time! So last Saturday we met at Lake Hefner at 11am to go for a ride. We went around twice which is about 20 miles!  Pretty good considering it was nearly 90 degrees! We put on sunscreen ahead of time but apparently it didn't cover everything because I still have random burns on by back near my sports bra line and another right above my shorts line.  Oh man!  Lesson learned!  The heat also really takes the energy out of you.  We will definitely both pack more water and more ice the next ride!  I must say though, riding goes by a lot faster when you have someone to talk to.

After our ride, we put our bikes away and practiced "BRICKS."  This is triathlon drill where you go from cycling to running and your legs feel like bricks.  By 1pm I think the heat was more miserable than BRICKS itself so we only went for a mile.  You got to start somewhere!
This may have been Joleen's first bike ride...but I had my first Oklahoma snow cone!  A great treat after a hot workout! Joleen is a native Oklahoman so I trusted her favorite flavor, Bahama Mama.  It was delicious...all it needs is some rum! :)

Time to Run!

During my dinner break I decided to go for a run outside.  At 7pm it was still in the upper 80s.  I am from Chicago...I am still not used to this kind of heat! Oh well! No excuses! I must train in every kind of environment to prepare for race day because Lord knows how crazy the weather will be here in Oklahoma on any specific date (well I will, but a few weeks out).  You do get a completely different attitude about working out when you are training for a big endurance event.  If I cheat my workouts now I will pay for it on race day so that notion motivates me a ton.

Despite the heat, I really enjoyed my run today.  I ended up running for an hour or about 5 or 6 miles.  I am trying to make 1 hour my minimum from here on out.  Obviously my schedule will not always allow for that...but that's what I'm shooting for.  Not too long ago I wondered how people could run for more than an hour.  Not so much for the physical aspect as for the entertainment value.  I thought it would be boring.  Now that I run an hour or so I can see why people love it so much.

Running clears my mind.  It gives me a chance to mentally sort out my schedule and figure out how to get things done.  I also love watching nature when I run.  It relaxes me and sometimes puts me in a state of "awe."  When I'm running I praise God for all of the blessings he's given me and the beauty He has placed on this Earth.  Seriously, sometime soon take the time to walk, run, or just sit outside and watch the sunlight filtering through the trees or the birds soaring through the air. In this crazy world, we, myself included, get caught up in all the technology buzzing around us.  Every once awhile it's healthy to stop and admire Nature.  It kind of puts everything in perspective.  I like taking in the juxtaposition of industry and nature as well.  I know this is getting deep...but working out is the only time I can really take nature in and appreciate it.  While in awe of God's creations, I also like to take the time to pray while running.

Thanks for reading and please keep checking in! I'd appreciate any questions or comments. Have a good one!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Quick Post!

Hello, there!  Sorry I haven't posted in awhile...sometimes life gets in the way! But I don't want to leave you hanging so here are a few quick thoughts.  I'll come back and fatten this entry out in the next couple of days!

1. Went home last weekend for my best friend's bachelorette! It was fun! Surprisingly, I managed to get in a fair amount of work outs, mainly running.
2. Returned to Oklahoma Tuesday at noon and worked the afternoon and night.  Needless to say, no work out on Tuesday.
3. Felt kind of guilty for not working out so made my butt get up early before work for a short, 30 minute run.  My theory is that being sleepy tired for a run may prepare me for being physically tired for a run.  Likely not true but at least I ran!
4. Went for a bike ride in the afternoon. Ventured out onto OKC roads for the first time. YIKES! Someone is going to die from crazy drivers not yielding to cyclists.  Thankfully, I found a much safer shortcut on my way back to my place from a lap around Lake Hefner.
5. Doing the morning show shift and it's hot out...not feeling too motivated to work out! Bed time in 1 hour.  I'll have more here in a few days!

Have a good one! :)