Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bikes and a Bloody Bendy Back

I officially started my WCC fitness center membership yesterday.  I went to a Total Body strength class and then spent an hour in the pool.  The free fitness classes are going to be a huge problem for me.  It took all my willpower to not do the total body class AND a yoga class before swimming.  That would have been 3 hrs straight of exercising, and as much as I wanted to, I decided I should pace myself.  There's always another day.  I expect that I'll be a fairly regular attendee of their total body, spinning, pilates, and yoga flow classes.  I'd like to do TRX but the times they are offered aren't ideal.  You can see their schedule of classes here.  So many options, and all included in my gym membership!

In the pool I did a "pyramid workout":


All with 15 sec rests between, though I probably did some extra sets of 50 and 100, and maybe some extra laps in my 100s (ie 150 instead of 100) because I kept losing track and always erred on the side of doing more.  This is my second structured swim workout, I did a "ladder" the other day.  It makes the swimming so much less boring to have structure,  much like on the treadmill.  Plus, I can go faster than I can when I'm just swimming 800m continuously.  Thanks EmDub and ImaMosier for the links to swim workouts (Link 1, Link 2).

After I was done with that I practiced my flip turns and butterfly stroke.  I forgot to bring my nose clip, so got a lot of water up nose at first on the flips.  The nice thing about the salt water pool at WCC though is that it doesn't burn as bad as the chlorinated water at the NCRB.  I'm getting the hang of it though.  The issue was that I was blowing out my nose too forcefully, so that I would run out of air to blow by the time I finished the flip, so all the water would go up my nose while I was underwater on my back afterward.  Now I blow more gently so the air lasts longer. :)  My main problems now are that I tend to flip too slow, and push off toward the bottom of the pool.  I literally have scrapes on my upper back from pushing myself onto the bottom of the pool after the flip.  It doesn't help that the lane I was in was only 4' deep throughout the entire length.  This pool increases depth width-wise, instead of length-wise with the lane, and I was in the "shallow lane".

My butterfly stroke was pretty hilarious to watch.  I've been watching YouTube "lessons" trying to get the hang of it.  My back is actually kind of sore from it today.  I have the opposite problem from most people with my dolphin kick.  My back is super flexible.  (From way too many back bends, and back-walkovers when I was a cheerleader in high school).  So, I think I'm overexaggerating the back arch motion a bit.

Remember how I said I hated biking?  It felt like I was biking through mud all the time, like way harder than it should.  This was the main reason I've been really wanting a new bike, even though everybody says to use the one you have for your first triathlon, until you know if you're going to stick with it.  I finally looked and listened to it the other day while I was riding, and decided my front brake was constantly slightly rubbing on the disk.  My suspicion was confirmed when I took the front wheel off and couldn't get it back on easily (I couldn't get the front disk to slide into the notch of the front brake).  I took it back to the bike shop to get that taken care of.  Anyway, so instead of buying a newer, faster hybrid, I've decided I'm going to keep the one I have and try to get it riding better.  I'm getting a new, non-suspension seat post and narrower tires in addition to the fix above.   Plus the busted derailleur that needed fixed, and I'm going to get some reversible SPD / platform pedals on ebay so I can clip in if I want to.  I may also get a new seat.  I'll be in about $200 total on bike repairs and upgrades to my current bike.  It's a Giant Sedona LX,  by the way, pictured above.

If I stick with this biking thing, I'll get a road bike if/when I start doing more or longer triathlons.  I have looked at triathlon specific bikes, but most of what I've read says it isn't really necessary, and even for an Ironman, a road bike might actually be the better choice, in terms of comfort over a long duration and over hills.  The triathlon bike sounds like it's more suited to shorter distances and flatter terrains.  I think I'll do a semi-decent road bike, add an aero bar, and get a really good fit consultation.  That will be a lot cheaper than even the base model tri bikes.  I was looking on ebay for bikes, and there are a lot of good deals out there, but given that I'm no cycling guru, and know basically nothing about bicycle maintenance, I think I'll spend the extra money to have a relationship with one of the local bike shops.  The free tuneups for life by themselves add up to a lot; the regular price is $80, and you would probably do that every year.  Plus, I can always go in and ask questions and they'll do simple things for free.  (ie my brake adjustment isn't going to cost anything unless I need to order new ones).  They also do bicycle maintenance clinics for free too.

The "they" I have been referring to so far is Great Lakes Cycling and Fitness.  I have had great experience with them, at least with the service department.  I don't know the guy's name, but he has tattoos and piercings and funny hair, and he's been super helpful.  They sell Cannondale and Giant bikes.

For my road bike purchase, when I'm ready, I think I'm going to go to Two Wheel Tango though.  As much as I'd like to stay loyal to GLFC, none of their road bikes really caught my eye.  Two Wheel Tango sells Specialized brand road bikes, and I found several options in my price range from that brand.  Also, I got a recommendation from my friend Reed to see their bike fitter.  The fit costs $200-$250, so I'm hoping that it will be discounted (or free!) if I buy the bike there.  The fitter's name is Jess Bratus, you can see her fitting a pro athlete in this video:

Obviously I know I don't need to be worried about improving seconds off my speed at this point by having perfect aerodynamics and maximum efficiency, but I AM concerned about proper biomechanics, given the knee issues I have, even with spinning.  If I am going to be biking for miles and hours on end, I don't want to be torquing on my knees the whole time.  I don't need any help getting injured.  A professional fit should take care of that.

Speaking of my knees, I haven't run since Sunday, after aborting a second long run attempt due to pain.  I have the Glass City Marathon relay this Sunday, and I may not run at all until then.  (Either that, or an easy 3-5 tomorrow).   I'm spinning tonight with Jeff, hopefully that doesn't irritate it too much.  Thanks to swimming and group fitness classes, I haven't missed running at all this week.  If it weren't for this 13 x 13.1 in '13 thing, I probably would just take an extended break from running.  I'm so glad to have alternative workouts now that I like just as much as running.  I highly recommend everybody develop a backup.  Most of us get injured eventually, and even if we don't, a lot can't run after a certain age due to arthritis and chronic pain.  Swimming I should be able to do for a long time!

Random aside:  I'm in the middle of six days off, and enjoying being awake during daylight hours!

1 comment:

  1. My buddy who does triathlons said the Tri specific bike helps ease your hamstrings on long distances so they are saved for the run.

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