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Why Tri Now? – It’s All Fun and Games….

June 26, 2012

One week down and Joyce is getting the hang of it, if not quite getting up early enough to get to her swim workouts on time. Still, she’s already learning a ton.

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It’s All Fun and Games….

by: Joyce Nugent

I am one week and a day into the triathlon training program with Claudia. It has been interesting in a lot of ways. Here are some of the things I have learned or observed thus far:

1.  The biggest change for me has been getting up by 5 AM to make it to the Masters swim class by 5:45, three days a week. I’m inevitably late by at least a couple of minutes every time. I am not a morning exerciser. I’m used to easing into my day with about three cups of coffee, breakfast, and the Today Show. I’ve decided I need to get up even earlier to give myself more time so I can feel more awake. Of course, if you are not completely awake jumping into a pool of water in the pitch dark will get you there in a hurry.

2.  I can’t believe the difference in just one week of swim classes in terms of my comfort level. I definitely feel less panicky. It has dawned on me that there really is an unlimited supply of oxygen if one just knows where to look for it. My inhaling is becoming less of a gulp.

3.  Swimming with toys is fun! I was given a list of supplies to bring to swim class, which I dutifully bought, even though I wasn’t sure what they were for. They are like pool toys for grown-ups! The first day I swam with fins, I felt like Superwoman. Add the little hand-paddle thing-ee’s and I feel like Superwoman and Spidey combined. Each thing really helps you concentrate on just one aspect of swimming at a time and all of it takes my mind off of breathing. Cool!

Pool toys! Also known as training tools. Our budding triathlete Joyce is getting into all the gear!

4.  Because I’m not normally outside before the crack of dawn, I have missed out on some spectacular sunrises. Last Monday, the sky was painted red, orange, and yellow as the sun rose over the pool. Makes you glad to be alive.

5.  I can now make it 50 yards (2 laps in this pool) without stopping. I’m trying hard not to think about the 700 meters in open water I will have to do in the TriRock Sprint. Still, it’s an improvement from swimming just 12 yards a week ago. I’m still getting out of breath easily, which surprises me considering the amount of cycling I’ve done. But Claudia says its because I’m still not efficient and it will improve. She tells me that one day it will all just “click.” Hoping that day comes before September 3rd.

Joyce’s “home away from home” getting ready for her Fall triathlon debut.

6.  Unlike cycling, you can’t coast in a pool.

7.  I’m now starting to add running to the mix, if you want to call it that. Right now I’d describe it as slogging. Slow jogging. (Where is my bike?!) Anyway, at this stage I am just running for a certain number of minutes at a slow pace with walk breaks as needed. (Note to self:  Running right after eating a massive tubular taco at the Hula Hut is not advisable. That beer probably didn’t help either.)

8.  In contrast to the running and the swimming, the cycling is almost embarrassingly easy. Of course, that is where I am at home. I just recently started training with a heart-rate monitor—a Garmin 500—and its so interesting! I always just hammered, hammered, hammered on the bike and almost felt guilty if I wasn’t. Now I have days where I have to keep my heart rate in Zones 1 or 2, which means pedaling at such am embarrassingly easy pace that by the time an interval or hill ride comes up, I’m chomping at the bit. The philosophy here is that we train our bodies to be more efficient at a lower zone so that after a few weeks of training, we are able to ride much faster while keeping our heart rate in a low zone, giving us endurance and speed without “hitting the wall.” This is something I first learned about a few weeks ago from the guys (Trey and Dave) at Cycle Camp USA. It’s hard to do at first. Your ego gets in the way on slow days. I feel like I need to wear a sign on my back that says “Just doing a Zone 1 workout today” that people can read as they pass me. Maybe with “If this were a Zone 4 day, I’d be kicking your butt” in parenthesis underneath it. But I’ve been putting aside what others may think and sticking with the program. Except for that one day last week when a guy older than I am passed me on a steel bike with a rack and panniers on it like I was standing still. I couldn’t take it anymore and put the hammer down, passing him and sprinting home at 26 mph. Don’t tell Claudia. I probably set my training back by two weeks.

9.  By the way, the Garmin training is like a game. You program a workout in via Garmin Connect, with a prescribed time and zone(s) and it beeps at you if you fall below or go above the zone you are supposed to be in. You don’t even have to look down at it to know if you’re on target. It’s a challenge and makes it fun. Then, when you complete the workout, it plays Olympic-style fanfare. (At least that is what it sounds like to me.) That’s all the reinforcement I need to get out there for the next one.

10.  One more addition to my training program for the upcoming week is strength training with weights to develop my core (Non-existent. I blame the four children.) and build the muscle groups essential for triathlon.

All in all, it is super-cool to workout “on purpose” with every day being a different mix of activities all to accomplish a specific goal.

Rock on.

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About Joyce:

Joyce started her Bicycle Sport Shop career on the sales floor at the Lamar location about a year and a half ago, having relocated to Austin from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Then new to mountain biking and road riding, having been introduced to it just a couple years prior by her now husband, she was previously a runner and an equestrian. As soon as she started riding all she could think was, “where has this been all my life?” and was hooked.  As of April, Joyce became the new Marketing Director for Bicycle Sport Shop combining nearly twenty years of marketing experience at both ad agencies and on the corporate side and her passion for bikes. As Joyce says, “it doesn’t get much better than that!”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 26, 2012 2:42 pm

    For new ( and some experienced) swimmers I’ll recommend visiting swimsmooth.com. They are out of Perth, Australia. See what type of swimmer you are are correct the errors earlier before they become ingrained in your muscle “memory”. Good luck. BTW, you can coast when swimming, just not very far.

  2. Joyce Nugent permalink
    June 26, 2012 3:42 pm

    Thanks for the input! I will take a look at that site. And yeah, I guess you can coast for a minute. Not quite the same as a steep decent on the bike, though.

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