23 February 2009

Training. OMG Training.

It turns out that I can, in fact, jog for two and a half minutes at a time. I merely cannot do so at six miles per hour. I can, however, do it at five and a half. That's helpful.


21 February 2009

Train, Part three, and more narrative. For Dwayne and my mom.

Wow, it is now Saturday. This week went by fast.

For a start, the training I actually accomplished:

Monday, I swam 300 meters in eight minutes, thirty-two seconds. Not bad, considering that a) I am in terrible shape and b) am still working on my form. Also swam about four hundred more yards* in bits. I did not run/walk the two miles because I was feeling some pain in my right leg (I have had a minor shin splint since last year because I was favouring my left leg after the ankle sprain of Doom). Got tape for that, no pain for the rest of the week.

I do not remember what I did Tuesday, but it was not much because I had an exam on Wednesday. I did briefly hit the gym on Wednesday but I do not remember what I did.

Thursday I did six miles on a stationary bike in about twenty-eight minutes, and then I did two miles on the tread mill in less than thirty. While watching M*A*S*H. Also lifted. Today (Friday), Amber and I walked about three miles on the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

In short, I did not at all follow my training plan and I know damn good and well that I still cannot run for two and a half minutes. So, next week I will be repeating this week's schedule. I will also start making an effort to eat more often in smaller portions and also make damn sure I'm under two thousand calories every day, because I've stopped losing weight and I find that problematic since I have about a month to get to the size at which my wedding dress shall be made. I might be able to talk Mom into waiting until the second week of April.

So, the crankset. Holy crap. I wish I had taken pictures. I had to buy two new tools for this endeavour: a crank wrench and a bottom bracket tool. Once my new Shimano Hollowtech with its fifty-three tooth (as opposed to my forty-two tooth) large chainring came in, I was in something of a lather to get it on my bike. Remember, for the purposes of this narrative, that I live out in the sticks, approximately an hour from Bicycle Sport Shop in Austin, where I have bought the vast majority of my gear. And that I had already been there for new pedals and shoes.

In order to remove the cranks from a bicycle, you have to unscrew these little caps on the non-pedal end with an eight millemeter allen wrench. Fabulous. With the help of my trusty pedal wrench for some extra torque, I did that. Then I started to pull on the crank. It did not move.

Well, it turns up that you're meant to use this thing called a crank wrench which screws into the space you just opened up by removing the caps from the crank, and then you turn this other part of the wrench which is internally threaded and it pops the crank arm off. Allegedly.

I, of course, did not have a crank wrench. Fortunately for me, Amber and I were going to Austin the day after I got my crankset in, and so I bought one while at REI. Fabulous. We came home, and the next day, I incredibly easily removed the cranks from my bicycle.

No, actually, that is what happens in the instructional video. I actually pulled and pushed and swore at my crank wrench and went back inside about sixty times to look at the internet video AGAIN so that I would not destroy my bicycle. And then I got desperate. And then I hauled Amber into it.

Amber is very patient, by the way.

So, we went outside and I got Amber to hold onto the crank on the other side of my bike so nothing could move, and I wrapped a t-shirt around the handle of the crank wrench. And then I got my hammer. After a few minutes of beating on it, we got the crank to pop off. It was really, really on there. I think the other side came off pretty easily (comparatively) using the same technique.

It was at that point that I noticed something else problematic to installing the new crankset.

* Yes, I know that I am sort of mixing yards and meters. The pool is twenty-five yards long. However, I am swimming three hundred meters because 300 meters == 328 yards, so I just swim an extra length of the pool.

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16 February 2009

Training, Part two, and more of the narrative

According to a training program on BeginnerTriathlete.com, I am at about Week Six. This is important, and great, because I have been training for about six weeks and felt like I was woefully behind. The schedule for Week Six is thus:


Swim: Warm up, Freestyle 300 yards, Cool Down 100 yards
Walk/Jog for 35 minutes: Walk 4:30 minutes/Jog 2:30 minutes


Bike 5 miles


Swim: Warm up, Freestyle 300 yards, Cool Down 100 yards
Walk/Jog for 35 minutes: Walk 4:30 minutes, Jog 2:30 minutes




Swim: Freestyle 300 yards, Cool Down 100 yards
Bike 5 miles


Walk/Jog for 45 minutes


Bike 7 miles

So, the beer is not an official part of the training plan. I am actually a little ahead of this on the swim, but I cannot do more with the run, so I shan't.

Where was I? Oh, so I registered for the Texas Tri Series. And then I started looking at what I needed to do about my bike. Most people who know me know that I own a mountain bike on which I put many miles while I lived in Austin, and that one of the most frustrating things for me about living out of Austin is that I am unable to ride my bike around town or to school.

So, I own a mountain bike. I actually have two, one of which I got while I was in Europe. I own zero road bikes and do not especially want to get rid of either of my mountain bikes, so I came to the decision to refit one of them to work for a triathlon. My first impression was that I would simply put thin tires and aerobars on and leave it at that.

Ha. Well, so I soon realised that I would not be able to get the same kind of speed as my competitors because the front chainrings (front gears) that came standard my bike are smaller than those on a road bike, to make dealing with hills easier. Part of why I bought that particular bike (a Trek 4300 for anyone who cares) was because of this, since my beloved Austin is hilly, to put it mildly. Thus, I went in search of a larger chainring, only to discover that since my chainrings are all pressed together, I would have to actually replace the entire crankset (i.e., I don't just add a larger gear and remove the smallest; I have to replace the whole thing as one, which means that there are new cranks (pedal arms) involved).

Sigh. So I set out into eBay, looking for a nice, cheap road crankset. It came. And then I was faced with an entirely new problem.

In the interim, I became a gym rat at the Rec Center, more than I had been last fall, in an effort to actually be able to race come May.

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Coming off of Hiatus and Training

Fine, so it's been a while. Why haven't I been writing anything, especially after Chewbecca told me to write every day?

I'm not sure. I've not felt overly inspired by anything...and I'm honestly really tired of politics. People at Lee College used to tell me I -love- politics and talking about it and arguing about it. They never grokked that I actually hate politics and the political process but think that it's important to be an informed citizen. I know, crazy, right?

Well, whatever. I don't have to write about politics. I can write about whatever I want, because this is never going to be a giant everyone reads it with an influence rating from Technorati. Because I'm pretty sure that only my mom reads. Hi, Mom!

In late December, I think, I took the notion to compete in a triathlon and immediately began my Amber-like tendency to overresearch things. That's probably actually part of why we are so compatible. Because we are both INSANE about researching things. <3

I subscribed to Bicycling Magazine, and now to Triathlete, and began reading on the internet everything I could find about doing multisport. The first thing I found out is that there are age groups, which means that I am not competing against everyone and their mother, but merely women between the ages of 25 and 29. This appeals to my inner statistician who would prefer to think of things via odds: now, rather than having to beat a couple of hundred people, I have to beat about fifty, because, for some blessed reason, the 25-29 age group is consistently the smallest (until you get into the forties). Sweet. I can beat forty chicks. Or at least twenty of them.

Cheered by this newfound knowledge, I looked for events in the Austin area. Lo and behold, there is the Texas Tri Series: five events, three of which are in Austin and two in New Braunfels. They start out short (the first, on 11 May, is a 300 meter swim, 11.1 mile bike and a 2 mile run) and get progressively longer, culminating in the Longhorn half-Ironman (also known as a 70.3, for how many miles you cover). I thought to myself, I can do that. And so I signed up for all five events, plus the Capital of Texas Triathlon at the end of May.

And then I thought to myself, Oh Lord, what have I done?

Part two later today or tomorrow.

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