So, how many of you have heard of this event called the Tough Mudder? It is way more of an event more than it is a race as the mindset is to leave no one behind. The course I did at NorthStar at Lake Tahoe was 11 miles long and riddled with brutal obstacles. What? An 11 mile obstacle course, built on a mountain, with a star above 4000ft above sea level? Yeah, that was it. This is just the generic promo, and I must say, it does not do the race justice.
I’ll post more later on where my head is at heading into my goal race of the season, but if you want a peek inside, this triathlete preparing for Escape from Alcatraz next week could pretty much be my twin. Only it’s not my neck that looks all busted up like that, if ya kno whud I mean.
Hey cycling and tri folks– Join three-time Tour of California winner and Olympic Bronze Medalist, Levi Leipheimer, in a webcast Monday with CLIF Bar. He’ll chat about his accident and recovery, Tour of California and Olympic hopes. And, if he likes your question, you’ll get a limited-edition signed poster!
Where: CLIF Bar’s Ustream Page
Twitter hashtag: #AskTeamCLIFBar
To watch: There’s no sign-up process to watch, the webcast is completely open to the public – just click the link above to tune in.
To chat: You can create a Ustream profile or log in via your Twitter account.
We’re officially a week into the new year, and already a little wrench has been thrown into the works here at FitLifeSF HQ– Rob got sick right after the new year, with me following in his footsteps at the tail end of this week. What a bummer to hit the ground running (or biking, or swimming, or fighting, or lifting…) and then find yourself laid up on the couch watching Jerry Springer with a box of tissue and a stick of Vicks. But, as the bumpersticker says, Shit Happens.
Whenever I’m laid up and not able to keep to my regular routine, I find the following points valuable:
- Remember that eating is really 80%, if not more, of the battle if your goals are physique and weight-related. You might not be able to go whole-hog on your workout, but you can make sure to not go whole-hog on your eating. Eat what you need to recover, but don’t use being sick as an excuse to go off your eating plan.
- Rest assured that fitness doesn’t go away in a significant way in the period of time of your average cold. In fact, if you have been working out consistently for several months or years, you’ll probably benefit from the forced break. That’s not to say that those first workouts back from illness aren’t going to suck (more from your body still being run down than from a loss of fitness), but you’ll bounce back quickly once the illness is completely out of your system.
- Just do what you can. You can head off even the small fitness losses you might experience in a one- or two-week layoff by just doing a portion of what you are used to. You might not feel up for a 5-mile run, but a brisk walk will get the blood moving and moderate exercise kicks the immune system into high gear to help fight off the nasties. Not up for a full P90X or Insanity circuit? Great time to work on your flexibility with some yoga. Don’t take an “all or nothing” approach– something is always better than nothing.
- Use the time to get/stay excited about your sport– research upcoming races, pore over gear porn on the internet, spend some time on forums talking to others who share your interests, map out your goals for the year– I’ve mentioned several times my love of stickercharts for mapping goals, workouts and to reward myself for sticking to my nutrition plan. Stickercharts rule, and and an illness-related downtime is the best time to whip up an awesome one!
And, the most important thing to remember– in the grand scheme of your fit and healthy life, one week is nothing.
I’m in awe of this article from Jason Gay at the Wall Street Journal outlining 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym. Read it off your iPad for a belly laugh while walking on the treadmill at 2 MPH and it’s quite possibly the best workout you’ll get all day!
Just make sure you get to his final rule before hopping off the ‘mill for a snack: “There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.”
It seems like ages since I’ve posted here, but that’s going to change in 2012. (I know, I know…) The accountability is a welcomed friend, and I look forward to getting back to writing about the things that interest me plus (hopefully) doing my part to build a community of like-minded people here.
2011 saw lots of changes. Not only did I start back to full-time employment, I suffered my 7th stress fracture the same week. As I last posted in June, this started me down the path of triathlon, and I finished my first in August. Not as fast or as comfortably as I would have liked, but good enough to count. We also welcomed a new member to the FitLifeSF family, little LuLu La Bonte, a rescue schnoodle who street hustled us back in July and can totally run 4 miles with the best of ‘em. I could blame all the changes and a busy life for keeping me off the blog, but there’s more to it than that.
While I often found myself wanting to blast out a quick update or observation here on the blog, I also had the specter of my commitment to Yahoo! hanging over my head. Since they had rights to my content exclusively for 30 days, and I owed them articles every week or so, every little idea got put in the “maybe for the Yahoo! blog” pile and turned into a totally watered-down, least-common-denominator and not-at-all-“Smurf” missive about whether Zumba is right for you or why the HCG diet is a scam. *Yawn!* I’ll admit that I let it suck my passion for helping people on a path of fitness longer than I should have, and that’s a huge lesson learned for me. If you don’t love it, don’t do it!
Those who spent any time around me from June-September when I was learning to ride a bike are probably getting a good laugh out of that last line. I most certainly did not love learning to ride a bike. In fact, I dreaded every ride up until the moment I crossed the finish line at that first tri. So, by my own logic I suppose I should have hung up the bike after the second ride and never looked back (as so many people we coach who “just don’t like to work out” do), but I also learned that the real joy and the reward is in the achievement; in doing something you never thought you could do.
So, what do you think you can’t do this year? How can we help you get there?
As for my goals, I plan to undertake a train-with-a-pro program to see whether I can get good enough at tri to keep the rewards and achievements coming while still keeping up with work and personal obligations– and I also promised my mother I’d do the Tahoe Trifecta with her this fall. Rob is looking for spaces to train more folks here in San Francisco and is getting ready to embark on P90X2.
That’s enough waxing philosophical for now. There’s a week’s worth of turkey breast roasting in the oven and a mountain of workout clothes that need washing… 2012 is going to be a great one!
I’ll admit, whenever reading about triathlon, I get a little “fingers-in-the-ears, La La La… Sorry, were you talking to me?” when it comes to bikes, bike details and bike shopping. Like wine (I like red, not white), I knew I wanted a road bike, not a mountain bike or a hybrid, but beyond that? Heck if I know.
All the books say, “If you are a beginner triathlete, don’t buy a new bike! Just ride with what you have.” Which makes the monumental leap that I’ve owned a bike at some point in the past, oh, 25 years.
So, a little panic-attacky, I crutched my way into more than a few stores this weekend in search of a bike. Let me just put this out there, Rob is a motherhumpin’ TROOPER for his help in this quest.
Stop One: Sports Basement Bryant. I love Sports Basement, so I assumed this would be a one-stop and I’d walk out with a new bike, all set up and ready to go. But, not sure if it’s because I was on crutches or what, but we walked the rows of bikes. Looking at price tags and me talking (in my everyday-voice, which I hear sounds a lot like it’s being amplified through a stadium PA system), about how I needed some help with knowing what I should be looking for, etc. Salespeople asked several people within earshot if they needed help, but nobody came up to ask us. Maybe I was feeling a little overwhelmed, delicate and passive-aggressive, but I decided that they’d not get my biking buck. (I should have pulled a Julia Roberts while crutching down the stairs… “I have money to spend here, people!”)
At any rate, I imagine they will get plenty of my money in future as I travel this path, but it was a bummer for sure. (“BIG Mistake. Huge mistake.”)
Stop Two: ReMatch Sports, Pacific at Polk. So, the guy was pretty nice despite being totally thrown by a chick on crutches storming through the door declaring that she’d like to buy a bike, but doesn’t know how to ride one, and thus can’t take it for a test ride. (Incidentally, aside from the crutches, I did the same thing when I went in to buy my stick-shift Miata. I learned on the go. “The go” being 101 between San Jose and San Francisco after I’d already signed on the dotted line.)
The guy was nice, but clearly had no idea what I wanted/needed in a bike. I told him specifically that I wanted a road bike, that I wouldn’t be riding it around the city, etc., but he kept on forgetting these things and talking about “a great beater bike for a commute.” But, he did let me set a bike up on a trainer (which will be my best friend for the next few weeks) to get size. From this trip, I learn that I am a size 48-50.
I’ll admit, I had a little crush on the Felt roadbike they had me use on the trainer. She’s a real cutie. But I was in that “do I spend next-to-nothing on a bike I can just learn on, or more-than-something on a bike I’ll have for a while” mode. $745 was a bit tough to handle. (And, when I got home and researched, I realize that bike sold new at retail for $799. So not a deal at all.)
But, the visit is not a total loss– He tells me I can bring them my snowboard and boots to consign (another failed sporting venture for me– to the tune of one broken arm) when I want to upgrade to aerobars, and I also walk out with a $200 Cycle Ops magnetic trainer for $90. Verdict: Great place to browse, but might not be specifically-knowledgeable about the sport you are interested in. (I told him about my failed attempt at learning to skateboard fifteen years ago and he spent more time trying to tell me how to skateboard than he did what to do with the $800 hunk of carbon fiber and rubber I had in front of me.)
Stop Three: “That weird little Bike Shop around the corner from Dave’s” Total fail. They had no used bikes made, just custom build-outs of used gear (in the $1000-range.) I swear I’d seen some more pedestrian models lashed together on the sidewalk before. Guess not. He does, however, send us back to a place I’d seen earlier on the way to brunch…
Stop Four: Refried Cycles. On first glance, this place didn’t look like they really had anything for me. But, the very helpful guy starts talking to us more. He clearly understands my goals, he is talking knowledgeably about what I would do to a bike if/when I get more purpose-focused on tri. He talks about the value proposition of various bikes.
They have a sweet little 50cm LeMond Zurich. I know who Greg LeMond is. I have heard of Shimano, who made all the breaks and shifters. You shift with the brake-thingies (technical term), so I am very into that. The guy at the shop shortens the stem a little for me for free (I now know what “shortening the stem” means!), and, though I have to pay a little more, I get pedals that I can either use my spinning shoes with or not. He also swaps the seat for one that I might like a little more, though any bike is gonna need some personalizing for sure. But, he’s mine. And his name is Greg. Here he is, chilling next to my Prohibition era bar and my foam roller:
So, yes, I’m a little freaked because Greg was on the upper end of my pricerange, but he did retail for $1800 new and the internet shows that I paid a fair price ($650+the pedals.) And, I know who Greg LeMond is, I think the colors blue and yellow are fresh and fast and, plus, I hear that there is a vintage cycle kind of groupy/thingy-ma-bob (technical term again, sorry) where they think this kind of light, steel, vintage roadbike is rad.
So, even though the books say “Don’t buy a new bike, just use the bike you already have,” I am trying to get used to the idea that this is “the bike I already have.” To the moon, Greg!
According to a study from the Journal of Orthopeadic and Sports Physical Therapy, it’s a real humdinger called a Swiss Ball Pike and Roll-Out.
I do love me some coreball work, looking forward to adding this one to the repertoire once the hip heals up.
Here’s a video of Nick Tumminello of NickTumminello.com doing the move:
This nugget of wisdom popped out at me from the background noise of Wrath of Khan on SyFy last weekend. It felt particularly prescient as I hobbled about on my crutches, moping about yet another San Francisco Marathon training cycle gone to the dogs thanks to a stress fracture—My seventh in four years, and this one the femoral neck, which is generally considered the “worst kind.”
Thankfully, I have the “better kind” of the “worst kind” of stress fracture (compression-side vs tension-side) and am cleared to swim, so it’s back to MLK pool for me. Coincidentally, about the same time I got hit with the injury, I started back to work with a company that does a lot of work with triathletes, so of course the wheels get to spinning again as they do nearly every time I’m in this situation… “Maybe I should just suck it up and do a tri…”
Nearly every year, I find myself in some ways crossing paths with the Escape from Alcatraz hullabaloo. And every year I say, “I want to do that!” Escape is this coming weekend, so I’m definitely catching the buzz again. It’s not the swim from Alcatraz that gets me worried, though, it’s that damn bike. Especially in San Francisco where cyclists and everybody else are about as friendly as the Crips and the Bloods. But, get a nice road bike and a wind trainer and I can picture myself happily whizzing away in the driveway for hours at a stretch (I do love spin classes). I wouldn’t have to ride through the city that much. There are paths I can drive to. I can join a tri club to show me the ropes. I can get over it. Can’t I?
There’s really no good reason not to take the plunge. Having three disciplines to train in vs one means I can reduce the amount of pounding and still grow my endurance and cardiovascular fitness. And, as much as it might feel like it, this move doesn’t mean that I am “giving up on running.” I can still bust out races up to half marathon on a whim or go for a long run with my running buddies—and rumor has it my running might even improve. Inarguably, it will improve beyond my top Crutch Pace.
If I make the commitment to do this, I’ll have invested in all the equipment and learning I need to swim in the bay whenever I want or hop on the bike on the wind trainer in the garage in the mornings before work, so even if I don’t like all three in a race setting, I’ve increased my crosstraining options 200%. I’ll get to geek out on learning about a whole new set of training modalities and buy all sorts of new technical crap and have a whole new set of numbers to crunch. And, have you seen a triathlete’s physique?! Not a bad endorsement at all.
So, having weighed the pros (and corresponding lack of cons– cost and aversion to cycling being the only two I can find), I am officially on the record: No more “maybe I should” or “one day I ought to…”
What I want is irrelevant. What I’ve chosen is at hand.
Before the year is through [insert all necessary prostrations before the gods], Smurf will be a triathlete.
At the very least, the journey should make for loads of entertaining blogfodder as I stumble my way through the process. I hope you’ll get at least a few laughs at my expense and maybe find the inspiration to push your own boundaries.
Just catching up on the Top Chef Masters/Biggest Loser crossover episode, where the Top Chef Masters are asked to make low-cal versions of the Biggest Loser contestants’ fave high-fat/calorie foods.
As a food fanatic and fitness fiend, this is challenge embodies one of my favorite hobbies. (BTW: Send your favorites to email@example.com if you’d like me to give yours a shot!) So, I’m a little put off by how much these “people whose job it is to make diners happy” balked at the idea that someone might want something to be at once tasty and not fat-laden.
That said, if I go to see a Michelangelo sculpture, chances are I’ll only see it once in my life, so I want it to be made of marble, not tofu. And I would never ask Peter Paul Reubens to paint me a portrait of Kate Moss or work in steel or some other medium that he simply doesn’t have an affinity with. So, I do feel like there needs to be respect for the craft.
I can see both sides, soI have a very specific way I approach this one…
But, first, I want to know what you think. Is it fair to ask master chefs to make under-1200-calorie versions of bad-for-you-foods? And, in more everyday terms, do you feel comfortable going to a restaurant and asking for something off-menu that better fits your needs and wants?
Once we all weigh in, I’ll revisit this topic on the blog.