Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Inside My Own Head (I know, scary)

I'm a little freaked out.

I'm a little freaked out that I am not freaked out. About the triathlon this Saturday, of course. The freak-out quotient of the rest of my life has not changed. But the triathlon? Phaw.

On Sunday, I was freaked out. After the open-water swim and reality check of what I would be facing in the lactic acid + adrenaline + nerves department, I was taking bets on how many times I would vomit and on whom and preparing for my close-up on SportsCenter's "Not Top Ten" segment. But now that a few days have gone by, I feel almost casual about it.

"Oh Saturday? Well, I have a triathlon in the morning, but we're free after that. Sure, just text me and we'll meet up."

I'm not super-prepared. I've definitely trained, but not as much as I wanted to or planned to. I never got around to having toe clips installed on my bike, I haven't really practiced any of my transition machinations, and I don't have any special gear. But I've done some brick workouts, thought through each event and what I need to do to transition smoothly, practiced in the lake with the wet suit, and for the past three months have been running, biking, and swimming regularly. All things considered, I'd give myself a 7 out of 10. I could have done more, but I've not been a total slacker.

I think part of my lackadaisical attitude is that I have progressed to a place in my life where I now laugh in the face of failure. At least, wherever athletic ability is concerned. I have soooo been-there-done-that. I went to the Ultimate Fitness Challenge, for crying out loud. I mean, come on. I am clearly not afraid to take one for Team Nerd.

But I also know that I do not completely suck. I might not be genetically athletic, but I'm relatively strong, fit, and stubborn enough to swim across a frigid lake despite the very clear fact that everyone else has already gone home and is reading the newspaper. Also, completing a triathlon is not a new phenomenon. I don't want to trivialize the accomplishment, but thousands of people who are less fit than I am have done it. There is simply no reason to expect that someone at my level of fitness cannot. So I will.

When I was swimming on Sunday, I opened my eyes under water for a brief moment. It was not comforting; the black, murky water was ominous, and I could vaguely make out the coral-like shape of something white below me that sent a very clear message that I was a stranger invading its usually private existence. I shut them right away and came up for air wondering what the hell I was doing. I have an intense fear of drowning; I don't like being in open water, I am claustrophobic, and am prone to panic attacks. It occurred to me that I hadn't considered any of that when I signed up to compete. I guess I've trained myself to think in terms of what I can do instead of what I can't. Besides, I am pretty sure I am going to die in a car wreck, not a lake. It was a good reminder that as much as endurance sports are about physical stamina, they are just as much mental.
Well, I am definitely mental.

My ego has enough chinks in its armor to land me in the "bruised and battered" category of competitors - the ones standing kind of in the back, pulling grass out of their hair and adjusting their glasses while the real athletes punch each other in the arms and congratulate each other on a good game. But that's okay.

I'm pretty sure I'm the captain.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Open Water, Open Mind

So I just got back from my first open-water swim workout for my triathlon next weekend.

Yeah, I'm gonna die.

Man, that was hard. It was my first time swimming in an open lake, my first time in a wet suit, and my first time swimming in 64 degree water. But, I did it, I went the whole way, and I feel much more prepared for next weekend.

The triathlon club that I am a member of is so great and supportive; the people who organize the first-timers practices are such encouraging, giving people. About 50 of us first-timers gathered in the parking lot of the lake this morning, wrestling into wet suits, nervously talking strategy, and trying to make a game plan in our heads for the early-morning race just seven days away. A couple of the veterans gave us some tips for setting up our transition stations, getting in and out of our wet suits, and a quick run-down of the rules. I'm pretty sure I am going to forget most of that stuff come Saturday, but I listened like a good student nonetheless.

I went through a very scientific process to come up with my goal time (I logged into the finishing times for last year's race, scrolled to the bottom to see how long it took the slowest person, and decided I could be faster than that) so my goal is to finish all three events in 2 1/2 hours. Although, after today's workout, I am tacking on about 20 minutes per transition. :)

Okay, it wasn't that bad. Yeah, the lake was cold. Real cold. But that didn't bother me as much as the wet suit. I'm claustrophobic, and the wet suit was very constricting. When I started out swimming freestyle, the combination of the frigid water, the tightness around my chest from the wet suit, and the murky/dark/pretty freaking scary water of the lake really freaked me out. I couldn't get my breath, I was incredibly inefficient, and I just felt terrible. I flipped onto my back and started gliding, comforted by the fact that I could at least breathe consistently. I alternated between that and breast stroke so I could keep my head out of the water, but it was clear that I was, quite literally, in over my head.

I made it across the lake, about a quarter of a mile, and grabbed onto one of the kayaks that were monitoring us to catch my breath. It was then that I realized I was one of only three people still in the water. It was discouraging to think that I was that lame, but I also felt proud that I had made it across the lake. Then I felt dismayed that I had to swim back. I was tired, man. I wanted to climb into that kayak and take a nap. But I didn't know the person paddling it, so I thought that might be weird. Instead, I bid farewell to my fellow swimmers and plunged back in.

As I glided across the lake, listening to my ragged breaths and reminding myself that one of the constant themes of all the veteran tips I had heard was, "don't freak out." I tried to relax, slow down my breathing, and just enjoy swimming. I transitioned into a side stroke so I could see where I was going, and started to enjoy it. I felt pretty lame for being the last one still in the water, but then I heard someone in a kayak say that a lot of people had gone halfway across and turned around. Then, my hand hit the ground. I had done it. I was done. I stood up and started walking to the shore to join my friends.

As I stood on the landing and reflected on the swim, I felt optimistic. I knew that the distance we had covered today was longer than the actual 0.3 mile swim required in the race. But, I also knew that on race day, I would be in the company of 200 additional people and have to follow up that swim with a 15-mile hilly bike ride, instead of getting in my car and driving home like I did today.

But you know, I'm not too worried. Even if I do set the record for the longest triathlon ever, I'm ready. As a first-time triathlete, my only goal is to finish it, and I know I can do that.

This time next week, I will be a triathlete. Hopefully one taking a nap.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

No Time to Get Healthy? Yeah, no one cares.

Reality check: your body doesn't care if you "don't have time" to get healthy. It's going to keep getting slower, softer, and fatter as you age, and a measly thirty-minute jaunt around the neighborhood each morning ain't gonna do anything about it.

So put down that latte and think again sister.

It's no secret to women that one of the great rewards of enduring years of hormonal swings, childbirth, breastfeeding, and monthly trials of feeling as if your life is being squeezed in a vice is being told to pedal faster: our metabolisms also start to slow down, adding a sucker-punch to the reality of living in a country where women are overtly judged by their appearance, the maintenance of which is biologically sabotaged. Except in cases of Helen Mirren, whose aging process appears to have been permanently frozen. She's 63. Yeah.

Cynical lately? Nah, just realistic. Research has recently shown that, contrary to popular advice and belief, it takes more than the usual American output of physical activity to gain any ground in the battle of the bulge. For years we have been prodded into physical activity, lured by the promise that just three moderate 10-minute spurts of activity each day could be enough to keep heart disease at bay. But it turns out that while taking the stairs is a great idea, it's not going to make up for all those mini quiches you had at Bunco.

One of the most frequent reasons for people to avoid facing the reality that becoming and staying healthy requires effort is that they do not have time. I can understand, we're all busy. But as many times as I hear someone say they "can't" make time to exercise, I see another story of someone who manages to do it despite greater odds. We can do it. We do have time. The truth is, we make time for what we really want to do.

And the more important truth is, we don't have time to not have time.

It is estimated that within the next 15 years, over half of our population will be obese. Children are getting fatter and fatter each year. Each season of The Biggest Loser features contestants who are breaking records of size, weight, and health issues. When are we going to face the reality that nature is going to take its course regardless of whether we have time to address it?

Long ago, I read an article about life in Sweden. Someone I knew was moving there and I was curious about their culture. One thing stood out - the physical activity of its citizens. I remember being tickled by the admission of one man that he would be embarassed if his friends saw him riding in a car because he would be considered "lazy," and also saddened that we do not share the same cultural habit.

We don't have time to not have time. The world does not care that we are busy. Please, get some exercise today, REAL exercise.


Work hard.

Challenge yourself.

And set your alarm to do it again tomorrow. It's time to stop not having time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Veggie Police? Not me! I hope...

What is it with kids and vegetables? It's as if they are hard-wired to be immediately suspicious of them. My son at age two was already turning up his nose at carrots, green beans, broccoli...the usual suspects. I was completely stumped on how he could have formed this default opinion; he had spent 90% of his life up to that point with me, a vegetable lover. What part of his DNA was programmed to say, "ick," whenever something green and leafy landed on his plate? I think he got it from my husband's side of the family.

For years I have stubbornly put vegetables on his plate each day, made a big show of how much I looooooved to eat my vegetables, and like any self-respecting mother, I sneaked veggies into his food (*ahem* waaay before Jessica Seinfeld wrote her cookbook, just sayin') and took some comfort that at least they were getting into his body whether he realized it or not. I hoped that I could just keep being the good example and someday he would either taste them and realize what he had been missing, or just give up.

Neither seems very likely at this point; we are at a stalemate. But I am pleased to report that his gag reflex seems to be in good working order, which was evidenced last night by his response to our suggestion that he sample a piece of broccoli. After my husband and I presented our respective arguments, and after pointing out that broccoli has vitamins in it and reminding me that I had on previous occasions told him that he was allotted only one (chewable) vitamin a day, my four-year-old proceeded to stage a gagging and choking scene that almost made my husband leave the table to keep from laughing.

And I laughed, too. I'm a bit of a food cop, I'll admit it. I'm one of those all-natural moms who will gladly go out of my way to make my own everything, avoid artificial ingredients, bring my own food just about everywhere, and eat wholesome food made with pure, natural, vibrant ingredients that actually help our bodies function, not just satisfy an immediate emotional trigger to eat. I want my son to develop a healthy respect for the power of what we put into our bodies, and be able to make educated choices about what he chooses to eat.

Yes, he is four. So we try to teach by example. And after reading this article about the fuzzy line between monitoring the nutrition of our kids and sabotaging their future healthy habits, I feel pretty good about our methods. It recommends not forcing your kids to eat foods (although I am perfectly comfortable with the "take it or leave it" method of serving dinner), teaching by example (by not always being on some wacky diet), and teaching them about why its important to eat well.

People often ask whether my son is "allowed" to eat Halloween candy, whether I will buy him a chocolate bunny for his Easter basket, or if I bake him a wheat and sugar-free birthday cake. And while I do realize he is a kid and part of being a kid is wanting to eat candy and sweets, I do think there is a line to be drawn regarding the "fun factor" of food. It bothers me that I am perceived as punishing him in some way by not wanting to teach him that food is for entertainment purposes. But I figure 95% of what he eats is clean, wholesome, and healthy...and for the rest, he has grandparents.

There are some good tips here for creating a healthy relationship with food; one that is based on an understanding of the cause-and-effect of the fuel we put into our bodies and balanced with an example of how to manage situations that present...lower-octane fuel. :)

Yeah, he'll have cauliflower on his plate tonight, and I'll encourage him to take a bite and see what he thinks. But if he passes, that's okay.

I loooooove cauliflower. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

5 Good Things that are Bad for Me

I recently stumbled upon this article listing 10 traditionally "bad" things that actually have health benefits. Among them are beer, coffee, anger, and illegal drugs. Interesting. Naturally the article starts out with a disclaimer that while there are health benefits associated with the items on the list, they are intended to be imbibed in moderation, and anything in excess can be detrimental. Specifically, beer, coffee, anger, and illegal drugs.

But there was that word again: moderation. Moderation has been tagging along with me more and more these days, showing up where I least expect it and staring at me pointedly from a table across the room, offering me a chair and inviting me to take off my coat and stay a while. I've been tempted; after years of living a crash-and-burn lifestyle that is both exhileratingly rewarding but often exhausting and counter-productive, the idea of living somewhere in the middle is attractive at times. But whenever I take up residence, I get bored. I get fidgety. I find myself looking around and wondering why so many people love being average.

I even made succeeding at moderation a goal for 2010 but I don't really want to achieve it. I like being at my limits; I get way more accomplished there.

So in the spirit of being cheeky, I made up my own little list of some good things that are bad for me. Starting with, you guessed it...

1. Moderation. Bor-ing. Moderation is fun for a day, but then it just leads to being a slacker and not getting anything of real substance accomplished. I prefer to go full-steam-ahead every single day, and then every few months have one day of absolute gluttony and hedonism. I'm pretty sure that is really, really bad for me, but it appears to be the way I roll.

2. Rest. Rest is really important to being healthy. Getting enough quality sleep has been linked to greater intelligence, reduced stress, happiness, and not yelling at your kids so much. But unfortunately, I've found that being asleep is directly related to me being unproductive. When I am sleeping, I am just laying there like a slug. Although, my husband would argue that since I do talk in my sleep, I am probably borderline on the slugness. That makes me a little happier. However, I do like to sleep, and since increased sleep has been linked to less belly fat, which I am definitely in favor of, I am trying to get in bed earlier. To that end, I have started putting on my pajamas immediately upon returning from work.

3. A Glass of Wine. I keep reading about the health benefits of wine, and they are very convincing. I do believe that a glass of antioxidants is beneficial. Some of my best friends are wine drinkers. The distinction I have here is with the solitary state of the glass of wine. A glass of wine. One. And I am sorry, but one glass of wine is just mean. If I can't have at least a bottle, I don't want any.

4. The same goes for cookies. One cookie? Please. I'd rather never eat cookies again than just have one. Which is why I don't eat cookies.

5. Adjustable Waistbands. Adjustable waistbands have their place. As the mother of a tall, skinny kid, I expect that I will be sewing elastic into the waists of jeans well into his freshman year of college. But "comfort waist" adjustable waistbands like these are just danger zones for women like me. Stretchy pants are wonderful, and I fully support the right to wear them without shame. But one you start applying the same rules of stretchy pants to jeans and chinos, well, you're kind of turning a corner there. Don't do it. Reality is a good thing people; embrace it.

Hey, I've made my choice, and I know it isn't always popular or understood. And I guess that is a good thing. For every achievement-addicted nut out there like me, there has to be a few slackers to balance things out.

Wait a second....did I just endorse moderation? :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

My Big Brainy Idea

Every day there is a new report of the American obesity epidemic. It's clear that we've screwed things up: despite our constant promises to start healthier eating on Monday, our kids just keep getting fatter and fatter. In fact, this article released today credits the Journal of Pediatrics with reports that a study of more than 700,000 children and teens in southern California found that more than 6 percent, or 45,000, were extremely obese.

This means that these childrens' weight is above the 95th percentile for their age and height and extreme obesity is 1.2 times that measurement.

On the same day, I heard a report on NPR about a parent-teacher association in New York that was fighting for the right to hold fundraising bake sales of homemade goods, the healthy goodness of which testifed to by the mothers who baked them with their own whole wheat flour and organic butter, instead of the packaged snacks like chips and cookies mandated by the school.

And the day before, a friend forwarded me this blog, written by mothers, teachers, and cafeteria workers who are fed up with the "food" that is fed to the children in school each day. This post features comments from students who express an interest and desire to eat more healthfully, as well as their willingness to pay extra for that luxury.

So I started thinking....someone needs to get that PTA and these kids together...and start selling fruits and veggies on little tables in the hallway outside the school cafeteria! Problem solved! Aren't you glad I was paying attention today?

Listen, I don't claim to have all the answers about our national troubles. But I do kinda think

a) maybe we should fund school programs with something other than selling baked goods, homemade or not,

b) maybe we should stop feeding our kids tater tots for lunch and then wonder how they all got so fat and stupid, and

c) even if kids say they will buy and eat fruits and vegetables at school, they probably won't, until we invest time, energy, and money into teaching children and parents about how food works, why its important to eat well, and how to do it every day.

People say knowledge is power, but I disagree. Action is power. We have knowledge of our rising obesity epidemic, but that knowledge isn't doing anything other than providing opportunities for CEOs, politicians, and administrators to jump on a popular bandwagon and call for change. It's up to individuals to make the changes through action.

So....any ideas on how we start?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sick of Deciphering Nutrition Labels? Stop!

Just a warning here - I have my megaphone out and I am stepping onto the soapbox.

It's no secret that the United States has a bit of a weight problem. Over a third of our population is categorized as obese, and leading trends show that statistic destined to grow over the coming years. While we are a society obsessed with diets, exercise, and body image, its obvious that our methods for achieving our ideals are flawed:

  • Diets sabotage us.
  • Guaranteed-results workouts require actual work and discipline.
  • Reese's Peanut Butter eggs now look like this:
So it may seem like great news that such notable people as Michelle Obama, our Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, and the CEOs of food manufacturing companies are jumping on the healthy-eating bandwagon, calling for not only more truth in advertising but actually changing the way food is mass-produced to include healthier ingredients. So why do I feel so cynical about it?
I mean, hearing our First Lady tell the bigwigs at Kraft that, "we need you not to just tweak around the edges but entirely rethink the products you are offering, the information that you provide about these products, and how you market those products to our children," should be a good thing. And it is. The aggressive marketing of crap to kids is not a new concept, but is getting out of control. Its reassuring to read articles such as this, which point to the potential changes in food labeling that may help educate Americans about the food they are buying.
I guess I could say that I understand how families are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to convenience food, but I would be lying. I just don't think it is unreasonable to think that instead of perusing the grocery store aisles trying to translate the nutrition label or list of ingredients on a food package, they may push their buggy out of the marketing section of the store and into the part that has actual food.
Here are some examples of food if you aren't familiar:

I have a quick and simple solution to the confusion that Americans are facing when it comes to reading nutritional lables and lists of ingredients: don't do it. Instead, eat food that doesn't have any mystery about it at all - fruits, vegetables, chicken, turkey, fish, and whole grains. Get a breadmaker; it takes less time to throw together a loaf of bread and set a timer than it does to sign up for Weight Watchers.

A co-worker recently stopped me in the hall at work and vented about being so confused about whether to eat low-carb, low-fat, low-calorie, which foods had "good" fat and which ones had high-fructose corn syrup, etc. She was a mess; she was so confused and overwhelmed that I could tell she was going to ditch the whole idea and go back to eating mindlessly. I remember being that way, and I remember realizing that I could save myself a lot of headaches if I would just eat fresh food straight from the earth. I don't mess with nutrition labels because I have no need for them.

I do realize that most of the people in our country are more concerned with the short-term flavor of a food than the long-term effects of it on their bodies, and that a majority of Americans feel downright entitled to eating junk because they feel they've earned it by working hard. I personally don't understand that logic but I recognize that it exists.

I guess I am just on my soapbox today to say something really simple - if reading nutritional labels and lists of ingredients makes your head hurt, stop doing it. Eat food that doesn't come vacuum sealed.

Done. :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Regrets? I've Had a Few.

I've always maintained that no workout should be a regret, often telling people who are hedging on whether to go to the gym that, "I have never regretted working out, but I have always regretted skipping it."

But I can't say that anymore! I definitely regret yesterday's cardio.

Yesterday just didn't go my way. I woke up to run, but it was raining. I should have gotten on my elliptical, but I didn't. I messed around on Facebook instead, thinking I would just head to the gym at lunch and knock out an hour of cardio. But as the day progressed I had some appointments shift around that required me to work through lunch, forcing my cardio to either after work or not at all. Since I have my March goal of earning a star sticker for every day of the month, skipping my cardio was a last-resort option. That would mean forfeiting my rest day on Thursday to make up for it, and I really have grown to love my rest day. So that left after-work cardio.

I didn't want to do it. I love exercise, but evening exercise is just a chore to me. By 4:30 in the afternoon I am ready for my jammies and downtime with my husband and son. I selfishly guard my time at home and very rarely accept invitations to after-work functions or meetings because with as little time as I have with my family as it is, they come first.

But yesterday, I justified it. I figured I'm a five-minute walk from the gym. If I changed at my office, was on the treadmill by 5:10, and did a quick 50 minutes of cardio I could get to my "burn goal," earn my sticker, and even avoid the rush-hour traffic, cutting my drive time in half and getting me home a mere 15 minutes after my menfolk. Everyone wins!

Well you can guess it didn't happen that way. Everything took longer than I thought, and my no-traffic time-saver was cancelled out by semi truck holding up traffic by trying to back into a parking lot and a charter bus that was seemingly on a tour of every nook and cranny between the gym and my house.

Needless to say, I arrived home 15 minutes before bathtime to learn that in my absence, they had gone out for pizza and window shopped, enjoyed the weather in the backyard, and were now happily playing firetrucks/volcanoes/Ghostbuster/pirates. I was left to cook some lonely egg whites alone and try to make lame conversation while I kicked myself for skipping out on my favorite part of the day just so I could make up for being a slacker in the morning. I won't get that time back, and I seriously regretted being so focused on reaching a goal that I completely threw away an opportunity to be with the people who make me the happiest.

I never shook that feeling. All night long it nagged me until I finally had to forgive myself and promise to not make the same choice again. I put my star sticker on my calendar with a twinge of guilt because while I had earned it honestly, I would have rather taken a hit on my goal then feel the way I did last night.

There is no shortage of mommy-guilt out there; we all deal with it in our own ways. Some is easily shaken and some gets carried around for eternity. It's no new phenomenon that for a parent who is also a full-time employee, volunteer, spouse, and fill-in-the-blank-here, there never seems to be enough time for everyone or everything that needs or wants our attention. And should we fulfill the expectation that there would be?
Making time for my workouts is not negotiable and never will be. They are mine, I own them, and I will defend that time set aside for myself. But, they take place in the wee hours of the morning when the rest of my life is asleep. That's when I can think, plan, dream, and center myself. I am sure there will be another day when my alarm doesn't ring, meetings invade my lunch hour, and fate otherwise conspires against me...and I'll throw my own little temper tantrum about missing my best-laid workout plans. But I don't plan to attempt another post-workday workout.

No amount of gold stars or endorphins can replace my other non-negotiable: time for playing firetruck/pirates in my jammies.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

That Dang Learning Curve!

Okay so blah blah blah I'm training for a triathlon, its hard, wah wah, I'm having to do all sorts of different stuff, blah. You already know that.

But that being said, the triathlon is less than a month away. Eeek! I am getting pretty excited about it, but have realized in the past few days, as people tell me stories about their first triathlons and the lessons they learned, that, well, I still have a lot to learn. I feel confident with my ability to do each of the legs with competence (especially since I looked up the times from last year's race and figured I was at least faster than the slowest person there...I think), but I've started to get apprehensive about the transition stations.

I have a lot of questions, most of them revolving around the issue of whether I will be able to eat. I have this thing where I get nervous doing endurance sports on an empty stomach, which of course would lead to low blood sugar, which of course would lead to me passing out on the course, lying defenseless and alone for a rabid animal to drag me into the woods and devour me before anyone even noticed I was gone. So if I could stash a banana somewhere that would be cool.

But I have other questions, too, like...what do I do? Luckily the internet is FULL of helpful people who are so friendly and eager to share their expertise with me! Actually, I was pointed in the direction of some really great resources that helped answer some of my burning questions.

1. Can I eat in the transition area? If so, should I? And what?
This article recommended putting some energy gel in my station, but I prefer to eat actual food. So I plan to pack a few Lara bars, which are small and all-natural. I may also need to eat a bunch of pancakes the night before just to be sure I have an adequate storage of glycogen.

2. What should I do to make the swim-to-bike transition easier and faster?
I found some great tips on TriNewbies, like having a bucket of water to get sand off of my feet, and suggested wearing shoes with elastic laces to save time with tying them. Other tips like hanging my bike helmet on the handlebars, making sure my tires are inflated, and having plenty of water may seem like no-brainers but could easily be overlooked in all the excitement of nerves, adrenaline, and carb-loading. And I'm pretty much expecting to be no-brain by the time I get to the starting line anyway. A great example is provided at FitEgg with a walk-through of a sample swim-to-bike transition, which is the one I am most concerned about.

3. What do I wear?
I have a borrowed wetsuit for the swim, but after that I am at a loss. I assume I'll wear my speedo and tug on some shorts for the bike and run. This article suggested slathering up with BodyGlide, which sports a website featuring pictures of intense-looking athletes unburdened by chafe. Naturally a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses will be required...although my prescription aviator glasses might not be quite what I need.

4. How can I maximize the limited training time I have left?
I've been invited on a few "brick" workouts, which I've passed on partly because they were not at convenient times and partly because I still have nightmares of a swim coach that made us tread water holding bricks over our heads as he sat on the diving board eating doughnuts. For real, that actually happened. But I don't feel so bad now that I realize I've been doing them on my own. A brick workout, from my interpretation, is pretty much a practice run. I've done a couple of bike-to-run workouts and felt the burn of trying to run a 5k after biking 15 hilly miles (not fun). This article at explains how to do a much more technical version than my homemade practice session. I don't know if I am going to get that intense; I mostly just want to finish the run without throwing up or collapsing.

There are a lot of people out there who are really passionate about triathlons. It makes me excited to be planning my first one; the energy, enthusiasm, and encouragement I've received adds a whole new training element to the workouts themselves.

Okay, enough blah blah, time to go practice my bed. :)