July 22, 2010

Peloton?!? What Peloton?

Posted in Training at 3:07 pm by Lisa

Saturday morning – all bright eyed and bushy tailed (or cushion butted – thanks to the shorts I borrowed from Lior). Had to be at the meeting place by 06:15 (according to the emails and SMS texts I received from Doron, the group leader). Of course, I left late, despite the many lists I made for myself the night before (what to bring, what to wear, how many bottles of water, don’t forget money, drivers license, etc. etc.). And of course, the panic of loading the bike into the car (which just fits! I have to take the front wheel off which is easy enough but I’m always worried about dragging the gears across the seat and messing up the brakes, more etc.)

Anyway, I’m on the highway, and see small groups of people biking on the shoulder, and bike frames peeking out from back windows of other cars and I know that I’m not alone in this quest! Despite all my concerns, I got to the rest stop where we are meeting by Kibbutz Einat with 10 minutes to spare. And I should have known – not only would I be one of the first people there at that time from this group, we didn’t even get on the road before 06:45. So much for my worrying.

“We” was the group CTO – about 30 ppl in total, with one support vehicle. There were lots of other groups as well. It was really cool, although looking around it was quite clear who was the newbie in all this (that would be me – regular sneakers instead of clip-in shoes; regular sunglasses instead of the serious sport shades; borrowed jersey instead of the newest, up-to-date international cycling team jersey, etc.) Just the cost of the bikes alone had to average around 20,000 shekels.

So I was a little intimidated to be honest – really had no idea what to expect. Didn’t know anyone and everyone I spoke to was like “this is your first ride!?!?” Hmm, what do they know that I don’t?

In any event, this ride was supposed to be an exercise in riding with a Peloton – basically a group of riders working together. Two riders at the front for a minute or two lead the group – they then peel away on the sides, dropping to the back of the peloton and the people immediately behind them take over leading the peloton. I’ve read that you conserve up to 30% energy riding in the peloton because of the drafting effect.

I wouldn’t know.

As we pulled out of the rest stop where we parked all the cars, we hit a couple of traffic lights. Very law-abiding folks – everyone stopped. But I unfortunately got separated from the group already at the first light. Half the group was stopped at the second light – “no problem,” I thought, “I’ll catch them after this light. However, I ended up getting caught at the second light as well and then all of a sudden, this swarm of blue-jersey riders came up from behind me and as soon as the light turned they all left me behind in their dust. So now they were between me and my group. Even worse, I had no idea what anyone in my group really looked like (we were the green-jersey group but only about 6 people were actually wearing green.)

I just kept plugging along and luckily for me, up came the support wagon (I became very friendly with the support wagon!).

This is a pic of me just starting.

See how alone I am? But it was cool! I really enjoyed the ride and had a great time. Below is a point when I actually caught up with people (you could think it was because of my superior fitness that allowed me to catch up but it was only because one of the group got a punctured tire and was stopped on the side of the road waiting for a spare from the support wagon. I “raced” on ahead but then had to come to a complete halt at a junction in the road. I had no idea which direction to go in and based on previous experience, I always choose the wrong way! Then it was all downhill to here:

Cool shot, no? And despite how unflattering bike shorts are (believe me, they have this uncanny ability to widen your hips, exactly at the most unattractive part!), I think I actually look good here. I think it’s the shirt that’s too big!

Anyway, from this point on, we drove on to Latrun, where just a few kilometers away from the halfway point, I got a punctured tire as well. Now I really felt part of the group! I drove up in the support wagon the rest of the way and there they changed the front tire for me (there was a supply of tires in the van).

We then started on the way back but around 46km into my ride, they asked me to get into the van as the distance between me and the rest of the riders was too great – not to worry, I’ll be practicing and one day I’ll be able to stay with them the entire distance!

There were a few more punctured tires along the way and I watched how these guys were changing their inner tubes – it’s dirty work but I suppose I’ll have to deal with it at some point on my own. Towards the end of the ride, more people were tired and wanted to hitch a ride back with the van so I asked if I could finish the ride out on my own. I was psyched – the last 5km was a slight downhill so I ended it with an easy ride back to my car, with a great sense of accomplishment!

Total stats: 51.36km in 2:31hrs. According to Garmin I burned 1,035 calories – not completely sure about that but who am I to argure with Garmin. Also, Garmin had an elevation reading of 465meters – it doesn’t seem like a lot but those uphills were killers! I have a new-found respect for riders of the Tour de France (drugs or no drugs!)

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July 15, 2010

As if I was in China

Posted in Training at 8:47 pm by Lisa

So this morning’s workout with Lior was short and intense. Which is a good thing because I was really tired. And it was really hot and humid. And my stomach was still a little queasy…

Could you get motion sickness from swimming in a pool? I think so (even though Lior said it was just what I ate). Last night I went to the pool and after about 40 minutes I started feeling really nauseous. What a drag. I managed to get 1,200 meters done but just didn’t feel like I could do anymore.

In any event, I had to get home and eat dinner so I could go out for my mah jong game.  There were only three of us (which makes for a very weird game) but I got mah jong twice! (Well, three times but I can’t really count that because I exposed a concealed hand. Which sucks because I might have won anyway because the other two hands were after the exact same tiles.) So I won’t count the cheating one, but the other two wins were awesome – one was the hardest hand on the card (or at least the highest bet) – never mind that I won it with 5 jokers – it’s part of the game. And it just made the next hand that much more sweet cause there were lots of pairs involved so I had to actually throw out jokers (cause, for the 10th time, you can’t use a joker in a pair!). Anyway, late night out and I had to get up early for my run.

But this morning I was feeling pretty lethargic so we settled on just doing hills – didn’t know there were hills in Tel Aviv, right? Well go to the boardwalk and start running up behind the Hilton hotel. Fast. They’re short but steep and just right for a quick workout. In the end, 3.7km and hopefully some good speed work accomplished but it was a tough one.

Including the run I had to do going up backwards. Try that sometime – it’s hard! Never mind that I couldn’t see where I was going and I was sure I was going to fall (forwards! backwards! somehow in both directions!) but because I was using muscles in different ways, it was way more exhausting to do a hill like that once, than to do the same hill three times in a row. However, it was funny because it reminded me of a story that Li-at told after her trip to China – she and her mom saw all these people walking around backwards and when they asked what everyone was doing, they were told that it was exercise, “and very good for you!” I totally believe that now!

On the way back to the gym, I asked Lior if he had any bike shorts I could borrow for my ride on Sat. morning. I think that out of all the things I was worried about (ride being too long, getting a flat tire, not being able to keep up with the group), I was most concerned with my butt! How was I going to be able to sit on a bike seat for 4-5 hours without special bike shorts? Padding I’ve got, but there’s a limit to how much a fat ass will help. Anyway Lior was a star and came through with not just bike shorts but a bike jersey as well! Now I’ve got lots of pockets to put all my energy bars.

Of course, now I have just one more thing to add to my really crazy morning tomorrow – in addition to the morning swim (hopefully it really was the plum that I ate and not motion sickness), the telephone company coming by to fix the outlet (switching to a new company to save over 100 shekels a month), getting my hair cut (desperate for this!), dropping my boots off at the shoemaker (keeping my fingers crossed that they can be fixed before the upcoming hike in August), and meeting a nutritionist (did I mention that last week I gained a kilo and 3% body fat?!? We’ll see if she’s got anything interesting to say – I’ve been keeping a food journal for the past two weeks). Now I can add “buy lots of energy bars” to the list.

Good thing I have to get up at the crack of dawn to move the car from it’s parking spot. Well, I just exhausted myself reading about all the stuff I have to do – I’ve got to get some sleep!

July 12, 2010

Highlight Reel

Posted in Training at 6:38 am by Lisa

Bad blogger, Lisa! The whole week gone without a word. That’s not to say I haven’t composed about 10 posts in my head – all funny and interesting – but instead you’re going to get stuck reading the below. Oh well, if I wasn’t so tired after getting home, I’d be able to write more frequently – instead I’m trying to be really good about getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep. I think it will make a difference in keeping injuries away. I’m not sure where the time goes – are my total hours at work so much more than other people? My commute time is not that bad at all. (Although it’s probably the time I spend looking for parking!) Anyway, maybe now that the World Cup is over (yeah, Spain!) and Lance has crashed big time out of the Tour de France (watch for him next year in Hawaii at the Ironman comp!), I’ll have more free time.

So what were the highlights for me this week? Certainly not the chocolate bar I had for dinner on Saturday night. Didn’t even really want it but it was in the house. Talk about emotional eating – this was pure robotic eating. But I had it because of the Flamenco performance I saw on Thursday night with Sivia (Flamenco performance – highlight!). Great show by the New Spanish Ballet. And why did I need a chocolate bar? Well, it was so good I didn’t need it (although I did finish the box of skittles I bought – I have a tendency to fall asleep at these performances as soon as possible and since I hate when that happens, I try to eat myself awake. Weird, but what can I do.

And on Thurs. night I was extra tired because I had a morning run with Lior – we did 5km – each km faster than the previous one (starting with 5:57min/km and ending with 5:15min/km) – that’s great for me! Most definitely a highlight, especially since my foot was feeling ok and didn’t bother me too much for the rest of the day – most definitely on the mend.

On Wednesday night, I was at the pool – ended up doing 1,600 meters (without even feeling it – thought of doing 1,200 but felt good and kept on going) – most definitely a highlight! That distance translates to 1.6 kilometers which is 1 mile! One mile in the pool – how cool is that?!? (But I think the 1,600 meter number sounds better!)

Anyway, the rest of the week was the usual strength workouts, Etgarim run (I was a taskmaster to Shmulik and Hila last week – “we’re running my pace and only my pace!” But we did about 5km – and Garmin had us at a steady pace of 7:24min/km for 3 km and then 2 km at 6:24 and 6:17. Nice job!), bike and run with Tamar.

That Saturday bike ride was not a highlight. It only gets mentioned because I’ve got an epic ride coming up! I just signed up last night for a 90km bike ride on Saturday morning (sorry Tamar!). Very nervous but very, very excited (excited trumps nervous!)! There will probably be about 25 riders and they’ll be practicing riding in a peloton. I’ll be practicing how to keep up with the peloton without falling too far behind. Although you save about 30% energy from riding in these groups, I’m about 50% less in riding shape than the others so it will be a challenge for me – it’s an escorted ride though so I’ve been told by the leader that if I get really tired after awhile, I can get a lift in the car until I’m ready to bike again. Good to have an escape plan but hopefully I won’t need it!

And the final highlight – Lior asked if I wanted to join a relay race of 100 miles taking place down South at the end of October. I hesitated about 30 seconds but then decided I wanted in! We’ll see how that actually goes since I know these people and honestly I don’t know if it will actually come to pass but if it does – awesome! Can’t wait!

Until then, I’ll be slogging along, sharing the highlights of my “slog” with you! Have a great week!

July 3, 2010

Weekly Recap

Posted in Training at 3:09 pm by Lisa

I’m ready for a nap! But I’m waiting to return Pamela’s bike to her and then maybe I’ll try and catch the Argentina-Germany game. So there goes my window…

I was up at 5:30am today because I wanted to get in a decent bike ride after a disappointing one last week. With only one day available for a real ride, I have to make it count. So I ended up going in circles again but at least there were 2 different circles this time.

Yesterday I scoped out the road surrounding the Kiriyah (no idea how to spell that! It’s the army headquarters situated in the heart of Tel Aviv). I figured that as long the roads were nicely paved, multiple lanes and most important, little traffic so early in the morning I would be ok. I wanted to focus on a hill that is on that route – however in the car, that “hill” measured only 100 meters. How come when I’m walking up that hill! it feels like half a mile?!

Anyway, I did that loop 4 times and then decided that there was starting to be more cars than were really comfortable for me so I rode over to the park. And there I did my old faithful loop. I stopped after an hour to eat a protein bar (ok, a snickers-like candy bar marketed to be an energy bar – high point of the ride!) and watch some dog-training going on.

After another 3 loops, powered by peanuts (and I think that was the actual slogan!), I rode to Tamar, dropped my bike off and we were off for a run. We did a slow 5.5km – both my heel and knees felt ok so I’ve got high hopes that I’m on the mend. After our run, we met up with Amy for breakfast (more food – love exercising on Saturday mornings!).

I had a swim yesterday – par for the course, I can’t remember the exact distance – it was either 1,000 meters or 1,250. I was in the pool for about an hour and after each 10 laps, I checked the time and was doing those 10 laps in about 10 minutes or so. I find it hard to believe that I lost 20 minutes messing around in the pool, just trying to figure out the time cause I couldn’t really see, arguing with another person who was in my lane, etc. (Why is it so hard to follow the instructions of swimming on the right side – it makes life so much easier for everyone. This guy complained because if people are slower it causes problems, etc. No. What causes problems is if you do this ridiculous back stroke with both hands at the same time which takes up more than your half of the lane. When I got out of the pool – out of the 10 people there, only 2 were doing freestyle and everyone else was doing this modified back/breast stroke which is just so bizarre – I can’t even see any exercise value there.)

Anyway, the rest of the week was the usual Etgarim run, weights, swim with one additional session of Krav Maga. Instead of running on Thursday with Lior, we decided to have a lesson in this Israeli-originated type of fighting (cause of course he has a brown belt in Krav Maga. I’ve yet to mention any kind of sport and not have him say he was an expert in it. That’s what happens when you grow up on a kibbutz.)

I now know how to disarm someone who has a gun to my head. When I mentioned that at work I was promptly shown again how to do it by Gabi’s 6-year old son, Gilad, who’s studying Karate. Of course, I had to have the gun and he was the one who disarmed me. Considering that I’ve already forgotten most of what I learned on Thursday, I’m sure that Gilad will have a better chance against any bad guys who might come around.

Go Argentina!!