“So Hot I Sweat My Scab Off” is Now Officially a Thing

Dec 22

“So Hot I Sweat My Scab Off” is Now Officially a Thing

Every once in a while I make a return to yoga as if I’m trying it out for the first time and have forgotten how much I “nothing” it. It’s like forgetting how crappy candy corn is for 11 months out of the year, only to rediscover it in October and remember how waxy it tastes. Nonetheless, I thought I’d give hot yoga a try because I’m doing two tropical destination half Ironman races next season and figured the humid yoga room could potentially help a bit with acclimation. I’ve done hot yoga a couple times. It’s not bad, but since I’m naturally a sweaty person, I’m literally the only one in the room whose shins are sweating because I’m perspiring so much. I end up in my shame corner soaking wet while these yoga goddesses in booty shorts, sports bras, and 12-packs are contorting their bodies into pretzels without even a strand of hair getting frizzy. It’s lame. This time around I bought a Living Social (or Groupon, or whatever the daily deal site was) special for a hot yoga place in Capitol Hill and my friend Lauren and I met up to try it out. We showed up and filled out the “I won’t sue the facility if I sweat myself to death” forms, then dropped our stuff off in the locker room before stepping into the hot yoga room. The first thing I noticed (and smelled) was that the space was carpeted. Uh what? This is a 90-minute yoga session in which the room is heated to over 90 degrees and someone thought it’d be smart to carpet the floors? It stank like musty feet and stale armpit sweat. I was not thrilled. Lauren and I set up shop in the back of the room. I spread out my brand new yoga mat that I bought off Amazon.com because apparently forest green is an unpopular mat color (pink, on the other hand, would have cost me a monthly car payment). The sinewy instructor entered and started the group off with a ridiculously long series of breaths and shouts. Everyone began to moan as if they were zombies, and I instinctively looked for the nearest ax or...

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Stop Trying to Make Flip Turns Happen, Teresa

Dec 06

Stop Trying to Make Flip Turns Happen, Teresa

I’ve been forcing myself to go to the group swims held every other weekend in an effort to improve my swim splits this coming season from “abysmal” to “passably mediocre.” I went to the first one on dead legs thanks to two hours of workouts beforehand, then missed the second group swim because I was running on empty and needed a rest day. The third class was this past weekend, and as always, I dreaded it because it involved me getting into a pool and using horrible form to propel myself through chilly chlorinated water. For this particular swim class, however, Teresa decided to torture me further by announcing that we were all going to work on flip turns. Unsurprisingly, this mediocre athlete don’t do flip turns. I very obviously lack the coordination and skill to pull off a graceful somersault in the water and push off the wall in one fluid motion. Once I went to a flip turn clinic that Teresa was teaching at the Seattle Athletic Club, and not only did I burn out my sinuses from the military-grade chlorine that flooded my nasal passages every time I contorted my body underwater (Teresa’s shouts to “Tuck your chin!” did not help, as apparently I am incapable of scrunching my head in that manner), I would more often than not attempt to flip at the end of the lane and end up in the one next to me, having somehow maneuvered myself underneath the lane divider and crookedly emerging in some other swimmer’s personal space. “Just practice doing flip turns during your warm ups and cool downs!”, Teresa would tell me. Uh yeah, if I can’t even stay in my lane during a mostly empty swim clinic, I can’t imagine a pool full of lap swimmers would appreciate my flailing appendages slapping into them while I repeatedly apologize and insist to their bruised faces that practice makes perfect. So yeah, flip turns aren’t for me. It’s not a big deal–I’m slow and crappy enough as it is, so adding a flip turn into the mix isn’t going to be the deciding factor in me suddenly becoming as fast as Dara Torres. When I get to the wall...

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My First Transition Clinic and Open Water Swim

Dec 27

My First Transition Clinic and Open Water Swim

Early in my first triathlon season back in 2008, I attended a transition clinic to learn about how triathlon transitions work. For those of you not in the know, a triathlon has two transitions, one from the swim to the bike and one from the bike to the run. The transition area is where you run into when you emerge from the swim and store items like your wetsuit, bike, bike gear, running shoes, extra water bottles, a large pepperoni pizza, one of those “Hang in there” inspirational posters, etc. Since I didn’t know anything about transitions (or triathlons, for that matter), I went to the clinic to learn how to ease from one sport into the next without looking like a complete asstard.

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My Mr. Burns-esque Triceps

Dec 19

My Mr. Burns-esque Triceps

One of my greatest triathlon weaknesses (aside from running and biking, of course) is swimming. I don’t like swimming. I feel like my stamina in the water sucks, I drag my arm too much, my turnover is too slow, I’m either too hot or too cold, my wet suit is ghetto and ill-fitting, and I find swim training boring and craptacular. My disdain for swimming has reflected in my swim times: every race except for one has resulted in disappointment. I want to improve a lot in 2009, and I figured that a huge area of opportunity would be improving my swim. I think I can shave anywhere from 5-15 minutes off my worst half Ironman swim time, depending on how much I train. So I cued up the training montage music and signed up for a dry land swim conditioning class that would help strengthen my body and improve my swim stroke, technique, and stamina. Teresa teaches the swim conditioning class, and for good reason. She swam for the University of Nevada-Reno and is one fast mofo. My triathlon trainer is often the first female out of the water during races, and she was the fastest female swimmer in her age division at the Kona World Championships. She is pretty much twice as fast as me in the water. It’s depressing. I remember that for my first open water swim she gave me like a 5 minute head start before swimming after me, and she and I got to the buoy at the same time. Sigh. Anyway, I signed up for an hour of interval bike training and then did the swim conditioning class immediately afterwards. I’m not that hungry in the mornings so all I had to eat before working out was 3/4 of a Kashi Go Lean bar and some water. By the end of my dual workout I was ready to devour a mid-size farm animal. Betsy was my swim conditioning buddy that morning. We started by squatting down and chucking a huge weighted ball back and forth to each other, then we did about 40 triceps dips. After more ball passes and a second set of dips I was already feeling the dreaded jell-o...

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Yoga Flow, That is the Tempo

Dec 06

Yoga Flow, That is the Tempo

This week I tried a yoga class for the first time. Having been unimpressed with Pilates (well, with the class I tried, anyway), I didn’t have high expectations for yoga but nevertheless felt like I should at least give it a try, seeing as how I’ve met my share of buff women who swear by it. I entered the dimly lit yoga room about a minute after the class started. It was full of men and women who were sitting cross-legged on yoga mats. I panicked when I thought it was BYOM (Bring Your Own Mat) but then saw a stack of extras in the corner of the room. After grabbing a mat, I picked an open spot on the floor and sat down…then I stood back up and kicked off my socks and shoes when I realized that everyone else was barefoot. (Seriously, what is with yoga and Pilates being barefoot requisite? The only exercise I’m used to doing sans shoes is swimming.) The yoga instructor was giving us pleasant-sounding instructions amid the New Age music and the white Christmas lights. She kept flicking her eyes over to me, having noticed the Outsider vibes I was giving off. I don’t blame her for staring — I was the only person in the room wearing a tank top and exercise shorts, so I must have looked downright nutty compared to the fashionable yogaphiles in leg warmers, almost pants, and off-the shoulder sweaters. I felt like I was in a room full of Flashdance extras. We started the class off with a few minutes of meditation. The instructor told us to close our eyes and just “relax and let the day’s events melt away.” I found that it was difficult to close my eyes and relax while loud trash talking permeated the room from the adjacent basketball court. It’s not easy to ignore repeated shouts of “AGHHHHH!” and “Not in MY house!” Somehow, everyone else in the room managed to close their eyes and appeared to go to their happy places while I looked around and gawked at them. (I do the same thing at dinners whenever the family insists on saying grace before we eat.) From there we did...

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