Category Archives: Cross Training

Out of My Comfort Zone

The past week I’ve really gotten out of my comfort zone.


I know a fair number of triathletes. While I certainly don’t aspire to do a triathlon, I am curious about swimming. Not open water swim, just pool swimming.

Mind you, I do know how to swim. Thanks to my parents my sister and I had swim lessons for many summers when we were kids. I can get from point A to point B. What I can’t do is swim really well, or fast. There is really no reason for me to do so but I would like to swim as a means of cross training and to build some upper body strength.

I have a friend who is participating in the Trek Across Maine with me. As a fundraising event, she decided to hold a swim clinic. She is an avid swimmer that also used to teach swimming. Anyone wanting to participate in the 2-hour clinic was asked to make a donation to her Trek Across Maine. So, a good cause and something I wanted to learn how to do.

I have not been swimming in over 10 years. I thought, “Piece of cake. I can do this.” Just like riding a bike. But I was surprised at how freaked out I was. I mean I was really uncomfortable. Even though we went through some instructions and worked some drills, I focused mainly on the basics and just getting comfortable in the water.

By the end of the class I was thoroughly pooped. Swimming is HARD! Much harder than I anticipated. And when I would swim a lap, I couldn’t make it all the way to the end without stopping. Partly I think it was because I’d lose my rhythm. That other part was because I just wasn’t used to it. (See above – swimming is HARD!)


I have signed up for several Time Trials this year. I decided early on this was going to be more of a focus this year. I convinced my husband to by me a snazzy time trial helmet for Christmas.

Recently my friend, Marianne, gave me her aerobars. She used them last year to win the Maine Time Trial Series. Perhaps they will bring me a little luck!

With my first time trial only a few weeks away it was time to get out and practice on them. That took a bit getting used to. I felt so unstable. I also felt like I was veering more to the left than keeping a straight line. After several miles I finally became accustomed to the positioning and well as keeping my upper body relaxed. I do this in my normal position on the bike but not in a aero position. If I tightened my upper body even a little I could tell the difference and felt how unstable I became. So it was important for me to focus on being relaxed.

During my practice session I wasn’t focused on speed, but more on positioning and the feel of  the aerobars. Later on in the ride, when I became more comfortable, I was able to pull up my speed a bit, hit bumps that I was afraid to ride over initially, and also tackle a few descents in the aero position. (But nothing too long, my route was pretty flat, luckily.)

It was good to get out of my comfort zone with these new experiences. Now I just have to continue to do a little bit of both so that they become comfortable to me.

Snow Shoeing

We finally had a chance to use our snow shoes today at a local golf course a few miles from our home. It was a beautiful day with temps in the mid-30’s and not a cloud in the sky. There are lots of groomed areas for skiers and plenty of pure powder to trudge in.

(Husband Don and friend Tracey.)

(Groomed trails with bright blue sky.)

(Lots of virgin snow.)

(A genuine smile on my face.)

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be equally as nice. As tempting as a bike ride would be, I might head out on the snow shoes again instead. I’ll dress with fewer layers if I do – I was highly over dressed today.

First PVC Women’s Clinic

Go check out the recap and photos at the PVC Women’s Blog.

November Riding

At 52 degrees at 7:30 this morning, it certainly didn’t feel like November. However, is still looked like November.

Nov 01, 2009

Due to the temperatures I was able to ride in shorts today with a little embrocation on my legs. I’m using the Mad Alchemy Cold Weather Mellow.

I managed a nice 2-hour ride this morning before a 1.5 hour yoga class. It felt good to dedicate my entire morning to my fitness.

It’s officially the off season for me so time to refocus, think about my goals for 2010, and set a plan in motion to achieve them. They won’t be lofty goals – nothing like making a podium at a given race. But more along the lines of which races I’d like to participate in, what areas in my fitness I need to work on, and whatnot.

Yoga will play a big part of my off season this year. What are some of the things you are going to do in your off season?


Back on Track

After a short team meeting I’m back on track with training. I was at the gym for a 90-minute spin class today and then back home for another hour. The goal was another 90-minutes at home but after starting some one-legged drills the cramps started setting in.

These are cramps on the inside of the thighs. Weird and debilitating! Time to increase the calcium/magnesium supplements again. I’ve backed off because of the lower efforts but it’s time to get back to the twice a day dosage.

Tomorrow will be a 2-hour spin. Yippee!

It’s time to refocus. I’ll be out on the road in March, weather permitting, so I need to put my energy into the bike and not spend as much time on the treadmill.

I am amazed at how fast the winter off season has gone. I guess I kept thinking I had more time to prepare but that time has slipped away. I’m happy in a way to be facing only 4 more weeks inside with the possibility of a few outdoor rides in the near future.

It’s Coming Back

I think I took too much time off the bike. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of fitness – but I really needed the time off.

My fitness is coming back, slowly, but it’s coming back. Surprisingly after Sunday’s spin I wasn’t wiped out. I managed to make it through the remainder of the day without the aid of a nap.

Tonight my run was actually enjoyable. It was still hard and I put in a good effort, but it felt good, or as good as it can.

Spring is a mere 8 weeks away. Though sometimes it takes a bit longer to arrive here in Maine. I’ll be back on the road soon (hopefully in March) and it’s time for some significant fitness building in preparation.

The Days are Growing Longer

It’s not dark when I leave work these days. That’s a reminder that spring is fast approaching, though it’s hard to believe that with the 13+ inches of snow we received Sunday. With the arrival of spring brings the arrival of cycling season. So it’s time to step up the workouts so I’m properly prepared.

I’ve been taking it easy with low-key workouts. Now it’s time to bump up the intensity a bit to work on my fitness. The treadmill is going to help. This morning I managed a nice tempo ride on the bike (while trying to be quiet so as to not wake my sleeping husband) and tonight I hit the treadmill for a while. It was tempting to blow it off but I made myself. Once I found my rhythm it felt great!

Now, if I could just shed a few pounds in the process.

Enjoy the increasing light. We are up to almost 30 minutes increase in light! We’ll be back on the bike for real soon!

No More Excuses

I have no more excuses for not doing a little cross training. For me this comes in the form of running.


My husband decided he wanted a treadmill. It was understood that if we had a treadmill I would also use it a lot. So when it came time to buy one, we decided to buy a nice one. The lesser expensive models are good for walkers, but not runners.

After all the research, we decided on the Sole F63.  It was just delivered Friday so I spent most of the afternoon Saturday rearranging the room to accommodate it. I think this is going to work with both the bike and trainer facing the TV, and near the stereo.

I really like the cockpit of this machine.


I’m not sure how well the fans will work but they are a good extra. I really like the MP3 and head phone jacks. There are incline and speed adjustments on the bars next to you for easy adjustment – very user friendly.

We have officially turned our spare room into a home gym. It’s much more appealing to workout there than in the basement and that’s why we’ve put the treadmill there. I didn’t want to put it in the basement and then it not be used because it’s not a good area. No excuses!

Since writing this post I have gone for a run on the treadmill. It’s really nice and I’m pleased with it. I especially like the speakers for the MP3 player, though I don’t think my husband was happy when I subjected him to my workout music.


Sunday a group of friends were organizing a ride. I didn’t feel like joining them. However, I did feel like going for a run. So I did.

I ran 4 miles around the Baxter Boulevard, only stopping to grab a quick drink at each of the three water fountains. That’s not half bad for someone that hasn’t done any running since before cycling season.

This is the time of year I wind down with cycling and explore other workout options such as walking or running. Last November I even ran my first 5K. I’m considering another race this fall. Although just running a bit on my own is just as good.

I jokingly told a friend that the following day I probably wouldn’t be able to walk. I hate it when I’m right.

I had a really bad case of the DOMS Monday. I hobbled around the office all day. Not only did my quads, hamstrings, and glutes hurt, but my abs also hurt from the situps I did after the run.

I am a stupid enthusiastic fool!

I managed a walk Monday evening. I started out very slow but picked it up after a while because my legs were finally stretching out. I think it worked because today I was much less sore.

I’ll run again as soon as I can. It’s good strength training, my ultimate goal for next year. I might even manage to lose a few pounds in the process.