Where is My Mojo

Archive for May, 2011|Monthly archive page

Article: Develop World-Class Open Water Swim Mechanics

In Triathlons on May 31, 2011 at 6:03 PM
I thought this article was very interesting! Here it is! Enjoy!

An expensive sport? Let’s talk biking.

In Bike, Triathlons on May 31, 2011 at 5:00 PM

I had drafted this entry a month ago. Between training, work, the Dude, his family (my new family), my Pochos, exhaustion, feeling blue, having to put one of my Pochos to sleep, laziness, lack of inspiration, and … I can go on forever!!! In any case, I’m almost back. Let’s see how this streak of inspiration lasts…

So, back to what matters. Triathlons. The bike. Now, here is where it can get pricey. For starters you need a bike and you can find those at any price… from $600 to $20,000. Now this can be a nightmare and to be honest I’m still learning differences in types of bikes (road or tri-bikes), frame materials (aluminum, carbon), etc. So choosing one is difficult. Additionally, with the bike come many other gear and accessories you will need. Some may be “luxury” but others are a need.

Our coach took us on a bike store tour so we can get a better understanding of the subject, the options, the store services, etc. It was very enlightening and confusing at the same time, because that’s when you ask yourself “What the hell should I get?”. After the tour I came to some conclusions: 1) I had no clue of my level of seriousness and commitment to this sport and 2) I didn’t have the budget to go out and spend $1,000 for a bike. I needed a bike that if I didn’t continue in the tri arena, I could put a basket on the handles and a ding-dong bell to move people out of the way. So with that as a filter I started my quest. I went for a road bike.

  1. Bike – as said before these can go from accessible to ridiculously expensive. You pick. No judgement. Hey, if you have the money go out crazy and get yourself the Rolls Royce of the tri-bike world. I got an aluminum Cannondale road bike for women, and paid $600 because it was on sale. Because I have no previous reference of racing on a bike, this one is perfect. I’m sure one day if I become super serious with the sport and trade up I will notice a huge difference in performance. But for now this is perfect for me.
  2. Bike Shoes – Now, if you are going into the tri-world, why not get the click shoes? You can compete in your running shoes with regular pedals, but hey, como on, go all the way and get the shoes and install the corresponding pedals. What does this do for you? Well, aside from attaching your feet to the pedals and feeling you are glued to the bike, hence you fall with the bike on you, unless of course you detached from the pedals on time, they keep your foot rigid, for more-efficient transfer of power from the cyclist to the pedals, weight, a method of attaching the shoe firmly to the pedal and adaptability for use on and off the bicycle. I got mine for no more than $100, but they come in different prices. After a couple of months, I heard they were not great shoes, but for now it’s what I have and what I will stick to. Maybe next year, if I continue with the passion for the sport, I’ll get a good pair.
  3. Helmet – not much to say here, other than it’s a MUST. Helmets have saved many cyclists’ lives. Our coaches do not let anyone ride if they do not bring their helmets. Mine was a gift from the Dude. ❤
  4. Gloves – Essential especially for training and long rides. When you are racing, forget about them. They will just add time to your transition. Mine cost me around $30.
  5. Ride Glide – You might ask yourself what this is, just as I when my coach told me about it. It’s a cream you spread on your little parts to make the ride less uncomfortable. Read me well… less uncomfortable, not more comfortable. What I feel is a menthol-ish sensation that kinda numbs the area. However, you will still feel discomfort while riding. The ride glide I use is Hoo Ha. Now that said, there is NOT enough Hoo Ha in the WORLD to make the ride a pleasant one.
  6. Bike Pump – You need one. I don’t have one because, yes, I use the Dude’s. But do need to get myself one because the Dude is also training, and we do not train together. We train with different groups. So, sometimes he’s in need of the pump, and the thing is laying in my car trunk riding around Miami. So, I’m getting one.
  7. Biking shorts – they are horrendous! So not glamorous! It’s like wearing a pair of short running tights with a huge diaper inside, and sometimes it looks more like a soiled diaper than a fresh one. BUT, it helps cushion the impact of the road, a bit. I guess if you ride more eventually, one day, a callus will develop there and you will not feel a thing. In my case, I haven’t riding that much. I really can’t imagine how this discomfort will ever go away. Now price wise, these can go any where from $60 to $130+. I got mine on sale. I can’t remember how much I paid for them, but somewhere around $40 I suppose. Now, these shorts are not intended to be used during a race. If you do, you will probably drown because of dragging that wet diaper around.
  8. Cadence and Speed monitor – or what some call a computer. And no, it’s not a laptop strapped to your handles. It’s more like this. Cadence tells you how many revolutions per minute you are doing, basically how many times you spin the wheels per minute. Our coach will us what our cadence should be throughout training or during a race, so you need to pedal all the way while maintaining the said cadence by shifting gears.
So many things to get, and I’m just mentioning the obvious ones… On top of that you want to look good and have the latest, so you’ll be shopping for nice tops, socks, shorts, etc. So the bottom line is… look for the places where they have a good selection, great brands and regular sales. Also, if you are part of a training group or club sometimes the organizers have negotiated discounts with specialized stores to give group/club members discounts. These really help.
In any case, take your time, do your research and have fun, because this thing is addictive!!!!

Tri Camp with my Coach!

In Triathlons on May 31, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Tri camp! Don’t miss it!!!

Interesting article “Addicted to Exercise?”

In Triathlons on May 9, 2011 at 4:33 PM

I just saw this article on one of the coaches’ Facebook page, and thought it’d be interesting to share.

Happy reading!

An expensive sport? Let’s do it cheaper!

In Swim, Triathlons on May 6, 2011 at 6:30 PM

It really depends on how much are you willing to spend. Of course, the dollars add up, but you can control how much “up” you want them to add.

As you know, a triathlon is about three distinct sports: Swimming, Biking & Running, therefore you need to gear up for each discipline. For some you don’t need much, but for others you do, and those “do’s” can cost money, and yes it’s the biking one that can push your budget up!

So I thought I would just list out the so needed gear by discipline and comment on each one of them, and even recommending places where to shop. I’m in Miami so I do a lot of in-store shopping, but some of these stores have online purchasing capabilities, in case you are interested in checking them out. Just so you know, these are the things I have, I’m sure there are plenty more and sophisticated stuff out there that can help you in your training/performance. Remember, I’m not an expert… I just want to be a triathlete.

Because I don’t want to bore you with a LONG post, today I will focus on Swimming, and then tomorrow perhaps on biking and then Sunday (if I survive all the training) will talk about running.

Swim:

  1. Swimming cap – you can buy them at any sports store for less than $20. My first cap was given to me by one of my friends and team mates. She bought it especially for me because it was for long hair. Now my hair is shorter, but I still use it. However, because it’s gray, when I go swimming in open water I use more colorful and catchy caps to alert other people and boaters that I’m there. I guess they will see from afar something like a match head floating in the water. I found some really cool and fun ones in SwimOutlet.com. I got one that says “Got Chlorine?”, another one with a smily face, one with assorted colored cubes and one that’s kinda psychedelic a-la-Austin-Powers (yeah, baby! Yeah! – sorry, I had too). As you will see, they are not expensive. This is one piece of gear you will need for a race, however these are provided to you by the race coordinators. Each wave/group of swimmers have a determined color, as you compete by categories.
  2. Goggles – same here. You can get them at any store and they are not expensive. You can find these for less than $20. I bought mine with The Dude. He selected them for me and those are the only ones I have so far. I’m planning on buying a pair with a darker shade for the sun. Sometimes when you are swimming and stick your head out to take some air, you find yourself partially blind because of the sun. Not good. Now these too you need for a race, and they are not provided to you, so you need to bring your own.
  3. Kicking board – Well, I had no idea how much this one cost until I saw Trijungle’s site, and yes, you can find these too at less than 20 bucks! I use The Dude’s board. He lent it to me and then he got a new one. So, I guess, technically, it’s mine now (?). This is something you will need for training purposes only. When team or individual training, we have to do several drills with it, especially for warm ups.
  4. Pull bouy – this little thing is a tricky fellow. This goes between your legs while your swim putting pressure on them. The idea is to provide buoyancy to the legs to keep them from sinking while you keep your legs immobile, while you focus on training your arms. This will also in keeping your kicking under control. I learned that kicking doesn’t really make you move forward, it’s your stroke that does it all. When I first tried this I was going crazy, tilting from one side to the other. I’m still working on it. Again, very inexpensive, and only needed for training purposes, so don’t put it in your transition bag cause it ain’t doing a thing for you!
  5. Hand paddles – These plastic devices are worn on your hands to enhance muscle build-up or speed during your swimming practice. I haven’t used these much, but will be as I’m taking swimming classes with my coach. I borrowed mine from guess who? Yes, The Dude.
  6. Fins – another swimming prop help develop leg strength as well as improve your body position in the water. The idea, according to me, is to do your drills with these on, and when you swim in the “real world” a.k.a. race, you will be faster. I have the these and actually got them cheaper at Sports Authority if I’m not mistaken.
  7. Swim suit for training – well, normally everybody has one, so it’s not like you cannot begin training because you don’t have one. Now, I got one because I didn’t have a full body one, so I got your typical training/racing one, and with this what I mean is I didn’t get a South Beach glam type of suit. This one is a non-form beneficial type. Yes, you don’t look HOT in it. Because I’m practical I bought one that is reversible. One side is green, like REALLY striking green, and on the other is black. Something like this. Additionally, I have a pair swim shorts, which are for men but who cares, they fit (actually nicer than the swim suit), and that way I don’t need to be showing extra skin when training with my teammates. Swim suits/shorts vary in price. Just look for materials that will endure many uses especially in a chlorine environment. Now, for racing the best thing to have is a tri suit, either a two piece or one piece. I have both, but for the two races I’ve done, I’ve used the one piece. I bought Zoot because it’s a good tri apparel brand and also, quite frankly, they were on sale (great sale) at one of my new favorite stores Mack Cycle. Tri suites take you throughout the entire race without having to take anything off or put anything on when it comes to clothing. It’s like being naked and only having to change shoes, helmet to running cap, etc. It’s one less thing to worry about.

Additionally, I have a wetsuit which I’ve only worn once, and a neoprene shirt which I do wear a lot, especially when I go to swim in the LA Fitness pool, which is supposed to be heated, but to my standards, it’s NOT! I admit not tolerating cold very well, unless I’m properly covered, and in water there’s not a lot you can do. By the way, that wetsuit I would wear with high heels and go party!!! The body that thing gives you is incredible!

Now, if you have the time and the interest, do a little price search for these items and see how much hypothetically you would be spending just in the swimming department. Again you can get great price-accessible stuff, or you can go out there to get top of the line brands. Because I’m in an entry level phase, I try to be humble in terms of what I get and the price I pay. Of course I look for good brands, but I try to find the opportunities to save some cash!

Thanks for reading me and if you have any suggestions, comments, etc for me, leave me a note!

Transition Bag

In Triathlons on May 5, 2011 at 6:47 PM

So I thought I could write about some of the equipment, accessories, apparel, etc every once in a while to keep me writing-wise busy and you guys reading!

Let’s talk transition bag… What? It’s the bag where you put all your gear for the race, from helmet to biking & running shoes, to even your wetsuit if the race is wetsuit legal. Add in your fluids, snacks, sunglasses, I even throw in a comb so I can look descent after the race. I got my Real Joe and Jane Bag by Rocket Science Sports for my second race. For the first one I was walking glamorously to the transition area with a big Longchamps bag with short handles. Not good. While a lot of my stuff fit into it, it was a hassle to carry around hanging from one shoulder while walking alongside my bike. My coach Andy recommended the Real Joe & Jane because everything fit well in it, and it had a nice price tag ($60). Because it’s a backpack your hands are free to maneuver your bike around. 

I can tell you it has been one of the best purchases I’ve made. EVERYTHING fits nicely in, and I agree with this review 100%!

BTW, they have it in pink for “little girls” but I got mine in red. Pink just isn’t my thing.

Exhausted

In Bike, Run, Swim, Triathlons on May 5, 2011 at 4:42 PM

And so the Egg Hunt Triathlon came and went. On its way out, it left behind, and impregnated on me, the familiar post-event blues which I’ve always dreaded. Christmas, my birthday, trips, and any event that I await for with tremendous anticipation, leave me with a complete sense of loss and no purpose to continue moving at the same pace. I guess that’s why I immediately try to jump into something else, something new, or lately, another triathlon.

However, this time I think I’m exhausted. May 15th is Tri-Miami and I haven’t registered yet. I guess I want to take my time to train better in the open waters… and be able to swim freestyle all the way to the shore. Also, this week I haven’t been too diligent with my training. Saturday & Sunday I trained, but this week I haven’t done a thing. Today I’m swimming with my coach, and although I would prefer to go home and hide from the world, I will step up to my obligations.

Yes, I think I will be passing on this race and I’ll probably hate myself for it at the beginning, but my body is somehow asking for some rest. It’s amazing how a couple of days after the race I felt no pain, no aches, no nothing. Four days later, I felt the world had fallen on my back. It must’ve been that the adrenaline rush was coming to its expiration date leaving me in a complete state of soreness. Oh, but how I liked that soreness. It’s the sensation of personal triumph… you know, the I-feel-like-crap-but-look-at-all-I-accomplished sensation. Again, you feel like the champion of the world, of your own little world, which is completely Ok with me, because remember… success is relative!

Now, I need to stop because my writing juices are not flowing as they should. I hope tomorrow I’m in better shape and can write some more.

P.S.: I’m leaving you with some pictures from the Egg Hunt from the ride and run portion.