Something’s Missing

This week I became really interested in virtual bike training apps.  Watching tv on the bike is just another form of torture for me.  For example, in a 2 hour training ride I have to watch four 30-minute episodes of something.  If I’m watching commercial-free, that means I have to watch five episodes.  So the entire time, all I’m thinking is “hurry up and finish this episode so we can move on to the next one.”

When we were in Wisconsin, Nick and I would train together.  Sometimes we’d watch football or play video games against one another, or find ourselves in a movie marathon.  Right now, I’m training solo due to our opposite schedules.

After much review – reading DC Rainmaker’s Training App Guide and reading a few reviews on Facebook, I’ve narrowed it down to three possible apps.  I’m going to take advantage of their free trials before making a final decision (a great suggestion from a facebook tri group).  The top contenders are:  Rouvy, Zwift, and Trainer Road.

I have a coach, so there is no need for training plans.  I am interested in these purely for entertainment purposes.  I want something with different courses, a way to “race” other players, and the app to control the trainer based on the course/workout.  It’s a way for me to not stare at a blank wall for hours on end.

First up is Zwift.   Since I was originally going to download Zwift (not realizing how many options are out there), I figured I might as well start with it.  To be honest, I’m less than impressed with their website.  It took me awhile to even find the free trial or how much it would cost per month if I choose to continue.  The drawback that many people have pointed out is the limited number of courses available.  Although, the website does state there are “hundreds of events” in the group rides.  Now that’s not to say that it isn’t all on the same course.

I download my free 7-day trial.  This took some time, probably 15 minutes are so.  Not the three minutes my computer claimed it would take.  I set up an account, and then began to connect sensors.  My coach prescribed an interval workout today, so I manually replicated the workout in Zwift.  The entire setup probably took 30-45 minutes.  (I am a little inept when it comes to computers and smart devices, so the average person may not take as long).

Everything was ready for me to start my ride.  I walk over to the bike, and realize something is missing.

QR, bike trainer

While taking my sweet time setting everything up, I was ignoring my puppy.  So Olive decided to get me back by hiding my shoe.  Another 5 minutes wasted, and now I’m good to go.

I must have been distracted or exhausted or exhilarated that I finally got everything connected and working properly.  Five minutes into my 90 minute trainer ride, I realized I forgot to start my watch.  Yes, that happened.  I hit start on my watch and continued pedaling; my coach would forgive 5 minutes of a warmup.  My speed connected, then cadence, then heart rate.  But my power wouldn’t connect.  So I deleted the workout and restarted.  Power still wouldn’t connect.  After fidgeting with it for another few minutes, I gave up.

This workout would just have to wait.  My power wasn’t picking up and my watch had 17% battery.  With my luck, my watch was destined to die before completing the workout.  Now that everything is setup, it should be a breeze this afternoon when I attempt it again.

Good Deed of the Day

I woke up this morning feeling awful.  I’ve been fighting sinus/allergy gunk all week long. I knew I had an 8-mile run scheduled for today, and I couldn’t afford to miss it.  I only have 5 weeks until my half marathon and my training has been lacking, to say the least.

Anyway, I set out undecided how to tackle the 8 miles in front of me.  Originally, I was going to just walk all of it to cover the ground.  Just before leaving the house, Nick suggested running some kind of intervals just at a much slower pace.  So, I ran 2 minutes, walked 2 minutes.  The run was really taxing me (I know, it sounds sad, but that’s where I am right now).

Continuing on, Lou and I ran what’s become our normal route – several little out and backs to make the 8 miles.  Coming up just past the halfway mark, we cross a highway and run on that side of town.  While we were waiting for the light to signal us to cross, I saw two cars facing me, pulled over on their far right side of the lane.  I figured it was a small fender bender and kept running.  As I approached the second car, I noticed the guy from the front car walking to the rear of the second car.  I could see two people in that vehicle, and the man began pushing their car.  Once I was close enough to the second car, I realized it was an elderly couple in the front seat.

Passing the second car, I asked the gentleman if he needed help pushing the car.  He responded yes.  So, Lou and I began helping him push the elderly couple’s car up the overpass.  As we pushed, the man apologized for ruining my run and asked about my training.  Coincidentally, he ran the San Diego Rock N Roll in June.  We chatted for a few minutes.  As we began descending, the gentleman thanked me and said it was all downhill from here, just a few more feet to the stopping point, a nearby gas station.

Lou and I turned back around and continued on our run.  I took a much longer walk break, as pushing a car uphill for 1/10 mile is quite a battle on already labored lungs.  Although, helping out a stranger really made my heart happy.

Running with dogs

The remainder of our run was uneventful.  We made it home and Lou was wrecked the rest of the day.

Olive’s First Run

We’ve been taking Olive to training, teaching her to sit, stay, wait, place, heel, etc.  She “graduated” from her training yesterday.   And while “Heel” is still a work in progress, we decided to introduce her to running.  She will turn in 10 months in a few days, so this is the perfect time to start, plus the weather hasn’t been too hot.

Today was Olive’s first run.  1 mile in the books!  She could definitely go further (and much faster), but we will take it slow until she’s ready.

GSP, Running Dog, German Shorthair Pointer


5+ Hour Trainer Ride

With today’s forecast being less than ideal, I decided to do my 5 1/2 hour bike ride on the trainer.  I know, I know, what the heck was I thinking?!?!

A few weeks ago Nick and I were getting ready for a 4 hour bike ride.  We had the bikes ready, helmets and shoes on, all I had to do was press start on my watch and push off.  That’s when it hit me…I had a panic attack.  I started shaking and my breathing was labored.  Then I was gasping for air, shaking, and tears were rolling down my face.  I had 1,000 thoughts rushing through mind, none were good…I couldn’t do it.  Nick walked over, and comforted me.  He took my bike and told me to go inside and try to relax, we would postpone the ride to the following day.  I went inside, changed clothes, and began to settle down a bit.  The rest of the day was relaxed, the only pace I could handle.

The next day, I was mentally prepared for the bike ride.  We had a route on a bike trail to reduce traffic (thus reducing the chances of me having another meltdown).  I was calm on the bike, and finished the ride (a little shorter than my coach would’ve liked), but finished nonetheless.

Today, though, is self-inflicted misery.  With Nick sidelined from the bike and run for the next couple of weeks, my recent ride in the rain, and the ever so memorable panic attack, I decided to take today’s ride to the trainer.  I don’t think I’m mentally strong enough to do a solo long ride in the rain.

Em and T hour 1So what does one do while on the trainer for over 5 hours?

Hour 1: Drink of choice – 1 cup Coffee
Food – Peanut butter pretzels
Entertainment – Facebook

Hour 2:
Drink – Protein shake
Food – Peanut butter pretzels
Entertainment – Music

Em and Lou Hour 2Hour 3:
Drink – bottle of Advocare Spark and bottle of water
Food – Granola bar
Entertainment – Olympic Men’s Triathlon – an 8-lap bike course must be as mind-numbing as a 5 hour trainer ride.  Also, is this race draft-legal?

Hour 4:
Drink – bottle of Tailwind
Food – Snack mix with goldfish, nuts, raisins and chocolate
Entertainment – Olympic Men’s Triathlon (continued).  Congrats to the Brownlee brothers on Gold and Silver.

IMG_2527Hour 5 plus 30 min:
Drink – bottle of water, bottle of Tailwind
Entertainment – Music. Why, you ask? Because I’m watching the Olympics on the NBC app instead of the TiVo, and it’s still Live. I’m unable to start the Women’s Triathlon from the beginning.  Therefore, 1 hour and 30 minutes in, I know who’s in the lead.  What a spoiler!!!


More Red Than Green

The last month my Training Peaks calendar has really suffered.  There are so many missed workouts, it’s embarrassing.   From work being less than ideal at the moment, to Nick and I being sick on and off, to shear lack of motivation; my calendar is a sore sight.

Training Peaks Calendar

The weather is finally nice enough to exercise outside and all I want to do is stay inside on the couch.  I’m not exactly sure how to get out of this funk.  I have TWO major races coming up – Door County 70.3 is a few weeks away and Chattanooga will be here before I know it.  I NEED to get motivated.  I know I’m on the verge of being completely underprepared for both races if I don’t get moving soon.

How do you find motivation?

A Few New Things

I’ve been rushing home (to get away from work) every day this week to check the mailbox.  I ordered some things and have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of each one.

  1. A new, much needed saddle.  I’ve been having some discomfort in the seat, and hoping this new saddle will make for a smoother, less painful ride.  I spoke with Rachel at Cobb Cycling, and am now the new owner of their Randee saddle.  During my two-hour trainer ride today, I was alleviated of some of the pressure I was experiencing.  I hope with some minor adjustments, I will once again be comfortable in the saddle.
  2. Handlebar tape.  I’ve been wanting to personalize my bike a bit, so I started with a simple and inexpensive upgrade.  I wrapped the bars tonight, which was much easier than I expected.
  3. New Handle Bar TapeThe package I received today was my new tri kit!  It matches my new handlebar tape, but no pictures until I use it.  My first tri this season is Elkhart Lake Sprint on June 11th!

I’m excited about all of my new goodies, and I’m sure there’s more to come…