Month: May 2013

Free Willy

It was my fondest wish as a child to be a dolphin trainer at Marine Land.

My family used to go maybe once a year and although I did love the dolphins and whales, I was even more fascinated by the spandex, neoprene clad girls with that little whistle around their neck and their wet ponytails. It was totally “what I wanted to be when I grew up” until my dreams were crushed by economics and my affinity for designer handbags.

Sigh. Economics ruins everything doesn’t it?

Trainer

Anyways, I got to live out part of my childhood dream last weekend when Matt and I took a little road trip out to this Triathlon outlet store in Markham to look for a wet suit for my first triathlon (which is coming up in only 5 days by the way!).

To give you a bit of background, I was absolutely starving after my BodyAttack class, hadn’t had a chance to eat anything before we hit the road (bad, bad idea), and then we got totally bogged down in traffic on the way out there. Needless to say by the time we got to this little warehouse, I think Matt was considering looking for a wet suit made out of solid iron for me, but that’s neither here nor there 😉

The store (although in a very sketchy neighbourhood) was actually really great. There was this totally knowledgeable sales guy that seemed to know everything there was to know about buying a wet suit and after asking us a couple of questions about budget and experience, he sent me into the changeroom with two suits to try on: one sleeveless and one with full sleeves.

Before even getting to the store I had decided that I wanted a wetsuit that was sleeveless because the thought of swimming in open water with skin tight rubber restricting my shoulders didn’t sit well at all. Although in a lot of the “beginner triathlete” forums online, most people seem to be really anxious about the swim, I’m actually not at all afraid of the swim part of the triathlon. I’m totally comfortable in open water, don’t really care if a bunch of people are swimming around me and I’m confident in my swimming ability enough that although I may not come out of the water in first place, I know for sure that I won’t drown.

But take away my shoulder mobility, and suddenly I’m not so sure that I won’t drown!!

So into the changeroom I went, apprehensively, to try on my first triathlon wetsuit with full sleeves. All I can say is that they should seriously have a camera in those changerooms because I’m sure it’s about the funniest thing in the entire world to watch someone try to struggle into a wet suit for the first time. I managed to get into the suit through some combination of the Macarena and the Electric Slide and had Matt do up the back zipper.

Macarena

Electric Slide

Full sleeve

Right away, there was an immediate concern and it had nothing to do with my shoulders. The wet suit was completely choking me at my neck. We asked the sales guys opinion and he said that this is how wet suits are actually supposed to fit (close to the neck) so that they don’t allow any water to get into the suit, creating drag and extra weight. This seriously freaked me out, because I couldn’t even stand still in the store for 5 minutes with the neck as tight as it was, let alone complete at 2km swim. I anxiously went back into the changeroom to try on the sleeveless suit, hopeful for a better outcome.

(I should have mentioned that when I first came out of the changeroom in the wet suit, Matt made all of my childhood dreams come true when he said “You look like a dolphin trainer” :))

The sales guy had told us that the sleeveless wet suits were getting to be more and more rare since most people these days prefer the extra warmth and buoyancy of the full sleeve suits. He said that the sleeveless wet suits are actually now being targeted more specifically to those triathletes with a really strong, competitive swimming background because they just couldn’t accept having their shoulders restricted at all on the swim. Because the sleeveless suits are now being targeted to this kind of elite group, the material is a higher quality then the full sleeve ones, and therefore much easier to put on.

No Macarena, hurray!

Sleeveless Wet Suit

As soon as I got into the sleeveless wet suit and had Matt do up the back, I was totally stressed out to find that the neck was once again too tight on me, although it was admittedly a little bit better than the full sleeve one had been. My shoulders were totally unaffected by the suit which I was thrilled with, and I really liked the stretchier material but the neck issue was really bothering me, and I could hardly stand there talking without having my two fingers inside the neckline pulling it away from me. It just didn’t seem that this could possibly be the way that they should fit.

The sales guy took a look at the fit and reassured me that this is how the suits are supposed to fit. Looking back, I really REALLY should have insisted that I try on a bigger size wet suit; I wonder if that may have made a difference in how the neck fit. In any case, I didn’t, and we ended up leaving the store without buying a wet suit. I was really disappointed and incredibly stressed out, with the triathlon only a week away.

I’m still not really sure what I’m going to wear for the triathlon next Sunday, but I definitely need something, its freakin’ cold in the GTA!! My mom had picked me up a “short” wet suit at Costco (possibly the only place in the world that you can go grocery shopping and end up casually picking up a wet suit in a package of 2). For a while I was thinking that I would just wear this one until I could get a “real” one, but the reviews online strongly advise against wearing a “water sports” wet suit that was really meant for water skiing and other water sports for a triathlon. The reason is that the material of these much cheaper wet suits is a more absorbent one that will tend to soak up the water like a sponge and really weigh you down while you swim, unlike the professional grade wet suits which are made of neoprene and cut through the water without soaking it up.

GARRRRRRRRRRR. Now what?!

So our game plan as of now is to go out to Kelso on Friday evening and take a swim in the lake with the Costco wet suit to see how it handles in the water. If I’m comfortable with it, then I guess that will be the plan for Sunday morning. If not….then we need to look at either renting one or buying one on Saturday morning, and that will NOT be a pretty scene. I am so totally freaking out about this.

Go figure, the one leg of the triathlon that I had totally discounted is now the one giving me the most trouble!!

I’ll do my best to report back on Friday night with the outcome of the test swim. If you don’t hear from me, I’m at the bottom of the Kelso Lake in my toasty warm, but absorbent wet suit.

Under the Sea

 

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Muskoka Training Weekend Recap – Part 2

Hi Everyone,

Hope your week is off to a great start. Although I was weeping inside this morning while getting ready for work, at least the sun is out, which does make it somewhat easier to accept the end of another weekend.

Sorry to leave you right in the middle of the Muskoka training weekend recap! We’ll be picking that up today, and I’ve also got a totally awesome contest from Under Armour to tell you all about, but you’ll have to stick around to the end to find out more about that 😉

Now where were we….ah yes, the run!

Saturday night we hit the hay pretty early after our big day on the bikes in preparation for our run on the hilly Muskoka course. Neil figured he would like to do at least half of the course (about 11km), I was shooting for somewhere around that, and Matt wanted to run the entire half marathon course. Because he’s crazy like that.

 It’s really funny to me how in the sport of triathlon, the imminent threat always seems to be the most significant. On the Saturday morning, I would have given my right arm to be going out for a run instead of for a bike. Sunday morning, I was thinking that the bike didn’t sound half bad compared to the pounding of a run!

We drove back to Deerhurst Resort (the host resort for the race) and then started back out in the car to map out the route that would take us the distance we wanted to go. The bike course had been fairly rectangular, long stretches of straight road, not very many twists or turns. The run course not so much. I very quickly got stressed out that I was going to get lost in the woods, picked up and murdered by a serial killer (I watch too much TV) and started to take notes on all of the twists and turns on the notepad function on my iPod.

There were lots of little dips and detours along the course, one pain in the ass detour in particular basically took us off of a straight stretch of road, around an oval detour and up a steep hill, and then delivered us right back onto the main road that we were on in the first place.

Why, I ask, why?

Why

We plotted out two spots for Jess to wait with the car to meet up with all of us, and then made our way back to Deerhurst to start out on the run. Neil and Matt started off together, and I brought up the rear. Once again, here goes nothing.

My conservative goal was to run 10km on Sunday. I was feeling really good after the bike day, and just wanted to finish the weekend on a good note. The run course was quite hilly, just like the bike course, but I had one of the best runs I’ve ever had that morning. I managed to hold my pace fairly constant the entire time I was out, I ran up every single last hill and never stopped to walk once.

The scenery was really something else, it’s somehow so much easier to keep on running when you’re out in the country then it is in the city! A big stretch of the run was along the Highway 60, but there was also lots of “off-roading” where the course took us off of the main road and into some more woodsy areas. Those were my favourite parts to run (although admittedly, they were also the hilliest sections) because there was so much to look at and take in as you ran.

I did notice in the second half of my run that my right knee was starting to ache a bit, but ignored it, and it kind of settled down as I continued on. Pesky knees. My knees really need to smarten up and get over themselves. Sheesh.

As I got closer and closer to the end of the 10km loop, I saw first Matt come sprinting like an antelope back the other way along the course towards Deerhurst followed closely by Neil who was feeling good and had decided to tack on an extra 5km to his run for the day and head back to the 15km mark. Although I wasn’t completely spent, I decided to call it a day as I had planned to at 10km and be happy with that. My body really thanked me for not pushing it another 5km, I made it out of the weekend 100% injury free, and that very well might not have been the case if not for that decision.

I met up with Jess at “the white bell” which was this big memorial bell behind this big massive high school in Huntsville, and also our pre-determined turn around spot for the 10km loop. After sucking back two Kool-Aid Jammers (Blue Raspberry flavor), we set out to pick up Neil and Matt.

I must admit I had my doubts with the whole crazy course layout and different running speeds, but the plan actually did work out exactly according to plan. By the time we got to the 15km mark, we only had to wait about 2 minutes for Neil to show up, and by the time we got back to Deerhurst, Matt was casually sprinting in within 5 minutes of us pulling in.

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around downtown Huntsville. Matt and I bought a set of stone coasters for our coffee table (they had moose on them which Matt quite liked) and we looked around a local bike shop as well to get a feel for the new bike that Neil is looking at buying for the race. I played with the idea of buying a Camelback (aka a small backpack full of water that you can drink out of during endurance events) since I’m struggling to take my hands off of the handlebars at all when I’m on the bike (without swerving like a crazy person anyways). I’m hoping to not really stop at all while biking during races, and I know how important it is to stay hydrated during something like this, so I need to start either learning how to reach down for my water bottle on the bike, or figure out another option.

All in all – the training weekend was a huge success, and just the kick in the butt that I was hoping it would be for training. I think the biggest thing that the weekend accomplished was showing me what it will take to actually finish the race. If I walked away with three “action items” from the weekend they would be:

1) I need to train on hills. Running and biking on flat terrain simply won’t cut it.

2) I need to run for longer. My long distance run needs work. 10km is good, but considering that I was starting basically fresh and was still pretty tired at the end, I need to really work on increasing my mileage on the run so that 20km is “no big deal” as Matt says.

3) I need to work harder in spin class. Now that I know what climbing a “real” hill feels like, I can attest that I definitely have NOT been using the right amount of resistance on the spin bike in spin class.

Matt, Neil, Jess and I have already been talking about going back up to Muskoka at some point in July to get another training weekend in on the course before September. I think both Neil and I (and even Matt) felt like we got a lot out of the weekend, and another one should only help our chances!

Phew! Well that about wraps up the Muskoka Training Weekend recap!

I’ll leave you today with an initiative that I learned about from a friend of mine named Angela who blogs over at www.eat-spin-run-repeat.com.  

About 3 weeks ago, Under Armour launched a campaign named “What’s Beautiful”. The aim of the campaign is to show the world what it means to be a female athlete. To join the movement, you set a huge goal, shout it from the mountaintops and then document your progress through pictures and videos along your journey to achieving it. Each week, Under Armour issues new “challenges” as well (for example one of the most recent challenges asks us to document ourselves climbing a hill – either a physical or a metaphorical one). It’s a campaign about getting stuff done, about making things happen and about being totally and completely fearless. I love the concept, and although I’m already kind of on a journey to a huge goal, I decided to create a profile and join the “What’s Beautiful” movement on Under Armour as well.

What's Beautiful

If you are interested in joining me, setting your own massive goal (think BHAG) and breaking down some walls, then I encourage you to pop on over and sign up for a profile yourself!!

Fittingly enough, my goal is to train hard to cross the finish line of the Muskoka Half IronMan with a smile on my face. I’ve also added two more considerations to my goal: the first to get a handle on cooking healthy meals and the second to manage my stress better. I’m not great with a camera, but hopefully I can find some creative ways to document my progress over the summer 🙂

Have a great week – and in the true spirit of What’s Beautiful – let’s crush some goals and make stuff happen!!!

Muskoka Training Weekend Recap – Part 1

Man, why is it that short weeks always feel the longest? I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday. I hope that your week is moving along a little quicker than mine is!

So, this morning I owe you one BIG training weekend recap (sorry it’s coming to you a day late)! I’ll start off by saying that the weekend was an enormous success; I am so thrilled that we went up and did it. I’m feeling so much more confident about the race now then I was 5 days ago.

Matt and I hit the road for Muskoka on Friday afternoon around 4:30pm (I know, are we crazy trying to get out of the city at 4:30pm on the Friday of a long weekend? The traffic wasn’t as heinous as I thought it would be thank god). It was a 2.5 hour drive, and we made it to our hotel in pretty decent time. We were both a little surprised at how empty the hotel was, there were literally three other cars in the hotel parking lot when we pulled in. What we failed to notice was the absolutely massive tour bus that was parked around the back of the hotel, which had evidently brought about 75 Asian tourists to the hotel for the night. We strolled into the lobby of the hotel literally mid-sentence commenting on how dead the hotel was, and walked into the total and complete pandemonium of 75 non-English speaking Asian people trying to check into the hotel!

Oh irony, you never fail to amuse me.

Neil and Jess made it to Muskoka a little later in the evening; they were trekking in from Kingston so it was a much longer drive for them. We were all pretty exhausted so we hit the hay pretty early on Friday night. It was going to be a big day of biking the next day.

On Saturday morning I woke up totally stressed and freaked out, and thinking furiously of some way to get out of this whole biking thing. One thing after the other contributed to my escalating stress level. It was everything from me absolutely hating how my legs look in my new Lululemon bike shorts (I think they look like Bratwurst sausages) to the horrific realization that there really wasn’t going to be a “bike lane” on the roads that we needed to bike on and that we would be biking alongside cars on the road. By the time we got to the boat launch that we had decided would be our starting point, I was about one piece of stressful news away from a heart attack.

Bratwurst Sausages
Bratwurst Sausages

 

We got out of the car and instantly got swarmed by FLOCKS of black flies (I’m serious, flocks), so Jess and I hid out in my car while Matt and Neil put Jilly and Neil’s bike together outside. The plan was for Neil and I to start out together, and see how we were feeling. Although we had set the goal of  biking 50 or 60 kilometres that day, we knew that there was no shoulder on a lot of the highway that we needed to bike on, so we decided to play it by ear and make a judgment call when we got to those points in the course. We hopped on our bikes and started away down the course. Here goes nothing.

Sara Neil Bike Start

I was so beyond freaked out for that first 10km stretch. We were on a relatively quiet road, but every car that passed us scared the bajesus out of me. Our average speed was about 15km/hour for that first stretch, and we only came across about 2 hills that were serious enough for me to remember them now. I got my first taste of climbing a “real” hill on a bike (not the imaginary hills that the spin class instructors put in front of you when they tell you to CRANK THAT DIAL).

It was somewhat different then spin class, that’s all I’ll say.

That being said, although hills suck considerably more on the road then they do in spin class, you really do miss out on the absolute best part of road biking when you’re stuck on a stationary bike, and that is the downhills. In that first 10km stretch, we went down several downhills, and I have to admit, it was pretty phenomenal. I had a death grip on my brakes the whole way down the hill, but still got moving at a decent clip. By the time we met up with Matt and Jess at the end of that first stretch, I was feeling much more comfortable on the bike, a little less afraid of cars and starting to find my groove.

Sara Bike Smile

Something clicked in me at the junction where we first met up with Matt and Jess. We were coming off of the quiet road that we had been on, and had to turn onto the Highway 60, which is the main highway around Muskoka. The 60 is four lanes of fast moving traffic, no shoulder on the side of the road, and nothing but rock cut and steep ditch on either side. There really isn’t much margin for error. I had originally remained steadfast and stubborn that there was no way in hell I was going to ride my bike on that road with all of those cars and hazards, but for some reason when we got to that junction, something inside of me just switched off. Or maybe a more accurate depiction is that something inside of me switched on.

Yea, you might die on the side of the road getting hit by a car or a truck. You might crash your bike into a rock cut and maim or disfigure yourself. You might get a flat tire or lock up your wheels and wipe out going 40km/hour down a hill and have road rash and broken bones for years to come.

Or you could be sitting at home in bubble wrap, safe and warm with your feet up as secure as you can possibly be, and have a doctor call you up and tell you that you have cancer.

What’s the point of living in fear? If we don’t live while we’re alive then what the hell is the point? So you make it to your grave at the age of 98 without a scratch, scrape or crooked bone on you, having never really lived? Is it worth it?

Matt and Neil were discussing the road conditions, Neil said that he was game to give it a try and see how he made out, and the words came spilling out of my mouth before I could think to reel them back that I was in, let’s do this.

Sara Neil Highway

From that point onwards, everything changed. Our average speed picked up from 15 km/hour to hovering between 23 and 28km/hour. I stopped braking on the downhills and hit a top speed of 48.8km/hour coming down one of the steeper hills. Neil and I started chatting on the flat stretches and marveling at the absolutely stunning surroundings (okay that was more me then Neil, but he gamely listened and agreed with me when I squealed about rock cuts and glittering lakes). We both agreed that biking is WAY kinder to your body then running and spent about 10km discussing the reasons why (sorry Matt ;)), and by the time we reached our second water/snack station (set up by Matt and Jess who were the best road crew we could have ever asked for), we had crushed through 52km.

 Sara Neil Junction

Sara Neil Rest Stop 3

Rest Stop Supplies

We both felt absolutely terrific, we were joking around and laughing, taking pictures with Matt and Jess…at this point I was wondering what all the fuss with this biking thing was about. It was fun! The decision to finish off the extra 8km to make our 60km stretch goal was a no-brainer, Matt and Jess took off to wait for us 8km ahead, and we set off to finish the bike for the day.

What could possibly go wrong in 8km….right?

Wrong.

Immediately after setting off, Neil turned to me and said “I don’t think we should have stopped”. I was feeling the same thing. Although my legs weren’t in pain, they felt sluggish and heavy. The road was a rougher pavement then the one we had been riding on all day, and it was starting to bite back against the tires. And then we hit the hills.

Oh the hills.

We had been up and down hills all day long, but these last three really took the cake. When we came across the first one, I think we both swore a bit inside, but somehow we made it up together. The trouble arose when there was no downhill section between that hill and the next beast of a hill. There was a couple hundred metres of flat road, and then it was right back up again. This was where things got interesting.

Both Neil and I were TOTALLY dying. And I mean totally dying. It’s a bizarre feeling to be dying on a bike, because when you’re running and you’re dying, you just stop running. But on the bike, as we learned, sometimes you don’t get to make that decision for yourself. Sometimes, your legs decide when they can’t go anymore, and that’s the end of the discussion.

I should mention that Neil and I have completely different styles of climbing hills on a bike. Neil, in his yellow leader jersey no less, climbs hills like cycling legend Lance Armstrong. He likes the low gears, gets out of his saddle and climbs from a standing position with a bit of sway side to side.

I, in my pink long sleeve shirt, climb hills like the somewhat overweight German cyclist Jan Ullrich. Ullrich was famous for showing up at the Tour de France slightly overweight (don’t believe me? Type “Jan Ullrich” into Google and “Jan Ulrich fat” is the third most popular search term that appears. No joke). He was a powerhouse rider that climbed mountains from a seated position in a high gear. He rarely ever stood to climb.

Can you spot Neil and I??? ;)
Can you spot Neil and I??? 😉

So Neil hops out of his saddle to climb this second hill, and I’m chugging away in my saddle like a big German diesel engine. We are both totally dying, and then Neil’s legs made the decision that they had had enough and were going to stop on him. I was in my own world of misery and had no idea. He told me to keep going and I chugged slowly past him and up the rest of the hill, to thankfully, a nice downhill on the other side.

While I was gasping for air like never before cruising down the hill, I turned my head at the bottom, and was relieved to see Neil coming speeding down the downhill after me. He caught up to me at the bottom of the hill and neither of us really spoke. We had both seen what was coming next, and knew that it wasn’t going to be pretty.

Another hill. Maybe two grades steeper than the last two.

We came up on that third hill, and the wheels just came off for both of us. Poor Neil’s legs (and bike by the sounds of it!!) quit on him and I chugged past him towards the top again, but then my own legs gave out on me as well, and I ended up swerving off the road and burying Jilly’s front wheel in the sandy shoulder. I had to get off and walk her the last third of the hill. When I got back on, I assumed that Neil was right behind me. Thank GOD the rest of the 8km was downhill, and I’ve never been so happy to see Matt in my entire life.

When I did pull in to where Matt was standing, he joked “Oh I see you’ve made your move!” to which I tersely replied “We got our asses kicked”. I assumed that Neil would have been right behind me, but minutes went by, and no Neil to be seen. I was freaking out that I had abandoned my training partner back on the hill, and after he had stayed with me all day!

When he did pull up shortly after, he was covered in sand on one side of his body, and I was totally horrified thinking that he had wiped out. Turned out that his legs had quit on him just like mine did back on the third hill, but he wasn’t able to unclip his clip-in pedals in time to get his foot down on the ground, and so he kind of toppled right over with his bike into the sandy shoulder – thank God not onto pavement.

(It’s okay to laugh – we all sure did ;))

 Sara Neil Bike Finish

And so concludes our day of bike training. We had a good laugh about that last 8km (I’m still laughing actually, what a total disaster that was), cleaned ourselves up, Matt went for a run around Muskoka, and we all sat in the hot tub before heading out for dinner. The next day we had plans to run between 10 and 15km, the weekend was far from over yet.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the run day recap – and sorry for the marathon post!! 🙂

Before you head out, tell me, what did you get up to on your long weekend?!

BODYSHRED

Is it the long weekend yet? We’ve got to be getting close now.

Today is actually my last day of work before the long weekend, I took tomorrow off to do some errands and get my tattered, raggedy looking hair done for the first time in 7 months, hurray!

I’m sorry for the long stretch without an update; it’s been a very busy couple of weeks. In case you were wondering, my brother is out of the hospital and is now receiving his chemo treatments as an out-patient. It’s really nice to have him back at my parent’s house, and I think everyone’s morale is up a little bit now. That being said, he does need to be careful to protect himself from infection and catching any type of sickness. There have been major ups and major downs to get us to this point. Cancer (not unlike the Muskoka IronMan) is a very hilly course to travel.

Good thing for strong quads 😉

If I'm smiling this wide while doing squats...it has to be fun!! :)

 

Training has been going well. I’ve been getting out to RPM classes, and have even done a couple of bikes outside on Jilly. I also bit the bullet and ordered myself a pair of Lululemon padded bike shorts. I always swore I would never buckle and wear those “diaper looking” shorts, but when my bum hurt after a leisurely half hour ride, I figured it would be best to take some precautions before I sit on her for 4 hours straight. I even bought a memory foam seat cover. I’m not messing around okay.

I haven’t been running or swimming at all. I’m really struggling to get motivated to run. I need an impending race to scare the daylights out of me and get me to do some long runs. That being said, Matt, Neil, Jess and I are all going up to Muskoka this weekend to do some biking and running on the actual race course! It’s all a bit surreal that it’s this time already. I can remember back in December thinking to myself that it would be a good idea to go up and do some training on the course. It seemed like a lifetime away at the time.

Anyways – I’ll be back on Monday with a recap of the training weekend, hopefully we’ll all make some big strides and get “kick-started” into the next few months of preparation. The real purpose of today’s post though is to tell you about a little something called….

BODYSHRED

I know right, sounds so aggressive!

Late in the week last week, I saw a status on Facebook that got my attention. It was posted by the general manager of one of the Goodlife clubs in Hamilton, and it advertised: “JILLIAN MICHAELS IS COMING TO TEACH BODYSHRED AT OUR CLUB!! Call the club to register your spot!!”

In case you live under a rock (or just don’t waste your life watching reality TV like I do), Jillian Michaels is the celebrity trainer from that NBC show “The Biggest Loser”. She is about 5 foot nothing, 100 pounds soaking wet, and has a voice on her like she borrowed it from an NFL linebacker. The woman is terrifying. She’s tough as nails, doesn’t take any BS, has no time for excuses, and really, genuinely doesn’t seem to give a shit if her workouts make you puke, faint or cry.

I totally love her.

Jillian Screaming

I’ve watched Jillian for years and years on The Biggest Loser, I’m a huge fan. A few months ago we got news at Goodlife that Jillian was going to be partnering with Goodlife to launch her brand new group fitness class (BODYSHRED) exclusively at our clubs in the next year. The fact that she was coming IN PERSON to teach the class in Hamilton was totally outrageous. I had to be there.

I called the club immediately to register my spot, but unfortunately 2,400 people beat me to it. The girl on the other end of the line (who sounded totally harassed and like she was in desperate need of a tequila shot or 20) busily explained to me that there was a huge influx of registrations, way too many for them to handle, and that head office was going to take over and do a lottery draw for the 40 spots in the class with Jillian. She took my name and phone number, and I hung up expecting never to hear from them again.

Would you believe that they freakin’ called me on Tuesday of this week to tell me that I had been chosen for the class on Wednesday afternoon!??!?!? AHHHH!!!

I seriously can’t remember the last time I’ve been so excited about anything, I was beside myself. The class was yesterday and it was awesome! BODYSHRED is a 30 minute workout that follows the 3-2-1 philosophy. 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs/core work. Jillian re-vamped the workout a little bit for us because I think she wanted to make someone cry, so she amped up the amount of cardio big time.

Thankfully, I did not cry, although kind of felt like it at one point.

A lot of people have asked me how BODYSHRED compares to BodyAttack, and the short answer is “it doesn’t”. It’s like comparing a watermelon to a roast beef sandwich. They aren’t the same type of workout, and shouldn’t be compared. Both of them kick my butt in different ways, and are challenging, high intensity workouts. Of course, my heart and soul are both still firmly entrenched in BodyAttack. I think they always will be.

BODYSHRED was a nice change from the classes that I do 5 days a week. It was good to mix things up a bit, challenge myself in new ways, and getting screamed at by Jillian Michaels was pretty freakin’ fantastic! When BODYSHRED launches at the clubs eventually, I think it would be a class I’d like to take maybe once a week or every other week to keep things fresh and challenge my fast twitch muscle fibres (our group exercise classes are notorious for being heavily geared towards slow-twitch muscle fibres).

I’ll leave you with a bunch of the pictures that I took during the workout; unfortunately Jillian had to make a very quick exit after class because she had to get to a speaking engagement downtown so I wasn’t able to get a picture with her 😦

Sara Tricep Stretch

Jillian Entering

Jillian Post Workout

Jillian Teaching

Sara Shoulder Stretch

Sara and Maggie Pre Workout

Sara, Maggie & Sarah Pre-Workout

My overall impression was that she is a very busy lady, and that maybe she isn’t as much of a hardass as she seems on TV. Although she was tough and very demanding in her teaching, she also seemed to empathize with those that were struggling, and offered options as well. That being said, I do seem to recall her yelling “GET YOUR ASS DOWN RIGHT NOW OR I’M REALLY GOING TO LOSE IT”…………………………make of that what you will 😉

Have a fabulous long weekend – train hard and meet me back here on Tuesday to tell me all about it!!!

Jill

Happy Wednesday!

The weather where we are has been absolutely out of this world all week, on Monday it was 27 degrees! The sun was shining, the sky was blue and it was really spectacular to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. The entire community seems to be coming alive, people out running, walking their dogs, watering their lawn, playing ball hockey on the road and biking. Oh and speaking of biking……

I BOUGHT MY BIKE FOR THE IRONMAN 70.3 THIS WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The last bike I ever owned was a “Huffy” brand bike, I think the last time I rode it was about 10 years ago (or more) and from what I remember, I totally sucked at it. When we were kids my Dad used to ride his bike with my brothers and I about 5km to McDonalds, and I can remember one year I was too tired to make it back to our house and my mom had to come and pick me and my bike up on the side of the road. Oh the shame.

I did some research before going out to shop. My biggest fear was getting a bike where I had to ride in a “tucked” position for the entire time. Basically, I just really, really don’t want to be this guy:

 Aero Tuck

I know that the “aero tuck” as the cyclists call it is absolutely the most aerodynamic riding position, creates the least drag and shaves precious seconds off your time. In a sport won and lost in miliseconds, those seconds can be a total make or break.

But let’s be serious – I’m not planning on winning the Muskoka 70.3 Ironman. (Sorry to disappoint). Actually, if I cross the finish line at all, I’ll count myself darn lucky. Since I’m planning on being on my bike for about 4 hours, and then will have to get off it and run a half marathon, I’d really, really like to be somewhat comfortable on it.

I learned from my research that what I was really after was a “road bike” vs. a “tri-bike”. Tri-Bikes seem to be much more aerodynamic, and use energy more efficiently for triathletes because of the riding position. On a tri-bike, the riding position is much more forward then on a road bike. What the forward position does for you is transfer the working load into your hamstrings and spares the quads from having to work as hard as they would otherwise. This in turn saves your quads for the run after you get off the bike. Genius in theory, but I just can’t live with the forward position. Not yet anyways. Maybe I’ll get there.

Sorry quads.

So road bike it is. I knew approximately how much I wanted to spend, so Matt and I figured that we would just walk into a couple of bike shops and ask someone to help us find a bike. We strolled into the first shop and a very nice man explained a bit about road bikes to us, and gave me two options to pick from, one within my price range, and one outside of my price range slightly, but a “step up” in caliber. Both were this kind of ugly teal colour, but I kept my mouth shut for fear of sounding vain. It’s not how the bike looks; it’s how it performs right?

I almost got swayed for the more expensive bike, but thankfully Matt and the guy from the store reeled me back in by pointing out that since this is my first bike, if I do end up loving the sport (and I really hope that I do), I’m going to want to upgrade the bike in not too long as it is and go for the multiple thousand dollar carbon-fiber bike. I seriously doubt I’ll ever spend multiple thousand dollars on a bike, but hey, anything can happen I suppose.

We went on to our next stop, and that was where all the magic happened.

Another very nice sales man brought me over to (you guessed it) another teal bike. What is with all of the cheaper bike models coming in teal?! The bike seemed nice enough, similar to the one that I had looked at in the first shop, except a little bit cheaper. Our sales man had to walk away for a minute to help out someone else, and when he did, that’s when my eye caught sight of a foxy black and pink beauty 3 bikes over from the teal one.

Heart

I casually wandered over and started stroking the bike. She was beautiful. Matt and I figured that it would be one of those multiple thousand dollar bikes, and probably even more for the colour on it. When the sales man came back, I closed my eyes and asked the question. How much for the foxy black and pink bike? When he replied cheerfully that this was just the 2013 colour for the teal bike that we had just been looking at, and it still fell within my budget, I wept with joy.

Well, I didn’t weep, but I did jump a bit and do a lot of happy squealing. Matt wasn’t impressed with my bargaining skills.

I was ready to pull out my credit card right then and there, but we had to wait a couple of hours for them to set up the bike in my size in the back so I could take it on a test drive. While we were waiting we checked out one more bike shop, got totally insulted by this very rude man with terrible hair and walked out without looking at a single bike.

I took my black and pink baby for a test ride around the parking lot and was so shaky on it that I think the poor 16 year old kid that was trying to help me was worried about his own personal liability in the whole situation. It didn’t really help that I was wearing sandals and jean capris pants I guess, but I felt like I had never ridden a bike in my entire life!!

 A couple swipes of the Visa later and we were walking out with her in tow!!

Allow me to introduce: Jill. Or Jill the Giant.

Bike

Sara and Bike

She’s pretty 🙂

On Sunday morning I took Jilly for a little 3km ride around our neighbourhood streets and I felt awesome!! Much less shaky when I was dressed properly (and wearing a helmet).

 Sara on Bike

Things started to click when I was on the bike big time. I started to realize that my body type (with my bulkier frame and thick thighs) was totally NOT built to run long distances. Everything about the way my body is built works in direct opposition to running. But everything about the way my body is built is TOTALLY made for biking. It will take some practice and a lot of long rides, but I’m hopeful that the bike will actually be a strong leg of the race for me in triathlons. I also love it because it’s non-impact and is kind to my joints!!

Now, if anyone knows of a 90km, kind of hilly but completely and totally abandoned road with zero cars on it in the Greater Toronto Area, please let me know. I’m scared silly I’m going to get hit by a car on the road!!!!

Have a great afternoon everyone and GO LEAFS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 keep-calm-and-go-leafs-go-6