The Ups and Downs of January

 

Today marks the beginning of the 4th week of January and luckily January has 5 weeks this year. Okay, maybe I’m just excited that January is a 3 paycheck month at work. 🙂 So far January has had some ups and downs. Trying to balance Ironman base training plus 3-jobs and attempting to have a social life has been a bit tricky. But I’m managing, or at least trying to figure it all out by trial and error.

 

Let’s discuss the downs first:

 

Down#1: Sickness. Yup, most of you know (unless you live in a bubble and if you do may I please move in too?) that it is cold and flu season. And this year the flu has been the worst in a while. This does have a bit of an upswing for me in a way because the biotech company I work for produces a quality control for a flu assay that most hospitals have been using and it has been flying off the shelf this year! Yay for sick people! But, boo for me for catching a cold this past week. I’ve been a bit stressed this past week due to the weather changes (hot, cold, make up your damn mind Mother Nature!) and the fact we were just informed at work that we would be having a surprise FDA audit at work tomorrow! Thursday I had a half-way decent run on the treadmill followed by a quality strength training workout with a couple of the boys at the gym. That night I woke up sweating and then I would get the chills and then I felt nausea. I had a feeling that it may be the flu. SHIT! But, it just turned out to be a nasty little cold. Of course, Friday I had to work a 15-hour day too. Go figure. I ended up taking rest days both Friday and Saturday to kick the cold. I managed to survive and have a solid bike workout Sunday night. I still have a bit of the sniffles, but I’m starting to feel better already. (Knock on wood)

This how I felt Friday minus the whole birthday thing...

This how I felt Friday minus the whole birthday thing…

 

Down#2: I’m pretty sure that I have over-powered my trainer. Obviously I’m a total badass because of this! Ha! Either that or my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) dropped like 40-50 watts. Last year I did a power test on a computrainer (if you ever have a chance to ride one… take it! It’s such a glorious experience!) so I know where my FTP should be. I know it probably has gone down some due to my mini 3 month vacation from my bicycle this fall, but I know my fitness isn’t THAT bad… Earlier last week I was supposed to do intervals in my lowest gear, which would put me in my zone 4 power range. However, I maxed out in my upper zone 3 range in my lowest gear with the highest cadence I could maintain for the 2.5 minutes. Now, if I was on the road then I know I could have hit my zones. That’s why I’m thinking I need a new trainer. It doesn’t really surprise me because my trainer isn’t the best out there and it only cost me $50 on Craigslist three years ago so I’m thinking I got my moneys worth. I just don’t really want to go out and drop $400 for a new one. I was kind of hoping to save some money and eventually afford a computrainer. Who am I kidding, I have student loans to be pay off…

 

Down#3: Working a billion hours a week! I’ve always been pretty darn good at time management, but this month has definitely put my mad skills to the test and I must say, I think I give myself a C+ for effort. I’ve missed a few of my workouts and I’m not happy about it. I know my big hours don’t start till later in the spring, but I know I can manage the 8-9 hours a week of base training at the moment! The biggest problem I have is finding pool time that fits within my schedule. Of course, pool time is rather limited at the moment due to high school swim season, but I’m going to make it work! Tomorrow night I have clients till 7pm and then a large gap till the next one at 8:30 pm so I’m going to bring in my bike and trainer and face the wall for an hour to get my workout in! The past couple of weeks I have been really good about preparing food on Sunday afternoons for the week. That has certainly helped with time management and also I have lost about 1-1.5 pounds so my journey to race weight begins!

 

Down#4: Operation 6-pack has completely dropped off the planet the past couple of months, but have no fear she is back with a vengeance! Now that swim, bike, run has once again returned to the forefront of my life, strength training and yoga has taken a bit of the backseat, but I’m going to make them a priority again. Saturday mornings I’m going to teach a core fitness class at the gym, targeting core strength, mobility and flexibility and then at least 2-3 strength workouts a week varying from a quickie (15-minutes max) to 45-minutes with the boys.

winter one

 

Now for the ups:

 

Up#1: I got into the USAT Level 1 coaching course in NJ in April!! Yay! I’ve been trying to get into one of the triathlon coaching courses to become a certified coach, but I must say they are tough to get into. I tried last fall to get into the Providence course, but I was not quick enough and it sold out as I was typing in my credit card information. The USAT has since changed its application process so now it is an actual application you must submit to get into a course now making it more fair.

Coming April 2013!!

Coming April 2013!!

 

Up#2: I made my own bike thong! Instead of paying $25+ for a piece of cloth to cover up my bike to protect it from my buckets of sweat produced while on the trainer, I decided to rummaged through my mom’s old sewing room for supplies and make my own. It’s not the prettiest thing and doesn’t have the fancy remote holder, but it gets the job done and it’s FREE!

My masterpiece!

My masterpiece!

 

Up#3: I was feeling better yesterday so I took my dog with me to the gym while I worked with a client and then hit up Scarborough beach for a run. I didn’t run, but Reagan sure as hell did. Thank God she didn’t try to go swimming! She did enjoy chasing a few seagulls and get some energy out. Hopefully in the spring I can do some more beach running and actually take her running with me because she loves it.

Happy puppy!

Happy puppy!

 

Up#4: For the past couple of weeks I have been doing one of my strength workouts with another trainer at the gym and one of the other guys. I’ve been using them both as guinea pigs to try out some new exercises. Both of them are pretty fit, one more than the other, and my main goal is to make them puke. My fellow trainer doesn’t think I can, but he hasn’t since nothing yet. 🙂 Just wait till the snow melts and we can work out outside. (Insert evil laugh) I’ve been doing a circuit style workout involving my TRX and other mainly bodyweight exercises. It’s been effective thus far, but I don’t think any of us have been super sore from it so I need to step up my game this week!

 

Up#5: I’m writing a bunch of blog posts today to be posted in the next couple of weeks. I have this HUGE list of blog post ideas, but I just haven’t gotten them written down yet. Half of them are all written in my head, but of course, I just can’t just transfer the data from my head to my computer. Wouldn’t that be cool though if I could just hook a USB cable to my brain and transfer it to my computer? Ok, maybe I’m a little weird…

~ Happy Training!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Average Triathlete

Every year the USA Triathlon Association releases the demographics of the average triathlete. Since I like data and such I thought it would be interesting to share the results. The sport of triathlon has become immensely popular in the last decade. Between 1993 and 2000, the annual membership of the USAT was between 15,000-21,000 people. In 2011 the membership numbers surpassed 150,000! Now, not everyone who does triathlons is a member of USAT, but does have to buy a one-day membership to compete in any USA Triathlon sanctioned events. In 2010, 326,732 one-day passes were purchased! There are many factors that come into play that have led to a major growth in the sport. The USAT lists the following as a few reasons:

1.      Society’s interest in fitness and living a healthy lifestyle (hopefully this will continued to increase so the number of people who are obese or overweight will decrease!)

2.      The growth in number of races in the country (and worldwide)

3.      Media attention to the sport (I’m sure Lance is going to help with that now)

4.      The ego reward of saying you “are a triathlete” (this was my favorite!)

5.      Increase in clubs, which create a community concept for men and especially women who enjoy the group training and support atmosphere (we are lucky to have many good ones in Southern Maine)

6.      Growth in the number of USAT certified coaches who are able to provide training plans and individual attention for athletes who need guidance and motivation (the best decision I made was to hire a coach and someday I hope to be one too!)

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) has included triathlon in its participation studies since 2006. The 2011 SGMA study estimated that almost 2.3 million unique Americans participated in at least one triathlon in 2010, which represented a total of 55% growth in just one year! That is incredible and speaks volumes about the popularity of the sport.

Now let’s break down some numbers for fun facts:

·         On average, triathletes are from high socioeconomic backgrounds with a median income of $126,000.

·         The popularity of each distance is broken down as: Sprint (78%), Olympic (58%), Half Ironman (39%), and Ironman (17%).

·         The average age is 38. Forty-nine percent of people fall in the 35-49 age groups.

·         The sport is still very male dominant (Male – 59.6%; Female – 39.5%)

·         Discretionary income is spent as:

·         50% of dollars on bikes and bike equipment

·         17% of dollars spent on race entry fees

·         8% of dollars on fitness clothes

·         11% of dollars on athletic shoes

·            Triathlons are still dominated by Caucasian/White (88.2%).

There is a 70 page report on the USAT website that contains all this data. I found a lot of it very interesting. Some of it was quite surprising, like the average income. I definitely fall out of the norm on many of the measured variables.

I think the most interesting part of the report was on coaching. One third of triathletes use some kind of coaching. I guessing this includes: a personal coach, group training, or purchasing a training plan from a book or online. Twelve percent use a live coach either regularly or ten percent use one infrequently. About 69% do not use a coach, but at least 42% of those people expressed an interest in working with one in the future. Those who plan on doing five or more triathlons during a year are more likely to use a coach regularly via in person, by telephone, or over the Internet. Apparently, there is a strong demand for coaching. Hmm… good to know for the future!

Another interesting aspect I found was in the nutrition and diet of the average triathlete. Triathlete’s tend to focus on making smart choices in managing food intake. The study found that triathletes eat out less at restaurants and most say they either follow strict diet plans or carefully watch what they eat on a regular basis. Ten percent of triathletes say they always buy organic foods while another 46% say they buy organic foods at least some of the time. Forty nine percent of triathletes say they always read food labels (I wish more people in general would!) and 36% say they do sometimes.

You can find all the above data and facts HERE.

Happy Training!