100 Day Challenge – Day 32

First of all, I somehow forgot how to count back in mid-January. Luckily, I just remembered and today’s post has the right title. Just so that it is written down somewhere (until I figure out a better way to organize it), Day 1 was January 11, 2014.

Also, I have not blogged in several days, maybe a week. But fear not, I have not missed a day yet! Last Friday I swam laps for the first time in my life. I made it a quarter mile of sidestroke before I was worn out. It turns out that even an “easy” stroke is kind of a lot of work when you’re just going and going and going. The sidestroke also uses some muscles on my sides between my rib cage and pelvis that I apparently don’t use for anything else. It took me all of half a lap to figure out that I would have to switch sides back and forth to even out the wear.

Also on Friday, I contracted some sort of stomach flu. It wasn’t as bad for me as it was for my wife and sons when they had it, but it was bad enough. It only lasted 2 days including Friday, so it didn’t make me miss a 100 Day Challenge day. On Saturday, I did 2 sets of 10 pushups. I haven’t done pushups in years, probably.

Today I went to the gym in the evening because I literally forgot to leave the house this morning. I was just sitting there, eating toast and listening to a podcast, and then it was too late to get there, work out, and get home. When I finally made it in, I pedaled like zombies were on my tail (the pool was full of swimming lessons instead of lap lanes). At least, I thought I was going really hard. I set the resistance intervals to be 4 minutes hard and 2 minutes easy, but I didn’t get any significant extra distance or calorie burn according to the bike’s computer. I felt like I was getting a higher level of workout, though. Weird.

Finally, I have a Lazy Triathlon update! After today’s biking, here are my totals:

Run/walk: 21.1 miles (20 miles required)
Bike: 54.9 miles (60 miles required)
Swim: 0.25 miles (2 miles required)

It will take some focus to get all that swimming in by February 23, but it is totally doable. I’ll probably swim a quarter mile per day for the next 3 days and 4 out of 5 weekdays next week. The fifth day will be the last little bit of biking. That gives me some cushion in the weekends to make up for lost time or get ahead. It’s kind of blowing my mind that I’ll have done this whole lazy triathlon thing, but I won’t even be halfway done with the challenge! I’ll have to think of another way to focus my workouts after the triathlon is over….

100 Day Challenge – Day 30

I had to do a short workout tonight as my lovely bride is recovering from some bad tacos she ate yesterday. She was in no condition to wrangle a 2-year-old who decided not to nap this afternoon and a 5-month-old who needs near-constant attention when he’s awake! I ended up doing 25 minutes on the bike—6 miles—and actually finding that I had to work for it. I think I have inadvertently done too many days in a row targeting my quads. Tomorrow I’m thinking a relatively easy jog on the treadmill to kind of even things out.

100 Day Challenge – Days 28 and 29

Monday (Day 28), I got back on the stationary bike. I adjusted the seat down to shift my weight back further on my hips and hopefully make some use of all the padding I have back there. It seems to have worked. My butt was still a little sore after 8 miles or so, but it felt more like a body part that needs to toughen through experience rather than a bruised butt-bone.

Yesterday (Day 29), I used the crossramp machine. I really pushed myself and got in about 2.6 miles of “running”. I’ve started keeping a running tally of my Lazy Triathlon progress as I realized I’m probably getting close to the right amount of running and coming right along biking. As of February 4, I have 0/2 miles swimming, 31.7/60 miles biking, and 18.9/20 miles running/walking. Not too shabby! I just need to get about 28 miles of biking, 1 mile of running and 2 miles of swimming in by February 23!

On an unrelated note, I’m sure that I am starting to look pretty crazy when I’m exercising. I’ve found my “zone”, where I feel like I’m getting a good workout, but not killing myself, and I get pretty sweaty. Actually, I get really sweaty. Like it’s dripping off me starting about 5-7 minutes into the workout. By the end, my shirt is pretty well soaked and I need a couple of paper towels to mop off my face. Anyway, I hope I’m not weirding out the other exercisers who sweat normal human amounts.

100 Day Challenge – Day 24

Today I rode the stationary bike, but I decided not to let the heartbeat monitor hold me back. I chose to do 2 minute intervals for 30 minutes. It was kind of exhausting, but in a good way. I also got a lot more miles than before. The final total was 8+. The only real downside is that my butt freaking hurts! I’m not sure if it is from working out harder or the way I adjusted the seat height. I finally figured out the right setting to have my leg almost completely extended at the bottom of the pedal circle. I think that made me sit a little more forward than I previously have, which changed where on my pelvis the seat rested. There’s a little more padding further back (for now!).

100 Day Challenge – Days 18, 19, and 20

I’ve been getting a little lax about telling the world about how my 100 Day Challenge is going and I can already see some negative effects from that. I find myself feeling really unmotivated to work out today, at least partly because I’ve started to lose that feeling that there are people watching who will notice if I slack off. I’m going to make a fresh effort to blog about (or Facebook, Twitter, whatever) each day until the end.

As for my recent sweating: last Friday (Day 18), I rode a bike for about a half hour. I got about 5.1 miles in. I tried a reclining stationary bike instead of the more traditional kind just to see if it was any better or worse. I found it to be less of a workout than the normal stationary bike. It might have targeted some of my leg muscles a little more directly, but I didn’t feel too tired after pedaling 5 miles.

On Saturday (Day 19), I went back to the gym and got back on the regular stationary bike. I did 5.5 miles in about a half hour. I was using the built-in heart rate monitor to let the bike control the resistance for hard and easy intervals, but it kept telling me to slow down! I guess my poor heart is not very good at getting back to resting pace very quickly. I kind of feel like I can do more than the bike’s program wants me to do, though. Next time I use the bike, I think I’m going to try a different program or just manual control.

Yesterday (Day 20), I did a nontraditional form of exercise–clearing the snow from our driveway and sidewalk. Even though we have a snowblower, it is still a fair amount of work to push that thing up and down the sidewalk, turn it around, and so on. In the past, I’ve felt a bit wiped out after clearing the snow, but yesterday I still felt pretty good afterward. I think I’m starting to see some results of this crazy daily exercise plan!

I have not yet done any sort of exercise today. When my alarm went off at 5, I just could not face the thought of getting out of bed. I had only been asleep for 3 or 4 hours at that point, as I had had some homework due late Sunday night. Now I’m stuck at home with the kids and no vehicle to transport them. Hopefully I can find some time to hit the gym after my wife gets home from work or maybe after dinner. I certainly can’t just take a walk around the neighborhood, as the North Pole seems to have taken up permanent residence over Michigan. I want to exercise, but I don’t want my exposed skin to fall off!

100 Day Challenge – Days 15, 16, and 17

I got a little busy over the last few days and I haven’t had a working computer, so blogging got pushed to the bottom of the priority queue. But fear not, I have kept up with my challenge! On Tuesday (Day 15), I decided to get going on the bike part of my lazy triathlon. I hopped on a stationary bike at the Y and got going. Like pretty much all of the aerobic workout machines there, the bike has a heart rate sensor and you can also set a program for your workout (from some presets or manually). I chose “Fat Burning” like I usually do for other machines because it is a good combination of equal parts hard and easy lengths (and I have a lot of fat to burn). This bike worked a little differently than the elliptical, AMT, and treadmill I was familiar with, though. It wanted a constant heartbeat signal, which was ok because the sensor was right where I would probably have put my hands anyway. Then it used my heart rate to figure out how long to warm me up and what resistance level to set during the hard and easy intervals. It was actually pretty slick! I managed 5.5 miles in about 30 minutes–not too bad for someone who hasn’t done any serious bike riding for many many years.

Of course, I paid for it the next day (Day 16). I had noticed that my quads were pretty tired at the end of the bike workout, but they were not at all sore the following morning. I figured I was in the clear there and didn’t really even think about it before starting my workout that morning. I decided to give the AMT machine another try after having read up on it a bit. I couldn’t even really make it through setting up my workout parameters due to severely protesting quadriceps! I pushed it for as long as I could (about 3 minutes) and then waved the white flag and moved on to a treadmill. I ended up taking it somewhat easy, running about 1.75 miles and then walking about 0.25, for a total of 2 miles.

I did not get up at 5 am today to go to the gym. I’ve been shorting myself on sleep more and more over the last week or so and it all hit me last night. I didn’t get to bed until after midnight and the thought of the 5 am alarm was just too cruel to contemplate. However, I headed out right after my wife got back from work. Today (Day 17), I kind of thought about trying the AMT again, but the memory of yesterday morning was still a little too fresh. I tried a new machine called a crossramp. I thought it was just another kind of elliptical when I chose it, but it isn’t exactly. The leg motion is more or less the same, but there are no arm parts. Also, in addition to adjusting the resistance, you can adjust the incline. That makes a little outline of a runner on the control panel get lights in different parts of his legs and butt, depending on which muscles the current incline works the most. The Fat Burner preset on this machine kept a steady resistance at whatever level you set it at, but went from a gentle incline for the easy intervals (all lights on) to a pretty steep incline for the hard parts (only the quads and glutes lights on). This gave the workout a different feel that I really liked. This might be my new go-to “running” machine. I did 2.3 miles on it over 33 minutes and felt really good at the end.

The other thing I started today was figuring out about the swimming component of the lazy triathlon. I’ve never swum for fitness reasons before, so I didn’t even have an idea about what to do in a lap lane or what gear I might need. After reviewing several fitness sites on the ole Information Superhighway, I now feel like I will be able to mostly avoid embarrassing breaches of swimmer etiquette when I start doing some laps. However, I also learned that my comfy swim trunks are probably not the best thing to wear for laps and I will almost certainly need goggles to avoid crazily swerving all over the pool and crashing into the wall. Hopefully I can pick up some sort of snugger suit and some goggles for not too much money over the weekend. Then next week I can try something totally new!