The Novice Foodie

Just eating real foods, lifting heavy things and learning about it along the way


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Time to Tri

After last summer’s failed attempt at completing a triathlon, the goal I set seemed to shine even more insistently in the distance.

In March, I completed an indoor triathlon that consisted of rowing, stationary biking and treadmill running. Out of only four female participants, I won the race. Still, it didn’t quite fulfill my goal.

Last summer started off well–I was swimming and running pretty regularly already, and I took a quarter of spinning classes through Ohio University’s recreation center. When school let out, I had quite a few obstacles. I didn’t have a road bike, and I ended up with two internships in downtown Cleveland, putting me away from home from about 7 a.m. to  8 p.m. While I made it to the gym most mornings and evenings and definitely improved my running distance, I was mostly too exhausted to get in a good training session.

This summer, there were no excuses. I had a bike, and I had a lovely lake to run/bike past every morning. And in two days, I will complete what I set out to do over two years ago.

I’ll be completing the super sprint distance of the Cleveland Triathlon. I chose this race because the 300-yard swim, 8 mile bike and 1.5 mile run seemed a reasonable distance to start out with, and a distance I haven’t seen offered in many other races.

Training-wise, I’ve logged over 40 miles of running on Nike + GPS, about 50 miles of cycling, and who knows how much swimming for the summer (not including workouts that weren’t tracked through a fitness app). I’ve become comfortable biking, although I don’t have bike shoes, and I’m pretty confident about the swimming portion. The greatest challenge will be transitions and the run to the finish.

I do feel that I could have trained a little harder. I followed a modified version of a “Tri-newbies training guide”, but there were many times I wished I had a coach to train with, especially for the biking.

I think triathlons are a good sport for me. I have always been better at endurance and pacing myself than sprinting. But the problem with endurance is that it can get a little boring. In my workouts at the gym, I tended to split up my 30 plus minutes of cardio between the Stairmaster, the treadmill and the stationary bike. Upon reflection, the triathlon seems like the perfect complement, especially coming from a swimming background.

So FINALLY, with nervous excitement, it’s time to tri!

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The Road to a Triathlon, Week 2

Week two leaves me feeling both stronger, and sore, from head to toe.

I began the week with Pilates, as usual, and ended it with an easy 30 minute run, hoping to alleviate the tightness in my muscles.

Tuesday was strictly cardio, and Wednesday was my first run-through of my strength-training circuit, which I think engaged my soreness! On Thursday, cycling didn’t seem as difficult as it had been the first week. I enjoyed the prospect of transferring this practice into outdoor biking over the summer!

And finally, on Friday, I had a great workout with my personal trainer, using free-weights, ladders, body bars and bosu balls, among other equipment. We achieved a total body workout that left me sore and sweaty in only 30 minutes! By completing a combination of lunges, squats, jumps, bicep curls, lat raises, and bicycle crunches, inner and outer thigh exercises with a stretch cord I found new ways to work my muscles.

I learned, and experienced first-hand, the way that gravity can intensify a workout. Simply doing the same exercises in different positions can affect the way the exercise feels. For example, taking a bicep curl from standing or sitting to laying down puts a different angle on your muscles.

An image of a lying bicep curl borrowed from msnhealth.com and originally provided by Men's Health Magazine

In this case, it also allows you to extend the move further than you would be able to on a bicep curl machine.

I also learned that working out doesn’t necessarily have to take an hour and a half to two hours every day. With a busy schedule, it is often hard for me to find the time to fit that in.

The workout reminded me of an article I read in Shape magazine’s April 2010 issue. The story, “Shortcut to a Sexier Body,” written by Janet Lee, quoted R.D. Tanya Fakhouri, who is a personal trainer and owner of TNT Wellness Group in Los Angeles.

“If you sculpt your muscles from a variety of angles–by changing your hand, leg or arm positioning–you don’t have to lift two or three times a week.”

By making simple adjustments, you can intensify your exercise routine. This is encouraging for those of us pressed for time.

I also think this idea has been reiterated enough that it can be deemed reliable. From my experience, I think the best way to sift through the abundance of health tips that are out there is to find a credible source and to check multiple credible sources.

And one more thing. My trainer reminded me not to forget about resting and recovery. So, today is Sunday. My day of rest. From exercise, at least. Back to homework!


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The Road to a Triathlon, Week 1

In an attempt to alleviate my insatiable need for exercise, my friend and I have decided to embark on a journey to complete a sprint triathlon over the summer. I think it will challenge and motivate me in new ways, and definitely help me get in shape!

To prepare for this lofty goal, I have enrolled in a cycling class through Ohio University’s recreation center. My first introductory class was on Thursday. It was tough, but will definitely be great preparation for the biking portion of the triathlon. The worst part? My butt hurt really badly by the time class was over. The class is 45 minutes every Thursday for seven weeks…so hopefully all of this practice will get me used to sitting on a bike for that long!

In addition, I have finished 1 out of 3 sessions of personal training. So far, I have completed a body composition and fitness assessment, and a weight room circuit plan. It’s a great way for me to direct my time in the gym and get a more effective workout.

Finally, I will complete my first 5K race by the end of the quarter. Possibly two! The last leg of the triathlon measures out to be about 3 miles as well, so I think this will be good practice for that.

After school ends, I plan to set up a work out schedule involving swimming, running and biking outside. I will also incorporate the transitions involved with the triathlon, such as biking and running directly after.

For now, I am concentrating on getting my endurance up for the 5K by running on the treadmill and outside. Stay posted as I continue on my journey!