Trying a Tri

For two days my neck and shoulder has been killing me. I have no idea why, or what I did. Do I need a new pillow? Did I pull something on Wednesday’s workout? Who knows but it’s awful. I have a massage scheduled for Sunday night and I’m praying it helps.

This week my schedule changed at work. I asked my boss if I could switch to 30 minute lunches and leave at 4:30 instead. My reasoning behind this is because I’m hoping that I can start biking to and from work in preparation for the Portland Century. I want to miss some of the 5 o’clock rush hour traffic for safety reasons. The time change was approved so I started getting off work at 4:30. It’s made a huge change! I haven’t started commuting to work on bike yet because of the weather but I’m hoping to do that in the next month. Right off the bat I can see that that 30 minutes will GREATLY improve my way of life. I miss the rush hour traffic commuting home, I get to the gym earlier, hence I get home earlier and have more time to spend with Michael or friends. Plus I will be able to eat dinner at a reasonable hour. Love it!

Friday I got to the pool by 5pm and was in the pool by 5:15. Since it was such a gorgeous sunny day in Portland I didn’t have to worry about the gym being crowded when I got there. I was worried a great deal about my neck and shoulders. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to swim at all with the pain I was in. But the moment I got in the pool all the discomfort melted away. I had a FANTASTIC swim! It was wonderful. I took my inhaler with me this time too and that helped with my chest discomfort.

Swim Stats:

Time: 56

Calories Burned: 412

Distance: 8 lengths short of 1.5 miles

Since I got to the gym early I swam a little longer and enjoyed it. I didn’t feel like I had to rush to hurry up and get home (or try to beat my raging hunger). There was a guy in the lane next to me doing sprints in the pool and when I was done with my swim I chatted with him in the sauna. I asked what he was training for and he said the Coeur d’Alene triathlon. I told him I’d wanted to do a Sprint Tri for a few years now but I hadn’t yet. I’m seriously considering signing up for one this summer. I’m nervous about the idea, anxious about open-water swimming, and nervous that I can actually DO it.

My friend Ember is doing the Girlfriends and Dudes Triathlon this July. I could easily sign up for that tri because I have a buddy doing it too. The only problem? The swim part is in the Columbia River–FREEZING! I would need to buy a full wetsuit for that (expensive) and I already have a partial wetsuit (free). It’s a 1/2 Mile Swim: A fast, down current swim in the Columbia River. Any swim stroke is acceptable including front crawl, back crawl, side-stroke, back float and doggie paddle. The Bike: A 12.5 mile flat ride along country roads. The Run: A 3 mile flat, out and back run on paved trails. Sounds easy right?

I already swim 1.5 (I can do 1/2 mile in 15 minutes). I could easily bike 12.5 miles and running a 5k? I did Hood to Coast! I can do a 5k! But putting them all together….?

My new gym friend suggested the Blue Lake Tri. It’s in June and I was told there’s another on in August. He said I would not need a wetsuit if I did the Blue Lake Tri. I’m conflicted. I don’t know if I’m ready to do it. I want to. What am I afraid of?

I got home at a reasonable hour and Michael and I made turkey burgers and onion rings for dinner. I was famished.


I took a muscle relaxer hoping it would get my neck fixed. I fell asleep almost immediately and slept great. Unfortunately, I woke up in just as much pain as before. ūüôĀ

QUESTION: Have you done a triathlon? What did you think of it? Would you do it again?


Time Trial Bikes/Triathlon Bikes

Lisa’s Note: Even if you don’t have interest in doing a Triathlon, I encourage you to read this post for the valuable information on WHEN and HOW to buy a bike–no matter what kind you buy!

Bike Trainer Info

How to Buy A Bike – Part 1

How to Buy a Bike – Part 2

Time Trial Bikes

Guest Post by Michael

The last type of bike that we’ve not discussed is time trial bikes. These are also commonly used in triathlon events. The purpose of these bikes is to go as fast as possible over a set course where you are timed.

You know who's time trial bike

The most glaringly different feature on these bikes is the handlebars. These are called aero bars. Aero bars are intended to stretch your body out into a longer and lower profile position to reduce wind resistance. Your forearms sit on rests and your hands grab the aero bars at the end where the shifters are. The brakes are located at the end of the wider part of the handlebars which are primarily used for climbing up hills. it presents the obvious question — If I’m tucked into the most aerodynamic position, how do I brake? Well, you don’t. Remember, you’re racing against the clock. You are not going to slow your bike down.

Time Trial Bars

Another subtle difference is the frame. These frames are designed to reduce wind resistance and therefore are as skinny as possible. These bikes usually have a cutout that allows the rear tire to be as close as possible to the frame to reduce drag.

The riding position is also a little different. Beyond the tucked position, these riders typically ride the bike as far forward on the saddle as possible. This position allows for more pressure to be places directly over the pedals as you ride which results in a more efficient pedaling motion.

If you’re on a budget and already have a road bike, you can just attach aero bars and get a longer saddle for it. Whatever you decide, it’s a good idea to make sure you can actually get into and sustain that position while pedaling. Your hamstrings really get stretched out on these bikes and it’s a good idea to make sure that you can actually get into this position before you commit any money to the gear. Again, you don’t want to buy things that you’re never going to use, especially when they’re just going to make your bike heavier.

If you do decide to buy a bike this year, I cannot stress the importance of¬† purchasing it from a true bike store. You cannot simply¬†call up a bike store, say that your height is 5’6″ and have someone tell you what size bike you need. Buying a bike is nothing like buying t-shirts. There are more than 4 sizes and¬† you cannot do it over the internet. You need to be fit to a bike by a proper bike technician.¬† This is why you shouldn’t buy a bike from any store that’s not first and foremost, a bike store.

Now that you know how to buy a bike, you need to know that the months of January and February are the best time of the year to buy a bike. In addition to people being discouraged to ride by the weather, the 2010 models are likely on clearance and your bike store is discounting them to make room for the 2011 models. You may even be able to negotiate the price you pay for a bike, especially if you’re shopping for a higher-end model. You want to take advantage of these deals so get out there and buy a bike ASAP! Don’t wait for the weather to improve because you’ll only end up spending more.

QUESTION: Have you bought a bike yet? Are you thinking about it?