H/B/F 2017: my gym away from my gym

I mentioned in this post that I joined a gym as soon as we got here. I knew I’d have two weeks (really only about 7 or 8 days) to workout while Andrew was working.

On our way into town, we passed this place and I figured because of its proximity to our hotel, it would be the winner. I’d done some recon before we left and seen another gym close by, but now that I’ve walked the town, I’m glad I came across this one!

It didn’t even occur to me until I was walking into my first group exercise class that the language barrier might be problematic. While just about everyone here speaks English, their primary language is Dutch, and so the classes are led in Dutch. Again, this wouldn’t be an issue if I simply wanted to run on the treadmill and lift weights.

Thankfully, I made friends quickly and others around me made sure I knew how many reps or for how long we were supppsed to do something.  I’m even planning to meet up with one of the girls I met in boot camp for lunch next week!
Today, I chose to give a spinning class a try. While I teach cycle at home, I’ve noticed true ‘spinning’ classes tend to be a bit more intense. I tend to do one ‘thing’ (sprints, climb, or run) for the duration of a song, while in spinning the songs tend to be longer (more techno than what’s on the radio) and you might incorporate more endurance or intensity for longer segments of the song. Anyway. All that to say, don’t mind my hot and sweaty face!

The gym is actually quite extensive; there is a pool, childcare, a cafe (of course), a weight room with machines, a crossfit room (below) and various studios for yoga, biking, etc.

I went three times this week and plan to go at least that many times next week, which would make my 30 euro ‘membership fee’ be less than that many drop-in visits to my Y at home. Totally worth it.

I’m having a blast working out each morning! I love to work out, I feel better when I do, and it sure helps with all the ‘vacation eating’ going on. It’s also a neat way to ‘assimilate’ to your new home while abroad.

I tri’d…and WON

I did!  The whole, darn, THING.


The first of three heats began at 6 am.  I started in the second heat at 6:35 am with a 10-minute swim, in which I was able to finish 26 laps (650 yards).

Then, after a 10-minute break, we began our 30-minute cycle, in which I was able to ride 18.8 miles.  I set the bike at about a 9 or a 10 for resistance and just pedaled as hard as I could at a pace I thought I could withstand.  I couldn’t believe how tired I was after simply swimming for 10 minutes!  The fatigue soon wore off and I was able to go at a brisk, even pace the entire time.

Lastly, after another 10-minute break, we headed upstairs to the treadmills and hopped on for 20 minutes, in which I ran 2.8 miles.  This was the trickiest part for me, as I wasn’t sure how fast to set the treadmill at the beginning. I asked Andrew for advice and he suggested starting all-out, and backing off later if I got tired. I set the treadmill to 7-minute miles and only got faster from there!  Lesson learned:  you really can go faster and harder than you think.

When all three heats were finished–approximately 15 people–they announced the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places for men and women…and not only was I the first-place woman, I happened to accomplish the most distance in all three events!

This was the second annual ‘Tri at the Y’ held at the Southtowns YMCA. I didn’t compete last year–must have been out of town–but I definitely think this is something I would do in the future.  Speaking of the future…perhaps I should take up triathlons!


I’m gonna tri

Yes I am!  I finally signed up for my FIRST triathlon…which isn’t really a ‘real’ triathlon, but it’s a start.  The second annual ‘Tri at the Y’ is happening Nov 13, and I’ll be there!

I decided–especially since I’ve never done a triathlon before–I should probably do a little practicing before the big event.  Not so much the individual events (a 10-minute swim, 30-minute bike, 20-minute run), but the transitions between each one.  (Not that we’ll be racing down the hallways; we have 10-minute blocks of time between each event per heat.)

Anyway, today I decided I’d give it a go.  Here I am, before my swim:


In 10 minutes, I did 625 yds in the pool, and would have had plenty of time to change into dry clothes, if I’d brought them with me.  (I wanted to practice in my wet swimsuit in case I wouldn’t have time to change.)

After the bike:


As an instructor, I can use the cycle room solo (which is right next to the pool), so I jumped in there and hopped on the bike.  I started listening to my current audiobook, In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote, but quickly got bored (not because of the book, because I was biking at a steady pace without good music).  So I called a friend, and before I knew it, my thirty minutes had passed. Sixteen miles with the bike at approximately gear 11.

After the run:


I was a sweaty, sopping mess by the end!  Approx 2.6 miles in 20 minutes, with my average pace 7:40.  I know I can go faster, but how much faster?  I think the run will be the most difficult for me, since it’s hard to know how fast to start out on a treadmill.

I had a great time, although it seemed a bit disjointed as I kept running into people I knew and chatting.  I liked that no one event was very long, so it keeps it from getting tedious. For the LONGEST time I’ve been saying I should do a triathlon, so perhaps this will be just the first of many such races.