Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Long run

It was very good - not actually blissful, in fact a bit of a slog (I was cold and slightly underfueled), but really very enjoyable throughout.

I slightly miscalculated my course - I wanted to do ten miles, but realized that the way I'd sorted things out I was going to be doing more like 12 if I really ran all the way home. As the Antarctic simulation had become increasingly realistic by that point, I decided to listen to the voice of reason and take the subway home from 86th St.!

Good hills, good steady slow pace (maybe 1:48 for 10 miles?), slightly chilly legs (those tights were fine in Philadelphia, but I was running rather faster there - and now that I think about it, I had the RaceReady shorts over 'em, too - either I need to layer, or I should get a warmer pair).

Today it was actually quite snowy and in the mid-20s, but there wasn't anything much accumulating underfoot, so I resisted the temptation to break out the YakTrax, which have arrived and are tantalizing me in their wintry glory...

My new running jacket is utterly glorious! I had much pondering in the Patagonia store the other day deciding how best to spend my gift card on an outer layer suited to Antarctic running, and I chose this. It is my new favorite item of clothing!

The crazy thing is that I am only ten weeks out from a marathon!

Happy New Year!


What are my triaspirational goals for 2009? Hmmm....

Continue to become a better and faster runner.

Become a considerably better swimmer, including integrating flip turns into my regular daily swimming!

25+ run miles/week; 10,000 swim yards/week.

Become a calmer and more confident and road-worthy cyclist. (I am hoping that the NYCC's C-SIG course will help in this regard - also, of course, it would be helpful if I would ever actually ride my bike!)

Find a core and/or strength-training routine or class that works for me (yoga or pilates would fall into this category), and do it at least twice a week.

Do the same two triathlons I did last year, and improve my times in both (that will not be hard, especially for the Florida race!).

Take some minutes off my marathon time in New York in November (I did 4:17 in Philadelphia, on what is a slightly easier course - sub-4:10 might be a good goal?), and finish the Antarctica marathon in March feeling cheerful and strong!

Stop eating cake and ice-cream as often as I have done in the last three months! (Or else start running 40 miles/week on a very consistent basis...)

Enjoy myself training and racing, that is the most important one...

It makes training make sense to have some serious goal races, but I think I like it better when I stay more flexible about what other racing I'll do - the half-marathon Grand Prix is a fantastic notion (five half-marathons over the calendar year, one in each of the five boroughs of New York!) but in fact caused me some grief (I enjoyed the Bronx race very much, but I was coming down with a cold when I ran the Manhattan one ,and the Brooklyn one, due to rescheduling, took place only two weeks before the Florida 70.3, which was inconvenient for all sorts of reasons), and I had to give up after the first three when that hamstring injury in September made it clear that running the Queens race that weekend would be distinctly inadvisable. They don't announce the dates for the races especially far in advance, so if you travel quite a bit and have some other races to work around it can turn out to be a considerable source of stress.

And I would like to do more open-water races, but they are very weather-dependent, so there is no point feeling disappointed when they do not happen!

I do not feel it was a year in which I made any great improvements, but I think that has to do with the nature of retrospection rather than true lack of progress.

I was far less nutritionally responsible in 2008 than in 2007, but on the other hand the mental-health costs of being very obsessive and stringent on the food front seem to me to outweigh that eating style's benefits to physical health. I wish it were easy for me to weigh about 15 pounds less than I do right now, but that is not the body type I have, and the honest fact of the matter is that almost every female of my acquaintance who is not incredibly thin privately believes that she should weigh 10-15 pounds less than she does - and if her weight drops, the notional ideal weight drops with it!

I do know that I made considerable progress on a number of counts (I did my first triathlon and my first marathon, I found a real team to swim with!), even if there is nothing so dramatic and striking as there was in the fall of 2007 (namely, a half-marathon PR of 1:54, learning to swim butterfly and having the adult swimmer's amazing pleasure of learning for the first time what it feels like to swim a real honest-to-god 100 IM!).

I have particularly enjoyed the camaraderie of training with friends real-life and virtual, including readers here who comment and e-mail - thanks in particular to my lovely New York running partners, to various family members who supported me during the Philadelphia marathon, to the coaches and trainers and teachers who made things fun and (last but definitely not least!) to Wendy and Brent for incredibly generous and high-quality advice and support in these endeavors (and indeed in life in general)!

Happy New Year! Here's to a great year of triaspirationality, in whatever forms it takes - really it does not have to involve triathlon, it is just a question of learning and yearning and stretching and striving to do things that you would not have thought possible...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday swim

I have been feeling slightly out of sorts and over-eaten and under-exercised all week, including far less run mileage than I had hoped, so it was good to go to a real TNYA swim practice this evening. It was the first time I've made it to a practice at John Jay - I swam in the slow lane, thinking I had better err on the side of caution.

It was kind of nice for a change to be the clearly strongest swimmer, and able to hold intervals with lots of rest - good for the swimming morale. But next time I go there I will slot in near the back of the next lane over!

I was having reminiscences of the first time I went to that pool. It was almost two years ago, in early January 2007, and it was not for swimming but for the late and much lamented Doug Stern's deep-water running class - I was recovering from a stress fracture, and had swum probably once in the previous fifteen years (and been so traumatized that one time by a lifeguard brusquely telling me to move to the slow lane that I never went back!), but as soon as I met Doug I realized that he was the swimming teacher I most wanted to have! It was a strange and sad time - my friend Helen had just been killed, I could hardly think about anything else, and in fact Doug would be dead by June of that year too, of a very fast-moving and lethal cancer. But swimming is all good...

Let me see if I can reconstruct all the details of practice. I love swimming for 90 minutes instead of 60! I have been starved of swimming this week, I have not swum since last Tuesday, it was very good to get back in the pool.

(Everyone was absurdly making holiday-related excuses for why they were swimming slowly, getting out early, etc.! It was almost deserted by 9 o'clock!)

Warmup: 200 free, 150 kick, 200 IM, 150 pull (should have been 200 of each, but lane congestion and an eye on the clock meant I trimmed some bits off)

4 x 50 kick on 1:30
6 x 50 stroke on 1:15 (I did 3 fly, 3 back)
6 x 50 free on 1:15

3 x 150 free on 3:45

3 x (100 free as 75 fast, 25 easy on 2:30; 150 free as 100 fast, 50 easy on 4:00)

2 x (3 x 25 stroke hard on :40, 50 stroke easy on 1:30). I did fly - I got a bit of stroke coaching, too...

50 easy back, 50 easy free

3000 yards total - very good! I had a lot of rest, too.

I would prefer to be swimming 3000-yard workouts, not 2100-2400, but there is not quite time in the hour - it wouldn't be bad if I stayed in the pool after practice on a Tuesday or Thursday evening and just did some easy freestyle drill to build up the yardage. Lane swim starts directly after practice...

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Oliver Twist diet

"Please, sir, I want some more."

No run today - I needed my daylight hours for grumpiness-inducing novel-related procrastination-that-will-incipiently-be-work! I will swim tomorrow evening, but I am hoping I might be able to run in the afternoon also - that is a good incentive to get some real work done...

Saturday, December 27, 2008


I have recently started using the Buckeye Outdoors training log - I wanted a nice online one, and I figured that whatever Shirley had was pretty sure to be the best that was out there! I've been logging workouts for a couple years now, but more like on tiny scraps of paper and miscellaneous here-and-there-type places.

For 2009, though, I will have a complete log that adds up all the numbers for me!

Run goal: 25+ miles/week; 1250+ for year's total

Swim goal (this is more ambitious, may need adjustment downwards): 10,000 yards/week; 500,000+ yards for year's total

Bike: as much as possible!

Saturday run

It was a lazy person's six-mile run in Riverside Park rather than the projected 10-miler in Central Park - I realized that I am knackered, and that I had better scale it down if I wanted even to get out the door! I felt very good after a slow couple miles' start, though - the second half felt like a pretty good clip.

It is curiously warm outside (upper 40s), and so foggy that in places you could hardly see more than about twenty feet...

I am going to wait to do a longer run on Wednesday, and think of the last week plus next couple weeks as 2 x 10 days rather than 3 x 7 as far as the long run goes - I realize that travel days cannot honestly be counted as rest.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holiday activities

It was a great yoga class yesterday - a lot of breathing and relaxation exercises, but very good coverage on all the other stuff you would want to do also - really we were at it for a couple hours. Lovely! If only MimiRock taught yoga in New York, I would do it every week...

And then I have had a very good run just now too. Down Midvale Avenue from my mother's house and along the river (same as the last bit of the Phila. marathon course - good memories!) past a couple bridges up to one that a map tells me is called the Columbia Bridge. A beautiful day for a run - sunny, clear, barely windy at all and probably up as high as the mid-40s.

Around the turnaround point I became uncomfortably aware that I was having stomach issues, and that I did not even have a wad of tissues or a folded-up paper towel in my pocket, let alone knowledge of a toilet along the course - but I had passed a couple porta-potties in a parking lot half a mile or so back, and when I arrived there on the way back it was my great piece of holiday good fortune to find one that was unlocked, only mildly but not excessively squalid (winter weather is better for these things!) and fully stocked with toilet paper.

The last bit back up Midvale Avenue to McMichael Park is am amazingly good training hill - it is almost a mile long, and quite steep! If I were going to be here for some more days, I would do some hill repeats...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wednesday run

It was a great one, too - I love running in the rain, and it has warmed up to the upper 30s, so no longer insanely slippery underfoot (very slushy in parts, though).

I multitasked - I ran over to Central Park and down to Tavern on the Green, then left the park and made a very brief stop to do some last-minute Xmas shopping at 67th and Columbus.

(It was a gift card; it fit in my pocket!)

Up Broadway for a few blocks, then along 72nd St. to Riverside Park and home through the park - closer to 7 miles than to 6, I think, all told...

Holiday treats: I am going to have a morning run tomorrow at my mother's house, plus yoga in Philadelphia later this evening - a very special yoga class taught by yoga/surfing guru and punk rock heroine extraordinaire Mimirock!

[ED. Check out her song "New York"!]

Best holiday wishes!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday swim practice

Felt particularly mentally and physically beneficial, too. The CU gym is now closed for two weeks, but TNYA has a relatively humane holiday schedule; I will try and go to the Friday-evening workout at John Jay later this week. I can always sneak up to Riverbank, too, if I really want a swim - but I am thinking I need to start building up some run miles in any case!

I had a lane to myself for most of the practice, which is strange but in its way enjoyable. Serious stuff for the first two-thirds of practice, then some goofy stuff at the end for the holiday! Very enjoyable.

Warmup: 300 free, 75 kick-drill-swim (I did back, would have then followed up with other 3 strokes but time was up)

4 x 150 on 3:35 as fly, back, breast by 50

5 x 150 free descending (3:15, 3:05, 2:55, 2:45, 2:35)

50 easy back


2 x 100 as 25 scull on back, 25 water-polo-style, 25 long dog paddle, 25 3 strokes on front, 3 strokes on back

2 x 100 as 25 fly pull/flutter kick, 25 backstroke/whip kick, 25 breast pull/flutter, 25 free pull/dolphin

200 easy swim


2375 total

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday swim

Just a short and easy one...

100 free
100 back
100 free
100 breast (some dolphin, last 25 mostly free - lane snarl-up!)
200 IM drill
100 back
100 fly drill

4 x 50 fly-back on 1:30
100 back
100 free
100 back

1300 yards total

Sunday run

Not quite the Antarctic conditions I was imagining - in fact by the time I got out the door, it was sunny and clear and in the low to mid-30s. Every path I ran on had been shoveled! Fiendishly slippery, though, so in that sense it was good practice - runners in the park were warning each other about especially icy stretches, which though heart-warming in a minor way was not especially useful, as almost everything was icy!

(Really I should have gone off-road and ran up and down hills of snow, but I had my mind's eye on the early sunset and wanted to get home in good time - I must see if I can take some advantage of the snow that is still piled all over the place, though. I wore my waterproof socks, only did not quite have the fortitude to step deliberately in puddles - I must take them out again later in the week and really do some puddle-stomping to see how effective they are...)

c. 7.5 - 8 miles (very slow, due to slipperiness - 90+ minutes of highly aerobic exercise!)


Antarctica training tips from Jenny Hadfield! And I am happy to say it is the perfect day for an Antarctic training run - mid-30s, snowstorm debris slushily underfoot, raining (or perhaps it is "wintry mix"?!?). But I must get some work done first...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Breaststroke clinic!

Very good, too - we did some of those pullouts at the end, if I practice them a bit more I think I have actually got the hang of it. A lot of different drills (breaststroke pull with pull buoy, whip kick with and without pull buoy, etc.); only minor cloud on horizon was that I realized pretty quickly that I have twanged some hip-adductor-type muscle that meant I needed to sub in dolphin for whip kick, but it was still a very useful session.

c. 1800 yards

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday run

My beautiful new Mizuno trail running shoes arrived yesterday - and when I realized a snowstorm was in the cards for today, though I had not intended to run I got the gleam in my eye...


Just 3 miles easy. Very lovely, too - the shoes are great, and it was a winter wonderland in Riverside Park - altogether empty but for some sledders!

Some good hail pellets in the face on the way back north along the river - I felt I was really logging suitable training...

"It never stops"

Interesting article on African runners in New York. (Via The Final Sprint.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The internet at last complies with my wishes...

Thursday swim practice


Hmmmm, either it was easier than usual or else I am becoming a better swimmer. (Possibly both?)

(Back and shoulders v. sore from boot camp the other day - but in a good way...)

Warmup (curtailed): 200 free, 200 back

12 x 75 on 2:15

First 6 fly-back-breast; second 6 freestyle as swim-kick-swim

5 x 50 breast on 1:15

8 x 100 free on 2:25 with last 25 kick

5 x 50 choice on 1:00 (I did fly, back, breast, free, free)

2300 yards total

Insomniac's guide to winter training

In my spare time I have been making up a beautiful training schedule for the next fifteen weeks...

I have been trying to use my brain and really take advantage of what I learned from marathon training this fall!

Things I have learned #1: SKIP WORKOUTS WHEN NECESSARY.

Trying to hew very close to a schedule in the face of overloaded work obligations or unexpected changes of travel plans leads to injury or illness. I had a hamstring pull that was a very direct consequences of not making allowances for the stress of travel and trying to make up miles I'd missed; ditto on November's bad cold, I would not have been so likely to get that sick if I hadn't been running around maniacally doing a million work-related & other things the weekend I also did my 20+-mile run and got ready to leave town for a week.

This round of marathon training only has three long runs - in the pattern 12, 16, 14, 18, 14, 20. The 20-miler is pretty much fixed, it has to happen that weekend - but if something unexpectedly stressful intervenes, I could do a bit of switching around on the 16 and the 18 as needed (like do 12, 14, 16, 14, 18, 20 instead, or take some extra days recovery and wait till the following Wednesday for the long one and move to a decimal rather than week-based schedule) - I will try and attend to my body and its needs...

Things I have learned #2: SLEEP SITUATION IS NOT HELPING TRAINING - but there might be things I could do about it.

Last year I was really having truly awful insomnia, like where you think you are going to die from lack of sleep! Now I am back on my regular familiar sleeplessness, which is to say that it is a constant ongoing problem but not something that seems like it's going to tip me over the edge.

But I think that during this next stint of training, it would behoove me to try a new approach. And I hereby resolve that the only thing, this next three months, that is going to make me set my alarm to get up early is an actual honest-to-god my-own-priorities-say-it's-important work-type obligation, i.e. writing. (Or, of course, an early morning plane trip or work meeting or what have you.)

But no morning runs that cost me sleep, because it is not worth it. I am going to try and reclaim those earlier morning hours for last-ditch sleep, because I think that the extra hour and a half you can get if you fall back asleep around 6:45 and stay in bed till 8:15 is the thing that I need more of in my life. I will do my long runs - indeed, I will do all of my runs - later in the day.

Constraints on this round of training are various.

Most important: I have a book manuscript due Feb. 2! I will have to see how it goes with the next weeks of work - it may be that I just about scramble together to make the deadline, or it may be that some more or less dramatic deadline adjustment is called for (I devoutly hope NOT!). But this is more important than the training (triaspirational heresy!), and I will certainly pull back for a week or two if I need to in order to polish it off...

I'm visiting Brent from Jan. 1-12 (2 travel days; preference for swimming over running while there).

CU pool is closed from this coming Tuesday till after New Year's; but there are a couple TNYA workouts I can go to at John Jay post-Xmas, so I should be able to get the necessary swim fix.

School starts Jan. 20, so my prime writing time is the first three weeks of January before I'm teaching.

The Florida 70.3 race is going to creep up on me if I am not careful (mid-May), so it makes sense to start using the trainer now for some cross-training. All-round endurance training seems apter for Antarctica than high run mileage. That's partly because of the nature of the course, but it's also true that though I would love it if I could settle in to a schedule where I regularly ran about 35 miles/week, I think that at this stage, everything above 30 or so raises the chance of injury.

Book-writing needs mean that for this next little while I should try and do double workouts rather than two separate workouts whenever possible, and keep mornings free and clear for my own writing (easier said than done, especially once school starts).

I am hoping for quite a bit of snow, so that I can do some of my long runs in adverse conditions - but I am going to keep them really slow, I think that I did my fall ones at too fast a pace. I don't know that it makes a huge difference at the level I am at, but certainly it's more stress on the body than doing a highly aerobic one, so I will revert to the older plan (Hadd-style!) of low-HR long runs.

I have registered for an intersession voluntary phys. ed. class at CU, one that comes recommended by a friend of mine and that is directly adjacent to the Tuesday-Thursday TNYA blocks (a pilates-based core sculpt class that should be very much to the point without being excessively intense), but will wait to decide about things for the semester till I see (a) how I like this particular class and (b) how my semester is shaping up, when/whether the book is finished, etc. etc.

Hmmm, regrettably the dodgy internet connection I'm using is not going to let me upload the scanned picture! Ah well - you will just have to trust me when I say that it is a thing of beauty - or at any rate a thing of considerable complexity that I have pored over for a number of hours?!?


Bliss! I went at a very easy pace (I have lost all speed - though I did have a nice fast downhill stretch at the end...), first down to 96th St. and then north along the greenway up to the GW Bridge.

8 miles easy

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday treat

A very nice treat - Triathlete L. (Wednesday-evening fellow runner) invited me to come with her to the boot camp class at her nice gym at Chelsea Piers, a place I often run past but have never been inside.

Buckets of sweat dripped off me during the class - it was a good one, and reminded me that I need some structured workouts like that if I am not going to be working out with M., I literally have not done a single strength/core workout since my last session with him a month ago, I just do not have the inclination - will find a class nearby that I can opt into, even if it is not super-wonderfully good.

Then we swam about 1000 yards, very nice also: cannot now remember exactly what, but call it 2 x (100 free, 100 back), 100 breast, 50 fly drill-stroke, 50 free, 8 x 50 hard stroke down recovery free back (I did 2 of each stroke in IM order, including the free at the end though it is not exactly allowed in the terminology!).

Then we had mini-burgers, fried calamari and a beer, plus good conversation - so it really was a treat in the less Triaspirational sense also!

Tuesday run

6 miles easy


It is always a relief to me, after a couple weeks in which I've run so little, to learn that I still can run!

The lack of mileage has been on my mind because of an unexpected and thrilling change of plan re: spring racing. I am still only with the most sporadic and phasing-in-and-out borrowed wireless internet at home (thanks, E.!), so I will not write the lavish blog post to which my temperament naturally inclines me - but I am in fact going to run my next marathon on March 10 - and it is this one!

Brent has had a longstanding plan to run this race with his friend JK, who moves in an amazing travel vortex of unprecedented proportions - and I am going to join them! It is the trip of a lifetime!

More TK on training thoughts. Basically it is an endurance event, and cross-training will be more important than high run mileage per se - I am hoping it will snow a lot in NYC this winter so that I can go and do some really arduous and snowy and slow training runs on the challenging cross-country course in Van Cortlandt Park! But I need to be back on decent base miles as of this week - if I leave it much longer, it starts being rash not to build up again from much lower mileage...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday swim

I was fairly desperate to run earlier, only I had a common-sense assessment of my condition when I got home from the office & realized that instead I would be better off eating and sleeping! Slept for two hours, which was imprudent but necessary - felt very groggy when I got up, definitely in no condition to run, but I did make it over to the gym for a short swim (I must take advantage of the pool being deserted due to finals and open only for one more week before the holidays).

(I should remind myself, though, too, that a short run is often an option too - I should have more 3- and 4-mile runs when I am too tired or underfueled for it to be sensible to head out for a longer one.)

All easy, except for the fly! It was very refreshing, too - I am glad I got myself over there.

100 swim
100 right-arm, left-arm, catch-up, swim
100 swim
100 thumbs and salute freestyle drill
50 free
100 breast
50 free
100 back
50 free
2 x 75 stroke as kick, drill, swim by 25 (first one fly, second one back)
100 free

1000 yards total

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday swim

I am slightly mentally desperate for a run, but in the end I rejected both windows of opportunity today (early morning, mid-afternoon) - the imperative to keep on unpacking was stronger! And moving seems to disrupt mealtimes in a most dreadful way - I was too underfueled to go out in the afternoon, I had to eat instead - and my legs and feet are very sore and tired from all of this, so perhaps it was for the best.

I literally only have two boxes left to unpack (though the study is in some disarray, and all of this has been partly managed by dint of moving a ton of more or less unsorted stuff - probably 40 boxes' worth - to my real office, where I am very happy to let it sit boxed up for some more weeks). My mother and J. arrived in mid-morning and gave me some very solid practical help (and did various kinds of shopping!), but the moral assistance was of even more use - I did a lot more unpacking yesterday than I would have if I didn't know that my mother would have to do it for me today otherwise!

Only a half an hour to swim just now, but it was well worth it. I think this was it, might not be quite right:

200 free

100 back

100 right-arm, left-arm, catch-up, swim

100 free concentrating on technique

100 fly drill as right-arm, left-arm, full stroke, 3 on each side

100 back

100 free

100 breast

100 free

100 IM

100 free

50 back

1250 yards total

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday swim

I have moved to my new apartment, and am even about 70% unpacked (and looking forward to the box-free lifestyle in my near future!) - only with the significant though temporary drawback that there is no internet connection yet!

And there will not be one until CUIT comes to install an Ethernet box, which easily could take ten days - only with the timing of the holidays, if it does not happen this week, I am thinking it might not happen till January...

I have to fill out a form that goes through the building super to the relevant party, but rather than leaving it in his hands I think I may get the form signed and see if I can deliver it myself and plead with the CUIT people about particularly pressing internet needs - not only blog-related, but my students generally count on me responding near-instantaneously to any e-mail, and it is finals week!

Laconic posting for immediate future...

Anyway, I made it out from Boxland for a nice forty-minute swim before the pool closed for the night.

Warmup: 4 x 125 as 75 free, 25 back, 25 breast (I like this warmup because it is easy to keep track of where one is in it based on what end of the pool one finds oneself at!)

100 back, 100 free, 100 fly drill, 100 free

2 x (100 IM, 100 free)

7 x 50 IM transitions set (which I am going to abbreviate with the nice blocky capital letter pairs, because they remind me of WWII-era cryptography and also because their style is like a pair of shoes by Dansko that I have recently had to dispose of): FL-FL, FL-BK, BK-BK, BK-BR, BR-BR, BR-FR, FR-FR

50 back cooldown

1700 yards total

More reflections on my year in swimming when I am not standing up at a library terminal with the chaos and clamor of finals week around me. On the bright side, though the library is very crowded, the pool was near-empty!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thurday run

I was determined to get out there - it was not what would conventionally be called a nice day (40 degrees F, rainy, windy), but it was a very nice day for a run...

6 miles easy (I was very cold and wet by the time I got home, but exhilarated!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday swim

Blissful, too. Something about the lane traffic pattern made it more suitable to swim mostly freestyle-type stuff, at an easy effort level, but I really enjoyed it....

Warmup: 6 x (75 free + 25 stroke in IM order)

2 x (100 back, 100 free)

3 x (100 freestyle drill, 100 swim), with a hundred each of catch-up, thumbs-and-salute, finger-drag, and concentrating on technique during swim

3 x 50 fly on 1:30

50 easy back swim-down

1800 yards total

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday swim

No time to go to practice earlier, and then my evening somehow slipped away from me in a most mysterious way, so that as I was getting into the pool I could see I only had twenty-five minutes before closing time. Hmmmm, in a strange way, though, it is a guarantee of a very enjoyable swim - I feel starved for exercise, though!

Warmup: 3 x 200 free + 50 stroke (fly drill, back, breast)

100 back

100 free

2 x 50 fly on 1:30

50 back cooldown

1100 yards total

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday yoga

I had a yen to go to the last yoga class of the semester, of which I have missed every single one but the first (I had that hamstring injury, and then once it was pretty much better I was close enough to marathon time that I didn't want to add in something hard on the legs - also I often seem to be traveling on a Sunday, so it was not as convenient as I imagined).

Very good, too!

Part of my resolution for 2009 is to do more of the meditative/mental-health-type end of exercise - yoga for sure, but I also read a rather delightful kung-fu novel that made me thing I really should sign up for the kung fu class, I do not want to fight anybody but I think it would be interesting from a mind-over-matter standpoint...

Yoga teacher handed us each a yoga CD and instruction sheet, so I might try some at home over the holidays - she rightly says that 20 minutes a day (10 in the morning, 10 in the evening) is better than an hour once a week.

Sunday run

Thank goodness, too - because a week without running is clearly not a good week! Ughh, I have given myself insane allergies via book-packing activities - books are the dustiest things in the world. I was thinking about trying for a longer one, but I saw reason - factors included (a) conviction that allergies + long runs + stress = respiratory infection (b) desire not to carry water bottle (c) million moving-related things to do this afternoon.

6 miles easy, but hard enough to break a good sweat. Especially in the really windy stretches, it is like doing battle out there; I love it!

I have to face the fact that exercise is not my priority over the next month or so.

(ARGHHHHHHHHH! Why can I not just live in a monastic cell where all I do is write and train and read books and then periodically teach a class or two?!?)

My real training does not start up again till mid-February, when I will start actually training for the Florida 70.3 race in May. Will have a bike focus since that is by far my weakest thing.

The new semester starts Jan. 21 or so, and my novel manuscript is due Feb. 2 - I am going to do my damnedest to meet that deadline, anyway, which means as much writing as possible needs to be done before I start teaching again.


Next 10+ days: pack, move, unpack; finish up semester's teaching, grading and other miscellaneous duties; swim as much as possible, run at least every couple days but don't fret about mileage; fit in a core workout or two if I have 20 minutes to spare

Dec. 24-31: DIG IN ON NOVEL-WRITING; survive holidays and EVIL POOL CLOSURE; swim when possible at Riverbank or other TNYA workouts elsewhere, but don't fret about lack of swimming; run quite a bit; venture out on the bike if it is not too cold?

Jan. 1-11: probable tropical island paradise interlude of MANIACAL NOVEL-WRITING, some running and a lot of swimming in the sea...

Jan. 12-20: FURTHER MANIACAL NOVEL-WRITING; daily exercise for purposes of sanity and physical fitness, but subordinated to writing needs

And there is no point worrying about the end of January now - I will reassess where I am with the novel and make plans accordingly. I foresee a couple weeks of getting up at 5am for early-morning writing/editing sessions before I refocus for school-related stuff.

Now I must go and shower and eat and return some more library books!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Thirty-year running streak! Full story at the Wall Street Journal - well worth a read, click through if you have any obsessive tendencies....

Hmmmm, I shouldn't go to the John Jay swim workout tomorrow morning (I was thinking about jogging down there and then heading into the pool - musing on logistics of this arrangement, which I think might suit me well for the spring semester). I should have a real run instead - I have not run since last Saturday, that is much too long, very non-streak-like - but I cannot go out now, it is too late - I should go to bed in the near future!

Perhaps no run this evening

but I see there are some more photos up from last weekend's race - that is possibly the best-documented race I have ever run! Finish line photos (less bucolic than the ones I posted a few days ago, but at least I look like I am running faster here - I had a good kick at the end - also, Brent's friend JK is visible as a spectator - in the gray sweatshirt!). And some blurrier pre-race ones if you can be bothered to clear those search results and click through to the pre-race photo set and search for bib 628 (I cannot get the site to let me to have two different photo-set links): I definitely look half-asleep!

Blissful Saturday swim practice

Very, very enjoyable, definitely the best thing that has happened to me all week.

- We got into the pool 20 minutes early - usually it is a very tight hour, more like 57 minutes, even for the weekend workout, which does not leave enough time for proper warmup and long workout.

- I am exercise-starved! My legs deserved a proper recovery week after the excesses of late November, and I gave it to 'em, but that does not mean I have to like it. I felt mildly out of sorts all week, cannot disentangle cause and effect on that one. But the end-of-semester schedule is very crazy, too, so I had only short and mostly pretty easy swims this week, no running at all. (I will have a real run later this afternoon or tomorrow morning, depending on various other factors related to my impending move round the corner.)

- It was mostly freestyle! With suitably paced lane-mates, though it got a bit chaotic at several points (causing the other woman in the lane to utter the immortal and irritable words "Boys don't pay attention to the clock!").

- But really I just love real swim practice, and I must try and go to one of the 90-minute ones on a more regular basis- a one-hour swim is not enough!

- NB my fly fitness is showing the benefits of even just a couple weeks of actually working on it - remarkable...

10 minutes stretching (there is usually a 30-minute dryland session before this workout, only we cut it short to get into the pool early)

A different coach from usual, I suppose it is stimulating to switch it up in terms of the coachly imagination - people's minds tend to run in a similar way even when they are composing different workouts, I like the regular coach very much but this was a nice change also.

Warmup: 200 free easy, 200 stroke easy (I did 100 back, 100 fly drill-swim by 25), 200 free medium, plus 100 as 50 back, 50 free to fill in extra bit of time

Set #1: 16 x 50 free in sets of 4 descending: first set on 1:15, then 1:10, 1:05, 1:00. Nice to concentrate on the different "gears" in that kind of a freestyle set, though it is still too much of a mental challenge for me to track my actual times when we're switching around the intervals on irregular numbers...

Set #2: 5 x 200 free with 50 kick moving from first to fourth position in set (last one all swim hard)

Set #3: 6 x 100 choice; first 3 as 75 hard 25 easy, second 3 as 75 build, 5 seconds rest, then sprint the last 25 all out. I did all IM except for the last, when I decided after 25 fly and 25 back that really I should do the last 50 all fly - it was fun! (I should have done all of the last 3 as 100s of fly, but I thought I would save some energy for notional run later on!)

50 back cooldown

That was a very, very enjoyable workout indeed. 3150 yards total - more than I usually do, I like it, I want to do one like that every week!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday quiet evening swim

Pleasant short swim, marred only by minor indigestion from an overly large lunch! I shared the lane with a couple very sensible swimmers, when several more wayward ones made their way in I figured it was time to get out...

Hundreds: free, back, free, back, breast, free, back, free, breast, free, back, IM

1200 yards total

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Action shots

From John Roemer IV's very good photo set from the NCR trail marathon relay last weekend (and Jeanne Larrison's photo set gives a very nice feel for the event, though I could not pick out any pictures of people I recognize!):

Thursday swim

Yesterday was a write-off - I contemplated and rejected two different swim options based on subjective state of being utterly knackered, and in the end was in bed at 7pm, whereupon I slept for 12 hours. I cannot say I feel well-rested today, but definitely more human...

A good swim this morning. I skipped the long middle part of the workout (it was a distance more appropriate for fast collegiate swimmers than for regular grown-up ones!), but did all the rest of it, plus an extra hundred at the end. Very nice, too...

300 warmup (100 free, 50 kick, 100 free, 50 drill - I did catch-up)

8 x 100 as 75 build + 25 sprint with hard kick, 15 seconds rest (I did these on 2:05 - I tried the first couple on 2:00, but it wasn't quite enough rest)

5 x 100 as 100 free, 25 stroke 75 free, 50 stroke 50 free, 75 stroke 25 free, 100 stroke on 5-10 seconds rest (I boldly did FLY!)

300 easy swim down - I did 100 back, 100 IM with fly drill, 100 back

1900 yards total

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday swim

Just a short one - I am scrambling to get to a massive pile of papers that need commenting upon, and it is one of those days that will go on pretty much forever (including the evening work obligation that knocked out swim practice and made me have to swim in the am in the first place - high irk factor! - and it's going to happen again on Thursday, I fear!).

Along these lines:

100 free

100 back

100 free

100 IM drill

100 back as 50 drill, 50 stroke

100 fly as 50 drill, 50 stroke

100 right-arm, left-arm, catch-up, swim

2 x (100 free, 100 IM)

100 back

Concentrating especially on form during freestyle bits. I think that I still am tending to breathe a little too late in the stroke on the right side - it is a bit of a chicken and egg question, do I breathe too late because I stiffen my neck and lift it up out of the water (it should remain in neutral position, the body should rotate along its long axis rather than the neck poking up) or do I lift up my neck partly because I breathe too late - but at any rate a clear way to begin correcting it is by concentrating on breathing at the earliest possible moment...

1200 yards total

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday swim

Very pleasant swim this morning - I really miss it when I cannot swim for a few days, I think it is the single activity that has the most immediately physically beneficial effects...

400 warmup (2 x 100 free, 100 back, concentrating on long smooth strokes)

400 IM

300 free as 50 easy, 50 fast (descending on the fast ones)

200 fly drill-swim by 25

100 free easy

200 fly with drill on lengths 5 and 7 of 8 (building up to doing the full thing!)

50 easy back

1650 yards total