Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday swim lesson/gym

Very good chunk of morning exercise time (only I feel rather guilty about having diverted so many resources to triathlon training as opposed to book-finishing!). Another excellent lesson with JB at 7:30 - about 45 minutes of solid work on the fly, with noticeable and significant improvements, and then some preliminary breaststroke stuff. Picked his brains afterwards about some stuff to do while sea-swimming in August - practice sighting; do some stroke-counting to keep my mind on things (50 strokes, 3 strokes breast, 75 strokes free, 3 strokes breast, 100 etc.).

We ran over the hour, so I only just had time to change into regular workout clothes and meet P. at 9. A good workout - on a Friday morning, the usually thronged and testosterone-heavy weight room is near-empty...

c. 1200 yards swim

50 minutes strength

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday swim

An excellent swim - I was feeling pretty awful all morning, though I did get quite a bit of work done, now I no longer feel quite so much as though my eyes should be closed rather than open!

2 x 100 free (flip turns!)

3 x 100 drill-swim by 25 (catch-up, fists, finger-drag - flip turns!)

4 x 25 dolphin kick on sides (alternating right, left)

4 x 25 one-arm fly (alt. sides)

4 x 50 3-3-3 on 1:30

4 x 50 fly down, free back on 1:30

2 x 50 fly

1 x 200 IM

50 easy back

I don't keep much of an eye on times, as I feel there is much technique work to be done first, but M. had an eye on the clock for the 200. It was good - first half is pretty strong, 1:57, then the breast is fatally slow (1:07 - I guess I gotta work on that, I have no gears on that stroke, it is by far my weakest!) and I caught back up on the free to finish under 4:00.

Tomorrow's lesson with JB should be mostly fly again and then a bit of consultation about ideas for open-water swim workouts I can do in Cayman, but I have the $$$ for 3 more lessons with him after I'm back (he's busy in September with team stuff, so I'm not sure how easily we'll fit them in), and I guess I think I should be working on that breaststroke to see if I can get it stronger. There is always room for improvement on EVERYTHING, but my long-axis strokes are fairly solid - I know how to work on backstroke on my own, ditto freestyle...

1450 yards total

Thursday snippet

Ugh, I had to cancel the long ride today, I have too much work to do! In the meantime, a piece about the trend in fitness classes. I am old school, if I go to a class I want it to be straight-up yoga or sculpt or whatever (I like boot camp classes, though!) - but this bit made me laugh:
Gender does play a role in boutique gym classes, many of which are targeted to women. New York Sports Club, for example, offers Catwalk Confidence, in which a podiatrist teaches women how to walk properly in high heels, and Pilates Together, where mothers use their babies as weights.

Men are strangely undeterred from Knockout Bride, an intense cardio-kickboxing class at New York Health and Racquet Club that is designed to get brides in shape for the big day. (“Remember, all you have in the end are the photos,” said Ms. Donner, the group fitness director, who devised the program.)

“All my co-workers make fun of me for coming to Knockout Bride,” said Kevin Nadolny, 27, a structural engineer, at a recent class in the financial district. Mr. Nadolny is marrying in August, he said, “but it’s a coincidence.”

Craig Walker, a lawyer from Brooklyn, said he “had no idea” that the class was geared toward brides. All he knows is that “it’s torture” and that it has helped him whittle his body fat.

The class, which can last from one to three hours, entails constant motion of the arms and legs, usually on a small trampoline called a rebounder and always to a jarring medley of music (from 50 Cent to Marvin Gaye to Mr. Mister).

Members have been known to break down and cry, said Leo Wright, the instructor, who started his fitness career by teaching boot camp at Fort Dix. “People run out when they can’t take it anymore, but they always come back,” he said.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Short Wednesday swim

Ugh, really I was feeling pretty awful all day - I took a mid-morning nap, but it could not counteract the damage done by early rising and running! Exercise was contraindicated, and yet I felt that the headache that advil and caffeine had done nothing to dispel might be exorcised by swimming, and it was indeed the case.

(Also I had to practice my fly!)

c. 1000 miscellaneous, but especially:

2 x 100 one-armed fly (alternating right arm, left arm by 25)

2 x 50 3-3-3 (3 right, 3 left, 3 full stroke)

4 x 50 fly down, free back (on random!)

and other bits as I could fit 'em into whatever else was going on in the lane.

Muscles very sore today from the lunges I did yesterday! It is an enjoyable feeling, though, even if I do slightly want to avoid walking up or down stairs...

Deathly humid morning run

Now I feel pretty good, but I was toiling out there! I am not physically at my best in the morning anyway, and it is pretty intensely humid - only mid-70s, temperature-wise, but the water is just CONGEALING out of the air. I picked up a bottle of Gatorade at the corner store before coming home, and it was almost gone by the time I was getting out of the elevator and unlocking the front door - there are beads of sweat standing out all along my forearms, and I am waiting for the window unit a/c in my study to kick in properly so that my core temperature returns to normal!

It was a treat running with H., in any case, and we might try to have one more workout before I leave next week - possibly bike hill repeats next Wednesday morning very early...

5.5 miles

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday gym

Good session with P. - various core stuff, squats and lunges, etc. It is only a fifty-minute appointment, it passes by too quickly! That said, I did not seem to have the vim to swim afterward, in spite of my belief (formed in the days of music-learning, not on any athletic basis) that 4 sessions of practice between lessons is more valuable than three!

I will have to see how the next couple days go in terms of work before I know whether I can fit in an extra session of fly practicing. I am running at an evilly early hour tomorrow am with H. (I have to have at least one workout with her before she does Ironman Louisville, I am very eager to hear all about her training and plans and so forth, and our schedules have just not clicked this summer at all - she has kids and an office job and tends to spend weekends on Fire Island, I have no kids and no office job and am accordingly not an early riser - however I have bitten the bullet and will meet her in front of her building tomorrow at 6:30am for 6 miles in Central Park); I am swimming some kind of workout with lanemate Joe at 11 on Thursday, but I get as much say as I like in what it is; I am meeting Triathlete L. at 1 or 1:15 on Thursday on the NJ side of the bridge for a long ride to Piedmont/Nyack.

I can do some fly and drill stuff mixed in with whatever I'm doing with Joe, but I should try and have at least one other swim - maybe early afternoon tomorrow, if I get enough done in the am? Hmmm, I had thought maybe a bike ride - it is the problem with triathlon training, there always is something pressing to be done!

Swimming lesson at 7:30 Friday morning, then another trainer appointment at 9 - gotta figure out what I can have as digestible nutrition in the gap between! Maybe just Gatorade and run a few miles on the indoor track if I have the time, make it a solid endurance workout...

(And I'm going to join Triathlete L. for her long run on Saturday afternoon, though I will probably truncate it at 8 or 10 rather than doing the whole 12 - I've been running very little and don't want to injure myself, though I am also eager to get back up to a two-hour run sooner rather than later...)

(I AM MENTALLY HYPERACTIVE THIS WEEK! The book is in good train towards being done for Monday, and I am actually hoping it might really sorted out by Saturday afternoon - I am sure it would be done already if the Worm Triathlon had not tunneled so many holes through my gray matter!)


An amazing Shawagunks race report, courtesy of Brent...

Tuesday swim

Alas, in the cold light of day I see that I cannot do the Shawagunks and an Ironman race within a week of each other - it is not just the racing, it is a question of training and preparation, it would be too crazy! I am going to console myself by making a "notional future races" sidebar for things I cannot yet sanely schedule but ardently desire to do...

Only had about 35 minutes in the pool, but tried to use them wisely. Schedule a bit tricky this week as far as practicing my butterfly stuff goes - I am trying to cram a lot in (book-finishing; increasing run miles, taking advantage of my last spell of outdoor biking, trainer sessions), it is a question of having a lot of different priorities!

Warmup: 200 free (flip turns!), 2 x (50 back, 50 breast)

Then (along these lines, not sure if this is exact):

5 x 30 seconds vertical dolphin kick + 10 seconds rest

2 x 25 dolphin kick with board

2 x 25 dolphin kick on front, no board (breast pull when breathing)

4 x 25 dolphin kick on side, alternating sides

2 x 25 one-arm fly

2 x 25 right, left, full stroke

2 x 25 full stroke

4 x 50 on 1:15 fly down, free back

2 x 25 kick on side

1 x 50 fly down, free back

1 x 50 back cooldown

Some bits of vertical kick here and there, whenever I felt I was forgetting the feel of it; I did not have so strongly and so well as I did at the end of the lesson on Friday that feeling of kicking myself out of the water, so that is what I will concentrate on trying to reattain. Might be a good idea just to try and sneak in for 20 minutes evening dolphin kicking over next couple days...

1100 yards total

I note that I have run out of coffee - I could not have a clearer incentive to get off-line, get showered and get myself out of the house to a cafe to do some work!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day off

Took a very deep two-hour nap this afternoon, starting to feel delayed-onset muscle fatigue from yesterday's race! Rather enjoyable - I cranked out some quota pages and did some editing before that, so it is OK - now I think I will try and have another editing session.

Meanwhile, I share the link for a most amazing race - it is Triathlete L.'s notion that we should do it next year, and I must say that it looks most enticing - I am contemplating the allure of the Vibram Five-Fingers as shoes in which one can easily swim as well as run! I believe it may be in conflict with the IM Wisconsin timing for 2010, but it sounds like such an INCREDIBLY and perfectly alluring race, if it were the week before, it would almost be worth doing despite the requirements of the taper....

Another race I am slightly wishfully looking at for 2010, after an amazing conversation with my brother J. about what might be arranged in the way of a long visit to Marfa, TX next spring to do some serious bike miles in the wide open spaces of West Texas (not to mention the chance of swimming in the world's largest swimming pool! It is not nearby, more like 100 miles away, but sounds well worth a trip!) - the Fort Davis Hammerfest!

(Here was a very good race report I liked, with some pictures and descriptions that made it sound very challenging but not actually scary so long as I didn't mind going slower than most of the other racers!)

Anybody with local know-how on this race? It is possible it is just beyond my skill levels, and more appropriate for me to contemplate as a spectator - I know that I would not have the nerve or the handling skills for a really crowded bike-racing situation. But I cannot imagine that this is nearly as crowded a course as, say, bike-racing in Central Park or Prospect Park sounds like, and I wonder whether I couldn't enroll in the beginner's category and give it a try - it would certainly be an adventure...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The numbers speak for themselves

Last year:

division place (F35-39): 132 out of 189
time: 3:24:00
swim: 21:19
t1: 10:14
bike: 1:45:45
t2: 3:46
run: 1:02:58

This year:

division place (F35-39): 104 out of 189
time: 3:07:35
swim: 23:31 (1:24/100m - fast current!)
t1: 8:37
bike: 1:33:27 (16mph - should be able to go quite a bit faster than this...)
t2: 3:17
run: 58:46 (9:28/mile - increased bike fitness shows on run as well as bike, though it was honestly much hotter last year)

NYC triathlon of blissfulness!

Will do a numbers post later, since official results are not yet up and I didn't start my watch until shortly after the swim start! But my time was in the region of 3:07+, and last year was 3:24, so I took more than fifteen minutes off, even if I did not go sub-3:00 - NEXT YEAR!

It was super-enjoyable. Slightly chaotic at the start - it was raining and dark as I headed over there around 4:45 (taxi driver was initially convinced I was at the end of the previous night rather than the beginning of a new day!), I was trying to plug up a bar end with a non-correct item, everything seemed a bit complex - then I took a nervous triathlete under my wing and felt much better! I should go there earlier, though, if I really do this race again next year - it is a long walk to the swim start, long lines for porta-potties, etc. and I sorta barely made it to my wave start on time!

This led to a last-minute change of plan - I had finally gotten in to a porta-potty, jogged over to the trucks where one could check a plastic bag with shirt/shoes - I got about half-way into my wetsuit, which I planned to wear more for the practice getting in and out of it than because I really wanted it for the swim, and realized that I was (a) dripping with sweat and overheated (2) on the verge of being late for my wave start and (c) only halfway in, with no enthusiasm for getting in the whole rest of the way!

I thought about how nice it would be not to have to get back out of it when I was making the swim-bike transition (it's a 400+yard run from swim exit to transition, much nicer not to have a wetsuit on for this!), and I stripped it off and stuffed it back into the plastic bag.

I did not regret it, it was definitely the right move! Swimming is much more enjoyable with no wetsuit in any case - water a very pleasant 70 degrees, though rather muddy due to rain.

(And mysteriously my HR monitor was not working on bike or run! I wonder if it was due to mud/dirt in the water - it was fine before I started...)

The bike is a quite crowded course. I looked at it with new eyes this year - it is hillier than I remembered, but also very very crowded - you have to go a lot slower in the first and last couple miles than is entirely desirable. I PASSED A TON OF PEOPLE! Very bumpy roads, tons of bottles all over the place, a lot of people with flats - not me, mercifully...

The run is a slog, no doubt. I walked some uphills for the sake of running downhills quite fast! It was very humid, but not nearly as hot as last year - I will wait to see exact times before having analysis, but I did not have expectations for speed on the run as I have run very few miles in the last month.

And then it was over! The whole race kind of went by in a flash - I was thinking that last year, my subjective experience of the bike ride was much more like what people might experience in half-iron race, whereas this year I actually did a more or less appropriate amount of bike training (less, really - I could/should do a lot bike miles!) and it was over before I knew it...

The Accenture VIP tent post-race plan went extremely well. Almost the first thing after I finished, I ran into H., so that was lovely - we congratulated each other, and she went off home. Then I made my way to the tent, and it was a place of utter blissfulness!

(I still don't know why I got an invitation!)

The third best thing about the tent: lots of chairs, set randomly around little round tables, as one does often arrange furniture at the kind of party where there is a buffet! And not at all crowded, plenty of places to sit, which is really the best thing under the circumstances - and in the shade, of course...

The second best thing about the tent: they had COFFEE! Real and perfectly drinkable hot coffee, in an urn, with 2% milk and sweet and low and everything just how I like it! BLISS! (They also had fresh-squeezed OJ, granola bars, yogurt, fruit - it was v. good - I did not delve into the bagel/muffin end of things, but there were heaps of that sort of stuff also.)

The best thing of all about the tent: the first person I saw as I staggered in was my good friend and former running partner D., who works for Accenture and was volunteering as helper to a paratriathlete! The tent was full of the paratriathletes, many of whom are sponsored by the company - v. inspiring to contemplate, including a truly adorable little kid who had 2 of those carbon-blade "Cheetah" prosthesis (Pistorius-style) and was amazingly bounding around the place - very good occasion. Anyway, I had a lovely chat with D. and a friend of hers who had done the race also, and after about forty minutes got myself together to head back over to transition. D. and I will have a run and/or a swim in September - she was in Doug Stern's swimming class with me 2 years ago, she hated it and is not an enthusiastic swimmer at all, but she is thinking about doing a sprint triathlon next summer (she is a very fast runner and good all-round athlete, I think she'll really enjoy it).

It is a tiring race aftermath - I ended up walking back to the transition area rather than waiting in line for the free pedicabs, and then had the conundrum of how to fit my bike pump (one wants it in the morning, but then there are transportation issues!) into my small backpack - I felt very unbalanced as I rode home.

But it was a very good day out there!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Just a quick one

I followed the standard advice and did an easy 20-minute bike + 10-minute run. I don't think I'll swim later, unless I find that I have written a massive heap of quota pages and have a couple hours to spare! Which is unlikely - and there is the gear-organizing part of the preparation to do too.

Went to mandatory race briefing yesterday (very glad I have done this race before - the warnings about the "steep, technical climb" and the risk of crashing while coming out of transition were singularly alarming to me last year!), registered and picked up packet, purchased a new pair of goggles at the expo but otherwise restrained myself.

(TNYA lanemate Kent was volunteering, very nice to see him!)

Will meet up with former swim lanemate and occasional run partner H. when I drop off my bike later this afternoon. She is doing IM Louisville at the end of the summer, her first Ironman, but we haven't been able to coordinate training times - I am going to be pestering her with questions about her race plans, that's for sure! We should try and have a run or a swim together sometime over the next few weeks...

I could have sworn there was some form of athlete tracking in this race, but now can't find the link; however, results should go up here pretty much immediately. Close perusal of race materials suggests to me that this year they may not allow anyone back into transition to collect bike and gear until the last cyclist has gotten out onto the bike course, which may be as late as 11am, so I think it is likely that I won't be home till several hours after I've finished (even more reason to hang around in the finishers' tent!). My wave sets off shortly after 6:30 - I was toying with the idea of putting an extra set of keys and some dollars in the drop bag with shirt/shoes at swim start, and then going home in a cab from the finish line and coming back out to collect my gear after I've showered and eaten, but I think it will be better just to gut it out and wait - once I get home, I really will not want to go back out again!

In case it is not clear, I really am looking forward to this race. When I did it last year, it was my second triathlon ever and I was a bundle of nerves re: cycling; I don't know that my fitness levels are that different this year, but my mental fitness is infinitely greater!

In the meantime, if you are short of reading material, you might go and read Spokane Al's very charming post about a conversation he had with a young person who was curious about his wetsuit!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Swimming lesson!

It was truly and wondrously good - various other things going on in the pool at the same time, with JB intervening here and there, so that I felt that I was in a temple of swimming, with wisdom being transmitted very copiously throughout!

I do not understand how I can have made so much progress in an hour - I now FINALLY get the basic feel of the dolphin kick which has essentially eluded me for two years. And I hear with new ears Irina's old instruction "Kick yourself out of the water!," which I never could feel I properly understood, even though I rationally knew it was important...

Warmup: 5 x 100 as 75 swim, 25 stroke (flip turns!) (back, breast, fly, breast, back)

Demo lengths: 100 as free down, fly back with flip turns off the free

Some vertical dolphin kicking, with the suggestion of doing 5 x 45 seconds kick with arms at sides, 5 seconds with arms in air and 10 seconds rest, only it soon emerged that I did not have a good enough grasp on the essentials to make this happen. So I hauled myself out of the pool and JB had me lie on my side on the bench and just kind of moved my hips and legs around to show me how the movement really works (the thing I especially have not been able to get is that feel of the knees and feet really whipping forward on the second half of the kick as the hips go back). I got back in the water and made a much more successful set of attempts at the vertical kicking, to the point where I could very easily keep myself up out of the water. Interesting...

Then (along these lines, anyway - it was quite a lot!):

4 x dolphin kick on side (right down, left back), concentrating on movement of the hips (JB: "Did you ever hula-hoop when you were a kid?") and the forward flick of the legs. Tendency to let feet drift apart; concentration on keeping them together.

2 x dolphin kick on front with board

4 x dolphin kick on front with arms extended

4 x drill (right arm, left arm)

4 x full stroke

Back out of the water to work on not overexerting myself re: the arms; tendency to rotate palms upward in a way that doesn't take advantage of stronger muscles, so some work on feeling that little "hunch" of the shoulders and letting the arms fly back over on the recovery. I can see how it is related to the floppy high-elbow recovery in freestyle... [Ed. Added for clarity: the similarity is not so much to the actual recovery as to to the problem I have achieving the requisite relaxation - though the actions are quite different, in both cases I have a tendency to brace all my arm muscles and use more muscular effort than is needed/appropriate.]

2 x right arm, left arm, full stroke

2 x full stroke

NB the vertical kicking, and the kick on sides, are both good ways of "reminding" oneself of the correct feel if it has slipped back into the bad old version.

Anyway it was an absolutely fantastic lesson, my kick was transformed and the whole stroke was markedly and appealingly better by the end of the hour. (Hard work, too, especially after the core workout I did yesterday!) We'll have another session next week, to work some more on the whole stroke and to talk about some ideas for doing good workouts in the sea in August.

(1200 yards? I think I am undercounting, there were some bits where I kept myself occupied by doing some extra lengths of kick on sides, stomach, etc.)

Now I might have to go back to bed - I had an impossible night of insomnia last night, only finally got off into very light and fitful sleep around 5:15, so I think I only got about an hour and a half, ugh - it will be better if I can squeeze in a couple hours now than if I take a nap later in the day...

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Excellent first appointment with new trainer P.. I like her a lot - I think her yoga background also will be useful for targeting various weaknesses of mine, especially flexibility (we did some good stretching at the end). Best of all, we wrote in four more appointments, two next week and two the week after - I finally feel like I got on track with this!

(I'll have three sessions left out of this package for early September, and then I'll probably call it a day for now on the trainer business. Starting near the end of September I'll probably do that "core sculpt" class again - I kind of hated it, but I think it's good for me! Temperamentally I prefer the boot camp-style class, but I don't know that it combines well with marathon training, whereas core sculpt includes enough pilates-based stuff that it's the perfect complement. I also think the teacher is extremely good - my dislike for the class has nothing to do with her, just to do with the general fact of not liking dance-type stuff! Some of this depends on scheduling issues that are currently imponderable, so will wait for the fall semester voluntary phys ed schedule to be posted online - unlike non-academic gyms, the CU classes are offered on a semester-long basis; there's no drop-in option, so you have to pick something and stick with it. Better from a teacher's POV, I am sure, but less convenient from the exerciser's!)

Thursday swim

A very pleasant little swim - only had time for about 35 minutes in the water, but was thinking hard about this fly business...

Along these lines, not sure if this was it exactly:

Flip turns on all free!

200 free

3 x 50 stroke (back, breast, fly drill-swim)

3 x 50 kick with board (flutter, whip, dolphin)

Dolphin kick experiments without board:

2 x 50 dolphin kick on back

2 x 50 dolphin kick on back with double-arm back pull every 5th kick

50 full fly

2 x 50 dolphin kick on front with breast pull every 5th kick

2 x 25 fly

2 x 100 free (10 seconds rest): first one build by 25, second one strong

1100 yards total

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Postscript of extreme cheerfulness

And I have a firm appointment with another trainer tomorrow at 3pm, and a swimming lesson with Jim B. early Friday morning! Not perhaps the standard recommendation for pre-race activities, but I'm leaving again in 2 weeks so I have to SEIZE THE MOMENT!

NB swimming lessons courtesy of my mother, who was kind enough to write me a generous and specifically earmarked birthday check when I would not name any actual physical presents of desirability!

Wednesday brick

OK, that was great.

I was very grumpy this morning (not quite sure why - taper - book-finishing - smell of asphalt from roadwork outside - too hot, but not quite hot enough that I thought of putting on the A/C - etc., etc.) and continued grumpy for the first two loops of my ride (too hot, later than I usually go out & correspondingly more chaotic, roadwork on lower park loop which I remember reading about and then clearly suppressed memory of but which makes the bottom part of the full loop virtually unpassable for the tender slender wheels of a road bike, etc.).

Then the endorphins kicked in and I felt wonderfully cheerful. Got back out for an easy 2-mile run afterwards - it wasn't fast, but it felt very comfortable.

I guess I have to say that I am reasonably mentally and physically prepared for this race on Sunday. NB it sounds vaguely hubristic, and I will endeavor to be happy with any kind of a safe and satisfactory finish, but I have a strong impression that if everything goes smoothly, I might be able to go sub-3:00 - I am making a mental note to make sure to start my watch at the swim start, as it may well make a difference for what effort levels I am willing to sustain on the run!

1 + 6 + 5 + 5 + 1 bike miles = 18 (avg HR 133, max HR 157)

2 run miles (avg HR 148, max HR 157)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mild Tuesday irk!

Arghhhh, I was really looking forward to an intense workout with trainer D., only he was not there! I very much enjoyed the couple sessions I had with him in June, but I think that his approach to scheduling and mine are too different for this to work out - I've already paid for ten sessions in advance, and only had two, so I guess I'd better get in touch with the CU personal training office and get them to assign me to someone else. It is a pity, because this June and July bit really was the window where I wanted to fit in the training - it does not go so well with marathon training, which I will be starting up seriously in September (one is always avoiding some crucial set of exercises because of tenderness in hamstring or hip flexor!), and now I feel I've mostly missed the window.

(But I am eyeing the class schedule at World Gym in Grand Cayman, and also contemplating the delightfulness of the spin bike that Brent has obtained! Not the same thing as road miles, but more realistic for me at this point - traffic a bit hairy round about Seven Mile Beach, and it is also hurricane season, i.e. incredibly hot and humid and with torrential downpours at the drop of a hat! I think I will be much better able to put in a lot of hours on the indoor bike in front of the television - looking forward to quality time with Coach Troy! I have that early October half-ironman as a very powerful incentive to put in the time - I have to write an article and a book review during the three+ August weeks I'm in Cayman, but that is not an excessive amount of work, so I am imagining that I may be able to do really massive amounts of sea-swimming and treadmill-running also!)

(And now D. has called to apologize - he got a last-minute assignment to do security for the governor, and forgot about our appointment! He is generously offering a free session in compensation - if we can schedule it! - but I guess I am still thinking I probably need to switch trainers....)

Tuesday swim

Warmup: 200 free, 50 back, 200 free, 50 breast

12 x 50 free on 1:10, in sets of 3: #1 easy, #2 build by quarters, #3 fast

3 x 100 drill-swim by 25 (catch-up, fists, zipper)

2 x 75 IM no free

Flip turns on all freestyle

1550 yards total

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday run

It was a great one! I was feeling undermotivated before I went out, but am very glad I did.

I had not especially thought of tapering for the NYC triathlon, as I've missed several weeks of training this summer already and my only time goal for the year involves the November marathon, but in fact it belatedly occurred to me that (a) I do care about my time in this race also and (b) I have to do a ton of work this week, and taken together this spells TAPER!

So I didn't swim this morning, and I did indeed have a very productive work day (plus a two-hour nap at midday!), and then a good run. Saturday's run reminded me that I do like running hard as well as easy....

I regret to say that I haven't been training on hills at ALL as far as running goes - no hills in Cayman, only 1 run in London, no running at all while I was sick, etc. etc. So I went and did 2x round the Harlem Hill loop, only in the clockwise direction, which is the direction we'll run on Sunday - the grade is easier than the other way round, but it is a LONG slopey hill of significant mental challenge, and I thought it might be worth pondering a bit. First time pretty hard effort, second time trying to concentrate on light easy fast feet and going a bit easier.

It is a decent hill running back up home from the park, too, so I feel I got a thoroughly satisfactory workout (and that I must do that hilly loop rather than my habitual flat Riverside run some more times before I go away again in August!).

5 miles (hills)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday TOB

(And really I should have gone straight back out to run a few miles, but the thought of COFFEE and INTERNET was too strong for me!)

I meant to get out very early for Central Park loops, but as usual could not quite drag myself out of bed at the appointed time. It was 8ish by the time I was actually starting my first loop, and it was getting noticeably more crowded as I rode - too many cyclists!

(It is the most beautiful day again, 70 degrees and hardly any humidity - freakishly nice July weather this month, it is slightly uncanny but I am crossing my fingers it might still be like this next weekend!)

I was going to do 4 loops "descending," but it was getting crowded enough by the third loop that I thought I'd just do the fourth at comfortable effort with no worries about safety!

I haven't been riding with HR monitor or paying attention to pace at all - I do have a Cateye computer on my bike, but I never quite figured out how it works, and the sensors always need to be fiddled with before I can get any data anyway, so I kind of have been ignoring it. I believe it is wise to isolate a few goals at a time, and my goal for this last few months has really just been to build mental comfort and basic fitness on the bike.

It will be appropriate round about now, though, to start getting some pace and HR data - I will track info for the Olympic-distance triathlon this coming weekend and the half-iron in October and get some sense of appropriate training and racing zones.

Total ride (didn't count the mile each way over and back, just the loop, which is 6.1 miles): 1:27:23 (avg HR 136, max HR 158). The heartrates seem low to me compared to running ones - I feel that I could bike at considerably harder effort than that, only it is not safe! Also, of course, the downhills are easy. HR not appreciably different on individual loops, so will not itemize.

I did well descending the first three:


The fourth loop felt quite easy at 21:05, and I could definitely descend another step if I were riding at a less crowded time (the weekday hours when the park is closed to traffic are far superior). So I guess my speed is around 18mph on the fastest loop - that is what I will try and hit on the race next weekend, as I feel that I actually should be able to ride significantly faster than that without undue stress on the body!

(I am guessing I would be fine with average HR on the bike, at that race distance, of 150, so it might be that I pace by keeping an eye on HR and not letting it stray into the mid-150s - it is also true that the course is quite crowded and I may need to ride more slowly at certain points for safety.)

25 miles bike (26, really, but 25 is "rounder"!)

Saturday, July 18, 2009


And a very lovely one it was too. An extremely nice thing about swimming with a team is that one does not just show up to race and then skulk away exhaustedly afterwards, there are actually teammates to chew things over with before and after - we brunched at the cafe at 72nd St. in Riverside Park.

(Below: me and TNYA lanemate/former student Joe, only Joe had the prudence to put on a clean shirt before being photographed!)

So, just random thoughts.

It was the most beautiful day - overcast early, but it really cleared up, low humidity etc. Water temperature at 70 degrees, which is in my opinion perfect (I did not wear a wetsuit), and good running temperature too (low to mid-70s).

The 1.5K swim was way faster than last year - last year there was either no tidal assist or very little, but this year it was speedy! Hairy bit at the start where we all had to swim slightly upstream and over and around a buoy, bit of a bottleneck as everyone was fighting the downstream current, but after that it was lovely - I forgot to start my watch at the race start, mentally noted time on clock in transition but promptly forgot it again afterwards (c. 26 minutes, maybe, as opposed to 35:15 last year - with proviso that I am not sure whether the transition time goes with the swim or the run).

I had a good run, though I was very aware that I have been doing zero running at hard effort - all my runs are more "comfortable," usually with HR in mid-150s, and it's really time for me to start doing some faster intervals again, because I should be able to run quite a lot faster than that at 5K! Watch time (again, not sure about transition) was 26:28, which I was fairly pleased with (c. 8:30 pace). Avg HR 167, max HR 176. Time to start doing speed bits, as I say - it is still my goal to race a half-marathon at 8:00 miles, which I think is attainable in the next few years, but I will have to work more on speed as well as endurance, I have gotten in the (to me very enjoyable!) habit of just putting in a lot of miles in zone 2...

(Last year's run time was 30:18, though as I say, transition may be included in that - will wait and take a look when official results go up to see what official numbers are this year. At any rate it is encouraging to think that I am at least a minute or two faster than last year - it is not a fair comparison, as it was an easier/quicker swim this year and also a cooler day if I recall, but I was prepared for the worst, so I will take this as good news!)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Random thoughts for next weekend's race

Word on the street (i.e. Triathlete L.'s report on the Brooklyn triathlete rumor mill!) is that the swim will be much slower this year than last - currents have apparently been much weaker, and there is a possibility it will be much more like a "straight" swim and not so much of the magical assist last year (I think my time last year was something like 21 minutes!). Doesn't much affect me one way or the other, I like the swim and am happy to have it lengthened (when it's so short, it's difficult to get into the groove before it's suddenly over), but worth keeping in mind.

I am hoping to go quite a bit faster on the bike leg than last year (will do a set of comparisons afterwards on the numbers), but it's a crowded course and there are definitely points where speed has to be sacrificed for safety. That said, I think I am in a better position than last year to ride with my cohort, as it were - my goal for the whole thing is to finish "middle of the pack" in my age group, and my bike goal is not to lose a lot of places on the bike versus where I was at the end of the swim!

(My mental comfort levels are pretty much exponentially higher than they were last year, so that's very good. The transition from swim to bike is quite long, so there is no way of shaving a ton of time off there.)

There's no scenario where my run is much faster than last year. I haven't been running a lot, and the run at the Olympic distance is tough (hilly Central Park course, too). This, of course, is fairly weather-dependent; last year it really was terribly hot and humid by mid-morning, so if it's less humid, it will be easier (i.e. I might come in a couple minutes under an hour rather than a couple minutes over). I will stay better hydrated and fueled on the bike this year, and it should be less stressful, but I don't really see myself in this case doing faster than 10:00 miles, though ultimately I should be able to do more like 9:00 in this race/on this course (my fastest open 10K run pace was something like 8:15 on pretty much the same course - can't remember now whether it was clock- or counter-clockwise, though - but I'm definitely not in as good running shape right now as I was when I ran that time a year and a half ago). I am prepared to walk the uphills if my HR is through the roof already - I did this last year, and it did not affect my splits as much as I feared, though it is certainly bad for the morale...

My main strategy change from last year involves post-race choices. I felt pretty tolerable when I crossed the finish line last year, but I made a bad choice that involved putting "getting out of the crowds" at a premium over "most direct route back to where the hell I'm going." It's over a mile from race finish back to transition, and I accidentally last year (because I have a truly awful sense of direction, and because Central Park is landscaped in a way that takes one willy-nilly along certain routes) ended up walking all the way down to the south end of the park (i.e. at least an extra mile) before finding my way back up to Tavern on the Green and thence to Riverside Park - it was truly a nightmare. I drank a couple bottles of fluids during the first part of the walk, but by the time I made it back to Riverside Park, I was well and truly overheated and underfueled and dehydrated. They wouldn't let us in to transition right away (I think that because they have so many waves, they only let 10 racers at a time back into transition until everyone is back in off the bike course), it was quite a long wait with no fluids or food ready to hand, and by the time I got home (probably about 2 hours after race finish) I felt mentally and physically very awful, mentally more so.

(Here was my lengthy screed of a race report!)

So this year I am going to make it a priority to really and properly rehydrate, refuel and cool down in the shade before making my way back to transition and thence home - even in best-case scenario, it's half an hour from race finish to transition, after that only a 4-mile or so bike ride home through the park, but I need to be in better train before I undertake this logistically challenging feat (i.e. packing up sensibly, stowing stuff, etc.) which certainly will take at least an hour! The brain fog that comes from really having used up one's fuel does not ease this sort of procedure, and I have a feeling my time will be better spent taking care of myself first and then taking care of business.

For some reason I got a free ticket to the Accenture VIP tent - either the Ps are not actually VI, or else it is because I am registered as a member of the Columbia Triathlon Club & participating in the so-called "Ivy League Challenge" - so I am going to go there and stay there for at least 15-20 minutes, eat whatever they have on offer, drink a couple bottles of stuff and take another with me to consume on the walk back. One does not need a tent, of course, to do this, but there is no doubt that the chaos is slightly overwhelming (it's a multi-thousand-person race, with TONS of spectators), so I think the crucial thing is to have a concrete plan that can be executed even in conditions of mental fog.

All right, that's enough time wasted online - now to WORK!

Friday swim

Only a short one, as M. had had a minor accident and was rather shaken up - moral support more urgent than swimming!

I split a lane with J., who is doing the Aquathlon tomorrow also (might be I bring my camera!), and we had a very good little workout.

Warmup: 400 free (flip turns!), 200 kick with board (flutter, whip by 50), 100 stroke (IM with breast subbed for free)

1st set: 6 x 50 stroke on 1:15 (2 fly, 2 back, 2 breast)

2nd set: 2 x (4 x 50 free) on 1:10: #1 fast-easy, #2 easy-fast, #3 fast, #4 easy

1400 yards total

I won't do anything else today - I would like my legs to feel a bit fresher for the run tomorrow, and I need to do a huge amount of work - I have been indulging myself in triathlon training at the expense of writing time, ARGHHHHHH!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday TOB

A very good one with Triathlete L. - I had to rendezvous with her in any case to get back my wetsuit, which I will not use this weekend for the Aquathlon but figure it's worth using for the triathlon next week [not so much necessary in itself as useful practice for future races] - and we did some extremely nice Central Park loops, a bit faster than I would probably be going on my own but it felt very comfortable.

4 loops = c. 25 miles

Initially I was having a day of considerable scheduling complexity, and I decided not to swim this morning in the interest of getting a bit more work done, but the trainer has canceled (or more properly I should say he wanted to change the appointment from 5:30 to 6:30, but I had another obligation with which the new time would have conflicted), which is pretty much for the best - I'm sorry that he and I haven't gotten in a regular routine yet, but it will be better for me not to overdo it before this little race on Saturday. I'll meet him on Tuesday and Thursday next week, and will do sprints Tuesday but not Thursday so as to spare my legs for Sunday's race!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The things men say to ladies on the street #569

Rather uninspired run just now - I didn't do a long one, just five miles, suffering from (a) tired legs (b) excess huffing and puffing and (c) heat - it is still much less humid than usual at this time of year, but it's still 80 degrees - I took the lazy person's west-side route, but in retrospect it might be that I should have done Central Park hills, it is much shadier over there...

Comment from one of three ogling teenage boys as I left the park: "Damn, you're fit as a MOTHERFUCKER. God bless!"

Which I did not really feel, and did not particularly want to be told, but still, I had to laugh as I shuffled up the last block home!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Short Tuesday run

I thought I was meeting the trainer at 5:30, but we crossed wires - I guess I should have called to confirm! So I ran a couple miles on the indoor track instead - 3 total, but as 1 + 2 with a break in the middle while I waited to see if he would be there!

It is fine, I have been feeling worried about how few run miles I've gotten in over the last couple weeks - it is pretty much my strongest of the three triathlon disciplines, so it honestly makes sense to skimp on it for the sake of consolidating swim technique and improving basic cycling skills and fitness, but of course it pains me to feel that I am not working on it!

I will run longer tomorrow and do similar swim-bike midday workouts on Thursday and Friday, plus a Thursday-evening meet-up with the trainer (have just now telephoned to confirm). "Aquathlon" first thing Saturday morning - 1.5K swim, 5K run - so I will treat that as a speed workout as far as the run goes and pretty certainly won't run on Friday.

Been thinking quite a bit about the triathlon next weekend - I hope I am not setting myself up for disappointment, but I think that even with the last couple weeks of training DISASTER (disaster is an overstatement, I guess, but it certainly felt that way at the time!), I should be able to go a lot faster than last year. (Especially if this weather holds - though the odds are that the usual July heat and humidity will have kicked in by then.)

In any case, I am strongly hoping to take a good chunk off my time, though I will take it philosophically if it does not happen (post-mortem to follow in either scenario!).

3 miles

Tuesday swim/TOB

OK, that was good.

Many musings, about which more anon, but first the workout:

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

4 x 50 free on 1:15 as (1) fast-easy (2) easy-fast (3) fast (4) easy

200 IM drill/swim by 25

4 x 50 free descending on 1:15

2 x 100 IM on 2:30

4 x 50 (repeat first set)

1750 yards total

Then HILL REPEATS. 1 full loop to warm up (6 miles), then 5 x Harlem Hill loop (c. 1.4 miles), plus 1 mile to and from = 15 miles

(Hill is not drastic but good for this sort of purpose - the whole loop is rolling hills, and this site says Harlem Hill is 0.32 miles, with a rise of 84' and an average grade of 4.4%. I know I should be going over the bridge and riding in the Palisades, but I haven't had the vim - I might try and get out there sometime this weekend, probably on Saturday afternoon if I can manage it.)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday swim/TOB

Only a short swim - first I could not drag myself out of bed, then there was need for Ritual Chat!

200 free, 200 kick with board (flutter, whip, dolphin, flutter by 50)

2 x (4 x 50 free descending), first set on 1:15 and second set on 1:10 (all with flip turns)

(Mental challenge to keep track of the times other than moment by moment, so I cannot tell you what I did, but I definitely can descend pretty steadily even on the faster interval, from something like :58 to :51-52? For some reason in practice we usually do the kind of descending set where the interval shortens also - those are good too, but these are easier to concentrate on...)

2 x 50 "splash-back" drill (I am thinking that there is more power I could be getting in the back part of the stroke, only I am not sure this is the best drill for me - I get very straight-armed while doing it, I must work on this!)

50 free (build-fast by 25)

2 x 100 free (first 50 drill, second 50 build-fast); I did catch-up, zipper

And then I was taken aback to see that time was up!

1150 yards total

(Instead of going to the 8:30-9:30 swim Tues-Thurs. this week, I'm cleared to go to the Tues-Thurs-Fri 11-12 slot - I didn't sign up for it originally because I am well capable of defaulting to an incredibly late getting-up time, and didn't want to encourage it, but for this week it will be more realistic if I want to get some work done in the morning before I swim to switch to the later slot.)

Then I went and did 4 Central Park loops - it is a beautiful day for a bike ride, humidity in these parts has been uncharacteristically low for July and it was truly lovely.

Lungs still quite congested, so I've bitten the bullet and made a doctor's appointment for Thursday, just to be on the safe side - I am 90% sure she will tell me it's viral and there's nothing she can give me, but still...

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday run

Hmmm, it will surprise nobody who knows me to learn that I did not get out of bed quite expeditiously enough to have the 6-mile run that I had envisioned, but I did have time to do four, and it was what we call round here a very nice little run - beautiful morning for it, and singularly good for the mental health to have any kind of run at all. Probably just as well that I did not go longer, as lungs are still very tender.

Now I must rush to get myself out of here in time for that train! Have a good weekend, everybody...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday swim/TOB

Ugh, still sick, it is making me crazy! Just had some easy exercise - a warmup swim and a ride along the greenway path, which is flatter than Central Park though with some wind that makes for a pleasant harder stretch downtown.

It was a Jim Bolster warmup, left over from the early morning triathlete swim group!

200 free, 50 double-arm back, 200 free, 50 kick-drill fly, 200 free, 50 drill-swim back, 200 free, 50 breast

I did flip turns on all the free, and though I feel very clumsy and as though technique could be much improved, I think if I keep on doing 'em I will get the hang of 'em soon enough - certainly seems more doable than the last time I made a serious stab at it last summer...

(I also note that without my having consciously worked on it, something has happened to make for a marked improvement in the quality of floppy-elbowness that is targeted by finger-drag drill for freestyle. I have always had very rigid stiff arms in the recovery part of the freestyle stroke, though I rationally understand why easy floppiness is better; for some reason today I could really feel it being properly floppy, in a good way. Will do some more drill next week to try and retain and improve that feel.)

1000 yards swim
15 miles bike

My train to Philadelphia tomorrow morning (sister-in-law's baby shower, at the lovely Spring Mill Cafe in Conshohocken) leaves at 9:09 from Penn Station, which means leaving here by ten past eight; if I want to run first, I will need to be out the door by 6:30. I have as usual squandered my jet lag, but I may have held onto enough of it that this would be doable. I'll be home by 1:30 or so on Sunday afternoon, so there will be time for a bike ride and/or a run depending on how I'm feeling - I'm thinking that if I can stand it, I should do the serious bike ride up over the bridge and into the Palisades...

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Ugh, once the endorphins wore off I realized that I felt quite ill again - no bike ride - I need to get some work done - I canceled the trainer appointment, but will go to the gym later and do 30 mins. stationary bike and a couple miles run off the bike, that way I can stop at any time if I really am feeling awful...

Thursday swim

Still only about 85%, I would say, but much better than I have felt for the last three days or so, so I will take what I can get.

Just had a short easy swim, will have a bike ride midday since that is what I really need to do most, will play it by ear as far as how I feel. Supposed to meet the trainer later - he canceled Tuesday's, since he was clearly having the same ailment that I was, it was a fortunate coincidence! - but perhaps I should call and cancel and we'll just start on Tuesday next week instead.

10 x 100 as 75 free, 25 stroke: odds open turns + breast, evens flip turns + back

4 x 100 drill-swim by 25: catch-up, finger-drag, fists, zipper

1400 yards total

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Inspiring link

Ugh, I have been much too sick to exercise, very glum and with much worrying about the work and training I am missing! LUNG AILMENT!!!!

However I have just read an inspiring piece about a runner with infinitely more serious medical problems than mine, which cheered me up enough to follow a link from Fe-lady's blog to the Water World Swim website.

I have been having a huge yen to do that Alcatraz swim, but had not realized that one can do it fairly regularly (as opposed to only under organized race conditions) - I have an invitation to read at a series out there - now I just need to coordinate dates (it even looks like they both hew to the second-Saturday-of-the-month rule!) and then see if I can find some university that would like me to give a talk and will actually pay my way out! Hmmmm, that's one to ponder - but it might be worth going on my own dime just for the swim and the reading...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Grumpy Tuesday update

Reluctantly acknowledged that I am too sick to exercise today. Gloomily predicting that I will still feel fairly sick tomorrow...

Monday, July 6, 2009


The effects of the Nike+ tracking system and the data-driven revolution in running (via Tara Parker-Pope).

Monday run

3 miles only.

Much gnashing of teeth round here this afternoon - I had a slight sore throat last night, but put it down to allergies and/or long plane flight. Only in the early afternoon today did it dawn on me that the particular kind of heavy-liddedness I was feeling about the eyes could not be put down to jet lag; the frenetic sneezing and gratuitous post-nasal drip were the real giveaway...


Figured I'd better get a few run miles on the legs while symptoms are still neck-up. It is most annoying - I do not think the time in London was long enough for me to lose cardiovascular fitness, and in fact my legs have been feeling ridiculously energetic, as though they have had a very good taper and are itching for exercise. But that will quickly tip over into lost fitness if I am out for many days this week with a cold!

Monday bike

20 miles (3 Central Park loops)

Post-swim time-wasting!

Hmmm, off to a bleary start today - I should be out already on my bike, but fatally stopped for a bit of time online...

A vision of beauty has unfolded to me re: schedule for next couple weeks! Factors: priority of novel-revising, triathlon training; great time-wasting threat is internet, great schedule-busting threat is insomnia.


CLING to jet-lag-induced early-morning rising for as long as possible!

Mon.-Thurs. schedule: get up at 6:30, dress in bike clothes (no shower, small breakfast); 7:00-8:20, work on novel revisions at local cafe (large cafe au lait); 8:30-9:30 lane swim; go home, eat quickly and get out again on bike ASAP i.e. by 9:50.

Key: Don't fire up the computer until late morning, having had one work session and two workouts already! Aim for solid second shift of mid-afternoon novel-revising and one more workout in early evening. Dinner by 7, bed by 10:30.

Long bike (Palisades) Friday afternoon. Long run as schedule permits. Trainer sessions in theory on Tues-Thurs. afternoons; Mon., Wed., Sat. or Sun. as the three run days. Rest days as suitable.

I have the NYC triathlon in less than three weeks - no time for a real taper. Have to go to Philadelphia this weekend, too. So this is really the schedule for the next 5 weeks or so, if I can keep the early AM component (will reshuffle if I must, but I like the swim-bike weekday morning bit with the proviso that it is more justifiable if I have done some work first).

I had a notion of what I would swim this morning, only in fact M. was watching and intervened with useful suggestions fairly early, so I swerved - it is striking that whenever I have a week or so without much swimming, my left arm reverts to the straight-arm style I learned as a kid, which is very ineffective in terms of catch and pull and necessitates drill work.

My three goals for the summer, swim-wise (but swimming is my lowest priority as far as triathlon goes - there is HUGE room for improvement, of course, but it is the least pressing thing right now): improve freestyle technique, endurance and speed for triathlon purposes; learn a solid and usable flip turn; improve my fly. Haven't been able to work on the second, though in some respects it's the most important, but that's my priority for this month. Had a lane to myself this morning, the swim session empties out as summer progresses.

Warmup: 200 free (FLIP TURNS), 100 breast, 200 free (ft)

4 x 100 drill-swim by 25 (finger-drag, thumbs/zipper, catch-up, fists)

100 "downhill swim" mental cue

Can't remember now exactly how the rest played out, but call it (with misc. bits of somersaulting/turn practicing betwixt and between):

200 free (ft)

2 x 100 free (ft)

100 back (for a mental break!)

2 x 100 free (ft)

200 free (ft)

1900 yards total

Now - gotta get out on that bike!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Friday swim

(My trip to Oxford today took too much out of me for an end-of-day run to seem sensible, but it was awfully nice to get in a swim yesterday! And tomorrow I will be HOME, which is very good...)

I had lunch yesterday with my dear friend friend Jane, who tipped me off to there being a much cheaper swimming pool (three pounds versus fifteen pounds) at the Oasis Sports Centre, but I had no obvious way to get online and check the address, so I went to the YMCA as planned.

I had a lovely swim - it is a beautiful deep-blue-tiled pool, very spacious feeling (this may be a psychological effect of wide lanes plus 25M versus 25 yards!). The fast lane was closed off for a children's swimming lesson, so fast and medium were combined in one lane - I was swimming at an appropriate speed, I thought, but my workout was pretty random because I occasionally switched from stroke to freestyle so as not to cause lane congestion when someone faster got in.

By this point I really do not at all remember exactly what I did or how much of it, but I swam for about fifty minutes, so I am thinking that 1600 meters (!) would be a fair assessment. Mostly freestyle, ome 50s of breast, some 50s of back-free and fly-free, several hundreds of IM, etc. etc. All very unfamiliar in terms of feel and distance - no backstroke flags, quite different wall configuration (water right up to flat perpendicular straight-edged pool rim, couldn't quite get the hang of how to grip it for a quick open turn) - but not in a bad way.

It has been a very good trip in many respects, but I am a homebody, I will like it better when I am at home and back on my regular work and exercise schedule - gallivanting and restaurant meals do not suit me so well!

(That said, we had a very lovely dinner last night at Baltic - I shared an order of bacon-and-pork pierogi with my Cousin George, then had a very delicious crispy grilled sea bream on a bed of fennel with cherry tomatoes and arugola, and a rhubarb, almond and plum crumble for dessert - delicious! Even though I do not like coming across as a fussy customer, I made sure to interrogate the waitress re: possible inclusion of DILL in anything, because it is my anathema - this is the sort of restaurant where virtually everything has that evil plant in it - but with her help I was able to dodge the bullet...)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday run

Thank goodness! Short only, and I was not the fleetest of foot ever, but well worth while - 4 miles or so, over to Regent's Park through the local side streets and then some stretches in the park (very hideous flowerbeds, I might add - gaudy and down-at-heel at the same time!).

I will not linger online - I've got to shower, breakfast, pack and check out by 11 - I will leave my luggage at the hotel (my aunt's picking me up around 7 and I'll stay at her place for my last couple nights), only will tuck swim things into my shoulder bag and make every effort to get to the pool sometime later this afternoon. It is muggy and overcast, and I have a vision of getting drenched - I do not seem to have packed very wisely for this trip, although on the other hand I did pack light, which I feel is more important when staying in multiple places than actually bringing a full range of possible clothes needed!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


still under-exercised but less grumpy. I went to the bookstore and could not find anything I wanted to read, in retrospect a sure sign of overtiredness and underfueling. Had a very good dinner thereafter at Sardo (we had what is often the arrangement for large-group dinners, choice of a somewhat smaller selection off this menu, prix fixe style - I had the calamari ripieni, the grilled tuna with arugola and the panna cotta, and all were DELICIOUS, and it was not in fact a hugely nutritionally unsound meal, so that is good also - other, of course, than wine and dessert!), now feel significantly more human - will just do the handout for my talk tomorrow now, and then try and go to sleep and see whether an AM run is SUITABLE or HIGHLY UNREALISTIC - hard to say till I see what hour I get to sleep tonight. If I can sleep 7.5+ hours I will do it, otherwise will skip it and see whether or not I can fit in a run or swim between end of talks tomorrow and dinner (but it is a smaller time gap than we had today, so I will see how it goes and endeavor not to obsess about it).


(It is a good conference, too, with very pleasant co-conferencees!)

Another day without exercise

is making me very grumpy - technically I would have just about had time for a run before dinner, but though the weather is in fact very beautiful here, we were pretty much terminally overheated all day in a small classroom with closed windows and no A/C - and now I have frivolled half an hour away on the internet, I really do not have time to run and recover a non-sweaty level of propriety for fancy 8pm dinner (which I am guessing will be extremely delicious and will involve levels of wine consumption that will make a run tomorrow morning seem equally implausible - jet lag and meal timing issues are COMPLETELY THROWING ME OFF, I really wanted to run this morning too but I was just too out of it and underfueled to get myself out of the hotel rather than just downstairs to breakfast and coffee).

On a brighter note, I just read a rather good article that made me laugh - I will now quote Alan Couzens and say that I am fundamentally more Charger than Acura, and that fancy dinners notwithstanding, once I get home, the rest of July is going to be devoted very single-mindedly to novel-revising and triathlon training with only the most necessary other nods to family-and-friendly obligations which inevitably seem to get entangled with irresistible unhealthy eating!


Since I have ruled out a run, I am instead going to go to the bookstore and spend my free no-longer-quite-an-hour and a lot of British pounds on DELIGHTFUL NOVELS...