Monday, August 31, 2009


At my other blog, some reflections on Bernd Heinrich's excellent Why We Run: A Natural History. This book has my very strong recommendation - Al, if you have not read it already, I think you will like it very much!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday run

Belated report - pleasant treadmill run this am (I mean, hot but satisfactory) - 6 miles even.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday long swim

Oh dear, I am laughing, I had an EPICALLY long swim - it was good, but it was even better when it was over!

I have been feeling remorseful at how little I've been swimming this month. I have these two long-distance swims lined up for September, and I'm looking forward to them both quite a bit, but I guess when I signed up for them I did not know that I'd have any kind of bike here for training purposes and I also had not yet signed up (it is related!) for a late-season half-ironman! I thought the races would serve as good incentives to make sure I swam a lot, but in the event, the bike has taken priority (because, as Al says, in long-course triathlon it really is all about the bike!).

Anyway, I was determined to get in a 90-minute sea swim before I go back to New York on Sunday, so instead of going to the gym with Brent for a treadmill run, I headed out into the SEA for a notional 45-minute out-and-back. I swim north along the shore, so at any point I am actually only about 50 yards off the shore, it is shallow and one can easily get ashore if needed, so it is actually ideal for swimming long.

I find that it is a bit of a trial to stay in for long enough - I have had several swims here where I turned around a little early and then had to kind of kill time in the water when I arrived back at my starting point by doing little pointless loops - so I was kind of figuring it would be good to swim a bit longer on the outwards leg just so that I wouldn't be tempted to cut it short...

I am a person of terrible sense of direction, including NO eye whatsoever for landmarks/buildings; but I know that it is a mile from the Royal Palms to the Ritz-Carlton, because that was the course for the Flowers Sea Swim in June, and the Ritz is probably the only building other than the Grandview (where Brent lives - it is conveniently painted a lovely and unusual color of light blue and looks accordingly quite different from the plethora of yellow and sand-colored buildings that all look the same to me!) that I can actually recognize from the seaward side. So when I spied the Ritz in the distance, I thought I would keep swimming until I got there so that I could have DATA afterwards on exactly how far I'd swum!

Anyway, it was pretty much exactly the 1-hour mark when I got to the Ritz, and I turned around and headed back into what had become much higher swell in the meantime - not rough, but bumpy...

The story was "Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink!" My aerobic fitness and muscular endurance are pretty good, I definitely can swim for a very long time without stopping (I want to do a 10K swim sometime!), but I must confess that I cannot remember the last time I was so thirsty as the last half-hour of this swim - the swell means that salt water is inevitably going into one's mouth, even if one is not actually swallowing it - I was fantasizing for the last twenty minutes about the huge glass of water I was going to drink and the orange I was going to eat when I got home!

And indeed they were both very good...

(I got out 50 yards or so early - I had my eye on the clock and realized that I was going to be late for the movie we were planning on watching on television if I did not hop out and hoof it the very last bit home! Stopped my watch at 2:02, so it is fairly even splits, all things considered...)



Spinervals 13.0 - Tough Love. 3 hours!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday brief run

3 miles only, pretty enjoyable though. I guess this month I have gone for run frequency over run volume!

A party on wheels?

The Conference Bike - via Tyler Cowen.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stroke and stride #3

successfully concluded. I took a nap in the afternoon, and was groggy and not particularly stroke-and-strideful beforehand, but it was good, I now have a satisfying feeling of accomplishment at having completed a very nice little three-race series.

(NB running 2 miles moderately hard in very warm and humid weather is not at all physiologically enjoyable!)

800m swim, 2 miles run

(And I won a $50 gift certificate in the "spot prize" awards! That is $50 Caymanian - at the sports supply/dive supply store - hmmm, that is good!)

Wednesday swim/TOB

Good workout (I am working on only about 3.5 hrs. of sleep, though - it is going to be a long day...).

I got over to the pool at Camana Bay for a great workout (wasn't paying attention to times, but took plenty of rest on the fly bits - I'm having some trouble with my knee on the whip kick, it's been a little sore while running too - will keep an eye on that).

100 free, 100 kick (50 whip, 50 dolphin on side), 100 free, 100 fly drill, 100 free, 100 as free-back by 25

Breast: 1 x 75 kick-swim-kick, 2 x 75 swim-kick-swim, 3 x 75 swim

Fly: 1 x 75 drill-swim-drill, 2 x 75 swim-drill-swim, 3 x 75 swim

3 x 200: free, IM, free

2100 meters

Then, back at the condo, a short Spinervals workout (I will count it as 10 miles, though that is probably an overstatement), built around 7 x 90 seconds hard, 90 seconds easy plus 3 minutes hard/tempo effort increasing resistance every minute

Monday, August 24, 2009


2 hours - I had hoped for three, but I would have had to eat a larger breakfast and also choose different entertainment - I watched a great movie that I've been meaning to see for some months, ever since my friend T. sent it for me to watch, but although it was quite excellent it was not really suited to strenuous exercise!

(I will see where I might fit in one three-hour Spinervals session later this week...)

Monday swim

Very nice, too - it is rather lethally early, but as soon as I am in the water I feel OK...


200 free
100 back
200 free
100 breast
200 free
100 fly drill
3 x 100: IM drill, free, IM swim

2 x (2 x 100 drill stroke, 4 x 50 stroke down, free back): 1st set fly, 2nd set breast

100 IM hard
50 free easy

2150 meters

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday long run

And it was GREAT - I have a huge feeling of mental and physical satisfaction at getting that one done.

12 miles (5.5mph, 0.5 incline, avg HR 137)

After the other day, I figured I'd better keep it really slow if I wanted to stay on for the whole 12 miles (2:10)...

It worked...

(Socks of UTTER squelchiness by the 1:30 mark - really the sweat is already running down my legs in sheets after about forty minutes! I have a favorite pair of running socks that does better under these circumstances, but they are getting rather threadbare and there is a hole in the sole - these Nike ones are not up to snuff for long warm treadmill running, though.)

(And I was going to have a long sea swim later, but judging by the YELPS issuing from my mouth under the shower as I realized the extent of shallow but pervasive chafing, it might be wise to leave it till Tuesday morning instead - that water is pretty salty...)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday TOB

Went to the 10am spin class, it is a good kick-start to the day! There was the notion of a treadmill run later on, but in fact after getting back from LOVELY DIVING we have given in to the diver's sensualist imperative and are (uncharacteristically - you will have to take it on faith!) going to go and have a drink at a poolside bar instead of toiling away on adjacent treadmills!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Marmite sandwiches

The Dunwich Dynamo, a 116-mile nighttime bike ride from London to the Suffolk coast (FT site registration required).

Friday run

Slightly thwarted by digestive issues, arghhhh! I am much more prone to it on the treadmill than in the world, I think because of heat issues - but in this case I rashly had a large and spicy Indian lunch, and though I took a precautionary Immodium beforehand, it was not enough. Even in the 20-minute lower-intensity warmup, my bowels were threatening to mutiny, and after two (2) five-minute intervals at 8:30 pace with 1 minute recovery and two (2) emergency bathroom breaks, I realized that my only hope of rounding out the hour on the treadmill was to dial it back down to 5.5mph and run it in easy...

Anyway, I did run six miles total, and I will make a stab at a long one on Sunday. Schedule reshuffled for the weekend due to plans for a MIDDAY DIVE tomorrow!

"High cadence, high cadence!"

Or, alternately: "Grind it out!"

I am full of self-reproach this morning, though Spinervals endorphins have now partly consoled me - I meant to get up quite early and do my long swim for the week (1:15) and a medium to long bike, but instead I was kind of awake from 5-7am, went back to sleep at 7, surfaced briefly at 8 but instead of getting up then, which I perfectly well could and should have done, went back to sleep and only woke up around 9:30!

ARGHHHHH, it is the story of my life!

(Either that, or I drag myself out of bed at some ungodly hour for either work or a workout and then spend the rest of the day feeling vaguely queasy from lack of sleep!)

Anyway, I deemed time on bike more immediately pressing than swimming, so I just did an hour of Spinervals 15.0, Have Mercy: The Sequel. Will try and get a swim in tomorrow later afternoon - got a couple sessions of treadmill running on the schedule for later today and tomorrow morning...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stroke and stride #2

Very nice, too! Consensus was that the swim was long - I think I paced myself better on the run, in any case (or perhaps it was just a slightly less humid evening). I swam beforehand for c. 800m or so - saw a very handsome sea turtle en route - and I think I spotted a smallish sting ray beneath a protective coat of sand near the end of the race bit of the swim - it was NOT the night for a peaceful little creature to be out there, with a hundred plus blundering swimmers thundering overhead!

800m warmup

600m swim, 2 miles run

Wednesday gym

I was slightly gnashing my teeth just before noon - I went to World Gym to check out the "Group Power" class, only it was canceled! This time it wasn't that I'd mistaken July's schedule for August's, it was just a random last-minute cancellation. However it was of no consequence, since it got me in there in any case and I am perfectly capable of doing a decent workout on my own. Very enjoyable, and more mentally tranquil than a class for sure!

I didn't swim this morning - I was still ridiculously wakeful at midnight last night and decided that rather than getting up at 5, I should try and sleep till 8! A sign of good vacation-induced mental health, I think. I will have some time for a pre-Stroke and Stride swim at Sunset House later today - should be able to get in a total of 2000m+, and if I can go to sleep at a reasonable hour tomorrow night and also do a long sea swim sometime during the day, it might be I could/should go to the Friday am pool workout...

1 hr. core and upper body

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday run

3 treadmill miles

In more exciting though not strictly speaking triaspirational news, I rode a bicycle underwater today! I was wearing fins, so I could not pedal, but I definitely soared and did a bit of ET-style BMX-type bounding. And moments later I was a fully certified PADI open water diver...

(Thanks to Brent for egging me on - I certainly would not have done it without his encouragement and support, since I am basically a fairly lazy person who will not really stir myself to get off the couch unless prompted!)

Tuesday TOB

Spinervals 9.0: Have Mercy (2 hrs.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday swim

(Flip turns on all freestyle - not sure how this is going to translate once I'm swimming in a crowded lane situation again, but I am pretty set on doing them when I have the space not to accidentally run into anybody if I don't come off the wall entirely straight!)

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

6 x 100, evens free and odds IM, on 3:00

2 x (4 x 100 free with sliding IM 25 stroke)

4 x 50 drill-swim by 25 (breast, back, 2 x free)

2200 meters

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Similar to yesterday, only different also!

10am rolled by and every bike in the classroom had someone on it, except for the instructor's...

(The regular Sunday spin teacher was still off-island on vacation - the back-up teacher had been spotted by one of the latecomers out walking her dog, and when asked whether she was teaching today, she had gasped and said, "Oh, yeah, I guess I am!")

We started about 10 minutes late, not a big deal - it was a good class. (I am going to count these classes as a 15-mile ride.)

I had planned a slightly more ambitious strides treadmill run, but it was clear to me as I was getting started that I had already used up my fuel from breakfast and that I should probably scale it back a little. So I just did 10 mins. warmup, 8 x 1:00 at 7:30 pace (8mph), 1:00 recovery.

The last interval I did at 6:40 pace (9mph) for fun - I just about made it through the minute, except that right at the end I knocked out the safety plug with a flailing arm and the treadmill came to a halt! I like the feeling of running quite fast for a short time - I want to do the 8 x 2:00 @ 7:30, 1:00 recovery workout that Lauren had the other day (it then builds to 4 x 5:00 @ 7:30, 3:00 recovery), but I am thinking I need to do one or two more shorter strides first to build comfort with higher leg turnover rate!

I do have a very pleasant feeling that I have built quite a bit of fitness over the last couple months and that with luck and common sense I will have a very enjoyable fall season of training and racing.

15 miles bike
3 miles run

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Checked out the spin class at World Gym, quite good, then 3 TM miles

10 mins. warmup + 50 mins. spin + stretching + 3 mi. run

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday 'long' run

8 very easy but extremely warm treadmill miles! In fact I have not run more than six miles at a pop for several months, so I am going to exercise caution on the long run business...

(But this was a good swim-bike-run day!)

Friday swim/bike

I meant to have a long swim AND a long bike, but I snoozed the alarm for too long - story of my life!

60 minutes sea swim

90 minutes bike

I am about seven weeks out from a half-iron distance race where I don't have strict time goals (other than to finish under seven hours - qualifying time for the Survival of the Shawagunks race!) but where I really would like to have done adequate training to run the whole of the run, however slowly. I've done the Florida 70.3 race twice now, and it is so deathly hot that it is pretty much of a walk rather than a run for me!

I also have two open-water swims in September - the Governor's Island 2-mile race, which is supposed to be quite challenging, and the Little Red Lighthouse swim, which is 5.85 miles and in theory with a very strong tidal assist, but not necessarily! To my very great pleasure, Wendy and some of her Ottawa teammates are coming down to do this swim also - Wendy's been doing some research, and past years of data suggest that sometimes the slower swimmers are in the water for as long as two and a half or three hours, so we had better be prepared for a range of possibilities! I will try and make the most of sea-swimming opportunities while I'm here, balancing that with the overriding need for time on bike and the companion need to start building up a solid weekly base of run mileage for a smooth move in September into marathon training...


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Day off

I am sorry not to put in any time on the bike today, but I am thinking that various body parts are telling me that I am now due for a rest day! Activities will resume tomorrow in full force - looking at a delightful combination of long training bits, including a long sea swim in the morning...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Stroke and stride of delightfulness!

No time now to write the COPIOUS POST that I always really want to spill out after these things - various thoughts on sport and fitness - but I had an AWFULLY nice time at the Stroke and Stride this evening.

The swim is good but too short (I was hoping to practice my drafting, but potential draftees were all swimming waywardly and/or too slowly and doing much breaststroke); the run is mentally tough, due to humidity, but was not QUITE as brutally hot as I envisaged, though I think I went out a bit too fast. Certainly the beads of sweat were standing out all over me after I finished - heat regulation issues...

(Took a dip afterwards to rinse off the sweat, but still sweating very copiously for some time afterwards - core body temperature only really reached normal after a few beers and a portion of Irish stew at Fidel Murphy's...

I did not even think of starting my watch or timing myself - it was a race for fun! The first of three, on successive Wednesdays - the swim gets longer with each week, while the run stays the same - this, I think, is enjoyable.

I am certain there will be good coverage in the local papers, and will link accordingly - meanwhile I leave you for your reading pleasure the utterly delightful story by my favorite local journalist Ron Shillingford about Cayman triathlete Tony Watts and his latest endurance adventure! (Note the Wednesday night running club singlet in the picture...)

(Thanks to all volunteers and race sponsors for a wonderful event.)

Up next...

... the Stroke and Stride series starts this evening! I am not at all heat-acclimated, so I fear the running will be slower than I'd like, but it is excellent multi-sport practice, and tonight's race is short enough that I will pretty certainly be done with the whole thing in about half an hour!

Wednesday swim

There is something about getting up very early for a swim that makes me determined to have a really good-quality workout! This one was excellent, though I note that I have become very slow - the stuff I've been doing this summer is good for technique improvement, and I think my swimming continues to get better in terms of ease and endurance, but I have a tendency not to work on speed when I swim on my own. Time to start adding in more speed bits, I am thinking...

I got there early, had brought a book in case the pool was locked until 6:15 but to my delight and amazement it was already open, and I got right in!

Flip turns (clumsy ones, but still!) on ALL freestyle.

Warmup: 200 free, 100 IM kick, 200 free, 100 IM drill, 200 free, 100 IM swim

8 x 50 as drill-swim by 25, 2 of each stroke in IM order

2 x (5 x 100): (1) 25 fly, 75 free (2) 25 free, 25 back, 50 free (3) 50 free, 25 breast, 25 free (4) 100 free easy (5) 100 free build by 25

(There must be a more economical way of notating that - 100s with sliding IM stroke leg?)

2400 meters total

(Oh, wait, of course my times are slow - it is a meter rather than yard pool! Well, that is something at least! But I do need to work more on speed.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tuesday run

Very nice, too. I cut it a bit short because Brent was finishing up; also I do not want to overdo it. But the short bursts of harder-effort running are very enjoyable, despite heat build-up issues!

I was working off Lauren's description of a stride workout she did a few weeks ago - she had 20 x 25 seconds at 1-mile race effort with one minute recovery.

I wasn't at all sure what would count as 1-mile race effort, and figured I'd better start conservatively. I took a set rest after the first 10, then did six more at a faster pace - I think the faster one is the appropriate one, the first ones were definitely too easy.

10 minutes warmup

10 x 30 seconds @ 7.5mph (8:00 pace), 1:00 @ 5.5mph (10:54 pace)

5 minutes walk

6 x 30 seconds @ 8mph (7:30 pace)

I'll try and do a straight 20 x 30 seconds @ 8mph one day next week - I think it should be doable, and it is a highly mentally tolerable treadmill workout!


I am laughing, because Chuckie V's very good advice for would-be pro triathletes pretty much translates, with only a few tiny differences, to would-be novelists or would-be professors! Go and take a look if you think it might apply to you...

Tuesday gym

Argghhhhh, I was gnashing my teeth furiously and somewhat laughing at myself, I am an IDIOT - I have been drooling over the class schedule at World Gym and walked over there this morning in hopes of doing the core strength class and possibly the group ride (spin class) afterwards if I felt up for it - only the schedule I had been looking at online is clearly now obsolete, and the current schedule (which is indeed online - maybe I was looking at July's schedule before?) does not so much have the things I wanted at the times that would suit!

It is fine, it is not a big deal - I had a very good hour-long strength workout on my own (core and upper body).

Monday, August 10, 2009

The puddle club

Monday TOB - the first two hours of the three-hour Spinervals endurance workout ("Tough Love"). I think my HR/effort level is a little low, but on the other hand it is an endurance workout, so who knows - difficult to figure out exactly the right settings. I really like this spin bike, though!

2 hrs (avg HR 117, max HR 149)

Swim of excellence!

Mmmmm, that was very good - I have been on the lookout for many a month for a Caymanian pool of 25-yard or 25-meter dimensions that would be within walking distance and open for outsiders' use, and the glorious new pool at the Cayman International School is now open three times a week for members of the Cayman Islands Triathlon Association. Which, thanks to Brent, I am one of!

(There was no elegant way to end that sentence.)

("I am"?!?)

Alas, it is true, it is MWF6:15-7:15am - but it was fairly magical swimming (in strangely warm water!) under a blue sky with the hint of last night's moon still visible...

I cannot say if this is exactly what I did, but along these lines:

4 x (100 free [flip turns!] + 50 stroke [drill-swim in IM order])

50 whip kick on back

100 breast drill (first length count 3 on glide, second count 2, 3-4 count 1)

50 breast

50 back

50 dolphin kick on back

50 dolphin kick on sides

100 as right arm, left arm, two lengths of 3-3-3

100 as right arm, left arm, two lengths of 1-1-1

50 fly down, free back

50 back

8 x 75 stroke as kick-drill-swim, 2 of each stroke in IM order

50 fly-free

50 back

1950 yards* total

I will definitely do Mondays and Wednesdays - it might be that Friday mornings I will do a long sea swim instead.
[ED. NB: really that was METRES!]

Sunday, August 9, 2009


About 70 minutes - I forgot that the DVD has a glitch in it, was not mentally prepared to fill in what I guess/vaguely remember comes in the gap! I am counting indoor cycling at 15mph, but will over-generously claim this as a 20-mile workout in my log...

Sunday run

6 miles pretty easy

I am always having mental wrestling when I run on the treadmill!

(Especially since the other day I didn't put the top solidly on one of the bottles of water in my bag and it tipped over and killed my iPod!)

My latest thoughts:

For the most part I am fairly average as far as all this exercise stuff goes - but the one thing where I am really at the far pitiful end of the curve concerns heat. I come from a family of red-headed northern Europeans with a tendency to get faces the color of beetroot in hot weather! That is not to say one can't compensate by good training - one of the races where I'm still very proud of how I did was my first sub-2:00 half-marathon finish, on a truly disgustingly hot and humid October day that caused at least four people I knew to drop out of the race after four or five miles. But it is a battle, and I am not physiologically suited to it.

And treadmill running is hot.

So I'm pretty much mentally dealing with this by saying that I need to have a really clear division between relatively slow 'straight' runs, anything from an hour onwards, where I run at a pace that does not cause me to lethally overheat; versus shorter interval workouts where I run significantly faster than I usually do but just for stints. Otherwise I end up having these mentally gruelling runs where I am trying to keep up the same pace I'd have outside (10:00 miles for 6 miles would not be challenging in this summer's version of New York summer weather) and truly just feel awful and am still not running what I would call at all quickly!

Long way of saying that I am just going to have to suck up any notion of pride and admit that 5.5mph is better than 6.0 or 6.5 for anything longer than about 40 minutes indoors!

6 miles, 5.5mph (.5 incline), avg HR 143

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fish and chips

I awfully want to do this race! (FT site registration required; the race site is here. Hmmm, might have to see about sea kayaking opportunities in the Caymans - this is not compatible with 2010 Ironman plans, but it sounds like an extremely enjoyable race that would definitely go with a later-season Shawagunks race in 2011 - would have to develop some NAVIGATIONAL skills as a backup in case of GPS failure...)

Friday run

4.5 warm but otherwise non-strenuous treadmill miles. I feel fitter than I was in June - beneficial for treadmill runs!


I have just done a preliminary test on the Forza spin bike, and it is GOOD. I will not say I am in love with it (no wind whistling through the ears as on a real bike ride in a beautiful setting on a breezy day, no chance to work on bike handling skills), but I am love with what I think it will do for me in terms of basic endurance and fitness...

(Just did the 30-minute Spinervals technique workout - I had a late breakfast, after a decadent long morning lie-in, and needed to get some lunch in me in time for it to be digested for a 4:30pm treadmill run at World Gym!)

Also had a very enjoyable spell of poking around on the rather wonderful Cayman Active site - I think that if I can get on an early-morning schedule, there is an available hour of pool time for triathletes at the delightful-sounding new 25m pool at Camana Bay. I can wake up as I walk over - swimming in the early am is not quite the intense shock to the system that first-thing-in-the-morning warm running is...

More anon!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Triathlon = happiness!

(Courtesy of Accenture.)

Wednesday gym

Well, it is clear that last week's big deadline push has left me feeling like an INVALID - no virus/cold in sight yet, and I am hoping it will stay that way, but I am extremely tired and with twanging muscles in left thigh - I think I'd better take it easy for another couple days, I was going to try and squeeze in some run miles before my gym appointment this afternoon but suddenly realized it was not wise.

Good appointment with trainer P. - working on the various assisted/incline pull-ups - I have not forgotten that it was my aspiration last year to work up to being able to do real unassisted ones...

Tomorrow: 5:45am departure for Caymanian interlude!

Wednesday swim lesson

Highly illuminating - I have been aware that my breaststroke barely deserves the name, but I have a much clearer notion now of the precise nature of my misunderstandings concerning the timing of different aspects of the stroke! I am glad we have been working on this - it actually seems to me in certain respects the highest priority to get sorted out, it is certainly much the weakest of my strokes.

Good long warmup on my own: along lines of 100 free (flip turns! sore left knee, though), 100 IM (fly drill), 50 whip kick on back, 50 breast, 50 dolphin kick on back, 50 dolphin kick on sides (much easier to focus on it this way), 100 fly drill as right arm, left arm, 3-3-3 x 2, some random 50s of back and breast. Call it 800 total.

Then an extremely helpful lesson. Some dryland "lunging" along the side of the pool to try and get the feel for the stroke, which I really do not have yet properly (but working on it...). A lot of drilling: breast pull with pull buoy (I am having twinges of one thing and another in my left thigh, large volume of whip kick contraindicated, though I was doing it again for the last part of the lesson because it seemed essential for understanding the timing properly), breast pull with dolphin kick, then some drilling counting a glide of 3 (and then 75 with glide of 3, 2, 1 per length).

Deep misunderstandings/cues for improvement: (1) WAIT to kick till arms have plunged forward in a streamline - do not kick with elbows bent in front; (2) arch back and rise out of the water - strong forward propulsion with pull; (3) don't stop as hands come together in prayer position, keep momentum and movement; (4) let hips come forward so that the kick really happens underwater; (5) keep knees together, don't let 'em drift out; (6) kick starts only as I'm losing propulsion and starting to feel myself moving into a dead spot, for a big further boost; (7) HEAD DOWN!

If I am not paying attention, the kick happens much too early in the stroke - I have a clearer intellectual understanding now of the problem, though, and some cues to focus on and work on with drills (one pull, two kicks is good for thinking about timing and various bits of the form). Also tend to be much too flat in the water, and to have head pop up; the timing is the most important thing to focus on, but these other bits are essential too...

Last week has been a bit of a disaster in terms of exercise. I haven't ridden my bike at all since the tri, and haven't run since Saturday (I wanted to run last night, but I was caught up in a series of essential errands that meant it was 8:30 before I really could have gone out, and around 7 I realized that I simply had not fueled appropriately for that to be a genuine possibility). I've also got my eye on the whole "try not to get sick when I travel" project - figuring it's better to skip than to overdo it.

(Got these awkward sore thigh muscles, too - I think it was the weighted lunges and squats last Friday that initiated the problem, but now I'm feeling tension in some of the other muscles in that area too.)

The trainer appointments and the swimming lessons have precedence - I guess the honest truth is that if I can only do one thing, swimming is the one that most has my heart, especially in the summer (a nice long run on a cold winter's day is also one of my favorite things)...

Call it 1400 yards for today, anyway. But I need to figure out my training plan for the next couple months!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Speedy librarians

Now and again it is not entirely clear to me at which of my blogs a post belongs!

Tuesday swim

Ah, that was a good one - I have been so stressed out for the past month that the notion of going for a swim in the morning and not feeling terribly guilty about not having gotten straight down to work work had become altogether foreign to me!

Did a curtailed version of the warmup on the board from the early am triathletes' workout (original distances were 400, 150, 3 x 100, 150):

200 free with fourth 25 back (flip turns!)
100 kick on board (50 dolphin, 50 whip)
2 x 100 IM straight through (fly drill)
100 kick on back, no board (50 dolphin, 50 whip)

A bit of vertical fly kick

Then (along these lines):

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

2 x 25 dolphin kick on back

4 x 25 right arm, left arm by 25

1 x 50 3-3-3

1 x 50 1-1-1 (i.e. right arm, left arm, full stroke)

2 x 25 full stroke fly

2 x 50 whip kick on back

4 x 75 breast as kick-drill-swim

1400 yards total

I really wanted to ride my bike today, but the prime hours are while the park is closed to traffic from 10am-3pm, and I think I may just have too many important other things to do involved with getting ready to leave on Thursday (phone call to super re: various book-revising-postponed essential maintenance issues, prescriptions & the annoying thing of having to get the health insurance company to license early refills on ones that are not yet eligible for refill, course book ordering, work-organizing and sorting for trip, a couple school things I have put on the back burner while finishing the book - the usual, in other words!). We will see how it goes - it may be I will run this evening and then ride tomorrow during the day. And a swimming lesson tomorrow morning early!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Barefoot running

I would say the jury's still out on it - but I am definitely going to have some time with the Vibram "toe shoes" in August, even if people might look at me like a lunatic if I wear 'em on a treadmill at the gym!

Monday gym

Good appointment with trainer P. I must admit that I enjoy the Pilates-style mat work more than the straight-up strength training, but it is a good combination of different things...

In more significant news, I met my deadline late this afternoon and am now a Free Woman!

(Relatively speaking - I've got a couple other things I've got to write in August, and I think I will have one more pass through this book manuscript in September once I've got some editorial feedback - but it is MAJOR to be done, not least because this is now the first time since 2005 that I have not had a book contract hanging over me! NB as a Young Person with books and no contracts, I wanted contracts; then I got contracts and realized that really it is much wiser to have the books first rather than the other way round!)

Finishing this book has really taken it out of me - the last week has been pretty rough. I'm going to play it by ear for the rest of the week and try not to kill myself with over-exercise, as tempting as it may be!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday run

Well, I will call it a partial success rather than a partial failure...

I met Triathlete L. and J. at Chambers St. - they were doing 12 (around the south tip of Manhattan, over the bridge to Brooklyn and then round Prospect Park), I hoped to do 9 and peel off as they entered the park and instead take the 2/3 train home from Grand Army Plaza.

But though it is a beautiful day (not humid), it is HOT - our first three miles were mostly in direct sun, and I was feeling quite sick to my stomach. As we came to the bridge and I saw how crowded it was, my heart failed me - I will not in this case blame it on the bridge, it was more a case of discretion being the better part of valor.

(Ugh, I hate to bail, though!)

So I sent the two of them on their way and slowed down a bit and took a much shadier route back across to the west side and then up to 14th St. - just over six miles altogether, I am guessing, around 10:00 pace (the solitary part wasn't slower, really, just cooler!).

(I hate to complain, but I have been feeling pretty awful all week - headache and queasy would be too strong, but sub-headache and just sub-queasy pretty much all the time - poor-quality sleep from underlying deadline stress. I almost canceled the run altogether, only I already canceled on the bike ride the other day! But I am sure it was more sensible to call it short than to slog it out - I need to do at least 3 more hours of work this evening, and I would much prefer NOT to get sick after I send the book to the editor on Monday...)

NB my new hydration belt was attracting much unwanted attention - I felt that I was trailing a wake of mild hilarity everywhere I went!

Run mileage for July was very low. I will count this week as 18 miles and start raising it from there - I guess I'll do a 90-minute treadmill run next weekend, that will make sense...