Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Short spinervals session

I am ashamed of how little I've biked in the last few weeks, but I am also babying my immune system (the quantity and intensity of illness in college classrooms at this time of year is fairly alarming!) and trying to keep my legs fresh for Sunday's race...

33 mins, 7 x 90 seconds hard, 90 seconds easy + 3 mins. increasing intensity each minute (avg HR 131, max HR 157)

Huge deadline Friday, going to be pretty tight meeting it - I would like to run and swim tomorrow, but I will have to play it by ear. If I'm in good shape workwise at 5pm and not completely knackered, I could run c. 4 miles and then go to TNYA practice at 6, that would be ideal; but that then kinda knocks me out for the rest of the evening of work, so I will have to wait and see.

Lauren and I have been having some frantic emailing about our race arrangements - we had thought (partly just because I am so swamped with work, and didn't want to lose Saturday work time - also the accommodations mentioned on the race site seemed fairly useless, it was either a fancy-schmancy colonial inn of high price or a no-website roadside motel) of driving down on the morning of the race, since there was same-day packet pickup until 7:45am, but then they moved it back to 7am and started sending alarming notices about off-site parking lots and shuttles. So we are sensibly going down the night before, Lauren having used internet research genius to find us an incredibly affordable hotel (free wireless!) - and I had not at all realized that the whole thing was taking place so close to Atlantic City, so I am thinking some boardwalk-visiting, cheap casino dinner and an ice-cream or so will be in order for the evening before!

We will leave New York around 3pm Saturday afternoon, packet pick-up runs till 6 so that should be OK (they say it's a 90-minute drive, but somehow I suspect that is a best-case scenario)...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday run

Very good run just now! Beautiful weather - crisp and clear and sunny, in the low 60s...

(I completely failed to get up early and work on my novel first, though! But it must be said that the extra sleep, although it was irksomely punctuated by alarm-beeping and the fumble for the snooze button, was well worth while - I am sorry not to get a chunk of work done before my real work day begins - day of meetings! - but it was almost certainly for the best...)

Ran over and met up with C. and new running companion J. at 86th St. and Central Park West. We ran together round the park and back up to 110th St., then I took my own slow pace home! It will be great if J. keeps running with us - he's a nice fast runner with a beautiful easy natural gait, just starting to work up to longer distances.

Bits (will only provide distance/pace data for the middle segment, but it is around 8 miles total):

20:49 (avg HR 148, max HR 173)
41:30 (4.6 miles; avg HR 165, max HR 190; avg pace 8:58, max pace 7:38 [downhill!])
9:40 (avg HR 149, max HR 163)

8 miles

Monday, September 28, 2009

A question

(My brain is fried after a long day of teaching!)

Is there such a thing as an East Coast full-iron aquabike that I could do in the couple months preceding IMWI next year? I see that there is a Vineman full-iron aquabike in late July, but I suspect the travel would be more tiring than it's worth - anything between early June and mid-August would work, but it looks like the ones on offer nearish by are all more like in September and October...

(That said, what I probably should do is devote my resources to trying to make it to WIBA and ride the full course...)

Lauren's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Race

I cannot resist linking to Lauren's race report from the Vermont 50!

Quick Monday swim

Wendy and I went down to Chelsea Piers for me to show off the swimming pool to her! I picked up my membership card and the swipe key for the bike cage, and we just had a quick and luxurious dip (plus a bit of breaststroke coaching for me - good Wendyean tips!)

500 yards (100 free, 100 breast, 100 free, 100 back, 100 free)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Weekend 'long' run

Very sorry not to get in a 12-miler this weekend, but really once I didn't do it very early Friday morning, I knew it would be unrealistic and/or unwise. Preexisting levels of fatigue and stress very high, and many hours of work remaining to do this evening, so I set out for an easy 8+ instead of doing anything longer - got c. 90 minutes aerobic exercise/time on feet, not bad, quite enjoyable barring insane mugginess (it is not hot, just mid-60s, but 100% humidity - fairly disgusting!).

My main goal for the week, other than finishing my novel revisions by Friday and teaching my classes well, is not to get a cold!

The Bassman half-iron is next Sunday, and I would of course really love for it to go very well - well in terms of enjoyable as well as faster than what I've done so far.

My main goal is to try and run the whole of the run - I have done Florida 70.3 twice, and both times I was walking the run, the first time because it was my first triathlon ever and the bike ride had taken pretty much everything I had mentally (my only goal was to finish, and as soon as I realized I was within the time cut-offs, I was just beaming, there was no shame in walking!), the second time because I got a calf cramp at the end of the swim that never went away and that basically prevented me from putting my heel to the ground - I felt quite fresh still at the start of the run, but was not willing to court permanent injury!

In any case, the run at that race is what I can only describe as INTOLERABLY HOT - well into the 90s, humid, almost all in direct sun. I am not a hot-weather person, so at this point I just throw up my hands and abandon all goals! Plus, of course, I was very undertrained for both races - I had realistic expectations, and I was glad in both cases to finish, and finish a little faster the second time, but it would have been inappropriate to have more ambitious goals than that.

I'm undertrained on the bike for this one, but I am actually in very reasonable training shape for this distance in terms of the swim and the run, and certainly my cycling has improved a great deal over this season (it's my second season in triathlon, and biking is by far my weakest leg, as you may have gathered if you read here regularly).

So I think that if conditions are favorable and I'm not sick, I should be able to have a pretty good time out there (time in this case referring primarily to enjoyment rather than speed, though I won't say no to whatever speed I can pick up along the way).

That said, if it's a very warm day, which it is well capable of being in early October in this part of the world, I will certainly be fairly slow, and I also (at the other end of the weather spectrum) have no practice doing cold swims and cold bikes - that said, I have a strong physiological preference for cold over hot, so I think I will be able to handle it if that's the case - I'll just ride very carefully for the first miles if my hands are numb! Must remember to dig out warm gloves - my bike gloves do not have full fingers...

Writing this has put me in a mood to look forward to that race! First, though, the teaching week and the novel-finishing...

8 miles easy

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Long swim!

The Little Red Lighthouse swim was successfully completed, and it was truly a lovely day for a swim, though fairly brisk afterwards. No time to write more now - the tidal assist was variable, but not nearly as strong as expected, I was certainly in the water closer to three hours than two! - but it is hard to explain how much it is almost the best thing in the world to be swimming right out there in the middle of a huge river looking up at the bluffs of Upper Manhattan on your right-hand side...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Very good Thursday swim practice

Partly it was that we had the luxury of only three people in my usual lane, which meant we could leave ten seconds between rather than just five - this solves all sorts of timing problems. More importantly, though, I got to bring two very special guests to practice: Wendy and Lauren! It is an indelicate expression that I do not usually use, but I think we can only say that they KICKED THE ASS of the fellow they were swimming with...

Now we have had a very lovely dinner in the interim, and the details of the workout are less clear to my mind than they sometimes are! Let us say it was as follows, though it has taken more attentive reconstruction than usual (I have consulted Wendy, but our lanes were not doing exactly the same things!):

Warmup (curtailed): 100 free, 100 back kick-swim by 25, 100 fly kick-swim by 25

6 x 50 free on :55

4 x 100 free kick-swim by 25 (on 2:25, but we did it as last person touches first person goes, which worked out about the same but easier to keep track of!)

4 x 100 free on 2:00 (my flip turns are making a HUGE difference to my swim speed - I was getting quite a bit of rest!)

8 x 50 on 1:15, first four as fly-back, second four as back-free

8 x 50 free with pull buoy, alternating hard on :50/easy on 1:10

6 x 50 choice as hard/easy by 25 (:20/:40) - not really feasible for me, but I made a good stab at four of 'em, alternating fly and free, and then swam the last two easy (back, free)

2500 yards total

Highly satisfactory!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Highly enjoyable swim practice

only I must get a hair faster and a hair more in control of my flip turns, because really I should be LEADING that lane - I am happy NOT to lead, but only if those in front of me are fully in comprehension and observation of the assigned intervals!!!

(I did flip turns on all the freestyle except for occasionally when I was too much on the toes of the fellow in front and had to wait for him to come off the wall first...)

(Some of my turns were pretty wayward, though!)

Warmup: 200 free, 3 x 50 kick-swim (fly, back, breast)

5 x 50 free on :55

2 x (4 x 150 free, 50 stroke in IM order), first set on 2:55, 1:30; second set on 2:45, 1:30

6 x 50 kick-swim choice (I did 2 fly, 1 back, 2 fly, 1 breast)

50 easy

2550 yards total

It is possibly an illusion, but I felt very strong and fit in the water - the combination of marathon/triathlon training and its aerobic benefits, the addition of flip turns and the all-round stroke improvements due to my recent swimming lessons with JB makes me feel that I have had significant improvement over the last couple months.

Excellent run

My morning did not go quite as planned - set the alarm for 6:30, with goal of working on novel for 2 hours before meeting C. at 10 for a run - but in reality I didn't fall asleep till 1:30, so when it went off at 6:30, I reset it for 7:30 and then snoozed it until 9:15, at which point I realized that I was actually going to be late if I did not turn off the wretched clock and get up RIGHT THEN! The sad realities of Davidsonian life... in this case, the extra sleep was definitely beneficial, but it would have been even better if I had just been more realistic and reset the clock late last night for 9am!

Anyway, I had a great run with C., marred only by the fact that I gave insufficiently good directions to our notional third running partner and he was waiting elsewhere - but we are going to make another stab at it next week, so that is all right.

8 miles total

Warmup: 21:33 (avg HR 141, max 161)
Tempo effort with C.: 42:33 (avg HR 160, max 171)
Cooldown: 11:26 (avg HR 154, max 162 - it is hilly coming back home up 110th St.!)

I have busted the evil microphone setup that gets data from the Polar, and have not yet figured out how to get the information directly from the watch, thus no notation of distances - but this is good enough, I think...

Rather muggy outside, damp and in the 70s - I am ready for full-on brisk/chilly fall weather, though not perhaps till AFTER Saturday's swim...

Gotta rush and get on with my day now!

Monday, September 21, 2009

"It's a long road to ride"

Spinervals 13.0: Tough Love (3 hrs)

My legs were very glad I waited until today, but it is psychologically difficult staying on the bike while fending off fits of anxiety about the vast lists of things that must be done today/this week/etc.!

Now I have to use serious common sense for the next two weeks.

The Lighthouse swim is on Saturday the 26th, and the Bassman half-iron is on Sunday the 4th. My only race after that is the marathon on Nov. 28.

I am undertrained on the bike for the half, but it will be better to do less training and NOT get sick than to overdo it and crash my immune system.

Top priorities for the coming week (all of equal importance, so I cannot honestly downplay any one of the three):

Complete final novel revision for Monday, Sept. 28

Acquit myself honorably of my teaching and advising responsibilities, including a spate of letters of recommendation that must be written this week

Welcome Wendy to New York on Wednesday for the best-ever whirlwind NY sojourn! Including a long-awaited Breakfast Near Tiffany's - I have made a reservation here, I don't know that it will be the best food in the world but I wanted something really New Yorky and over-the-top!

As far as exercise goes, I will go to TNYA practice on Tuesday and Thursday (when Wendy will come with me as my guest!). I will run 8 miles tomorrow morning. I would like to do a 12-mile run on Friday later afternoon, and some shorter bike stuff as it can be fit in; but I think that's it for me for workouts for the rest of the week, given the imperative nature of the novel deadline (I am sure I could get a few days of wiggle room/extension, but the nature of my teaching week is that if I don't finish something for Monday it is hard to pick it back up again till Wednesday night, which doesn't do me much good).

I will endeavor to stay calm, because stress is the thing that really does in the immune system!

I will not fret about missed workouts!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Short ride/tune-up

My knee (the one that was giving me trouble in August) is slightly sore today, so I decided to put the long indoor ride off until tomorrow - probably best to let the legs absorb what I gave them to deal with yesterday. As long as I do more work tonight, I can afford the hours tomorrow morning, I think...

But I needed to take my bike in for a tune-up - in particular because of the bar-end plug fiasco!

(The official at the transition area for the New York City Triathlon in July pointed to my missing one and very sternly and rather pompously told me that I would not be allowed out of transition the next morning unless it were plugged, that race officials would be going round before transition opened in the morning to check and that it was very dangerous not to have one - "Somebody could be killed!" It was not a suitable moment for me to indulge my insatiable curiosity and ask how - but the mechanic at Sid's Bikes confirms my suspicion that it was officious hyperbole rather than a precise description of a specific eventuality likely to result from the absence of a bar-end plug!)

That night I found a bit of rubber at home, the plug-like thing at the end of one of the sort of mirror that screws into a bar end, and stuffed it into the bike and taped it over with electrical tape - I figured that would cover me for the actual race (the race mechanics did not have any extras - the same bar end had lost its plug previously and someone in Florida had given me a new one the year before, but it was perhaps only precariously lodged) - but of course have been lazy about taking it in to get fixed.

But I noticed on the Bassman racesite the ominous words - "5:30 am Transition Area Opens USAT marshal inspects handlebars. All handlebar ends must be solidly plugged!" And really I already knew I had to do it before my next race...

So I rode my bike down to Sid's Bikes, and had what I can only describe as an unequivocally positive experience. It really is a great store - I would strongly recommend it to anyone looking to buy a bike in NYC. (I go to the west side location, because it is more convenient from where I live, but I believe the other store is their main one.)

I thought I would have to drop it off and pick it up later in the week, but one of the mechanics very kindly said that if I didn't mind waiting a few minutes, he would do it on the spot. Basically everything was fine, but he found some new plugs and very solidly tamped them in - I think they will not be popping out so easily now! - and also observed that my bike computer wasn't working.

That computer has just made me throw up my hands in despair - it is the non-intuitive Cateye Astrale! - it worked for a couple months when I first got the bike, and then thoroughly stopped working, not that I had ever really understood its features. Periodically I have jiggled the sensors around and very briefly gotten it to pick up cadence and speed data, but it has never continued to work for more than a ride or two, and I've sort of just been ignoring it for the last year.

He said it had been carelessly installed before, and did a bunch of stuff to make it more likely to stay working - a shim for the bit that sticks onto the crank so that the magnet comes closer, remounting the computer itself so that the connection would work better and the whole set-up would be tidier. It was above and beyond - and all absolutely free!

I will count this as 10 miles of riding (which it was, but really I am resolved not to count utilitarian rides as training, at least once I am logging more miles!) and will hope for a long ride in the morning tomorrow...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What Leah saw

on her bike ride today in Pennsylvania!

Short Saturday swim

I went down to Chelsea Piers to sign my membership paperwork - I thought I would just take a look round - but the sight of the swimming pool made me realize I would be crazy not to get in a short swim while I was there! I had brought my swim things, thinking that such an eventuality might come to pass, so I had a quick dip, more or less as follows:

100 free
50 breast
100 free
50 back
100 free
100 fly drill/stroke
150 free
50 back

700 yards total

That was enough - I am running a nutritional deficit from my run earlier, and I biked both ways, too!


Seriously, to be able to walk into a beautiful glass-covered room, with sun streaming through the windows and a spectacular view of the Hudson, and swim in a LANE OF MY OWN....

As part of my membership package, I get 2 free personal training sessions and two "specialty" training sessions, one of the options for which includes swimming (the others are boxing, Pilates or climbing - I have honestly always sort of wanted to take up boxing, but I think it will have to wait!), so I am thinking that in October I will be able to eke out a bit more swim coaching without shelling out more dollars.

I am not going to log bike miles getting to the gym and back (I guess it is about 4.5 miles each way) - I am more thinking of it as a very helpful complement to training, especially given that it is clear that I will be logging many of my bike training miles indoors! Seriously, it will be very good; I am already getting used to riding on Riverside Drive, which given my bicycle-related state of nerves is very good progress...

"I thought of it while riding my bicycle"

Is melancholy incompatible with bicycling?


The weather this morning was an extraordinary gift - it is in the low 60s, sunny and crisp and clear, with that hint of coolness in the air that tells you it is autumn rather than spring. I love this time of year...

Anyway, it was a wonderful run. Perfect running weather!

Slightly sore hip flexors for the first couple miles, due I think to an interesting exercise I did yesterday with Trainer P. (It was new to me, and I liked it - stand with your back against the wall, arms raised, feet a little more than hip width apart and about 6 inches away from the wall. Then lower and raise your torso 15 times to the side, making sure to keep your opposite shoulder flat against the wall and arms fully extended - it's a core exercise, but it does some good other things too...)

And in the last six miles, I was definitely experiencing noticeable soreness in my legs - the culprit in this case (I assume) being yesterday's hard-effort 5K.

But I took it at a really easy and comfortable pace, and it was lovely...

(Usually my limiter is either heat or overtaxed huffing-and-puffing system, so actually it is sort of perversely nice for a change to be grappling with NEITHER of the first two and rather sore legs!)

Anyway, first I ran down to 94th St. and onto the greenway path there, then all the way up to the foot of the bridge and the Little Red Lighthouse, the end point for our exciting swim next week, then back south along the river to about 40th St. I had toyed with the idea of doing a longer-than-scheduled run, since I will not do another long one till three weeks from now (next week is the long swim, so I'll only do 12-14, and the following week is the half-iron race), but my legs made me think the better of it!

Around mile 8 or so, I was thinking very strongly of what an unalloyed pleasure it is to do a long run at a suitable pace in beautiful weather. It is almost my favorite thing - the only other thing I can think of that has quite the same kick is something quite similar, namely a really good 2-3-hour session of writing. They are similar because neither falls under the category of sensualist's pleasures - they definitely require attention and application. But equally, if one has cultivated the appropriate habits and circumstances conspire to aid one, only a modest nudge of willpower is needed to sustain the effort...

I have broken out the footpod again - time to get serious! Measurements over coming weeks will be precise though not necessarily accurate...

16.16 miles
avg HR 144
avg pace 11:05, max pace 8:46

Friday, September 18, 2009

In another life, I am an epidemiologist...

At the FT (site registration required), Robert Hudson considers the economics of injuries in professional sports:
In fact, the sports science decisions best informed by statistics and micro­economics increasingly focus on preventing injuries rather than curing them. The process begins with information-gathering. For seven years, the RFU has been logging every injury in the professional game in an effort to gather enough data to identify trends reliably. The ­England and Wales Cricket Board and the English Institute of Sport, which looks after Olympians, now have similar rolling audits, although they are at an earlier stage of development.

The numbers are already being crunched – and proving useful in planning which treatments might best serve not just the player, but the team. A recent study of hamstring injuries found that every new hamstring injury costs the team an average of 14 playing days; an average recurrence costs 25 days. Furthermore, almost all the recurrences took place during matches in the first month after return, and after an hour of play. It quickly became clear that players who had sustained hamstring injuries should be replaced after an hour during their first few games back. Moreover, the two clearest risk factors for hamstring injury were age and a previous injury, and players who performed specific strengthening exercises reduced the incidence, severity and ­recurrence of hamstring injuries.

Friday run/gym

Very nice "fun run"! I wasn't timing myself, though in retrospect it might have been nice to have exact pace and HR data; but I always feel it is not really in the spirit of a fun run to monitor such things! I estimate that I finished just about under 25 minutes, though; was running hard effort but not real race effort...

(A beautiful morning for it - sunny, breezy, coolish - it is just coming into the mid-60s - this is RUNNING SEASON IN NY!)

Did 10-15 mins. on the elliptical at the gym so that my muscles wouldn't stiffen up, then met trainer P. at 9:30 for our last session. Very good, including some serious stretching at the end.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Visual aids

Courtesy of Wendy, who spotted it at 10K Swimmer, aerial kite photographer Scott Dunn captured an extraordinary image of the Governors Island swim the other week - I think it really gives you the feel of how amazing Lower Manhattan looks from the water!

A recipe for success!

A typical training week for Scott Molina and his wife Erin in the early years of their careers in triathlon:
A typical week for us, if we didn't have to travel or race, included six runs of about an hour on average, five-six bike rides of an average of three hours each, six swims of just over an hour, three weights sessions, two massages, 20 minutes/day of stretching, two hours eating and nine of sleeping. I slept a lot! Many days would include a nap during the day of about an hour.


(My mental cue for that neutral neck position and straight streamline is something vaguely out of a horror movie - like imagine you are strapped to a gurney - Frankenstein, Apollo 13 - that can be spun on all three spatial axes, but you just stay completely flat and only spin around your central axis rather than with any bending!)

(After the lesson I asked JB whether he'd consider being my coach for next year's triathlon season, and he said yes! He is going to ponder what sort of terms would suit him, and I will do the same; I expect we will meet in December for a pre-season consult of some kind, and that I'll write him an e-mail every week and check in with him 5-6 times in person over the season. I can write my own training plans, with the help of various books I have around the place and consultation with folks including JB - I more like need someone to feel meta-accountable to, plus someone with authority who will tell me when I need to take a few days off!)

Thursday swim lesson

My last one with JB - it was a reprise of one that we had last year, focusing on the deceptively simple but absolutely essential thing of keeping the head neutral while swimming freestyle and powering from the hips. I am not the worst offender in the world, but it is certainly the most obviously bad thing about my freestyle that I have a strong tendency to lift my head up out of the water when I breathe - it messes up all sorts of other things in the stroke (you lose the whole streamline as your hips and legs sink down lower in the water).

The essential drill is first of all achieving buoyancy in a vertical position in the water, with arms by sides, then pushing forward into a streamline and waiting very patiently for heels to reach the surface. Kick, and then rotate onto side (there are various different options for the arms - I find it easier to do the version with one arm forward), concentrating on keeping whole body just as relaxed and straight-necked as in the initial balancing act. You build up from this to the 6-3-6 drill (with six kicks on the side, rotate from hips with 3 strokes, onto other side) - I should just do this some every week, it targets my single worst freestyle habit...

I did about 20 mins. of Spinervals when I got home, but am feeling very lethargic and could see that my heartrate was significantly lower than it should have been - decided to pay attention and cut it short.

Tomorrow morning I'm doing the Columbia Fun Run (I have invited English department grad students to join me, and hope to see some of them there - we will run more or less as a group, except that there are some fast folks who will dash ahead! Anyone else reading this and planning on doing this should come and say hello before the start) - just a 5K, at 8:30 (I should put it on my events sidebar!) - and then I have my last appointment with Trainer P. at 9:30. After that I will IMMERSE myself in novel revision - Friday and Saturday this week are my two big days for getting a ton of stuff done on that (it's due on Monday the 26th).

I will run 16 on Saturday morning, I will go down to Chelsea Piers late Saturday afternoon to sort out membership stuff (I decided to go for it - there are some promotional incentives that brought the price down, and in the end I just couldn't get the thought of that lovely swimming pool out of my head) and also to take my bike in for a tune-up - I must get that missing bar-end plug replaced before my next race, I jerry-rigged something for the NYC Triathlon but it needs proper dealing with. And I'll do a 3-hour trainer ride on Sunday evening. Otherwise, though, NOVEL NOVEL NOVEL novel novel novel novel....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday TOB

I broke out the other new Spinervals DVD I ordered recently - 14.0 Totally Time Trial (90 minutes, a useful length). I like it!

[ED. avg HR 133, max HR 152 - could be a bit higher for this particular workout, I will push harder next time I do it.]

Wednesday swim

Nice little swim, slightly curtailed due to anxiety about getting on with the next things in my day

3 x (100 free, 100 stroke drill-swim), back, breast, fly

100 whip kick with board

100 dolphin kick with board

16 x 50 drill-swim (4 each of finger-drag, catch-up, thumbs-and-salute, 6-3-6)

100 IM drill

100 IM swim

50 misc. kick (experimental!)

50 back

1900 yards total

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday run

It is not a word I use, but it was a JOLLY GOOD RUN...

Training partner C. is back from England! Hmmmm, he is not sure whether he's going to pull it off, but he's training for a sub-3:30 marathon, so he is an ideal running partner for a once-a-week tempo run, even aside from his virtues as a conversationalist!

I think we will make this a regular Tuesday morning feature - I ran at my own pace over to the 86th St. intersection on the park loop, we met up there and ran the 4.5 or so miles up to 110th St. together, then I peeled off home and he ran the rest of the loop back down to 86th. It gives me a nice 8-miler with a hard-effort 40- or 45-minute stretch in the middle, and it can be C.'s easy day!

(I have not really been doing ANY harder-effort runs, so this is IDEAL!)

8 miles, avg HR 159, max HR 174 (I was definitely in the 160s and low 170s for most of the loop - it felt pretty great!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

A brief detour

from class prep to say - TODAY IS AN EXCITING DAY! - I pulled the trigger...

... I am now officially registered for Ironman Wisconsin 2010!

I have butterflies in my stomach, but in a good way...

A shout-out, too, to two of my favorite tri-bloggers, Jenny and Mike Wimmer. They made a bold stab at IM Wisconsin yesterday - I was checking anxiously online all day and watching them make various cut-offs! - after having overcome really major obstacles to make it to the start line in the first place. They lost a huge amount of weight, and Mike in particular fought a fear of open water that made swimming a real ordeal for him. In the end, they didn't make the final race cut-off, although they were able to finish the course and received medals. I am hoping that they will be back to race again next year, and that I will get the chance to meet them in person - it has been inspiring and heartening to follow their training online, and though there's no doubt it's a great disappointment not to get the official finish, I think it is clear that they have triumphed in significant ways nonetheless!

Monday swim

Just a quick one - there was irk in the women's locker room as nobody remembered to come and open the door to let us in, there was irk in the lane because it was too crowded to have the luxury of splitting lanes and the pacing was off for circle swim! However I had a very enjoyable though short one. I CAN DO FLIP TURNS NOW!

200-150-100-50-50-100-150-200 free

100 fly drill (final length full stroke)

100 back

100 breast

2 x (3 x 50 drill-swim of each stroke in IM order)

1600 yards total

Sunday, September 13, 2009

TOB/"A long road to ride"


The spin bike is IN THE HOUSE, and all is right again in the triaspirational world...

Spinervals Tough Love - 3 hours!

avg HR 121,* max HR 144

*(seems a bit low, but I prefer to err on side of still having smooth cadence and no excessive pressure on the knees...)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bicycle-related postscript

I have this non-training-type bicycle I bought in the first initial wave of horror at the thin-tiredness and sensitivity of a road bike (having not owned or, basically, really, RIDDEN a bike other than perhaps a handful of times since my banana-seated Schwinn dirt bike age 6-7!), and I am thinking it would be well worth building cycling comfort by actually USING it (I have a good lock, too - the lock honestly cost almost as much as the bike!). So I rode downtown to my friend N.'s daughter's 2nd birthday party, and rode home again afterwards - it is the same route I ran earlier, along the west side path - normally I would not log it, it is sort of like logging a brisk walk - but in this case, so that my week's Buckeye Outdoors log is not UTTERLY NAKED of the little bike symbol, it will be allowable for morale to log it as 14 - which, honestly, it is, only in 2 halves!

I am also toying with the idea (is it the voice of mental insanity, or is actually good sense?) of getting a membership at Chelsea Piers. Hmmm, hard to know with these things - I'm going to sleep on it for a couple days and decide. Weigh in below if you have an opinion!

It is a lovely gym. I've been to L.'s boot camp class with her a few times now and it is GREAT. Luxurious locker rooms! A pool, one in which as far as I can tell you would much more often end up splitting a lane than doing circle swim and which is open (again, as far as I can tell) pretty much ALL THE TIME. (It is billed here as New York's most amazing indoor swimming pool, and I don't know that that's an exaggeration, though in my dim memory the one in the rooftop gym at Worldwide Plaza is very nice too...)

There are lots of classes, including spinning and abs stuff...

(It is about 5 miles downtown from where I live, inconveniently slow on subway but only 20 mins on my bike along the park path, with a lot of racks for locking bikes in a semi-secure area.)

The advantages concern the two things that don't work for me about the Columbia gym. Both of which, come to think of it, have to do with CROWDING.

The Dodge Fitness Center was built in the 1970s when Columbia was a much smaller college, men only, and before there was a culture of recreational working out! It is beyond inadequate to school-year needs - there is a strict 30-minute on any cardio machine use (i.e. TOTAL, for day, not per machine), and if one gets there at a time like 5:15pm there might literally not be a single machine open. The weight room is horribly crowded with buff 20-year-old young men, and the 2 other floors of fitness equipment are also intolerably crowded much of the time (it is built vertically, on three floors underground, in bunker-like fashion - very poor ventilation!).

The pool is only open for lane swim 12-2 and 7-9:30, and all of those hours (except for the last forty minutes in the evening, when it's usually down to only 4-5 people per lane, 3 if you're lucky) are packed.

And the classes are done more in a college-type style of scheduling: rather than being year-round and drop-in, as most gyms do these days, there are 2 ten-week "semesters" and a summer session, so that you might sign up, say, for Iyengar Yoga MW8-9am for that ten-week session. If I have a work conflict, I can't do a makeup class at another time, and also, frustratingly, there are no regular classes (they have been offering a limited repertoire of classes, but never the ones I want!) during the weeks BETWEEN semesters when I actually have time to go to them! And you pay for each class - the basic CU membership sounds like a great deal, I pay something like $300 for the year, but once you add in the lane swim and class costs it stops being so great, especially once you consider how it adds up - $140 for a semester of morning swimming, $48 for 10 sessions of yoga - the prices are all very reasonable in themselves, especially if you can go to all of them (which I never can), but the cumulative cost is not negligible.

The other thing I really see is that though a gym membership with a pool would be a luxury, given my ready and convenient access to Columbia's pool, other TNYA options and my true love for swimming (which means I will find some way to do it regardless), I really do need to figure out a better solution for core and strength training. It's too crowded to be pleasant at the Columbia gym, and the class structure there clearly doesn't work for me - I've signed up a couple times now for Body Sculpt-type classes and they just don't suit me. The style of what's offered at a regular non-college gym is more to my taste (there is just something depressing about the spaces the Columbia classes are offered in, perhaps that's the long and short of it!), but the flexibility of drop-in is also very good.

Whether or not I get the Chelsea Piers membership, in other words, I need to find a better solution to the problem of my lack of motivation to do 2x/week strength training - I believe that it is essential for body composition and that it much more directly contributes to healthy eating than endurance training does (the latter just gives me a craving for cake, whereas the former makes grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli seem delicious and infinitely desirable)...

There's only one huge downside to this notion, of course - COST! I can afford it, I guess, but is it a good use of my triathlon dollars? Hmmm, I hate descending to the sordid realities, now I feel like an obnoxious rich person too - but we are talking something like $158/month, with a thing where you can pay $35 and "freeze" your membership for a month (30 days, not necessarily on an actual calendar month) if you are traveling. If I went twice a week, with great faithfulness and enjoyment, that comes to $20/visit, which strikes me as altogether reasonable when compared to the cost of, say, a one-class pass to a boot camp at Bodystrength Fitness (another option). Let's say $1600/year, with the freeze months.


Saturday long run

It was excellent, too - I was quite right not to do it yesterday, I slept for a long time last night and was much more in the right mental and physical zone to do it this morning.

I am mindful recently of some good advice that Brent has been giving me about fueling systems, fat oxidation and longer-term endurance development (here is an excellent post on the topic by the always excellent Alan Couzens) - I am not, sad to say, willing to cut sugar, but I am very willing to embrace the benefits of doing really easy 2+hour aerobic efforts on an empty stomach.

(Actually it is much more convenient for me, as a late riser, not to worry about having to get up a couple hours pre-run in order to have breakfast and digest it!)

I figured that I would get a gatorade from the vending machine at Chelsea Piers on the way back if I needed it (this is the 9-mile mark), but in fact I was absolutely fine, no sign of any bonk, in fact though I was hungry by the end I also felt that I could have run for another hour without calories if I needed to...

So anyway it was a TRULY lovely run - I felt the meditative benefits of easy distance running - and it truly was easy, not "easy," the adjective I use for many uncomfortable warm and terribly slow treadmill efforts!

My run the other day in Central Park, enjoyable as it was, reminded me that at my current stage of development it is very difficult to control heartrate and keep it suitable low on a hilly course for a long run, so I think that for this training season I will mostly do my long runs by myself (i.e. not with faster training partners who egg me on to go too fast!) and on the flat course along the west side.

I was keeping an open mind today about whether I'd do 12 or 14, but I felt very good as I reached Houston St. and decided I really should go all the way down to Chambers for the turnaround.

Gosh, it was an enjoyable run (slightly rainy, overcast, mid-60s, damp but with a bit of a breeze)...

c. 14 miles, c. 2:28, avg HR 145 (it is roughly 10:30 pace, I suppose - I walked a couple hills to keep HR down/rehydrate, and had a couple other water-drinking walks - I just keep the clock running for those)

NB I am not doing an actual marathon training plan this time round. This sounds crazy, but I pulled my hamstring last fall at exactly this point in the year precisely due to inflexible workaholic tendency to drive too hard when discretion says to back off. I love having a training schedule, but I do not think I always show good judgment about when it would be better to skip something than to hew to the schedule, and in particular there is always that tendency to try to "make up" what was missed instead of just moving on from it.

The factors:

I have this marathon swim in two weeks and a half-iron race in three weeks

I have the final version of my book manuscript due Sept. 28

I haven't settled in to my fall-semester schedule yet, which means that my weekly exercise schedule is temporarily in flux too

So I did something which seems to me very sensible - I wrote in the long run distances in my appointment book, because there's not a lot of "give" on those, and decided that the rest of the running week would just have to take care of itself. As soon as I write in days and time, I get obsessive about not missing them, and this often leads to poor judgment.

(I will make a more formal schedule once I'm done with the half-iron race and the book!)

So the long runs are as follows:

9/12 14
9/20 16
9/26 14 (Little Red Lighthouse weekend)
10/4 13.1 (Bassman half-iron)
10/10 14
10/17 16
10/25 18
10/31 14
11/8 20
11/15 12
11/22 10
11/28 RACE

It is not a lot of long ones, but the schedule is somewhat compressed because of these couple upcoming events. I am going to keep 1 3-hour and 2 1.5-2-hr. bikes on the schedule after the triathlon is done with, plus of course a lot of swimming, and really that is going to have to do it for me...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday evening swim

Well, it is a conundrum - I know that training hours spent swimming are significantly less directly relevant to triathlon than the biking and running hours, especially the former - but swimming is so beneficial for my mental and physical health, I feel I must keep on doing more of it than is perhaps strictly speaking required!

It was a very good one, my head feels sort of back to normal for the first time in days...

JB is a genius of swimming teaching, because even though my turns still have much room for improvement, I properly understand how to do 'em now! It is incredibly gratifying, it makes me so much faster - I think it will be the solution to the problem I have at TNYA workouts where I can't really descend all the way from 1:55 to 1:40!

(To my inner hilarity, I stopped after the 1000 freestyle and somehow ended up giving a mini-lesson on turns to another fellow in the lane who was, he confessed, striving to work on the flip turn!)

freestyle ladder with FLIP TURNS: 50-100-150-200-200-150-100-50

100 free, 2 x 100 fly as right arm, left arm, 3-3-3, full stroke, 100 back, 100 breast

50 fly, 50 fly-back, 50 back, 50 back-breast, 50 breast

1750 yards total

I haven't decided for sure about the morning lane swim for the semester as a whole, but there's a 2-week "bridge" option for phys ed intersession (i.e. just Mon.-Thurs. next week and the week after - regular voluntary phys ed classes start at the end of the month) that I think will be so beneficial to mental health that I must just do it, even if it is not sensible triathlon-wise! I have work-related conflicts for both Tues. and Thurs. evening this coming week that will prevent me from going to either of those TNYA workouts, and I have the Little Red Lighthouse swim on the 26th - more to the point, though there is TONS of work I need to squeeze in somewhere and though I need to do serious bike and run hours too, I just think that the mental health benefits of starting my day with a swim are more immediately apropos!

[ED. Because when I find myself coveting a spot in a long-vanished mental asylum, it is partly because of the Pavlovian force of the words "swimming pool"!]


I was shopping online like a MADWOMAN last week, mostly buying MORE OF THINGS I HAVE ALREADY (like, 2 pairs of running shoes identical to ones I own already, 1 pair of identical sandals to replace truly defunct ones, iPod Touch to replace 2005 iPod I busted in Grand Cayman, new docking station/speakers to replace old ones that [only realized when I tried it] don't work with iPod Touch), but the most exciting thing I bought was the Spinervals Hardcore 100!


Well, it has been a triaspirationally disastrous week, which always leaves me feeling very glum...

I had to be at home from 11 to 4 today to accept delivery of the refurbished LeMond Revmaster that I purchased last week - 4 o'clock rolled round, no sign of it - but the lady at the delivery company said the driver was just running late because of the rain. Indeed he finally turned up around 5:30 with a somewhat alarming bundle of packages - they had an air of incoherence and randomness that was more reminiscent of something you might tuck into the trunk of a car than actually ship cross-country!

The frame had a token modesty veil of cardboard draped around it, but basically just came into the apartment looking like this:

Moments later, it was an orgy of brown paper:

Spot the glowing orbs:

I believe it is properly assembled, although before I actually tip it up on its wheels and roll it anywhere I should obtain what a set of instructions I dug up online calls "the 5mm hex key and the wrench tool" (not included!) and tighten the bolts that fix the frame to the cross arms. However, it is quite stable in the stationary position...

It was by that point too late (nutritionally if not hour-wise - too many hours from lunch!) for me to embark on the long run I'd hoped for, and in fact I'm still definitely not feeling 100%, so I reluctantly listened to the voice of common sense. I will swim this evening, and with luck it won't be too crowded; I'll run tomorrow morning; and now that I have this piece of equipment, the odds are much better that I will actually put in a suitable number of hours on the bike over the next couple weeks...

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Ugh, it is too much information, but after a long and largely super-enjoyable day yesterday (great class, great dinner, great concert, great afterparty) I got home around 1am and found the cumulative weariness thoroughly catching up with me - I do not know if it was something I ate, a minor virus or just general tiredness, but rather than dropping off to sleep I felt increasingly sick to my stomach and ended up violently ill around 3:30am!

I am reluctantly but sensibly taking the day off from exercise. Canceled run with training partner C., who is back from England and who I haven't seen since May; will hope to reschedule tomorrow morning's swim lesson for next week, when I will get more out of it. I still feel quite poorly, but I think it is due to lack of sleep more than anything else, I am not actively nauseous, so I will hope to have a useful day of tidying up and organizing work and making a PLAN to survive the next four weeks!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I got nothin'!

Hmmm, it is clear even to me how fishy it is that I often seem to have time for a swim and no time for a bike ride - but in the end I did not even get a swim in. I stood at the edge of the pool in my bathing suit and contemplated the Hieronymous-Bosch-like overcrowded hot soupy caldron of seething humanity that was Uris Pool - my heart failed me - I FLED! My main goal was to practice flip turning, and as there were people clinging to BOTH ends of BOTH of the medium lanes I deemed it more likely to lead to nervous breakdown than to improvement...

No window for anything later - I will just have to try and get back on track tomorrow. It is irresponsible, work-wise, but it might be that tomorrow I will run, bike and swim (in that order!)...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday gym

Second-to-last session with trainer P. Very good, especially since I felt terrible beforehand - but I must rush, I need to eat a snack and shower and get out of the house for a play with a 7:15pm curtain time!

Tuesday run

8 miles only, but I enjoyed 'em - I snoozed my alarm for a million minutes and did not have time to do a longer one. But actually I think an 80-90 minute run will be on the regular Tuesday schedule this semester, so it might be good that I have "saved" my long one for the weekend!

HR seemed rather high - my sleep has been truly disastrous over the last week, also I haven't been running on hills - I forgot how hard it is to keep HR down on the park loop, and how slow one has to run to do so! Avg HR 154, max HR 167.

Dismayed at how little I've biked since I've been home. In retrospect I should have put my bike in the trainer, but I am reluctant to do so because I know that once it's in, I won't take it back out! Almost the first thing I did last week was find a refurbished spin bike like the one Brent has and order it online - it shipped on Thursday, so it should be here soon. I really like doing Spinervals inside, it is more relaxing to me than going for a real bike ride, so once that comes I should be able to do 2/week inside (especially longer ones) and 2/week outside...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Glorious midday swim

I do not usually swim during the 12-2 weekday lane swim slot, partly because it's rarely convenient and partly because it's usually intolerably crowded - but I figured that the holiday would mitigate crowding, and it was true. Four in the lane, but nobody was wayward, so it was fine.


I was basking in the glow of the knowledge that Friday's flip turn lesson has helped me TURN THE CORNER. One of the drills JB had me to involved turning with a pair of kickboards, one under each hand, so as to really get the feel of what happens when you press down with your hands on the water - I think I did not understand this at all before. Other stuff is better now too, but this is the thing that has made a huge difference to my sense of control.

Anyway, I did a longish freestyle ladder as warmup so as to really practice flip turns - much room for improvement still, of course, but it is amazing how much better they feel on the whole than they did a week ago.


2 x (3 x 100) (1) right-arm fly, left-arm fly, 3-3-3, fly swim (2) breast (3) back-free by 25 (flags only up at one end, and enough people in the lane that one is better off keeping an eye out)

1600 yards total

I am in a funny state of mind, gearing up for school starting tomorrow and my first lecture on Wednesday. As of next week I will be more in the teaching groove, but the first meeting of a new lecture class is more like a high-priority race or the first night of a play - gotta gear up for it! I now have the editorial notes on my novel, and the final revision is due on Monday the 28th (I am hoping to finish it before that weekend, though); but I cannot concentrate on that till I have written and delivered Wednesday's lecture!

I am going to do a long run later and ride tomorrow morning...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday run

It was a glorious one - everything about it felt right to the same degree as everything last Tuesday felt off. I should pay more attention to how I feel...

At some point during the night I (sensibly) decided to turn off the alarm I'd set for 6:30 and instead sleep as long as I needed to. By the time I woke up, it was 9:30, so I didn't have time for either a two-hour bike-run brick or a two-hour run (I need to be out of here by noon to get the train to Philadelphia to see my BRAND NEW NIECE!). I decided just to do six miles at a comfortable pace, and try and get back on track tomorrow.

It is the most gorgeous day - sunny, crisp and clear, mid-60s - my heart thrills to the more Antarctic end of the spectrum, really my favorite runs are in blustering windy adventurous weather, but this is pretty much perfect running weather by more CONVENTIONAL standards. I felt very strong and fit, though there is quite a bit of work to be done in terms of speed.

6 miles (avg HR 152, max 163)

I think I'll do a 2+ hour ride tomorrow morning earlyish in Central Park, some kind of swim in the evening (amazingly the pool is open over the holiday weekend) and then a 2-hour run on Tuesday morning...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Day off

Hmmm, I no longer have malaise, but I do have a headache from extreme sleeplessness last night! I could not shake the image of one of those sleep-lab cameras that films poor sleepers from the ceiling in sort of infrared or black-and-white security-cameraish tones - I was absurdly tossing and turning all night, I just couldn't settle down.

I have written off the notion of running this evening - I am too hot and headachey, I will see how I feel in the morning. I should be able to do at least six miles, and will hope for 12, but if I don't do a long one in the next couple days I should probably go back down to 8 or 10 as "long" rather than assuming it is OK to stick with 12 as a starting point (it is two weeks now since I did 12 on the treadmill, and I only ran once this week)...

Friday, September 4, 2009

"Perky Jerky"

Quite funny NYT swimming pool article.

Governors Island swim

Most surreal and magical moment: bobbing around behind the imaginary line created by the starting buoys and contemplating the panoramic glory of the lower Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn as well as the adjacent peculiarities of Governors Island itself! There is nothing like seeing Manhattan from the water - when one's eyes are literally at the level of the water, I mean!

Most exciting moment: battling HUGE swells along the first part of the shoreline! It was an adventure...

Most self-doubting moment: wondering beforehand why I had given over my whole afternoon to this crazy race where I hardly knew anybody when I might have been better off with a quiet afternoon at home (I bought an iPod Touch the other day, to replace the non-fixable water-drenched iPod from 2005, and I have not even had time to take it out of the box!)

Most enjoyable moment: every single bit of the swim! Beautiful sunny clear day in mid-70s, water temperature at 75 - the perfectly refreshing temperature of my dreams. This was a lovely swim - the really challenging part is over about a quarter of the way in, and in contrast the next bit seems as SMOOTH AS GLASS, to an almost uncanny degree - it is certainly a race of contrasts!

Most worthwhile moment: conversing on the ferry back to Manhattan with a wonderful gentleman who volunteers with the Achilles club helping blind runners and triathletes compete - he swam, biked (on a tandem!) and ran the NYC triathlon this year with a blind competitor, and is running the Chicago marathon ditto...

2 miles, time c. 1:13 - tidal assist on a few short bits, but INSANE CHOP on some other bits, so I am thinking it cancels out and it is probably not a bad estimate of where I would be for a straight 2-mile swim in lake-type conditions...

Friday swim lesson/gym

Regular readers will perhaps be relieved to hear that I feel INCOMPARABLY better & more characteristically ebullient this morning...

I cannot say I SLEPT for 10 hrs, since it seemed to me that I was awake for quite a few of them, but I was in bed from 9pm to 7am, so that was very beneficial. I used to get canker sores very regularly in my late teens and early 20s, have mostly grown out of it now I think, but I remember from those days that while in general rest is a remedy for all sorts of ailments, for a canker sore in particular the ONLY thing to do is to have a really long night of bed rest, with no talking or eating or drinking or anything mouth-related!

(In fact the reason I always used to have them hanging around for weeks was because I would only sleep for 4-5 hours, and it is not long enough to rest the mouth and let it get better!)

So I can still feel it a tiny bit this morning, but it is really amazingly better - yesterday it was quite painful to swallow, today I would not really know that anything was wrong unless I paid particular attention to that region of the mouth. I will make sure to spend a long time in bed again tonight, sleeping or no...

LESSON OF UTTER GENIUS from Jim B this morning. We worked exclusively on flip turns, and I have an amazingly better grasp of the basic idea now - first half of the turn now significantly more functional, we'll do some more work on the push-off next week at our final lesson. Hmmm, I really love swimming, that was a very enjoyable hour of learning.

Then I had a good workout with trainer P. - I have two more appointments left with her, too, so that will just about tide me over until the fall voluntary phys. ed. classes start.

It is a most beautiful day here today, 70s and sunny - the perfect day for a two-mile swim round Governors Island!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


this is one of those days when it would be better if I did not have a blog! OR internet access...



Hypochondriacal postscript - TMI

I was musing earlier about whether this is sore throat about one which would consult DOCTOR or DENTIST, and in fact cursory examination in mirror suggests to me that what I really have is a small but painful canker sore sort of at the top back roof of my mouth, like right next to where the top wisdom teeth come in - it is noticeably red and sore-looking in that area - the swollen gland in the neck on that side is perhaps a separate phenomenon, or perhaps just a symptom of regional stress/infection?


Minor but uncomfortable, that's for sure...

Thursday expedition

It was a delightful one, too, though I fear that I have plummeted back into seasonal malaise! Ugh, I don't know what's wrong with me - I feel quite under the weather, though more mentally than physically (but my knee is not quite right, and I've decided not to run this evening, just to be on the safe side - and I have a weird swollen gland and a sore patch high up on my throat, not a cold or an illness of the conventional kind but uncomfortable enough that I will make a doctor's appointment next week if it has not gone away by the end of the weekend - in fact I am going to take some aspirin and count the hours until unconsciousness is possible!).


It was Triathlete L.'s idea - she picked me up in her car, with bike and a HUGE bag of stuff, and we drove to Harriman State Park for a lake swim and hilly bike ride.

Alas, we were SOMEWHAT thwarted, because at Lake Welch Beach it turned out that the only available area for swimming was TINY - the lifeguard claimed it was 25 yards, but I am fairly sure it was a bit shorter than that! ARGHHHH! We could not help but gaze at the lovely expanse of the lake and regret our law-abidingness...

But our more essential purpose was for L. to try on the wetsuit she'd bought online and see if it would do, and I wanted to make sure that I could still get into mine (which I have not worn since last summer), so at any rate we got the job done, even if it was honestly such a short swim that it scarcely deserves to be logged...


Then we did one loop of the hilly bike course. It is BEAUTIFUL out there, I think we saw about 2 cars and 1 other bike the whole time we were out there - super-hilly - and it was a gorgeous day. I am contemplating the possibility of doing the Harriman half-iron race in May, only it is 4 x that whole loop, and I am not sure I will really be enthused for such a very hilly race! 15 miles, anyway, and a good solid workout.

In other news - I have a new niece - i.e. in the WORLD as opposed to in the belly - as of yesterday evening!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


... I'm all togged out to go out for a run - but I am overwhelmed with the feeling that I should take today off from exercise and sink the 4 or so hours that I have left today before I need to head out later in getting some WORK done. One of my knees has been a bit wonky, it was definitely playing up yesterday - I hate to miss the run, but I think that a solid block of real work is more likely to set my week back on track than some hours of triathlon training - will regroup tomorrow and see how things look....

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday swim practice

First TNYA practice for me in many a month, and very nice it was too to see familiar faces, and feel welcomed back!

Hmmmm, let me see, what did we do?

Curtailed warmup: 150 free, 150 IM no back (flags only at one end, and I wasn't sure how much time I'd have to do the whole warmup anyway - these were both in theory 200s), 50 free, 50 back

4 x 75 free as kick, finger-drag, swim (last person touches, first person goes)

4 x 75 kick-drill-swim (IM order, last person touches)

6 x 100 free descending: first two on 1:50, next two on 1:45, fifth on 1:40, one minute rest and sixth all out (I note that though I cannot make the 1:40, I was quite solid on the first four - I was surprised... - I need to get my top speeds a bit faster, I should be able to swim a 100 in 1:35 if I am rested and swimming all out, whereas actually I do not seem to get down below about 1:44 - but I am swimming the same time on #5 and #6, which speaks better to my endurance than to my speed skills!)

4 x 100 IM descending: now, these intervals I really cannot make, though there is no shame in that! Descending first three in theory 2:00, 1:55, 1:45, then a minute rest and the last one all out with goal of meeting or beating last time. On the final one I felt a calf cramp coming on as I turned from fly to back, so I flipped over onto my stomach and took it home in easy freestyle instead, so that was only 350 rather than 400. I cannot now remember my fastest time, but really it is more like 1:48 than anything faster...

It was an enjoyable swim, in any case, and afterwards we had dinner as a mournful farewell for lanemate J., who is going back to Singapore to become the principal of the school he attended as a Young Person!

1950 yards total

(It is my sudden insight that I will not sign up for that morning lane swim this fall, the M-Thurs. 8:30-9:30am one - it's not unreasonably priced, about $130 for 12 weeks that spare me the evilly crowded evening lane swim - but now that the Tuesday-Thursday evening workouts are back, I should just do those instead - I can swim 3 TNYA workouts each week at Columbia when schedule permits, or 2 workouts and 1-2 shorter later evening lane swims when it is not so evilly crowded - and honestly, though I would swim 5 times a week by preference, and though I like swimming in the morning and running in the evening [biking happens most conveniently at midday!], the imperatives of triathlon training are such that I should probably limit swims to 3/week at least until my October half-ironman is over, and probably until after my late November marathon. I do now understand how and why cycling is in many respects better - or, well, not BETTER so much as more directly applicable - cross-training for running than swimming is - and in any case biking is where I most need to build strength for FUTURE IRONMAN PLANS...)

(I am slightly having a week where mental insanity is making me crazy!)

The wrong blog!

I accidentally posted this one to my OTHER blog!

Herewith, in the appropriate place, the report on my run this afternoon:

4 miles only - I turned around at the Boat Basin instead of going all the way to 59th St. for 6.

It is one of those days when even running cannot stop me from feeling GRUMPY and FRAZZLED!

I will make another stab at it tomorrow morning, just do 6 or 8 very easy and then a longer one on Saturday morning.

(Nothing major, all just minor annoyances - like when I finally surfaced out of grumpy sleep, it was to realize that the beeping was not my alarm but rather the expiration of the battery in the carbon monoxide monitor - and just now I did a preliminary tearing-apart of the apartment trying to find my heart-rate monitor, only I think I have left it in Cayman - if I did, I will get a new one - but it is expensive enough to replace that I have to ABSOLUTELY TEAR THIS PLACE APART first to make sure it is not here somewhere!)


[ED. Brent's comment on the Light Reading version: "Clearly frazzled - this ought to be a Triaspirational post! Your heart rate monitor transmitter is indeed here on GCM." Ah, good, no tearing-to-pieces in my immediate future....]