Monday, May 31, 2010

The Monday routine

1hr. strength training

Week 0

It is going to be my week of heat acclimation and schedule-building, next week will be proper Week 1 - I have just been sketching out a plan...

I had a lovely swim this morning. A straight hour-long swim, easy effort, broken up as follows (no rest, other than a few seconds after the third and fourth bits to check how much time I had left):

500 as 100 free, 4 x 100 as 25 stroke, 75 free in IM order (fly drill)
500 as freestyle drill-swim by 25 (by 100s: catch-up, thumbs-and-salute, 6-3-6, finger-drag, catch-up)
500 as 4 x 100 free, 25 back
500 as 4 x (25 fly, 25 breast, 75 free)
500 free

Longtime readers may recall that in Cayman my best bet for swimming in a 'real' i.e. non-kidney-bean-shaped pool is the beautiful 25-meter pool at Camana Bay. There is an arrangement whereby triathletes can swim - from 6-7am MWF! This is EARLY, but there is no way around it - it is well worth it - and then I think that means I will run outside at 6am on Tuesday and Thursday before it gets too hot.

So I have a coach! I'll be working out details myself, really I am pretty well suited to being a self-coached athlete (especially with advice from Wendy and Brent), but I had a distinctly inspiring meeting on Tuesday with Jim Bolster, who is going to help me out this summer - I'll email him every week to report on progress, and will meet with him again in July when I'm in New York. This is going to be good...

Thoughts re: Ironman swim training:

Notionally four swims a week, 3 at Camana Bay and one in the sea, but skip the fourth (either the Friday early one or the sea swim) as needed.

(I know this is a lot, but I am trying to think smart about what is suited to the climate and my circumstances here!)

Monday is an active recovery day on which I will swim easy for an hour and lift weights. The swim should be mostly freestyle, but mixed up with some other stuff for mental variety (I really enjoy it more when I am swimming a 'pattern,' not to mention it is far easier to keep track of laps).

Wednesday: intervals, something like 15 x 100 on 2:30, building up to 30 as the weeks progress (mixing it up, sometimes more rest and really hard effort and sometimes more like race pace with little rest - my race pace is going to be slow, so I actually don't think I'll be doing a lot of intervals slower than that pace).

(I note that really if I only have an hour, it will be impossible to reach 30! So this is perhaps more like start at 10 and build to 20 or 25, depending on whether I have a separate warmup.)

Friday: please myself (which means some stroke and IM stuff because it's more varied). If it's the fourth swim of the week, perhaps something like 15 x 100 concentrating on stroke count and trying to hold 15 per length (well, it is a meter pool, so it would probably be 18 - I never have a very low stroke count, it is something well worth working on!). I think sets like 10 x 200 are notionally good but in practice too boring to be worth my while - the time could be better or at least more enjoyably used swimming something else that I will find more mentally stimulating!

Mix up the open-water swimming to keep mental focus: do things like 15 minutes warm-up, then 15 minutes of counting strokes - or games like swimming faster on the 'back' leg than the 'out' (though times can be quite uneven because of currents, so perhaps effort is a better way of thinking of it). 500 strokes fast, 500 strokes easy: that sort of thing. Practice sighting. In short, make sure I have some kind of self-assigned task for the long swim so that I am not just mindlessly out there. All this is good.

It was interesting: the thing we spent by far the most time talking about was the need to stay mentally fresh. JB says top priority is to keep paying attention to how you're feeling and try and avert boredom/tedium/negative thoughts in whatever ways possible. Obviously you can't really cut corners on the long run/long ride pairing: but he suggested for instance thinking about training blocks of 5 hours where you might really mix things up, like ride indoors for 90 minutes, 'run' in the ocean or along the beach (since it really is too hot to run properly in middle of the day) for 30 minutes, swim for 30 minutes, then repeat the whole cycle. I think this is a really good idea! The Vibram five-fingered shoes are going to be called into action...

I'll do my long run on Saturday, my long ride on Sunday. Would prefer to run outside if possible, but it will mean starting very early indeed, especially once I'm up over 2.5hrs. or so (like, 5am at latest, I think), so I am not sure about that. Lift on Monday and Thursday. Days for double workouts (excluding strength training): Tuesday as run + indoor bike; Wednesday as swim + long indoor bike in afternoon; Friday as swim + indoor bike + 30 mins. run. Not sure where the long swim would fit in, but perhaps think of it as something for Sunday afternoon if I feel that I have survived the 2 higher-priority long weekend workouts?

I'm also going to look into yoga for Tuesday and Thursday evenings - there is a class from 8-9:15pm that sounds as though it might be a good way to end the day. I should try some of the different classes there, though; I haven't been yet and in my experience one ends up with a fairly strong preference for one style of teaching/yoga over another, so I shouldn't decide strictly based on scheduling...

And now - I might have to take a nap!

2500 meters

Sunday, May 30, 2010

No Spinervals today

An attempt to get started has left me utterly emotionally wiped! Can't seem to get tension adjusted properly on stationary bike - really I should just try again tomorrow, I am instead going to take an unhelpful but unavoidable nap!

Weekend update

It is more an after-the-fact generalization than a true rule - but the rule round here is that I can blog when I am either exuberant (preferable) or frenetic (fall-back option), which between the two is about 95% of the time. (Or 98% A high number, anyway.) The other 5% of the time I am feeling down and prefer not to spill my negative feelings all over the internet, so there is no blogging!

I have been in low spirits this week - I had a very tough day on Monday - and the fallout from the emergency trip to Philadelphia (I was lucky that my mom assessed the situation so perceptively and called me so early, as I was able to have a good hour with the dear little creature before he entered the final stretch) meant that I had to stay up all night on Wednesday packing and getting my apartment ready to hand over to my subletters. It is a big job, not the packing per se so much as the closet-emptying and general weeding that one wants to do under such circumstances.

I was pretty amazed that I made it successfully to Cayman with all of my luggage, as my Facebook status update on Thursday afternoon proclaimed; the task seemed of a magnitude that was truly almost beyond me, especially given the complete lack of sleep. (I periodically thought - like at 2:45am as I left my apartment to take computer and library books to the office, with eye on clock for 5:45am car service pickup for airport - this is good Ironman practice!)

I was traveling with vastly more luggage than usual - the bike and triathlon equipment in a large soft bike case (maybe 40-45 pounds all told?), a huge duffel bag packed full of six months' worth of clothes and books and papers (putting in my toiletries bag at the last minute toppled it over the crucial 70-pound dividing line, but I was able to take out that bag and put it in the bike bag instead and only had to pay $50 overweight luggage fee, which seems to me very reasonable - no additional charge for the bike bag!), a small duffel bag with c. 40 pounds of books. Those three were checked, and I also had my large handbag and a tote bag and a backpack which I took on the plane (had intended to pack the empty backpack in luggage, but at last minute realized I needed it for actually putting things in - this meant I sort of had one more item than I had mentally conceptualized, which I think was where part of the problem arose).

It was only on Friday afternoon, when I embarked on unpacking, that I had the truly horrible realization - a bag was missing, I had retrieved the bike bag and the large duffel bag but due to combination of sleeplessness and anxiety about first-time task of paying duty on the bike, I must just have not remembered that I had a third bag checked!!!

I checked with Brent at the office, and it wasn't in the car; I made about 15 phone calls trying to get through the people at the airport, but couldn't find anyone picking up; several agonizing hours later, I knocked on the metal door at the back of the arrival hall, was happily let in by a customs officer who listened to my description of my plight with a straight face and then escorted me to the baggage storage area, where the first sight that greeted me was my missing bag...

(Her comment, as she checked its contents: "You read a lot!")

In other words, I'm sort of having one of those weeks...

I did a short sea swim on Friday before lunch, and a treadmill run yesterday, but it was one of those ones that leaves you in a state of such profound negativity that there is truly no reason to document it.

(Nothing truly calamitous, and on the bright side, I had a nice walk over to the gym beforehand, spotting two brilliantly green teenage iguanas and an adorable family of hen and 6 chicks so small you could imagine pressing them back into the eggs they came from, the whole family posing a conundrum for a young couple in an SUV whose air-conditioning condensation had attracted the birds beneath the chassis of the car, the pool of water so deeply attractive that they would not get out of the way for the vehicle to safely leave! I wasn't wedded to a particular mileage total for the run was a whole, but I had a hard minimum of 6 treadmill miles, and had hoped to run more like 90 minutes, but almost the first thing that happened was that the refurbished iPod nano that I recently acquired specifically for treadmill running went dead. The second thing was that I knocked the safety plug out, which left me with a restarted count on the treadmill and the determinedly optimistic view that if I used the new time, I should be able to get up to 75 minutes and stop when the numbers got to 60. After about forty further minutes of absolute painful sweaty drudgery and mental negativity, though, I knocked the plug out again. At that point I was about .5 miles short of the 6 I had initially envisaged as a minimum, so I grimly restarted the treadmill and finished it out on distance. Not a terrible workout, I suppose - if you add the 30 minutes of walking, it is 90 minutes zone 1/2 + time on feet - but I had insufficiently BodyGlided for sweaty treadmill running, which led to very painful chafing, and felt sufficiently glum when I got back to the condo that I simply logged the run on the Buckeye Outdoors site and refrained from having the INSANE BLOG OF NEGATIVITY that would have inevitably been produced at that point!)

But this morning my mood has been completely turned around, mostly by Brent's extreme thoughtfulness and generosity as a cycling host! Yesterday morning we dropped the bike off for reassembly at "Uncle Bill's Home Improvement Centre, and it should be ready by Tuesday. So as I was bike-less, we took a drive out to the East End for Brent to show me the route for reasons of geographic and cycle-specific orientation.

And it was absolutely lovely! It is a beautiful drive in any case, but also he has thought it out very well and generously from a cycling point of view - he'll be doing quite a bit of riding with me this summer, but isn't training for an Ironman himself, so I will have company sometimes but not always.

The main route goes for about 15 miles through more trafficky bit of island (along the South Sound) to where the good loop starts. That is then a 20-mile loop, with a possible ten-mile extension out to Rum Point. Now I know the route. And next weekend he'll ride out with me just to make sure I'm good to go, then part ways and come and meet me later with the SUV so I don't need to ride the trafficky last bit home at the end of a long hot ride.

(I'll do this as a weekly ride Sunday early morning; if I leave at 6am there is very little traffic on the roads and the heat hasn't yet become overwhelming. My other riding during the week will be indoors, which makes more sense from a safety and logistics point of view and will let me do some hill simulation and interval training. With air-conditioning!)

After that initial accompanied trial ride, I will do the first leg of riding on my own, and then he'll meet up with me and do the last part of the ride so that we'll be either riding together for last trafficky bit or putting our bikes back in the SUV at the end of the final loop before coming back onto main roads.

I think it is a reasonable enough ride back in any case that I can do it on my own if I need to, not terrible traffic (it's more that there isn't a shoulder) - I was keeping a keen eye on the route today, for what it's worth, and it is an exceptionally straightforward route, so that I think even I would have a hard time getting lost! - but as a safety precaution and thanks to Brent's helpfulness, I will not need to make a habit of it.

I am sure I have now extremely embarrassed him by praise, but it must be noted that this is a kind host!

I will do a 3-hour trainer ride this afternoon. I had intended to start training seriously this week, but I had a great conversation on Tuesday with my COACH (more anon about this conversation, which was full of valuable and eye-opening insights) who suggested that I should take perhaps as much as two weeks for heat acclimation. And it is certainly the case that the past week has been pretty overwhelmingly stressful and exhausting (there were lots of good things, too, but I was really very busy on Tuesday and Wednesday, even aside from travel), so I will take this full coming week just to get a bit acclimated to heat, doing some short outdoor runs, working out what will suit me schedule-wise, and then start on a 'proper' training schedule a week from tomorrow.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The secret confraternity of cyclophiles

A surprisingly pleasant bicycle-related experience this afternoon. After the chain coming off yesterday, and given that I've had a bit of trouble with it recently (not while riding, but it has a tendency to fall off between rides), I figured I should take the bike in for a tune-up - I'm racing on it in July (NYC) and in September (Madison), but will be riding it little otherwise in the interim. (I'll be on the second-string bike in Tropical Island Paradise!)

Notional tune-up presented complexities, in that I need to drop off bike and other stuff on Tuesday evening at adopted grandfather G.'s place, which is where I will stay when I am back in NY, and am flying to Cayman very early on Thursday. But I figured in a worst-case scenario (where, say, some part had to be ordered and it really wasn't ready even by Wednesday evening) I could prevail on Liz's good nature and ask her to pick it up for me...

Anyway, I rode down to Sid's Bikes, and the thing was that the mechanic just put aside what he was doing and helped me out right away! He thinks there's nothing wrong, just a rather dirty chain and some wear and tear - he says that I should wait for another 1000 miles and then replace chain and cassette together rather than replacing just chain now. So he cleaned and lubed chain and shifters, checked and cleaned all the cables, brakes, etc. And when I asked what I owed him, he waved a hand obligingly - it was on the house...

I made what I think was a very good decision the other day - I started on the task of disassembling TIP bike for packing in soft bike case, and realized after 5 stressful and sweaty minutes that if I couldn't even get the first pedal off, the rest of the job was going to be no joke! I called up the LBS and asked what they would charge to disassemble and pack the bike - they said $30 - so I walked over with bike and case and dropped both off. I have not yet handed over the dollars (I will pick it up on Monday or Tuesday), but I have a strong suspicion that this will be the best $30 I ever spent on triathlon (with possible exception of BodyGlide).

Once I have stowed the cheap bike in the basement bike room and hidden the spin bike behind the couch, I will have made a significant step towards getting my apartment ready for subletters...

10 miles easy

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Really it is another form of cheating, as this total only accrued because last week's big ride was on a Sunday and this week's was on a Saturday - but I have just had my first ever 160-mile bike week!!!

Harryman Half - the EPIC version

I am for once in the (most unusual) position of feeling that I am perhaps too tired to write the blog post I have imagined!

(No, really I am never too tired to blog...)

It turned into a really lovely day. Results are not yet up online, so I have no link and no precise details, but it was Liz's first grown-up triathlon (she did the Olympic-distance race - the half and the Olympic are offered the same day, with combined field limited to 400 - distances are non-standard, about which more to follow). She and C. stuck around afterwards and greeted me with a most wonderful piece of news as I headed out for the second time on the out-and-back run course...

... which was that Lauren WON THE RACE! Yep - first female finisher overall - last year she placed third - but first is better!

(I wasn't at all surprised - I know she's good, and also I saw her on the bike course a couple times and it seemed beyond a doubt that she was significantly further ahead than the next female rider - of course a rogue super-speedy runner can then dominate the run course, but I was hopeful...)

They all very kindly stuck around for my much, much slower finish - I got good cheers, the race organizers and support folks were all very lovely - and then we drove to Piedmont and had a much-appreciated dinner at the Sidewalk Bistro in Piedmont. A very special day with a couple of dear friends who bridge the divide between my 'real' life and my life of triathlon!

I linger on these details because the post that I spent several hours around midday carefully crafting in my head (composing a mental blog post is my fallback consolation when all else fails in a race situation) started more like THIS...

IN WHICH I am an idiot of the first water
and then have my BACON SAVED by an amiable young man at the aid station

So - the race report.

The swim: interesting, problematic. Water was announced to be 56 degrees - I think really it must have been a bit warmer, or it would have been more unpleasant to swim in. Lauren and I put on our wetsuits and warmed up in a small fenced-off area, and then the swimmers were off. Right away I realized that something was quite wrong. Fortunately I really do feel comfortable in water, so rather than panicking, I approached it analytically.

Something is amiss with my body. Things are not right! What is it?

Used all my senses and soon realized that I was having a significant and singularly unpleasant fit of wheezing - I could take air in, but the air was only coming back out again through horribly frail pipes (the phrase leaky bellows came to mind!). I don't think it was overexertion - I presume it was the standard effect of putting one's face in cold water leading to hyperventilation and bronchial constriction (Liz and Lauren both said later that they had been wheezy as well).

It was a triangular course, with two buoys out in the lake and a third by the shore to swim around for a second loop. I kept my cool and kept swimming easy, and around the first buoy I felt that I had found my groove and then was luckily able to find a very good pair of feet to draft off.

Swam really easy around the next buoy and back to shore, feeling rather guilty at taking advantage but happy that lungs were benefiting.

Said feet then seemed to be faltering - it is always tricky drafting, as the minute one finds the feet, one is suddenly swimming almost too slowly. So I struck out ahead, and had a very good second loop - still extremely wheezy, but feeling that it was not impairing my performance in any noticeable way.

(Bad neck chafing from wetsuit, though!)

Time on clock as I emerged from the water and staggered up the beach - 56+!

ARGHHHHH! What happened? The course seems to have been VERY long - I should have swum 46:00 or so - I had a brief conversation with 2 fast fellows in transition just before I headed out to run (they were done, they were helpful, they suggested that I move my chip and ankle strap over a bit of sock to prevent further chafing and when I asked whether I was forgetting anything else obvious kindly observed that I needed to tie my shoes!), one said that he should have swum c. 27:00 and instead swam 34:00, I think that is about right - I would guess closer to 1.4 than 1.2 miles, though it may also have been an issue of a current that carried swimmers off course.

I started my Garmin as I headed out on the bike, and thus I have data. I provide them up front because I am surprised to say how satisfied I feel about an INCREDIBLY slow race time. Don't have exact details, but totals must be close to 8:30 - well over eight hours at any rate. This is not because I am unfit - it is because it is an INCREDIBLY CHALLENGING COURSE.

But that's not why my day was so mentally epic. The story has yet to begin!

So it was a 62-mile bike course for the half - they had to change the course at the last minute, as the pretty road was closed, so it ended up being 3 20ish-mile loops plus the bit in the park to get to transition.

Compared to last week's ride, trust me, this was a walk in the park. BUT - it still featured (I am going by my Garmin here) 5376 feet of climbing over 62 miles. That is a lot of climbing...

They were issuing a lot of cautions/warnings - racers' responsibility to know the course, caution at turnarounds (there was a particularly bad one near the beginning of the loop, a sharp hidden U-turn at the end of a very steep descent heading right back into a very steep climb - I dropped my chain the first time round, must take bike in tomorrow for a tune-up, not sure if problem is with front derailleur or chain itself but having been having considerable trouble with it recently).

So I rode the first loop, it was fine, the first ascent was HELLACIOUS but tolerably so and really nothing like last week's mountains. I rode away, pretty happy, nice day - I was surprised when I saw Lauren (it was the style of course that reminds me of a red blood cell, sort of a dented pill-shaped thing, with lots of opportunities to see friends coming in the opposite direction) that I wasn't as far behind her as I would have expected, but I didn't really mentally process.

On the climb at the start of the second loop, I did become a bit worried. I only had 14 miles on my Garmin - GOD BLESS THE GARMIN is the moral of today's story - and it seemed to me I should be more like in the 20s if I was in the second loop. Could this mean I was going to have to do that climb 4 times rather than 3, with a sort of extra bit of loop? But there was no point worrying about it, I would ask somebody near the end if I remained confused...

Some time later, I followed a course marshal onto a bit of road that seemed very lovely. Trees! shade! Riding alongside the water!

Hmmm, this is odd. I could swear that I have not ridden this before. Could the second loop somehow be different from the first?

The trouble is that I truly (like Brent, who always says this of himself, but I am sure it is more true of me!) am inattentive to my surroundings.

On the one hand, it seemed mildly unlikely that I would have so thoroughly ignored this rather attractive bit of the course.

But I was pondering all sorts of other things and concentrating on my race, so it seemed entirely possible to me that the reason this scenery looked absolutely unfamiliar to me was the reason that almost ALL scenery looks unfamiliar to me - a sort of inattentiveness that amounts almost to landscape dyslexia, and lets me get lost pretty much anywhere!

But then the road became very smooth, and I thought - no, really I would remember this. Because the road in the rest of the park is pretty horrible - full of seams that cause you to bump on the bike, and lots of potholes and rough bits.

Wait a minute - was it possible that this bit of the course WAS part of the first loop, and I somehow missed it?

My thoughts went back to the traffic circle that immediately preceded this bit of the course - yes - it seemed to me quite likely (though my brain could not tell me anything more useful than that) that I had ridden around that, there had not been a course marshal there the first time and there were few other riders on the course as the Olympic-distance racers hadn't set out...

... and so it struck me. I had skipped a HUGE CHUNK of the first loop!

I proceeded to enter a total mental tailspin.

The worst thing was that I still was not quite sure whether I was just having an OCD-type fit of maniacal non-reality-based scrupulosity, or whether I was in fact correct. And as I became increasingly certain that I was correct, I had a horrible realization...

I WAS CHEATING! I had skipped many miles of the first loop and assumed a place I had not earned, possibly actively misleading other riders and breaking the fundamental rules of play!

I am laughing now, it is absurd, it will sound both ridiculous and self-promoting (like how you are supposed to answer a job interviewer who asks what your flaws are by proclaiming that you sometimes find it difficult to detach from a work project and are described by friends as workaholic). But there could be NO SINGLE THING MORE DISTRESSING TO ME (well, that is hyperbole - but nothing of this sort) than being given credit for something I have not earned! I would MUCH rather not get credited at all than get undeserved credit.

I worked myself into an increasingly distressed state - what should I do? First of all, how would I even know whether or not I was correct? If I told a course official, and if information provided by them about course mileage proved my suspicions were actually grounded in reality, would I have to drop out of the race? But I COULDN'T have another DNF - I had a righteous one last weekend, but two in a row would become a habit! But if I told someone and they said, oh, you are disqualified, but you are welcome to finish riding and running the course, would I have the stick-to-it-ness to finish what was already a quite challenging ride?

This of course then spiralled out into increasingly baroque and recursive forms of self-criticism and self-castigation of the furthest-reaching and most impractical kind, which I will not reproduce here....



I was CHEATING, I had not intended to and it was an innocent mistake (the course should have been more clearly marked - maybe the marshal just briefly stepped aside, or maybe he hadn't gotten to that intersection yet my first time through), but...

I had about 1.5 hours of this, and then I came to the third loop, and did my hellacious climb, and arrived at the aid station. I figured at this point that I was making myself so thoroughly insane with this that I had better at least try and figure out whether I really had missed miles on the first loop. And if I was riding the third loop (which I was), I had to refill the Camelbak with Gatorade.

So I asked two slightly perplexed aid station workers what mile I SHOULD be at. They said they did not process things in this way! But when I explained what was up, they said, yes, I should be 'at' mile 47 or so - and I was only at mile 37, the evidence on my wrist unit was incontrovertible.


I was dismayed! I felt I might have to scrupulously disqualify myself, but I did not want to, I REALLY wanted to finish my race!

This is where common sense comes in. A trouble shared is a trouble halved! After very brief pondering, aid station worker #2 pointed out something INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS that I, in my state of complete mental insanity, had not even thought of.

He said, "Well, your split times for the loops will look pretty funky, but there's nothing to stop you just riding that bit of the loop one extra time - then you have ridden the same distance as everyone else, and it's fair..."

I was ready to THROW MYSELF ON HIM in gratitude, but instead I resumed the Camelbak and got back on the bike. It is hard to explain the mental relief. Everything else was a breeze - everything else being about four fairly arduous further hours of exercise!

It is a truly tough course. So, times, slow, they will sound terrible - but they were pretty decent, under the circumstances. I did the best I could do on the day - I am sure I could not have gone much faster.

And as I thought about things on the run course (where by the way I felt incredibly strong in the legs, very cheerful, much less overheated than on previous occasions, but strongly limited by tender/sensitive post-asthmatic lungs and also by the fact that I knew I didn't have a lot of fuel left in me and had to take things very cautiously), I thought:

Well, it would have been a big ego-boost and confidence builder to match or beat my for me fast time from the Bassman Half last fall (c. 6:40 - and I KNOW there is a sub-6:00 half in my future). But this was a better training day for Ironman...

Some numbers, which I suppose I have been postponing providing because they are really appallingly large (you will have to trust me that I really did do a respectable race):

swim, 56:00ish?
T1: no idea
Bike: 61.66mi, 5376 feet of climbing (THAT IS A LOT), 4:41:49, avg speed 13.1mph, avg HR 145, max HR 162
T2: 3:28
Run: Garmin says 12.69, hopefully it really was 13.1! But we will go with Garmin's numbers: 12.69mi, 3216 feet of climbing (!), 2:37:10, 12:23 min./mi avg. pace (not at all bad, under the circs), avg HR 142, max HR 164

Random thoughts:

1. I will not wear the wetsuit in the NYC triathlon. It is bad enough getting into it on a regular-temperature day, I cannot face it on a hot one - I decided not to wear it at the last minute last year, and it will make my packing tasks simpler if I take it straight to Cayman and thence to Wisconsin in September rather than leaving it with my other stuff at G.'s place in NY and using it in July and then packing it to travel.

2. I have to keep working on cycling. I have to be patient!

3. But really I have to weigh ten pounds less on race day in September.

4. The asthma remains a problem. Keep attending to this (and also see if I can get a personality transplant - this time I will decline the self-castigation functionality, it does not stand me in good stead).

5. But I think that I did well today. I turned my mood around, and I REALLY kept moving on the run course. I followed my plan - walk hills, jog flats and run downhills.

It is not an Ironman, but it gave me some good simulacra of parts. The swim was close to 2/3 the time I'm hoping for; the climbing on the bike also makes it in some respects closer to 2/3 than just half the distance; and I actually really and truly think I could have done a full marathon's worth of walk/run at that pace even on that very hilly course, with some nutritional tweaking. I am pretty certain that I will need to eat some solid (salty!) food on the Ironman bike - like a turkey sandwich! At the slower end of the field, the energy benefit from real food seems to me to greatly outweigh the risk of stomach distress. I can walk-run forever, in the sense that it is an incredibly good metabolic deal (I am a brisk walker and can definitely cover ground almost indefinitely in this manner without running into a bonk-type fueling situation), but though in this case the limiter was the lungs, fueling would have been an issue if I'd continued longer - I didn't want to eat a cookie, though I was tempted, because I worried that it would impact my stomach, and I had the kind of slight stomach-ache that really just tells you your body WANTS FOOD. (No GI distress of any kind, though.)

Anyway, that really is quite long enough, though I am sure that I will get offline and then think of 3 crucial things I forgot to say!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Take two

OK, that was better...

The ride down was fine, the ride back a bit more crowded - it is, alas, a beautiful evening. Which makes people want to come outside, to my chagrin!

Red-letter day: they have finally opened up that bit of riverside bike path that they've been working on for the past few years. A pity that people want to wander along it in a leisurely way! That said, and although I myself have never seen the point of the leisurely stroll or ride (if it is not actual training, I would be far more likely to be inside reading a book), I don't mind riding slowly along the west side path, as I am using it for transportation rather than for training as such.

A very nice swim - at the 600 mark, I felt normal for the first time all day.

It was the day of fours - I thought that at the very least I could do 4 x 400, but in the end I did swim 5 x 400 after all. Truly enjoyable.

Warmup: 400 free with every fourth length stroke (alternating breast, back)

Kick: 400 flutter with every fourth length alternating whip, dolphin

Drill: 4 x 100 drill-swim by 25 (catch-up, fists, front scull, finger-drag)

Free: 4 x 100 on 2:30, build by 25 (to my surprise I was still swimming 1:48-49 on these, despite starting out relatively easy - I guess it is a way of tricking yourself into swimming negative splits)

Stroke: 4 x (2 x 50, first as drill-swim by 25, second as swim), IM order

2000 yards total
10 miles

I hate...

... pedestrians.

I also hate drivers.

I hate recreational cyclists.

And I especially hate cyclists out for a serious training ride.

I hate the blocks along 110th St. that are clotted with delivery trucks, taxis, livery cars, buses and other bicycles.

I hate the white SUV that, as I tentatively moved out into the middle lane to pass two stopped delivery trucks in the right-hand lane, pulled out of a parking spot on the other side of the street and made the first leg of its three-point turn right across where I was about to ride.

I hate pedestrians who cross against the light without looking either way.

I have an even more passionate hatred for the pedestrians in Central Park who cross against the light without even seeming to realize there is a light.

I hate the horse-drawn carriages because they are a nuisance.

I hate the pedicabs because they are an active menace.

I hate nice weather because it makes my cycling life miserable.

I hate the huge packs of tourist pedestrians in the park that take two cycles of a light to get everyone through.

I don't much like the group leader who tells his charges, as they cross, to watch out because lots of people will run the red light, but I have even less fondness for the cyclists who absolutely will not stop at a light even when a flood of pedestrians is streaming across.

I reserve a peculiar hatred for recreational cyclists who ride against the direction of traffic on the park road.

I am also not crazy about roller-bladers, skateboarders and people using arctic ski poles.

I hate it that I am still so nervous about riding in traffic.

I hate it that the ride from where I live to the park, though only 10 blocks, is so incredibly irksome.

I hate it that I still can't take in my stride the notion of riding my bike over the wretched GWB bike path.

I hate it that I am the kind of person who, when annoyed and upset, instead of shaking my fist and swearing at people instead has to fight a strong urge to burst into tears!

I hate it that I can see that in the end I am going to have to give in and get a driver's license so that I can get myself much further out of the city before I have to start riding.

I hate it that triathlon even has a bike leg!

I am now going to shower and eat lunch. We can hope this will put me into a better mood. I only rode 14 miles; the first two park loops were so distressing to me that I figured I'd better just go home and move on to the next part of my day. I will ride down to Chelsea Piers later to swim and possibly to go to yoga, whose soothing meditative effects seem called for.

I'm not really looking forward to the race on Saturday; my bike leg is going to be really slow, and it's supposed to be quite hot, which will certainly erode my enjoyment of the run leg. On the other hand, total time on bike is more valuable for training at this point than fast miles, so I will greet with equanimity the prospect of a very long slow ride, and I think it is fairly certain that the ride will be UTTER BLISS compared to the one I have had just now.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Not a proper brick, as I had about fifteen minutes' break in between, but I rode down to Chelsea Piers and went to a very good midday spin class, then out for 45 minutes of running with Lauren.

10 miles bike
1hr. spin
4.5 miles

It was right that I took Monday off, but yesterday I really would have liked to swim, only the terrible weather put me off the notion of getting down to Chelsea Piers (and the Columbia gym is closed this week). Now I haven't swum for ages and I am doing a huge triathlon on Saturday! However I should be able to swim tomorrow and Friday - will think about what else to do (don't want to overdo it and suffer on Saturday, but on the other hand I seem to have missed quite a few training days in the last week, which isn't any good either!).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A lovely day of triathlonish pursuits

And strange to say, I feel like the bike ride was a huge accomplishment, though I must state right up front that I only rode 2 loops of the four!

I signed up for this race because the thought of completing a 112-mile ride earlier in the year before my September IM race was so utterly alluring (would have been a huge confidence-builder), and I think I can say now that though I almost certainly could (on current fitness) have completed a flattish or even modestly rolling ride of that distance today, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself in for. I don't have a really good link, so you will have to take it on faith!

(Earlier in the week I was thinking with starry eyes about possibility of doing the long-course duathlon there next year - 5 miles trail run, 84 miles bike [3 loops of this same course], 15 mile trail run - but now that I have actually ridden the course, I note that even the "short' course will require epic amounts of work, and will be much better suited to my speed/time on course! That is 5 miles run, 28 miles bike, 5 miles run, but the nature of the bike course means that it is MUCH crazier than it sounds!)

This is the course, and it is probably the most beautiful bike ride I have ever had in my life. Just gorgeous. The weather was amazing, and the scenery is spectacular - I really, really enjoyed it. I also had the benefit of company going to the race - I got a ride from a truly lovely triathlete in the Columbia Triathlon Club, and we had delightful triathlon obsessives' conversations both ways!

My correspondence with the race organizer earlier in the week had made me realize that I should not hesitate to scale back to three loops rather than 4 if it seemed more appropriate, but honestly, my first loop made it clear that even doing 2 would be a challenge, and I am quite certain I was right to stop then. (I rode about 8 more miles on flatter ground, just to get the training total up to the mid-60s, but didn't want to get lost or stranded, and turned around to head back to the finish area once I found myself in traffic. Could have ridden quite a bit longer so long as it did not involve MOUNTAINS!)

Brent had optimistically suggested that he did not see why I shouldn't let HR rise to zone 2 for the second half of the ride, but in fact aforementioned MOUNTAINS mean that zone 2 is NOT AN OPTION unless you want your bike to tip over because you are literally not moving!!!!

(I really did enjoy myself - did not enjoy the final climb, and that was what made me realize I did have to stop, but once I realized I would only do 2 loops the second loop was really pretty good.)

There are 2 mountains that you climb on each loop - the first one is a really good climb, very long but never so steep that you really freak out - but the second one, right near the end of the loop, is pretty much the worst thing I ever tried to ride up! I had a big asthmaey fit of wheezing the first time round, and paused for more inhaler puffs - but it hit again the second time, and there I would have to say I think it was less asthma and more just outright panic - once you're working so strenuously and are so much pointed upwards and are moving so slowly, it is easy to lose one's nerve! I walked my bike up the last little bit of hill, and I was not ashamed!

The numbers will only really mean anything to the serious self-monitoring cyclists, but consider this:

2522 feet of climbing on each lap

Totals for 2 laps: 56.57mi., 4:42:48, avg speed 12.0mph (INSANELY SLOW!), max speed 37.1mph (SCARILY FAST!), avg HR 146 (that is solidly in zone THREE).

So I climbed 6735 feet total - that is almost as much as the climb over the whole ride at IMWI (c. 7000ft.), so I can at least in that sense guess that I got a preliminary stab at getting a feel for the job at hand. The clarity with which it appeared to me that I had to stop riding up mountains will become clear, at least to Brent, when I say that of my whole ride, including the easier bit after I took off my number, more than half of it was spent in zones 3 and 4, with 10 minutes in zone 5!

We all rode 2 miles beforehand from parking lot to start line, and I rode about 8 afterwards just to make it a longer training ride than any I had yet had, so I will log it at 65 and consider it a highly successful day. I wouldn't want to tip over into being one of those people who is always letting myself off the hook for this/that/the other and not challenging myself, but this was a truly challenging ride, even just doing half the distance (one woman stopped after 1 lap, and a LOT of people dropped out after 2 or 3). A very good day's training ride, and a beautiful landscape that I will definitely be going back to - I gotta do more bike training on MOUNTAINS if I want to ride successfully on MOUNTAINS!

65 miles

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Triaspirational bliss

At one point in the early evening Lauren and I looked at each other with our eyes as big as saucers and imagined how unbelievably fit we would be if we basically just spent all day every day at Chelsea Piers...

Anyway, it was a very good workout. I rode my bike down and got started jogging on the track - had done just under a mile when Lauren arrived and we went outside to do the 30-minute "cadence" workout prescribed in her training plan. (For the record, Lauren's high-cadence pace is my toiling pace, it was hard work! I am logging it at 4 miles total.)

Then we swam for an hour. I was doing FIVES...

Warmup: 5 x 100 with fourth lap stroke (alternating back and breast)

5 x 100 on 2:15 as (to adopt the appealing mode of notation that I had in my head as I was swimming it)


5 x 100 on 2:15 as


5 x 100 IM on 2:30

Then 4 x 50 stroke down, free back in IM order on c. 1:10

2200 yards total

Then we went to the very good yoga class - I was dripping with sweat, it is hot work (it is not "hot yoga"!). Very, very enjoyable - I am going to try and make a habit of yoga this summer, too.

Rode home in the last of the daylight. A highly satisfactory afternoon.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Third time a charm?

I woke up to a cold and rainy morning, but as I was very set on a foot-testing ride, there was no way to talk myself out of it - there was no getting round the fact that the temperature was only 45 degrees, but I persuaded myself that what I could see out the window was merely fog and a light drizzle!

One mile into my ride, my socks were already sopping wet and my feet were freezing, so though I would describe it as a surprisingly enjoyable ride under the circumstances (the park was virtually deserted, I love it, I will definitely take cold and wet and elbow-room over congested any day!), I couldn't do the long one I wanted to. I cut it short after 4 laps, which is not really long enough to test the new pedals and cleat position vis-a-vis foot pain - but my feet were so cold and wet that I was not really sure I was going to be able to feel them anyway! Rest of body only slightly too chilly, but hands and feet really pretty painful - showering afterwards had me yelping, in that way where hot water feels like freezing water on a really cold patch of skin.

As I say, it was a good ride, and I am very sure that the pedals and cleat move will have significantly helped matters. My feet felt pretty good (barring the aforementioned issues!), and I definitely feel like I'm now applying the pressure on a much larger tract of foot and more importantly on a more appropriate part of the foot.

At this point, I'm under enough of a time crunch that I think I just have to do the ride on Sunday with these pedals and shoes and hope for the best. If it's a disaster, foot-wise, then I will buy a new pair of shoes early next week, break them in on a couple medium-length mid-week rides and try them out in the Harryman Half the following weekend.

No usable Garmin numbers - cold fingers must have turned it off instead of pressing lap button!

26 cold and wet but surprisingly enjoyable miles

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday run

Fabulous run just now. It was my priority for the (exercise) day - alas, due to usual inability to get out of bed, I didn't run this morning, which is what would have let me go to TNYA practice this evening as well; and I dragged my heels upon getting home from work, though I suppose I technically could have run and then swum (swam?), to the point where I realized I'd better get myself out the door for a run before I talked myself out of doing anything at all!

I am determined to take advantage of hills and cool weather while I still have 'em, and to do pretty high run mileage this week and next. Jogged over to Central Park and did 3 x the upper loop, which has an excellent hill. Jogged home. The pace doesn't sound that fast, and I'm not as quick as I have been at various times in the past, but I definitely feel as though I'm regaining fitness - I feel pretty strong out there.

6 miles, 56:34, avg pace 9:26, avg HR 149, max HR 170

(I messed up the HR/speed averages for the first loop because I had to stop to turn off the "over zone 2" alert, but the average HRs for lap 2 and lap 3 were 155 and 157 respectively.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rest day

Today has turned into a rest day - I am making a judgment about the effects on my body of the training I did on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and thinking that a day to absorb it will be better than a day to add to it - also, feet still very tender!

Instead I have been having an awesome exchange of emails with one of the organizers of the I.T.T. on Sunday. I have a definite ride there, but no guaranteed ride back, so I was just checking in about transportation and also as to whether I'd need a one-day USA Cycling license (yes).

(That is good, as it has been one of my goals to do a real licensed cycling event!)

I have spent some time thinking about this ride and about the fact that I am quite likely to be the last finisher. This is not self-criticism, it is the honest fact that I think it a strong possibility - there are only 45 riders registered, and only 7 of those are women - and I am confident that many are very strong cyclists. It will be an interesting day - I'm really looking forward to it, actually (but it will be more tolerable if I can get the foot problem sorted out by then!).

The words that struck awe into my heart:
The course is all right hand turns, so quite safe.

It is VERY HILLY. Finishing will be very difficult. If you do finish, your ironman will be a piece of cake. If you don't please do not despair; it's a uniquely hard challenge.

Good luck!
I sent a frantic question back about time limits - I think I can finish as long as I'm not going to get pulled from the course - and got this very lovely answer (I am quoting without permission, but since it shows the race organizers in such a happy light, I feel certain that's OK!):
Well, 16 mph average would take 7 hours to cover 112 miles. With an 8:30 am start, that's 3:30 pm.

14 mph would take 8 hours.

The volunteers are quite enthusiastic, and will likely stay until all are in. The police should be on the course until 3 pm.

Don't worry; the du raced dawn to dusk in the autumn. We'll have daylight until 8 pm.


Asthma follow-up

I had a very good follow-up appointment with the pulmonary specialist. It was enjoyable, he was full of praise for my lungs!

As far as practical things go, it was only when I had the CPET that I realized that one is supposed to take the inhaler puffs 15-30 mins. before exercise (my primary care doc had just said "take before exercise," which I wrongly interpreted to mean take immediately before exercise), so I think that's the main thing to be careful about.

I also ran the coffee hypothesis by the doctor and he found it entirely persuasive. He thinks that it may well be that I can control symptoms just with inhaler and coffee, or even just with caffeine if it's swimming and biking as opposed to running; he suggests beginning to taper the FloVent from 1 puff twice a day to 1 puff once a day, and cut it out altogether if that seems OK.

(I would think it would be something I could use occasionally in very dry cold weather or when recovering from a bronchial ailment rather than relying on all the time - it is a steroid, those things shouldn't be taken lightly!)

He says there is another medication I could try, theophylline, but that there is no reason to go in that direction if the current stuff continues to work. I am optimistic that I won't have further problems - I think that caffeine plus selective pre-exercise albuterol use should be just fine.

We had an interesting conversation about the chart he found particularly striking, the exercise tidal flow volume loop profile. This is the one he was pointing out to the technician during the test, and he says he's been showing it to his students also. Elite endurance athletes (!) show this profile - it's basically a test where you start blowing out hard and the volume conventionally declines with flow along the straight green line in the chart - but athletes can maintain a higher flow even at lower volume (this is the blue line that represents the actual numbers).

He said he didn't know whether it was genetic or a result of training; I said (I always think this!) it must be a result of training, as I have traditionally been so non-athletic, but he pointed out that high-potential athletes are more likely to train and find themselves in the study sample of elite endurance folks, and that it might be that select people who've never taken advantage of their athletic potential would also have this profile. In other words, he is pretty much inclined to attribute it to genetics, and I had to allow as how yes, it is not that I am a super-fast runner, but I am a considerably faster runner than I ever would have expected (or than you would expect me to be if you looked at me!). And it is true that Dr. Dan the running doctor, when I saw him a year and a half ago for that hamstring injury, also seemed very sure that I was a natural athlete from a family of athletes - what a peculiar thought...

All of the numbers are really very good - I think I have counteracted the effects of years of smoking and no exercise - the O2 pulse is 21.1ml/beat, 180% of predicted, and the VO2 in liters/min. is 3.6, 128% of predicted. It is interesting - chemistry has always been one of the sciences I'm particularly attracted to. (This is a good link I found on the relationship between these test numbers and exercise physiology.)

The charts! (There are pages and pages of other charts too, but I will spare you them as I have no idea how to interpret them!)

Sunday, May 9, 2010


OK, that's good, I have put on the new pedals and moved the cleats to the furthest-back position (I was incorrect before, they were on the front of 2 positions rather than the middle of 3) - if I were a true empiricist, I would have changed one factor at a time and treated it more experimentally, but I am seeking improvement more than knowledge in this case!

If I ride 6 loops tomorrow, it should be long enough to get a sense of whether or not this will help; if it doesn't seem sufficient, I will pursue the option of a new pair of shoes...

Sunday nines

It has been a lovely day.

Basically I decided that I am treating myself to a MONSTER TRAINING WEEK!

I rode down to Chelsea Piers and met up with Lauren for the last bit of her long run - I just did an easy four miles with her around the track. Then hopped into the pool for a very high-quality swim.

It was the day of NINES (I love doing a workout on a pattern, it makes the whole thing much more satisfying to me).

A Jim Bolster-style warmup (and I am going to have a coaching session with the man himself before I leave town, to discuss iron training and get his input on my plan):

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

200 IM, 150 IM no free, 100 IM, 100 IM, 150 IM no free, 200 IM (on 30 seconds rest)

9 x 100 free hard on 2:30 (managed to hold around 1:48-1:49 very well - benchmark set rather than true accomplishment, but it felt very good)

2700 yards total

plus 10 miles biking (terribly windy on way back!)

Post-swim and after getting a quick bite to eat with Lauren at Chelsea Market, I stopped in at Sid's Bikes. Had a useful conversation with a guy there, though I am not sure it will thoroughly resolve the foot issues. He observed that the SPD/mountain bike system are not really designed for long road rides; I knew this already, but I am definitely not yet ready to try real road shoes and Look cleats again, I hated that slippery-slidey feeling so much and really need at least for now to have the recessed cleats so that I can walk in them as needed. But he thinks the shoes I have are good and wonders whether switching out the pedals wouldn't be a more economical and practical solution.

I have been riding on these Shimano pedals that have a regular platform on one side and an SPD binding on the other - they were absolutely and wonderfully what I needed when I first got them, but in fact I now always ride clipless and I have been thinking I should upgrade to a more grown-up set before my ironman. So he sold me a pair of these, which he says may alleviate foot pain insofar as they spread the pressure from the foot over a larger platform than other SPD pedals, and he also concurred with my notion that it would be worth moving the cleat on the shoe to the slot closest to the midfoot (it is currently in the middle slot of three, middle in the rows from front to back).

So we will see - I think I will do a park ride tomorrow that will be long enough to see if this will help, and that still leaves me time to go and get a new pair of shoes this week and test them out before the long ride on Sunday.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Long run

Rather fantastically satisfying long run this afternoon.

It began inauspiciously - I could not for the life of me get out of bed - and then once I finally got up, I felt much more like frittering away an hour on the internet than on getting myself out the door! With the upshot that I wasn't heading out till nearly two o'clock, having missed the cool morning hours and on a grand total of 360 calories (2 bottles of Starbucks mocha frappuccino, which pretty much seems to me the ideal pre-run or pre-race source of nutrition...).

Pretty warm/sunny, but WINDY, too - first miles were arduous, the wind was unusually coming from the south rather than the north! But it really was a good run - I wanted to 12, but wasn't wedded to the notion, however around mile 5 I realized how mentally easy the run was feeling compared to long runs in previous weeks - and that it was really my best chance to get in at least one two-hour run before the half in 2 weeks. (I may do one more next Saturday, but 90 minutes is probably just as sensible, given long bike ride the next day.)

I guess I should press the lap button at the turnaround to get HR averages for the two halves of the run - I am pleased to see that the 6-mile turnaround does indeed fall at Charles St. according to the Garmin, I was laughing to myself remembering a run I had a year or two ago with Brent where we were going on time rather than distance - we turned around exactly there, at the 1:00 mark, but I felt mild chagrin at not forging my way down to Houston St., which I mentally think of as 6 miles away and which the Polar footpod also designated thusly!

Anyway, a highly enjoyable run. Legs quite fatigued in last 4-5 miles (yesterday's bike ride, generally insufficient run mileage), but in a way that is enjoyable rather than dreadful; some lower-back soreness, I must start doing those core exercises again.

The HR zone alert function on the Garmin is delightful, BTW; I could never use the Polar one, because the beep was so aggressive and annoying, but I used it today to keep myself resolutely in zone 2, and it worked very well indeed...

12 miles, 2:01:45, avg HR 143, max HR 154, avg pace 10:08

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cinderella's ugly step-sisters

are the two people I am most in sympathy with today - MY TOES ARE IN AGONY!

This is actually an improvement in certain respects on the feet of pain I had last week...

I followed Al's suggestion and got a pair of Specialized footbed inserts. My preliminary sense is that they have solved 90% of the problem - I felt some discomfort after about an hour of riding, but focusing on my pedal stroke (i.e. especially making sure while climbing to have a full smooth stroke, including the upstroke, rather than 'mashing') really helped. May still need to revisit cleat placement, but basically this is much better.

But I forgot what really I know already, which is that when you take out the inserts shoes come with and put in orthotics, they just take up more space! By mile 20 or so my toes were so squinched up and painful that I was not sure I would be able to continue for much longer - I stuck it out for as long as I could bear it, but in the end decided that I was risking permanent injury - it was compounded by the mental struggle that comes from the transition from park car-free hours to cars - it is not of course the cars themselves that are the problem, it is the congestion that ensues in the recreation lane...

I am still not sure if it was a cop-out or just common sense (probably a bit of both - seriously, those toes were KILLING me!) but I called it short - I had hoped to do 12 laps, i.e. 72 miles (74 with to-from park), but at 7 laps I was pretty certain based on toe issues that I could just about eke out one more lap and no more - that gives me 50 total, including the bit to and from the park, which is not bad.

I will go to the bike store tomorrow and get a half-size larger pair of shoes - it is a necessary expense, I think - there is no way now to squeeze in a really long ride between now and my SUPER-long ride next weekend, but I will ride enough this week to assess whether I have found an adequate foot solution (cleat placement may still be an issue also).

TRIATHLON IS AN EXTRAVAGANT SPORT. This will be my third pair of bike shoes, which given how little total biking I've done in my life is absurd - the first pair were road shoes with Look cleats that in the end I just couldn't get my head around, this pair obviously is just a hair too small. ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was a beautiful day, too - nicer than last week. But cycling is a work in progress...

48.53 miles (plus 2 uncounted), 3:05:35, avg speed 15.7, avg HR 133, max HR 152

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday swim

Timing didn't work out earlier for a run, to my chagrin (it would have been a most beautiful day for it!), but I did fit in a short swim just now. I was coming from something else and hadn't packed the asthma inhaler - the first hard-effort hundred tipped me over into wheezing, so I decided to stop there - swam 50 easy and got out. Enjoyable, though...

Warmup: 4 x (200 free, 50 stroke in IM order)

5 x 100 IM on 2:30

1 x 100 free (1:47)

50 easy back

1650 yards total

(I was happy the other day to get a good answer to the mysterious question of why a swimmer's mile is only 1650 yards! Link courtesy of Joel.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday swim practice

I am in an absurdly good mood today, it is unusual! Fantastically enjoyable TNYA practice this evening - I don't know why I've gone so infrequently, I really love it - I think I'll try and go to all the Tuesday evening practices before I leave town at the end of the month, and perhaps one or two of the Saturday ones too...

We did not do the workout exactly on these intervals, and there were minor lane arrangement glitches here and there, but this was what was assigned - let me see if I can actually remember the intervals:

truncated warmup of 200 (100 free, 100 fly drill)

4 x 200 free on 3:45 (we did them on 4:00 - general lane consensus that it is a nice round number, and no single fast swimmer to insist on the tighter cut-off!)

3 x (4 x 75)

first set as kick-drill-swim in IM order on 2:05
second set as freestyle pull on 1:30
third set as kick-drill-swim freestyle on 1:50

1 [no time for 2, which faster lanes were doing] x 200 sprint on 3:30, 1 minute rest, 100 sprint on 1:45

(I did not get a real time for the 200, as I found myself on someone's toes and had to turn around mid-lane to get off them, but I am pleased to say that I made the 1:45 for the final sprint - that's not bad for me)

50 easy back active recovery

Short workout, though - really I should have stayed in for another half-hour!

2200 yards total

I think I will try and do a set sometime on my own in the next week or two that will be 10 x 100 on a lot of rest (2:30?), but trying to hold 1:45-1:47 - I don't do enough of that sort of hard-effort swimming with lots of rest between...

Tuesday TOB

An absolutely lovely bike ride - I really believe that this will be the year when I learn to love cycling as much as I do running and swimming. I definitely had elevated HR at a couple traffic stops on the way over, but didn't feel actually breathless or panicky, and the park ride was lovely - it is a hot day, I was happy I wasn't running!

I am never going to have the love of the open road that to my mind characterizes the true cyclist, but I have thought for some time (despite evident obstacles!) that really cycling should be my strength out of the three triathlon disciplines - I am a middle-of-the-pack runner, I like it very much, but it's more that I have a strong engine and am willing to work quite hard than that I have any particular turn of speed or efficiency; and though I love swimming, I am a pretty inefficient swimmer and always will be slower than someone who swam a lot as a kid.

(My gift as a swimmer is that I truly feel at home in the water - I am a homebody, even on a run I always feel more anxious on the outward leg than once I have turned around and am homeward bound, I feel attached to home on some kind of stretchy cord - but as soon as I am in the water, I feel at home in a way that makes me forget about that sort of anxious stretchy homeward orientation.)

But cycling is where I really should be able to become quite strong and efficient - my build is better suited to it than running...

4 park loops (24.3 miles, avg speed 15.8mph, avg HR 133, max HR 150)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday swim

Left it till the last minute to head over to the Columbia pool, which seems to have reverted to a state of nature, with no distinction between slow, medium or fast lanes. Though my swim was short, however, it was neither nasty nor brutish: I felt great as soon as I felt the cool water on my skin (I have been much too hot and humidified all day). Only had 35 minutes before the pool closed, but it was well worth it.

c. 1200 misc. (mostly freestyle, but breaststroke as needed so as not to mow down mystifyingly wayward swimmers)

I think I will go to TNYA practice tomorrow at 6 - it is much too long since I last went! And will hope to ride in the middle of the day, but perhaps not if there are thunderstorms.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Quickie post

to say I had a very good run this morning, despite tropical conditions!

It is 82F in Philadelphia, and the course of the Broad Street Run is fairly sunny - a breeze struck here and there, but it was otherwise fairly brutal - at this point in the season, I have NO heat acclimation!

I abandoned my ambitious pace goal and ran by HR (I like this Garmin thing, it is much nicer than my Polar, which hasn't been working properly for the last year), pulling back whenever I hit 168 and walking until I got it back down into the low 160s.

Drank a ton of water - all four bottles in my Nathan hydration belt plus a cup of water at every stop.

Finished the 10 miles in 1:38:18 (finisher 11480 out of 25509, so we can say that is solidly middle of the pack - and 718/2042 in the division F35-39, which mainly just makes me think that there are a lot of women running in my age group!) - quite a bit slower than I had hoped, but given the heat conditions, pretty respectable given very low run mileage in recent months.

Data and musings to follow once I am home - now I am going to go and eat deviled eggs!