Monday, July 26, 2010

Riding in traffic

Cycling tips from 1936!

A disrupted schedule this week due to travel, but the morale benefits of exercise are strong enough that I will make an effort to fit bits of it in here and there...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday treadmill

OK, that's good, back on track - I realized that if I was following 2 friends on Ironman Live in their respective races and didn't do any exercise myself, I'd feel like a real slug!

1 hr. warm treadmill, 5.5 miles - not bad, heat issues mean that's the same pace I was doing a month ago in much better fitness, only with HR 15-20bpm higher - in the 'world,' that is a HR difference you'd really notice in terms of perceived effort (zone 4 versus zone 2), but the heat so thoroughly dominates the experience of treadmill running that I wonder whether it is even really subjectively noticeable.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday run/core

OK, that was good, I am back in a better mental place on this now. Felt sheepish about how slow my speeds were, but it is more important to do workouts that build confidence as well as fitness than to hammer halfway and then stop due to overexertion! NB one good thing about an exercise layoff is that the endorphins come on MUCH easier and shorter efforts than once you're really acclimated - at the 20-minute mark I was in BLISS!

Treadmill easy run intervals:

10 mins. warmup @ 5.5mph
8 x (2 mins. @ 6.5mph, 2 mins. @ 3.5mph)

3.5 miles total (42 mins.)

+ 20 mins. core

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Starting small

The mental obstacles to getting back into a regular workout schedule are more serious than the physical, I suspect; yesterday I didn't exercise at all (I had designated two different possible slots, and started the day thinking I would aim for both, but as the actual day unfolded it seemed as though it was not meant to be!). So I'm back to basics - until things feel a bit more settled down, I'll just set an eminently meetable daily goal of 30 minutes. Anything beyond that is extra.

So: 10 mins. warmup, 35 mins. strength - I meant to do an hour, but I was already pretty overheated and thirsty and it is a hot walk home. It is a start.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday strength

10 mins. warmup, 30 mins. strength - felt rather queasy, got some vitamin water and drank a bit in case it was low blood sugar but it didn't really make me feel better. So I called it quits and walked home instead. Sensible, but bad for the morale. Will have another stab at doing something later on in the day.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

An update

I've been having a nice time in New York, but exercise has eluded me for one reason or another - really I will just wait till I am back in Cayman (I fly back early tomorrow morning; that is good!). In the meantime, a very good piece by Edward Rothstein about training for his first triathlon and learning that swimming is like trying to play Chopin (thanks to my mother for the link!):
Practice is partly physical training: teaching the body to feel comfortable with the artifice and its intricacy. Ultimately, the playing must seem effortless; all the tension, the strain, the struggle must be dramatized in the music, not in the body. And when I have practiced enough, I no longer have to be aware of every minute finger motion or position of my elbow. Movements mold themselves into phrases, becoming supple and poised. My body’s once uncoordinated parts cohere; the body can be forgotten.

So this is what I must do. I find a teacher, Earl Walton, and learn that in swimming, the head isn’t really lifting up to breathe; actually the body is constantly rotating, swinging around an axis, bringing the mouth above the water to breathe at the same time as the opposing arm drops and thrusts. The body rocks through the water. Breathing becomes effortless because it is an incidental part of the stroke.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday swim!

Thank goodness - not a moment too soon...

Am in New York, having traveled from Ottawa to Philadelphia on Sunday and left Philadelphia yesterday late morning.

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

3 x 100 as free, IM, free on 2:30 - should have been the first three of nine, only I realized I did not have the mental vim and instead switched to this for the rest of my swim:

4 x (100 drill-swim by 25, 10 seconds rest, 50 swim hard), 10 seconds rest

4 x 50 fly-free on 1:15

2000 yards total

Might try for a short run a bit later this afternoon, and am thinking of a park bike ride tomorrow morning (only not if it is raining as torrentially as it did yesterday and today - I may have ruined another pair of sandals). Perhaps another Chelsea Piers session in that case instead - could do some kind of swim-(indoor) bike brick, that would be enjoyable. I cannot wait to be back in my usual/real routine - though I was chagrined to get an email the other day saying that the Camana Bay pool will be closed through August 6!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I've just pulled the plug on IMWI. Feeling pretty glum.

I'm not positive that Wisconsin will be the best race for me in 2011 - I might need to take a look again at the entire schedule of races and locations and think about what will suit me best in terms of the timing vis-a-vis the academic calendar.

A summer race might end up being better than a September one - Coeur d'Alene (June 26, 2011) or Switzerland (July - don't know the exact date). Lauren is doing Switzerland this year, so I can get a full report from her on whether it might suit - she's rented a road bike from a store there, and I'm sure I could do it without having to travel with a bike. I also have a college friend who lives in Geneva and did IM Switzerland a few years ago, so that's a minor incentive in that direction too. Coeur d'Alene might be more convenient, though...

For this year, in any case, I am going to have to live vicariously through what I hope will be a very full race report from Lauren - click over to her blog and wish her luck!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Things got very stressful and tiring after that last post, and have continued so - there is also a heat wave in Ottawa, which means that even if I make it through to the late afternoon with some vague notion of exercise still alive in my head I am pretty much out of vim and vigor from already having been so hot all day, and it's fiendishly hot outside.

I just booked my flight to Philadelphia for Sunday and will return to Cayman from New York the following Sunday - I have canceled my NYC triathlon entry (alas, as always, no refunds!), I have lost so much fitness and I cannot imagine it would be in the least enjoyable. I am looking forward to seeing family and friends in Philadelphia and New York, but really I am desperate to get back to some sort of home routine with exercise and healthy eating and lots of peace and quiet and time to read and write.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday run

Great run with Brent this morning along bucolic suburban Ottawa pedestrian-bike path - wildflowers, duck flotillas...


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Short run!

It seemed inconceivable that I would make it out the door for a run, but in fact Brent and I ended up having a very nice one, just 50 minutes or so - will run at 6:30 tomorrow morning also.

The Nepean pool is closed over the holiday weekend, so I think I will just stick with running for now - it is a start.

Thoughts on goals

It obviously hasn't been the first thing on my mind, but I have sporadically over the last week and a half contemplated the consequences of Wendy's death for the rest of my year of training and racing. At times it seemed as though I should just abandon any notion of trying to participate at Ironman Wisconsin in mid-September; at others, I felt that it would be a much better idea to keep the possibility of racing in play so long as it seemed even vaguely feasible. The underlying constraint is that I want to be able to help Brent in absolutely every way needed, and that is definitely more important to me than the race; but the race is important to me too, for different reasons, and it's tough backing off from a big goal like that without feeling some lingering aftereffects of a more or less damaging kind.

Not long after I first knew Brent he told me about Pony-Tail Guy (click through and read that link!), and we have often talked over the last few years about what in shorthand is simply referred to as "the Pony-Tail Guy approach" - looking at the time cut-offs in long-course triathlon and working tightly to those cut-offs at a truly easy pace.

What I am currently thinking is that I will proceed on the notion that I will participate in IMWI along Pony-Tail Guy lines. I'm going to book a hotel room right now, and just cancel it later on if I find that I really am not able to train enough for completion to be feasible (I'm a slow cyclist, so that's the concern - swim and marathon-length brisk walk are less of an issue, I think). An official finish would mean a lot to me, even if it's 16 hours and 59 minutes and some seconds, and I think it's worth keeping the possibility in play as long as I can.

(And Wendy's teammate Pat Niblett is going to take me to Technosport practice on Wednesday next week, and I will also join her for Tuesday and Thursday swims at the Nepean Sportsplex - which is truly in walking distance of where we're staying, so I can definitely get there on my own, too, once things get a little less crazy here. Running should be fine as well - it is just that it is so hard to get out of the house when there has been a bereavement! Those of you who followed Wendy's blog might like to see the update I wrote at my other blog, and here is a direct link to some pictures of The Boarder in his new home.)