Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We are down to 4 lanes for the summer session, which meant there were 6 in our slow lane, with one wayward fin-wearing solipsist creating undue complexities for others in the lane! But it was a fine workout.

Warmup: c. 300 with random breast due to lane congestion

6 x 50 on 1:10, stroke-free by 25 (2 fly, 2 back, 2 breast)

3 x 200 free on 4:30

6 x 100 on 2:20, 25 stroke-75 free (2 fly, 2 back, 2 breast)

10 x 50 as :25 down, :45 back i.e. on 1:10 (mostly but not all freestyle)

2300 yards total

Slowest long run ever!

Actually I'm just glad I got it done. Every time I tried to kick it up a notch, my brain and body were giving me a pretty firm message that really it was fine where it was now - if they could articulate things in words, they would have been saying something like, "You had a warm and demanding 6-hour ride on Saturday, including significant time in zones 3 and 4, then 2 subsequent nights of barely any sleep and 2 subsequent days of feeling fretfully too hot pretty much round the clock! This pace is just fine, thank you very much - you're going to be walking a lot of that Ironman marathon anyway!"

I just did loops in the shadier upper bit of the park near me - it's already 80 out there, there was no reason to go and run in direct sun!

2:00:13, 9.41mi (12:46/mi avg pace, avg HR 132 - zone 1)

(NB Lauren ran the details on our Saturday ride: it was nearly 4,000 feet of climbing over about 70 miles, so that is highly satisfactory.)

I need to make some changes to the schedule as it falls out over the next couple weeks - but right now I need to clean myself up, tidy up my apartment and get out of here before the cleaner arrives at noon!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Short holiday swim

Well, that was a bust!  I felt quite ill earlier, due to some combination of heat and sleeplessness.  Libraries closed for the holiday, and when I took my work to Starbucks instead in search of high-quality a/c, it was all too clear that everyone else had the same idea.

Clearly my only hope for my notional 2hr run, given heat, was the track at Chelsea Piers.  Got here around 4.40p, picturing 1hr of a/c to recombobulate then my long run - only to find gym would close at 6 for the holiday!  Very grumpy about this, mostly with myself for not calling earlier to check.

Had a short swim instead - cool water was good, but pool was overly full of also grumpy swimmers in same boat as myself.  (Also, 6pm gym closing means 5:30 pool closing!) Will try this again tomorrow and hope it all goes better!

c. 1200 misc. yards

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Got the brand wrong, really it was 2XU rather than CW-X - these are the shorts in question, and I have ordered them from Zappos! The good pair of tri shorts I already have (but I have worn them into the ground) are also 2XU, I think they are superior to other brands on the market...

Need I say it again? Triathlon is an expensive hobby!

Epic ride!

Yes, our average mph comes out incredibly slow, not helped by the fact that I was riding the bad-road steep downhills of River Road on my brakes at 10mph for the last forty minutes of the ride - somehow I had thought we had parked at the NEAR end of the park, not the far end, and it seemed unbelievable to me that we still had so much longer to ride! This is not an exaggeration re: the effect on speed/mileage - I think we were riding as strongly or more strongly as we did in early May, but that our route was slightly different and included one major additional climb and that I also just slowed down hugely because of this question of nerve-racking downhills in the home stretch...

(NB said park is clearly not suitable for my Miles of Nowhere next weekend, and conversation with Lauren led to me embracing wonderful option I hadn't thought of, which is to do it in Prospect Park during the day on Friday - that park has shorter road loop than Central Park, so it truly is a demented undertaking in the spirit of the Miles of Nowhere event, but it is FAR less crowded than Central Park - I'll plan to get there [on the subway - this is a more Davidsonian plan than having to ride over bridges!] around 9am when the park closes to traffic, and just keep on riding round and round until I am done! Friday instead of Saturday because parks are always less crowded on a weekday, and my schedule is pretty open these days.)

We really got almost all the way to Bear Mountain Bridge. It was a very warm day, not so comfortable once you've been out there for a while but good from the point of view of heat acclimation. In spite of being prepared for it this time, I still found the road crossing on the way back from Haverstraw onto 9W quite horrible, and also had a minor freakout after riding next to the PRECIPICE just before you come to Bear Mountain Bridge, but I was able in each case to regroup fairly quickly.

The new short-fingered gloves I got to replace the old short-fingered ones that were so strikingly less comfortable than my long-fingered ones have completely blistered the heels of my hands; clearly they are unusable by me for long rides! (I hold on too hard too, and in fact I would say sore hands were the thing I was most painfully conscious of during last hour of riding esp. given riding-on-the-brakes issue, but blistering on this scale and in this location has not happened to me before!) I will just use the old ones, or wear my full-fingered ones for the race if it is not an excessively hot day...

The new pair of bike shorts I acquired on deep discount are not really as comfortable as my funny-looking white ones, though they were not terrible, and I now think it's worth trying to see if I couldn't find a pair of tri shorts that I could stand to wear for the whole race - it is true I will be on the bike longer than Lauren was in her IM last year, but she had some CW-X endurance-specific ones that she found tolerable. Have to investigate this ASAP - would certainly save me a lot of time in transitions.

I fueled much better than last time, wasn't so much metabolically fading at end, but the heat slightly cancels that out and then it also seems to me clear that however long a ride you do, the last half-hour where you sort of thought you would be done already is mentally and physically arduous!

Am going to take off - family picnic in NJ, am trying to avoid further colds by not getting up too early, will run Monday morning instead! Only reason to do it tomorrow would be due to the contribution it would make to the week's slightly meager training hours, and that is not a good reason at all. Total hours for the week: 12:36. Next week I will have an amazing mega-week!

By the numbers (don't have elevation numbers, but it's really considerable, good preparation for CDA as I think we must have done the whole climbing equivalent of that 112-mile leg over about 72 miles):

71.23 mi. (11.7 avg mph)
avg HR 135, max HR 165

zone 1: 1:19:59
zone 2: 2:32:35
zone 3: 1:00:41
zone 4: 1:01:10
zone 5: 0:01:18

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday TNYA

Doled out piecemeal, and therefore slightly difficult to reconstruct! It is a 90-minute workout and I am pretty certain that we must have done one more set of 3 x 150 than I can exactly remember, otherwise the total yardage is implausibly low....

warmup: drill 100 free/75 back/50 breast/25 fly, 100 swim (350)

8 x 50 on 1:10: first 25 moderate, second 25 fast but with easy arms, fast kick (400)

6 x 75 with odds IM no free (1:30) and evens free (1:20) (but clocks at ends were not coordinated, who knows what we really were doing!) (450)

3 x 150 IM no free on 3:45, 3:40, 3:35 (lots of rest) (450)

3 x 150 pull as 50 back, 100 free on 3:20, 3:15, 3:10 (450)

3 x 150 something unconstructable (450)

3 x 150 free hard on 3:20, 3:15, 3:10 (450) (third lanemate had just left, so remaining lanemate and I split the lane and RACED!)

50 swim with fins (50) (lanemate got a calf cramp so we stopped a few minutes early)

3050 yards total

Very nice but WARM run

I didn't fall asleep till 3:30, slept only lightly and fitfully and it was nearly impossible to drag myself out of bed - I snoozed the alarm several times before finally getting up shortly before 10. I was pretty set on running sooner rather than later, though I do find it a mental strain to do it as the first thing, but I managed to get out the door around 11 and had an entirely satisfactory one-hour run.

It is HOT out there! I was surprised by how warm and overheated I felt, but now that I check the Times website I see that it is actually 82 - I was guessing that it was mid-70s and that I just don't have good heat acclimation. Very clear to me as I was running (it is a hot run, there is no shade for most of the way) that though it is less enjoyable and certainly slower, it will be extremely good for me in coming weeks to do warm runs as they present themselves - the mental and physical aspects of desensitization to heat are both important, and it is the best way to prepare for the possibility of a warm race day.

Two really spectacular bird sightings, by the way (if I see someone looking at something I stop and ask what it is and look too!) - a beautiful cormorant fishing in the Hudson, and then, most spectacularly, a red-tailed hawk sitting prominently on a streetlamp between the river path and the West Side Highway! It was spectacular - the gentleman who pointed it out to me said that it was the mother and that if I looked carefully I would see her nest and babies a little further down, but really I can only see things like that when I can follow the line of sight of someone more knowledgeable...

(Also amazing, in a slightly more gruesome vein: a HUGE dead fish - like, at least three feet long and gleaming silver scales and fins - floating close to the shore, with a gull hacking Promethean hunks from its side!)

I'll swim later, if logistics permit, and have my long bike with Lauren tomorrow. I'd like to do a two-hour run Sunday morning before heading to NJ for a family picnic, and will set alarm accordingly, but will make the judgment as to whether it's wise when I see what impact if any tomorrow's ride has on the lungs, which are still obnoxiously and obtrusively full of JUNK....

By the numbers:

5.36mi. (11:19/mi. avg pace)
avg HR 144, max HR 156

zone 1: 6:00; zone 2: 44:21; zone 3: 8:09 (I note that in warm weather it is very difficult for me to stay out of zone 3 after about forty minutes, and that late afternoon and evening temperatures in Coeur d'Alene on race day are likely to have a significant impact on what pace I can maintain)


Woke up this morning with much phlegm in lungs telling me that double spin class with time in zone 3 had perhaps been slightly premature! Decided to postpone run till tomorrow.

Non-triaspirational but on the whole enjoyable day - among other things I had a really fantastic Alexander Technique lesson. I am looking into this for general insomnia, anxiety, breathing reasons, but it is going to be really useful for triathlon also: the questions of body awareness and relaxation are highly apt for run and swim form, not to mention cycling which is by far the most tension-producing of the three sports (for me in particular, but probably in general).

I would not say that I am a natural as far as the question of body awareness goes, I am more of a mind person than a body person when it comes down to it and tend to hold myself in a fairly tense way (to the extent that this is an amazingly consistent weakness across all sorts of activities, from how I used to hold my hands when I played the oboe to my difficulty maintaining a nice floppy high-elbow position on freestyle recovery), but I've been thinking about it very obsessively in context of swimming and Iyengar yoga for some years now, and also was interested for a long time in both the practical and theoretical sense in teenage years from the point of view of singing, acting and playing wind instruments - I am surprised (in a good way) to find that I do understand and pick this sort of thing up fairly quickly. One of the highest compliments I have been paid in recent years was JB commenting during a lesson on butterfly that I was a fast learner! It is only possible to be a fast learner with a good teacher, though, and I am thinking that this one is going to be as good as JB only in a different sphere of expertise.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday double spin

That was very good, though I shouldn't let things drift till so late in the evening - being sick and having the semester be over has caused me to revert to natural late-night, late-sleep-in-the-morning patterns. I have stuff tomorrow afternoon and evening that means I will only be able to run tomorrow, not to swim as well; that's OK...

Double spin class is a very good willpower-free way to get a decent chunk of Time On Bike. I was mindful of Gale Bernhardt's advice about not going out of zone 2 after a week off from training due to illness, but really other than continuing runny nose and phlegm in lungs I feel fine, so I figured it really would be OK. I think I am going to do as many of these 2-hour indoor efforts as my body tells me is wise over the next couple weeks - they are stress-free and quite enjoyable, I know it is not the same as riding outside but then there are no flat tires or tumbles either!...

(I'm riding with Lauren this weekend, a really good 6-hour one - I think we should be able to get all the way to Bear Mountain and back if we start from Fort Lee again - so that will have me in the real world as opposed to the spin world...)

2:04:28, avg HR 134, max HR 154

zone 1: 35:51
zone 2: 1:05:20
zone 3: 17:01
zone 4: 2:29

Two facts before I sign off: my presence in the second class was the occasion for the teacher to blast a song that everyone of my generation called Jenny knows all too well, with video also: 867-5309... and after class I had a delicious smoothie called the Popeye - it is full of spinach, it is ridiculously green, but it also has mango and pineapple and banana and echinacea, and it is delicious....

Idle thoughts

(I have had an overly distractible morning! Will do double spin class this evening at Chelsea Piers.)

So: taking a short break from the essay I'm working on, my thoughts on a topic of interest: the possibility of a NYC Ironman!

Much talk in recent weeks about this. The early Harvard Club event where they're going to make some sort of announcement is charging $125 for a basic ticket and something like $675 for an unspecific "early entry" privilege into the notional race - target audience is clearly triathletes with lucrative finance jobs!

I am secretly convinced that despite all this publicity being oriented to 140.6, they really are just going to roll out a NYC 70.3, immensely logistically easier to organize.

If they do actually pull off a 140.6....

... it is going to be impossible to get entry! Commenters at Slowtwitch are speculating on a qualifying entry time or a higher-than-average race fee, but what I think is much more likely is that it will be priced the same as every other North American Ironman, but that both the regular and the foundation slots will immediately be gone, and that WTC will have made an arrangement with the Robin Hood Foundation to designate a large chunk of fundraising slots where you have to raise, basically, corporate-style rather than friends-and-family-type donations. A lot of the charities that have NYC marathon slots ask for $5,000 minimum donation (you give them your credit card, and many people just pay it themselves and do only token fundraising). Since many of the people who would do a notional IMNYC work in money businesses where both they and workplace friends have large amounts of disposable income, it would be entirely feasible for Robin Hood to get a block of, say, 300 slots and make a $10,000 minimum fundraising commitment for each of those slots - I don't think they'd have any problem finding people to take them up on that sort of a deal, especially as the sums are tax-deductible as charitable donations for athletes who choose to pay them themselves.

The NYC Nautica Triathlon closes down the Hudson parkway, and obviously any bike course is going to be mostly in either NYS or NJ - I am hearing talk of NJ, but if Korff is organizing, I wonder whether they wouldn't really be more likely to work with the local folks they've sorted things out with before and go north on the east side of the Hudson rather than crossing over the river early on. That said, the NJ route would be a better course. Korff says the swim would be in the Hudson, which would pretty certainly mean point-to-point; the 79th St. area is where they've had transition for the Nautica tri, but there would be more room to spread out if you moved further north up the Greenway and took over an area more like in the 140s (perhaps swimming downstream from the Little Red Lighthouse!). A swim in the Hudson would most likely mean wave starts. If the race were held in September or October, the water would definitely be wetsuit legal, but in July it's an issue: I think (this is based on conversations I've had in the past, though I happily do it myself!) many triathletes would be nervous about swimming in the Hudson without a wetsuit.

Nautica's a demoralizing race because if you're slow, you're basically doing your run in late-morning heat and humidity on a July day, but I think that July weather would not be at all prohibitive for a longer-distance race: there are only a few days each summer that are really dangerously hot, and you wouldn't be likely to get heat like Louisville let alone Houston (which sounds to me utterly hellish).

Obviously I would love to do a hometown Ironman! And actually I think NYC is a great location in many respects, barring these complexities about courses and road closures - it is surrounded by major airports and there's a huge amount of lodging, it would be affordable for someone to fly into LGA and stay out in Queens at a motel in a way that it is simply NOT ever cheap to get to, say, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho if one lives outside of driving distance! If a 140.6 is announced and it is at a time of year that I consider feasible, I will almost certainly try to get a slot, though not at the cost of making a large fundraising commitment...

All right, better get back to work, that was an irrelevancy!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Short warm run

I felt rather tired after my earlier workout, but I really wanted to get out there for some kind of a run; as I am still bedevilled by phlegm (both in the nose-blowing head-filled sense and in the hawking-a-loogie sense), and as it is 80 degrees outside, I just stayed in the shadier upper bit of the park and ran for half an hour in zone 2. Had to slow down to stay out of zone 3 - I have no heat acclimation!

While I was sick over the weekend I ordered all sorts of discounted triathlon garb from Bike Nashbar and various other vendors-to-the-frugal; I am very happy to report that I now have a short-sleeved jersey that does not make me look like a sausage in its casing and a pair of black bike shorts (they are suspiciously shiny, but you can't have everything!) whose chamois seems to be as good as the ones in my amazingly comfortable but devastatingly unflattering white Adidas ones. Also two tri bra/tops that I am hoping will chafe less than the one I've been using these past four or so years - have just tested the first one, seems comfortable on a short run but will have to test it at the 2-hour distance before I would risk wearing it for such a long event. Gear report to follow consequent upon sufficient testing - I am thinking very seriously about replacing my two remaining longest runs (3 and 3.25hr respectively) with 2-hour runs on the grounds of less strain on the immune system, and adding some extra cycling instead...

31:08, 2.81mi., avg pace 11:04, avg HR 146


I am back in the game! When you are in the habit of exercising regularly, a week without it is bad enough even when you are not obsessively worrying about the consequences of illness and hiatus for your ironman plans....

Lungs still full of phlegm, and I am blowing my nose quite a bit, but really I am enough better to start back up with easy-intensity things. I rode my bike down to Chelsea Piers (slightly nerve-racking to be back on it after a short break, I lose my desensitization to bicycle-related anxiety very quickly) and had a nice easy-effort swim. I'll run for an hour a bit later on this evening once it has cooled down a little (after many days of frigid torrentially rainy conditions it has now inconveniently and unpleasantly surged to 80F).

10 miles easy bike

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

3 x (4 x 50 stroke-free on 1:10), 1:00 set rest: first four fly, next four back, next four breast

3 x 100 drill-swim by 25 (front scull, fists, finger-drag)

1500 yards total

Monday, May 23, 2011


Totally sick all weekend. This morning is the first day I've woken up and it's actually seemed at all conceivable that there is any exercise in my near-term future; still a lot of junk and wheeziness in the lungs, so nothing on the schedule for today, but they seemed to have stabilized somewhat compared to yesterday.

So I'm going to wait to tomorrow to try anything, and I found a good article by Gale Bernhardt on how to adapt the training plan after this sort of an illness-related break. Basically, Tues.-Fri. will be shorter in duration than they would have been and with intensity capped at zone 2 - no TNYA!

I am very set on doing my long ride with Lauren on Saturday, but I think that I will just skip this week's long swim and run - or perhaps just do a long swim on Sunday and wait and see how I feel as to whether or not I should fit in any kind of run longer than an hour. Looking at my schedule, the two remaining long runs are 3hr and 3.25hr and I feel that they are probably the workouts that induce the most physiological stress but without necessarily giving me enough benefit to be worth it - I think cutting each down to 2 hours may be in order, and adding in an extra 3-hour bike ride midweek next week instead.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Glumness prevails

in these quarters: have spent last 2 days with lungs feeling as though someone's fist is painfully clenched around them; it now seems I am finally making the transition to the stage where they begin to sound like wheezy leaky bellows with much coughing and phlegm starting to be produced. Have been taking Mucinex, I think it's the only thing that has potential to help, but I am clearly off from exercise for several days more, potentially more like a whole week if this goes as my bronchial ailments often do, and it's making me incredibly upset! Trying to keep my cool about it, but not doing particularly well.

There is much work I could and should be doing instead of lying around feeling ill and upset, and I will start in tomorrow morning on a long-overdue essay that it should be I will enjoy working on once I've reimmersed myself in it. Slept for several hours this afternoon; I think I'm still just sick enough that challenging work would have been a bit of a stretch, but tomorrow should be more realistic for writing if not for anything requiring lung capacity...

Friday, May 20, 2011

No race for me tomorrow

As colds go, the one I have is not the worst, but it is inexorably moving down to my lungs. I can't afford a bad bout of bronchitis that could have been avoided; I would be an idiot to race - I have written to withdraw (and to see if there's any chance some of my registration dollars could be applied to next year's race, though that is not really the main issue).

I had a really good big training week last week, which is obviously a contributing factor in why I'm sick now; I'll take all the time off I need to let my lungs recover, consider this a recovery week for the legs and start back in next week for my two remaining big training weeks (basically, 5/23-6/8).

As a veteran of the common cold, I think I am likely to be feeling under the weather for a few more days and probably best off skipping exercise altogether for today and tomorrow; maybe I'll be able to pick back up gently on Sunday, and then get back on a 'real' schedule as of Tuesday. If I feel good after Tuesday's run and swim, I'll do a longer mid-week bike ride on Wednesday. If I am still feeling lung impingement Tuesday, though, which is certainly a possibility, I'll stick with zone 1 efforts for a few days longer.

Have just written to Lauren to see if she will schedule an epic 6-hour hilly ride with me for 5/28 or 5/29 - that and my "100 miles of nowhere" are the two really big training days I need to hit, with each long ride preceded the day before by a 1.5hr swim/3hr run in the first instance and a 1.5hr swim and 3.25hr run in the second. Then one long three-sport day (probably scheduled for 6/8, as I'm out of town over the weekend) as I'm heading into the taper; I'll almost certainly do this one indoors.

Still feeling very glum, but it is extremely clear that this is the right thing to do - take this as a breather before last big two-and-a-half week training effort.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


(I am so depressed and discouraged! Really I was wildly overoptimistic this morning, I have a real cold that is progressing through the typical stages, I'm at least as sick now as I was yesterday. I guess there is a small chance I will wake up tomorrow feeling great, but it seems wildly unlikely, and with my infuriating history of bronchial ailments it will be extremely stupid of me to do an endurance event when I already have lung vulnerability. I have to keep the longer view - it will do me no good if I race at Harriman on Saturday and then have to sit out three weeks of training with bronchitis. Seems to me nearly certain that I shouldn't do it. Ugh, ugh, ugh....)


Just in from race organizers:
Harriman State Park that the Lake Welch water has failed to pass the
water testing. This is mostly due to run-off from recent rain
showers. They are diligently testing today and will do the same
tomorrow. We are hoping as the rain slows down we will see
improvement in the water quality and it will pass the test. If the
water does not pass the test by Saturday Morning we will still have
the races but we will replace the swim portion with a run (1Mile for
Half, .75 for Olympic). Thank you for you understanding as this is
out of our hands at this point.
That's fine, if there's no swim it's not quite such a good training day but I am not fretting about it either way, I've done quite a few triathlons and open-water swim races by now and it is not where I so much need the practice...

Thoughts for Saturday

After I did this race last year, I wrote a ridiculously long post!

The numbers I gave there were approximations. I have looked at the official results and can give more precise details. NB the swim was definitely long (I was additionally slowed down by wheeziness, but the course itself was long and there's a pretty long run from the beach to transition); the bike was a non-standard distance, 63 miles; and I think the run course was actually a bit short.

I was 99/103 - my total time was 8:25. It was a pre-season race for me last year; my fitness is probably better right now, certainly my bike fitness, but on the other hand I weigh fifteen pounds more (last year was a bad year for me!), so the two probably cancel each other out in terms of times. The bike course has the same total elevation over the half-iron distance as my IMCDA course has over the whole 112 miles, so it is a very good training race, and I shouldn't worry if my time is very slow - all I can do is see what the day brings me!

Last year's times (but course is different this year, so direct comparisons will have to be on pace and will still be approximate):

Swim: 58:22 (pace: 2:46; place: 96)
T1: 5:10 (place: 87)
Bike (63 miles): 4:41:38 (pace: 13.4; place: 100)
T2: 3:46 (place: 85)
Run: 2:36:09 (pace: 11:55; place: 98)

Total time: 8:25:05

So: goals. Beat last year's swim and bike paces, match last year's run pace, try out all systems and equipment and see what might need tweaking for IMCDA.

Bullet seems to have been dodged....

(My nose was running hugely and horribly all day yesterday, with massive amounts of sneezing and almost half a roll of paper-towels' worth of nose-blowing - hardier than tissues! - but I slept for a long time and I'm clearly much better this morning. Sinuses still very congested, but drying up significantly; it was the right maxillary sinus where the whole thing started, and there is still a ton of junk in those cheekbone sinuses, but I think I am on the mend, thank goodness. Will probably still take today off from exercise, do something bike-related tomorrow to make sure I'm good to go and then do the race on Saturday as a good long training day as planned...)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Woke up at 4:30 with a sore throat! It's nothing major, it's the kind that's just on one side on the upper area at the back, not deep in the throat - but it is already turning to a pretty runny nose also.

All above the neck, wouldn't normally stop me from working out: I was really looking forward to this morning's workout and seeing Lauren, I was actually leaving my apartment building with all my gear for swim and spin & then on the street as I stopped to blow my nose I thought, "I am an idiot!"

I had a great training weekend last weekend, and big plans for Saturday that I need to be well for - I will take today off, and tomorrow and Friday too if I'm still feeling below par. A few days off will not hurt my fitness.

Right now I am sucking one of Brent's zinc lozenges; I have been eating them for the past day or two, really this past weekend's training was just the sort of thing that knocks out your immune system temporarily...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday run

I had a hugely grumpy morning. Monumentally sleepless night last night (natural consequence of having slept so long and well the night before), involving vast amounts of tossing and turning and the unpleasant feeling of never quite going under; at 1am I gave in and took a sleeping pill, only it had no discernible effect, so that today I had the worst of both worlds, sleeping-pill hangover without having had any significant period of unconsciousness!

Was up pretty early, really there was no point staying in bed, but it was thunderstorming like crazy and I truly could not persuade myself it was a good idea to go out in that kind of weather. In theory I was going to run in the morning and do the Columbia TNYA workout in the evening, so I was already pretty grumpy with myself at having to move the run later and miss the swim - however it turned out that Columbia has closed the pool at the last minute for repairs (Evil Pool Closures!), so TNYA was canceled anyway, and I definitely wouldn't have gotten downtown to swim, so that made the skipped morning workout less consequential.

I still just felt pretty awful in the early evening, but I knew a run would be the thing to make me feel better; I slightly wimped out, I meant to do the Central Park loop (from here on out, the Tuesday runs don't have those long zone 3 intervals, but instead should be done on rolling hills so as to get natural mix of zones 1-3), but I didn't have the vim, I decided it would be OK to do my usual flat Riverside run so long as I got out there.

As I picked up the GPS on my Garmin before getting started, I realized I hadn't put on the HR strap, but figured it would be unwise to go back up the stairs out of the park, up the hill and up in the elevator to my apartment for it - hard enough to get out the door the first time, didn't want to risk falling into torpor and skipping the workout altogether!

It's cool but muggy, it was a pretty nice run, within ten minutes I felt much better than I had all day so really the run was its own reward. Call it low- to mid-zone 2, I think, based on perceived effort?

I'm doing a spin workout with Lauren at Chelsea Piers tomorrow morning, but I think I will go down there earlier and do my missed swim first; that seems realistic, otherwise it won't happen, I have a bunch of sort of end-of-semester stuff still spilling over into tomorrow...

11:34/mi. avg. pace

(It is still very slow, but I feel like I'm finally getting my running mojo back, that was an enjoyable one; it is good! And a hot shower is going to be even better!)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just one more postscript


And one more post

This should have been in the last one!

I got the handlebar mount for my Garmin 305, and it makes so much difference to the quality of my ride that I've just bought another one to put on my bike in Cayman. I can see HR really easily and keep it in the zone I want; I should have done it like this sooner, it is excellent.

Yesterday's ride by the numbers (it really was an exactly 100-mile ride, but there was one spot where I forgot to turn back on my Garmin after a quick stop to check that I was on the correct route, and I missed a couple miles):

97.96 miles
avg. speed 14.7mph
avg. HR 136

zone 1: 0:25:54
zone 2: 5:16:19
zone 3: 0:54:33
zone 4: 0:04:43

(As I said before, it is a very flat ride! Clock was obviously off for rest stops and mechanicals; total time on the road was considerably longer. Unfortunately I got in just too late to make it onto the 3:30 train back from Montauk, and the next one wasn't till 5:30. It took forever - that is far away! Got to Penn Station around 8:45, and taking my bike home on the subway seemed taxing - mercifully a 1 train arrived just as I was arriving at the platform, I really needed to pee and the thought of a ten-minute wait for a train was too awful to bear. Got home around 9:30; my friend from the gym had picked me up at 4:45 that morning, it was a long day. I note that he and his other friend deemed it so rainy at the start that they got back in the car and drove back to NYC instead of riding! And a guy I chatted with on the train who had ridden with the SAG team said that a lot of people who had flats gave up and took a ride to the finish, so I think this really is one I can feel good about finishing, as the copious verbiage and many exclamation points here also probably suggest...)

An epic post for a rainy rest day

1. I slept for 12 hours last night; it was great!

2. I spent a few hours at the end of last week setting up an account on Training Peaks (this is as a consequence of having lost data at Buckeye Outdoors and looking for a new online log). I wanted to restore a full clear record of my IM training, and it seemed worth the modest extra trouble to go back to the beginning of the calendar year and try and reconstruct from there. It was very easy to upload everything from my Garmin and just cross-check for accuracy with my blog (for instance occasionally I misrecord something as a bike instead of a run or vice versa, and I modify these on the Garmin Connect site rather than on the device itself); then I read through Triaspirational and transferred swims and boot camp or strength hours to Training Peaks as well.

3. I actually was much more consistent in my exercise habits this winter than I thought at the time; it is also very striking, though, how often in the blog I am complaining about being incredibly tired and feeling vaguely sick from fatigue. I am going to go ahead and make an appointment with a sleep specialist and pursue this more thoroughly, as insomnia is basically ruining if not my life then my quality of life!

4. Last week was a fifteen-hour training week! That is very good.

5. Completing a really successfully high-volume training weekend has given me huge additional confidence, especially re: my ability to finish a long bike ride even with minor adversity.

6. I had a total wipeout about an hour into the ride yesterday. It was stupid rather than dangerous; I'd already nearly wiped out on a couple right-hand turns where my wheel then got caught in a seam in the road, but narrowly saved myself both times. It was still raining and the roads were incredibly wet and slick, but also with all sorts of seams and potholes that made the going treacherous. I sped up to get through a light before it changed, but there was also a left-hand turn, and at this point I was just going way too fast for a rainy day. Those road bike tires have no traction as soon as it's wet! As the curb opposite rapidly approached, I made the quick call (having just had a couple of these wheel-caught-in-parallel groove things) that it would be safer to ride up onto it head-on and into the huge hedge at the other side rather than risking skidding back out into the road. (It was 7am on a rainy Sunday in semi-industrial suburb semi-country remote hinterland, there was pretty much no traffic.) I bumped up onto the sidewalk and into the hedge and then sort of toppled back down onto the sidewalk with my bike under me. It was like the sort of tumble you take as a child first riding a bicycle...

7. Don't worry, mom! It really wasn't a bad one; I have a couple of bruises, not even really a scrape, and was more chastened than rattled. I do not have enough experience riding in the rain, and that is for good reason, it is not really very safe! I will revert to my former caution, I think - I had just had a very good stretch of riding with a group of quite fast cyclists, drafting made it feel very easy even though we were going at an excellent clip, and it might have gone to my head. (I was actually laughing to myself after I rode off again, and thinking about how Brent would enjoy this observation: pride came before a fall!)

8. I put the chain back on and dusted myself off (several cyclists stopped to see if I needed assistance, and a very pleasant older black man with a pickup truck, who was perhaps filling up at the gas station next door, gave me a clean rag to wipe the bike grease and mud off my legs - he also asked if I needed a bandaid, but I did not!). Bike definitely felt slightly off, but certainly rideable; back wheel felt slightly out of alignment and something was making a pronging/twanging noise on the front....

9. At the next aid station, they had an amazing full mechanic's tent. The very nice guy took a look at my bike and pointed out that I had lost a spoke on the front wheel, and that the wheel also had a flat spot. (I was surprised, as back wheel had seemed more problematic - that was the first one that flatted, between where I wiped out and the aid station.) He replaced the spoke for me and said I should be fine for the rest of the ride, but that I would probably need to replace the wheel. I bought two extra tubes ($5 a pop, good deal) and made a modest donation to the tip jar - services were being provided for free.

10. Subsequent flats may have been related to the wheel issue, but probably not. Everyone was having vast numbers of flats - in fact the next two I had, I had company while I was changing my own tire, as someone else either had already or was about to flat and pull over at the same location! It was strangely companionable! I couldn't find glass, but there was an almost centimeter-long slit in my front tire on the second front flat; I used the patch kit to seal it back up, but was full of trepidation about another flat. I didn't have any more tubes left - but mercifully flat #4 only arrived as I coasted down the hill to the finish at Montauk. It was like magic!

11. I do know how to change a flat, but it was good to have the extra practice. Notes to self: (a) when changing rear tire, take a closer look at how/where derailleur goes before you take off the wheel so that you put it back on right the first time! (b) get a better frame pump! I had 2 CO2 cartridges with me, the first one worked like a dream but on the next flat I didn't lock it on properly and had to fall back on the hard-to-use frame pump. Someone with a better one stopped to help me, but I felt good that on each of these flats I did 95% of the work myself, and didn't slow anyone down much - next time it will be 100% and I will not slow anybody down, and that will be even better.

12. Might consult Youtube for tips on tube-changing techniques....

13. Have just had an extremely expensive trip to the bike store where I learned that the back wheel also got a flat spot, and that really not one but both wheels should be replaced. Was easily talked into a better-quality frame set ($400 rather than $200 for both wheels - I think it is these, the Mavic Ksyrium Equipe set). It was perhaps the salesman in him talking, but I was thoroughly persuaded that I will enjoy having better wheels; I am serious enough about my triathlon endeavors that the difference between $200 and $400 seemed one not worth having qualms about. (Next jump up is to more like $1000, at which point really I would just be upgrading to an altogether new bike, so that was not a temptation!).

14. Also got what is clearly a much better frame pump (it has an interesting structure, a sort of tube that screws directly onto the main part of the valve rather than locking onto the top - it is either this or something much like it).

15. And two new tires (with extra puncture resistance!), and three tubes and CO2 cartridges so that I am not caught out again any time soon, and new brake pads (did not realize riding in the rain so much destroyed them, but once it was pointed out to me I could see the dark powder on the bike frame where they had sort of dissolved themselves and sprayed out).

16. As I say, it was an expensive trip to the bike store! This is the Sid's Bikes store in Chelsea, the same place where I originally bought this bike, and I really like the people there; all the mechanics I've ever dealt with were extremely nice and helpful, and in this case the guy in question gave me a 10% discount on everything I bought, which was much appreciated. (Ten percent of a large number is quite a lot of dollars!)

17. I want to get a mountain bike. I really think I would like it, it would be more the sort of thing I enjoy than road cycling, only there remain the logistical questions about how you get to where you ride and who you ride with; unfortunately my MTB friend Lauren is about to move to Georgia! But yesterday's thing reminded me that truly it is not so much that I am afraid of falling off my bike as that I deeply dislike riding in traffic. It was an amazingly traffic-free route (there were some stretches where you ride on the Montauk Highway and there are more cars, but really it's hardly anything compared to anywhere else you might ride round here); I will certainly hope to do the ride again next year, I thought it was very well-organized and well-supported, though I suspect we also benefited from the fact that so many people bailed on it because of the rain.

18. I said it was going to be an epic post! I'll pick the bike up on Thursday evening, all ready for my race on Saturday: the Harryman Half. More thoughts about that later in the week...

19. I am excited about Harryman, and I am even more excited about Coeur d'Alene!

20. To end on a round number - the good thing about school being over is that now, if I can't sleep at night, I can often sleep as late as I need to in the morning!

Water mill rest stop, mile 71

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My first century!

(Will not be so wildly irrational as to say first of MANY, but certainly I hope first of SOME!)

Fuller report to follow later.  Pleased with time and heartrate zones, not so pleased with heavy rain at the start and four flats; SUPER pleased the fourth came literally at the finish (rode last ten miles on tenterhooks having used the three tubes I had and not at all sure I would have the gall to beg a fourth of a passerby!)

Waiting in Montauk for 5:30 train home - in the meantime, enjoying very lavish finish-line refreshments, including free Mr. Softee!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday swim

Such a nice one, too: after the initial horror of submersion & realizing that every single little bit of chafing from HR monitor strap and sports bra was now open to the bite of pool chemicals (death by a thousand cuts!), it felt blissful to have the cool water to make my way through. I really love swimming, especially after a run (it is so refreshing!); it is a pity that there is no race format that puts them this way round!

I took a back seat initially as I saw no reason to have a high-intensity swim, but it soon became clear that really I had better lead, or else I was going to be full of irk.

200 warmup

5 x 50 on 1:10

9 x 150: first three on 3:15, 30 seconds rest, next three on 3:10, 30 seconds rest, last three notionally on 3:05 but since I was the only one making the interval with time to spare & not skipping 50s here and there I decided we should just stay on the 3:10 interval

6 x 50 on 1:10: first three back-breast, second three breast-back

3 x 50 as hard-easy, any stroke (should have been :25/:45, but I heard Conrad shouting for the next lane which was doing :20/40, and went with that send-off inadvertently!): I did fly-free

2250 yards total

It was a very enjoyable workout. The benefit of having done my long run at a lower intensity was that I didn't feel at all underfueled during the swim: I had set out early on an empty stomach, had 3 150-calorie gels over the course of the run (at 1:00, 1:45 and 2:30) and a 230-calorie powerbar at 10:15 when I got back from my run. Have just eaten some pasta and fruit, it is good, coffee awaits!

Long run!

Well, that was a very good one, with one huge proviso: I just couldn't get out of zone 1! If I were training for a marathon, that would be a disaster, but I am just going to have to take it for what it is. I don't know what was up with that - it became clear to me about 35-40 minutes in, though, that even once I was warmed up, I just didn't have the vim to kick it up a notch.

(I took a sleeping pill last night at 9:45 and basically knocked myself out from 10 to 6 or so, though I snoozed the alarm till more like 6:30: couldn't face the day! These sleepings meds definitely affect the body in strange and mildly unpleasant ways, and I think it is a distinct possibility that it was a factor in low HR/inability to raise effort levels. There wasn't much of a recovery period between my run intervals late Thursday afternoon and my early Saturday morning long run, either; and there is still the general question of fatigue. On the bright side, it could also be said that doing quite a lot of cycling has given me a zone 1 running gear that is not always available to me?)

Anyway, it really was a nice run otherwise. Felt quite easy up until about the 1:40 mark, at which point I had to start concentrating a little harder, but it was a pleasant cool morning and I went all the way down the west side past Chambers St. and through much of the Battery Park City Esplanade. Turned around at a rather beautiful little dock area that I cannot identify more specifically - nice, though.

I am .04 miles short of a round number and am going to take the liberty of rounding up! Now, off to swim - 11am TNYA workout - the whole point of getting up that early was that I could then be done with my workouts by noon, and in a highly convenient fashion that did not involve subway travel - not sure how fast I am going to be able to swim, though - hopefully the slow lane will be going fairly slowly...

3:00, 15mi., avg pace 12:00, avg HR 136

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday easy bike

[Written c. 9:30 this morning. Still feeling rather fatigued, not so bad as earlier...]

Hmmm – I rode down to Chelsea Piers with the intention of doing an interval workout on one of the spin bikes there, but though I slept OK last night, my subjective self-assessment was of a state of fatigue so intense I could hardly see straight. (Residual tiredness from tossing and turning the night before, I think.) It was clear as soon as I was on the spin bike and checking out the HR monitor that I could hardly even pull up the HR into zone 2, let alone zone 3. I modified the program to what really is Friday’s workout on my training plan anyway, 1hr easy spin.

(I was trying to do intervals today as a way of catching back up on what I missed earlier in the week, but this is usually a mistake. I had two high-quality hard workouts yesterday and I have long days Saturday and Sunday, so it may have been unrealistic to try and squeeze this one in today anyway, even if I hadn’t felt so tired. I was thinking of the twenty-minute rule – the post at that link is much to the point!)

1hr easy spin

Thursday run, swim

[Written last night - very glad that Blogger is now back online!]

Thwarted in posting earlier due to an interruption in Blogger’s service. These workouts did not happen in quite such close proximity as the joint post implies – probably had about ninety minutes between (ate a PowerBar right when I got home from the run, but it was not quite enough to get me properly through the next bit of the evening; ate promptly, but was then and am still now suffering from a stomachache that I hope will soon go away!).


1:13, 6.73mi., warmup + 4 x 10min zone 3, 2 min recovery + cooldown


Warmup: 100 free, 100 IM

2 x (4 x 50 as IM transitions on 1:10: fly-back, back-breast, breast-free, free-fly)

And then a great main set that was very well geared to my current needs and fitness. I definitely couldn’t have swum this set in March, fitness is improving, though it is also to my chagrin that I’m not faster than this (I need to set aside some months sometime for some serious technique and fitness work, swim-specific – I just think there is a significant chunk of further improvement to be made if I really concentrate on it). There were three of us in the lane, and luckily for me one of the other two swimmers was a good counter and fast enough to lead!

15 x 100 as follows:

easy on 2:10, fast on 1:55

1 easy, 1 fast
1 easy, 2 fast
1 easy, 3 fast
2 easy, 4 fast

Then: 3 x 50 fast on :50, 50 easy (we did breast) on 2:10

1hr swim, 2500 yards total

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Morning update

I am now fitting the stereotype of the navel-gazing blogger - though I am not sick, I am still oddly wheezy this morning. 3.5-hour flight later this evening; more sensible to skip the workout than to increase bronchial strain. Brent has given me a supply of zinc lozenges and I am sucking them diligently to fend off potential ailment!...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Postscript #2

Skipping the projected afternoon swim - lungs feeling slightly dodgy after this morning's run (wheezy, slightly sore), figure it is better to be on the safe side. I really, really don't want to get sick right now!

Had a bit of downtime this afternoon where I ran some numbers for Coeur d'Alene. Have made a bunch of legitimate plans this week - plane tickets are bought, hotel stay extended to Tuesday to give a bit more wiggle room on bicycle arrangements and human transportation. I am going to make this thing happen!

I was talking to Max the other day about the possibility of not finishing, and he told me not even to think about it - but that's not the sort of person I am. I would rather have a very realistic assessment of the situation, including worst-case scenarios, train to the best of my abilities and then (as Brent says) roll with what the day brings me. However, I do believe that I should be able to get an official finish if things go smoothly. And I also believe that positive visualization is an effective tool - thus these ruminations on times...

My once-and-future running coach Mindy Solkin always asks her marathoners and half-marathoners to come up with three different time goals for a significant race: a dream goal, a reach goal and an attainable goal that you'd be happy with.

So: 14:34; 15:49; 16:40.

Here's how the numbers go:

14:34 is made up of a 1:30 swim, a 7:30 bike and a 5:14 run (12-minute miles), plus 10 minutes for each transition. There is no possible way on earth I'm finishing faster than that this time round, but if I had a magically good day out there, this is just within the bounds of possibility - so 14:32 is my specific sub-15:00 dream goal.

16:40 is made up of a 1:50 swim, an 8:00 bike and a 6:30 marathon (just under 15-minute miles), plus 10 minutes for each transition. These times are all realistic, and it may well be that I'm riding this close to the cutoffs - 20 minutes' slack is not a lot, but this is a highly viable scenario for a race result that I'm still going to be pretty darn happy with.

The sweet spot in between: 15:49. Because I like the sound of the number, and because a sub-16-hour goal will keep me focused on the run course and give me an incentive to keep moving as fast as I can.


Alas, the site I have used for the last couple years for logging training data had a double server failure a few weeks ago that led to all data being lost. I've been waiting to see if they'd be able to do a system restore of some kind, but it looks as though that's not going to be a possibility. I didn't keep a backup on my own system, so that's pretty much gone, though obviously my blog provides a very thorough though verbose record! I'm of two minds about whether to set up again on this site (it's served me pretty well, and it's my own fault for not backing up data elsewhere) or whether to try something different. Any strong opinions in favor of another site?

Tuesday run

A very nice short little warm little run! That does it - I just have to figure out a way to do most of my running here in July and August outside. I can't abide that treadmill - it is hard for me to get up really early (Brent goes out at 4am!), but one way or another it is going to have to happen. If I only run for 35 minutes, the heat isn't so overwhelming and I can go out at 6 or even 6:30; or I will run very early or very late.

3.23mi., 35:01, 10:50 pace, avg HR 148, max HR 161

(Pretty even split of zone 2 and zone 3, though that's why the longer runs get more intense - once I'm solidly in zone 3 due to heat and humidity, there's no coming back down, really; it is only up from there!)

Have been consulting with Brent about heat acclimation strategies for a possible warm race in Coeur d'Alene. (It will be ironic if I do a lot of heat training and then it's a cool day, but that's the kind of irony I can live with!) Exercising in heat produces better adaptation than 'passive' heat (sauna, hot bath), but some benefits come from the latter too, and I think I will be trying to spend regular time in the sauna during the couple weeks before the race.

(To me, a sauna is pretty much hell, but that is why I should do it! Bring my Kindle and a large bottle of water and work up from 30 minutes to an hour or so, I think. I can't spend more than a few minutes in a sauna or hot tub without becoming really crotchety and uncomfortable; after a recent swim I had a brief muscle-loosening stint in the hot tub at the gym, and the very chatty lady across from me was surprised that I got out again so quickly: "Why, your whole body has gone completely red!" she exclaimed when I stood up and got out. "You must be very sensitive to heat!")

Haven't typed up the details of my next training block, but I've swapped out the Tuesday and Thursday runs for this week; I'm 'saving' my interval run workout (a.k.a. favorite workout of the week) for when I am back in NYC and can do it outside in more reasonable temperatures!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sea swim!

A beautiful 30-min. swim with Max. We drove a few minutes down the road to the Royal Palms (the beach at the Grandview is beautiful, but there is no good tenderfoot way in and out of the water, it is iron shore and there are pebbles!) and swam fifteen minutes out and back along the shore. Lovely start to the day!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Week 7 summary (recovery)

c. 10.5 hrs.: 2 runs, 2 swims, 2 bikes and an hour of boot camp.

The best thing is that I am finally in a position to have some actual recovery - the first half of the week was direly busy, but I've had a few quiet days now and am beginning to feel a bit more capable of normal functioning! Large amounts of grading to do over the coming week, and definitely several more busy school days after I get back to NYC on Wednesday (flight leaves here in the late afternoon and gets in pretty late at night, so I am not sure I will be full of vim on Thursday), but this next spell of training really should be pretty good...

(The big race is only seven weeks away, which seems inconceivably soon!)

Beautiful indoor ride

Some people really hate riding indoors, but I am not one of them, really it gives me so much more control over HR zones and does not involve any of the complexities of riding in the world!

This was a strangely enjoyable one. Brent's condo has much better air-conditioning than the gym, and I can point the fan directly at myself.

I listened to some favorite albums of my youth (Sinead O'Connor, Prince) and some more recent (Sam Prekop), and I structured the 3-hour stretch in the style of Spinervals.

(To give credit where credit is due, the first set here is actually from Workouts in a Binder for Indoor Cycling - this is an excellent resource, and the particular bit I borrowed is an endurance workout that Lauren and I have done several times recently; the second is a classic Troy Jacobson Spinervals bit used as filler for long workouts; the last is a mid-week higher-intensity interval workout recommended by Gale Bernhardt for long-course triathletes in the truly indispensable Training Plans for Multisport Athletes, a book that should be in every library!).

One of the many things I love about swimming is the structure of a classic pool workout, which feels to me like an enjoyable corset (I particularly like workouts that come in symmetrical or balanced chunks, i.e. always more appealing to structure as 5 x 400 than to just mess along in bits and bobs).

Warmup: 3 x 6 mins. (2 mins. easy, 2 mins. transition to zone 2, 2 mins. zone 2)

Set 1:

6 x 2 mins. zone 2, 1 min. recovery
3 mins. set rest
6 x 3 mins. zone 2, 1 min. recovery

Set 2 (starting at 1:10):

3 x 15 mins., with 5 mins. recovery: (1) and (3) alternating 1 min. standing and 1 min. seated in medium-hard gear, (2) seated alternating 1 min. hard and 1 min. easy

Set 3 (starting at 2:10):

4 x 8 mins. zone 3, 2 mins. recovery

10 mins. cooldown


3:00 (avg HR 132, max HR 155)

zone 1: 54:08
zone 2: 1:29:51
zone 3: 28:08
zone 4: 1:56

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday bike!

It was actually a very nice ride - there is traffic, but Cayman is a simpler place to ride a bike than NYC. No bridges, only about four traffic lights on the whole island (roundabouts substitute), beautiful views of the sea. And lots of mother chickens leading their little fluffball chicks across the road!

(The only moment that slightly rattled me was when two dogs started barking loudly at what both seemed and was literally about two feet from my head - not much of a shoulder, one lane in each direction, they were poking their heads out of the back window of an SUV as it swooped by me - they were right there!)

Since this is a recovery week, it is not bad that I had this ride in an easy HR zone, but it tells me something about the choice I should make for tomorrow: I shouldn't ride outdoors, I'll do a three-hour ride on the spin bike instead and that way I can make sure that I really have decent chunks of time in zone 2 and 3. This bike I have here is much, much less comfortable than my NYC bike - I had a hot spot on my left shoulder right away that got more painful as I kept riding, I think it is something to do with bike fit, and the whole bike is just a little too small. I subbed out the intolerably uncomfortable saddle it initially had on it for a somewhat better one, but it's still inferior to the NYC one (or perhaps this, too, just has to do with overall issues of fit). My long ride next weekend is on a very flat route; I will endeavor to hit low zone 2 sooner on during that ride, but I think it will be more useful for me tomorrow to ride indoors for a shorter duration with higher intensity, I just don't need another long really easy effort flat ride. Also, I suspect I will sleep better knowing that I don't have to be out the door shortly after 5:30 for a long ride; and I am still very much in sleep deficit mode, which is something to address...

(I meant to ride only to Bodden Town, which is where I hit the one-hour mark, but I ended up going all the way to the Lighthouse Restaurant sort of by accident; I am laughing, it is so typical of me, I just can't remember places by looking at them, it is always as though I am there for the first time - but I sort of thought that the gas station I'd passed wasn't the usual one we stop at, I kept on riding in hopes that I would come to that one, only then I had been riding for some time and it gradually was dawning on me that Bodden Town is tiny and that really I must have already passed it! But just in case not, I kept on going until I hit something that was a landmark that really told me I had come too far. The wind slows you down on the outward leg of this ride and speeds you up on the way back, so actually this was good - I turned around at 1:13, and it clearly only took 1hr. for the whole ride home. Did ultimately manage to stop at the Bodden Town Texaco for a cold Gatorade - all I can say is that it looks totally different from the other direction!...)

15.3mph avg.
avg HR 125
max HR 137

zone 1 1:57:39
zone 2 11:53

Friday, May 6, 2011

An unsatisfactory sequel

I wanted to do two hours on the treadmill, but I just didn't have it in me. In retrospect I think it may have been unrealistic - the story of this whole semester (of my whole life!) has been one of extreme and impossible overload, insomnia/anxiety tip-over and then systemic erosion of willpower for whatever's left of the dregs of obligation after the main vessel has been cleared. I have pushed too hard over the last couple weeks, that's the long and the short of it. This sort of thing is the price one pays for it.

(Needless to say, I am not very happy about flaking out on a workout, but it is just going to have to go down as one of those things!)

1:07:24, 5.2mph base speed (1.0 grade), every fifth minute on a steeper incline (mostly 3.0, some 6.0 until I realized it was making it seem increasingly unlikely that I would continue), avg HR 138

pretty even mix of zone 1 and zone 2

I got off at the one-hour mark for a quick pee break, and had to give myself a stern talking-to about getting back on again - but 6 or 7 minutes into the second hour, I just mentally no longer had the gumption to stay on! I think I should have got myself over there either earlier in the day or with more calories in me, but possibly it was just overreaching even to think I was going to be able to do it. It is just so warm and airless in there!

This is a "recovery" week; I think I'll do one half-hour run outside in the early evening on Saturday or Sunday (I have no heat acclimation, so there's no point trying for a longer one outside - I know that even 30 minutes will be pretty taxing - it's 85F and 70% relative humidity, it takes getting used to even for those better suited to heat than I am). I want to ride both weekend days, but am still undecided about whether to stick with original plan of 2 hours tomorrow and 3 hours Sunday or to perhaps try and do another 5-hour ride on Sunday; it's a pity for me not to get one in while I'm here, in a way, in the land of no bridges! I am not going to take another stab at the two-hour treadmill run tomorrow morning, though I suppose I could; it seems too likely that I will flake out on it again, and really as long as I leave very early (traffic is more an issue than heat - roads here are dangerous!) it would be a much more enjoyable thing to have a bike ride.

Long swim!

Not quite as long as I had envisaged - I wanted to swim to the Ritz and back, which I think of as an hour each way, but in fact the first half-hour out was incredibly slow. I was swimming straight into current, much more bobbing up and down than forward movement, and a wall of salt water in the face whichever side I breathed on! It seemed like I was going nowhere, although periodic looks at the shore showed me that I was indeed making some forward progress...

(I swim parallel to the shore, which means there's always a bailout option.)

At the one-hour mark, I was still a bit short of the Ritz; thought about continuing, on grounds that I was fairly certain that the swim back would be quite a bit quicker, but slight queasiness made me feel it was sensible to hew to the original one-hour turnaround plan. It does not quite have the same ring to say I swam to the Cayman Club and back, but that is the fact of the matter!

As soon as I turned around, it was the most blissful swimming - still water, with perhaps a slight assist from current - all of the body rotation and glide that had been missing from my initial buffetted swim were back in spades, and it was near-magical - right down to the fact (unprecedented in my experience) that I was accompanied all the way home by a small fish that swam along by my side! This sounds cute, but in fact it was more annoying; I kept on seeing it out of the corner of my eye and having an urge to brush it away! (Not sure exactly what it was, but it could have been a glassy sweeper? Hmmm, maybe not - at any rate it was diminutive and yellow-and-salmon-colored...)

Total swim time: 1:37. Did not have the vim to extend swim past home, given ongoing queasiness; water and Clif bar have now mostly settled my stomach. So: well short of two hours, but this is actually a good length of swim for me to do regardless, as it is about what I am looking at for my IM swim (2.4 miles) - hard to tally exactly, since it depends on positioning and sighting as well as fitness on the day, but I think the time range I can reasonably expect for that swim is 1:35-1:50, probably at the slower end of the range.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sea swim!

Yes, I made it safely to Cayman - feel as though I have hardly slept properly for, well, WEEKS - a great relief to be here and have now a bit of a breather before the big push to grade end-of-semester work - but had a very nice little swim in the sea just now. Will do a longer one tomorrow morning and a long treadmill run later in the day, then a short bike Saturday and a long bike Sunday.

(Caught sight of friend Max and dogs frolicking outside, ran down to say hello; have a date for a Monday 7am swim with Max, though dogs will not accompany!)

35 mins. sea swim!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Virtue was rewarded

It's difficult to explain how busy things get in this last little bit of the semester; I mean, I still have a huge amount of flexibility compared to people with "regular" jobs, but I had a crazy day yesterday with back-to-back oral exam, faculty meeting and dissertation chapter conference. Realized c. 5pm that really it was either/or as far as swimming last night or going to boot camp this morning, and that the sensible thing to do would be to skip swimming and instead power through the 300-page dissertation that I am on a defense for today. Printed out my final comments around 10:30, took a sleeping pill and set alarm for 5:45, with gear set up to run down to Chelsea Piers and go to boot camp, with clothes to change into packed into my little hydration backpack and my Kindle to read on the subway home.

It worked very well, and now I have an hour for mental recombobulation a.k.a. internet time-wasting and coffee-drinking before I need to leave for the defense. It's another long day, probably won't be home until 8pm or so, but if I can survive today, the rest of the things I have to do between now and the end of the semester can mostly be done in tropical island paradise: I'll get a taxi to the airport tomorrow morning at 5:45am, and really as soon as I'm through security at JFK I breathe a sigh of relief and collapse in a heap of light reading. (I'll do most of my grading while I'm there, finish it off when I get back in the middle of next week.)


57:18 run (c. 5.5mi. - didn't have the spare time to wait for the Garmin to find its satellite!)

1hr boot camp

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Miriam posts a truly mouth-watering swim workout! I am going to take the second course and do it as a 2000-yard main set one of the next times I am swimming on my own at Chelsea Piers...

True long ride!

That was a huge confidence-builder. Lauren and I rode from Fort Lee, NJ really almost as far as the base of Bear Mountain and back; it was the most beautiful day for it, so that it might even be that I can say that this was the most enjoyable workout of the entire week, something that would have seemed farfetched if I had proposed it to myself beforehand....

Lauren's bike computer said 72 miles, but my Garmin said 66.34, which I think is more plausible; we were strong but slow! It is a pretty hilly ride, one way or another - I felt very strong (mentally as well as physically) right up until the last half hour or so, at which point I think I was just calorically fading. Not even the hazard of a guess at elevation,* but there is a fair amount of climbing - the hill up to the Alpine police station and the hill outside of Nyack stand out, but 9W in general is rolling...

*[ED. Garmin says almost 5,400 feet, but it has been suggesting that my flat runs have elevation too, so I don't trust it one bit! Really it can't have been nearly that much.]

I only had one minor freakout, not long after we turned around to return home; there is a bit where you ride up a quite steep hill and over train tracks, you find yourself at a highway with highway-speed traffic and there is a very sharp dropoff to the left-hand side. It's the combination of drop-off, hill and traffic that basically hits me hard; we stopped for a moment to assess best way to cross over the highway, and I mistakenly thought we not only had to go across but that we were also trying to make it up a steep windy hill on the other side of the intersection. Once I realized that we were just doing a straightforward road crossing and then just riding the shoulder on the other side of the highway, I was all right...

5:13 (!)
12.7mph avg. pace
avg. HR 133, max HR 164

zone 1: 1:39:00
zone 2: 1:47:07
zone 3: 31:58
zone 4: 57:25
zone 5: 6:49

I feel much more confident than before that I really will be able to make the bike cutoffs at IMCDA. For an eight-hour ride (112mi.), I need to be riding at 14mph. It is reasonable to expect considerable improvement in zone 2 pace by dint of 5-6 more weeks of good training and a couple weeks of taper. I also probably have a little extra time if I need it - the bike cutoff is 10:30, and I am hoping that swim plus transition will still come in under 2:00.

Can't seem to find detailed data, but I get the sense that the total climbing feet on the bike course will be c. 5,000 over 112 miles (2.5K per lap), mostly in the form of rolling hills rather than super-steep long climbs. The Harryman Half has a very challenging (unusually so!) bike course, with 1,500 feet of climbing per 14-mile lap, 4 laps for the half-ironman. So that will have been twice as hilly - it is a good race to do for mental as well as physical training, though my time will be alarmingly slow. My riding in Cayman next weekend and the Montauk Century the following weekend are both very flat.

(Here is a good pace calculator!)

Week 6 summary: a success. I only did 2 bikes and 2 runs, but I hit both the interval workouts and the long ones with considerable satisfaction. My swimming was exemplary, as I did 2 x 1-hr. and 1 x 1.5hr. masters workouts. I do think I should make sure to do a few of the workouts Gale Bernhardt gives for the long swims, but I'm not going to sweat it - really as long as I swim two or three times per week with some higher-intensity work and some long ones, I will be absolutely fine.

This ride made me feel that I have earned my recovery week!...

Total training hours: 14.5