Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Misc. cardio

I set out to do treadmill intervals, but after 10 mins. of warmup and a couple of one-minute hard, one-minute easy intervals, I was so overheated and lacking in vim that I called it to a close. Did half an hour on the elliptical under the fan instead, also with intervals, and felt better enough at that point that I finished the hour back on the treadmill, 16 mins. of 1 min. hard, 1 min. very easy. Increased the hard speed as I went along: I am very slow right now compared to former running times, i.e. it is challenging to run one minute at a pace that might have been a reasonable 5K pace, but I did do the last couple one-minute intervals at 8.0mph (7:30/mi.). I think it's worthwhile from a neuromuscular standpoint - as Coach Mindy is wont to say, to run fast you have to run fast...

1hr cardio intervals

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


6 x 2min zone 2, 1min recovery; 6 x 3min zone 3, 1min recovery (1:00 total)

Having the usual end-of-summer feeling of self-reproach at how little I've exercised; the heat and humidity make running always a challenge here, and the swimming pool was closed for August so that also is understandable, but I truly have no excuse (other than book-finishing?) for not having made better use of the condo spin bike!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Monday treadmill intervals

Hmmm, it's many days since I exercised: I took Thursday off deliberately, I took Friday off accidentally (working very hard on finishing the novel revisions, plus need for many phone calls - not a phone person, it takes it out of me!), I had a minor stomach bug Saturday (didn't actually upchuck, but had bucket beside the bed as a precaution, felt very queasy all afternoon and evening) which pretty much scuppered notional Sunday-morning ride, and then again yesterday I was working on the book. Book is now sent, and I'm flying back to NYC on Wednesday evening - real life begins again soon as school year begins a week from tomorrow...

Treadmill intervals (zone 4 - Garmin was low battery, but I used same speeds/perceived effort as last time I did this workout)

10 mins. warmup, 5 x (4 mins. zone 4, 2 mins. recovery)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Final stroke and stride for the season

It really is such a nice little race, very sociable! Here was a good story on last week's event. Seas very rough today, I find it enjoyable to swim in rough water but one would definitely wish for a dramamine if it were significantly longer...

800m swim, 2mi run

(Garmin never picked up my HR, so I think I will not bother to download data - 22:43 for the 2-mile run, pretty darn slow, it was hotter than ever...)

Session #20

I was a bit tired, but it was very good nonetheless. 

15 mins treadmill warmup
1hr strength

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Had a very ambitious plan for 1hr run, 1hr swim, but ended up sensibly truncating it! It involved running to the Ritz, turning around and running past Brent's condo and then about 2.5 miles to Sunset House, swimming 2K there, then walking the 2.5 miles home; but as I passed Brent's condo, the invisible bungee cord that connects me to home tugged at me, I thought about how hot I already was and that if I kept on going, I was looking at 2 more hours outside - and I turned tail for home! Just swam 10 mins. of drill in the irregularly shaped pool at Brent's condo, then came home and showered and cooled down. Will try and get a few more good swims in, but I think I'll have to save the early morning hours for a straight run - I was out the door around six, not quite as early as I'd hoped, and it is brutally hot once the sun is up....

52min run, 10min swim

Monday, August 22, 2011

Session #19

Highly satisfactory. It wasn't so much that my legs are sore from yesterday as that I could feel pretty strongly that they had nothing in 'em! We mostly did back and shoulders. Last session Wednesday morning...

1hr strength

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Long ride!

First, a preview from the local paper! I love this style of local sports reporting: as you can tell, this is a very serious matter...

Because I am an idiot, I did not give my bike a test ride beforehand (it just looks so chaotic with everyone weaving all over small parking lot and road - but yes, I will not make the same mistake next time); then when I took my place at the very very back of the peloton (I knew I would be dropped immediately - even their 'neutral zone' speed is considerably too fast for me), I dropped my chain and found my wheel locked in place. Fortunately a few folks hastily helped me get recombobulated, and I was off...

It was a two-loop course, 42 miles total, and I knew I'd be much slower than everyone else. The first stretch of the loop is incredibly windy, to the point that I worried my back brakes might be on, but it's a nicer course than they had last year - less traffic, much more scenic all round. A spot where suddenly the air is full of butterflies sipping nectar from flowered hedges - and tiny crabs crossing the road - and birds flapping alongside one at about the same speed a bicycle goes - and, unfortunately, lots of dogs that chase after a bicycle barking!

I really was way at the back - I saw a few other cyclists I know out for their training rides, but not a squeak of the peloton. However I was prepared for this, and it did not affect my spirits!

I took a short break once I'd done the challenging windy stretch of the second loop, to have a couple puffs of ventolin and transfer Gatorade from cage bottles into Camelbak. Lo and behold, another race participant pedaled up behind me: she had stopped, I think perhaps was thinking of quitting, and said that as she saw me go by, she realized it was her best chance! This gave an amazing lift to the spirits - we took turns pulling, and rode the last hour together. Very pleasant indeed, and I didn't feel I ended up having to tap particularly deep, though it is certainly incredibly hot out there and I could have taken in more calories over the course of the ride.

A very pleasant morning, thanks to race organizers and volunteers (including Brent, who was a course marshal at the end of the loop - in a general sense it made me smile as I came up on the end of each loop to think I'd see him, but more particularly we were very grateful that after we rolled by - we were the two last finishers - he drove his SUV up to the finish and saved us from having to ride the 7K back to the start!)...

41.27mi (but really I think it was 42, Garmin's just slightly off)
2:47:41 (14.7mph average)
avg HR 150, max HR 169

zone 2: 35:48
zone 3: 47:34
zone 4: 58:17
zone 5 (windy bits!): 25:13

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Short sea swim

Forgot to pack my running shoes with other gear, fortunately realized it BEFORE being dropped off at the gym - but it made me lose momentum on that project! Just had 20 mins. sea swim instead - it's salty out there...

20 mins swim

Friday, August 19, 2011


Nice little race on the agenda for Sunday! I did it last year, and am not exaggerating when I say that I was by far the slowest rider out there: friend M. and Brent and I rode together until M. was overwhelmed by heat and had to stop at the Bodden Town Texaco and wait for us to finish riding and then drive back to pick him up. So really it will just be indistinguishable from a regular long ride for me, but it will be fun - it's beautiful out there riding the East End loop, and much less traffic than you get at this end of the island. I wouldn't have bothered with it, only Brent has been roped in as a volunteer, so I might as well hitch a ride in the SUV and do my whole ride out there rather than as an out-and-back with more traffic hassle...

Session #18

An excellent one.

I finished a big piece of work yesterday, relevance of this being that on Monday and Wednesday, I got up at 5:45 (Brent gets up even earlier than that!) and worked on the book at Cafe del Sol from 6:30 (opening time) to 8:40 or so, then had my session at 9am. Today, though, I lounged abed until much later - didn't really properly get back to sleep after early wakeup, but dozed a bit. Pretty noticeable that lounging in bed/slight bit of extra sleep leads to much better energy levels during workout itself!

I've registered for the next session of the Beast at Chelsea Piers, starting Sept. 3 (it meets three times a week, MWF7am); that will be good. Also immensely looking forward to running a lot in September and October; it is the best time of the year, as the weather cools down and summer turns into fall. Have not run nearly as much as I'd like in 2011, but should be able to make up for it somewhat at the back end of the year...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stroke and stride #2

It is such a nice little race, I really enjoy it! This week, a 600m swim (very rough seas, and an aggressive current on the way out to the buoy), 2 mile run. Did not feel nearly so overheated this week: partly I've gained a bit of acclimation, but mostly it was just that I wasn't desperately trying to inflate buoys with an underpowered hand pump in the 45 minutes before the race - last week I really was significantly overheated even before the race started.

Here is coverage in the local paper of last week's race: Courtis and Acker were neck-and-neck this week as I saw them on my outgoing run leg, I do not know what the outcome was! (And here's another report from Coach Jerry Harper, an excellent fixture of the local racing scene.)

600m swim (c. 15 mins., it was challenging!), 2mi run (pace c. 10:29, avg HR 162, max HR 177 - I sprinted at the finish, that is well into zone 5 - I use 188 as my running max)

Session #17

Very good, though I couldn't stop yawning: haven't quite adjusted to earlier-morning schedule yet...

1hr strength

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I'm finally better from my cold, the swimming pool's closed and I only have 2 more weeks here to try and lay down some base endurance fitness! Hmmm, only three and a half weeks to my race, I must be realistic about the limits of what can be done in that time.

Today's workout was extremely enjoyable, though very slow. I 'ran' over to Sunset House with water reservoir and goggles/cap in Camelbak (2.3 miles, just over 28 minutes, avg pace 12:20/mi., avg HR 146), taking it easy to make sure that HR stayed in zone 2, and then I swam a nice easy 2K. There is a striped blue-and-yellow water trampoline in George Town harbor that is supposed to be 1K from the Sunset House dock (here are some pictures), so that makes a good turnaround point. Mysteriously the swim there took me about 23 minutes, which was pretty much what I was expecting, but when I stopped my watch as I got out on my return, I was at more like 58 minutes: either I took the long way back or there was a current slowing me down considerably...

Then I put my shirt and shoes back on, had a long drink of water from the Camelbak and jogged back through George Town to Brent's. The first part wasn't bad, there's some shade if you run along the land side of the road, but that last little bit is brutal, and in fact I stopped my watch a few minutes early and walked the very last bit: suddenly just much too hot! 2.06mi, 25:49, avg pace 12:33, avg HR 142, max HR 159.

So 54:00 running, 58:00 swimming - really it's a 2-hour endurance workout of a sort that's well suited to the race I'm training for. I have to get out there really early for some one-hour runs, I think; if you really are out the door at 5:30 or 5:45, it's tolerable, but even by 7am the sun is just very intense.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Session #16

Lazy Monday morning workout - I will do better than that on Wednesday! (Pretty noticeable that I have gotten stronger, though: using 25lb dumbbells for chest press for instance, and not finding them excessively heavy for 3 x 20 reps.)

Had been mulling over whether or not to get a few extra session with Carla, as the last of the ones I've paid for run out a week before I leave, but in fact she is going on vacation on the 26th, so it works out perfectly as is. I am tempted to try some CrossFit in that week, but really it will be more sensible to do some longer triathlon-specific sessions in preparation for the SOS race in mid-September. Have not been doing nearly enough of that sort of hours!

1hr strength

Friday, August 12, 2011

Session #15

A particularly good one: very strenuous!

(We are usually proceeding along fairly standard lines, so as to say 3 x through on a group of 4 different exercises and then onto the next bit; since I was sick last week, we were tending to concentrate on stuff that wouldn't be too insane, but the first group today included not just a couple different standing row-type things [one underhand grip with barbells, the other on one of these machines that I do not really know the name of, where you stand in a low crouching position on a platform and put plates onto the thing the handles are attached to and then lift the handles] but also and very heartrate-raisingly 15 x clean and press (bar with 10 lbs at each end, not sure about weight of bar) and 2 x 15 each side of one-handed 20lb kettlebell swings...)

warmup plus 1hr strength

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


(Just looked at the numbers for the run - as I said, failed to turn on Garmin until some minutes in. 1.76 miles, avg pace 11:28, avg HR 167, max HR 175 - that's 7:18 in zone 4 and 11:26 in zone 5, not surprising it felt so intense! Running in this climate at this time of the year is basically just a highly counterintuitive thing to do, really I would be running something like 9:30 miles at current fitness under the same sort of race circumstance in more moderate conditions...)

Stroke and stride #1

I have had a very good day - unusually productive work day (I am revising a book I drafted last year, it's shaping up very well, nice to see a new book emerging out of its initial draft as something quite different and much more like what its ultimate form should be), and then the first of the August "Stroke and Stride" races this evening.

These are tiny short races, not endurance races at all, but the heat and humidity make the run challenging regardless, and I have also been worrying a bit about the excessive number of DNS ("Did Not Start" - as opposed to "DNF," did not finish) I have had in races over the past year. It's dreadful wasting all that money on race fees, but one also starts to wonder - to worry - whether there is some deeper element of self-sabotage: I am not a great self-sabotager/"DNS" person in my regular life, but it is something that can creep up on a person at any time! So it actually seemed to me a good goal to do the stroke and stride races - I just volunteered last year, but it is a worthwhile thing for me right now to start and finish races however short!

(Today's race was a 400m swim and 2 mile run; the run distance stays the same, but the swim goes up next week to 600m and the week after to 800m.)

I took a taxi over there (Brent's out of town this week, and I am too cowardly to ride a bicycle over there at rush hour - and I don't have a driver's license!). Helped inflate the buoys for the swim course with a terribly ineffectual pump (have made a mental note to procure new batteries for next week), worried that I was going to have to kayak them out to the turnaround also but in fact the 2 relevant kayakers did turn up and took over inflation and transportation of buoys, so that was a relief.

The swim was unusually congested, but it's beautiful out there, I love that particular stretch of shore; the run was pretty much as hot and intense as I thought it would be. I stop and walk for a minute when my HR tips up over the top of zone 4 (I feel slightly queasy as the HR goes to 169-170, it is something that is very easy for me to note even without a HR monitor, though I was carrying my Garmin - forgot to turn it on, couldn't get it clipped around my wrist as the little loop closer slid off as I was dangling it in my hand out of transition - basically, chaos and disorganization). Total time something like 33 minutes, basically a 9-minute swim and then 2 x 12-minute miles.

Took a dip in the sea afterwards to rinse off and cool down a tad. Had planned to jog home afterwards, but realized there was no chance - I was much too overheated! So I took it at a brisk walk instead. I kept on the HR monitor, it was about 40 minutes at HR c. 130 (Garmin says 2.33 miles, mile pace of 17:41 - that sounds about right).

I stopped at the supermarket near home and picked up a very good bundle of groceries, so that was the clincher on an all-round useful day...

400m swim (c. 9 mins.), 2mi. run (c. 24 mins.), 2.3mi. walk (40 mins.)

Session #14

Very good - leg muscles slightly trembling with fatigue as I walked down the stairs afterwards! Much less head congestion this morning than yesterday; it might be that I am finally really pretty much better...

1hr strength

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Evil Pool Closures

It is the way of August everywhere - but very inconveniently for my current training purposes, my local swimming pool is closed for the next three weeks for renovations! I failed to get up early enough for my projected run-swim-run workout (really I can't get up early unless I am actually meeting someone or have Brent to tip me out of bed, and he is away this week!), and didn't have much vim left by the end of the day either: have just done 15 mins. in the sea. Tomorrow is the first of the Stroke and Stride series, and I had a sudden vision of the horror of it being not only my first outdoor run here this summer but also my first swim in three weeks. It is only 400m swim (I am putting out buoys beforehand, so I will be to blame if the course is long) and 2 miles run, but it is going to be hot out there... if I can muster the energy, I will have a short further swim and then jog the three miles home, but really I will have to see how it goes. Still very full of phlegm, alas, particularly from a nose-blowing point of view, but I continue to get slightly better each day, and I suspect it is for the best that I haven't been doing much exercise.

.25hr sea swim

Monday, August 8, 2011

Session of excellence

Lungs still junky, but in every other respect a 100% workout.  Very beneficial!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday elliptical

1hr zone 2 (avg HR 147, max HR 154)

Very tempted to do something else as well, but trying to be prudent. Also, my calf muscles are incredibly sore from Friday's workout (we did calf raises on the leg press machine), and it made the bottoms of my feet hurt while I was doing the elliptical also!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Session #12

I was fading by the end, but it was otherwise very good. I fear I must take the rest of the day off from cardio, and possibly tomorrow too: I was coughing more all through the evening due to yesterday's ill-advised session. Ugh, it is most annoying, I am mentally ready to be exercising a lot of hours again, but I must be patient...

1hr strength

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Short elliptical

I was hoping for an hour, but I was coughing too much to stay on - lungs still just very full of junk, though I am otherwise feeling much better. Will try for an hour tomorrow with a strict zone 2 cap. I will count it a partial success rather than a failure: got some endorphins going and worked up a good sweat, at any rate.

20 mins. elliptical (zone 2/3, avg HR 144, max HR 156)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Session #11

Now that's more like it. Still not 100%: a lot of chest congestion, and one hour of no nose-blowing leads to alarming buildup of junk that needs to be disgustingly evacuated from the head. But better enough that moderately strenuous exercise has left me feeling pleasantly invigorated rather than woozy and knackered. This is good...

1hr strength

Monday, August 1, 2011

Session #10

On the bright side, good to be back in the gym; on the down side, it was slightly premature, I had to stop after half an hour as I was feeling quite ill! We just took it easy, and I will hope to be in better form on Wednesday. With the walk to and from the gym and an easy treadmill warmup, it's about 1:15, so that's quite enough for today, anyway.

(These chest colds are a total menace. I have not been as sick as I was in June, more just like the 'regular' cold I had in May, but it is still relatively incapacitating for anything useful or interesting!)

.5 hr strength, .66hr walk (I do not usually log walking, but my hours are so scant, I feel I should mark it in some way!)