Monday, December 30, 2013

Grumpy lung update

It is so frustrating - on Saturday evening, I had bad feeling in the lungs & coughed a lot overnight and wondered whether I'd done something that had created a minor resurgence of this ailment I've been fighting for three weeks - but by the morning it was all too clear that I was just getting ANOTHER COLD! Before the old one really was completely gone! I am frustrated and grumpy - I have been fantasizing about doing huge amounts of yoga in January, but my lungs are really in grotesque shape right now, I do not know how feasible that will be!

Anyway, expect radio silence here, I am flying early Thursday morning to Brent's (which will be very nice!), I don't think lungs will be in shape for any exercise between now and then - will prob just do something gentle on Friday once I'm there, like flow yoga or short swim. (The hot yoga is too intense when lungs are not working full force.)

Happy new year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013


It was a bonus one, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to fit it in, which always makes it particularly lovely (and will certainly set me up for a better day to come - 1pm meetup at Central Park zoo with former student & his family and my own visiting cousins, then 6pm family dinner at the loft).

Riverside Park is so beautiful at this time of year - trees black and bare against gray sky, muted green/brown/gray of grass and pavement and river. I love winter running! (It's mid-40s today, some sun and not much wind, which is in my book pretty much the ideal running weather.)

1:07:43, 6+mi

Friday, December 27, 2013


That was such a nice little run - New York winter running is lovely, it is a forgiving climate, high 30s and the ground is completely clear despite various recent episodes of snow. Took me a few miles to warm up (lower legs rather stiff and tight), and I decided just to do four miles as I am also hoping to get to hot yoga this evening - running into a fairly chilly headwind on the way out - but the homeward leg was beautiful, and made me wish I'd gone longer.

(Happy to see an elderly gentleman feeding the tennis court calico kibble out of a ziplock bag - he had some fleece blankets to wrap her in too!)

(It was unrealistic to exercise Wednesday or Thursday, with travel and family obligations - I had hoped for a run or a yoga or both, but it totally didn't happen!)

43min, c. 4mi

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hot yoga!

That was great, though I am still overly full of phlegm and felt weaker than usual in the beginning - hard to keep my arms up for instance in the awkward series, which usually isn't a problem. Crisp cool sunny day, much more seasonally appropriate than this warm rainy weather we've been having. Probably won't have time to exercise tomorrow, but am optimistic that the 26th will include either a run or hot yoga or even BOTH!

1.5hr hot yoga

Monday, December 23, 2013


A good one - Joanna's last class of the calendar year, didn't want to miss it. 20min climb plus :30, :45, :60 sprints.

1hr spin

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Met up with Lauren for a warm damp run in Prospect Park. It is almost 70 degrees! Only downside was having to drag myself out of bed relatively early - might lie back down for a nap now. Would love to go to yoga later, but have some work that must be done too, so I will see how it goes. Lungs still with junk (our run was partly slow because of some walks up hills/waits for lights and for me to dispose of excess phlegm!), but incrementally better each day, this is good. Three days in a row of decent exercise has put me in a much better mood!

1:12, 6.2mi

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Lungs not at 100%, but a bit better than yesterday. Very good class: 3 x 9min as 3 standing, 3 seated climb and 3 as :30 sprint :30 recovery. Will go to restorative yoga at noon.

:55 spin

Friday, December 20, 2013


Lungs still full of junk, but my morning assessment was that it was a go for spin class, and it felt mighty fine to work up a sweat. Capped at zone 2. It is clearly going to be a while before all this junky stuff dries up, alas, but I think I am OK for moderate exercise as long as I am sensible....

:55 spin!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Grumpy lung update

Well, I have been incrementally better day by day, and today my energy levels finally feel more normal again, but my lungs are still grotesquely full of phlegm - I was sitting in my office grading for much of the day, and my coughing was alerting the entire building to medical distress - I cannot tell you how tempted I am to go out for a short run or even to yoga, but really it is still too soon. Fingers crossed for tomorrow, and definitely Saturday if not tomorrow.

These bronchial colds are the minor bane of my existence - no big deal of course in the grand scheme of medical woes, but this is now the eighth day in a row of being sick. I should count myself lucky that I only had four (?) big ones this year - it has a significant negative effect on quality of life.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ailment update

I thought it was a minor cold on the wane, but really it's a mid-level cold that's still escalating! Ugh, I hate these days without exercise, but I have amused myself by registering for a couple races for next year and updating my sidebar - I've really got a good list of things to do, I don't need to put much more on the schedule than that....

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Minor lung ailment!

Yesterday's wheeziness turned very clearly by midday into a minor lung ailment, alas. On the bright side, it could be MUCH worse - in fact in the taxonomy of Davidsonian respiratory ailments it is almost negligible, though I will clearly need to take a couple days off from exercise. End of semester is just a demanding time, with many stresses, but I see clearly how beneficial it was that I didn't travel for Thanksgiving - I am guessing I would be much, much sicker right now if I had!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hot yoga belatedly

Did make it to 4:30 class yesterday, just about. Went straight to the theater from there, thus belated post. Am pretty seriously looking at 12:30 class today, only with proviso that I was very very wheezy this morning when I got up - I am a little nervous that the new asthma medicine isn't working as well as the old.

1.5hr hot yoga

Monday, December 9, 2013

Short run!

By the time I was done, I wished I'd gone longer! Had hoped to get to midday spin at Chelsea Piers, but this dratted 8:30am meeting I've had on Mondays all semester set things off to a bad start - I was feeling headachey and tired, and the weather was so dreadful I pretty much just went back to bed. Reading hundreds of pages of PDF on iPad did not subsequently help (I was working in bed, not sleeping in bed!), but I didn't want to post a zero, so I did get out for a short run, and am very glad of it - it shook the cobwebs out. Not beautiful out there, very foggy and dark with lots of dead leaves in the park, but on the other hand it is not actually raining and the temperature is in the upper 30s, so not bad running weather, all told.

I am glad to see that the tennis-court calico continues to be well tended to by a lady who brings food and a red fleece blanket to wrap the cat up in! Also sighted: two very lively black standard poodles in matching raincoats, one red and one pink; lots and lots of mallards paddling in the frigid Hudson.

Tomorrow I will have a short run in the morning as an anti-zero precaution - I'm hoping to make it to 4:30 hot yoga as well, but I have evening plans both tonight and tomorrow, and I don't want to end up flaking on yoga and not having done something small in the morning already. First meeting tomorrow isn't until 10am so that should be feasible.

:35:25, c. 3.2mi

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hot yoga!

Now that was good.

Only minor cloud on the horizon - a minor muscle strain that I think may be SLEEP-RELATED?!? I had a particularly bad night of insomnia on Thursday, with huge amounts of tossing and turning (I am always flinging myself around a lot before and after going to sleep). I think I flung myself sufficient awkwardly that I have strained a lower abdominal muscle on the right-hand side - at any rate it is not conceivable that I hurt it spinning or running, and only the thing that really hurts now is turning over in bed. Found the Bikram sit-ups increasingly painful, so stopped doing them, and was also limited in mobility in camel pose; otherwise really unimpaired. I don't think I can go to yoga tomorrow, but I plan to on Tuesday if I get enough work done during the day.

(I am an hour and a half short of my supposedly non-negotiable 6-hr weekly total, but it is OK, it was unavoidable consequence of posting three zeroes the first three days of the week, and I was back on track from Thursday. Just crossing my fingers I don't get sick - it should now be that I have a good run of exercise from now through the new year, and the spring semester should be considerably easier than this fall has been in terms of doing the fitness stuff I want to. Race season for next year shaping up very nicely, but I will wait to write a separate post on that - haven't yet registered for all the stuff I'm looking at, some of it I don't know about yet in any case....)

1.5hr hot yoga

Saturday, December 7, 2013


A two-hour nap (I thought I was just lying down for thirty minutes) and NO progress on any of my work or tidying-up persuaded me that I should not go to yoga this afternoon - I will just have a quiet evening at home, I was more tired than I realized. I can go to morning class tomorrow....


A goodun. Will go to 4:30 hot yoga uptown. Lots of work bits and bobs but prospect of weekend entirely to myself has put me in very good mood!

:55 spin

Friday, December 6, 2013


A very good (albeit slow - I was lazy, I requested that we walk up hills!) run in Prospect Park with Lauren. I am now utterly knackered - it was a day of many moving parts, each one of which was not demanding in itself but which cumulatively took a toll!

I got up earlier than I like to, emailed a more fully developed version of a science core course (don't ask!) to a colleague at 9:45, had meetings at 10 and 12, met Lauren in Brooklyn just before two (we were held up for reasons beyond our control, but we had a lovely time once we were out there, freezing rain notwithstanding!), then was racing to get back to Columbus Circle for 4:45 asthma doc appointment.

(Arrived five minutes late, which caused me considerable anxiety but had no practical repercussions whatsoever.)

I had a very good conversation with the doc, he's given me two new prescriptions (one to replace the medication that will no longer be covered by insurance, one that may help with ongoing wheeziness after long days of exercise - not debilitating, but wouldn't hurt to see if a tweak could help). I had thought I might go from there to yoga, but since I hadn't had time to eat properly after my run, it was clear that instead I should drop off prescriptions at the pharmacy and properly refuel. When I got home I found that I did not have my keys - I had left them on the living-room table. Materially this did not matter, as the evening doorman loaned me his set and I was in within minutes, but it is a sign of an overly complex day, it is very unusual for me to lock myself out and it was a sign that I was right not to go to yoga!

Back was quite sore last night and while running this afternoon, so I am axing the notion of a swim workout tomorrow afternoon - will go to 10am spin at Chelsea Piers and 4:30 class at Bikram Yoga Harlem. Main other weekend goal is to get on top of the large number of work-related things that need to be done before the end of the semester!

c. 6.5mi, c. 1:15

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Short run!

Finally got out for a run, and it was lovely - it is foggy and unbelievably mild, high 50s. Just did four miles along the river - I'm running with Lauren tomorrow afternoon in Prospect Park as well. Teaching now over for the semester, though end-of-semester responsibilities remain, and I am hoping not to post so many zeroes for the rest of December!

4mi, 44min

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Several logistical fails on this one: I shouldn't have made the commitment for a Sunday evening when I could have predicted I would have many letters of recommendation still to write; and once I was there, I should have thought more about the necessity for post-ride refueling, as instead I trekked the hour-plus home on the subway feeling increasingly sick/shaky with caloric deficit! An egg salad sandwich has now remedied the latter, though, and as for the former, really it was very good to have such a good exercise session.

(Met up with Liz at what I can only describe, trying to keep a straight face, as Park Slope's boutique cycling studio! That teacher is very good - we did a lot of technique work that is very much along the lines I've been thinking about recently.)

It was a pretty reasonable week for exercise, all told (just under 8hr total). I have a daunting amount of work to deal with between now and the end of the day tomorrow, but after this week, I have more time to myself, and am looking forward to doing a LOT of yoga in December.

1.5hr spin

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blissful day of exercise!

Oh, that was excellent, and just what I needed after much human contact this week. Only problem now is that I am home & facing horribly huge pile of work - it is the letters of recommendation, they give me a strong desire to procrastinate but the first due date for this bunch is TOMORROW so really I have my work cut out for me this evening!

1hr spin (2 x 12min climb)
1.5hr full-body workout and abs with Joanna
1hr restorative yoga (should have showered and changed, but there was no time - as a result I was freezingly cold in sweaty clothes, even with a blanket over me!)

Friday, November 29, 2013


I was in rather low spirits after B. left for the airport this morning, so I felt very lucky that Joanna was teaching midday spin at Chelsea Piers despite the holiday! Couldn't stay for the extra bit she generously tacked on at the end (had to go and meet my mother and travel to friends' apartment; I have had much human contact this week and am basically now overwhelmed and exhausted, despite niceness of each encounter individually!), but it was very good. Tomorrow she's teaching a bumper sequence of classes, I am much looking forward to it.

1hr spin (2 x 10min climb)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Best short run ever!

Slept till I woke up without an alarm (10:45!), then had a very nice short little run down to the boat basin with B. It is a beautiful day - chilly, but incredibly sunny. Then eggs and bacon at the Deluxe Diner - pretty much a perfect day. Socializing will be involved later on, but it is amazing not to have to travel for this holiday....

c. 3.8mi, c. 40min

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hot yoga!

That was very good. It is my intention to do a TON of hot yoga in December and January - one more week of classes, and then my schedule really opens up all the way through till after the MLK holiday....

1.5hr hot yoga

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Short run!

Posted unwanted zeros on Sunday and Monday due to life just generally being a bit busy - but the weather is warmer today, and I had a more flexible morning schedule, so it was good to get out for a short easy run. Mood boost: good sighting of the tennis court calico. I was just thinking the other day that I hadn't seen her for a good long time & hoping she was OK - indeed she looked very plush and plump, all seems to be well....

c. 4mi, 42:45

Saturday, November 23, 2013


It is not to my credit, but the nature of this semester's demands is such that in order to make it to 10am spin at Chelsea Piers, I need to take a taxi - can't get myself out of the house quite early enough otherwise! Was very glad I made it there - I really love that class, it sets me up very well for the weekend.

(Next Saturday, there's a bonus - after 10am spin, Joanna will teach 11am boot camp and then half an hour of ab work at 12 - this is exciting!)

1hr spin (3 x 10min climb)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Short run

Almost talked myself out of it (fit of allergies, general fatigue), but really it's always worth getting out there even just for a short one. From now until the end of the semester, I should just try not to post too many zeroes! Rainy day, but very mild - good running weather, honestly.

c. .5hr, c. 2.8mi

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Short run

I was huddling in bed at 3:30, looking at the very wintry sky outside (really it's 50F, but it gets dark so early at this time of year) and thinking how off-putting it seemed to go back out. But I had dressed directly in running clothes after yoga, and really it made more sense just to get out there for a short run regardless. (Alas, an email in my inbox informed me that B.'s flight this afternoon was canceled, so I needed the mood boost! Should be he'll get here tomorrow, though.)

Nice easy three miles. Thinking about running tomorrow morning also - my Monday meeting this semester is at the dreaded hour of 8:30, which really for a night owl does not allow for exercise first, but my Friday meeting isn't till 10, which is quite humane...

:31, c. 3mi easy

Hot yoga!

Thursday is essentially my weekend day (I finish teaching on Wednesday, today's for regrouping before starting to focus on work again tomorrow), but it still feels pleasantly decadent to start the day with 10am hot yoga! Didn't make it out to exercise yesterday afternoon after all - lay down in bed to read and instead fell near-instaneously asleep for 2 deep hours, woke up feeling groggy and exhausted. Then, predictably, couldn't fall asleep till 3am, which was entirely my own fault for napping! I will run before dark, though, too, as it has turned into a beautiful day - around 50, sunny. The hot yoga is definitely coming back, though it was also helpful today that the room wasn't quite as hot as it sometimes gets....

1.5hr hot yoga

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hot yoga!

It is rather decadent to go to hot yoga in the middle of the morning on a "school day," but I guess I bought the right by doing some hours of work last night considerably after the time when I felt completely tapped out! That was really good - I was only a little stiff/sore yesterday after Sunday's run (much less so than I had anticipated), and now I feel really back to normal. Coming up on when I can start doing a lot more yoga - end of semester is in sight....

1.5hr hot yoga

Sunday, November 17, 2013


One of the slowest half-marathons I've run, but also one of the most luxuriously enjoyable - my mother very kindly watched L.'s baby so that we could go and enjoy ourselves!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


That was amazing. 2 x 16min climb (4 x 4min splits, alternating seated and standing). I haven't replaced the battery on my HR strap, partly because I think that I do better with cycling form when I'm not also paying attention to HR. J. sensibly observes that it is a very good idea at this time of year to let yourself get detrained without getting deconditioned, so I think just going on feel and concentrating on form and holding onto some base fitness will be the way to go. I'm going to start swimming again once classes are over (pool chemicals put a lot of stress on my immune system); it's an event for participation rather than performance, but I'm doing the half-iron aquabike in Cayman the third weekend in January, so I definitely should be doing some swim and bike volume in December....

1hr spin

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hot yoga!

That was amazing. I am finally reacclimating, I think. Usually if I have midday Friday free, it makes most sense to go to my most-favorite Friday spin class at Chelsea Piers, but I'm having dinner in Chelsea later with friends and it seemed crazy to go down there twice when I could go to hot yoga close by (also having strong yoga cravings this week). Will spin tomorrow before heading to Philadelphia with L.K. for the half-marathon Sunday morning.

1.5hr hot yoga

Hot yoga!

That was amazing. I am finally reacclimating, I think. Usually if I have midday Friday free, it makes most sense to go to my most-favorite Friday spin class at Chelsea Piers, but I'm having dinner in Chelsea later with friends and it seemed crazy to go down there twice when I could go to hot yoga close by (also having strong yoga cravings this week). Will spin tomorrow before heading to Philadelphia with L.K. for the half-marathon Sunday morning.

1.5hr hot yoga

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Exercise FAIL over the last few days due to cold weather plus busy busy school stuff - I haven't seemed able to get my act together to get out of the house, and really what that often means is that I am genuinely so tired I shouldn't exercise. Went to a lovely evening yoga class at Chelsea Piers this evening, though, with my friend E. Light meal afterwards at La Lunchonette. Teacher Paolo is superb - I have always really liked his classes; I should try to get to them more often.

1.5hr yoga

Saturday, November 9, 2013


OK, this has turned into pretty much the best and most relaxing day I have had since the semester started! I guess I'm nine weeks out from IMWI - feels like the first real endurance training day I've had since then. Restorative yoga was super, I am very keen on that class, it's the perfect thing to do after spinning; and then I went to Brooklyn for a run with L. We were set on trying 5:1 run-walk - we are running the half-marathon in Philadelphia this weekend, it's L.'s first long run since having a baby in June and really we needed to do at least ninety minutes to make sure that we could! We have set ourselves a (friendly - we will abandon it if someone is in actual pain!) goal of beating 2:30 - I think it can be done.

And then the nicest thing is getting home after a longer day out than I usually have and being greeted with huge enthusiasm by two funny cats....

1:32/8.25mi/11:09/mi pace (course is much flatter than Prospect Park, so I think we should be able to hit close to 11:00/mi even with the walk intervals)

Didn't really do any work yesterday or today, which means a lot has piled up for tomorrow, but that's fine, I'm mentally fortified for the week. I will just go to 10am hot yoga tomorrow and work the rest of the day. Rather busy week coming up, I'm afraid, with evening plans Monday and Tuesday and a workshop to lead on Thursday, but it's all good. Ready for the semester to be over - four more weeks!


V good class with Joanna. Am having decadent day of exercise - will do restorative yoga@ 12 (conveniently they changed time so now I can shower and breakfast post-spin), then to Brooklyn to meet L for run-walk in the park.

:55 spin

Friday, November 8, 2013

Hot yoga!

The room was almost intolerably hot - this teacher likes it really hot, it is a bit of a nightmare! (Also of course I already did one hot sweaty hour of exercise earlier, which makes a difference.) I had to sit out the second set of standing bow-pulling pose, and sat down one more time at the end of the standing series; on the other hand, it was more just overheating and verging on hyperventilation, I was not actually feeling queasy. The floor series felt very good, and I am already much more flexible (especially in fixed firm pose, which I always think really must be called "fixed fern" - I got it in my head that way at the beginning, and it stuck) than I was a week ago.

This must be the first double exercise day I've had for several months - feels like coming home! Double again tomorrow - 10am spin and then meeting up with L. at 2pm for a long stint of run-walk (5:1 or 6:1, I think) to make sure we'll be OK for next week's half-marathon in Philadelphia. Then on Sunday I'll probably just do yoga again. I have a lot of work to do this weekend, but no other plans or commitments, thank goodness - I am due some downtime.

1.5hr hot yoga


That was glorious. The weekday classes have a different vibe than weekend (more regulars I suppose). Spring semester I should be able to go most Mondays.

: 55 spin

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Hot yoga!

That was excellent. I am regaining heat acclimation (it's still too hot!) and did much better today with standing bow-pulling pose - that's the hardest one for me if I've had a layoff. Am going to make hot yoga plus running/spinning the main focus from now till the end of the calendar year - I don't think I can quite do a 30-day challenge yet, and I'm not sure those arbitrary challenges are really great for quality of life, but I do think I should go to as many classes as I can between now and the end of the semester!

(L. and I needed to reschedule our run for Saturday afternoon, which really was better for me in many respect - I slept late and am now going to have a quiet day at home, for work/life catch-up (I realize I never sent my rent check!)/visit to allergy doc.

1.5hr hot yoga

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Short run!

I'd hoped to get to hot yoga yesterday, but in fact I was just flattened by fatigue. Early afternoon, went out to try and find a quiet place to reread final three books of Tom Jones, found myself rejecting one coffeeshop after another as too crowded/chaotic - after the fifth one, belatedly realized that the problem was with me rather than with the coffeeshops & came home and ate some lunch and went back to bed!

4mi easy (:43:30)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hot yoga!

I am nine minutes short of the week's non-negotiable six-hour total, but after the weeks I've been having, I will count that as a win!

Hot yoga was excellent. Best of all for acclimation/heat adaptation is to go every day, but now I've done three classes in two weeks, I'm getting a bit of it back. Still falling out of all the one-legged poses, but didn't feel nauseous during the standing series, and the floor series felt amazing. It also helps that I finally got two reasonable nights of sleep in a row.

Out of town now for a talk, no exercise tomorrow, but I am hoping this coming week will be a really good one for exercise - running, spinning, hot yoga, maybe a Pilates class or two. I consulted both Joanna and yoga teacher about sore hip; Joanna points out that the first thing to do is get new running shoes (and indeed, I think the pair I've been running in may have been quite old - I reverted to an old pair I'd left at Brent's when the new model was giving me a blister) and yoga teacher says run on softer surfaces, so I will try and follow both those bits of advice.

1.5hr hot yoga

Saturday, November 2, 2013


Incredibly happy to make it to spin at Chelsea Piers, though I was a bit late (weekend trains). This place is my sanctuary and Joanna's class is the best. Off to meet my dad now for opera matinee.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Best short run ever!

I'm basically operating under hopelessly high levels of fatigue - I wanted to go to 4:30pm hot yoga, but fell asleep and didn't wake up in time to properly degroggify and get out the door. In a way, though, it was for the best, as it is the most GORGEOUS running weather! Hard to believe it is Nov. 1 - it's 70F, sunny, calm. I ran along the river as the sun was setting and felt incredibly lucky to be out there doing one of my favorite activities in the world on a mind-blowingly gorgeous evening.

(My morning meeting ended early enough that I could have gotten down to midday spin, but I had a lot of bits and bobs to take care of - things like calling the doctor's office to see if I could get a refill called in for asthma prescription without making an actual appointment, etc. etc. - and it didn't make sense. But I am excited to say that barring unforeseen calamity, I will go to spin class tomorrow at 10, and it looks to me as though there is a good shot I can make all Saturday classes for the rest of the calendar year, and possibly a few of the Friday ones too. I miss them!)

:32, 3mi

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Gosh, that was good. I am taking a true day off (well, I do need to do a couple hours of work later, but nothing terribly taxing, just bits and bobs); I took the train to Prospect Park and ran six miles with L. We are doing the Philadelphia half-marathon in a few weeks, neither of us has been running much - me due to illness/overwork/ironman recovery, L. for the much better reason that she had a baby in June and has very limited babysitting! So it's a nice slow comeback race - today was a sort of reality-check as to whether this really is feasible, and we deem it so - 6mi, 1:05, on a 9:1 run-walk ration. We'll shoot to do 9mi next Thursday, this time I think instead trying 6:1, which is more likely to suit us for the race. (I am partial to using 7-minute intervals, I like how the numbers work out - I have always had a particular fondness for the seven times table!)

6mi, 1:05

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Short and very sweet

In retrospect I should have gone out for a short run right when I got up. If I am planning to run later, I wait to shower, and basically if I am not woken up by either shower or exercise I groggily sleepwalk through my morning. (For instance I got back into bed to write my comments on student assignments, which is hardly ideal for either focus or legibility!) I only finished essential work just before 1, and need to be out the door just before 2, but it is such a beautiful day and I was already dressed in running clothes, so I went out for short sweet 2 miles. This is going to have to be the way of it, I fear, for the rest of the semester....

2mi, :22

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hot yoga!

That was good. I have been in slightly low spirits, mostly I expect due to fatigue; hot yoga is very beneficial. If I do a couple more hours of work tonight, too, I can have a long leisurely run tomorrow morning....

1.5hr hot yoga

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Short run!

It proved impossible to exercise in Toronto; it was a worthwhile but very tiring trip. Still pretty much knackered, but had a good quiet day at home alternately working and napping, and I did get out for a short easy run just now. Left it a little late, and wasn't really wearing reflective or blinky gear, so I kept it short, though I felt good and wouldn't have minded doing the full hour.

:32, 3mi.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Short run

I was so tired I really hardly made it out the door, but it was lovely as soon as I was running - it turned much more wintry today, but really it was a beautiful sunny fall late afternoon, maybe mid-50s - perfect temperature for easy running. Just did four miles very easy; we are flying to Toronto early tomorrow, funeral Friday morning, home Sunday morning pretty early - I will bring exercise gear and hope to get in at least one workout while I am there, but it is honestly more likely to be one or none than two....

:44:00, 4mi easy

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Short run

I find myself flattened by fatigue, much wheezier than usual and with a slightly sore right hip, but it was still worthwhile to get out there for a short run - I felt a bit better by the end of it. (My fantasy of going to hot yoga this evening was precisely that - really I have an early-evening engagement in Brooklyn. Out late last night for a friend's opera debut at the Met, couldn't get to sleep till very late - tonight may be a bit more of the same, though hopefully not quite so late....)

32min, c. 3mi.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Short run!

One minor downside to endurance sport, I think, is that it leads you to underrate the pure pleasure & mental/physical health benefits of a SHORT run! I only had time for 3 miles, and they were lovely indeed - it is the most heavenly running weather, upper fifties and sunny and calm. I am thinking I had really better do triage for the rest of the semester and pretty much just start every day with .5hr easy running, so that I don't log so many days without exercise - it is the best way of guaranteeing it gets done. Hoping to make it to hot yoga tomorrow evening, but not sure whether I will really have the vim at that point.

30:30, c. 2.9mi.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hot yoga!

That was great (notwithstanding mild queasiness at various points in the standing series) - I really wanted to go on Wednesday, but was unable to make it happen; life just has been a bit too demanding this week. Unexpected twist throws things off for the end of this coming week too - we need to go to Toronto for the funeral of an old friend of B.'s, who died after several rounds of battling cancer. Funeral is on Friday, we'll fly up Thursday, I need to make sure I exercise every day between now and then. Looks to me like M run, T evening hot yoga, W run, F run in Toronto, Sunday hot yoga when I'm back - that would just about make the six-hours-a-week non-negotiable minimum....

1.5hr hot yoga!

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Running is good for the soul! It turned into a very demanding week work-wise, with lingering bronchitis too, so all of my good intentions about getting back on a regular exercise schedule went out the window. (I am still a bit behind on letters of recommendation and a rewrite on a book review, plus normal week's prep stuff.) Ran a bit too fast for opening minutes (B.'s here, his easy easy is my mid-zone 2, which I should not do without a warm-up when my lungs are still full of junk - we parted ways at .7mi, I eased off a little after that), lungs very raw and sore for first half hour. Then they felt good and I was just full of bliss and gratitude at being outside in what is perfect perfect running weather (low 60s, sunny, hint of fall crispness in the air).

The next six or seven weeks will be very demanding work-wise, and I have no fantasies about achieving amazing feats of endurance or picking up mad boxing skillz over that spell of time, but I am hoping that I can at least now get back on what I think is a sensible "six hours a week non-negotiable exercise of any sort," mostly concentrating on running and yoga.

1:01, c. 5.8mi

Monday, October 14, 2013


I think it was slightly premature to run Saturday, at any rate I had a lot more surplus sinusage and lung stuff again yesterday, but this morning it was significantly less runny, so I did a full hour - woo-hoo! Very good running weather - I hate to have missed so much of it, though really it should be months more still very good. I still seem to have decent residual base fitness.

Busy over next couple days, but I am going to write in Wednesday 4:30 hot yoga class, I am really missing it....

c. 5.8mi, 1:02

Saturday, October 12, 2013


FOUR MILES VERY EASY! Ugh, what a relief, I have not enjoyed this past week one bit. It continues to amaze me how ill one feels, and for how long, on the basis of an ordinary cold. I first had raw throat and dry cough Wed. 10/2, sore throat and escalating symptoms Thursday, by Fri. 10/4 I had an absolutely dreadful streaming cold that pretty much lasted all through the week! On Thursday 10/10, I had made it through my weekend conference and the demanding teaching week and my energy levels were returning to normal, but both lungs and head were full of JUNK and exercise was still contraindicated, ditto yesterday. Still not 100%, that bronchitis takes a while to go away, but I was not willing to wait any longer...

4mi easy, 42:30

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lung ailment....

Not so extreme as to deserve an exclamation point, but - ugh....

(It was coming on me as I sat at the theater last night, G. said hopefully that it might just be allergies but really I knew it was not. Could be worse - lungs feel raw and a bit full of stuff, but there is no head cold involvement, which at least means I'm not spewing so many germs on others! Conference in New Haven, training it up later today and home Sunday late afternoon - I will bring one set of exercise clothes just on the off chance I'm better enough by Sunday morning to go for a run, but it's probably unrealistic, I should resign myself...)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Really it's been a difficult couple weeks. When I got up this morning, the only thing I really felt like doing was (as we familiarly call it) ostriching, i.e. staying in bed with my head under the covers. However that was not really an option, and it also seemed clear that a run would make me feel better - amazing how after about twenty minutes suddenly I feel relatively normal again. Turned around earlier than I meant to as the police had shut down the park (ugh, it looks as though this was what happened - I feel fortunate that I wasn't involved - it was clear that something bad had happened).

c. 4mi easy, 42:30

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Super class with Joanna. 9min climb, 10min endurance (z2 95-105rpm), 2 x 9min as 3min endurance 3min hard climb 3min :30 sprint :30 recovery. Red zone!

Then 1hr lovely restorative yoga.

1hr spin
1hr yoga

Friday, September 27, 2013


It always makes me very happy to go to Joanna's spin class! Fridays this semester in general have commitments that will make it impossible (next week I'm in New Haven for a conference for instance), but I was very glad to get there today. Rode my bike down (a few weeks of not riding a bike make me dread it, but really it is very nice once I get over the hump of the first few blocks - it's not the riding I don't like, it's the part where I'm about to start!), did class, showered & ate and rode home. HR still a little higher/slower to recover than normal, but I think it's getting back to where I can do "proper" exercise again.

10mi round trip
:45 spin (2 x 9min z3/4 "climb")

Thursday, September 26, 2013

(Short) run!

Monday through Wednesday were just overwhelming in terms of work and fatigue, and I tried to take Brent's advice to heart about respecting the recovery debt post-Ironman! Unfortunately next week I will need to be in New Haven Thursday to Sunday for a conference, and it will undoubtedly be very tiring. In the meantime, though, I am over the hump of the demanding part of this week, and I had a lovely little morning run with L., who I haven't seen since she had her baby in June! She had intimated she was running very slowly (like 13-minute miles), but really she's not any more, we did 3.35mi in 37:41. We are doing the half-marathon together in Philadelphia in November, and I'll try and get out to Prospect Park for a weekly run meetup with her in the meantime - we're shooting for Monday afternoons on a regular basis. Afterwards went back to her apt and met the baby - there is also a v impressive jogging stroller that will be called into action in coming weeks (whoever feels faster that day gets to push the stroller up the hills I think).

3.35mi, 37:41

I will do a hot yoga class later I think - I have been missing it, but have been too tired/too overscheduled to fit it in....

Monday, September 23, 2013

Not sporty

but the two funny cats now really are friends! (Jose - tabby tuxedo cat in foreground - has come to live with us on a permanent basis.)

B. rightly urges me to take time for recovery post-Ironman - it makes me feel lazy, but I am taking the day off!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


I have a lot of work that needs to be done for tomorrow, but I also have a very hard day ahead, and it seemed clear that the best thing I could do for mental health and mood stabilization would be to use my morning time for a good run. It is beautiful weather - I did the full park loop, plus 1mi or so each way.

Week's totals: 18mi. This coming week I want to be back on a real full exercise schedule. Good rule of thumb for the semester (it is very busy, life is complicated) is a non-negotiable 6hr/week minimum, with more when I can. Will try and establish some routines - still figuring out what the shape of the week is going to look like.

c. 8mi, c. 1:26

Friday, September 20, 2013

Short run

Couldn't fall asleep for ages last night, and then slept poorly and fitfully. Had set alarm for 7, with desire to run - that run I had the other day was so good for my mood, and the weather is too good to waste! Really I needed the sleep more and would have turned it off and reset, only I was awake before the alarm anyway - grumpily got up and figured that though I felt mediocre, I should run regardless. First two miles not bad but eyes burning from ragweed/lack of sleep and slightly stomachachey feeling. Stopped and used the bathroom at the 2-mile turnaround just past the Boat Basin, felt much better on way home. Definitely worthwhile. It is not a hugely demanding day, but it has a lot of moving parts - now I need to shower & get myself to 10am meeting!

4mi easy (43:00)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Best run EVER!

Running is the best, and it is the best season for running!

Crisp, cool, sunny, still, mid-50s - could there be a better day for running along the Hudson?

Now I need to get on with my day, but....

I have been coveting exercise, but it hasn't been quite feasible - very busy beginning of the semester, many daytime and evening social obligations, general fatigue post-Ironman but also the specific woes of RAGWEED ALLERGIES.

Today was the first morning I really could realistically carve out the time, but I need to get back on a regular schedule, it is too important for mood and general mental health to let it go!

You really can't hold onto all of the fitness from a big training cycle, but it's clear to me that the one thing I will make sure to keep is the 2hr run. It takes a long time to build back up to it if you lose it (it is very easily lost, in my experience - it falls victim to illness, travel, overwork, general stress, etc. etc.).

So the plan for the fall: a LOT of running; quite a bit of hot yoga; boxing and spinning as I can fit them both in. Rest of this week still very busy, I have late-night evening obligations tonight and Friday and Saturday, but I think after that it gets a bit calmer.

6mi easy on the most beautiful fall running morning ever!


Sunday, September 15, 2013

IMWI race report

Really I have too much to say - I want to write a book about triathlon, or at least a Kindle Single or similar! But I do like race reports, and I want to write one before I have forgotten the basics.

(I have read and reread Brent's report of his experience at the same race in 2007 many times; mine will be less concise and more rambling! NB that was just weeks before I met Brent for the first time - I had been corresponding copiously with Brent and Wendy by email, having found their blogs online by virtue of my utter triathlon obsession, and I was mighty tempted to get a plane ticket to Wisconsin and join Wendy to spectate Brent's race, but it was not feasible. Brent came to NY at the end of October instead for some theatergoing and conversation, and that was the beginning of a very good new stage of my life!)

It was a lot harder than I expected. Now, that is a ridiculous thing to say: it's Ironman, of course it's hard; if it wasn't, everybody would be doing it!

The swim was much, much more challenging than I expected. It was a windy day, and there was both chop and current on the longest leg of the one-loop swim, to a degree that under other circumstances wouldn't at all have phased me - I am a confident and happy open-water swimmer, mercifully - but that meant I had to work incredibly hard for a pretty long stretch of time, with a grim sense of the toll this was taking and the consequences it would likely have for the bike.

I thought the bike ride would be both physically and mentally easier than my very hot windy last 112-mile ride in Cayman (which took me around 6:40). It wasn't - it was more physically comfortable, certainly (not so hot, and my 'real' road bike is a much better fit than the one I have in Cayman, so my hands and feet don't get so sore), but I was racing the cutoffs the entire time, and not at all sure I was going to make it.

(I had not realized the extent to which it would take absolutely perfect conditions for me to have the nice half-hour or forty-minute buffer I thought I would manage. Conditions weren't terrible, especially in the sense that it wasn't as hot as it had been the day before and would be the day after, but the wind was fairly serious on the bike as well as the swim, which significantly slowed me down, given that it's already a hilly course.)

I made the cutoff for the transition from bike to run by the skin of my teeth - really, literally, five minutes later and I wouldn't have been allowed to continue!

But once I was sitting getting changed for the run, I was in the most blissfully elevated mood, and the whole rest of the evening was perfect - I felt physically strong, my stomach was fine and I was never in any doubt that I was going to make it before the final cutoff at midnight. So in a sense the 'run' (more of a walk-jog hybrid) can be thought of as the reward for having survived the swim and the bike!

My full results are here. I'll give those numbers, then proceed in more detail through each stage of the race. (I've covered some of this in brief posts earlier in the week; apologies for repetition.)

Rankings are by division (W40-44), overall and gender (F). Here's some data on the race more generally - looks like there were 2343 finishers total.

swim: 2:04:49 (123/2412/601)
t1: 10:29 (you run up the "helix" in wetsuit, it is not a fast transition!)
bike: 8:11:13 (13.68mph) (119/2383/586)
t2: 7:44
run: 6:11:11 (14:10/mi.) (118/2306/559)

I only passed 29 people on the bike, but I passed 77 more on the run, and really I was very strong on both of those legs, just slower than I would like, especially on the bike!

130 women started in my age group, and 12 of them didn't finish: 4 didn't make the swim cutoff, 7 more didn't make the bike cutoff (this is where I almost joined them) and 1 made the swim and the bike but not the run. I was 118/118 finishers in my division, and feel very lucky to have come in on the right side of that divide. I gained more than a hundred places over the course of bike and run, which may not mean that I paced well but certainly suggests I paced less badly than others, and that I was sufficiently trained for the event!


Everything went pretty smoothly. I had time Friday morning after I registered and picked up my bike from Tribike Transport to drop my bike at the Trek tent for a safety inspection, which always relieves my mind pre-race. On Saturday, Brent and I had coffee with the Wimmers, who are just as delightful in person as I imagined they would be. I got to bed early on Saturday, and the whole thing was in striking contrast to my experience at the Vermont triathlon in early August, where I was way too frazzled and couldn't sleep at all the night before. It makes a big difference to be able to get there a few days beforehand, and I'm going to try and prioritize that for future high-stakes races.

The swim

It was a one-loop course in Lake Monona. The first leg was uneventful, and in fact easy enough that I thought "Gosh, they really need to make these Ironman swims harder!" Then I turned left around the red buoy at the end of the first line of buoys and had a rude awakening. There was a ton of current and chop, so that you were rising feet into the air with every stroke; it is realistic self-evaluation rather than self-praise when I say that I am a strong and relaxed open-water swimmer (slow but strong), I don't have an elegant stroke but I can swim forever at my easy pace, breathing every three strokes on alternate sides and sighting either every six or every twelve strokes depending on what's needed. I had imagined I'd be able to swim 2.4mi in 1:45 and at very easy effort levels throughout; instead I found myself breathing every two on my left side, working about as hard as I have ever worked on a swim, for close to an hour as we struggled along this stretch across to the second turn. People all around me were clinging to kayaks and buoys; there was a lot of panic. I didn't have any panic, just a grim underlying awareness that this was taking much, much longer than I had imagined, and more worryingly that I was working in zone 4 (maybe even zone 5) to a degree I had not at all anticipated! I didn't look at my watch, as I was frankly swimming as hard as I could, but I had about fifteen minutes where I worried obsessively about whether I might even be close to missing the cutoff. Once I turned around the second buoy, the swimming got a lot easier, and there were enough others still around me that it was clear we weren't right up against the cutoff. The finish itself was uneventful, but when I saw 2:05 on the clock I knew the day was going to be much more precarious in its timing than I had imagined.

(Note: I initially thought that really this meant I was undertrained on the swim, but further reflection reminded me that I had only two priorities for this Ironman training cycle. The first was to cycle at all costs and as much as possible, even at the expense of any swimming or running; the second was not to get sick. Swimming-pool chemicals are one of the two big things that really stress my lungs and immune system - the other is anxiety-triggered asthma on the bike - and really it was right that I shouldn't have done more this time round. To some extent, the fact that I was able to maintain a steady hard effort on the bike and continue to gain places on the run means on the contrary that I was sufficiently trained on the swim - trained for completion rather than for speed and freshness, but it all worked out OK.)

Here is a picture of me looking very happy to be done with the swim!

The bike

The first half of the bike was mentally agonizing. It is a "lollipop" course - you ride out to the west of Madison, then do two big clockwise loops, then ride the lollipop stick back into town. It was unpleasantly clear to me right away (my Garmin wouldn't turn on, which was annoying, so I only had actually HR data after I'd already ridden five miles and the device finally picked up a satellite) that my HR was much, much higher than it had ever been in training. There was nothing I could do to get it back down - even when I pulled back on effort, it stayed in the mid-140s, Friel zone 3. My goal had been low zone 2 for first half of the ride (cap at 135 excluding hills, then let it rise to c. 138 for second half). But it was stuck in the mid-140s; average HR for the ride came in at 146 (my cycling zone 3 is 138-48), and I had a ton of time in zone 4 and more than seems at all desirable in zone 5 (highest HR was 167, which is a few beats higher than I ever usually see in training). It was also clear from the numbers that my pace was significantly slower than I had hoped. The combination of hills and wind was devastating, and very bad for morale.

I am mentally fairly tough, and it's also a strength of mine that I have a very good feel for pacing, particularly considered in the vein of "how hard can I work now and still have that effort level be sustainable for seven more hours." But I hadn't really perused time and place of bike cutoffs closely (I have a good sense of time but a poor sense of geography), and I spent the whole first half of the ride - four hours - desperately worrying whether I was going to get pulled at the halfway mark (there are subsidiary cutoffs at various points on the bike as well as the big cutoff where you need to be into transition by 5:30).

My effort levels probably weren't that much higher than they usually would be on a long ride (i.e. my legs were very capable of doing the work, and I felt extremely strong on the hills, even late in the race), but HR still wouldn't go down. I rode as hard as I could, and stayed hydrated/fueled (I was wearing a Camelbak-style pack with a 100oz hydration bladder inside it - it had the Carborocket "333" Half-Evil, and I remixed a second set of that after picking up my special needs bag. Total consumption of fluids and calories on 8+hr bike: 200oz Half-Evil, a.k.a. 2000 calories, plus about 30oz additional water and 2 lumps of almond paste, say another 300 calories). I felt slightly queasy almost the whole time - more the queasiness of riding too close to lactate threshold than the queasiness of actual stomach distress - periodically I would burp a little and have a few minutes of feeling better, but I did actually worry at several moments whether I might throw up.

Special needs came around the halfway mark, just after the start of the second loop. The only thing I wanted was the sport drink powder - all the snacks I'd stowed seemed revolting - but I was very happy to learn that there was a full half-hour remaining before the special needs area would shut down, which meant I was further ahead of the midrange cutoff than I had feared.

The second half was actually much better mentally. I knew I had four hours and that it would be close, but I also knew that it was feasible and had a much clearer notion of exactly what I had to do. I had some good stretches of "living in the moment." I also had some ongoing stretches of negative thoughts of various kinds.

(Samples: Ugh, this is a vanity project - if I don't make that cutoff, I really will feel like I need to try again, only I can't set aside time again for 2-3 years, and I must have spent THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS on this race once you add up registration, airfare and taxis, bike transport, hotel, sundries - am I really so vanity-driven that I would spend ANOTHER THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS just to try for an "official" Ironman finish? Hmmm, but the upside if I don't make this cutoff - I always think it makes me a better advisor of my graduate students if I have failed at certain things I care about. My academic career has been really joyful and easy in all sorts of ways, when a PhD student ends a multi-year job search and seven years of work with no job offer my condolences may not ring true - but this experience really would be a disappointment of gravity, I have been working towards this for seven years at least, it matters to me a good deal! Oh, God, this is just hard - really if I get pulled at a subsidary cutoff it will be a mercy, I have HOURS more of this otherwise!)

None of the hills individually are as challenging as some I ride regularly, but it's an unrelentingly rolling course, and the wind made it much harder. Great crowd support on the steeper hills, though really I am unlikely to take my hand off handlebars to high-five anyone, especially when I am moving slowly and feel more tippable than normal!

I feel good about my cycling fitness, all things considered. I am a hugely more capable and confident rider than when I started. A high point was seeing professional triathlete Hillary Biscay blast past me on the bike (here is her race report). I've been a fan of her blog for a long time, and got to talk with her in person at the pro panel on Friday - she had asked what I'd be wearing, so that she could spot me on the course, and she yelled out something along the lines of "You work it, girl!" as she passed me. It was a lovely moment!

Around 4:30 the volunteers with the most experience are keenly aware of time running short; a helpful one said to me and the couple gentlemen I was riding near (it's a no-drafting rule, but it's hard to avoid some proximity), "You can still make it, but you need to stay focused. Fifteen miles in one hour - you can do that!" Yes, I could do that - but it was WINDY! We were riding straight into the wind, it seemed like; you'd have a brief respite, then there'd be a turn and it would be brutal headwind again.

I continued behind these other two fellows for a few minutes more, then after having pondered times and numbers called out to them, "OK, guys - we still really can make it, but it's not at all a given. If we want it, it's time to hammer. Anyone with me?"

They just kept on pedaling along, so I overtook them and HAMMERED IT for the last hour!

I passed quite a few riders here, including a couple women I saw again and chatted with on the run. It is interesting the extent to which it is mental. I mean, if you're really undertrained, your body simply won't do what your mind asks. But I was riding behind a racer in an orange shirt who I saw visibly give up. She'd been flagging on hills - I'd pass her riding up (another rider called out to me, admiringly, "You are a BEAST on the hills!," which made me have happy thoughts of Gerald Moore and his "Beast" boot camp), then she'd zoom past me riding down - she still looked very comfortable and relaxed on downhills and flats, but she almost got off on one hill, and then she did get off her bike.

It was just a small rolling hill, not a long way to the crest - I said to her (I have a bossy and comforting teacherly persona when I am racing, it is potentially annoying but also useful for some!), "Just walk it up to the top if you need to - but stay focused, we still can make this, but not if we don't keep riding strong." She did that. And then after a few more hills - it must have been half an hour of riding close to each other - I had fairly definitively passed her - out of the corner of my eye I could see her drop back and come to a halt. Her day was over, unless I am much mistaken, and I felt blessed that I have the kind of grit that really makes it not hard for me to continue when I am already working as hard as I can and feeling mediocre.

(Nothing is as hard as - I remember this moment! - coming home at 9pm the day before your tenure materials are due, after a demanding first week of fall-semester teaching, and knowing that you need to do one more full copy-edit of your book manuscript before handing in the materials by the end of the next day - counting about 18 hours to 5pm Friday and figuring you can afford six hours of sleep/break but that you need to keep up an unrelenting fast work pace in order to have time to proofread the final copy as well!)

So for the last hour, I basically just was working as hard as I could - I needed to be able to slow down for last mile, as there is a slightly less safe area as you navigate the bike path back to the hotel and have to ride up the helix - but it is a strength of mine to be able to make a very good assessment about exactly how hard that work can be, and fortunately for me it was just hard enough.

I came in at the bottom of the helix with six minutes to spare - dismounted at transition with barely five minutes left before the cutoff.


After that it was all good. Stripped off socks and shoes and put cream on feet so that I wouldn't get awful blisters. Always very happy to be on my own two feet and with no worries about mechanical failure etc. I still felt a bit queasy, and my left foot was seizing up from something to do with bike cleat arrangements, so I took the first three miles slow. I had a nice chat with an older man called Gary who said, truly (we were setting off around 5:45, with 26.2mi to go and a midnight cutoff), that if we held a 15:00/mi. walking pace we'd make it. I said this to another racer, Theresa, and she said, negatively but accurately: "Barely!" So once my stomach was settled, I set out to make up the time - I was using the very simple metric (your brain doesn't function so well after these long days, but I like mental arithmetic!) that I needed to "beat the :15" - each mile needed to come in a little "earlier" against the ":15," and I would track pace based on that.

(I'd left my Garmin on the bike, I wasn't sure the battery would hold out and I also really like the simplicity of just using a regular watch.)

I had seen the smiling faces of Jenny and Mike Wimmer as I came in off the bike, and Brent was there to say hello regularly on the run course (including passing on Julie's advice about picking up the pace). My fastest pace for a segment was 11:16, my slowest was the first 3.7mi segment at 16:03. I definitely could have finished the marathon at least :20 more quickly, and possibly more than that (I think 12:00/mi. pace in some future Ironman marathon is feasible), but I wanted to play it conservatively - tripping and falling and banging yourself up, or just overdoing it so that you couldn't walk speedily any more, would be foolish! I took in calories at every aid station (gels, pretzels, coke) and my stomach really felt great in comparison the bike leg. I'd jog downhills and walk briskly the rest of the time - I got a lot of compliments on my fast walking!

I had many very pleasant bits and bobs of conversation. If all you're shooting for is an official finish and you don't mind it that you're walking, it is a lovely experience (at least if you're not feeling sick to your stomach or woozy, as many racers were!). I was in a giddy elated mood, I never had a low, I knew I was going to make it and I am really very happy doing a mix of run-walk - my lungs were rather wheezy when I ran, that was the limiter, but I felt very strong. (Zombie Apocalypse Pacing!)

Joined a little group for the last stretch, and had to talk one racer back into positive spirits and mental focus (a gel helped also), but the last stretch was celebratory, and I came in pretty safely at 16:45:26 - i.e. with almost fifteen minutes buffer, which was enough to make me confident throughout.

Brent greeted me at the finish and helped me navigate the retrieval of morning clothes bag and return to the hotel. I was still talking a mile a minute! Ate cold pizza and drank a beer - couldn't really sleep, too excited.

Elation and happiness continued through next day - everywhere you went in Madison, even the airport, people were congratulating you (I was wearing finishers shirt and wristband still) and sharing stories of volunteering and spectating. My flight was delayed and I didn't get home till almost 3am Monday, which was slightly overwhelming; this week has been a scramble, but hopefully now things are a bit more back to normal.

(Short answer to question of whether I will do another one - yes, but not for a few years, and with a flatter bike course! IMFL or IMAZ in fall 2016 or 2017, I think, depending on when I next have a semester of leave and am not trying to start or finish a book - training for Ironman is compatible with writing, but not with the obsessive kind of immersion in a single project that you need at those particular junctures. Next year: I am back to Survival of the Shawangunks, assuming I can get a spot. It is my favorite race ever! I really love the small bucolic races better than the big corporate ones - the expo at IMWI is a temple of commerce more than it is a temple of endurance sport.)

Madison is absolutely gorgeous. Thanks to Molly for taking me to the Old-Fashioned, where I had "Ironman macaroni and cheese" (tomatoes, scallions and bacon - almost all the restaurants in town had race-related specials, and we were made to feel hugely welcome); to Jordan for buying me a fancy cocktail at the gorgeous rooftop restaurant on top of the art museum and coming to say hello on the run course; to Mike and Jenny Wimmer, two friends and triathletes I've known virtually for many years now and was delighted to meet in person (so great to see their smiling faces so many places on the course!); the race organizers, for putting on what is surely the best North American Ironman race (and also one of the hardest!); the crew at TriBike transport for the amazing service, including the valet service, which means that they retrieve your bike and transition stuff for you and you don't have to worry about it at all till the next morning, which is fantastically good; to all the volunteers and other racers who made the day so special; and especially to Brent, who has encouraged me all along the way as well as answering questions that fall along a continuum from utterly foolish (which foot should I use to clip out with at intersections?) to needlessly complex (won't even go there!) with patience, knowledge and good humor!

My only great regret about this race is that Wendy wasn't there. I know she would have been there to cheer me on if it were humanly possible, and I thought of her very often over the course of the long day. I am grateful to her not just for all she taught me about swimming, though that was a huge thing too, but for her sense of the value of participating in endurance events because of what it shows you about the triumph of the human spirit! My first swim teacher in adulthood, Doug Stern, died only about six months after I first met him; and my inspiring boot camp coach, Gerald Moore, died only a month ago. They were all much in my thoughts.

There are countless others, still alive, who also helped me on my way - I think of my first personal trainer, Paulo, and my beloved NYC trainer Mark Plaisir; of swim teacher Irina and brilliant swim coach Jim Bolster; of Coach Mindy at the Running Center; of Joanna Paterson's amazing indoor cycling classes at Chelsea Piers, which helped me hugely in gaining confidence and fitness riding outdoors; of sometime triathlon training partners and fellow racers Liz and Lauren, and everyone else (Stasi, Craig!) I ever go for a run with - yoga teachers galore - I am sure I am forgetting many more.

But it is especially sharp and painful to think about those I've lost. I don't like it when people confidently impute thoughts or feelings to those who are dead, it strikes me as sentimental at best and often self-serving or even delusional - but in this case I will indulge myself by thinking about how happy Wendy and Doug and Gerald would have been that I achieved this goal I've been working towards for so long.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Marking the occasion

(As I wait for Garmin data to transfer....)

I have been coveting one of these necklaces for a very long time, ever since I first saw them. They are made by the lovely Renee Frances, a friend of friends Liz and Nico. Now I have actually purchased the one with the purple seat! Really I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the actual bicycle, but I think this will be a nice little token....


Gosh, tiring week. I went to Joanna's spin class for a recovery ride - legs feel very good (aside from some very painful chafing on inner left thigh - the curse of the fleshy triathlete!), but body/HR are clearly exhausted. It was way too easy to spike the HR way up, so I stopped doing work intervals and just rode easy in zone 2.

I thought I might write my race report this afternoon, but probably a nap is a higher priority. I need to recharge my Garmin before I can get data off it - it really is an imperfect device.

:45 spin

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

One more thought

(though really I need to get off the computer, go to bed and go to SLEEP so that I can finish preparing for class in the morning!)

130 racers started in my age group (W40-44). I am putting together data from a couple different sources, so it's not guaranteed accurate, but it looks to me like 4 didn't make the swim cutoff, 7 made the swim cutoff but not the bike cutoff, and 1 made the swim and bike but not the run. I am a lucky woman - I was 118/118 in the division!

(I am laughing, I said several times over the summer that if less than 10% in my age group didn't finish, I would be OK, but that if weather conditions tipped it up to 12% I would be in trouble! I was correct - that is the utility of doing a race like the Syracuse 70.3 which had related conditions on bike course and in terms of constituency/cohort.)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Quick thoughts from airport

Will probably wait to write full race report till I'm through with this week of teaching. Normal life has been on hold! But I am just now looking at my race results, with detailed splits and rankings.

I didn't pace well on HR/effort - I couldn't afford to. A good stretch of the swim was so rough that I was truly swimming as hard as I could just to move forward - normally I swim at a lovely easy pace in this sort of race, one that I can maintain forever (I like the bilateral breathing because it reminds you of the way swimming is like a waltz - I sight every 6 or every 12 strokes, depending on conditions, after breathing on the left side). But it was so choppy that it wasn't just that you couldn't breathe on the right without taking in water and air in unwanted combinations - I had to move into absolute utmost power swiping, breathing every two and coming up and sort of plunging back into the water on pretty much every stroke. I can feel a lot of muscles in my shoulders and chest that I don't usually use swimming much, but the more worrisome part was the "burning of matches" - the grim mood in which I spent a good part of the swim wasn't to do with the physical sensation (I find that kind of swimming exhilarating, and if it had been a standalone race I would have had a huge grin on my face, so I am lucky that way - many others were panicking and clinging to kayaks, even very strong swimmers), it was due to the knowledge that this swim was taking much, much more out of me than I had imagined. Fortunately all was well, but my HR really never went back down afterwards.

But the rankings on each leg are another way of thinking about pacing, and there I really do think that I trained as well as I could. (My limiter is the tendency to respiratory ailments - after having had countless interruptions to training and racing over the years, including not being able to race IMCDA due to bad bronchitis, I cut back on anything that I thought was risky [pool chemicals are a trigger for instance] and focused on cycling.) If you are very fast in one sport and not in the others, then this does not apply, but one way of thinking about pacing is to say that you want to gain rather than lose places as the day proceeds. You may not have paced well, but you have paced more wisely than others! And the numbers really paint a good picture - of course really I am a stronger runner than swimmer or cyclist, but it's still good, I am happy looking at it.

swim: 123/2412/601
bike: 119/2383/586
run: 118/2306/559

[ED. Post corrected for typos - clearly I am more tired than I realize, usually I don't proofread and it comes out fine!]

I got it!

Just a very quick update - I need to eat and drink things and start winding down. A hard day out there - wind made both swim and bike significantly tougher than I expected - but once I made the bike cutoff I felt great and I knew I could walk/jog the marathon before midnight. 11:45pm finish (i.e. 16:45 elapsed duration), though Athlete Tracker is down and I don't have exact details. Zombie Apocalypse Pacing worked extremely well, and Madison is a beautiful town.

Fuller report to follow, possibly from airport tomorrow afternoon but more responsibly on Wednesday evening after I frenetically catch up on the start of the school year & teach my Tues. and Wed. classes!

(Special thanks to Brent for serving as local digital town crier re: news of my movements on the course.)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dateline: Madison

Nothing much to report - Madison is beautiful, B. is here now too, I am registered & have retrieved things and will drop off bike and gear in the late morning tomorrow (still need the long complicated session of sorting out and packing bags). I am less nervous than I expected; I have prepared as well as I could, and I have a good shot at an extremely enjoyable day on Sunday!

(I am convinced that the bike ride, though it will have stretches of mental lowness, won't be nearly as tough as the last long one I did in Cayman.)

Also: this gets my vote for most inappropriately named product spotted at the expo!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Zombie apocalypse pacing!

Actually this was just a normal run - what a pleasure, it's only 75F, though still grotesquely humid (90% when I checked before I left) and subjectively warm while running. Four easy miles (low zone 2 on feel), 32:00, c. 10:30 pace. Felt extremely strong and fit (taper finally working beneficially rather than just producing overwhelming fatigue?); looking forward to doing a LOT of running this fall. It is the best season for running; as temperatures get cooler, you get faster regardless of fitness gains! I am going to run short, long, fast, slow and mostly just OFTEN. It will be great!

I was amusing myself on long treadmill runs in Cayman by contemplating the notion of Zombie Apocalypse Pacing. (ZAP!) The point about zombie apocalypse pacing is that zombies in your near vicinity top out at 4mph and will be unlikely to catch you if you are sensible; but you are going to have to keep outrunning them for 26.2 miles, so you can only run 5mph (12:00 pace) for the first couple hours if it's not going to cause your pace in last 10mi to drop below 15:00 miles. Otherwise you will be eaten by zombies!

Also (really I just like the sound of this sentence, but it is true): I am used to racing the kind of triathlon where all your stuff is dumped in one pile by your bicycle. I do not have unguent redundancy! I only have one Tri-Slide and one chamois cream. I think I have to find some single-use ones (I may actually have some of these around if I dig, they are the kind of thing you get at race giveaways), or else hit the tri store or race expo and stock up on big ones - I need them for morning swim bag, swim to bike transition, bike special needs, bike to run transition and run special needs (or waist pack). That blister on the bottom of my fourth right toe is still bugging me when I run, despite attempts at foot care - I definitely need to change socks in the bike-to-run transition and put some cream on feet and more particularly lubricate that spot.

Off shortly to teach my first seminar of the semester. It is a hyperactive week - first lecture tomorrow, then fly to Madison Thursday!

4mi easy!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hot yoga!

Ran into friend and sometime training partner C. late Friday afternoon and arranged to meet up for hot yoga this morning. First part was GRUESOMELY warm and humid, I felt quite queasy and had to sit down for a good stretch - in the mid-class transition, I moved my mat over to the window, which was cracked open a bit, and the second half (always more manageable in any case because you are lying down rather than standing) was much better.

(I had another LONG SLEEP last night, and am beginning to feel as though actually the rest time is doing me some good! It is a very long time, I realize, since I have really tapered for a race - over the last few years, I've been "participating" more than racing with a goal, and for instance the way I made up my schedule for this summer I was "training through" rather than tapering for all my races, then having a recovery week following the race. My dim memory of tapering for marathons is that you feel annoyingly full of energy, in a bouncing-off-the-walls kind of way - but I guess it makes sense that with much higher-volume triathlon training, the first stretch of the taper is more fatigued and less bouncy. I didn't run last night - it was the grotesque humidity and feeling of inertia - instead I went to bed at 8:30, with the help of half a sleeping pill, and slept for over twelve hours!)

It's finally started raining, but not the dramatic thunderstorms promised. I wish the air would clear! First day of classes tomorrow, rest of day will now be spent tidying up and preparing for Tuesday and Wednesday class, plus getting some more packing done for Thursday travels.

1.5hr hot yoga

Saturday, August 31, 2013


I feel somewhat discombobulated! Good exercise, but not in the amounts/order I would ideally have preferred. I slept late and just about made it to Joanna's spin class at 10 downtown. It was amazing, but HARD - we did 3 x 12min (3min seated endurance i.e. zone 2, 3min standing in higher gear i.e. zone 3-4, 3min seated climb at that gear i.e. z3-4, then 3min as :30 sprint, :30 recovery - right away in z4 with a view to climbing to 5b). Trembling with fatigue by end of last one!

Should have gotten to the gym an hour earlier to do first hour of spin before class - Joanna rightly follows rule that teacher locks spin studio when leaving (really we all know the combination), so once I'd exited, I couldn't motivate to do another hour, especially as something is not quite right with the back of my left knee - it felt weird and hyperextended a couple weeks ago, and I've had some twinges since.

(Usually there is 11am spin as well, but it's canceled for the holiday. I am not keen on holiday weekends!)

So I showered and ate a snack and paid my membership renewal, then walked (after finding that I had not put my Metrocard back in my wallet, arghh!) over to John Jay. It must be at least 2 miles, it took a bit longer than I thought (it is disgustingly humid, I was dripping with sweat even at walking pace), so I got in slightly late, but made it up by staying in for the warmup chunk of the subsequent practice.

It was the "Low-Pressure Zone" workout, which I thought just meant all lanes on slow intervals but which in fact was mostly drill work, which I love and which is certainly much to the point at this stage - we were working on stroke length in particular (a "1-2" drill that involved a bit of glide on each stroke, a lot of stroke count work, etc.). Can't at all say totals, but will give this estimate:

300 free warmup

c. 1200 mostly freestyle drills

+ 800 as 300 every 3rd length back, 300 every 3rd length fly drill (3-3-3), 2 x 100 IM no breast (the bit of breaststroke kick I'd done earlier was pronging the back of my knee, so I didn't want to do any more damage).

Knee thing definitely still not right. I should do a 2hr run later, but it will be counterproductive if it does anything bad to the knee, so I will do some stretching this afternoon and see how I feel. I know I always FAIL to get up early, but tomorrow morning I really do want to get up early and do 1.5-2hr ride in park (retrieved tri bike from store yesterday) - there is no point going later in the day, it just gets way too crowded in Central Park, so I think I will take the attitude of getting up at 6, riding 6:30-8:30 and then coming home and going back to bed!

1hr spin
1.25hr swim

Friday, August 30, 2013


Arghhhh, evil pool closures! Really I should have expected this, but I forgot it would probably happen (it is the time of year for that sort of work to be done - there was no masters swim for the 2 weeks I was in Cayman either, and unfortunately my OTHER main swimming option, the City College TNYA workout, is closed till further notice! Columbia gym of course closed all weekend; I'll look into Riverbank, but it's always complicated to figure out what hours they really are open. I guess I will have to fall back on the most easily accessed option, TNYA workouts at John Jay - I avoid swimming there usually as it's crowded and even the slow lane often is swimming 100s on 1:40, too fast for me, but it looks to me as though (MIRACULOUSLY) John Jay workouts will be proceeding on regular schedule. I can go to the "low-pressure zone" workout from 12:30-1:30, which has all slower lane intervals - alas, there really is no obvious way for me to do the whole workout I really wanted to tomorrow, namely 1hr swim, 2hr spin, 2hr run, but I can spin 9:30-11:30, jog over to John Jay, swim 12:30-1:30 and then do my 2hr run in Central Park - that will work, I think. Hmmm, the complexities always seem daunting so close to race time - I must ponder what other options would be, might be I should retool the whole structure of the weekend - I definitely want to go to Joanna's 10am spin tomorrow, but other than that I'd be fairly flexible....

(The real inconvenience is that other than one more 1hr swim, what I really ideally would have this week is 15-20min swims adjacent to short other workouts, for which Chelsea Piers is perfect - but there is nothing I can do about this! Hmmm, maybe I can pay for a lap swim that I could pop into on Tues or Wed at Columbia - this is something to look into also.)

Anyway, spin today was SUPER, I haven't exercised all week due to MASSIVE fatigue and other obligations, but of course a great hour of spinning made me feel normal again for the first time all week! Even had a couple minutes of zone 5a/5b at the end of the final "hill" - it was good, my cycling fitness is really better now than it has ever been (hahaha, that's not saying that much - but really it's pretty good!). I was going to swim after, but obviously pool is closed through next weekend so it was a no-go.

1hr spin (mostly zones 2-3, some z4-5b)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Brief update

Disconcerting to have three days off exercise, but travel and recovery from travel have superseded other needs. Still haven't finished unpacking from Monday night return, need to try and get that stuff put away before I go to bed this evening. Tomorrow I will do some exercise, I'm looking forward to it; today I had a near-disaster regarding bicycle transportation that I chronicled on my other blog!

It is disgustingly humid in NYC today (only mid-70s F, but 90% humidity), and I am not sorry not to be running this evening. Really it is going to be humid for days still to come, nothing to be done about that really....)

Sunday, August 25, 2013


OK, not really - 2 more weeks before race day - but the hard part is now over. That ride can only be described as grueling (left hand still not working quite right). Toes never got super-painful: I've really been working on pedal stroke (HEELS DOWN!) and it's paying off. But hands were mighty sore, despite time in aerobars, and so was bottom (not a euphemism for more delicate unmentionables, just the place where the Sitz bones rest on the [in this case overly wide] saddle). And it was GRUESOMELY warm and windy. Ugh! I did 5 x the East End loop (it's c. 19mi), the first 10 miles on each counterclockwise loop you're just TOILING - the lift you get in the last bit really doesn't make up for the horror of the first part.

As I came in view of the beach parking lot where B. picks me up, my odometer was at 111.8 - I felt like I HAD to see 112 after all that production (112 is the length of the ironman ride, only in this case it is quite different terrain and will take me considerably longer than the training ride did) - so I took the turn and rode a bit past the entrance to the lot. As soon as I saw the number change, I just STOPPED - could not persuade myself to get back on bike to ride the .15mi back, just walked it in, despite the fact that I know this provokes questions and concern from well-intentioned onlookers!...

112mi, 6:40, c. 16.8mph

(I hit my 20hr week! 20:06 to be precise. Will write more at some other juncture when my left hand is working properly!)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sea swim!

I have to thank B. for this one - I really didn't feel like getting out there, but he was resolute in not letting me forget the fact that I would want to do it much less tomorrow afternoon after my long hot morning ride, and that if I really wanted to hit the magic number I needed to log half an hour of swimming before supper today!

:31 sea swim

Double spin!

That was super. No double spin today at Revolutions, so I went to World Gym and did an hour on my own before the 10am spin class, which was very good: work intervals in a pyramid, 1:00 (:30), 2:00 (1:00), 3:00 (1:30), 4:00 (2:00) and back down, with varying "terrains."

2hr spin

Friday, August 23, 2013


Hahaha, I was shooting for 3hr but really 2hr was quite sufficient! I will see how else I can make up the "missing" hour to reach the magic 20....

(Went over to World Gym and did it on a bike in the spin studio there - it was very good, they are nice newish bikes and it is easier for me to stay focused when I'm out of the house.)

2hr total
4 x 15min alternating 1:00 seated and 1:00 standing (high zone 2/some zone 3)

Now I am going to do half an hour of meditation and also my back stretching exercises - saying it here to make sure I actually do them - I think I will be sorry if I don't do them pretty much every day between now and my race, otherwise while running when tired I really have a tight sore spot where I pulled that muscle last year (spinal erector). Not acutely painful, but very tight and at its worst as though I have a sort of tingling phantom hot dog glued vertically onto my back!


OK, that was a true gift. It is rainy season here, and that is the one thing that can make it non-torrid enough to run OUTSIDE IN THE DAYTIME! True bliss. Not physically blissful exactly - tons of chafing and blisters due to ankle-high puddles, sore back, trudge-like pace that is very hard on my knees. But psychologically purely pleasurable and easy - what fun! Ran over to Camana Bay where I usually do laps on the little road around the international school, but an apologetic security guard told me the road was closed to outsiders when school was in session, so I ran along the bypass, up and back along the Snug Harbor road and then around the Safe Haven loop. Amazing lot of seabirds there, out on the golf course I suppose because of the rain: several snowy egrets, and a bunch of what I think are black-necked stilts. (Plus of course the inevitable chickens and grackles, and several other species I don't usually see and couldn't identify!)

It is a snail's pace, alas, but I am very happy to get that one done so painlessly. I am still with a yen for a 20-hour week; in order to make that happen, I will need to do a three-hour trainer ride this afternoon as well, so it was incredible to be able to do this one outdoors. Short treadmill runs are fine for intervals, but one of the reasons I like running is that it's good for the soul - the long treadmill run is definitely NOT good for the soul, more like a trial of willpower!

2:03, 10mi

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hot yoga!

Really it is a bit naughty, but my heart QUAILED at the thought of the willpower required to do a spin workout at home - tired legs, but really more just that I wanted to get out of the house and have someone else tell me exactly what to do! It was lovely - the one-hour class feels too short when I'm really doing a lot of hot yoga, but today it was exactly what I needed. Highly beneficial.

1hr hot yoga

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Stroke and stride!

Very glad that today's race wasn't canceled (the weather was beautiful but WARM) - it is a lovely little race, and the swimming at Sunset House is just beautiful. Swam about 22 minutes beforehand so as to get in something more of a workout; then 600m (I think it was a bit long, buoys had shifted - anyway, around 16min) and 2mi run (c. 10min miles - WARM miles!). Good day of exercise.

:22 swim, :36 swim/run


Pains me to have missed all this great running weather in NYC!  Anyway, decent 2hr treadmill session at World Gym. :50 easy jog @5.4, :40 jog with random inclines @5.2, :30 walk with random steeper inclines at 3.4mph.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Alas, my mega-week is not shaping up very mega! Doing the long ride on Sunday leaves you rather lackluster for the first few days of the new week...

I did the warmup on one of my hard Spinervals disks, but I didn't have vim to do the real workout, so I just rode out the full hour in zone 2. Glad to have gotten in some time on bike, anyway, even if shorter and less intense than I had originally hoped for.

1hr spin (z2)


Hahahaha, I did NOT get up properly when my alarm went off, even though really I was awake - I stood in the living-room like a statue, torn between desire to meet up with sea swimmers and desire to go back to bed - bed won! Then I dallied too long, and by the time I should have been starting my spin, I realized I was quite wheezy (consequence of a mildly stressful phone call I needed to make, I think - it is goofy but true that even minor emotional stress triggers asthma). Will hope to do that workout later if wheeziness subsides, but prudence said that I should just have a nice little swim instead - did 20 minutes of drills in the irregularly shaped pool and then 20 minutes of swimming in the sea.

:40 swim

Thoughts on pacing

(Really I am procrastinating, I need to get outside for a sea swim momentarily!)

Hard to predict Ironman paces - too many factors. The most obvious big one is weather - my bike time won't be affected hugely by warm versus cool weather (though it will be slowed if there's heavy rain due to caution on descents), but it potentially makes a huge difference to run pace.

Running the numbers just now, I'm thinking along these lines.

It's a long transition in Wisconsin, at least 10 minutes for each, maybe longer.

Swim will probably come in around 1:45. I am a fairly consistent swimmer and take a very easy pace on the longer swims; the goal is to come out of the water as fresh as possible. Say 1:40-1:50 anyway. Will hope for some good stretches of drafting.

Bike pace is very difficult to predict. Minimum pace of 14.0mph would yield a bike split of 7:59; realistic maximum pace of 15.6mph yields 7:10. If I have a sub-7:00 split I have ridden too fast and will pay for it on the run! Will use a HR cap for pacing (135-38, mid-zone 2 - 135 for first half, 138 for second), but hills inevitably bump up HR.

Run pace is temperature-dependent and also related to whether or not I have used good judgment on the bike. I am pretty sure I can hold minimum 14:00/mi. pace as a mix of jogging and walking, which would give a run split of 6:06:48 (assuming you make the bike cutoffs, you still have 6:30 to finish the marathon, and I think that I am in good nick as far as making cutoffs goes). If I am having a great day and the weather permits, I would be looking at a top speed of 12:30/mi. (It is very different from running an open marathon - marathon PR is 4:16, and really I should be able to go quite a bit faster than that if I train towards that end, as I was much hampered by undiagnosed asthma - I'm hoping to run a sub-4:00 marathon sometime in the next few years.) That would give a split of 5:27.

Adding in transitions, the absolute best-case scenario is then something like 14:45, with a more realistic finishing time of 16:00-16:20. 17:00 is the official cutoff, and I think I should be able to make it. Now I am just superstitiously hoping that nothing bad happens in the way of illness, injury or other calamity in the intervening weeks!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hot yoga!

Hot yoga was VERY hot. Good class. Finally got some decent-quality sleep last night, though not enough of it (have to get up early this week to execute training plan, figured I'd better start today). My only major complaint about Ironman training is that it means I can't do nearly as much yoga as I would like! I was allowed to do it today because it is a recovery day....

1.25hr hot yoga

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Long ride #11

These long rides are admittedly a bit grueling, just in their nature, but this was much better than last week's.

(I was very glum before I went out, I slept too little and very badly last night, but really as soon as I was riding it was all good. Can't leave before 6 as it's too dark still, but it gets mighty hot as the day progresses - but no, really I prefer not to ride in the dark, especially as cars on the road at 5am Sunday morning are probably still under the influence of Saturday night partying.)

The fourth hour was hardest, as my right toes had become agonizingly painful, but I stopped at Colliers Beach around the 3:45 mark for a FOOT BREAK - I also used the bathroom and ate a snack, but the main point was taking off my shoes and crunching and uncrunching my toes and rolling 'em in the sand.

(My mood also lifted at this point when I saw three gorgeous parrots fluttering from tree to tree as they searched for a suitable midmorning kaffeeklatsch location.)

Didn't get nearly as bad again after that - I was concentrating the whole time on "heel down" and easy relaxed pedaling, but really there must be some pressure on the nerve, it gets ridiculously painful if I'm not careful. Rode quite a bit in the aerobars and was able to manage hand discomfort better than last week - hands still not working quite right, but it never become nearly as painful/immobile as last time. Felt very strong for the last couple hours, and happy to be getting good-quality work done.

Best moment not involving parrots: a pack of riders overtaking me before Bodden Town (they ride from Hurley's) and inviting me to hop on the bus! Which I did, and it was exhilarating - 25mph! - but my heart rate was way too high, so I regretfully let myself drop off the back and ride at my own pace. Saw them at the Frank Sound Road gas station a bit later on and we had a nice chat - cyclists are amiable.

A good solid ride, anyway. Only one more really long one after this - I am three weeks out from race day!

102.74mi., 6:03:30

avg speed 17.0, max speed 25.5
avg HR 134, max HR 153

Total hours for the week: a not very impressive (though slightly numerologically sinister) 13:33:30. Nothing to be done about that - other obligations plus residual fatigue were realistic limits on what could or should be accomplished. This coming week's the big week, I've got a much more elaborate schedule that I'm hoping to hew to....

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Hmmmm, early-morning FAIL - I had everything ready to go out really early so that I could ride outdoors, but when the alarm went off at 5:45 it just seemed too gruesomely dark and early and I went back to bed. On a brighter note, the trainer workout I did indoors later in the morning was really good - it is the hyperbolicallly named Spinervals Quads on Fire. 90 minutes with intervals decreasing in length and increasing in intensity: 2 x 12min, 2 x 8min, 2 x 6min, then 3 x 1min all out, 1min recovery.

Then half an hour sea swim to bring the total workout duration to 2hr.

If I do a short run later on and a swim of some kind tomorrow afternoon in addition to my long bike, I will feel OK about how this week shaped up in the end: really there were just various factors that made it hard to do the volume I wanted mid-week, but this coming week should be better. I am going to sit down with pen and paper and make a serious schedule!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Long treadmill!

OK, that was infinitely more enjoyable than the one I did the other day. I broke it up better, and also I think I must be significantly less fatigued - book event last night went well, and I slept relatively late this morning, really needed the rest.

1hr steady jog @ 5.6mph (1.5% incline)
.5hr jog with random inclines @ 5.4mph
.5hr walk with random steeper inclines @ 3.4mph

2hr total, c. 8mi jog and a bit less than 2mi walk

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Short sea swim

I haven't done very well this week, training-wise. Partly it's fatigue and partly it's something I'm not proud of, a tendency to make excuses about how it's harder to train in Cayman than in New York! Other people, however, seem to do perfectly well here, and the comparison is clearly not productive!

(Torrential rain yesterday all day caused cancellation of Stroke and Stride race, alas; hopefully I can do the one next week. Masters swim is on August hiatus, and spin classes at Revolutions are also on a limited schedule.)

Hopefully I can make it a good training weekend, in any case. For now, I got over the hump of getting myself into the sea to swim - just half an hour, fairly pleasant. Need to strategize better for next week, though, and really write in more workouts as commitments. The thing that's amazing here is yoga - close walking distance, great classes and teachers - but that is not what I should be doing a lot of right now!

.5hr sea swim