Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday swim

It was a mad scramble to get over there, involving crack-of-dawn paper-grading and handout-xeroxing, but I turned up a few minutes late only in order to discover that they were just unlocking the door and that there was no coach in sight...

Despite mild chaos (my own and institutional), I think it is worth trying to have this morning swim a couple times a week - it is a very nice thing to have in the first sector of the day.

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

8 x 75: 2 of each stroke in IM order as kick, drill, swim

100 back

50 free

Time was up!

1850 yards total

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Long run #10

A definite success.

I was very discouraged when I got up this morning and looked at the weather and saw on my computer the dreaded phrase "100% humidity."

It was not raining. The air was the rain! And it's seventy degrees, which I know is not really that warm, but warmer than is pleasant with mugginess...

But it is all good for pacing and mental toughness. This was much the longest run that I've done so far, and I wanted to take it at a pace that I knew I could sustain for three hours (with the hope of slightly picking up the pace on the third loop, or at any rate holding even splits). It worked out really well.

An easy pace, of course, is not the same thing as saying it's an easy run - there were definitely a couple points where I had sore legs or general feeling of just being ready to be done. The humidity was quite unpleasant, and my socks were disgustingly squelchy by halfway through!

It cannot be said to have been one of those exhilarating and really enjoyable ones, in other words. But it was a good run nonetheless, a very good run. I am very pleased with my pacing now that I can see the numbers!

I finished strong, and though I was very glad to stop, I actually did still feel like I could have run another loop if I had to. I walked through all the water stations from start to finish, to make sure I got a whole cup of water down at each one, and had 3 gels (really I just need to eat a larger breakfast, though). I need to work out a way of getting that much water down without walking - one to ponder...

It's a three-loop course, the hilly Central Park loop, i.e. quite different elevation mile by mile, so I'm organizing splits in three columns. I clicked the lap button at the mile marker rather than using the AutoLap function, so distances and times are accurate (except that clearly I did not mentally register the need to click at the mile marker where you move on to the next loop - it is not that miles 6 and 7 and 12 and 13 were unnaturally evenly paced, just that I had to divide a two-mile total!). Not sure if blog layout will be comprehensible, but it looks like this:

18 miles - 2:58:20 - avg pace 9:54 - avg HR 156

Mile splits with avg HR:

1 10:06 (152) 7 9:42 (154) 13 9:52 (158)
2 10:24 (151) 8 11:04 (151)* 14 11:17 (157)
3 9:46 (150) 9 9:18 (156) 15 9:08 (160)
4 9:49 (153) 10 9:43 (157) 16 9:31 (163)
5 10:17 (153) 11 10:17 (157) 17 9:40 (165)
6 9:42 (154) 12 9:52 (158) 18 8:47 (170)

Loop 1: 1:00:02
Loop 2: 1:00:06
Loop 3: 58:07

* Some sticky Clif Blox chewing led to delay! Hmmm, are you just supposed to swallow those without chewing?!? I was mulling the question over for the following mile as I tried to unglue bits of orange-flavored Blox from my teeth and gums...

18 miles total

This week's mileage: 33

Now I have a recovery week, and then a nice long run again the week after - I can't wait!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday miscellany

(Friday is the day off in my training schedule, which I am trying to enforce fairly rigorously - even though it stresses me out!)

I ran three miles easy earlier, then showered and took the bus over to the east side to pick up my race number for the long run tomorrow (it's really a supported run rather than a race proper, but there's an official start and chip timing and support on the course and so forth - good way to stay focused!) and then the subway downtown to the TNYA backstroke basic skills clinic, which I thought was extremely good. Just working through a sequence of drills culminating in putting all the pieces of the stroke back together at the end of the hour, but this of course is the best possible thing - hmmm, I can't wait for the next one, I hope it might be breaststroke!

I was very tempted to stay for the real workout afterwards, but I have been resolutely trying to avoid everything that smacks of mental insanity, and given that I've got quite a bit of work to do this weekend and an early and long run on the schedule for tomorrow morning, I hastily dried off and got dressed before I could have second thoughts!

3 miles run
? c. 1200 drill and swim

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday swim


Just had to get that out of my system...

The hour goes by way too quickly - at the end all I wanted was to swim for another hour! The coach was slightly laughing at me & observed that she could see the endorphins had kicked in - she urges me to come to one of the hour-and-a-half workouts (there is a Sunday-morning one that would suit me well), and observes that on holidays the team often has a special two-hour workout, with five and six people in each lane and everyone swimming their guts out!

Warmup: 200 free, 100 reverse IM (only did first 50 of this); then 6 x 50 free at easy, medium, hard and repeat

Main set, which we had to curtail due to time but in theory would have moved through each stroke in reverse IM order:

150 kick (30 seconds rest), then 4 x 75 at easy, medium, hard, very hard with 20 seconds rest

We did the full set for free and breast, then shortened it as follows:

back: 150 kick, 4 x 50 back down, choice back (flags were not up)

fly: 4 x 25 fly on 10 seconds rest

200 reverse IM easy swim down (fly drill)

2050 yards total

I have been thinking that I would wait to have a few more swimming lessons till after marathon training is done - it is a question of financial resources as well as time and energy and attention. But in fact my breaststroke is scandalously worse than my other strokes! I was leading on all the other parts of the set (well, another woman led on the fly, but I was right on her tail!), and I really like leading the lane, it is enjoyable to me and I am suited to it because I have strong steady pacing and good endurance.

But I had to go to the back for the breast set, and I am so much slower than everyone else on that stroke that it is very discouraging to me! I have no gears, just one steady pace, and it is remarkably slow.

Hmmmm, I wonder whether I should just bite the bullet and devote a few Saturday afternoons and a heap of dollars to some more lessons with I.? She's most likely teaching only in Brooklyn now, too, so it adds an hour travel time each way - might not be sensible, I might just have to be patient on this one and see if I can wangle a bit of stroke coaching from one of the weekday lane swim folks. It is not as high-quality as the real lesson, that's the trouble! Must ponder...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday run

A really delightful one with C. and Triathlete L. A brisk clip, but doable - faster than I would run on my own - we did the 6.05-mile Central Park loop in 53:03 (stopped watches for one water break halfway up Harlem Hill, but really we weren't dragging our heels), for an 8:47 pace.

6 miles

Wednesday gym

A very good workout with M. this morning.

(I saw reason and did not swim first - I've got a hard run scheduled for later - my fall-semester exercise schedule is still under construction...)

He was just finishing up his own workout (45 minutes, shoulders) when I got there, and I persuaded him to join me for the first couple rounds of the core stuff we usually open with. It was very fun, he is absurdly fit and athletic but he slightly skimps on that stuff in his own workouts so it was a good chance for me to give him a taste of his own medicine!

(This is a good routine that I really like, in fact I have no excuse for not getting back into the gym for a second or third weekly session on my own and doing just this half-hour of core stuff - I have a slight psychological block on doing a real strength workout on my own, I find it a bit boring and lose patience, but I like this core stuff a lot. 60 seconds front plank, 30-45 seconds each side of side plank, 15 x cobra with three-pound weights, 15-25 pushups, 15 x "quadruped" [kneel on all fours, raise 5- or 8-pound weight in one arm while extending opposite-side leg straight to the back], then something like 15 V-raises and 15 toe-touches, or 15 crunches with a weighted bar and then 15 without. Repeat three times.)

Just upper body and core - I am being super-cautious with everything to do with legs and hamstrings!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tuesday swim practice

Very nice, too, though now I am going to go and eat a very substantial dinner (greasy-spoon Chinese-restaurant chicken and broccoli) - seriously underfueled today, I did not time my meals and exercise sessions correctly! The problem, really, was that I did the late-morning run on a more or less empty stomach - I never caught back up properly after that...

Warmup: 100 free, 300 as 4 x (25 back, 25 breast, 25 free)

3 times through on 3 x 100 on 2:20 as fly/free by 25, back/free by 25, breast/free by 25

5 x 150 free, 50 kick (on 2:55 but we were not paying attention to the interval)

4 x 50 easy free cooldown on 1:05

2500 yards total

Tuesday run

Most idyllic, too - it is the perfect weather, that clear September blue-sky weather that was for some years tainted by its association with the weather on September 11, 2001 and the days following but that finally seems to have lost its edge for me...

6 miles

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday swim

First day of morning lane swim. Somewhat chaotic, and it does not really suit my schedule very well, but it is nice to see Coach Henning again - might be I could get some stroke coaching this semester, I am in particular need of tune-up work on back and fly (breast is for now a slightly lost cause)...

200 warmup

22 x 25 as 6 kick, 2 underwater, 6 catch-up drill, 2 underwater, 6 swim

50 - 100 - 150 - 200 - 150 - 100 - 50 (all free)

And then I got out, because I need to finish getting ready for class! It will be more of a regular workout than that usually, it was partly all freestyle because it was the first day and everyone was coming in with different background...

1550 yards total

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday yoga

Yep, I'm making another stab at it - gave up in disgust and irritation last fall, but really I believe that yoga should be a part of a balanced athletic life! This one meets Sunday evenings this semester at the Columbia gym. It seems like it will be a fairly gentle and non-demanding yoga experience (with the proviso that I am extremely inflexible, so some things are impossible even when non-demanding!). It is amazing to me what a wide range of things are taught under the same name...

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I'm signing up for the NYRR long run next weekend - I think I am much more likely to get a good run in if I do it this way, with an official start time and support on the course.

I am off/behind schedule because of that injury, and next weekend is one of only three really long ones remaining on the revised schedule Mindy and I worked out (16-18 miles on Sept. 27, 16-20 on Oct. 11 and 20-22 on Nov. 1). It is not ideal to jump from a 12 to an 18, but I trust Mindy's judgment in terms of the mileages and I will walk the last few miles of it if my legs are utterly protesting...

Long run #9

It was great!

This is the first long run where I haven't been fighting heat and humidity. I decided to do the supported long run through the Running Center, as I felt that I couldn't afford (mentally!) to have another bad one and there's no doubt it's a lot easier to stay focused and have a great run with a little infrastructure and a coach supervising. It worked out really well, and of course the weather cooperated...

I just did 12 miles, 3 x the 4.06 middle loop in the park - so that's 12.18 (my pod said 12.57, which is a level of inaccuracy I can live with - I will stop worrying about calibration).

I feel vaguely guilty that I didn't tack on 2 more miles and run home, but I stopped for water and a quick chat with Coach Mindy at the end of the third loop and my legs were already getting stiff - I jogged a few blocks, then turned off the stopwatch and popped into a deli and purchased an utterly delicious bottle of sparkling water which I drank as I walked home at a leisurely pace!

Speed was very pleasing to me - I felt fast and strong, and my huffing and puffing system was for once fully up to the job (though legs were getting tired by the end - you end up with different demands on the varying systems based on the weather situation).

1:49:49, which comes in at nine-minute miles - I think the pacing was actually a bit uneven, I had some quite zippy ones at the beginning and then settled in slower for the second half, but my pod laps are all split up unevenly so I can't be bothered to sort out all the data (I need to turn off the auto-lap function, it is wayward!).

Hmmmm, interesting, I wonder if it is possible that I will be able to resuscitate my abandoned dream goal of sub-4:00? Last fall I was running some fast times and felt very strong, and it seemed within reach - I had a very comfortable 1:54 half-marathon in Philadelphia, and a 51:something hilly 10K in the park, and I was optimistic about 2008. Then actual 2008 did not seem to be very beneficial for my running at all!

It is probably not wise, a 4:10 - 4:20 - 4:30 goal range might be more sensible, and a 12-mile run is a very different animal from a really long one. Probably I am just going to make a thorough and whole-hearted effort to hit a very strong 4:10 with slight negative splits...

There's another Running Center supported run in three weeks, and I've also registered for that, so I'll pay attention to pace then and think about what's going to suit me - I've got 16-20 on the schedule for that week, but I'd rather do the longer one if I can.

Next weekend is 16-18, and then the week after is a cutback week in mileage (6-8 only). Hmmmm, this weather is good for my morale, I hope I do not have any more really hot and humid Saturdays coming up...

Total mileage for week 9: 29

(Hmmmm, it is slightly low, now I really am sorry I didn't do 14 instead which would have tipped me into the 30s - but that is the way I will make myself crazy and get injured, so let us just stop thinking along those lines!)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday swim

Just a short quiet one...

400 free
100 IM (fly drill)
100 free
100 back
100 free

2 x 100 free
4 x 50 fly down back back
100 back
100 free
100 back

1500 yards total

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday run

4 miles

V. nice day outside...

Swim lit

At my main blog, a post on poetry and swimwear.

Thursday gym

Very good hour at the gym with M. this morning. My fall-semester schedule is still a bit of a work in progress, including the exercise schedule - it will be good once it all settles down properly. I didn't get up early enough to eat breakfast/digest/run beforehand, so will squeeze in 4 miles sometime later this afternoon.

Feeling a bit swimming-deprived; I need to go to a friend's birthday drinks tonight, but it should be that I could have at least an easy evening swim tomorrow - Fridays are usually less crowded than the earlier nights of the week.

Morning lane swim starts on Monday, but it's not yet clear to me how well that's going to work for me this semester - it's $135 for the fall semester, M-T-W-Th. 8:30-9:30 swim, with an assigned workout and fairly generous lane space i.e. genuinely relaxing and possible to do a real 2000-yard workout of some kind, though not as good as a team practice. If I go twice a week only for 10 weeks (M and W, since I will be mostly going to the Tues. and Thurs. evening TANY swims), it still only works out to about $7/swim, which is well worth it considering how much better it is than evening lane swim.

The TANY workouts come in between $9-15 each depending on how you pay for them - I'll mostly be doing only two rather than three in the week, I think, until I'm done with marathon training. Must contemplate the fee schedule and see what will be most sensible...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wednesday run

6 miles

It was a good one, in any case - a very nice day, though perhaps slightly too warm for ideal running conditions - last week's interruption to training leaves me fervently grateful this week that I am able to run at all, and I will endeavor not to obsess or grumble if things do not go entirely as I wish in terms of this year's training and racing!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday swim

That was a great, great workout - I was working like a maniac to keep up, I was swimming at the back of the lane with 2 guys who are rather faster (it's not so much the swimming itself as the turns, it's fatal, and I'm still only doing dolphin rather than whip kick with my breaststroke), I loved it.

(I am laughing at myself, because it is ridiculous - but really my favorite thing is working very hard, it is what I most enjoy! But I have sort of overdone it on the work work these last few years, so it is better for my health right now to save the insane hard work for the workouts rather than the job, so that I don't have total mental overload!)

Warmup: 3 x 100 as 50 free, 25 back, 25 breast (no time for more - 5 x was assignment, but only works for faster lanes)

10 x 100 alternating IM and free (I cannot tell you the interval, I had no attention to spare and could not hear the initial explanation, I was working too hard to keep up, I basically got no rest! We sort of were going on 2:10, is that possible? Must have been longer for the IM, though...)

6 x 150 on 3:00 with 1 length kick moving through each spot in the rotation (25 kick 125 swim, 25 swim 25 kick 100 swim, etc. etc.)

5 x 50 on 1:10 as fly-free, back-free, breast-free, free, free

It was utterly delightful!

I feel that my fly is actually fairly strong, and my back is fully acceptable also, though of course both strokes have great room for further improvement; it's the turns and the breaststroke that make me lose ground and have to work so hard on the rest of it....

2450 yards total

I don't think I can go to another TANY workout until next Tuesday, unfortunately; but this was inspiring!

Tuesday run

Very blissful, too: we are back down into the sixties, that is much more reasonable temperature-wise. Best of all, although there's still one bit of the upper park path that hasn't been opened up yet, they have finally opened up the riverside route that lets me run straight down the Hudson from the 60s to the 50s (i.e. past the sanitation pier) and onto the path going all the way downtown - without having to run that awful stretch on the underpass bike path (which always makes me feel tense and panicky and run much faster than I intended). Good stuff!

(Muscles still very tight on the left side, and the hamstring's a bit stiff, but it really is most of the way better.)

7 miles

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday swim

A really good one, too - crowding is back down to a more manageable level. I do not mind swimming with three or even four other people who are swimming sensibly, it's just when it's 5+ in the lane with one or more wayward swimmers that it gets too crazy for me!

8 x 100 warmup: odds free, evens (by 100) as breast pull/dolphin kick, back, fly drill, back

6 x 50 fly down, easy free back on 1:30

100 back

100 free

100 back

100 catch-up

100 free

Something like that, anyway: call it 1600 yards total.

And Peter Hessler's very delightful New Yorker piece on his Beijing Olympics trip is now available online in its entirety. The whole thing is well worth reading, but this bit particularly charmed me (the Wei family are friends of Hessler's from the country town where he regularly stays, and Wei Jia is their eleven-year-old son; the family accompanies Hessler to see an Olympic rowing event):
There was a brief rainburst and the family sat happily in their free ponchos. Rural people travel light—none of the Weis had brought anything with them, not even Wei Jia, who planned to stay with me in the city to see more of the Games. After the event, we said goodbye to his parents and got in a cab. I asked the driver to recommend a restaurant. “The Golden Million is good,” he said.

The Golden Million’s mirrored entrance was decorated with four hundred and ninety-three bottles of Old Matisse Scotch. At the center of the restaurant was an enormous tank filled with a dozen sharks, two soft-shelled turtles, and one woman dressed as a mermaid. In addition to a long mono-fin, she wore a bikini top, a face mask, and a nose clip. A sign said “THE CAPITAL’S TOP MERMAID SHOW!” The tank was circular, and the woman swam laps with the sharks and the turtles. One advantage of travelling with Wei Jia was that he often came up with the questions that I was too stunned to ask.

“Why is that lady in the water?” he said, looking concerned, when the waitress came to our table.

“It’s a type of performance,” she said.

“Why don’t the sharks bite her?”

“Because they’re full,” she said, smiling reassuringly. “If you feed them, they don’t bite people.”

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday irk

Well, it is entirely my own fault that I have not had a real/good run just now!

Hamstring continues to get better, even the prudent coach cleared me for 8 miles today and it should have been fine - only I left it for mid-afternoon, by which point it was in fact nearing ninety degrees and with 70+% humidity. Very evilly sunny, too; truly more along Florida/Cayman-type lines than the usual New York mid-September weather.

I am an idiot for not taking the forecast more thoroughly into account - I am going to a play and dinner this evening with my grandfather, so I couldn't leave it any later, and I thought I had better do my work first (which I did, so at least that's something!) and run later.

After a couple miles, anyway (and my flat hamstring-favoring route is for the most part in direct sunlight), I realized that even with a bit of breeze off the river, I was pretty much already in insane overheated mode. I changed course and headed back up north and over to the gym on 106th St. - but the trouble was, I had already pretty much lethally overheated by the time I got there....

I eked out one more mile on the treadmill, at a very easy jogging pace, but the sweat was pouring off me in a way that unpleasantly made it feel as though someone was actually pouring a jug of water down the back of my neck!

So for the last thirty-some minutes, I switched to the ARC trainer, which also happens to be in a part of the room that is more generously affected by the meager efforts of the window-unit air-conditioners...

I am not having undue self-reproach. This was sort of just one of those things, there is nothing to be done about it now - I will do my Tuesday run first thing in the morning and just sort of desperately hope for a good one, my running morale is at fairly low ebb! Hamstring still rather stiff and a bit sore, Given what a good swim I had yesterday, I must pretty much just say that week 8 of marathon training has been a bust and hope that week 9 turns out significantly better.

80 minutes cardio (4 miles run plus ARC)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Swim links

An interesting piece at the SGI website on the use of computational fluid dynamics analysis by the designers of the Speedo Fastskin. (That sounds highly technical, but it's full of interesting details concerning hydrodynamics and the shape of swimmers' bodies; link courtesy of my father!)

Also: an unusual stroke and stride...

Blissful Saturday swim

That's the best pool workout I've had forever - I can't remember the last time I worked that hard in a pool. Altogether blissful!

There seems to be still some uncertainty about whether the TNYA - Columbia arrangement is going to be a permanent fixture, but it will certainly be running for the next couple months and I thought it was great - a really welcoming and suitable group.

I regret to observe that for today, I was in the slow lane, splitting it with one much slower swimmer - as always, I peered over at the rather crowded next lane over & thought that my actual swim speeds are fairly close but that I lose time on turns and would probably be fighting to keep up, though I think I could just about do it.

However that will be a good goal for this school year - end the year really and properly swimming in the slowest real lane rather than the remedial lane!

(I am slightly joking, I think that with a moderately different configuration of people attending the workout I would potentially be in a 'real' lane already - but you know what I'm saying...)

Deathly crowded small-child swim program in the time slot beforehand, it was rather overwhelming! Some stretching to warm up, and then an hour in the pool.

300 free (should have been 600, but that is what the fast swimmers have time for only, we were late getting in because of child exodus issues!)

4 x 150 free on 3:30

9 x 100 IM on 2:30

First three regular IM order, second three medley relay order (I am not sure I have swum that before - it killed me! - in the best way - I cannot believe how hard it is to swim fly as the third stroke of 4!), last three reverse IM order. I was not quite holding the interval by the end - the middle three were just tiring, I took an extra twenty seconds after the last of those for recovery! - but I was surprised how close I could come to it, especially given that I haven't been swimming much stroke and I was also doing dolphin instead of whip kick on all the breast.

200 free all out (3:49, maybe?)

150 swim down

2150 yards total

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday swim/run

I finally got in a swim - I was walking over to the gym thinking, most fervently: Hmmmm, can it not be that in the time-honored tradition of undergraduates everywhere they are mostly off spending Friday getting drunk at a party rather than cluttering up the lanes in the pool? And indeed it was relatively civilized.

I just wanted a short one, and I stayed in until one extra person got in and tipped the lane over to crowded-feeling. But it was very nice while it lasted - that cool smooth water is most soothing!

200 swim, 100 drill (right-arm, left-arm, catch-up, swim), 200 swim, 100 drill (thumbs-and-salute), 200 swim; 50 fly drill, 50 fly, 50 back, 50 free, 200 free

1200 yards total

I have been thwarted twice this week on swimming:

On Wednesday, I went to the locker room and changed into my bathing suit and then found myself standing at the edge of a pool that was so full of toiling and moiling swimmers that I swear the heat was actually rising in a kind of mist from the surface of the pool - it was like a painting by Hieronymus Bosch - my courage failed me, and I am ashamed to confess that I turned and fled...

In the meantime I discovered that one of the local masters swim teams I've been meaning to check out has actually booked the Columbia pool in three primely convenient time slots for workouts! So I nerved myself up to go yesterday to the Thursday evening workout - only the thing that was happening yesterday at Columbia was this. The campus was shut off to anyone without an ID, and as I passed by the guard station and flashed my card I thought: Hmmmm, the people from Team NY Aquatics are not really going to be able to get into the gym this evening...

By the time I got to the front desk, the penny had dropped, and I asked the security guy whether the swim workout was canceled - he said yes. My only consolation was that I had not actually gone downstairs and changed into my bathing suit and waited for someone to unlock the door leading into the pool area.

I have saved the good news for last. After a week of thorough mental insanity - the mental insanity that running helps with is exacerbated a hundredfold by not running, running is the only thing that would really counter the dreadful thought of not being able to run! - and no running whatsoever, I ran four easy miles this morning, and though my hamstring is still quite stiff and sore it is on the mend.

I took action after my post on Sunday - I made an appointment with Coach Mindy, who I had been meaning to consult about my marathon training (only it is easy to put these things off), and also got a recommendation from her of an excellent running doctor (who is himself a sub-3:00 marathoner).

I had a fantastic appointment with him yesterday - it included a whole range of interesting diagnostic tests and full consultation on all matters running-related - massage, acupuncture, examination of gait jogging on treadmill with and without shoes - and, most fabulously, ultrasound. I learned that I have a very high proportion of fast-twitch muscles...

Anyway the verdict is that it was a grade 1 tear of the hamstring, the least serious kind, and that though he could still see the damage on the ultrasound I was clearly on the mend. I am cleared by him and Mindy to run an easy 8 on Sunday morning, and I regret to say that I have made the sensible choice and decided not to run the half-marathon on Sunday - the little glimpse I had this week of the no-running regime reminded me that the most important thing is to stay injury-free and keep running. That means I will not be able to complete the half-marathon Grand Prix series, and in fact I will not now do the Staten Island one either - it eases up the schedule a bit, though I have the great consolation that I have added one other half-marathon to the 2008 event schedule. Strictly for fun - I will be half of a relay team called Crime and Punishment!

(Retail therapy postscript: The recommendations of Dr. Dan and Coach Mindy converged on me getting rid of the anti-evil-impending-bunion orthotics I've been wearing for the past year on a random podiatrist's recommendation and getting an exciting and much lighter-weight new shoe model! Which I am looking forward to trying out on Sunday. And tomorrow morning I am going to make another stab at Team NY Aquatics, so that is good too...)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday gym

Solid workout with M. this morning. Should be able to fit in a swim later - schedule of last few days has not permitted.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday swim

1000 warmup:

250 free
250 as fly drill, catch-up free by 50
250 pull
250 as catch-up, thumbs-and-salute, catch-up, thumbs-and-salute, finger-drag

550 free

100 back (once enough people were out that I would not myself risk making a later appearance as an anonymous rogue backstroker on someone else's blog!)

1650 yards total

Sunday gloom

I'm thinking about going off-blog with the running for this coming week, as it will be edifying to nobody to have me agonizing over injury possibilities. I was supposed to run 6 this morning with postdoc J., who's back in town for a visit. It's a bright and beautiful morning here, but I was pretty worried when I stretched about whether the hamstring would be OK, and I decided to bail after about a mile.

Week 7 was supposed to be 30 miles; I did twenty (a 7 and a 13), but the two shorter ones (projected as 4 and 6) have both been cut short due to serious discomfort in the left hamstring. I'm going to take Monday and Tuesday totally off from running; I'll swim tonight and tomorrow evening, though the schedule won't permit me to on Tuesday.

I'm working out with M. on Wednesday morning, so I'll try for 4 miles on the treadmill beforehand, and if it's no good I'll switch to some other cardio machine at the gym. Scheduled to run with triathlete L. on Thursday and will wait to see about that till after the Wednesday treadmill session.

The Queens half is on Sunday; obviously it's important to me because of this wretched half-marathon grand prix (a solely internal commitment, but one I've gone to some trouble to achieve and would like to see through to the end), but it's also seemed a good way to do next weekend's fifteen-miler with decent focus. (Warm up 2 miles first, then run the race at a suitable pace - training pace, I am now thinking - if I can even do it at all, ARGHHHHHHH!)

I guess I just have to wait and see how it goes. I ran through a very painful injury two years ago in the run up to my first half-marathon, and it turned out to be a stress fracture and I was off from running for something like four months, which was mentally agonizing to me. I will not make that mistake again, but it is certainly going to be a bit of a trial if I can't do that marathon this fall. If it's not better in a week, I will make a doctor's appointment, but it is hard to imagine what they will say that will be useful...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night...

... and I was strongly hoping that everybody else would think it was a good night for staying at home, and that I would be able to swim in Gothic solitary splendor! Alas, it was not to be...

But I did have a very nice swim - really it was the best thing I did all day. Just the feeling of cool water on skin seems to me the most immensely pleasurable sensation - I need to run for about half an hour, especially at lower intensities, before I really feel fully warmed up and start getting the physiological benefit of enjoyable running chemicals, but it is almost invariable that after swimming a single length of the pool I feel much, much calmer...

I had an insufficiency of swimming in August, through lack of opportunity rather than desire, and September isn't shaping up to be great either - but I am swimming in a two-mile race in early October, so it seems clear that getting in half an hour of swimming at least three times a week is pretty much the bare minimum to make sure I will enjoy that swim! I expect to swim very slowly, I have no time expectations, but I would like to do everything I can to make sure that I really enjoy myself...

1000 yards easy freestyle (concentrating on catch, rotation and body position), 100 IM drill, 100 freestyle drill

1200 yards total

Long run #7

Oh dear, I must confess that it was truly awful! I offer as explanation rather than excuse that I have had a very stressful and sleepless week, and it clearly showed in terms of the fortitude I was able to summon this morning (not much).

Should have been 14, could only quite eke out 13 when it came down to it (with some bits of walking, too, which I am not very happy about). My rational evaluation is that this was a sufficient approximation of the workout I was meant to have, and that I will now move on...

(On the bright side, no real trouble from the tweaky muscle - I could feel it for the initial miles, but just as a bit of extra tightness, and I will continue to be careful, but it wasn't bothering me.)

I met training partners C. and L. at 8:30 at Tavern on the Green. It was a DIRE morning - upper 70s and humidity that I am hyperbolically going to estimate as 99%! Not actually raining, but water just dripping out of the air - I was soaked to the skin with sweat before I had run a mile.

It rapidly emerged that I was not going to be able to hold their pace comfortably. I spent the first three miles very doubtful as to whether I was even going to keep running at all. I started feeling a little better around mile 4, but only to the extent that my thinking was now something more along the lines of OK, I think I can gut it out at this pace till we finish the six-mile loop, but after that I'm going to have to send them off on their own and settle into a significantly slower pace if I want to have any hope of finishing this run.

Once we were back at Tavern, I did just that - we took off in opposite directions and I met back up with them just north of the 102nd St. transverse on the east side. We ran (I straggled!) back the way I'd already come, round the north end of the park and south along the west side - C. peeled off at 86th St. and I sent Liz ahead again after another self-assessment.

She had 13 on her schedule but had kindly agreed to add in the extra bit to make it up to 14 (i.e. run down to Tavern, which makes it twelve, then back up to 96th and turn around and back down to 86th, which is the park exit closest to our usual brunch spot), but when it came down to it it simply did not make sense - I felt like I could barely finish the last part anyway, and did not have the heart to do another mini-loop out-and-back-type bit to make up the total mileage. We just met back up at 86th St. (I expect I was not really running that much slower than she was, it just felt like it!) and went and got some breakfast.

So: 13 utterly horrible no-good miles. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thursday gym

In the back of my consciousness I was aware all day that yesterday's run must have tweaked one of those muscles of the top-of-the-hamstring type - I got to the gym to do 3-4 treadmill miles before workout with M., only after 1 mile it was still tweaking enough that I thought I should stop (it is not a muscle pull, just hyper-tight), and I switched to the ARC trainer for the rest of the time.

We did just core and upper-body stuff, and then spent the last 15 minutes having an intense but profitable stretching session. M. worked on the left leg first, the one with the problem, which basically had me SHOUTING - not because of that particular muscle but because of my always perniciously tight & now basically set-in-concrete can't-even-get-up-to-a-right-angle hamstrings.

When he switched to the right side, I hopefully asked, "So does it feel kind of looser on that side at least?" He was just laughing, it was definitely NOT looser on that side at all....

It is much better now, and I have promised to be a reformed character - I will stretch properly after every run. M. says 15-20 minutes, but I think that is unrealistic & a recipe for not stretching at all - I will try and have 5+ every time and aim for 10 on a regular basis.

Also I realize that instead of signing up this fall for one boot camp conditioning class and one yoga class for second and third weekly strength/flexibility stuff I should skip the boot camp and make my indispensable second weekly session (I will keep on having one a week with M.) yoga, and try for a second session of yoga in weeks where schedule permits.

(Mainly I am just hoping that I will be OK for the long run on Saturday. I'll take tomorrow off and hope for the best...)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wednesday run

7 miles with training partner C.

Golly, that was a good run! Fairly horrible, actually - it is still in the high 70s, and was definitely eightyish when we set out - but that is what I call a good solid hard effort. Footpod measures it at 6.5, but really it is closer to seven, we went down to 50th St. along the Hudson - that's my story and I'm sticking to it...

(It was something of a relief when C. peeled off at 85th St. to head home, so that I could just run at regular pace the rest of the way - it is too hot to be running that hard!)

I have been discouraged at how slowly I've been running - today's in fact was not very fast, just faster than I would do on my own on a hot day. But I am hoping that once the weather cools down I'll see some benefits and be able to do more consistent tempo work.

I haven't decided yet whether I'm going to race the Queens half next weekend or just do it as a training run. It partly depends on the weather - if it's in the 70s, I will probably just take it slow. The Staten Island race in October might be a better one for really pushing myself and trying to figure out marathon pace, since it's about six weeks out from the big race - I am still hoping that I'll pick up some speed over the next bit of cooler-weather training.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tuesday swim

c. 1650 yards. Cannot say more exactly, because almost all processing power was devoted to the lane-rage-suppression system. Good chunk of breaststroke in the middle, because I was stuck behind an extraordinarily slow breaststroker. After that, I reverted to freestyle but still suffered periodic digs in the ribs from a rogue breaststroker in the adjacent lane! Somebody needs to give those swimmers some homework so that they disperse to the library... High irk factor, in other words, though still very glad to have had any kind of a swim at all.

There is still no word of whether there will be an evening masters swim workout this semester or not. I am thinking probably not. Voluntary phys. ed. lap swim does not start till Sept. 22 - that is almost THREE WEEKS AWAY, arghhhhhhhhhh!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Long run #6

It is cheating, really, but I am counting this week of marathon training as running from Tuesday to Monday, and will take the coming two weeks as ending on Mondays also (I believe that the Queens half is on Sunday the 14th, so that will be appropriate in any case).

c. 9 miles, notable chiefly for being in the world as opposed to on a treadmill....

I will just take this opportunity to note that running is highly beneficial as a stress-countering measure!

Total mileage for week 6: 24.5. That is half a mile over the projection - it was an official recovery week, actually - mileage for week 7 is 30 and week 8 is 31, I am excited....