Saturday, February 28, 2009

Swimming pool fantasies

I am slightly laughing at myself, because really (I have learned from experience!) it is probably going to be more like the size of a large bathtub than what would properly be called a swimming pool - but I have just spent 10 minutes trying to find out the dimensions of the swimming pool on the Vavilov, the ship we will be taking to Antarctica from Tierra del Fuego! It might be that even if it is very tiny, I could use it to try and do some work on the wretched and much-neglected flip turns...

The pool at the Marriott Plaza in Buenos Aires should be pretty nice, it is outdoors though probably fairly small - and we have one night in the Hyatt on the way back (at least I think it is this hotel, unless there is another Hyatt also), and the pool there looks gorgeous - 25 metres!

I am still, too, holding out hope for a swim in the bay at Deception Island, but I do not have enough information about the itinerary to be sure that we will really stop there...

Literary postscript

Blake's Proverbs of Hell - triathlon-related excerpts:
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.

Dip him in the river who loves water.

All wholesome food is caught without a net or a trap.

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.

Enough! or too much.

Saturday swim practice!

Gosh, that was enjoyable - I have not been able to go to a real swim practice for a couple weeks - it is EXCELLENT! Not entirely blissful, due to a bit of confusion about intervals, but really very enjoyable indeed.

(And I actually got some good-quality sleep last night, which is almost unprecedented! I really am about to go on vacation...)

Warmup (truncated): 200 free, 100 fly (kick-drill-kick-swim by 25) (would have been 3 more hundreds in IM order)

First set: 12 x 50 on 1:15, first four fly-back by 25, then back-breast, then breast-free

Second set (I love this one, I can hardly think of a more efficient use of time for building fitness and pacing skills):

16 x 100 free, in sets of 4 and with :30 set rest

Each set of 4 on 2:05, 1:55, 1:45, 1:35 - a BEAUTY swim, a BUILD swim, a STRONG swim, a swim ALL-OUT

The very good thing is that I can actually just about (it is tight!) make those intervals. The bad thing is that I did not always get a chance to, because of lane confusion!

(And in fact we did not have time for the last hundred and swam an easy hundred cooldown instead - I did 50 back, 50 free.)

The problem in the lane can be summed up by saying that the men are faster, but the women are much better counters! This leads to a big problem on a set like this one. I sensibly slotted in behind M. (female issuer of the immortal words, some months ago, "Boys can't count!"), so she was the one who had the really high irk factor. The fastest fellows understood neither the letter nor the spirit of the set - they swam too fast for the first couple and then didn't make the interval for the second couple.

It is strange to me when people approach things in this spirit. It amounts almost to a creed with me that if one does not understand something, one must ask questions until clarity emerges! It is a very important part of my teaching - my students are sometimes slightly perplexed that I am asking such basic bread-and-butter questions again and again until I get an answer, but I honestly do not see how if one is unsure what a particular word means, or uncertain enough about the tone of a turn of phrase that one is not willing to utter in speech some sort of stab at an explanation, there is any point making broad interpretative observations! It is a good test of understanding, to try and put the most basic facts of the matter into language - it is a high standard to hold oneself to, as I think that if one is not doing this regularly and self-consciously, it can be hard even to identify and describe the patch of unknowingness or incomprehension...

2500 (truly enjoyable) yards total

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday swim

I kept it short - really the other swimmers in the lane were perfectly respectable, only they were highly irking me! And I need to calm down and go to sleep, not work myself up into full-on lane rage...

100 free
100 back
100 free
100 breast
100 free
50 fly drill, 50 free
100 back
100 free
100 breast
100 free
200 IM

Very nice, too - I have been extremely missing swimming regularly! When I get back from this trip, I'm going to see if I can get in on a pro-rated version of the weekday morning lane swim that Columbia offers - I have been working too hard to afford that morning time slot for swimming, but it suits me very well otherwise, and I think it will be worth trying to claim a stretch of it...

1200 yards total

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Otherwise occupied

No time for exercise today! Hopefully back on regular exercise schedule tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday run

A nice six miles with Triathlete L. in Riverside Park.

Ugh, due to work stuff I can't swim either today or tomorrow - pool hours are restrictive, there is no way to squeeze it in! But I will swim Friday and Saturday, and I'll run tomorrow (6 again) and either Saturday later afternoon or Sunday day (10-12 depending on how I am feeling).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

In which I am thwarted!

Ugh, it was just before five and exactly as I was about to head from office hours over to the gym I felt suddenly very queasy - I stuck it out for the first twenty minutes of "core strength," but it got no better, and after holing up in a bathroom stall for the next twenty minutes I realized that really I just had to retrieve my coat and bag and go home.

I've just slept for an hour or so, and I think that really and truly it is not even something so actual as "something I ate," just acute tiredness from a couple of short/shallow nights of sleep and several days of hard work - I'm eating some crackers now with no ill effects stomach-wise, but clearly no swimming is on the cards this evening...

(I had hoped to run this morning also, but decided not to out of a combination of work constraints and tiredness - I've got a lot of work to do this evening and tomorrow early am, but will use common sense if I start feeling sick again - just got to survive this next week!)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday swim

I was fairly lethally tired, but also desperate for a swim! I always think, as someone who has taken to this stuff relatively recently, that a week or ten days of no swimming or running will lead to me having completely forgotten how to do it & being set back to square one...

(Also did not want to have first swim back after a minor layoff be a full-on practice tomorrow - much better to ease back into it!)

Well, I did not forget how to swim, but I did forget how to do any sort of organized workout in a crowded lane with many wayward swimmers and a high irk factor on my part!

c. 40 mins., c. 1800 yards (mostly free, some stroke where I could fit it in without risking collision or even higher irk - NO WHIMSICAL U-TURNS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LANE!)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Last long run

pre-race! And a blissfully beautifully perfect day for a run, too - it was pretty cold when we started out, but extremely bright and not excessively windy, and it had settled into the mid-30s by the time we were finishing.

We went on time rather than distance, running south through Riverside Park and along the Hudson - turned around at the 1-hour mark just north of Houston St. I am going to call it twelve miles though the honest truth is that it was probably slightly short of that...

Very very enjoyable! I felt tired during the first hour, I slept short and restlessly last night and have generally been working a bit too hard, but I really enjoyed the second half. And I got some very good - I was about to say stroke coaching, since I have swimming on the brain, but will use the proper term! - gait analysis from Brent.

Make sure to pick up heels on the downhills - left foot in particular but both feet more generally are striking with heels, producing unwanted braking effect (this was more noticeable in Central Park yesterday, but we tested it out on a small downhill in Riverside Park, and the effect was quite pronounced). I will keep this in mind for Antarctica!

I was running some feet ahead during a flat stretch on the way back, so we talked some more about gait things: it is not so much that I need to pick my knees up higher (it is not economical) as it is a question of thinking about the force of the pendulum swing and the notion of running from the hips. Pendulum, running from the hips seem to me good mental triggers for mindful running/gait correction, I am going to pay attention to this stuff both in the race and in the next stint of training.

Having some thoughts about moving stuff around for the fall race season - am leaning towards the notion that I should not run the New York Marathon till next year. Partly I think I have a mild aversion because it is so crowded - I've got to do it one of these years, it is my hometown marathon and it is a huge deal, but it is full of all the things I do not enjoy about racing! - but I'm also contemplating that if I did the trail marathon in Maryland (I did the half-marathon relay this past fall) it would not only be a very lovely and relaxing and pretty fast run (certainly a better race for hitting a time goal than NY), it would also be the case that I could spend August doing a lot of Caymanian swimming (training for that long swim at the end of September) and then have more weeks back in New York to do marathon training in cooler weather - the Maryland race is a full four weeks after New York, so that it would give me a much better stretch of New York fall-semester training. Anyway, things to ponder, but I'm leaning in that direction - will update sidebar once some decisions are made.

(I had a lottery spot last year for the NY marathon and deferred it to this year, and I think I can do that one more time - you pay the registration fee and let them know that you are not going to use the spot and then you are still eligible for a spot the year after, or so I understand it to be - I will take a look at the NYRR site and figure it out!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday run

5 miles in Central Park with Brent and JK (Antarctic instigator!) this morning, followed by useful trip strategizing over breakfast. Very enjoyable - it was a beautiful day for a run, cold but bright...

Gear post to follow sometime later this week, I think!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Notional swimming

And in fact I sent the book out late Tuesday night, proceeded to scramble to catch up with teaching stuff and then have spent much of the day with Brent shopping for Antarctic gear!

We'll run tomorrow morning and then a longer one on Saturday (14 miles only - it's taper!), but I think I will not really have time to swim until Monday! That is brutal - that's the longest time I've had off from swimming since I first started a couple years ago, I think. I am desperately missing it (might sneak in a stolen one somewhere if I can, only lane swim hours make it so impractical), and have instead scratched the itch by signing up for two events that are now up in my sidebar.

The first one I did last year, and should be able to do a significantly better job with this year - it's the Aquathlon (1.5K swim, 5K run) the week before the NYC triathlon in July. Fun in itself, but also good practice.

The other event is more exciting, only not as hard as it sounds, as I think there is supposed to be a very solid tidal assist! But I am determined to start doing some serious long-distance swimming, I think it is what I will very much like...

Monday, February 16, 2009

No exercise allowed

until I have actually sent out this novel - I am hoping by noon tomorrow - though if I am super-short on sleep I might have to skip swimming tomorrow anyway...

On a brighter note, I arrived at lecture this afternoon and looked inside the lectern and found my Polar HR monitor! That is good - would have been an expensive bit of absent-mindness otherwise...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday/EHTMNBN postscript

I do not think I will have time to exercise today - I'd love an easy evening swim, but I am trying to finish my novel to send out tomorrow, and have various other things to do (a lecture to write, a dissertation chapter to read and comment upon, etc. etc.) that must also be squeezed in somewhere. It is going to be a crazy marathon work day!

I got the disk from my freestyle clinic last week, and will ponder whether there is any way to snip out 8-10 seconds and post it here for feedback. No time for that now, though....

The TNYA One-Hour Swim results are up. Look how fast some of those folks can swim! The relays are amazing - the guys trade off by hundreds, I think, and manage to cover an amazing distance. I am one of the slowest swimmers, but I think I swam well and that it will be a long-term project getting quite a bit faster - I will just keep plugging away, there is no magic bullet...

Here is the page of my splits! I settled in very steadily in the 57-second range for my 50s - I can see that in the middle twenty minutes I was definitely going a little slower, but that I pretty much successfully picked up for the last twenty minutes and swam strong (fastest 50 was 54.99) for the last 10 minutes. Very good stuff - I really enjoyed that swim.

And on a thoroughly non-triaspirational note, the thing I am almost certainly going to do here and there today as I plow through this work is eat some of these! Courtesy of Brent, who I hope does not mind me describing him as a person with a deep-seated opposition to the Evil Holiday That May Not Be Named combined with a thorough comprehension of my notion that a super-deluxe ultra-fancy box of chocolates is something of the utmost delightfulness and yet not what one can purchase for oneself in good conscience!

(Bonus glimpse of cat!)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Long run!

I must say that there is nothing quite like the mood of goofy exhilaration I fall into after getting home after a good long run.

I cannot write the incredibly long musing I would like to, I need to shower & eat something & get out of the house and en route to New Jersey for a family event - but a few miscellanous thoughts:

No shuffling this week, that is one of the mysteries of life! No knee soreness or calf stiffness to speak of, and best of all no foot pain. I was mystified by why my feet were so sore last week, both during and after the run, and then it occurred to me that actually (yes, I know I should log miles on shoes!) I have done probably about 95% of my run miles since mid-September in a single pair of shoes, and that it was not surprising that the cushioning should be totally shot. Zappo'd a new pair and wore 'em today and it was amazing what a difference it made - feet were like sort of blissful little pillowy things instead of strange bunion-shaped sore bony appendages!

3:24 total time for 18 miles, that is not at all fast but it is almost ten minutes faster than last week - I am glad that I can mentally categorize last week's one as an anomaly - today I felt at a comfortable pace throughout and picked up in the last couple park miles because I suddenly had the scent of home in my nose (food! hot water! blog!) ...

Upper 30s and sunny - in a way it is a pity I have not had more thoroughly Antarctic conditions these past two weekends, but it is probably just as well, I am under a lot of work stress just now (not bad, just busy!), anything that makes it easier to get out there and stay out there is good.

I feel that there was a whole other angle that I was eager to develop in this post, but it now escapes me! Oh - yes - (apt!) - I have completely misplaced my Polar HR monitor. So no lap splits - the Nike sport watch I used today is primitive, it just has stop and start but no laps!

I am still hoping it will turn up - I should check at the lost and found at the gym, that is the only place where it seems at all likely that I could have left it (i.e. in a pool locker) - but I had been wearing it for the last few weeks instead of a regular watch because the battery died on my real watch and I hadn't had time to get it replaced, so I suppose it is possible I took it off while teaching & forgot to pack it up again while putting things back in my bag....

I can get by without it for a while, but I hope it turns up again - if not, it will just have to be written off as a casualty of the insane multi-tasking lifestyle of the last few weeks. Last week I also misplaced three commented-upon papers (fellow teachers will be groaning in sympathy, there is nothing like losing a paper one has already written the comments on - those comments are written in blood!) and had to get the students to e-mail me clean copies and do them again - and then on Friday I found an interoffice mail envelope in my box, some good samaritan had clearly found them and returned them to me, only too late, I had already done the new ones - I think I must have left them inside the lectern in the lecture hall, it has a sort of cavity that often has surprising things in it (most disgustingly but also comically, in recent weeks, a nearly full and very cold cup of coffee!).

I am devoutly resolving not to set myself up for another stint like this anytime soon - at least not for another couple of years! It has been a real humdinger...

18 lovely easy miles

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tai chi!

It was the first meeting of the tai chi class today.

(I feel that it is the sort of thing that on the whole is NOT best done in a university gym as opposed to some calmer and more meditative setting, outdoor or otherwise...)

I have been wanting to do this for a long time - in fact, when I was in second grade, the assistant teacher now and then did a bit of tai chi with us "on the rug" (as they say in elementary school!), and I always remember her telling us about and then demonstrating this special mode of walking that the Tai Chi Masters, even the very elderly ones, used to cover huge amounts of ground in a day, so that they could walk from one city to another all across China without getting tired. She made it sound very magical, it was what I wanted to learn!

(I do want to do Kung Fu also, only the class at the gym is at a time that doesn't suit me!)

This will just be a modest start - I'm only going to be able to go to one more Friday class between now and late March! But there is perhaps another weekday one I can drop in on a few times so that I don't completely fail to get off the ground with it this semester - I am of the opinion that I have to give this a serious try.

I like yoga, but it is perhaps (at least in the version I have liked the most, the Iyengar style) too intense on the legs to be good cross-training when you're doing quite a lot of run miles, and as it is taught tends to be (rightly!) often more athletic than meditative; this Pilates business is very beneficial, but it is not really conducive to relaxation, it is like a dance class and gives me a high irk factor! I need to tackle the insomnia and stress business by way of something, and it is my guess (on basis of not very much knowledge) that tai chi is plausibly my best bet...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday gym

1 hr. "core sculpt"

(I am not tempting fate by trying for an evening swim of any kind - I will go and have an easy half-hour in the pool during the midday lane swim hours tomorrow if the schedule will accommodate it!)


(After which, I will stop complaining!)

One of my pet peeves is when people, after a swim or bike workout or a long run, complacently tell me, "You'll sleep like a baby tonight!" Babies do not in any case sleep very well, for the most part; and there is honestly no amount of exercise that makes me likely to be able to fall and stay asleep!

Once this book is finished, I think I have to take the plunge and cut out caffeine completely - it never seems like a good time, but it is not possible to retain anything of the moral high ground vis-a-vis insomnia if one is also a coffee-drinker...

Minor ugh!

Well, I have a longstanding rule (since college!) that while 3 hr. 35 min. plus of sleep is just about tolerable and can get me through the day, less than that is not OK, and since insomnia still has me up and the alarm is set for 5:45 (3 hr. 10 min. away, even assuming I were asleep just about now), I am instead going to write heartfelt apologies to the clinic-holder and the clinic-organizer, tell them that I will pay for it and that I am sorry I have used up a spot that someone else would have liked, and turn off the alarm clock.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday swimming

Well, I got myself back in better balance and frame of mind today, I have had a very good day - I'm slightly behind schedule on novel work, but within small number of days of finishing, anyway, and I'm now done with the hard part of the school week - can mentally devote full attention to the novel barring a couple small-scale obligations (including 18-mile run this weekend!).


Sort of have two whole separate things to write about, since I decided to swim the early workout at John Jay from 6:15-7:45pm before the 7:45 swim clinic.

The clinic was excellent. Video freestyle clinic - the fellow ingeniously filmed us underwater by carrying the camera while swimming on his back with fins, and then they shot a 100 for each us from on deck (there were only three of us, it was high-quality in terms of individual attention and explanations). We did some drills in the pool, and then watched all the swim footage and had detailed feedback and discussion on it - it was very, very good.

(As far as the swimming goes - 150 for camera purposes - then, let's say, what was it - 2 x 50 finger-drag, 2 x 50 kick on back - side - front - back [i.e. rotating through the full 360], 2 x 25 "fist" and then swim; there were at least a couple other 50s in there, but I am not thinking of 'em now. Call it 600.)

The workout before that was excellent.

It was interesting - it was the first time where I've really been in that situation of having to swim in a lane that was on intervals that were genuinely too fast for me & that meant I had to make sensible judgments about what to leave out so as not to inconvenience others & unduly punish myself!

Under other circumstances, it might have been stressful, but in fact everyone in the lane was very pleasant, and there was one other swimmer about my speed who I swim with regularly - we were looking at each other ruefully and acknowledging the fact that really we need a lane 4.5, but that given the slow speed of what was going on in actual lane 5, and that there only are five lanes, we were stuck with the fairly fast guys in lane 4!

So I had to skip a lot of 50s, but it was educational and it was a much better and more stimulating swim than I had at the first John Jay workout I went to a few weeks ago, when I slotted myself in the slow lane and then slightly regretted it. I will swim in this lane again if I need to - though I am happy that at Columbia there is a lane better suited to my pace!

I do not think it is a good idea to let oneself off the hook, in terms of standards, with the kind of thinking that says "Oh, of course I cannot swim very fast, only people who have done it forever can do that" - it limits one's vision of what is possible. We all should aim for the highest possible standard in whatever we do, with no preconceptions about limits! But in an honest rather than self-critical way, I have learned a huge amount in these last couple years - I think that (hmmm, really I do want to swim faster, though!) I should feel pretty proud that I can keep up with a workout like this one, these are fast and fit swimmers with many skills, and it is no shame to be a bit slower than they are! I would have to be a genius of swimming to be swimming a lot better than I currently am - I am thinking that probably by this time next year I should be able to swim this workout on these intervals, and that it is in any case already quite an accomplishment.

(It is very unusual for me to feel a sense of accomplishment, this is good!)

It was a "broken 200s" workout - in honor of it being the 200th birthdays of Darwin and Lincoln! Funny - I like our usual workouts, too, but it's fun to get one from a different coach, and the 90-minute workout is better than the 60-minute in terms of what you can accomplish in the slower lanes. I didn't swim as many yards as it might sometimes be, though, just because of the pace and spacing issues.

Warmup (truncated): 200 free, 100 IM (300)

First set (fun!): 50s freestyle, starting on 1:05, and descending a second each time - drop out when you can't make the interval. I suppose I got down to :56 and then figured that ten was about it for me! (500)

Main set, which I skipped bits of but which I will record in full for its funny and appealing nature (basically, I did 150s of free instead of 200s, skipping a 'different' fifty based on not crossing paths with the fastest folks - there were seven of us in the lane, so if there are five seconds between each swimmer, it is not a shameful thing to find that one has to slightly speed up for the last bit of one's 150 because the first swimmer is coming in at the end of his 200...):

(Not sure I have the order of the IM bits quite right, but it was along these lines.)

200 free on 3:45

8 x 25 stroke in IM order on :30

200 free on 3:45

4 x 50 stroke in IM order on 1:00

200 free on 3:45

2 x 100 IM on 2:00

200 free on 3:45

200 IM on 4:00

200 free on 3:45

2 x 100 IM continuous on 2:00 (I only did 2 x 50 fly-back, it was a question of self-slotting rather than tiredness - simpler just to cut some stuff and keep the fifty that I prefer and that comes at the front of the set!)

200 free on 3:45 (this I did not do because I had to go and pee before the clinic started!)

Total yardage for this bit would have been 2200, but I think I can say I did 1700?

So: workout total 2500, plus clinic yards is 3100 total.

The really demented thing (when I signed up for it, I thought I would be done with the novel by now, and this is the fellow who did the excellent butterfly clinic - I felt I had to do another one with him ASAP, especially on what is my weakest stroke - I toyed with the idea of canceling, but I REALLY want to do it & also if I started canceling exercise when I got really busy, I would be canceling it EVERY WEEK OF THE SCHOOL YEAR, so that is no good...) is that I have to be back at John Jay at 6:45 tomorrow am for the breaststroke clinic with Stefan Bill! That is exactly eight hours from now...

I love swimming!!!

Wednesday run

Very good run just now with Triathlete L. in Riverside Park. It is a luxury of my job that though I can honestly say that I have been working fiendishly hard for the past three weeks, I can also say that for this week and the next couple I have built in a delightful structure that involves meeting C. for a noon run on the Harlem Hill loop and L. coming over Wednesday morning before she goes to work to run 6 flat easy miles along the river. Good company!

5.5 miles (we took the slightly shorter route back, but we did run down to the sanitation pier at 59th St., so it's close to 6, anyway)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thwarted Tuesday

1 hr. "core sculpt"

I had noticed when I came in to the gym that there was a sign up canceling evening open lane swim due to unexpected pool maintenance, but nobody could give me an answer on whether or not there would be swim practice. Unfortunately - NOT! Poor water quality.

It is probably for the best, given the vast amount of work I need to do this evening, but I am sorry not to have a swim. Ah well, nothing to be done...

Monday, February 9, 2009

BLISS bliss bliss bliss bliss bliss

Well, that was certainly a very nice run!

I had some trepidation this morning about whether it was really a good idea to meet up with C. at noon as planned, but strange to say, though I am definitely having some twinges on actual PARTS (sore spot on upper left foot, slightly sore knees, tight muscles in lower right calf), my leg muscles are not all sore today - they feel nice and springy and relaxed! Very mysterious - perhaps it is delayed onset & tomorrow will be worse...

At any rate, it is the most beautiful day in the world for a run. I woke up at an ungodly early hour, more than an hour before the alarm was due to go off, and grudgingly and grumpily got up, but it was for the best, I graded papers & wrote my lecture & sorted out various other work things and then met C. with a CLEAN CONSCIENCE.

(I am feeling much better than I was on Thursday and Friday - I still haven't gotten much sleep, and in retrospect I really feel I must have had some kind of a low-level virus, it was beyond regular tiredness.)

Didn't track times for the run over and back, but we did 3 times the upper loop (1.42 on Coach Mindy's map - she did all her measurements with a pedometer for maximum accuracy!) at what felt like a pretty comfortable pace (it isn't easy, because it's a serious hill, but I figured we shouldn't go crazy, I really don't want to get injured this close to the race). That was 41:19, 9:40 pace - slowish but still respectable given the hills...

6+ miles

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Shuffle mode

Let me say first that it was an extremely pleasant and non-epic and enjoyable run - I am now in a mood of acute cheerfulness, and feel better than I have for many days, only slightly daunted by the amount of work to be done in the near (very near!) future, and also very sorry to learn when I got home that my grandfather and theatergoing companion G. fell on the ice this weekend in New Jersey and broke his arm! He sounds in good spirits, and will go to the orthopod tomorrow morning to see about getting the temporary splint replaced with a proper cast, but I hope you will keep him in your thoughts for a speedy recovery - at the very least, it is a great nuisance...


I set out at a really easy pace - I have no mental fortitude to spare right now, I have been digging very deep for work, and I wanted to do this run at a pace that genuinely put as little strain as reasonably possible on my aerobic system.

I had a great gift in the shape of the weather - it was in the high forties and beautifully sunny, a truly perfect day for a run...

The first hour was very nice, only I was going at such an easy effort level that it took about an hour just to warm up. I had a bit too much time to think about the minor aches and twinges on various spots around the legs - the sore left knee, the stiff right calf that is clearly related to some kind of compensation for the knee....

Around mile 6 or so I suddenly felt absolutely wonderful. All was right with the world! I didn't speed up (my legs were in fact feeling rather sore and tired right from the beginning), but it was very good indeed - you know, where you are chanting to yourself I love running, it is the best thing in the world...

At this point I also realized that Mental Insanity had been doing the counting when I clocked an eighteen-miler as to-and-from park (1 mile each way) plus 2 x full loop (6 miles each) plus "upper five" (full loop minus the annoying bottom bit - you cut across the transverse at 72nd rather than continuing to the south end of the park). That would at least 19, probably more like 19.5 depending on route home from the park, and since my last long one was only 14 (though admittedly under strangely Antarctic conditions that led to time on feet of 2:45!) I could actually afford to cut a little more out of the last loop.

And that really I would be well advised to do so, because though from the waist up I felt like I could run forever at this pace, my legs were already feeling the pain...

I slowed down a bit and I can really see in the mile splits what a slog the second loop was for those poor legs! And for the last few miles getting home, I seriously was shuffling - it is a strange thing, when your body as a whole is so very comfortable (I had good enough water and nutrition - delicious experiment with Kendal Mint Cake, which I am going to take with me for the marathon - it was supplied to Shackleton for the Imperial Antarctic Expedition in the 1910s, it is historically suitable!) and your legs so very sore! Butt and hamstrings especially - it is the hills. Also my cardiovascular system is in pretty good nick from the fall marathon training plus a very steady winter season of swimming, whereas I just haven't been putting in enough miles for the legs to feel great about a long hilly run like that.

The pod, at any rate, is clocking me as having done 19 miles in 3:31:52. (I had a couple brief stints of walking for thorough watering and fueling purposes, stints I keep on the clock because it seems fairer that way.) Probably it was a bit shorter & thus a bit slower mile by mile. The splits will make you laugh if you think about this kind of thing at all - SHUFFLE! - 10:55, 10:48, 10:15, 9:38, 10:02, 10:21, 9:47, 10:43, 10:44, 11:04, 11:18, 11:34, 12:27, 11:52, 11:33, 11:40, 11:56, 12:20, 10:48.

(I actually felt like I was shuffling quite a lot for the first six, too - the only non-shuffling ones were miles 7-9, which are fairly hilly, so that non-shuffleness is not necessarily reflected in the times.)

I will correct the pod's 19 to a more plausible 18 when logging mileage!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Ugh redux!

A nice swim just now, that was good. I have been feeling slightly awful again all day - much better than yesterday, but very much under par. I got a fair amount of work done, only interspersed with about 5 separate naps - I contemplated the notion that I should sit at a desk and type, only the inclination to work horizontally in bed was too strong to overcome...

Warmup: 200 free, 100 back, 100 free, 100 breast, 100 free, 100 free drill (catch-up with finger-drag), 100 fly drill (25 right-arm, 25 left, 25 one-arm by 3s, 25 full stroke), 100 back, 100 breast, 100 free

First part of Wendy's IM ladder, only I ran out of time - but it was nice while it lasted - 200 IM, 150 IM no free, 100 IM, 50 back, 50 breast, 100 IM

1750 yards total

I am thinking I will head out for the long run around 2 tomorrow. I am going to take it very slow - it is easy to get sucked in on doing the long runs harder than necessary, I sort of COULD not do this one too slowly, like 11:00 miles is good but closer to 12:00 is almost better for training purposes. I'll jog over to Central Park (c. 1 mile), do two full loops, then do a third loop just as the "upper 5" and jog home - that is around 18. Must get a lot of work done in the morning for this to be OK.

(I am explaining the plan here as a commitment strategy, especially so that I do not get tempted to skip the third loop!)

Friday, February 6, 2009


A very slow four miles just now in Riverside Park - it wasn't bad, I certainly feel a bit better than I did before I started, but I am just knackered.

Skipped the gym yesterday and came home and had a couple very groggy hours of early evening napping - spent quite a bit of time today also lying in bed and dozing - I am feeling fairly awful! I don't think I'm sick, it's just that I've been working too hard.

I've got a late night tonight again (Uncle Vanya!), and in the last mile of my run just now, the pleasantness of physical activity in cold air (it is pretty cold out there, I was looking at the temperature online beforehand and thinking "Oh, high 20s, that's not bad!" but in fact when one is running quite slowly, it is surely cold enough!) gave me the clarity of thought to see that of course I cannot do my long run tomorrow - both yesterday and today I have felt actually ill due to tiredness - I should put it off till Sunday and see if I can actually get some sleep.

It is not as convenient as doing it tomorrow, partly because I wanted to do next weekend's long one on Saturday rather than Sunday (but come to think of it, that is singularly crazy also, I am hoping to hand in my book manuscript on Friday afternoon and that pretty much guarantees that I'll have had three or four nights with not much sleep - past experience suggests I will still be too wired on Friday night to get anything more than the most restless shallow stressed-out sleep).

I have some flexibility on days and times, though, so I will just have to remain responsive to the situation. If I run on Sunday this week, and then on Sunday or Monday next week, that will make more sense...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Or perhaps the class is called "core sculpt"? At any rate I have decided to log it as strength rather than stretch, we have light and heavier weights and do body-sculpt type stuff of a pilates-inflected kind & wear sneakers...

The teacher is very good, it is just that it is not so much the kind of class that I like. But I will hereafter cease grumbling, because I must keep on doing it - even after one week there was noticeable improvement in tight muscles on left side thigh/hip area, and improvement continues. Yoga is too intense to be really beneficial in that regard, the way that this class is pretty light means that it is better suited to my running-related needs, even if I do not enjoy it so much...

(This is nonsensical, it would be a good idea if I went to bed now!)

Tuesday swim practice

Hmmm, long day, this semester is slightly killing me - all will be better when the season of job talks is over & my novel is submitted and it just goes back to regular school-type schedule...

1 hr "core strength"

TNYA practice (can't remember any intervals, it all passed by in a blur...)

warmup (truncated): 100 free, 50 fly, 50 back

12 x 25 as 3 of each stroke in IM order

6 x 25 fly

6 x 50 back-breast by 25

6 x 75 as 25 fly 50 free

6 x 100 IM

3 x 150 free

(our whole lane ran out of time)

2450 yards total (have I added that up right? Too tired to try it again...)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday run

Golly, it was an absurdly nice day for a run - 50 degrees and sunny. I wore a short-sleeved shirt!

Met up with C. at the bottom of Harlem Hill. I just did 2 loops instead of 3 - I cannot explain it, I was feeling lazy! (We worked pretty hard for the first two?) And then jogged home (got stuck at a lot of lights, it was slow). Call it 5 miles total, though it is probably a tad shorter.

(Resolution: I am not cheating and doing 2 instead of 3 again unless I really am pressed for time, which I was not today!)

(Observation: All that tinkering with Dragon Naturally Speaking and various microphones means that the microphone I use to download the data from my Polar has stopped working! Hmmm, can't worry about that now, it really will make me crazy...)

(Also: it is very nice running in the daylight hours like that - the price is that I have to get up really early and do a lot of work first, but it is probably worth it - running on a February Monday evening in the dark at the end of a long work day is a recipe for low morale. I should see if I can rope in C. for a regular noon Monday run for the next four weeks...)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday run

8.5 miles easy

(Though it occurs to me to note that even a flat run at an easy pace - c. 10:00 miles, perhaps a hair slower - stops being an easy run when it goes over an hour - probably should have brought water, but it is so nice running without bottles & belts &c.)

It was the most beautiful day here - in the low fifties, sunny and calm - decidedly non-Antarctic! I am not complaining...