Thursday, December 30, 2010

Session #18

Another great workout this morning with Carla. (Legs!)

(Interesting and good new way to use the hip abduction machine, which otherwise I always find a bit easy. Do 3 x 60 with each 60 as 3 x 20, with no rest between, starting on a heavier weight and moving down to a lighter on each successive 20; but do it sitting straight upright, not leaning against the back rest, and with arms folded in front of the chest rather than on side handles. Much harder!)

I'll have my last two appointments with her on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, as Monday's a holiday. I don't need to be at the airport for my flight back to New York until the afternoon.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday treadmill run

Only stuck it out for 40 mins., even walking 1 min. out of every ten for water and cooling purposes!

3.5 warm arduous treadmill miles

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Session #17

Great session with Carla this morning, the kind I most enjoy: strenuous and yet sedate (lots of fairly heavy weights, no plyometrics!).

1hr. strength

Monday, December 27, 2010

Short Monday run

Enough to shake out the cobwebs...

c. 3.25 miles, c. 35 mins.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Xmas run

I dallied abed a little longer than I should have, and am now really a bit delinquent in terms of moving on to the next stage of the day - but I began the morning with a really lovely hour-long run. I am in Tampa, people in Florida may complain that it's too cold but it's perfect running weather, sunny and in the low 60s!

(Twenty years ago this area must have been still truly bucolic, it's too developed now to really deserve that word but it's still rather beautiful in patches - I ran on a pedestrian path along Gulf Boulevard, which hugs what I am fairly certain is the Intracoastal Waterway. Very quiet, lots of sea birds and that good feeling of being close to the water...)

1.0hr., 5.64 miles, avg. pace 10:38, avg. HR 153, max. HR 164


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday treadmill

Run-walk intervals, very good really (or at any rate strenuous and warm!); I felt initial self-reproach at having to lower the 'run' speed from 6.5 to 6.0, but then remembered that the last time I was doing intervals it was just a ladder of 1-2-3 and back down again, so no surprise that 6.5 felt a bit fast. If I am patient, I will be a lot faster in a couple of months...


10 mins. warmup jog, then 10 x (3 mins. run @6.0mph, 2 mins. walk @3.2mph)

60 mins. total

Session #16

Excellent session with Carla; I'm glad we were able to fit this one in before weekend travels. I'll see her on Tuesday and Thursday next week, as she's taking Monday off.

1hr. strength

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Session #15

Laziness overcame me yesterday; I couldn't do the projected treadmill run because I'd forgotten to bring my asthma inhaler with me, and then I thought I might swim in the early evening but in fact the charms of steak night at Fidel Murphy's in Brent's company got the better of my good intentions...

(The weather's warmer again, making running outside a bit trickier to manage.)

A fantastic workout this morning with Carla, though. I'll see her tomorrow too, as Friday's a travel day. I think I should have time for a short run first thing Friday morning, and am definitely planning on taking advantage of relatively cool Tampa temperatures to get in a good run on Saturday morning - in fact if I set out by seven or so, I could probably run a full two hours, which would be delightful...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Session #14

Fantastic session with Carla. This has been very good for my morale as well as my fitness - working out with a good trainer is extremely enjoyable!

1hr. strength

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Short Sunday spin

I know I need to do MANY hours rather than just ONE hour, but it is not yet happening!

(I put out all my things last night for a notional long bike ride, and woke up just before the alarm went off at 6 - only to decide that I was MUCH too lazy to get up and go out for a bike ride! And while I'm in Cayman, Sunday very early morning is really the only safe time for riding - the people who go out on weekdays go at 4:30am to avoid traffic, that is much too early for me...)

1hr. easy spin (zone 1)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

(Belated session #13)

Hmmm, I guess I forgot to blog it yesterday morning? Lunge muscles certainly very sore today!

1hr. strength

Saturday long run

Did it on the treadmill; had contemplated possibility of trying for 2 hours, but really it was clear that 90 minutes would be more than enough! In fact my longest run last weekend was 70 minutes, so this is about right in terms of sensible build-up.

(Making a mental note, too, not to wear those orange socks for treadmill runs - they are worn thin on the soles, I get blisters on the underneath part of my toes!)

1.5hr. warm slow treadmill run

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Easy Thursday bike

Brent was suggesting the other day that as my ride at IMCd'A, assuming things really do come together for that race, will be mostly zone 1 with stretches of zone 2/3 as I climb hills, the two things I really should be doing sooner rather than later are (1) hill interval training and (2) lots of zone 1 riding, to try and activate the dreaded slowtwitch muscle of which I have naught.

I have had many good intentions over the last month or two about getting on the spin bike and reading a book on my Kindle, but have somehow not actually gotten around to doing it; this afternoon, the time had come...

After several months of not riding at all, I have to say that the saddle on the spin bike seems insanely uncomfortable! I got off after 1 hour only, which is fairly feeble given that I was riding in zone 1. But one must start somewhere, I will try and do 2 hours in the afternoon tomorrow, and have a real outdoor ride on Sunday morning.

1hr., avg HR 119, max HR 132 (zone 1)

I am less confident about cycling HR zones than about running ones, but I am using these numbers for cycling:

Zone 1 (recovery): 105-129
Zone 2 (aerobic): 130-143
Zone 3 (tempo): 144-148
Zone 4 (sub-threshold): 149-159
Zone 5a (super-threshold): 160-163
Zone 5b (aerobic capacity): 164-169
Zone 5c (anaerobic capacity): 170-175

I would think for a two-hour easy ride, I should be aiming to hit the first hour in the top of the 120s and move into the 130s for most of the second hour.

Thursday run

A nice one, though shortish - there is a natural turning-around point at what the Garmin tells me is exactly the 2-mile mark, where the sidewalk temporarily stops at the entrance to the public beach, and I decided to turn back there.

(I need to start doing long easyish trainer rides a couple afternoons a week, and it occurs to me that it might be more likely I'd done one of those later in the day if I didn't do quite so much first thing in the morning!)

There is an amazing phenomenon in Cayman, I have learned, with the rather lovely name of Christmas breeze. Usually it is what can only be described as too darn hot for me here, but a cold front often moves in in December. It is good! (Check out the last paragraph of that article, though, which is from last year: "The cold front will also bring cooler temperatures. Saturday’s high is only expected to reach 81°F (27°C) and Sunday’s low is expected to dip to 72°F (22°C)" !!!!!!! As a cool-weather person, I am astounded by this perspective on weather in the low 70s!)

Knees much less sore than the other day; maybe I'm getting acclimated? (Also yesterday at the gym was more focused on shoulders, arms, back - I guess that makes a difference.)

I'll do my long run Saturday morning on the treadmill at the gym, and perhaps a short early-evening run on Sunday; I think 4 runs/week is preferable to 3 just now, especially as I don't seem to be swimming.

45:05, 4.03mi., avg pace 11:11, avg HR 155

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Session #12

Excellent. Triceps for the last part of the hour: afterwards I could hardly get my arms above my head to wash my hair!...

1hr. strength

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tuesday run

A nice little run - I should have done it yesterday evening, but I was overcome with weariness and laziness! It's a bit too sunny out there if I don't go out till 7:30am, which is the earliest time that's really realistic for me, so I think I will prefer to stick with the evening slot when it's possible, but it's good to have this as a backup in the case of failures of will.

I ran steady, taking short (c. 30 second?) unscheduled walk breaks whenever I needed a few mouthfuls of water from the Camelbak or just to bump my heart rate down a notch.

1:00, 5.32 miles, avg. pace 11:17 (no point giving HR data as the first 20 mins. or so I was getting implausibly high numbers!)

Knees quite sore - it is bad, this business of very slow running on concrete, it will be better once I'm going a bit faster again. I'll do my long run this week on the treadmill rather than outside - the water supply issues are too bothersome for anything much over an hour.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Session #11

It is good - now I just have to start eating more healthily and scantily...

1hr. strength, .5hr. walk

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Saturday run

OK, that was good. Still on the 5-2 run-walk intervals, but feeling much less physically overwhelmed by the sensations of running; I suppose it is desensitization rather than fitness as such.

5.69mi., 1:08:52, avg pace 12:06, avg HR 150, max HR 163

Friday, December 10, 2010

Session #10

Fantastic session with Carla. This is good!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday run

OK, that was good, a steady week of exercise has earned me a little bit of fitness (might have been a tad cooler this evening, too, which always helps). Still doing run-walk intervals (5 mins. jog, 2 mins. walk), but felt the possibility of steady running seemed no longer quite so remote...

5.11 miles, 1:00:34, avg pace 11:50, avg HR 154, max HR 167

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Session #9

Fantastically good session with Carla this morning; on Monday we did some serious strength stuff, today was more boot-camp style. Both are very good, I am sure it makes sense to mix it up like that, but on the whole I find the boot-camp more challenging, it comes less easily to me and I have to work harder and while that is slightly horrible it is also excellent!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday 'run'

The weather was beautiful, but I was nonetheless very warm! Alas, running more like an elephant than like a gazelle - I did pretty much the same thing I did the other day.

6 x (5 mins. jog, 2 mins. walk)

3.51 milese, 42:31, avg. pace 12:07, avg HR 153, max HR 167

Session #8

A great training session this morning with Carla - my muscles are going to be sore tomorrow...

Bonus link: Coach Troy's Ironman marathon tips. I have loved the Spinervals discs for years now, and I've been following his blog more recently with considerable pleasure.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sea swim!

Ah, that was lovely - it is best at this time of year, the water is too warm in the summer months! Saw a very handsome ray and lots of fish. 25 minutes only, but if I do an hour on the trainer later it will have been a swim-bike-run weekend and I will be thoroughly triaspirational again...

(I was thinking about a bike ride this morning, but it's the day of the Cayman marathon and Brent thought there would probably be detour/traffic issues; and in the end, I couldn't go to sleep till after 1:30 anyway, so early rising for bike-riding was contraindicated...)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Outdoor run!

Ah, it is such a relief, really running is my favorite sport...

I still overheated, because I'm unfit and because I run hot even at the best of times, but for Cayman it's a blissfully cool evening: 74 degrees F, only (!) 62% humidity.

6 x (5 mins. jog, 2 mins. walk): 3.5 miles, 42:11, avg. pace 12:04, avg HR 152, max HR 167

(I'm in zone 4 for most of the time I'm actually running, but I just can't stand to stay in zone 2 when I run here, it is so slow it is not even a run any more - the walk-run intervals are much preferable!)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Session #7

Very happy to be back in the gym with Carla. Lungs were better than I expected (some coughing, not bad though), but overall fatigue was overwhelming - I felt queasy whenever I did anything more high-intensity in terms of cardiovascular demands, and we called it short at 45 minutes as I was really ready to stop! I was not at all sure I was going to be able to walk home without taking a rest - it may be underfueling, too, though I did have half a Clif builder's bar for breakfast, so that should have been OK.

Anyway we're back on track now, I think: I'll see her Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8am for the rest of the month, and she's not going away over Xmas, so that's good, though the gym is of course closed over the two holiday weekends...

45 mins. strength
30 mins. walk

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Back in the world

After three-plus weeks of being too sick to exercise, it is a HUGE relief to me to be back in the gym! Didn't do a ton today, I am going to be cautious re: lungs, but it was good...

Treadmill walk-run:

10 mins. warmup at 5mph, then 1-1-2-2-3-3--3-3-2-2-1-1 alternating 6.5mph run, 3mph recovery (3 miles, 36 mins.)

10 mins. core

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Brief update

On stop two of four for Thanksgiving itinerary. Still with lungs full of junk, coughing a lot and not feeling particularly well - no way I can do the Turkey Trot, ugh...

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Yesterday was the first day I felt anywhere near my normal self: still very croaky and with pints of phlegm residing in the lungs and the sinuses, but at least actually able to walk around and do errands and think about interesting work things.

This was the ten-day cold from hell, and I was not mentally fortified to withstand its rigors!

Still not feeling anywhere near 100%; I think I will have to be cautious about reintroducing any exercise, ugh....

Tomorrow I'm leaving for whirlwind Thanksgiving travels (Ottawa, Philadelphia, Virginia, Maryland); I'm signed up for a five-mile Turkey Trot on the Thursday, but I am not at all sure I'll be well enough to do it, I'll see how I feel the day before.

My only goal for the coming week is to conduct myself in a fashion that will not lead to me becoming sick again when I return to Cayman on the 29th. As I had another bad cold that lasted from Oct. 15 to Oct. 22 ,and wheezing and coughing that began on Oct. 31 and lasted until the cold proper hit me on Nov. 9, I am basically counting this the least physically enjoyable month I have had in recent memory.

It is killing me not to exercise, I really depend on it for mood and morale and I need to be building some base fitness now if I want it to be realistic to start Ironman training in March. I'm still quite uncertain as to whether that's going to be feasible, but I suppose I will just have to wait and see closer to the time.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A sorry state of affairs

I am feeling extraordinarily glum - what seemed like a mere downturn in the preexisting ailment turned out to be a whole new ailment of the chest-cold variety - I have basically been in bed for days now, and judging by the current state of my lungs it is going to be days more before I can do any exercise to speak of.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday grumpiness

On the bright side, had a nice walk with Max and dogs, but my cough is if anything worse this morning: it seems to have settled in as a real chest cold. I am very grumpily and belatedly taking the measure I should have taken last week, namely taking a few days fully off from exercise - I'll call C. later and cancel our appointment for tomorrow, I think Thursday is the earliest I should do anything and possibly Friday to give my lungs a chance to repair. Ugh, ugh, ugh....

40 mins. walk

Monday, November 8, 2010

Workout #6

1hr. strength (it was a short 'hour,' but I am still coughing up a storm, so it was perhaps for the best - we just did straight strength stuff, not boot-camp-style things, so as not to put undue strain on the lungs).

Alas, C. is going away for a week on Friday, so I'll have a session on Wednesday and then pick up again for only one session on Friday the 19th before I travel for Thanksgiving - I had better write in sessions on my own in my appointment book so as not to lose momentum...

Monday swim

It was pretty nice, but I am in low spirits - this lung ailment has gotten me down! I meant to swim longer (one more 400 of straight freestyle), but I hit the hour mark and was losing mental focus and also coughing a lot, so I figured it was OK to get out.

(I just was sick so recently, that's the thing that seems unfair! But rationally I know that upping exercise - I had a ten-hour week last week, after a month with very little exercise indeed - puts huge stress on the immune system, and it is not at all surprising that some sort of ailment set in once I'd triggered the asthma in the first place. Bit better this morning, I suppose, so I will hope that I can do a lot more hours of exercise this week than I did last.)

4 x 400m as

400 free with every fourth length as breast or back

4 x 100 drill-swim by 25 (front scull, fists, catch-up, thumbs-and-salute)

400 flutter kick with every fourth length whip or dolphin

4 x 100 IM, odds drill and evens swim

1600m total

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday ride!

I took yesterday off from exercise because my lungs were feeling worse again - it is making me very grumpy! But this morning was the KiwaniBike, and Max and I had egged each other on to do it - we rode over to Smiths Cove, put our bikes into a truck and rode a bus out to the Blowholes. Then rode the 20 miles back - count it as 26 total. Beautiful cool weather for riding, though rather windy...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Workout #5

Trainer C. texted me around 7:45 to see if I could meet at 9 instead of 2, and I was happy to oblige. A good workout - definitely I fatigue a bit more easily when I've only had an hour and a half post-swim, but it is not a real problem.

1hr. strength

Friday swim

Yesterday evening I vowed that I would swim this morning come hell or high water - fortunately extreme measures were not necessary, lungs felt quite a bit better this morning - it was a very nice swim, good to be back in the water. I'm still coughing quite a bit, so I took everything at pretty easy intensity - will try and do a couple of harder workouts next week, and perhaps a sea swim over the weekend.

4 x 500

(1) and (2) as free with every fifth length breast

(3) as 100 IM kick, 100 free, 100 IM drill, 100 free, 100 IM swim

(4) as odds drill-swim by 25 (finger-drag, catch-up, 6-3-6), evens free

2000 meters total

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I grumpily observe that my lungs are so gummed up and sore that there seemed to be little point doing any cardio; on the bright side, I did have a nice forty-minute walk with Max and dogs this morning, so that will have to count as the day's exercise. Very much hoping I will feel better tomorrow, this is discouraging!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Workout #4

Challenging workout with C. - more boot-camp-style than straight strength training, made me feel occasionally queasy as HR rose and stayed too high! Lungs full of what feels like a pool of disgusting fluid, but otherwise feeling OK...

1hr. strength

Lung-related grumpiness

I had quite a bit of wheezing in the last stage of Sunday's triathlon, and my lungs suffered quite a bit subsequently - they still feel very raw/sore/itchy and drenched in junk! I skipped my projected swim this morning because it just didn't seem like a good idea to put further strain on them...

But my lovely sister-in-law Jessi has lifted my spirits by sending me the link to a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot - I am going to register now, and as she says we will feel better about eating pie later if we do it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

3 x 45

45 minutes core strength class, 45 minutes spin; earlier I had a very nice 45-minute walk with Max and dogs.

(We heartlessly split our sides laughing as Sharka chased a chicken and made it fly over a fence!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Workout #3

Super workout with C. at World Gym. This is GOOD.

Save Our Skins

A fantastical future possibility has now moved to the column of races for 2011 - I have registered for the Survival of the Shawangunks....

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I'll be off island for the actual Cayman Islands Triathlon (it happens over US Thanksgiving weekend), but the CITA organizes a series of build-up races (untimed, casual, fun) in the weeks leading up to the race, and I was delighted to be able to participate in the second one today. They offer two recommended distances, I did the longer: 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run. (Standard sprint distances, appropriate as training session for the Olympic-distance triathlon.)

I was very slow, but I just felt super-lucky to be out there - and though I am completely unfit and overweight right now, it is still not like starting from scratch, if I were truly unfit I would not be able to exercise continuously for approximately an hour and forty minutes without feeling overloaded. I felt that at the gym this week, too - I have reasonable residual strength even if I do feel unfit, I can lift respectable weights and maintain a reasonable workload for the full hour. There are benefits from maintaining a regular year-round exercise regimen, even if you periodically fall off the wagon...

(I must say, too, that everyone at these races is so nice, I was by far the last finisher and C. and W. rode their bikes round to see how I was doing and cheer me on for the last bit of the run! There was also a very attractive and shaggy lolloping stray dog who accompanied me on that bit of the course...)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday treadmill

50 warm minutes - by that time I had knocked the safety plug out three times and completely lost track of how long I'd gone for, so I finished out the last bit walking on an incline (real-world walking over to gym and back also, but I will not log that).

Week of over-exuberance was predictably followed by drastic mood crash last night - I feel better now post-run, but I think that really I will just have to strive to get myself on a more even keel, dramatic ups and downs are no good....

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday workout

A fantastically good workout at World Gym with Carla. It is not exactly that it is truly enjoyable, it is hard work, but immensely satisfying!

Friday swim

More of a wake-up swim than an actual workout. This has been a nice quiet week of morning swimming, but I think I must get up a tad earlier and have some sort of small breakfast (probably oatmeal) before swimming if I want to do a full hour and higher-intensity stuff. Certainly Wendy was always adamant that one should eat first before swimming, though it is a piece of advice I have mostly ignored!

4 x 150 free, 50 stroke in IM order (one-arm fly)
4 x 100 free drill-swim by 25 (catch-up, finger-drag, front scull, fists)

1200 meters total

It's good to be riding my bike over there and back in the morning, it gets me reacclimated to bicycle-riding...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday treadmill

.5hr. run intervals, .5hr. walk on incline - a way to minimize willpower involvement but still get an hour of aerobic exercise...

10 mins. warmup, then 1-1-2-2-3-3-2-2-1-1 alternating hard and easy (6.5mph, 5.3mph); will keep that as a basic workout and add in the second "3-3" pair, then a "4-4," then a second "4-4" - once I can do that I will up the "hard" speed to 7.0mph...

30 mins. @ 3.2mph/6.0 incline

60 mins. total


Having read the National Lightning Safety Institute guidelines, I think that next time I should get out of the pool as soon as I hear thunder...

Thursday swim

It was a nice swim until the thunder and lightning started - I stayed in for a while, and then thought of how really I have no idea whether getting out when there's lightning is a long-shot precaution or actually something really very sensible, so I figured I'd better cut things short.

And then I was further thwarted - I had packed up a huge bag of stuff so as to go on to the gym for core strength and spinning - it is an absurdly large collection of necessary things - but a nasty suspicion occurred to me partway through my swim that I had forgotten to pack a sports bra! Indeed this turned out to be the case, and I didn't have my wallet with me to obtain another one at either of the gym/yoga studio kiosks where they might have sold me such a thing...

By the time I had walked home in pouring rain (and a very wet semi-transparent white t-shirt with nothing underneat!), I figured that this was the world's way of telling me to have a treadmill run later in the day instead. It is fine, it is probably a better use of my time for the day.

I enjoyed the swim (and rain means cooler air temperatures), with the proviso that my left elbow is a bit sore (internet self-diagnosis is a foolish business, but I am guessing it is mild triceps tendonitis, I've had it for about a year or so and am sure that it was exacerbated by relatively heavy lifting at the gym yesterday):

4 x (200 free, 50 stroke drill in IM order)
8 x 75 kick-drill-swim by 25, 2 of each stroke in IM order

1600 meters total

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I cannot described how relieved I was to find myself yesterday evening checking out suitable races to use in the late spring as supported IM training days - really in September I could hardly imagine that I would ever be motivated to train for a race ever again, I was fearing that my decision to register for IMCd'A had been singularly rash and that I was just going to have to regard the registration dollars as yet another chunk of change lost to my own bad judgment - but I really think I am myself again, instead of languishing I was frenetically emailing with the organizers of the Montauk Century to see what day it would be on in 2011!

I learned that it is the third Sunday in May, namely 15 May 2011 - six weeks out from my race, thus a little early but basically an excellent day to do a relatively easy (i.e. flattish) century ride with full support on the course. The bikes are shipped by truck from Penn Station to a station on Long Island, and you can ride the full 100-mile route from there (trucks also take bikes home at the end of the day), so I will avoid bridge paranoia and whatever other psychological obstacles may have emerged in the intervening months and have a real guaranteed long day's riding with none of the usual anxieties about getting stuck somewhere in the middle of nowhere, mechanicals, getting lost, falling off the GWB, etc. etc.


And I have found an excellent trainer, took the plunge and purchased a 20-session package. I'll work out with her MWF2-3pm in November and December, travel schedules permitting.

I had the first session today, and it was fantastically good, at least until I suddenly felt very queasy around the 45-minute mark! Not sure whether this was the result primarily of general lack of fitness, lactate buildup or of not having eaten lunch - probably some combination of all three (I always eat lunch, but I didn't want to work out on a full stomach and 2pm's not a time I ever usually exercise, I hadn't thought through the mealtime implications), at which point we really just pretty much had to stop - made a couple further stabs at finishing the set I was working on (deadlifts, clean and press), but it was not meant to be! I am going to be very sore tomorrow, it is a satisfying feeling - I am looking forward to our next appointment on Friday afternoon.

10 mins. warmup
45 mins. strength

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Good morning of exercise. I am hopeful that I can use this time between now and Thanksgiving very productively, even if Thanksgiving week itself is certain to be a nutritional disaster.

Was a bit late getting over to the pool, and had ambitious plans for further exercise, so I didn't swim much, but it was very nice (triceps distinctly sore from yesterday!):

500 straight as 100 free, 25 alternating breast, back
4 x 150 kick-drill-swim by 50 (IM order)
75 IM no free (easy), 75 free (hard)

1250 meters total

45 minutes core strength class

60 minutes spin

I've got the business card for the trainer I want to work with; I'm going to email her as soon as I finish writing this post and see what her schedule looks like...

Monday, October 25, 2010


My evening self thinks that swimming in the early morning seems like a very good idea. My morning self thinks that this is sheer idiocy! Fortunately Brent is willing to provide external prodding, otherwise I certainly would not have gotten up this morning and ridden over to the Camana Bay pool, where I had a truly excellent swim.

(I think the water is cooler than it was in the summer, certainly I had none of that unpleasantly sludgy feeling that was afflicting me in July and August over there.)

It's been about four and a half months since Wendy died. As with anything of this magnitude, it both seems like it just happened and also seems like it happened a lifetime ago.

They have been very difficult months for me - aside from the deep sense of loss, I've just felt completely out of control about almost everything to do with my life. The cat who was my companion since 1993 died in May, and my apartment is sublet through January. I canceled all my big races for the year and am not really training for anything seriously, nor am I in the thick of a big writing project. Low spirits combined with other obligations have largely prevented me from doing the things (writing, exercising) that usually keep me in good train; even at the best of times, it's difficult to stay on an exercise and healthy eating regimen while traveling, but during this last New York trip (my talk in Buffalo went very well, though!) I pretty much threw up my hands and admitted that I would have to get back to Cayman and stop living out of a bag before I could really dig in and try and get myself back on track in any meaningful sense.

I flew back yesterday, and it's a significant relief to be here....

I can now see that I pretty much have 2 months left to me of this sabbatical, and I need to set modest but determined goals.

I have a book manuscript to revise, it's true, but other than that, my main goal is to get back into shape and also re-embrace the nutritional straight and narrow. If I am going to do IMCd'A, I need to lose weight now and be in really good shape when I start training seriously in March or so - it is not realistic to think that one will lose weight during Ironman training.

I do have to travel for Thanksgiving and Xmas, so it is not a truly uninterrupted stretch, but I am going to devote all the energy I can this month to exercising a lot and figuring it will improve my mood more than almost anything else within my power to change.

I'm going to splurge on some personal training sessions at World Gym, since I have found in the past that this is a very sure-fire and low-willpower way to get into shape (also it gives me accountability on what I'm eating - I do not even want to think about the nutritionally unsound choices I have been making for the past four months!).

I'm going to swim as much as possible; I'm going to see if I can do low-intensity long spin bike sessions while reading a book on my new Kindle; I'm not going to run a lot, since it's not the most enjoyable thing in Cayman heat, but I'll do enough (including interval and hill sessions on the treadmill and a weekly long run) that I'll be in good shape to run quite a bit in New York in January and February.

If I can end the year in pretty OK shape fitness-wise and with a new version of the little book on style that I drafted in the spring, it will have been a worthwhile year from the point of view of achieving personal goals; and I now think it can be done, although I am sure I will still have some more days where I am in very low spirits and can do nothing other than lie in bed!

100 free
100 drill-swim by 25 (catch-up)
100 free
100 drill-swim by 25 (6-3-6)

IM transitions: 50 fly drill, 50 fly drill-back by 25, 50 back, 50 back-breast, 50 breast, 50 breast-free, 50 free, 50 free-fly drill

4 x 50 fly-breast by 25
4 x 50 back-breast by 25

2 x (4 x 50 free on 1:20): (1) easy (2) build (3) easy (4) hard (:59, :60)

50 cooldown

1650 meters total

Sunday, October 17, 2010


This is hopeless! On Friday en route to Philadelphia I realized I was coming down with a cold, it has turned into a predictably awful one - I am sitting bleary-eyed in my office right now about to do one more library run, then I will have everything I need. I will be lucky if I get in even one or two sessions of exercise before I leave for Buffalo on Thursday - I think that tomorrow I will still be feeling too unwell, and of course I am wheezing terribly.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday bike/swim

It worked well to ride my bike uptown - first time ever commuting by bike! (Really in normal life I live 2 blocks away from my office and there is no need, but I am staying downtown for this visit.) Good way of fitting in some sanity-inducing exercise and fresh air in a fairly tightly scheduled day. There was an absolutely spectacular rosy pink sunset going on as I rode back downtown - at the Boat Basin people were standing and marveling at it and taking pictures of themselves against the herringboned pink sky.

I stopped at Chelsea Piers and had a very short swim - I had a birthday party to go to later on, and also masters swim practice was about to start and caused the lifeguard to consolidate swimmers into a small number of lanes - I decided I was just going to get out and move on with the rest of my evening. But it was worthwhile - I had a hot tub dunk - I am really wanting to be back on a regular swimming schedule, but this next week and a half remains very busy and complex in terms of scheduling...

12 miles bike
600 yards swim (100 free, 100 IM kick, 100 free, 100 IM drill, 100 free, 100 IM swim)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday spin

After a day in which inertia laid me low, I met up with Lauren at Chelsea Piers for the Monday night spin class. It was excellent - I felt afterwards for the first time in a long time as though I can imagine getting back into a decent fitness routine. I'm hoping to make it there for a swim this evening and for something else tomorrow during the day - and I rode my bike over there last night, and also uptown to Columbia this morning, so that's good too (though I underestimated how sweaty I would get - if I do that again, I might bring a towel and a clean shirt to change into!)...

55 mins. spin

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Short Saturday run

I am in Portland, Maine, and decided that I would simply be too self-castigatingly annoyed with myself if I did not get out for at least a short run in what is surely the most beautiful running weather in one of the prettiest towns in America.

Ran down to the harborfront, which is a bit too crowded and touristy to produce blissful running conditions (overly crowded sidewalks!), and then to a truly lovely path that is called the Eastern Promenade Trail. Turned around at East End Beach.

Must make sure to exercise more this week than last - I cannot plunge into a truly focused and extreme fitness regimen until I get back to Cayman, but I can certainly do better than I have done this last two weeks - even half an hour is better than nothing!

40 mins. beautiful running

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I have overscheduled my New York time, that's the long and short of it. Today was the first day that I really and definitely should have had plenty of time to run, but I still didn't get out at all - I only slept for a couple hours last night, due to insomnia, and crashed this afternoon for several hours of very deep sleep.

I'm taking the Philadelphia marathon off the sidebar, much as it disgusts me to back out of yet another race. I need to go to Portland, Maine this weekend for a wedding, I need to go to Philadelphia for at least a day next weekend, I leave for Buffalo on the 21st for a couple days of conference before returning to Cayman, tomorrow night I'm out all evening giving a talk and tonight I will see my brother for the first time in many months then go to a play with my grandfather (dinner to follow) - it's the season of meeting with my grad students on the job market and writing letters of recommendation - all these are good and important things, but incompatible with re-initiating my training plan at a time of discouragement and low motivation - if I'd run a lot in the past week, I suppose it would still be just about feasible to run a full marathon the week before Thanksgiving, but I am looking at the timeframe and thinking it really is pointless and stupid to push ahead with a notion that bears no relation to the reality I am currently living!

I'm pretty desperate for a return to a steady and predictable fitness regimen, in other words, but it was unrealistic to think that the New York time would be the start of it - too much other stuff to do here, including a lot of work things that I am packing into too short a time. Will be back in Cayman by the end of the day on Sunday the 24th, will dig in thereafter on book revisions (the little book on style) and fitness, but not with a run focus in particular.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Thursday run

It was rather a dreadful one - it is strangely warm and humid (arrived in New York on Tuesday night, but weather here is unseasonably and rather unpleasantly damp), asthma was troublesome - but the endorphins were as usual in plentiful supply by the end. Exercise schedule through the end of the weekend is sketchy, but from Monday onwards I should be able to have a couple weeks of more regular stuff. In the meantime, internet access remains sporadic, so expect few updates...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday treadmill

1.0hr. slow treadmill run. Should have done 2+, but in this season of low morale am having to live with a policy of some is better than none.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Short gym workout

I wanted to do 40 minutes of treadmill intervals, but my chest was feeling very tight and asthmatic all afternoon, and the inhaler seemed to have absolutely no effect (not sure if that one's kicked or if it was just lungs impervious to assistance today), so I called it after 15 halfhearted minutes and did 30 minutes of strength training instead. Meager, but better than nothing...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday core/legs

Didn't get up early enough to swim beforehand, but had a good start to the day with the Thursday core class, which has more of a legs component too - I prefer the Tuesday class, on the whole, but this is very good too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday run

1hr. treadmill, very slow. No excuse for not doing the second hour except that I didn't feel like it. Having a very hard time motivating right now - I think I can straggle through the November marathon regardless, but if I'm still feeling like this in February, I'm probably going to have to pull the plug on next year's Ironman. No point worrying about it now, anyway - wait and see what happens...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday core/spin

Hit the gym for the excellent core strength class (it was on hiatus over August and early September) and the spin class to follow.

45 mins. strength, 45 mins. spin

Short Monday run [ED. Head was clearly elsewhere - TUESDAY run!]

A nice easy short run with Max and Jasdip. I heard Jas's origin story: Max and his other dog Sharka were going in the early morning to check a fire alarm at the Grandview, and Sharka veered off into a bush where Jas (a small puppy with collar but no tags) was cowering. They sent out and put up pictures everywhere to try and find his original owner, but nobody claimed him, and by some weeks later Jas had settled in to the family for good. Bonus fact: Jasdip = Just Another Spectacular Day In Paradise! (Actually the S might be Stunning or some other such word, I cannot quite remember...)

(I'm not sure if this Facebook album is public or not, but here are Sharka and Jasdip frolicking in the Grandview Lagoon!)

33 mins. (zone 1)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday swim

Really I should have gone over there earlier, as I was lying awake in bed for several hours - but alas, there is a huge difference between being awake and being ready to get up...

(And I have also slightly disappointed myself by not going straight on to a trainer ride, but I set everything up and got started and realized that COFFEE was more urgently needed than spinning. Might have to go back to bed in a bit - not as bad as yesterday, when I canceled my projected morning bike ride because after sleeping from 11:30pm to 2:30am, I woke up and could not go back to sleep at all, so that at 6 when I should have been going out the door I was instead grumpily and Goldilocksily trying another bed and seeing if that would do anything for me. But I will spin later, it is fine.)

Just a short swim. I refreshed my memory on the swim camp drills, which really do make a very good difference to my stroke (the effect was very noticeable as we watched the videos of all the swimmers), and did some other bits to start to get back in the swing of it.

100 free, 100 IM (fly drill)
3 x 100 on swim camp drills: (1) push off in deep streamline, turn onto back underwater with arms by side, kick on back with hands sculling at side; (2) push off, turn onto side and kick on side with 1 arm extended; (3) 6-3-6 (swim camp version) - kick hard on side, relax and kick easy when swimming face down

4 x 50 fly-free as first 1 full fly stroke and rest free, then 2, etc. (stroke = 2 strokes, 1 breath)
2 x 50 breast
2 x 50 back as drill-swim (double-arm back)
2 x 50 free as drill-swim (catch-up)

100 free (2:05)
100 IM

Then I called it - beautiful morning, though the smell of trash was very strong in the air!

1200m total

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday run

50 overwhelmingly warm but highly worthwhile minutes - would have been better for running fitness to do it on the treadmill, but couldn't abide the notion suddenly, and thought I would rather have overheated run-walk in the great outdoors!

Out: 4 x (5 min. jog, 1 min. walk)
Back: 2 x (4 min. jog, 2 min. walk), then 2 mins. jog, 2 mins. walk for the rest of the way home

50 mins. total (zones 2-4)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Short swim

Just a small one, in the condo swimming pool of irregular shape - c. 1000 yards, mostly kick. I was doing a lot of kick in the spring, partly on the recommendation of the Chelsea Piers triathlon coach and partly because I always find that just as I am losing steam on regular swim workout stuff, I usually can muster vim and vigor for another 500 or so yards with head above water for a kick set. It dawned on me at swim camp last week how much fitness I'd lost when just doing a couple lengths of hard kick felt muscularly fatiguing...

Saturday run

Hmmmm, Brent did 1:45, but I called it at 1:00 - I was actually enjoying myself more than I expected, from which I deduce that Ottawa running improved my run fitness, but I could not face the second treadmill hour, I went to Cafe del Sol for a cappuccino and read the Economist while waiting for Brent to finish his!

1hr., mostly zone 2 - alternating every fifth minute as either +3 or -3 @ 1.5mph faster than base speed. Very enjoyable - I have never used the negative grade on the treadmill before, but it gives you a chance to have faster leg turnover without undue strain on the huffing and puffing systems.

I think I'll swim for half an hour in the SEA later on today, and I must have a long bike ride tomorrow morning...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Last Ottawa run

Back to Cayman tomorrow, and somewhat more penitential running conditions - it is a most beautiful morning here, absolutely perfect running weather (brisk and cool and sunny, just warming up by the end to a balmier level but really almost chilly at the outset!). We were aiming for an hour, but at the 30-minute mark I had the romantically named Dows Lake Pavilion in my sights and couldn't resist adding on a few extra minutes to reach it - it is more mentally compelling to run to a landmark than to time. Anyway, a real treat, what a nice run...

6.96 miles, 1:11:20, avg pace 10:14, avg HR 149, max HR 157

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Long run

In my head I had set a hard minimum of 2 hours - I ended up stopping at 1:53:41 (10.45 miles, avg pace 10:52, avg HR 151), but I'm still pretty happy with it. There were a few factors I hadn't really accounted for: for one thing, the natural turnaround on the canal path out-and-back from the hotel falls around 4.5 miles, so everything after 9 was me overshooting or trying to run around a few extra blocks or what have you. Also, I had finished my water by the 1:20 mark - I did see one fountain about 20 minutes after that, but by that point it hardly seemed worth stopping, I had the scent of home in my nose!

(It is also true that it is purely desire rather than accomplishment that would have had me running 16 miles this weekend - I'm not at all caught up with that schedule, I had one two-hour treadmill run about three weeks ago but other than that I haven't run for more than an hour, and certainly not on pavement either - so we will call it the better part of valor to have run short today.)

I was actually following a "run 10 minutes, walk 1" strategy to mitigate the effects of pavement - this was a tip brought to mind by some materials at the Running Room yesterday, and it worked very well.

At the store I bought a new pair of shoes - it was fiscally irrational, they are so much more expensive in Canada than in the U.S. and I will be in New York at the end of the month, but I have really worn the hell out of the old pair and have been uneasily aware this week (i.e. pavement rather than treadmill) of the near-complete lack of cushioning. And at least notionally I would be running 70-80 miles between yesterday and New York anyway - so I took the plunge and purchased them anyway.

(They are very good shoes, I tried another model just to be sure I should stick with these but there was no need to switch - they are the Mizuno Wave Inspire 6.)

The weather here is perfect Triaspirational running weather - overcast, a light drizzle (heavier at times), upper 50s. It was beautiful out there - hardly anybody else to be seen, but lots of ducks. Felt very asthmatic and overweight for first half hour, but it was smoother going after that - I do not really understand why the asthma gets better in the second hour than in the first, but it is fairly noticeable. I fear my November marathon will be discouragingly slow, but I don't think I should write it off altogether - I should be able to run a 4:40 or so even if I don't run as many training miles as I would like, and I think it is worthwhile, it gets me out of bed when I otherwise might be absolutely languishing...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Short run

I was thinking all day it would be a pity if I didn't get out at least for a short run, and so I did - only had vim for half an hour, and it's almost too warm in the sun, but truly beautiful weather, and running along the canal like that - very, very nice...

29:25, 3 miles, avg HR 150

Swim camp #3

Built up to actual full freestyle stroke by way of what I know as the 6-3-6 drill, then video analysis - definitely useful, but I had a terrible pang as I was walking back to the hotel, it was a most beautiful morning for a run, I wish I had been out there...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Swim camp

Two sessions thus far, one yesterday morning and one this evening - a bit of a respite in a rather taxing week!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday run

Bit of a battle to get up, but it was a good run once I was actually out there (first we walked over to scope out the location of the university swimming pool): 1 hr., zone 2 (avg HR 144), c. 5.8 miles.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday run

There are several unintended athletic consequences a.k.a. lovely side benefits of this trip to Ottawa, which is really not so much a vacation otherwise (though we did also have a truly decadent dinner last night at the Keg - we are staying in a highly convenient part of town, right near the Byward Market and the university - lots of bookstores in the immediate vicinity!) - the weather here is perfect right now for running, and I will also be able to go to Technosport swim camp later this week (that latter is a bittersweet pleasure, as I always thought I would come to Ottawa for swim camp sometime, but of course it should have been to see Wendy!)...

Anyway Brent and I had a truly delightful run this morning on the path along the river - there were ducks - there was a malevolent corvid or two - there were various dogs, one of them a collie whose herding instincts had clearly been triggered by someone or something just passed - and a sausage dog very bent on getting somewhere - beautiful gardens - anyway, very good for the running morale to be trotting along comfortably with a breeze and low humidity!

c. 56 mins., c. 5.5 miles, avg HR 149 (zone 2/3)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday night running club

I have yet to learn to pace myself on this one - the combination of fast other runners, heat/humidity and a route that makes me edgy is deadly. (Plus, of course, insufficient training on my part.) I peeled off from the group after a couple miles and ran home on my own feeling very hot and demoralized.

c. 43 mins., too much in zone 4 tipping into 5


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday swim-run

Was very annoyed with myself this morning for not getting up early enough to swim - the moment passed and I was still lazing in bed! But there are evening hours now too, so I got over there shortly after 5:30 and had a good swim and then ran home (more or less directly, with a little detour further to make sure I had at least fifteen minutes). This is good, it was a good swim - very sludgy and warm to begin with, but around the 1200m mark I started feeling really good...

4 x (100 free, 50 stroke), alternating breast and back

3 x 100 fly drill as right-arm, left-arm, 3-3-3, full stroke
3 x 100 free drill-swim by 25 (front scull, fists, finger-drag)

2 x (50 free drill [catch-up, 3-6-3], 50 free easy for form, 50 free hard)
3 x 100 as IM, free, IM

1800m total

+ 1.5 miles run

Monday, August 30, 2010


30 mins. easy jog with Max, then a Wire episode's worth of spinning, also fairly easy - it was pleasant, but I am not full of vim in the morning! Might try and do some treadmill intervals later in addition.

30 mins. run + 52 mins. spin (zone 1)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday bike!

It was truly a lovely ride - it reminded me that given that I don't have a triathlon in my very immediate future, it makes a ton of sense to have primarily enjoyable rather than challenging rides - I need to learn to really feel enthusiastic about cycling the way I do about swimming and running.

Sunday morning is really the one time in Cayman when the roads are empty and safe, and all the local cyclists are out - the population of the whole island is only around 50,000, even in New York one tends to see cyclists one knows and here it is pretty funny, it is a small cast of characters!

Max and I rode at an easy pace out past Hurley's and down a slightly different route than we meant - ended up with a few miles on a very lovely smooth stretch of road with an actual bike lane, pretty much unprecedented (most of the roads don't even have a shoulder). The seat adjustments Jerome made definitely make for an improvement in terms of comfort, though I realized about fifteen minutes into the ride that I had forgotten my gloves - sore hands!

c. 20 miles, 1:17, mostly zone 1

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday run, better late than never edition

There was no noticeable vim or vigor present to further the plan for a morning long treadmill run, but we got out in the early evening for a very pleasant (hot!) hour of road running.

(I have been pondering the matter - I can stand doing a 40- or 50-minute interval or tempo treadmill workout, and I think that long runs in this climate will for me pretty much necessitate treadmill use unless I can get up much, much earlier than has been hitherto demonstrated - but the particular run that I HATE doing on the treadmill is an hour of aerobic running. These ones I think I just must make sure to do outside, it is so much better for the soul...)

As heartrate control measures, I did 4 min. run, 1 min. walk, and I also set the alarm to notify me if I went above the top of zone 3 - it's definitely a challenge, I am running pretty slowly even at the top of zone 3 - but this is a very good way to keep things manageable. Very good...

(Garmin says c. 5 mins. zone 1, 15 mins. zone 2, 27 mins. zone 3, 5 mins. zone 4.)

Riding early tomorrow morning with Max - we will just do 90 minutes, it is possible but not certain that I will then do another 90 minutes on the spin bike indoors?

Friday, August 27, 2010


A very successful midday excursion (Brent drove me over with my bike, and I rode home afterwards - I think he may possibly have been more nervous about it than I!) to Revolutions for an excellent spin class (I am going to go there again for sure, it was great) and some very useful help from proprietor Jerome regarding bike fit - really the bike is just a little bit too small for me, but he has adjusted saddle height and pitch and is going to find me a more comfortable saddle and replace it for me next week. Significant progress, I think...

45 mins. spin

Friday swim!

I was determined to make it over to the pool for a morning swim, and I did - very nice it was too, it really is my favorite of the local exercise options given vagaries of climate, personal preferences, etc. I have swum so little this summer, I sort of have to start back out with baby steps - water definitely felt pretty sludgy...

Warmup: 4 x 100 free, 50 drill-swim of each stroke in IM order

4 x 50 drill-swim stroke in IM order, 50 drill-swim free

4 x 50 drill-swim stroke in IM order

3 x 100, odds IM and even free

1500 meters total

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday treadmill

Couldn't face a long one, but did some invigorating mild intervals: 10 mins. warmup, then 6 x (4 mins. 5.5mph @ 3% grade, 2 mins. walk on flats). 45 mins. total, pretty much evenly split zone 1/2 (just tipping into bottom of zone 3 by the end of the last couple intervals). I will do a harder-effort version of this on a day when I am feeling more energetic...

Stroke and stride chronicles #2

Feeling singularly uninspired for the notional midday treadmill run - having NOT, inevitably, got up early enough to run outside - in fact am pondering instead walking over to Books & Books to see if I can find something I really feel enthusiastic about reading - but the latest in the Stroke and Stride chronicles made me smile!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

HOT evening run

Took advantage of a minor schedule change (Brent's triathlon association meeting!) to run at what is usually dinner or post-dinner DVD-watching time, since it is so hard for me to get out first thing in the morning.

40 very warm minutes outdoor running - it is mentally so much better for me to run outside rather than on the treadmill, I really must make the effort to do it, though the heat and humidity are BRUTAL...

(I choose the pace better when I'm taking Max into account than when I run on my own - after the first few minutes, I was mostly in zones 3 and 4 and feeling quite uncomfortable, including pronounced heartburn - I need to take it out slower to begin with - but this is 11:00 pace, it already feels terribly slow as far as legs/gait go!)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday walk/run

It is a very good start to the day - 54 mins. zone 1/2 with a sprint at the end! I think the early-morning daylight might help me wrench myself back into something resembling a reasonable schedule - I was thwarted last week pretty much every day by bad sleep habits of one kind or another, it is discouraging and difficult. Will see if I can do better this week...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday strength

Realized after 10 mins. that I JUST DIDN'T HAVE IT IN ME to do a long treadmill run - switched to a strength workout instead, and it was very enjoyable (core and lower body). Will try and do some sort of cardio later.

10 mins. warmup jog, 1hr. strength

Friday, August 20, 2010


An adequate but somewhat unsatisfactory workout - either the HR monitor was on the fritz or else my HR was just very high due to fatigue (particularly sleepless night last night - only finally fell asleep after 6, ugh!). I did 4 x 4 min. zone 2/3 intervals, then called it at 30 minutes; meant to do an hour on the spin bike back at the condo, but found myself losing steam around the half-hour mark, and half a Clif bar only increased my sense that it was TIME TO STOP.

I have made a good plan for exercise in the 10 or so days between now and the trip to Ottawa - will try and execute in some sensible way. The sleep issues make it tougher than it should be - on the other hand, the Camana Bay pool is finally open again, so I am very much hoping to have morning swims next week and the week after!

.5hr treadmill (4 x 4 mins. zone 2/3, 1 min. rest), .5hr. spin

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday spin

1 hr. trainer (zone 1/2)

warmup, 3 x 10 mins. with 5 mins. rest: odds alternating seated and standing, evens alternating hard and easy (both seated)


Last night's Stroke and Stride race (#2 of 3) went well - it was a more serious kayak workout than last week, the water was very rough, there were some moments where I felt quite regretful that I had not taken Dramamine! Here is a very good write-up at the Cay Compass of last week's race...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday treadmill

Part of what I'm missing right now about swimming isn't the swimming itself, it's the soothing corset-like structure of the sort of workout one does in a pool. So I am going to make my long treadmill runs more like what I'd do in a pool...

2 hrs. (avg HR 143)

6 x 20 mins. easy with minutes 1, 6, 11, 16 (i.e. minutes starting with a 0 or a 5) harder

first three as incline at 0, 3, 6, 9

second three as speed at 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 7.5

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday walk/run

A good session with training partner Max and his dog Jas, who was extremely well-behaved and has an excellent running gait! We are going to use run/walk to mitigate the effects of the climate and get Max up to the full 10K distance for his November triathlon - it is a good project...

41 mins. (jog 4 min./walk 3 min.)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday bike

3:10, 44 miles, avg pace terribly slow though I felt I was working fairly hard (avg HR 143) - cycling is bad for my morale!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Saturday treadmill

1hr. warm treadmill run (zone 1/2 - avg HR 140)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday swim

Another swim this evening at Sunset House - 2K, c. 47:00 (stopped to chat with another swimmer heading in the opposite direction)...

Fantastic Friday treadmill

My training partner canceled for this morning, so I slept much later and then went for a short treadmill workout at the Kings Express gym right nearby - it was fantastic. I just did one of Gayle Bernhardt's basic ones, 10 mins. warmup plus 6 x (4 mins. zone 3, 1 min. recovery); but she has a ton of other more complex ones in the back of that book, I need to start expanding my repertoire...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday strength

A good session at the gym - ran one mile on the treadmill (I am hoping to run again later, but not sure it will happen - I think I have to tackle the non-early-rising problem by reclaiming the later evening as a useful time for exercise!), then did an hour of upper body and core stuff. It was enjoyable...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Long runs

(It was not strictly speaking - at least personally! - triaspirational, but I had a lovely time earlier this evening as a volunteer at the Stroke and Stride race as I got to KAYAK!)

Just dug out last year's post about marathon training decisions - I decided then not to use a real plan, just to write the long runs into my appointment book and let the rest take care of itself, and I think that will be a good approach for this year too. Which leaves me with something like this, given that this year's race is a week earlier than the one I did last year:

9/3 14
(Ottawa 9/4-9/12)
9/11 16
9/18 14
9/25 18 (a.k.a. 3 hours treadmill?)
(New York c. 9/18-10/24, with side trips to Portland, ME and Buffalo, NY - will have to do midweek long runs to avoid conflicts with side travel)
10/2 12 (Lauren's wedding!)
10/7 or 10/8 16
(Portland 10/8-10.10 - Arielle's wedding!)
10/14 18
10/20 20
(Buffalo 10/21-10/24)
(then straight back to Cayman - end of travels, at least till Thanksgiving, thank goodness... unless another Ottawa trip is needed here... at least that would mean I could do my final 20-miler outdoors rather than on the treadmill... I am thinking about trying to do some of these longer runs outdoors here, but heat and water issues are near-insurmountable, unless I start at 5am, which I am incapable of doing...)
1 two-hour run in here somewhere
10/30 20
(10/31 buildup triathlon)
11/6 12
11/12 10
(11/13 5K swim, 11/14 buildup triathlon)
11/21 Philadelphia marathon!

Hmmmm, this may be difficult, but I will at least try and approximate such a schedule, and I think it should be I will have a reasonably nice race...

Wednesday treadmill

90 minutes treadmill run, zone 1/2

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bonus swim

I did not have it set in stone, and in fact I have had a curious lack of swimming this summer - even once I got back to Cayman, I was waiting for the supposed Aug. 6 reopening of the Camana Bay pool, only on Friday we all got a dismaying email saying that the repairs had not been completed and the pool was closed till further notice (ECP!)...

But it is very foolish of me not to have been swimming in the sea, and this is something I remedied this evening - we were out at Sunset House registering folks for tomorrow's Stroke and Stride race, the volunteer table was very well-staffed and the moment came when someone said "We should take turns!" - I had brought my cap and goggles and was wearing tri shorts and top under shirt...

2K (turnaround at Eden Rock), 46:00 - giant sea turtle sighting!

Tuesday treadmill

Ugh, really I know that I should do the notional strength/core workout first, but I did not, and I did not have the vim for it once I finished with the treadmill - also I was so red and sweaty by that point that I felt it more appropriate to shun the company of humankind...

.5hr. treadmill intervals: 10 mins. warmup @ 5.5mph, 3 x (4 x :30 @ 8.0mph, :30 @ 5mph + 1 min. walk), 5 mins. cooldown @ 5.5

That workout is easier than it sounds, as the treadmill takes 6-7 seconds to get up to speed - I think next time I will try :45 @ 8.0mph to make sure I am really getting 30+ seconds at the full speed. Definitely noticeable wheezing at the hard-effort pace, but it is otherwise quite manageable for those short bursts - I have named my goal to be able to do 10 x (1 min. @ 8.0, 1 min. @ 5.0) by the end of the month.

(I wanted to run outside this morning, but I just couldn't drag myself out of bed - am definitely still feeling in the thick of a pretty major slump, I am just going to have to keep slogging away each day and try and claw myself out of it. On a brighter note, we are expecting a turtle hatching on the beach at the Grandview - here are some Facebook photos of a previous year's hatching - I have never seen this before, and am really hoping to catch some of it this time round...)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday run

I'm pretty happy about this arrangement, if I do not arrange to meet somebody I simply cannot get up in the morning. It is just an easy little run, but it all adds up (and it's invaluable for heat acclimation - it is so humid here, it is not really possible to have a truly comfortable run, though this felt 'easy' in terms of HR effort!) - I will do strength training and a short interval treadmill workout at the gym later on.

31:07, 2.5mi, avg HR 139, max HR 152

Sunday, August 8, 2010


A really delightful ride this morning, with the proviso that the friend Brent and I were riding with was slightly overwhelmed near the end with heat and cramps and had to wait at a gas station for us to ride to the finish and Brent to drive back to pick him up in the vehicle! But it was just a beautiful day out there, albeit very hot towards the end - I am back in the groove on cycling, this is very good...

42.5 miles, 3:04, avg HR c. 140 (zone 2)

Friday, August 6, 2010


Slightly dreadful shortish treadmill run; I was very set on doing 1 hr. minimum, and preferably 90 minutes, I got off to a pretty OK start except that the Garmin had a low battery and died around minute 10 - then, inevitably, I accidentally knocked out the safety plug around minute 37. Started the clock again, telling myself that now if I just did 55 minutes I'd have a nice ninety-minute run under my belt, but the willpower just wasn't there - around minute 5, I realized that not only was I not going to reach 55 minutes, I wasn't even going to reach twenty-five! There is no reason I should not have continued, I just didn't feel like it...

40+ minutes treadmill (zone 1/2)

Friday strength/treadmill

40 mins. strength, 20 mins. treadmill (10 mins. warmup at 5.5mph, then 5 x 1 min. @ 7.5mph, 1 min. walk - did first interval at 8.0 and it is certainly currently a bit too fast, lungs were burning!).

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Indoor ride

1hr. trainer (zone 2)

Thursday run

It is very good, I met my new training partner at 6:30 and we had an easy half-hour run - really the only way for me to stay in zone 2 running outdoors in this climate is to run with someone a bit slower than I am! We will run twice a week at 6:30, building up to 6 miles - my day is now off to a good start...

30 mins. run (zone 2)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August resolutions

The sweat is still pouring down my face twenty minutes later and post-shower (the nice young lady who brewed me an iced tea at the air-conditioned cafe, after inquiring with perplexity as to why I was so red and so wet, said blithely, "I never sweated so much in my life!"), but it was good - one hour on the treadmill.

An arbitrary challenge which struck me as a very good idea around the 20-minute mark: this will be the month of run frequency! I will try for 30 runs in the month of August, I am allowed to count 10 mins. warmup before strength training as a run (but perhaps will try to do 20 minutes those days if it will be my only run). It's already August 4 and I've only done two runs so far, so I'm starting one down already, but I think it is a good idea nonetheless!

Two other good things: there is what was originally scheduled to be a 60-mile bike race on Sunday, which I was contemplating doing as a training ride (Brent seemed to think it was a tolerably sensible idea, which I find usually a good indicator - my own notions are not always so reliable!), but it has been downscaled to 40 miles and scheduled to start a bit earlier due to concerns about the heat and a desire to be inclusive and encourage as many as possible to participate. This is excellent - I know I will be up almost all night beforehand with nerves, I haven't ridden a bike for six weeks and it lets the anxiety mount back up again, but it will be a good start to training on the roads in coming months - I think we will probably ride rather than drive to the start, which will make it 60 miles total (10 there, 40 ride/race, 10 home).

The other good thing is that I think I have found a morning training partner to run with me quite slowly twice a week at 6:30 - this is very good, as I truly cannot get out the door in the mornings unless I have a PLAN. Things are definitely looking up....

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tuesday strength

OK, that was good - I think if I set my goals for the week at very modest levels, I will be able to get myself back into a better frame of mind...

(Still need to work on getting up earlier, though! It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to get out of bed in the morning - always has been, and I suspect it always will be - though when the pool reopens next week, I will have much more of an active incentive to get up, as the morning hours are 5-6:30am - we are allowed to stay a little longer than that, but really I should get there by 5:50 at the latest if I want a full hour of swimming.)

40 mins. strength

Monday, August 2, 2010


In a somewhat better mood post-workout and having ingested a large skim cappuccino - I should not wait to drink coffee till mid-afternoon, that's the truth of the matter...

40 mins. treadmill intervals (10 mins. warmup, then 2 mins. run/2 mins. walk)
30 mins. core

Back on track redux?

Last week was a wash as far as exercise goes, though we did have a very nice trip to the Miami Zoo on Saturday. I find myself in singularly low spirits this morning (this afternoon!), in the way that one does after having risen to various occasions one after another - I am pretty much in a state of collapse. Hopefully a couple sessions of vigorous exercise will improve my mood; I know that really it will take some days to settle back down to a good routine, I should just be patient! I have a lot of travel coming up over the rest of the year, but this is my month of being in one place, so I really have to make good use of it.

I've made a couple decisions about upcoming races:

I had originally thought I wouldn't go back to the US for Thanksgiving, as I'm traveling for most of October, have family visitors tentatively scheduled for November and know that I will much prefer not to disrupt the routine again for more travel, but I now feel that it would be mean-spirited for me to indulge the perennial desire to hole up and do my own thing instead of socializing: really I should join family and friends on the eastern seaboard as Brent is committed to traveling in any case.

That then opened up a possibility I'd written off on the basis of its incompatibility with a September ironman, but which now reemerges as quite appealing given that I won't do that race after all - and I have gone ahead and registered for it - the Philadelphia Marathon. I won't go crazy training for it, but it's nice to have a goal, and I'll be in New York for much of October anyway, which means I can do quite a bit of the training outdoors as opposed to on the treadmill. I'd be in Philadelphia as of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in any case, so it just means adding a few days on to the trip, and it will work well to have extra time to see family and friends there - usually I am packing too many different people into too short a trip.

The other race is a bigger deal - I have taken the plunge - I am now registered for Ironman Coeur d'Alene on June 26, 2011. I decided against trying for Wisconsin again, on the basis that it's a terrible disruption to the beginning of the school year to go off and do something on such a thoroughly different note (and so mentally all-consuming); I wanted to avoid the hottest races, and I liked the idea of a relatively early-season race in that it will let me do a lot of my training outdoors in New York through the end of May rather than mostly indoors in Cayman over the summer. I think I'll probably do the Harriman Half again too, if it's still scheduled for late May; it would be great to have a half about 4-5 weeks out from the big race - this is good, I'm talking myself back into a bit more enthusiasm about the whole thing, it has been a very discouraging summer vis-a-vis fitness!....

Monday, July 26, 2010

Riding in traffic

Cycling tips from 1936!

A disrupted schedule this week due to travel, but the morale benefits of exercise are strong enough that I will make an effort to fit bits of it in here and there...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday treadmill

OK, that's good, back on track - I realized that if I was following 2 friends on Ironman Live in their respective races and didn't do any exercise myself, I'd feel like a real slug!

1 hr. warm treadmill, 5.5 miles - not bad, heat issues mean that's the same pace I was doing a month ago in much better fitness, only with HR 15-20bpm higher - in the 'world,' that is a HR difference you'd really notice in terms of perceived effort (zone 4 versus zone 2), but the heat so thoroughly dominates the experience of treadmill running that I wonder whether it is even really subjectively noticeable.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday run/core

OK, that was good, I am back in a better mental place on this now. Felt sheepish about how slow my speeds were, but it is more important to do workouts that build confidence as well as fitness than to hammer halfway and then stop due to overexertion! NB one good thing about an exercise layoff is that the endorphins come on MUCH easier and shorter efforts than once you're really acclimated - at the 20-minute mark I was in BLISS!

Treadmill easy run intervals:

10 mins. warmup @ 5.5mph
8 x (2 mins. @ 6.5mph, 2 mins. @ 3.5mph)

3.5 miles total (42 mins.)

+ 20 mins. core

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Starting small

The mental obstacles to getting back into a regular workout schedule are more serious than the physical, I suspect; yesterday I didn't exercise at all (I had designated two different possible slots, and started the day thinking I would aim for both, but as the actual day unfolded it seemed as though it was not meant to be!). So I'm back to basics - until things feel a bit more settled down, I'll just set an eminently meetable daily goal of 30 minutes. Anything beyond that is extra.

So: 10 mins. warmup, 35 mins. strength - I meant to do an hour, but I was already pretty overheated and thirsty and it is a hot walk home. It is a start.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday strength

10 mins. warmup, 30 mins. strength - felt rather queasy, got some vitamin water and drank a bit in case it was low blood sugar but it didn't really make me feel better. So I called it quits and walked home instead. Sensible, but bad for the morale. Will have another stab at doing something later on in the day.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

An update

I've been having a nice time in New York, but exercise has eluded me for one reason or another - really I will just wait till I am back in Cayman (I fly back early tomorrow morning; that is good!). In the meantime, a very good piece by Edward Rothstein about training for his first triathlon and learning that swimming is like trying to play Chopin (thanks to my mother for the link!):
Practice is partly physical training: teaching the body to feel comfortable with the artifice and its intricacy. Ultimately, the playing must seem effortless; all the tension, the strain, the struggle must be dramatized in the music, not in the body. And when I have practiced enough, I no longer have to be aware of every minute finger motion or position of my elbow. Movements mold themselves into phrases, becoming supple and poised. My body’s once uncoordinated parts cohere; the body can be forgotten.

So this is what I must do. I find a teacher, Earl Walton, and learn that in swimming, the head isn’t really lifting up to breathe; actually the body is constantly rotating, swinging around an axis, bringing the mouth above the water to breathe at the same time as the opposing arm drops and thrusts. The body rocks through the water. Breathing becomes effortless because it is an incidental part of the stroke.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday swim!

Thank goodness - not a moment too soon...

Am in New York, having traveled from Ottawa to Philadelphia on Sunday and left Philadelphia yesterday late morning.

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

3 x 100 as free, IM, free on 2:30 - should have been the first three of nine, only I realized I did not have the mental vim and instead switched to this for the rest of my swim:

4 x (100 drill-swim by 25, 10 seconds rest, 50 swim hard), 10 seconds rest

4 x 50 fly-free on 1:15

2000 yards total

Might try for a short run a bit later this afternoon, and am thinking of a park bike ride tomorrow morning (only not if it is raining as torrentially as it did yesterday and today - I may have ruined another pair of sandals). Perhaps another Chelsea Piers session in that case instead - could do some kind of swim-(indoor) bike brick, that would be enjoyable. I cannot wait to be back in my usual/real routine - though I was chagrined to get an email the other day saying that the Camana Bay pool will be closed through August 6!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I've just pulled the plug on IMWI. Feeling pretty glum.

I'm not positive that Wisconsin will be the best race for me in 2011 - I might need to take a look again at the entire schedule of races and locations and think about what will suit me best in terms of the timing vis-a-vis the academic calendar.

A summer race might end up being better than a September one - Coeur d'Alene (June 26, 2011) or Switzerland (July - don't know the exact date). Lauren is doing Switzerland this year, so I can get a full report from her on whether it might suit - she's rented a road bike from a store there, and I'm sure I could do it without having to travel with a bike. I also have a college friend who lives in Geneva and did IM Switzerland a few years ago, so that's a minor incentive in that direction too. Coeur d'Alene might be more convenient, though...

For this year, in any case, I am going to have to live vicariously through what I hope will be a very full race report from Lauren - click over to her blog and wish her luck!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Things got very stressful and tiring after that last post, and have continued so - there is also a heat wave in Ottawa, which means that even if I make it through to the late afternoon with some vague notion of exercise still alive in my head I am pretty much out of vim and vigor from already having been so hot all day, and it's fiendishly hot outside.

I just booked my flight to Philadelphia for Sunday and will return to Cayman from New York the following Sunday - I have canceled my NYC triathlon entry (alas, as always, no refunds!), I have lost so much fitness and I cannot imagine it would be in the least enjoyable. I am looking forward to seeing family and friends in Philadelphia and New York, but really I am desperate to get back to some sort of home routine with exercise and healthy eating and lots of peace and quiet and time to read and write.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday run

Great run with Brent this morning along bucolic suburban Ottawa pedestrian-bike path - wildflowers, duck flotillas...


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Short run!

It seemed inconceivable that I would make it out the door for a run, but in fact Brent and I ended up having a very nice one, just 50 minutes or so - will run at 6:30 tomorrow morning also.

The Nepean pool is closed over the holiday weekend, so I think I will just stick with running for now - it is a start.

Thoughts on goals

It obviously hasn't been the first thing on my mind, but I have sporadically over the last week and a half contemplated the consequences of Wendy's death for the rest of my year of training and racing. At times it seemed as though I should just abandon any notion of trying to participate at Ironman Wisconsin in mid-September; at others, I felt that it would be a much better idea to keep the possibility of racing in play so long as it seemed even vaguely feasible. The underlying constraint is that I want to be able to help Brent in absolutely every way needed, and that is definitely more important to me than the race; but the race is important to me too, for different reasons, and it's tough backing off from a big goal like that without feeling some lingering aftereffects of a more or less damaging kind.

Not long after I first knew Brent he told me about Pony-Tail Guy (click through and read that link!), and we have often talked over the last few years about what in shorthand is simply referred to as "the Pony-Tail Guy approach" - looking at the time cut-offs in long-course triathlon and working tightly to those cut-offs at a truly easy pace.

What I am currently thinking is that I will proceed on the notion that I will participate in IMWI along Pony-Tail Guy lines. I'm going to book a hotel room right now, and just cancel it later on if I find that I really am not able to train enough for completion to be feasible (I'm a slow cyclist, so that's the concern - swim and marathon-length brisk walk are less of an issue, I think). An official finish would mean a lot to me, even if it's 16 hours and 59 minutes and some seconds, and I think it's worth keeping the possibility in play as long as I can.

(And Wendy's teammate Pat Niblett is going to take me to Technosport practice on Wednesday next week, and I will also join her for Tuesday and Thursday swims at the Nepean Sportsplex - which is truly in walking distance of where we're staying, so I can definitely get there on my own, too, once things get a little less crazy here. Running should be fine as well - it is just that it is so hard to get out of the house when there has been a bereavement! Those of you who followed Wendy's blog might like to see the update I wrote at my other blog, and here is a direct link to some pictures of The Boarder in his new home.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wendy Buckner, 1959-2010

Many of you reading here have benefited, as I have, from Wendy's words of encouragement and support, from her advice about swimming - and about life! Here is what I can say now; this is a loss I will be chewing over for a long time to come.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Skills & drills #3

Turns/coming fast off the wall; more breaststroke.

Friday brick

2.0hr. trainer, 1.0hr. treadmill (zone 2)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Skills & drills #2

Breaststroke! (My worst stroke by far, but we will try and remedy that...)

Thursday strength/spin

1.0hr. strength, 1.0hr. spin

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday 'skills and drills'

Which is Wendy's team's name for A VERY GOOD LESSON from Wendy!

Broke down the bits of the flip turn, went through them and determined that really I do understand the parts in theory and in practice, and must just keep on doing them in order to become comfortable. NB chin position crucial!

Then some work on breathing (the jerking-up of the head will be counteracted by steady breathing out, so that the head turns - only uncovering one side of the goggles! - and the old breath doesn't need to puff out, but new breath can be smoothly drawn in) and on body position. Cue of abs slightly tightening (not unlike streamline position) so as to keep hips high in the water; keep kicking in order to aid rotation and forward momentum. Mental cue on abs/hip position off the wall, plus use catch-up drill (and the delayed version of the drill, with a kickboard) to focus on rotation.

.5hr. (with many thanks to Wendy!)

Wednesday swim

They're actually opening up some additional swim hours at the pool, which is good, but I fear the reality is that the early-morning swims make so much sense that I must continue in this vein!

(Riding my bike over to the pool and back is good - it desensitizes me to bicycle-related anxiety during a summer when I may not be able to do nearly as much riding outside as would probably be wise. It is a fine ride first thing in the morning, though traffic later in the day becomes sort of prohibitively crazy...)

500 free with every 5th length fly drill

100 IM kick, 100 free, 100 IM drill, 100 free, 100 IM

5 x 100 on 2:30 as 25 fly, 75 free

5 x 100 IM on 2:40

2000m total

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Long run

90 mins. treadmill (zone 2) - the run I should have done on Saturday but didn't!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Indoor ride

Thunderstorms overnight tipped me towards riding indoors this morning. Three hours on the trainer (avg HR 128, max HR 144). I flaked out on the long run yesterday (should have done 90 mins.), but I think I will go to the gym in a bit and try and do at least an hour on the treadmill - timing may be a bit tight for longer than that, and I am not sure about energy levels/fueling either. I would like to do a 90-minute treadmill run first thing Tuesday morning to make up for the one I should have done yesterday, but I will have to wait and see how things go...

[Postscript: I think a gym visit is not practical, I should just shower and eat some more food and read a book instead! Wendy is arriving at the airport mid-afternoon, and we all have a long day tomorrow with the Try-this-Tri - I think we will need to be there at 5:15am...]

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday brick

1.0hr. spin (5 x 4 min. zone 3 + 1 min. easy)
.5hr. run (zones 1 and 2)

1.5hr. total

Friday swim

No swim on Monday, as the complex will be entirely taken over for the Try-this-Tri (I am volunteering, not racing - Brent is the director of the children's race!), so I thought I'd better get in a decent swim this morning. Didn't really feel like it when the time came: slept OK, but woke up from a very vivid nightmare involving having sublet my apartment and not having a place to live - I am laughing as I write it, it really is the way that I talk in life too, it leads to frequent looks of puzzlement on the face of the person I am talking to, but as the alarm went off I was just saying to someone sitting in the seat in front of me on a tour bus in Cambridge, Massachusetts "Do you know any non-intrusive distressed gentlewoman who would rent me a room?"

In any case:

200 free, 100 IM drill, 200 free, 100 IM swim

6 x 100 drill-swim by 25 (catch-up, thumbs-and-salute, 6-3-6, fists, front scull, finger-drag)

6 x 100 on 2:30, odds IM and evens free

1800 meters total

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday strength

A good strength session at the gym this morning: 45-min. core/lower body class, then another 35 minutes or so on my own. I am rediscovering - I will not say my love for strength-training, it has no hold over my imagination, but my liking for it at any rate...

1:20 strength

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday run/spin

55 mins. treadmill (zone 1 - avg HR 132, max 139)
35 mins. spin class (zone 2 - avg HR 131, max 147)

90 mins. total

A clean slate...

Yesterday I bought something that I have been rather coveting ever since I first learned of its existence - a dive slate! Really I have a lifelong obsession with writing implements (and in fact my new book project is at the stage where I need an extravagant visit to a stationer's to buy the exact right pens and writing tablets and charting materials that this particular project calls out for - it is on the agenda for my New York trip in July), and though I can remember the swim workout, I cannot keep track of the times I'm swimming on each interval - a waterproof slate is exactly the ticket...

I set out to do a modified version of a workout Wendy suggested to me last week - basically a long set of freestyle hundreds. The water feels very warm indeed once one is doing harder-effort swims, and I clearly went out too hard at the beginning of my second ten - I deliberately chose the instruction "strong" rather than "hard" because I didn't think I could maintain "hard" for the whole set, but even with that mental cue, I didn't do well with pacing. Live and learn...

20 x 100 on 2:30 (:30 extra rest after the first five and the second five)

1-5 relaxed: 2:18, 2:18, 2:16, 2:16, 2:18

:30 rest

6-10 descending: 2:14, 2:12, 2:05, 2:04, 2:04

:30 rest

11-20 strong: 2:03, 2:05, 2:07, 2:09, 2:10, 2:10, 2:10, 2:10, 2:10, 2:12

1:30 rest

Then 100 all out: 1:58

100 easy breast

2200 meters total

I did manage to take the turn at the traffic light on the way to the pool, but I couldn't quite nerve myself up for the negotiations required to get into the middle lane and turn into the parking lot on the way home - I will see if I can do it next time...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday spin

A highly satisfactory session on the condo spin bike. I just did an hour - I didn't start early enough in the afternoon to fit in a longer one, and I also wanted to experiment with heart rate and intensity. The DVD player was rather serendipitously not working, and so I just put on some music and strapped the Garmin around the bike handlebars and did a typical Spinevals-type interval workout. The verdict is that really I must just have been holding back too much when I do the longer ones (also if one is really concentrating on effort level and intensity, with numbers right in front of the face, it is easier to get into the right zone). My bike ride on Sunday was helpful for this too - I was reminded that bike-riding takes effort, it is not just an idle spin!

The Gale Bernhardt plan basically calls for two hour-long bike workouts during the week and a long ride or brick on the weekend; I think of this as an absolute minimum, I'd rather make at least one of the mid-week ones rather longer than that (and add in a fourth ride), but an interval workout like this should work pretty well for me this summer.

10 mins. warmup (5 mins. easy, 5 mins. as 30 seconds high-cadence, 30 seconds easy)

3 x 13 mins. on, 2 mins easy: (1) and (3) as hard-effort, alternating 1 min. seated and 1 min. standing, (2) as alternating 1 min. hard, 1 min. easy

5 mins. cooldown

1hr., avg HR 135, max HR 152

Tuesday strength

Should have been yesterday's session, but it never happened then! A good one this morning, anyway, though I was thwarted in my desire to get a spot in the 9:30 spin class following the abs class - I thought I had claimed a bike earlier, but in fact it had already been claimed by someone else for a friend. It would be better from my POV if one could sign up at the front desk and had to be there in person - as it is, all the bikes are claimed by 8am, by a few people on behalf of their friends!

1.25hr. strength

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday swim

Cut it a bit short this morning - it was ten to seven, and I looked around and saw that all the other swimmers had left already; then realized that (a) I had a lot more dollars in my bag than usual (hoping to pay the swim organizer for June access, only he is out with a shoulder injury) and (b) I was no longer confident that I had locked up my bike in a manner that was at all secure!*

A very nice swim in any case, even if it was short: Monday is the day to swim easy/continuously, but as I said last week, I do prefer to swim it with some kind of a pattern - it is more comfortable, it is like being held very snugly in a basket the shape of the workout!

4 x (100 free, 50 stroke): evens breast, odds back
4 x (2 x 75 as 25 drill, 50 swim): thumbs-and-salute, catch-up, 6-3-6, finger-drag
2 x (3 x 100 with every fourth length kick): flutter, whip, dolphin

1800 meters

* Yes, I rode my bike over! I chickened out and walked it through the intersection where I would have to make a turn across traffic, and also got off to walk it across the road back into the parking lot at Brent's place, but I think that on Wednesday I will nerve myself up and try and stay on the bike. It is certainly very convenient - it is about half an hour's walk on foot (a warm walk!), and I will much prefer not to disrupt Brent's morning routine by asking him to drop me off at the pool! That said, the gym is only about 15 minutes walk away, and I think I will continue to walk over there rather than riding - there is no shoulder to speak of to ride in, and the traffic becomes hairier as the day progresses.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday ride

Taking JB's heat acclimation advice into account, we didn't go crazy today - just rode out to the start of the loop and back (probably about 38 miles - it's close to 20 each way - I had a small gap where I didn't turn my Garmin back on right away after a stop, but numbers are close enough).

Very negative thoughts in the first half of the ride - I ignorantly declined Brent's offer to lead the way, which meant I was scrambling to try and keep/catch up and feeling horribly and negatively slow. We stopped shortly after the halfway point for water and nutrition, and I had the sense to suggest that really I had better lead the way back - once I was in front and setting the (slower!) pace, it was infinitely better. The ride home felt like it took about a quarter as long as the ride out - some of that is wind, much of it is purely mental plus blood sugar!

Now I think I know the turn-offs (really it is a virtually idiot-proof route, only of course there always are one or two places where someone like me can potentially go astray), and can do it by myself next week. That is good! The point of doing it at 6am on Sunday morning is that there is truly very little traffic - it is not a stressful ride, though I can see that the ride home later on a Sunday morning will be more trafficky and potentially problematic once my rides get significantly longer. But sufficient unto the day...

Anyway, 36.78 miles, 2:21:55, 15.5mph avg pace, avg HR 133, max HR 154

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday treadmill

It is part of a deal with JB, but as part of heat acclimation and taking pressure off expectations on paces, I am going wholly on time and HR zones for the immediate future and trying to avoid self-reproach if I do not cover the hoped-for distances - have switched my training log to show hours rather than miles, and am hoping this has triggered a mental switch too.

Certainly my treadmill run just now, though warm, was far easier than last week's! No negative thoughts - my iPod was working, and America's Next Top Model (a program I have never seen) was on television with captions...

1hr. zone 2

Friday, June 4, 2010

Grind it out...

c. 2 hours, Spinervals 9.0 - Have Mercy

Friday sea swim

It is hard for me to tell the difference between natural disinclination to rise early and the times when it truly is a bad idea to get up for a workout, but this morning it did seem to me that I had slept scantily and poorly enough that it did not make sense to get up at 5:30 to go to the pool. I am in any case viewing the Friday 6am swim as optional - Monday and Wednesday are mandatory, barring absolute sleep disaster!

So I rested for another couple hours (dozing rather than actually sleeping), and went out for a sea swim instead in the later morning.

I had a notion about taking pictures of marine creatures as part of my sea swims (using Brent's ingenious underwater camera with ankle tether), but the experiment is a failure in the sense that I made myself quite queasy with sea-sickness - there's a fair bit of swell this morning, so I might have felt a bit sick anyway, and of course I am underslept, but I think the interludes where I stopped my watch and bobbed up and down trying to photograph things on the sea floor contributed to it.

(There's a 10K swim I'd like to do this fall, but my queasiness out there today was such that I suddenly wondered whether it is such a good idea after all!)

Anyway, 45 minutes swim plus creature-chasing interludes. I share with you two pictures of appealing creatures - the ray with attendant fish, and one of a pair of sea turtles (the other had gone by the time I sorted out the camera). I took pictures of some fishes, but they were too small and too far away to come out much good - I am not one of life's natural photographers.