Monday, January 31, 2011

BEAST week 3 (Monday)

Very good - really the hour passes by in a flash...


Sunday, January 30, 2011

One-hour swim!

That is a really nice event - it's the main annual fundraiser that Team New York Aquatics runs, and the organizations that receive funds are great in terms of providing people to cheer swimmers on! Also, there are donuts...

(I only had half of one, but it was fairly delicious...)

I knew I hadn't been swimming enough for it to be realistic to expect to break 3000 yards in 1 hour - my pace sits around 2:00/100 yards for a long pool swim in any case, and given lack of yardage, I figured I'd fall on the slower side of that. But I swam pretty strong, I think, with reasonably even splits, and finished the hour just under 2975 yards, so that is as well as I could have expected to do. It is a mentally challenging workout, but a good one to get me started training for the Ironman swim (2.4 miles, 4224 yards)!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy trails

Lauren often organizes good expeditions, and this one was no exception. We went with my college acquaintance/Lauren's friend S. and his lovely (and well-trained) black dog; we missed the exit that would have taken us to the park we really intended to run in, but we realized this just as we were just coming up to the exit for another state park and decided we might as well try that one instead.

(I think it was this one, but cannot say that I am 100% sure!)

I think we had vaguely pictured well-trampled trails and steady-effort trail running on the order of 5.5mph, but in fact nobody really had been out there at all, it was beautiful but arduous - so we did a sort of a loop that involved c. 15 minutes trudging through snow that must have been something like fifteen inches deep and then reaching the road and running back a quarter of a mile or so along the road back to where we started. It was quite lovely out there (picture below); we covered an implausibly low number of miles, but I feel it was just the sort of winter cross-training that triathlon coaches advise their athletes to do in the winter months - very good for the spirits to spend time somewhere so bucolic! My HR was about 50% in zone 2 with the other half of the time split between zone 1 and zone 3, so it is aerobically much what you'd get from a run of the same duration, with less knee pounding.

(I have to start doing a weekly 90-120 min. run again, though - it's one of my favorite things.)

1:21:41, 4.71mi., avg. HR 146, max. HR 159

Friday, January 28, 2011

More strength!

That was good (though I will note that the boot camp workout really is deceptively intense, the hour goes by in a flash and you don't feel like it was any one thing that particularly put a huge strain on one particular muscle, just general exertion - but both legs and back were telling me later on that yes, they had already done some work!).

The "Ab Lab" and "Max Out" classes seem very easy in comparison - there is nothing I can't do, with possible exception of steppy things that require coordination (substitute teacher today had excessive amounts of step!).

1.5hr. strength

BEAST week 2 (Friday)

That was good, though I still feel like there's too much stuff I hardly can do (gave up completely on attempt to be walked as wheelbarrow in the sand pit, it is very hard on the wrists as well as being impossibly challenging in other ways too!). I might have to start going to the sand pit to practice; in particular I don't seem to be able to do a "bear crawl" well at all, I think I had better look on the internet to see if I can get some technique tips....

(Today I'm going to go to the midday abs and strength class also; the boot camp stuff is on functional training lines, it can be well supplemented with more traditional strength stuff which I frankly find much, much easier than these amazingly awful compound exercises like the titular "Beast," which I still have not at all mastered: I cannot honestly even say exactly how it goes, but it is something like pushup-then jump feet out to wide stance - jump back in for another pushup, jump to front and jump up for burpee, then jump feet back out and this time do "mountain climbers" between the pushups - it is confusing and I am left looking in perplexity at the person next to me to see if I can refresh my memory of the sequence!)

1.25hr. boot camp

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Short swim

I didn't stay in for long - had to get back uptown to get ready to teach this afternoon - but I have been swimming SHAMEFULLY little, given that I am doing the one-hour swim on Sunday, and thought that I should at least get in the pool for some drill work. The hot tub afterwards was nice, too - it is magical swimming at Chelsea Piers on a snow day, the huge glassed-in pool area just looks out onto white snow and the icy river!

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

3 x 100 as drill-swim by 25 (front scull, fists, finger-drag)

6 x 50 on 1:15 as stroke-free (2 fly, 2 back, 2 breast)

200 kick (flutter with every fourth length whip)

1400 yards total

BEAST week 2 (Wednesday)

A curiously enjoyable class today; I wasn't thinking it would be, as I had slept so little and so lightly that I was uncertain it was even wise to attempt it, but I guess we were doing more of the sorts of thing I like (and perhaps my fitness is improving also!).

1.25hr. boot camp

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday double spin

I was so cold and tired by the end of the day yesterday that there was simply no way I was going to go back downtown for spin class, double or otherwise! (It's about a mile's walk each way from the subway to Chelsea Piers - contraindicated in v. cold weather...)

But I did get down there this evening for Tuesday's equivalent. It was good - either I should be working harder or I should reset my HR zones (it is hard to say, I'll see how it goes in coming weeks - of course there's also a stretch in the middle where the switch-over between classes happens when one is not working particularly hard), but whatever, it's all useful!

1:41:19 (avg HR 131, max HR 155)
zone 1 (43:59), zone 2 (42:15), zone 3 (8:15), zone 4 (3:14)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday brick

Well, that was super-nice - Lauren and I met up at Chelsea Piers (there had been some notion of trail running today, but really it is much too cold out - sitting on the subway en route home in sweaty clothes would be too, too awful! - I am babying my lungs, too, after treating them badly yesterday morning) and did a very nice bike-run workout.

The cycle studio is only open for classes, but we got two of the superior spin bikes in the cardio area and did a workout from this fantastic little book I got recently, Dirk Friel and Wes Hobson's Workouts in a Binder for Indoor Cycling. It's a beautifully designed and produced little volume from Velo Press, and the range of workouts is pretty amazing. I strongly recommend it if you are ever doing indoor cycling and racking your brains as to what will be best!

We did "Speed Skills Workout #7," "High Cadence with Increased Intensity":


5min. with cadence above 90rpm
5min. alternating :30 standing at RPE 10 (out of 20), :30 seated RPE 6
6min. seated, alternating 80% of workload between 1:00 right leg, 1:00 left leg

Main set (with 5:00 rest after each iteration):

4 x

3:00 at 100rpm (zone 4/RPE 15-16/CP60 i.e. effort you could hold for 60-minute all-out time-trial)

2:00 at 80rpm (zone 1/RPE 6)

1:00 at 110-120rpm (zone 2/RPE 10-12/CP180)

Cool down 5 minutes.

Then we ran six laps (1.5 miles) at a comfortable pace.

1hr. spin, 1.5mi. run (16:13)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bonus BEAST...

That was great - we came early for body composition measurements and the timed 1.5 mile run (I messed up, I thought we weren't running till 9 and I had only just taken my inhaler puffs when it turned out we were actually running - very wheezy, not pleasant! - don't have the time yet, wasn't watching clock, will have to get it by email later). Followed by a strenuous hour of various sorts of thing, some of which I am utterly dreadful at - but the group is very nice, and everyone really is better at some things than others, I am not a bad runner....

1.25hr. strength

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday strength/spin

OK, that was great, I did go to Chelsea Piers midday and it was exactly the right thing to do. John teaches 3 classes in a row: half-hour abs, 45+ mins. strength, then a short break and a spin class in the studio upstairs. So call it 1.5hr. strength, .75hr. spin. Highly enjoyable - really I am better at the regular strength stuff than at the boot-camp-style workouts, it was good for my morale, the woman in front of me was looking askance when my heavy weights were 20-lb. dumbbells but it was all good!


It's 3:30 and I can't go to sleep. Which is most irksome - I know I shouldn't be on the computer, either, but I realized that at this point I am not going to be able to go to boot camp and I wanted to email the instructor in advance to apologize.

Sleepless nights are the main bane of my existence! It was too tiring a week, that's the trouble - it stirs me up rather than helping me to go to sleep in any sensible fashion.

There are 2 alternatives in terms of classes at Chelsea Piers that I can do to 'make up the work' I'll miss - will see when I do finally get some sleep and what order I need to fit work obligations in, then decide which to go to. Will hope to get there for the noon sequence, if I can get a couple things done first uptown...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday swim

A nice one, too - I am certainly swimming pretty slowly, but it is good to be back in the pool.

(Really it was a great morning - I had breakfast and coffee in the cafe at Chelsea Piers and wrote the day's quota on the novel draft, then swam, then stopped at Chelsea Market for a bit of sushi and took the subway back uptown. Gotta get my act together for my 2:40 lecture now - it's the opening class, better start with a bang! It is one of my few regrets about my New York life that I live so far uptown; I live in faculty housing that is considerably cheaper and more spacious than anything I could find on the open market in Manhattan or large swatches of Brooklyn, but if I could choose any neighborhood to live in and money were no object, I would be living in the west 20s, so Chelsea Piers is a particularly good home away from home.)

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

6 x 150, odds IM no free and evens free

(This was strenuous!)

100 drill-swim by 25 (finger-drag)
100 easy back

2000 yards total

BEAST week 1 (Wednesday)

Yesterday turned out to be a hole-up-at-the-computer-and-finish-syllabus day; I was running slightly late and just didn't quite make it out the door for swim practice, alas.

Boot camp this morning was very good; it is perhaps slightly too big a group, you end up with a bit of standing around when there are things you have to take turns to do, but it is more economical than hiring a trainer and yet offers some of the same kinds of accountability. There is an extra session on Saturday morning for testing of various kinds, including a timed 1.5 mile run - this is good, as I'm seeing a play in Brooklyn in the afternoon and wasn't going to be able to go to the Saturday morning TNYA practice anyway.

1hr. boot camp

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday spin

Only a single, not a double - I invited guests, and it would have been antisocial! Lauren, Liz, Craig and I went afterwards for Thai food at Chelsea Market; it was very pleasant.

50min. spin

BEAST week 1 (Monday)

It is going to be very good - some of the things are horrible and I am terrible at them, others don't seem too bad (obviously I am better at things that require strength than agility - like, hitting a tire with a sledgehammer is much preferable to doing burpees or other suchlike exercises for time...).

Much of the class was spent in bare feet on the sand of the volleyball courts, which gives a playful albeit strenuous air to the proceedings!

1hr. strength (which is not what it is exactly, but Buckeye Outdoors does not have a 'boot camp' alternative)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday double spin

It is good - I am just going to do this 3x a week for the next 7-8 weeks and it will be the best possible way of getting ready for Ironman training. I had my Garmin with me today - it doesn't talk to the spin bike, but as long as it talks to itself, that's fine...

Total 2:02 (avg HR 133, max HR 155)

broken down as follows:

warmup (7:31, avg HR 109)
class #1 (42:24, avg HR 135)
interclass (20:41, avg HR 125)
warmup (6:05, avg HR 123)
class #2 (44:40, avg HR 140)

HR zones: zone 1 (40:01), zone 2 (47:20), zone 3 (22:46), zone 4 (5:24)

Imaginary Distance Units: 50.5

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday double spin

OK, this is good. You set yourself up for failure if you make goals that require too much willpower, but doing the double spin class requires roughly the right amount, i.e. I have to make myself get out of the house and get on the subway, and I have to resist the moderately strong temptation to leave after the first class finishes and go for a swim instead of doing the second hour of spin, but both temptations can be fairly readily overcome...

In terms of getting ready to train for Ironman, I think that doing the 2-hour spin three times a week is probably almost the single best thing I can do - boot camp starts next week, so if I put boot camp (3 mornings a week) plus three double spin classes as my absolute basic obligation, with running and swimming as extras on top, I think that will be about right. I am guessing I will have to miss a boot camp now and again if I have had a very sleepless night (if I am not asleep by 2am, it is simply not sensible to get up at 5:45, the time is better spent in bed), but I can make a missed one up by going to some other class instead.

2hr. spin

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

TNYA workout!

I was feeling very chilly and sleepy just beforehand, and also aware of how horrible it would be to swim a real workout after how little I've swum in the last six months - but the atmosphere at the One-Hour Swim the other day was so morale-boosting, and it was so good to see teammate Kent, that I concentrated on how much I like swimming with him and how annoyed I would be with myself if I copped out of the very first workout I had planned to attend! And I was very glad I went - it wasn't at all bad, I was slow but my aerobic fitness is certainly up to swimming a reasonably hard workout, and we had a nice mix in the lane.

Now let us just see if I can remember what we did, I am out of the habit...

Warmup (slightly curtailed): 200 free, 200 IM easy (fly drill)

8 x 50 as free down, stroke back on 1:05 (I had to take an extra few seconds' breather after the second fly one, though!), 2 of each stroke in IM order

Main set:

200 free on 4:10

4 x 25 stroke IM order on :45

2 x 200 free on 4:10

4 x 25 stroke IM order on :45

3 x 200 free on 4:10

(I had to skip a couple of 50s in that last set, the fastest 2 swimmers were lapping me and then once you pause to let them pass it is fatal trying to catch back up! But after I skipped a 50 on #1 and #2 of that third set, I was fine to finish the last one on the interval - I think with a more evenly paced group I would probably have been just about OK for it, though certainly don't mind having slightly more rest...)

4 x 25 choice on :45 (I did fly, back, fly, back)

8 x 50 free as 25 free sprint on :20, 25 free easy on :40 - honestly for me this was more like 400 as hard-easy, I did not get much of a breather at all! I did the last two fly-breast as we had fallen off the interval and were just finishing up a last little bit of leftover time.

I think this is about right, anyway - let us call it 2550, that is a highly respectable start to what I hope will be a great year of swimming!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Spun out to dry!

It would not be an exaggeration to say that I was thrilled earlier today when I really pondered the implications of the class schedule at the new cycle studio at Chelsea Piers. It's now the case that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings as well as on Saturday (this was always the case, but it was the only one) and Sunday mornings you can get a two-hour block of spinning by taking back-to-back classes.


I was talking with Liz yesterday about my continued uncertainty about whether I can really pull off IMCd'A this year (today I am thinking that yes, I can and I must, even if it is a down-to-the-wire last-minute finish - I don't want to pull out of another Ironman race, even if I am really looking at a bare finish rather than, say, a more ambitious sub-15:00 or sub-14:00 goal), and she was strongly recommending that I enroll for the NYCC's SIG cycling course, the one I flaked out of two years ago due to excessive anxiety. I think I am now past having that level of anxiety, though riding over the GWB still seems like a trouble spot; but much more problematic is the HORRIBLE ALL-DAY NATURE of that style of riding, and the enforced socialization in the intervals where one stops for meals! I thought about it, and I thought that truly the sort of jolly lunch or jolly snack that one has to have when riding with a group of 15 people one doesn't know well is so horrible to me (I can do that sort of conversation quite well, but it takes a lot of out me!) that I absolutely cannot do it - I thought that there must be some other way...

So I am now committed to finding a way to do adequate long rides outdoors on my own (or with Liz or Lauren if I can rope 'em in!); but this thing of the 2-hour spin session is going to be fantastic in the meantime, and for midweek riding even once I'm training properly. Another snowstorm is forecast for tomorrow, clearly I am not going to be doing any outdoor riding in the immediate future, but this sort of session is going to be a very good way to build some basic bike fitness and get back into shape...

2hrs. spin

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Not an actual swim

but I had a good experience earlier on today: I went and counted laps for some swimmers in Team New York Aquatics' One-Hour Swim. I've signed up for a slot on Jan. 30, a good prompt to get back in the pool - but the prospect of going to Chelsea Piers this evening for a swim has been closed off by printer error - tried to print out my new masters swim membership card, after renewing that membership, only to realize that one of the many casualties of six months away is that my computer no longer seems to want to talk to my printer, and now I have wasted more than an hour wrestling with it! Arghhhh, I have tried everything I can, I am at my wit's end - it has put me thoroughly out of the frame of mind to write my daily quota of novel words, though the only thing that will now relieve the feeling of being irked is to reach the 1000-word total! Have written about 150, that is a start - back to that now, I think...

Short Sunday run

It was impossible to drag myself out of bed! I have been ridiculously tired these last few days, to the point of it seeming not just unlikely but actively unwise to try and do anything strenuous; but I was determined to run this morning.

I talked myself out the door with the promise that it could be as short a run as I wanted, so long as I ran in the first place; and in fact I was woefully underdressed, I forgot what it's like running in the 20s, the newness of my transition from tropical climes meant that I had much too much water and much too little clothing!

But running in cool weather is so lovely - I ran down to the 79th St. boat basin (the new path along the river makes this a shorter run than it used to be, now that one no longer has to detour) - it is beautiful out there, and frigid, which gives me a much better proportion of cardiovascular to leg effort than I get in warm humid weather!

c. 3.53 miles, 37:23, avg. pace 10:35, avg HR 150

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Session #20

My last session with Carla.

It has been very good working with her - I still need to crack down on unhealthy eating (November and December were pretty terrible that way, given a lot of travel and a lot of visitors - restaurant meals galore...), but I feel like I've made a good start on rebuilding lost fitness.

We started out with some fairly demanding boot-camp-style stuff, since I had sent her the link for the 8-week boot camp class ("The Beast") I am going to do at Chelsea Piers starting on Jan. 17. (More description here.) I'm signed up for the 7am class MFW, which will be a bit of a strain on the system but which is the best way to make it happen. I am ready to work very hard!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Session #19

An excellent (and extremely strenuous!) session with Carla. There is a slight Monday-morning feel here today in Cayman, due to yesterday's holiday, and I too felt like I was coming back after a bit too much of a break; we did some leg press and lunges at the end that left my legs trembling with fatigue as I walked down the stairs from the gym!

1hr. strength

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sea swim!

Only c. 20 mins., and it will be generous to call it 1000 yards, but it was very nice...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Saturday bike!

On the principle of starting the year as I mean to go on, and due to the blessed fact that traffic is much, much lighter than usual due to the holiday, I went out this afternoon for an honest-to-god real bike ride! I have done this ride before with others, but never by myself, so it is a nice little (very minor) milestone to mark the beginning of the riding year. I have to ride a lot this year...

I rode out to Bodden Town (turned around at the Texaco station there, at the 1-hour mark); it was somewhat arduous, due to heat and headwind, but not unpleasantly so, and the ride back was much quicker, with the wind at my tail and a slightly faster alternate route for the last bit of the ride when I missed the usual turnoff.

It was a genuinely enjoyable ride!...

1:44:24, 25.73 miles, avg. speed 14.8mph, avg. HR 139, max. HR 149