Saturday, April 30, 2011


(Insomnia is making me very, very grumpy! Have been trying to go to sleep for more than three hours now, and it's just not happening; turned the computer back on just now to email boot camp instructor to tell him I won't be there tomorrow, and have reset alarm for latest possible time that will still let me meet up with my dad before we go to the theater. It's 2:45 now, and I have given in and taken a tablet - if I can sleep from 3 till 10, that is still pretty good. If you are reading this and are a person who falls easily and regularly to sleep not too long after your head hits the pillow, take a moment to feel lucky - not being able to fall asleep is the bane of my existence!)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday swim

That was good, I should go to the 1.5hr workouts more often - I wish that would be what they would have in the Columbia pool...

Not sure I can reproduce exact details - it was slightly chaotic in our lane, and sendoffs were often neglected!

Warmup: 300 free, 200 reverse IM, 300 free (not absolutely positive about this last!...)

4 x (3 x 50 on 1:10, descending each 50) - odds back, evens free

2 x (3 x 225 stroke down-free returning + 25 easy)

(This was educational - 225 yards is closest thing to 200LCM!)

The first three were stroke down, free back, the second set could have been freestyle but lanemates swimming stroke events in Sunday's meet (back and breast respectively) requested continuation of stroke. I was happy enough to follow, I was doing it as IM - that is a good way to do a 200, for future reference, makes it easier to keep count...

Truncated version of final set:

2 x 150 negative splits on 3:20
50 easy
2 x 100 negative splits on 2:10
50 easy

3500 yards total

Long run

That was great. The weather's beautiful (high sixties, sunny and clear), I have been gradually snipping out threads of the strangulatingly tight collar of obligations that necklaces me at this time of year, I wasn't unduly pressed for time even though I could not for the life of me get up when the alarm first went off!

Went down the west side path almost to Chambers St. The Hudson River park is very nice at this time of year - overblown but still gorgeous tulips just north of Chelsea Piers, a beautiful Dalmatian playing lord of all he surveyed atop a picnic table. Some humorists in a pickup truck on the highway cheered me on!

It certainly feels like a shuffle rather than a proper run, but it is amazing how training actually works - I definitely couldn't have done that six weeks ago, even if it does seem very slow still (and legs start getting sore around 1:45, which I take as the cost of having missed last week's long run). Stopped the clock at 1hr and 2hr to take a gel; had a mouthful of gatorade in the morning before I left, but otherwise empty stomach. Felt fine!

2:35, 13.39mi., avg pace 11:35, avg HR 141 (:20 zone 1, 2:08 zone 2 - hmmm, that doesn't add up!).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday TNYA

A very good swim, considering that the FIRE ALARM went off around the 12-minute mark and we all had to grab our stuff and traipse up four flights of stairs in our bathing suits and loiter on the plaza outside until we were allowed back in - fortunately it is a warm muggy evening in the upper 60s...

300 free warmup

4 x 50 as FL-BK, BK-BR, BR-FR, FR-FL (would have been 8 if we had not had to exit the venue!)

Back in the pool, we skipped straight to the main set:

12 x 100: 1-4 as 25 kick, 75 swim on 2:20; 5-8 as 75 swim, 25 kick on 2:20; 9-12 as 100 swim (1:47, 1:50, 1:49, 1:50)

6 x 50 on 1:10 as stroke-free by 25 (2 x fly-free, 2 x back-free, 2 x breast-free)

2000 yards total

Thursday bike intervals

OK, that was good - rode down to Chelsea Piers, did 70 mins. with intervals indoors, rode home. Very enjoyable!

c. 25min there

10mins further warmup
6 x 8min zone 3, 2min recovery

c. 20min home


zone 1: 38:11
zone 2: 25:04
zone 3: 31:42
zone 4: 8:34

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday frazzle

I came late last night to the realization that I had better skip the morning boot camp class, get up very early to grade papers and then do a late-morning spin workout at home to save time; but in fact I still have so much more crucial work stuff to do that there is no way I can fit it any ride at all before my 12:30 meeting, and the whole day after that is booked all the way through to theater and dinner with my grandfather downtown. This is impossible! OK, refocus, no workout today but I will do a real bike ride tomorrow morning to make up for it...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Yesterday I received an absolutely lovely present in the mail, a gift from one of my favorite endurance sport bloggers: the Black Knight! One of my favorite things about blogging is the friendships that form with people in faraway places, some of whom we'll meet someday in person and some of whom we won't; Stefano's blog has brought me a great deal of pleasure, and I will look forward to wearing the shirt and viewing the DVD of the port where he works.

TNYA workout

A nice little swim - somewhat short, as the main set was assigned x 4 but really only the fastest lanes could possibly have done that. We got through twice, and the clock was at the :56, which meant that really the workout was over; I spent the remaining minutes explaining some things about workout etiquette to a new swimmer!...

Lane was slightly chaotic but still an enjoyable swim. We were largely ignoring intervals in the first set, it was just too disorganized; followed them for the second, but I could not now tell you what they were.

Warmup (truncated): 300 free, 150 kick

6 x 50 kick, 50 pull, 50 swim (I skipped the last 100 as we had all finished at different times and others were getting started with the next set)

2 x

2 x 100
2 x 50

(first one IM, second one free)

2200 yards total

Tuesday run intervals!

Best workout of the week! (First workout of the week!)

It has gone straight from winter to summer here; initially I thought it was nice that I was running in short sleeves, but soon my sunglasses fogged up and I was too hot! Not terrible, really - 76F, 63% humidity - but a little warmer than seems reasonable, given that last week I was still wearing a long-sleeved shirt, jacket and gloves.

12 mins. warmup
4 x 10min zone 3, 2min recovery

(I am doing pretty much exactly 10:00 pace in zone 3.)

1:06, 6.06mi.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week 5 summary

This week's training was mostly successful. It is a terrible time of the school year for me, and the long run fell victim to that this week; also, yesterday's weather was costly in terms of not getting in a long ride outdoors, although I think I got a very reasonable workout in with that hodgepodge of indoor and outdoor riding. If next Sunday's weather prohibits a long ride in NJ, I think I will just do something like what I did yesterday and then do a real five-hour ride the next weekend when I am in Cayman.

Based on how difficult (impossible!) it was to run on Friday afternoon, I'm modifying my arrangement for this coming Friday. It wasn't going to have to take place so early in the morning, but I had imagined doing something similar to this past week: I've got a 2-4pm dissertation defense, and I had thought I'd swim in the morning then do my run in the late afternoon.

(I had already deemed it unsuitable to try and do both swim and run before the defense: if I got up very very early, it would be just about doable, but I think I would be in no fit state to participate properly in the committee!)

However, on balance I think long swim plus complex work obligation does not leave me able to execute a long run. So I will actually do the run in the morning (it is usually scheduled after the swim so that you're getting a better approximation of race fatigue), and then either swim on my own in the early evening or (better yet) go to a TNYA evening practice at John Jay - as long as I show up and don't get back out of the pool, I will then have a largely willpower-free 1:30 swim.

(None of the Columbia workouts is 1.5hr., but the John Jay ones are, so that is desirable.)

Total training hours: 13:20

Saturday, April 23, 2011


It was not just a draw, it was a definite victory...

It was SO right that we didn't ride outside, by the way! It was not thunderstorms, but it was a very heavy settled rain continuing all the way through the early afternoon.

I rode down to Chelsea Piers (already on the clock), then I did back-to-back spin classes 10-12. Lauren joined me for the second one and we then stayed on in the cycling studio (having received permission - apparently they will let one use it outside of class time if the bikes on the cardio floor are occupied) and did one of the endurance workouts in a binder for indoor cycling.

6 x 2 mins. zone 2, 1 min. rest (100+ cadence)
3 mins. set rest
6 x 3 mins. zone 2, 1 min. rest (100+ cadence)

I was relieved to see that this got me almost up to 3:30 - I was shooting for 4:30. It was somewhat unpleasant putting back on the soaking wet cycling gloves and getting back outside, but in fact the rain was lightening up by now and the west side path was beautifully and utterly deserted! So it was a very nice little ride, just very wet and muddy; I rode up to the little red lighthouse and then back down to 96th St. and up through my little bit of the park home.

There was quite a bit of time in zone 1, but the avg HR falls just within zone 2, and the zone 1 time was mostly right at the border - it is honestly the best I can do, I will just have to hope that it is good enough. The first spin class was partly to blame: I do not like it, almost all the hard effort bits are "running on the pedals" which I can't really do anyway (it is an effort to get even into low 80s for cadence while standing - I can actually go faster in a harder gear - so if the instruction is to go in an easy gear and run with cadence in mid-90s or 100 I just have to give a blank stare) and which is also nothing like anything I would do on an actual bicycle in the real world! Combine that with inaccurate banalities ("This room is a judgment-free zone"; "You can leave it all here"), and you can imagine that I am pretty grumpy for that session and toiling stubbornly and unproductively in the seated position...

4:21:38, avg HR 130, max HR 147
zone 1: 1:49:59
zone 2: 2:27:43
zone 3: 4:02

Saturday morning postscript

Very rainy and cold, and I am slightly relieved that it is not just me but Lauren who deems it unsuitable weather for a long outdoor ride! I'm going to ride my bike just down to Chelsea Piers and get started on my ride there, do the back-to-back spin classes; Lauren will meet me for 11am spin and then we'll see whether we could ride outside along the West Side path for a while (the weather is so bad, it won't be at all crowded) or whether we stay there on indoor bikes.

Our next long ride is planned for next Sunday, with no flexibility about rescheduling, but I now feel full of trepidation in case some other weather thing comes up; I think I should actually make it a priority to get to the Palisades Park on my own sometime Thursday and ride a bit there, just to get over the hump of anxiety about it.

(Was lying in bed waiting for Lauren to call this morning with my stomach in utter knots!)

(I have scheduled the week in Cayman as a recovery week, with just a three-hour long ride on the Sunday, but I know that I can do a 5-hour ride there if I need to, and in some ways it's more straightforward there - there are no hills, but there are also no bridges; there is bad traffic except on Sunday mornings, but as long as I get out the door c. 5:30am - fortunately Brent is an early riser and is eminently willing to tip me out of bed if I request it in advance, even if my morning self is protesting! - that would work fine.)

I can't take the shuttle to NJ next Sunday, as it only runs six days a week (it is possible that Lauren might drive us, or else I'll just meet her on the NJ side of the river and get there as best I can), but in general I'm planning on taking Columbia's shuttle to the Lamont Observatory; longtime blog readers will perhaps remember that the last time I tried to ride over the George Washington Bridge from NY to NJ I had a full-blown panic attack that caused me to have to turn around and go home (I know perfectly well that they cause no lasting damage, it's not a cognitive fear, but having one really ill-equips one for safe continued bicycle-riding!), but I am pretty confident that if I get over to NJ and am homeward bound I'll be OK (the approach from the NJ side is much less horrible and vertigo-inducing than the one on the NY side, and also by that point I'm more desensitized to anxiety from having already had some hours of cycling). I can also always get off and walk it, which still is terrifying but not quite so much so as teetering on a bicycle next to a not-very-high-railing, however this is a foolish thing as it is over a thousand meters long and takes fifteen minutes to cross on foot!

OK, time to get some breakfast and pack up things for Chelsea Piers...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Epic fail on the run....

This post could also be subtitled in which I am an idiot for even thinking it was going to happen.

I only had a tight window of time to begin with, but my morning work obligation lasted much later than I expected. I truly was only at home for a couple minutes, I didn't procrastinate, I had left everything ready to go and I was out the door in the most expeditious possible manner, though with a strong suspicion that really it was not realistic: if I did my full run I would have only 25 mins. (a generous estimate!) to shower and feed myself before going to this talk at 4, and I was also feeling monumentally grumpy and stressed out about work stuff in general.

Well, it just didn't happen. I jogged very, very slowly for about 30 minutes; I couldn't even seem to motivate to move the little bit faster that would have tipped me up from zone 1 into zone 2. At the 30-minute mark, I stopped and took a gel. But I truly just didn't have it in me. It wasn't caloric, exactly, though obviously the delay getting started was costly (it was 1 by the time I took off, and I had eaten a good breakfast at 8:30, but that was a long time ago - I stupidly didn't have anything with me to eat once I started realizing things were going to take so much longer to finish off than I thought). It certainly wasn't due to muscular fatigue in the legs; stiff calf muscles in first mile or two, but easy enough to stretch out.

Anyway I did some brisk walking, there is no other window where I can make this workout up, it was what I could do this afternoon or nothing, I am just going to have to let it go. And I comforted myself on the walk home (I can't even say I was having self-castigation, truly I just gave in to the inevitability of the situation!) that if I have a good ride tomorrow, the week's training can still be counted a success - but now I have checked the forecast, and there are supposed to be thunderstorms in the morning!!!

I really don't want to pull out of this race. It was devastating to me last year to have to cancel my plans for IMWI, and I think that doing it again would leave me in a state of glumness and sullenness that would be nearly unprecedented in recent memory! But I think I am going to have to make a realistic assessment at the end of May as to whether my fitness justifies going ahead. I have sunk a lot of dollars in this race already (ugh, last year I lost about $1000 in registration fees for races I didn't start at, it was a disaster - the IM races will give you back only $150 of your $600, and that's if you cancel well in advance), but it is going to cost a good bit more to actually make the attempt: hotel, plane ticket, TriBike Transport. I booked a hotel a long time ago, but I think I can cancel that without financial penalty till pretty near the time of the race; I will wait till Memorial Day weekend, I am guessing, before going ahead with the plane ticket and bike transport plans.

I've emailed Lauren about the weather forecast and the bike ride. The fact is that I am so neurotic about bike-riding that it's hard for me to make good calls on indoor versus outdoor riding. I would not honestly be averse to doing the ride indoors, at least I know I can execute that - I guess to take it more optimistically, we will consult at 8am tomorrow based on how it actually looks and I'll head down to one of the good spin bikes at Chelsea Piers if the weather really is terrible. There, that's a better idea, I guess I really do have it covered one way or the other - but the ride really has to happen between morning and 3pm tomorrow, I have no other place to put it.

long(ish) WALK: (was running about 12:00 for 3 miles, then just had brisk walk for some more time at a pace the Garmin says was 16:47 - frankly this is prob. the pace I will hit on the run course anyway...)

1:50:08, avg pace 14:28 (!), avg HR 125

(In short, better than nothing, at least it is time on feet, though I am under no illusions that it is the same thing as a real run!)

Long swim!

And it was an absolutely lovely one, for some reason - the time went by in two shakes of a lamb's tail, mysteriously. Good to have the more meaty test set in the middle, I guess - I think I'll make sure to prepare workouts in advance for subsequent long swims.

Warmup: 500 as free with every fifth length back or breast; 500 as 5 x 100 drill-swim by 25 (front scull, fists, catch-up, thumbs-and-salute, finger-drag)

Then I followed Gale Bernhardt's test protocol to get what she calls "T1 pace" - you swim 3 x 300 with 30 seconds of rest between sets, then average them to get your 100-yard pace. I definitely went out a bit too fast on the first one, I knew as I finished that one up that I wouldn't be able to hold it, but she observes that an "accurate test is when all three 300s are within 15 seconds of each other," so really my times weren't too bad. (Albeit rather slow!)


Have just done the math very hastily with pen and paper (have to be on campus very shortly!), might be wise for me to double-check later on at a more leisurely moment, but it looks to me like that's 1:57/100 yards. Something to work with - I'll test again in four or five weeks.

100 easy


6 x 100 on 2:20 as 25 stroke, 75 free (2 of each in IM order)
4 x 100 on 2:30 as odds IM, evens free

3000 yards total (1:15)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday TNYA workout

Surprisingly enjoyable swim practice - I think I only swam once last week, and for only a short time, but I felt pretty strong in the water this evening. I guess IM training is good for something after all...

There was at least one and possibly two wayward swimmers in lane 1, so I was relieved to find that lane 2 is back at what I think of as "normal" pace, i.e. my pace! There were four of us to start, but we lost first one and then another, which happily meant we could split the lane for the kick set!

I definitely feel better now than I have all day, which is good. I have to get up and swim early tomorrow at Chelsea Piers, then a morning work obligation, then do my long run between that and another work thing that runs 4pm through the evening; had been thinking I'd just do random continuous 1:15 swim in the morning, but perhaps I will dig out Gale Bernhardt and actually do one of these swim pace tests. I have been avoiding them because I have been swimming so slowly that there truly seemed little point!

300 warmup

6 x 50 free on 1:05
4 x 75 IM no free on 1:45
4 x 100 free descending on 2:00
50 easy free
2 x 150 with middle 50 stroke (I did fly)

6 x 50 kick as 2 times through (1) build (2) fast-easy by 25 (3) non-flutter (I did whip)

2 x 50 fast on :55

50 easy

2100 yards total

Thursday bike

Left it till the last possible moment to go out. It's a pretty nice day out there - for a run! Incredibly windy, which is actually good from the standpoint of workout quality; it lets me ride in zone 2 without going at what seem to me dangerously and obnoxiously fast speeds in on a shared-use greenway path where the interests of pedestrians and cyclists constantly come into conflict. It was at once a reasonably enjoyable ride and a reminder to me, yet again, that I am just not one of life's natural cyclists; swimming and running are both things I would do for their own sake, but I would never even own a bicycle if I didn't have the gleam of triathlon in my eye...

58:18, 13.76mi. (it was windy, it is not that I am that slow!), avg HR 132, max HR 147

zone 1: 11:02
zone 2: 44:25
zone 3: 0:45

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Midweek bike intervals

That was good. I was overcome with doubt over the weekend as to whether I was even capable of doing a proper zone 3 interval workout on the bike. Now I have proved to my own satisfaction that I can.

I think that until and unless I am doing hill repeats up to the Alpine police station in the Palisades Park (which won't be likely to happen before mid-May) I should stick with indoors for my interval workout; there's simply no way to concentrate on attaining appropriate effort levels in park crowds/traffic. Brent has often suggested to me that it is worth training indoors on combined grounds of safety and workout quality, but it is one of those things I have to see with my own eyes before I really believe that it's not just a personal cop-out!

I did this workout on one of the fancy spin bikes at Chelsea Piers.

1:10 (avg HR 142, max HR 155)

20min. warmup (5min. easy, 10min. alternating 1 min. standing gear 15, 1 min. seated gear 9 with cadence 100+, 5min. with 30 seconds single-leg on each minute)

5 x 8min. zone 3, 2min. RI

Time broken down by HR zone (my fourth interval was zone 4, inadvertently, as I got into a very animated conversation with the fellow on the bike next to me, who is also riding the Montauk Century in May):

zone 1: 8:38
zone 2: 18:34
zone 3: 24:08
zone 4: 13:26

My HR doesn't drop much in the recovery periods - my bike fitness is clearly far inferior to my run fitness (on my run intervals yesterday, with more or less the same workout structure, HR was dropping 30 beats over the 2 minutes, whereas the bike intervals saw much slighter decline only during rest period). There is much work to be done...

Wednesday BEAST

It is a good class! I was in horror when the alarm went off at 5:45; had only finally got to sleep around 2:15. But it was highly worthwhile. Biked down - not warm,really, but not terrible.

1hr boot camp

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I foolishly sat in wet clothes in a cold room and made myself so freezingly cold that going back out the door for 6pm swim practice seemed inconceivable! I intend to go to the TNYA workout at John Jay at 6:15 tomorrow as a substitute, and have updated the schedule accordingly. This is my next training block - I will do the two long rides in New Jersey with Lauren, which means that they will be extremely challenging (in a good way, hopefully!)...

5/2 is my last day of teaching, and though school obligations continue through late May, I will fly to Cayman shortly thereafter for some days with Brent; that's a recovery week! Weather and schedule should allow for significantly more midweek 'real' cycling once I get back from that trip.
(Click for a bigger image.)

Tuesday run intervals

I was feeling pretty mentally and physically fatigued beforehand, but it was like magic, I felt better almost instantly once I was running. Definitely an enjoyable workout - speeds still discouragingly slow, not much to be done about that, but I felt very strong and enjoyed pretty much every minute of it. It is a mild 51F in NYC today, with light drizzle - bad enough to keep the park fairly empty, nice enough that it put me in a good mood!

1hr, 5.45mi.: 10 mins. warmup, 5 x 8:00 run zone 3, 2:00 recovery/walk

Sunday, April 17, 2011

(No run this morning)

The film was lovely, but it was a tiring evening. I got to bed around midnight and read for an hour, but it was clear to me that it would be one of those nights where it was nearly impossible to fall asleep; I guess I finally drifted off around 3:30. I haven't done any of my work for tomorrow, it is going to be a long night and an early morning and a rough day - I guess I'll just have to slog through the week as best I can. I have a busy work day Friday that goes right through dinner/evening, which is going to make doing the necessary triathlon training that day somewhat tricky, but I have to make it work somehow and get it all done by Saturday late afternoon; I have a treat in store on Saturday evening, it is a lovely musical event that is also serving as a birthday party for my former student E. (Thomas's roommate), and then I am going to New Jersey on Sunday for a (secular) Easter celebration with family. The week after that looks similarly dreadfully busy, there is just no room anywhere for an actual day off...

Total training hours (recovery week): c. 6:45

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday run

I have been feeling really terrible in general, and I always have a mental tailspin whenever I have to go and stay in a random hotel somewhere; this one's no exception. I am just pretty depressed, that's the long and short of it: I was in very low spirits all fall and winter, and while moving back to New York and getting back in the classroom in January gave me a good initial mood boost, the spring semester is not designed as a cure to anhedonia, it is too taxing in its own right. Nothing really can get much better till mid-May, when the school semester is done and I can mentally regroup and recover; in the meantime I will just plug on as best I can.

The schedule said 60-90 minutes running; I didn't go quite as long as I'd hoped, but really it was just a victory to get out there at all. I got up for breakfast but then couldn't really do anything other than go back to bed. There was no doubt in my mind, though, about the importance of doing my run: running is a very reliable mood elevator!

The hotel clerk, after I told her about my running needs and my poor sense of direction, suggested that I simply go out and back on Devine St. It was a good notion, but I think it is hard for the non-runner to conceptualize the sort of distance needed; after about 2 miles of pleasant residential running, I hit serious strip mall territory. No trees/shade, tons of traffic, so I took a left and ran along another road (Baseline Boulevard, perhaps?) for a while, until I crested a hill and thought about how many hills I had already run down and how many more I might have to run up in order to get back to my starting point...

Very good sidewalks and pedestrian crossings throughout, two thumbs up for safety and convenience. It's in the mid-70s and pretty humid in Columbia, SC today, pleasant with breeze and shade but a bit hot for me in the sun and with no acclimation; I drank at least a liter of water over the 1+hr I was out there, which is quite a lot for me. Hit the hotel around the 1:05 mark, could have done another loop of some sort but it was just starting to rain and I can see out the window that we are now in the thick of a torrential downpour, so I think it was for the best that I didn't.

(I'll perhaps just run 40-60 minutes tomorrow morning too, as it has such a beneficial effect on my mood...)

What I'm here for (you already know this if you read my other blog!): the posthumous premiere of my friend Helen's film The Florestine Collection. Helen's mother Becky had a very lovely barbecue last night at her house, and has loaned each of us (females) one of the Florestine dresses to wear this evening - it is a very good thought, I will make sure to get a picture of some sort...

1:05, 5.6mi. (slow - it was warm, and I was pacing to go for 1:30 - might run at a slightly brisker pace tomorrow!)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Longish bike

That was good. Yesterday turned into a marathon work day, there was no hope of fitting in any exercise, I only got home from a dinner and talk in the evening around 9:30, still had a couple more bits and pieces I had to clear before I could start winding down. Inevitably this is the sort of night where I have terrible insomnia - first lay down around 11:30, but didn't actually get to sleep till 2:30 or so. In the meantime I changed the alarm setting from 6:30 to 7:30, but really I was horribly awake at 6:30 anyway (and can tell, from how sore my jaws and teeth are this morning, that I must have been insanely clenching my jaw shut all night!).

I have been playing fast and loose with the recovery week schedule, alas. I rode for just under 2 hours in Central Park, which is acceptable (no time for a run off the bike - I'll run longish in South Carolina tomorrow morning, and bring a second set of running clothes in case I also feel the urge for a short run on Sunday morning). It is a beautiful morning - for a run! No, seriously, it was pretty nice for a bike ride too, only a little chilly still (but definitely spring rather than winter - 48F is what it says right now on the NYT website); I was envious of the runners....

I AM A SLOW CYCLIST. But getting out there is the only way to get faster.

(I still hate riding on the street between here and the park. Coming back it was especially bad, there was a comically horrible line-up of all my least favorite vehicles, it is like an obstacle course out there: bus, trash truck, pothole, bus, delivery truck, pothole....)

1:55, 25.26mi., avg. speed 13.8mph, avg HR 128, max HR 153 (zone 1: 1:03:59; zone 2: 38:53; zone 3: 8:03; zone 4: 1:20)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Procrastinatory Thursday postscript

I actually slept for about seven reasonably high-quality hours, which is highly beneficial - but really I see that the couple important things I must do this morning for work must take precedence over any form of exercise! Like it or not, that ride's going to have to happen early tomorrow morning before I get ready to go to the airport. Should be able to ride down to Chelsea Piers this afternoon for a swim, but I need the work day to run from now till 2 without major distractions!...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday double spin

Well, that was good. I was feeling particularly frazzled and headachey all day, and it was noticeable that in the second half of the second spin class I suddenly felt really good for the first time since the Beast class early this morning - the second class of the two is particularly to my taste, this is of course preferable to having the first class be superior to the one that follows. Lauren was at yoga, so we met up in the locker room afterwards and went and had Thai food and caught up on life and its vicissitudes.

2hr spin, avg HR 130, 1:02 in zone 2, only a handful of mins. in zone 3 (but hit a very short-lived max of 173 near the end of the second class, so that's cool...)

I am ruminating over workout plans for tomorrow morning. GB's plan has you do long brick workouts in the recovery week, so that my major workout for the week is a 2hr ride followed immediately by a 1hr run off the bike, but in order to execute that tomorrow morning I will have to get up at an ungodly hour and may also (more importantly) compromise the quality of my attention for a couple important work things. I do have some time Friday morning, but I need to be leaving for the airport by 11:30 at the latest and I don't want to leave my important workout for the same day as travel. But I am thinking that I might have to split the ride and the run up - if I do my ride early tomorrow, then I have a couple good-quality work hours in the morning before my major noon work obligation, and I can do the run separately in a window during the late afternoon before a 6pm work obligation that will basically last till 9 or so. I hate to split it up, but I think it is the best compromise...

Short midday swim

Half of the workout I should have done yesterday. I am still pretty excessively frazzled and fatigued, it is not good; I was supposed to swim for 45 minutes, but got out a little sooner as I had begun to be anxious about getting back uptown in good time to teach.

100 free, 100 fly drill/stroke, 100 free, 100 back drill/stroke by 50, 100 free, 100 breast drill/stroke by 50, 100 free, 100 free drill as right arm, left arm, catch-up, full stroke, 100 free

100 IM kick, 100 IM drill, 100 IM swim

1200 yards total (32 mins.)

Wednesday BEAST

I really do enjoy this class - doing it only once a week makes me especially appreciate it! Am now going to do some work and then have a late-morning swim-run workout - I was supposed to do 45 min. swim, 1hr. bike yesterday, but I sort of ended up by early evening feeling so fatigued and stressed that I decided it didn't make sense. I'll come back to Chelsea Piers in the evening for some spinning, I think...

1:15 boot camp

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Week 3 complete

I won't go so far as to say that I was feeling smug, but I was definitely having mild self-congratulation at having made it through this week of training without any meltdowns or major failures; I couldn't quite get myself out of bed at 7 this morning, reset alarm for 7:30 and then 8 (probably wasn't sleep till 1am, as I spent the evening on the computer filing my taxes), but was on the road by 8:30 for my short recovery ride.

Riding over to Central Park, which I haven't done since last summer, is never my favorite thing, but on a Sunday early morning there are no delivery trucks parked across traffic and fewer buses, it was not bad, I thought about how much progress I have made (psychologically, not in terms of fitness!) re: cycling since last year.

Then I got to the park - it slowly dawned on me after seeing the signs and course marshals and what was initially a suspiciously empty road - THERE WAS A RACE...


To my utter horror, I was approaching the start line just as runners were filling the corrals and getting ready to go. It is truly beyond belief how horribly crowded it was (maybe 8,000 runners?); I had to get off my bike and walk for a bit, as of course late runners are jostling to get to a spot in a corral and not at all looking out for cyclists, and all the normal recreational folks are grumpily trying to get by as well, and cyclists are shouting at pedestrians, and it is altogether horrible.


Anyway, it was very unpleasant, and I felt extremely and irrationally distressed (and wished for about the five millionth time in my life that I was the type of person to shout a few expletives, shake my fist in the air and move on, instead of feeling outwardly quiet but privately very upset and having to fight a very strong urge to burst into tears!). I rode one loop and then figured I'd better get out while the going was good (the race was run clockwise, so I hadn't yet encountered the front runners). Rode over to the west side path and had a pretty nice quiet ride up to the lighthouse and back; it is about 50, very gray and overcast, so there weren't a ton of people out.

I was supposed to ride for an hour and run for .5hr, but the ride clocked in at 1:24 by the time I got home and I figured I should cut my losses. Meeting my dad for lunch and a play, really I had better get in the shower (I wished I had been wearing "booties" over my shoes this morning, it's much colder down by the water than it is in Central Park, my feet were mildly uncomfortable).

Anyway, no harm done, it is just yet again a reminder of why I find cycling by far the most frazzle-inducing of the three triathlon sports. This week has been a considerable success, more generally. It would be insane to obsess too much about hitting all the workouts, but this week really mattered to me. I was explaining to my dad the other day the principles of progressive overload and periodization (I love this stuff - Soviet sports science!), and the long weekend workouts of the biggest "build" week in each training block (mesocycle) plus the recovery period to absorb them are the single most important aspect of any IM training plan whatsoever. Very relieved to have nailed the workouts pretty much as planned.

This coming week's a bit weird, very very busy at work (including evening obligations on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) and then flying to South Carolina on Friday for two days. I will take the recovery week aspect seriously and try and stay on an even keel insofar as such a thing is possible (not really, at this time of the school year - frazzle city!). The next block of training is going to be challenging, as the two "build" weeks are probably the two single busiest weeks of my entire school year, but I am absolutely delighted to say that Triathlete Lauren is willing & able to join me for my two long bike rides (4:30 on 4/23, 5:00 on 5/1), which makes me expansively optimistic that I will actually be able to execute them! This is good.

Total training hours for the week: c. 14:20 (YES!)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Long ride

In retrospect, I could definitely have done it outside, it turned into a pretty nice morning - not warm earlier, but tolerable, aside from cold toes!  Rode up to the lighthouse and back down to Chelsea Piers, about 1:10 altogether, then did the back-to-back spin classes for hours 2 and 3.  It was good...

3hr ride

Friday, April 8, 2011

Freezingly cold long run!

It is FREEZING out there! I was woefully underdressed - I am doing these runs at a much slower pace than my traditional winter 2-hour run, which was probably 12-20bpm higher average HR, but also, you know, it is hard to conceptualize April as winter! Anyway now that I have showered and fed myself I am having a very strongly positive feeling at having successfully executed this one - two of my three big weekend workouts down, only one to go (but it's so chilly outside, clearly I am indoors again tomorrow for the bike).

As I headed out, I was feeling fatigued enough from swimming earlier that I could tell I needed to be very conservative on pace. I gave myself a break and took a 1:00 walk break on the 10:00, i.e. 9 mins. jogging, 1 min. walk. Had an extra few minutes of walking as I took a gel around the 1hr. mark, and one other longer walk up a hill, but kept the clock rolling the whole time - thus the slowish pace.

(Can I just say - I WAS FREEZING!)

(I ran up to the Little Red Lighthouse, one of my favorite runs - you run down to 96th St. in the little nearby bit of upper Riverside Park, then turn north and run along the river - the first hour was fine, but when I turned around to head south, it suddenly seemed that I was running straight into the wind...)

Not a lot of people out, but a couple of very cute little dogs: a Jack Russell that was athletically bounding up as high almost as its master's shoulders, and a very cute little brown dog that was running on a leash alongside a companion on a bicycle. I swear, on the basis of how fast they disappeared in front of me (I had seen them in the other direction too), that little dog was running six-minute miles!

12:06 avg pace
140 avg HR

About half and half in zones 1 and 2, probably the lowest-intensity long run I have ever done in my life...

Gotta rush now, going to a play in midtown - fortunately it has a 7:30 curtain and a relatively short running time, I have had a frozen pizza but am going to need dinner #2 in fairly short order...

Long swim

I rode down to Chelsea Piers planning to base myself here for the whole day and do my long swim and long run, but realized at halfway mark that I forgot water belt and gel.  Since I gotta go 2:15, I think that's no good; will ride home and head out from my apartment shortly after three (need a digestive interval post-lunch).

Swim went very well, mentally pretty easy aside from tendency for thoughts to drift to food in second half!

1:32:31 as total workout time

7 x 500

(1) 500 free with every fifth length alt. BK, BR
(2) 5 x 100 drill-swim by 25 (front scull, fists, catch-up, thumbs, finger-drag)
(3) breathe every 3, 5, 7, 5, 3 by 100
(4) FL-FR-FR-FR, FR-BK-FR-FR, FR-FR-BR-FR, 100 free, 100 IM
(5) 500 kick with board, every fifth length whip or dolphin
(6) 5 x FL-BK-FR-FR
(7) 100 back, 100 flutter kick, 100 right arm, left arm, catch-up, free, 100 IM, 100 free  

3500 yards total

Thursday, April 7, 2011

TNYA workout!

Now that was an enjoyable swim; I guess I've been back in the pool enough over the last couple weeks to have reclaimed some technique and built a base of swim fitness. It was a bit of a hodgepodge of a lane, though with a very pleasant vibe - by about 20 minutes in, it was clear to me that I had better just give in and take over as lane leader, I am not very fast right now but I am always fairly steady and with a sensible head for the clock, and nobody else was faster!

200 warmup (every 2nd length back, every 4th kick) (truncated)

6 x 25 fly on :40
5 x 50 breast on 1:30
4 x 75 back on 1:45

60 seconds rest

3 x 100 free on 2:05 (given as 2:00, but I modified it based on my own difficulty the other day holding 2:00 for 4 x 100, and my feeling that I was the strongest swimmer in the lane - however I think I really could have done it properly today on 2:00, I was startled to see that I came in on 1:44 for the first one - I guess that the other day I'd had a pretty hard-effort run not long before, and perhaps hadn't taken the full 60 seconds of rest? - also, today the guy behind me was wearing fins, and even though he was swimming pretty slowly, it put the fear of god in me! Anyway that is good, something of a relief - when I was last swimming regularly, I certainly should have been able to do 6 x 100 on 1:55, or perhaps even on 1:50 on a good day with faster lanemates)

8 x 50 on 1:30, drill-swim by 25, 2 of each stroke in IM order (lots of rest on this one, but some are slow kickers!)

4 x 50 free on 1:10 as 25-45 (hard down, easy back)

1800 yards total

These workouts come in short, it is a 'tight' hour - you can't get into the pool until 6:00 sharp, lane swim opens at 7:00 sharp so you really need to be out very promptly, all it takes is being a couple minutes late getting into the pool and you really are under rather than over 2000 yards for the evening. But there are no 90-minute workouts in the Columbia pool, alas - I think that for convenience these Tuesday and Thursday evening ones are unbeatable for me, it is a whole extra commitment to go on the subway to one of the team's other workouts.

As I walked home (1.5 blocks!) I thought about how really I should just stick religiously to these two workouts, if I just do them and one long easy swim on my own each week I am basically totally covered as far as my iron-distance training goes. That said, alas, I have work obligations on both of those evenings next week that will prevent me from attending!

It has been interesting, just in this two and a half weeks of IM training, to see the ways in which the Gale Bernhardt training schedule is at odds with the natural shape of my week. On the principle that one should always minimize willpower/pain and suffering, if it can be done without losing work, I am going to make some changes as I make up my own version of the next training block.

Next week's a recovery week, and I'll be in South Carolina from Friday to Sunday too, but really I often have both family and work (i.e. prepare for Monday classes) obligations on a Sunday, so it really doesn't make sense to stick to Saturday-Sunday as my two big days. The worst of my work week is over Wednesday night, Thursday is a day when I am basically still too tired and frazzled from the school week to get a ton of stuff done (and often with meetings and other commitments on campus), but if I do Friday as long swim-long run day, I can use the Chelsea Piers pool without the weekend crowds and get a leg up on my training weekend; then ideally I do the long bike on Saturday daytime, but it leaves Sunday as a backup if weather is terrible or what have you. Anyway, this is what I'm aiming to do this week - I'll swim in the morning tomorrow, quick refuel and digestive interval, then head out for my run. Not sure what Saturday's weather will bring, it still seems pretty rainy and cold on the whole here so I will do it indoors if I need to (or perhaps, sensibly, ride for an hour in Central Park first and then go to Chelsea Piers for 10-12 spin as the sequel). Then a recovery bike-run workout (1hr bike, .5hr run) on Sunday to make up the two workouts I lose by reshuffling in this way, and meetup with my dad for lunch and Macbeth in Brooklyn!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Interval spin

I worked fiendishly hard all morning on school stuff in the cafe at Chelsea Piers, and then there still was time to do my bike workout (indoors):

14 mins. warmup
6 x 5 mins. zone 3,* 2 mins. recovery

1:00 total

*(This time I had the zone 3 numbers right, unlike the one I did two weeks ago!)


I packed up a ridiculously huge and heavy backpack full of stuff last night (computer, course reader, student drafts, second set of exercise clothes/bike shoes, work clothes), in the interest of making sure that this morning went smoothly and that I could fit in everything I wanted. The Beast class was great - it really is fun, and it's noticeable to me that just this couple weeks of higher-volume training have really improved my fitness. Now I've showered and am going to sit in the cafe and do a respectable morning of work, then I'll do my bike intervals on a spin bike here and get back uptown for afternoon teaching responsibilities. It is good...

1:20 boot camp

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

TNYA workout!

OK, that was fantastically good, it has given me a very strong sense of wellbeing (though probably I will crash shortly - tiring afternoon/early evening of workouts!).

There are times when it is bad for my morale to be in the "slow"/baby lane, but this was not one of them - the faster end of the pool was very full, lane 3 was overcrowded which pushed some faster swimmers back to lane 2 - lane 2 had six - so I was actually very delighted to go and circle swim in lane 1 with a swimmer who had fractured her spine last May and whose first time back in the pool this was. She stayed in for about 35 minutes, doing what she could (and lanemate M. was on deck coaching us, a luxury!), then I finished up the rest of the workout in solitary splendor. We had some very generous intervals to work with, though I missed a couple here and there due to chat!

warmup: 200 free

(Longer rest between each set that followed, but I have forgotten exactly what.)

4 x 25 fly on :40
4 x 50 breast on 1:30 (I did #3 and #4 as fly drill and free, inner hip flexors v. sore!)
4 x 75 back on 2:00
4 x 100 IM on 2:30
4 x 100 free on 2:00
4 x 25 free, first 2 on 2 breaths, second 2 on 1 breath (10 seconds rest)

1800 yards total (missed some time due to switching lanes and chatting, but also long rest - really I should be getting in c. 2400 on a proper hour-long workout, but it is easy to miss some time at the start). At any rate, it was an honest hour-long swim, as my training schedule requests; I am realistic enough to know that in many weeks, I will have to miss one or more workouts, but it is my goal for this week (which is the peak week of the first block of training, next week's a recovery week) to hit every workout!

Tuesday run intervals

Slightly discouraged, as I upload my Garmin data, to see how slowly I am going during the zone 3 intervals! But there is nothing to be done about that other than keep on plugging away...

I meant to do this workout in the late morning, only when the moment came the skies were about to open forth - it did not turn into the full-blown thunderstorm I anticipated, but I seized on the excuse anyway!

Very chilly when I got out there this afternoon (I think it must have dropped fifteen degrees since this morning), and I had a bad few moments as I raised my wrist to the skies and waited for my Garmin to pick up the signal (the contemporary triathlete's equivalent of begging the gods for propitious hunting): I hadn't been able to find my second running glove, and had decided to dispense with them; I just had a very light jacket and capri pants; and I swear that for about two minutes the stuff the sky was pelting down at me was actually not rain but hail! My hands were already blue with cold, and I thought seriously and foolishly about going home instead and trying again tomorrow morning. But fortunately I got my GPS signal and started my warmup...

16 mins. warmup
5 x 6 mins. zone 3 run, 2 mins. recovery (walk)
4 mins. cooldown jog

1:00, 5.28 miles

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Week 2 recap

The good: my Tuesday run intervals were gloriously enjoyable, and I completed a full two-hour run on Friday afternoon with (to borrow a favorite phrase of Brent's) no permanent injury. I went to a master's swim workout that got me over the hump of not having been for a while. And I successfully completed my three-hour ride, albeit indoors.

The bad: no mid-week bike riding (i.e. 2 missed workouts); no long swim (only did 2 swims of 3); no 30-min. high-cadence run (but I don't mind missing this as I basically run almost that much in a session of boot camp, and I think it's a fair substitute).

The ugly: true morale crash on Thursday, when I should have got myself out the door to do pretty much any workout for mental health benefits but instead worked myself into a frenzy at home.

Analysis: it was a pretty busy week at work (it started badly, with me having to give back assignments to both of my classes on Monday, so that I began the week with a serious sleep deficit and stress surplus). Also I knew I had to go to Philadelphia tomorrow, so I compressed the schedule a bit. I think that if I hadn't (ill-advisedly, I now see) thought it a good idea to respond to the missed day by combining the two notional mid-week bike rides into one two-hour ride, scheduled for Wednesday but never executed, I would have been more likely to execute something on Wednesday or Thursday. Lesson learned, hopefully?

It is important to me for next week to be a good training week. I don't have any huge extra work things (barring one big overdue essay that I need to dig in on if possible), and I'm not going out of town (I do have tickets to Macbeth in Brooklynon Sunday the 10th, but it is fortunately one of Shakespeare's shorter plays!). The week after will be a "recovery" week and also involves a weekend trip to South Carolina, so there are significant schedule constraints. My top priority for this coming week, then, is to ensure that the "long" training for Saturday and Sunday goes well. I will do the Saturday training as long swim followed by long run; it is a key feature of the plan that I'm using that although you rarely have a swim-bike-run day, the weekend is split up as (1) long swim, short break, long run and (2) long bike; I think it's probably a very good idea to make sure that at least some of my long runs are done after having been in the pool for 90 minutes earlier in the day, so as to replicate some of the fatigue.

Total hours for the week: nine

Long bike

OK, I feel like I wrested this training week back out of the arms of disaster.

I decided not to swim last night; pretty wheezy post-run, and also COLD!  So I got to Chelsea Piers when the club opened, swam for about 40 mins., then claimed a bike in the spin studio.

They were back on the rebular schedule this week, which means classes at 10 and 11; so I rode for an hour on my own and then through the back-to-back classes.  I hate the first class but I love the second one, it is a real cyclist's class - so at any rate things ended well.

Full recap of the week to follow, as I'm writing on my tiny phone keyboard at Chelsea Piers...

4 x 400 continuous swim as:

(1) free with every fourth length alternating back/breast
(2) 100 free, 100 IM kick, 100 IM drill, 100 IM swim
(4) 4 x 100 drill-swim by 25

3hr. spin

Friday, April 1, 2011

Long run!

Wednesday and Thursday can only be described as truly disastrous. I had to lie down for an hour in the middle of the day on Wednesday to fend off a sort of queasy headache, and I felt mysteriously terrible all day yesterday too (it is possible that it is a side effect of the dreaded menstruation, something I avoid whenever possible but which creeps up on one occasionally and unavoidably!) - not ill as such, but feeling strongly emotionally distressed and with a sharp but thoroughly irrational sense of malaise! I couldn't get myself out the door for any exercise; in the end I spent the evening thoroughly tidying up and organizing, and went to bed in a slightly better frame of mind.

I had a 1600-word review due today, so I got up pretty early to write it, and it fortunately went fairly smoothly; I sent it to my editor around one, then started to gather myself together to get out for the run.

Even I (cool-weather-lover that I am) cannot quite say that I think it's ideal running weather - but on the other hand, the upside of it being rainy and only in the mid-30s is that the west side path is pleasantly deserted...

So the run went pretty well, I think, though the last half hour still feels harder than it should. (That's my own fault for not having run enough in the last few months!)

The last three runs I've done have been good confidence-builders, all three of them (two interval runs and one long one) have been executed successfully. So I decided that today I wouldn't do walk-run (I was on 10:1 last week), but that I'd strive for a true easy zone 2 run - I have a strong tendency to run too hard, my zone 2 numbers for running are 142-152bpm but I am very commonly even on long runs in the mid-150s.

So I set in at what feels like an unbelievably slow pace, but determined to keep my HR in the mid-140s. The exercise was successful...

2hr., 10.32 mi., avg. pace 11:47/mi., avg. HR 144