Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I must confess I felt a slight aversion as I wended my way to practice - I even stopped and checked email on my phone in case there was a message saying my laptop was ready to pick up at the repair place, as I felt that would justify skipping practice. (Very keen to be back on my real computer!) However I don't know why this is so, because as soon as I am in the water it is entirely enjoyable. We had a funny lane today, four of us at quite similar paces for our freestyle, only fastest guy was unacquainted with pace clock and two of the three have very vestigial fly and back only, so that speeds are mighty uneven. (Very pleasant folks to swim with, however, which is the more important thing.)

We didn't really do this "test set" properly on the clock, as there were many stops for regrouping, but I was pleased that it was even sort of doable - even just a couple weeks of swimming and I'm quite a bit faster again. I dimly remember a spell where it would not have seemed extraordinary to me to swim 10 x 100 on 1:50, and I even think I might have sometimes been swimming hundreds on 1:45 - this gave me hope that such a thing would be possible....

Warmup (partial): 50 free, 200 IM drill, 50 flutter kick on back, 50 dolphin kick (i.e. first half of 200 IM kick)

"Test set" (this is the one where we were not going smoothly through the whole set):

100 on 2:00
50 on 1:20
100 on 1:55
50 on 1:20
100 on 1:40
50 on 1:20
100 on 1:35

That was where we fell off - just a couple seconds short, I was swimming on feet of guy in front of me and could have finished more quickly but on the other hand it was because I was just in back of him that I was swimming so comfortably at that pace to begin with. So it sort of evens out.

Then 2 x

200 as (2 x 87.5 free, 12.5 fly - ARGHHHH, faster lanes got to do whole length of fly!) on 4:15

6 x 25 alternating back, breast on :45

3 x 50 free descending on 1:15

25 fly sprint on :30

25 free easy on 2:00


50 easy swim down

2150 yards total (that seems short? but I guess we were a little late warming up, and probably ended a little early)

[ED. ADDENDUM: Yes, there definitely was another bit, it's coming back to me now - we had fins. Oh, yes, 3 x 100 as 25 kick on back, 50 back, 25 free build. That may have been it - that brings things to at least a more plausible-sounding total, I will count it at 2450.]


A super-nice one. I dragged my heels getting out the door, and had to curtail more ambitious plans to do longer hilly run in Central Park - but really it is most relaxing in any case to do my nearby flat run along the water. Right arm very sore from yesterday's allergy shots - I was yelping during the night any time I turned over, and the impact of running makes me feel it too. However on the bright side I am having far less acute hay fever this spring than ever before, so it is clearly worthwhile.

1hr/6mi (zone 2)

Monday, April 29, 2013


Rode my bike down to Chelsea Piers for 12:30 spin class. My bike lock was not findable in the secure bike cage (all those locks look almost the same anyway, I tried 'em all but couldn't seem to get mine) - not sure what has happened to it, but think I will just have to replace it. (My combination lock was still in the locker room at City College, by the way, but I didn't see the watch - will check and see if there's a lost and found Tuesday evening.)

Rather rainy and muddy - a funny female mallard duck was wandering around on the bike path near 96th St.

Not sure whether I will make it to yoga later - got some errands to take care of, and it's the kind of weather that makes you want to stay at home. This is going to be my big cycling week. Will do a 3-hour ride Wednesday in NY/NJ, Friday midday spin, Saturday morning double spin and then on Sunday this rather daunting 80-mile ride in Putnam.

:50 spin
10mi bike

Sunday, April 28, 2013


I love everything about these workouts! Though I am a naughty triathlete this week (and now recall why I stopped swimming) - my swim volume exceeded my cycling volume....

Had to modify some bits as I was slow on the long freestyle, and couldn't quite make the IM interval our lane was assigned, but it was really super.

Warmup: 300 swim, 2 x 50 build, 100 kick

Activities: 4 x :30 vertical flutter kick, 3 x :30 vertical dolphin kick; dive starts

Main set (x 2): 2 x 200 free on 3:40 (that is too fast for me, and for 3 of the 4 I did a 150 instead), 3 x 100 IM on 2:00 (subbed freestyle for breast as necessary so as not to fall too bar behind), 4 x 50 as first round flutter kick on back, second round doggy-paddle down and freestyle back

50 double-arm back cooldown

2200 yards total

Friday, April 26, 2013


My laptop is at the repair shop and it has slightly disrupted normal posting patterns....

Midday spin: 40min. Spin teacher J. was "doored" on her bike on Sunday, went hard over the door and has concussion, bruised ribs, whiplash and limited mobility on left-hand side. I was there early to get a longer workout but instead was very happy to help new class members with bike fit, as it did not seem right for J. to have to bend down and adjust things! Ugh - hope she is better soon - glad it wasn't worse, though I think concussion really is terrible.

Tomorrow I need to go to Philadelphia for family visiting plus the memorial service for a favorite teacher of mine from high school. Day off from exercise, but probably fairly tiring, so the only workout I'm planning to do on Sunday is midday swim.

Evening: hot yoga!

40min spin
1.5hr hot yoga

Thursday, April 25, 2013


I love the swim workouts at City College! There have been a few different coaches, all good - but really it's the pool situation, it's much superior to Columbia back in the day, we have 90 minutes and all six lanes, it's fantastic. At Columbia we were often compressed into 4 lanes due to diving practice, which meant that I either I had to swim in wayward slow lane or try and hang on the back of a lane with faster swimmers doing their 100 freestyle on 1:50. I will get faster, though, once I am swimming quite a bit again.

Not sure I am reproducing this exactly right - I was in solitary splendor in lane 5 (another swimmer not doing the workout was also solitary in lane 6 - coach nicely asked if I wanted to swim in lane 4, but really I think I was better off following slightly slower sendoffs!), and this meant that sometimes I was doing only 3 when others did 4. Something like this, anyway....

Warmup: 500 free, every third length back

3 x (25 free easy, 25 stroke moderate, 25 free hard, 25 stroke easy): fly, back, breast

The goal of the main set was to give you a feel for pace. First we did a 50 on its own, at 70% effort, and registered the time (:55 for me). Then we did (substitute 4 for the 3s and it all looks more logical - something like 1:00 rest between each piece of the workout):

4 x 50 on 10 seconds rest, maintaining :55
4 x 100 (2:20) broken at the 50 and maintaining :55 for second split
3 x 200 (4:30) broken for 10 seconds at the 150 and again making :55 for the final split
2 x 400 broken for 10 seconds at the 350, ditto

150 double-arm back

4 x 100 with second 50 negative split as per main set

It was good!

3400 yards total


I'm in such a good mood - it is absolutely ideal running weather, high fifties and sunny and clear with low humidity. Ran over to Central Park and did the whole loop. Numbers approximate as I turned off Garmin while waiting for a light and forgot to turn it back on again for a while. Lovely!

c. 8mi, c. 1:24, 10:30/mi. avg pace

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Writing from the Lamont campus on 9W, waiting for shuttle to Morningside campus.  Almost put bike venture off again this am, but weather is perfect and unpleasant feeling of procrastination was worse than cycling-related anxiety.  Rode to junction where you turn for Haverstraw, then back through Nyack.  Bucolic here - a deer crossed the road in front of me, which is not surprising, but more to my amazement there is a wild turkey hanging around the parking lot!

2:14, 28.5mi. - it is pretty hilly, so that is not alarmingly slow.  Anxiety spikes riding uphill next to precipices...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Various people who know me will be laughing as they read this - but I have rediscovered my love of swimming! Best thing ever! Don't know quite how I forgot that - perhaps it was necessary to enable me to prioritize spin classes? Anyway, not sure I remember all the sendoffs, but workout was along the following lines. Shared a lane with just one other guy who was easy to swim with - it is very nice for me when there is a slowish lane 5, as lane 6 usually has people not really doing the workout, but if lane 5 is on super-fast sendouts I can't make, there's nothing to do but work around people resting at the end of every length or otherwise swimming waywardly in the dreaded lane 6...

Warmup: 150 free, 200 IM drill-kick by 25, 150 kick

Set #1: 8 x 75 back with fins as 2 x (4 x 75 on 1:40 - too much rest for me given the fins - (1) kick (2) kick-kick-swim (3) kick-swim-swim (4) swim)

+ 2 x 50 freestyle build

Main set: 2x

4 x 75 pull on 1:40
4 x 25 stroke on :40
4 x 75 free on 1:40
4 x 25 stroke descending on 1:00

Did fly for first time through, back for second. It was great! Lanes 1-4 had 125s instead of 75s and 50s instead of 25s, which I was eyeing slightly longingly, but I would not have had time to do the whole set twice through....

100 easy cooldown

2900 yards total

Hot yoga!

That was super. I had already last night talked myself out of ambitious bike-riding today, but my rationalizations were confirmed when today proved cold and rainy. I've really missed the hot yoga - henceforth I should be able to maintain twice a week, more when I'm in Cayman (but I won't bother with it for the week I'm in London later in May.

Could feel muscular fatigue in legs as residue of last few days' swimming, and balance on the harder standing poses was more challenging than usual (very wobbly in standing bow pose, which is always a hard one to get right), but really it all felt good.

1.5hr hot yoga

Monday, April 22, 2013


I was so tired last night that I realized the only thing to do was go to bed without setting an alarm (I never can go to sleep till late, so it's important now and again to get the high-quality later morning sleep rather than making myself get up earlier than is realistic!). Slightly chagrined to wake up and realize it was 10 o'clock already, but on the other hand I was bursting with energy and felt normal for the first time in weeks, so I think it was the right choice.

Really there is no reason to do SBR all on the same day in training, for endurance training you would more often be better off just doing one sport for 2-3 hours or perhaps at most 2. But on the other hand it is good fun, they go so well together, and I also always feel (to use the phrase beloved of yoga teachers) that it is a good way to "seal my intention" - so I ran down to Chelsea Piers for spin, then (hahahahaha, this was funny!) TAUGHT the spin class as we were short a teacher (I hope she is OK, further investigation suggested that she was in a car accident over the weekend but I am much hoping that it was minor), then met Lauren in the pool for a short swim.

:52 run (c. 5.2mi)
:50 spin (very high HR for whole time, though wasn't pedaling hard, due to adrenalin of leading the class!)
800 yards swim (4 x 100 as free, fly drill, free, free, then 400 kick with board)

Then it was 2pm and I'd only eaten a Clif bar between run and spin - have eaten lunch and dinner in the interim but am thinking I may have to have a small second dinner....

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I am still flattened with fatigue, but the swim workout was super (I didn't make it back out to yoga yesterday, and I didn't make it out this morning for a run either - got up at the appointed hour and felt so little up for it that I basically just went back to bed!). Amazing how much aerobic fitness just carries over to swimming, assuming you have basics of technique down - I felt ridiculously strong and energetic, especially towards the end. (Lanemate was relieved to learn in locker room afterwards that I was pointed towards Ironman, she said she felt daunted by how energetic my final hundred of IM was in comparison to hers but that it made sense I would have good stamina!)

May run later, or go to yoga, not quite sure - my nose is very runny post-swim, but in every other respect I feel much better than I did earlier. Might be I should just try and get on top of all the miscellaneous minor bits of business I've lost track of due to too much traveling.

In NYC through May 8. Cycling and swimming are a priority; running is very nice here at this time of year, but cycling is the huge imperative and swim workouts are what I don't have such good access to in Cayman, so I'm basically thinking of the next two weeks as a bike-swim training camp sort of situation - will do as much of both as I reasonably can. 10 days in Cayman and then a week in London for my cousin's wedding and family visiting - I am going to take spin shoes and swim stuff and try and have 2 days at the YMCA there, otherwise it will be mostly running that week.

City College is really easy for me to get to, and having a 90-minute workout is much superior to a 60-minute, which is what all the old Columbia TNYA ones were.

Warmup (approximate): c. 400 yards free with every third length back

8 x 50 stroke drill/free by 25, odds backstroke streamline, evens breast 1 pull/2 kick

Main set:

(1) 100, 200, 300, 400 freestyle pull
(2) 100, 200, 300 IM (last one as 3 x 100, not 300 straight)
(3) 100, 200 pull
(4) 100 IM

What did we do then for bits and bobs at end? Maybe 200 easy double-arm backstroke, then 3 x 50 underwater down (I can only make it halfway without bobbing up and taking a breath), freestyle back.

c. 3400 yards

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Double spin!

It was something of a miracle that I made it there at all, as I am still rather flattened by fatigue - this was the scaled-down version, after I turned off several alarms etc. Very happy to be back at Chelsea Piers. Also keen to do hot yoga later, but first I think a nap!

2hr spin

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Beautiful run

Weary from too much traveling - sure sign of frazzle (I think I was upset about Boston too) is that I seem to have left my Kindle in the seat pocket on the plane yesterday, have filed lost property report with Delta and will see if it is retrievable when I fly home tomorrow. (Easily replaceable if not - cost of doing business?)

But a very lovely run in Portland, Maine this morning along the bay - very lucky to have had three weeks in a row of running along water in various cities. Beautiful weather here today - sunny, clear, maybe even 60F.

1hr/c. 6mi

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Very good hour on a remarkably fancy spin bike at the Club One down the street, which was beautiful and deserted (San Francisco business district really empties out on weekends). I packed well for this trip, I brought everything I needed and I used everything I brought - only I found myself at the gym having left HR monitor and strap in my hotel room! Wasn't worth going back for it, didn't want to lose momentum, and I had an extremely good workout anyway - fanciness of bike resides in fact that it tells you what to do! 10 x 2:30 work, 2:30 recovery, with mix of seated and standing sprints and climbs, jumps, etc.

Long day of travel ahead - will shower and breakfast in hotel restaurant, then head out to airport probably around 10:45. I won't be home in NYC till 11pm, I fear. Pleased that this week wasn't a null in terms of exercise - I had just under 4 and a half hours, 2 bikes and 2 runs, so I think that is certainly adequate to maintain fitness if not to balance out the large quantities of candy, alcohol, Cheez-Its, etc. that I have consumed this week.

One more trip this week, Maine Tuesday through Thursday, but I am hugely looking forward to digging in at home after that for three weeks of massive triathlon training and book revision!

1hr spin (10 x 2:30 work, 2:30 recovery)

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Just a short one, but it totally turned my mood around: I woke up feeling weary and rather homesick, now I feel calm and mildly elated! The weather here is just so perfect - low 50s, sunny - really ideal running weather.

I have been passing this rather alluring fitness center every day since I got here, but after prowling round it several times still hadn't been able to identify an actual entrance - but today it dawned on me that really I would have to go upstairs, I did and went in to check out equipment and they do indeed have spin bikes with cleats on the cardio floor. I had been slightly bemoaning to myself that my flight tomorrow isn't till 1:30 - won't be home till evening, really, and am sure I will be very tired at that point. And I shouldn't run three days in a row given that I haven't been running that much. But now I can go to that gym for 8am opening and do a 2-hour ride, still with plenty of time to shower and change and pack and get a taxi around 10:45 or 11 to the airport. (Flight isn't till 1:30 so really that's a ton of time.)

Taking Caltrain to Sunnydale a bit later this morning to spend the day with friends, then my reading is this evening - I slightly have my eye on a 4:30pm yoga class, but will see how the day goes, it may be that relaxed scheduling means I wouldn't get onto an early enough train to make it back in time. But I will bring my stuff with me in case I can make it work - the yoga studio is very near to the bar where the reading will be.

c. 35min, c. 3.5mi

Friday, April 12, 2013

Running bliss!

OK, that was super-nice, and has put me into an excellent mood - a beautiful 9-mile run along the Embarcadero in San Francisco! It is so pretty that I actually stopped at one point to take a photo, only the SD card in my phone isn't working properly. Ran along the waterfront to Fort Mason Park. Perfect running weather - low 50s and sunny, pleasant hint of cool in the air. So good!

(Was terribly tired yesterday when I got in - got up at 4am to fly, flight delayed almost 2 hours, just a long day of travel. But the jet lag works advantageously in this direction, making it easy to get up and have a good morning workout.)

1.5hr/c. 9mi.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I haven't ridden much if at all over the winter, the ride over to the park is still rather harrowing - it's not dangerous, just that there are so many vans, trucks, taxis, etc. parked across the lane one would otherwise be riding in! Very nice once I am in the park, though - beautiful warm day today, and the new bike lane system they have put in Central Park is much superior to the previous arrangement. Cut ride a little short as I was anxious to get on with my day - hosting a party for 100+ people tonight to celebrate publication of new book, and still have a few things to acquire....

San Francisco this weekend, then Portland, ME for a couple days next week, but by a week from Friday I'm home and should be able to have a good training block (just under three weeks till I go to Cayman again May 9). Bike anxiety desensitization a priority - I am going to try and ride my bike every day, shooting to swim and run 3x week each as well but a lot of biking really is the overriding need.

1:13/18.12mi/14.8mph avg pace

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Marginal Road

My annual eighteenth-century studies conference is very worthwhile but very tiring! Had hoped to run twice, but it was not realistic. However I did manage to take last night "off" - got up at 7 to eat breakfast, attended 8am panel and then was able to head out later morning for a long run.

I'm in Cleveland, very industrial downtown landscape - got a good route tip from front desk clerk, ran over to the lakefront and along the aptly named Marginal Road. Traffic-free, deserted: some vultures, gulls and geese, plus one body of very dead cat. Garmin battery was dead almost right away, but it was just over 1.5hr on time, definitely 9 miles. Temperature mid-40s, some cloud cover but not much wind: really pretty much ideal running weather.

At these conferences, there never seems to be enough oxygen in the air of the meetings rooms: I felt very happy and refreshed almost right away. It is good!

c. 1.5hr, c. 9mi.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Wasn't sure I would have time, and couldn't afford the full hour, but was very glad to get out there, though my hands are still so cold I can hardly type - it is very sunny but slightly freezingly cold and with a bitter wind! Highly worthwhile, anyway, though I should have worn gloves and possibly even another longsleeved layer. Now I have to shower and get dressed and go back out for a meeting and an interview and this!

39:30, 4mi.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Didn't do the double, one class was fine. I am nearly finished with this essay that has been lingering on my desk a long time, I think if I do one more hour of work now I can send it out tonight....

1hr spin

Hot yoga!

My day is going well - if I do one more stint of work, then I can go to the allergy doctor and straight from there to evening spin at Chelsea Piers. (With an initial stop before I get on the subway to acquire a HALF-PRICE CHOCOLATE EGG from Mondel. Possibly I should have gotten this on the way home, then I could be eating it right now and preventing my afternoon from losing momentum!)

1.5hr hot yoga