Friday, May 31, 2013


I was really discouraged on Wednesday and Thursday; I got up early both days in order to exercise and then just couldn't get myself out of the house, and was too tired (and hot!) by later in the day to make it happen then either. Really this means that I am too tired and should take the day off, but I felt very glum, both due to lacking beneficial effects of exercise and to thinking that I am an idiot to think I should train for an Ironman when I don't even want to get out of the house for a short run!

However I had a Long Sleep last night, didn't set the alarm and let myself sleep as long as I needed (11 hours), and I felt glorious when I got up - full of energy and keen on the idea of triathlon again. Rode my bike down to Chelsea Piers for Joanna's midday spin - super-glad to be back in there, I love that class - and then had a very nice swim afterwards too.

Dropping my bike near Penn Station for tomorrow's ride was a pain in the ass, partly because they were disorganized (tell cyclists they can drop off their bikes from 3 to 7, then don't even set up the registration table until 3:30, and you will have many very grumpy riders) but also because it was SO BLOODY HOT! Standing in blazing sun on an exposed midtown sidewalk with the heat radiating up off of it is not enjoyable - I downed a 20-oz. bottle of water once I'd finally got to the front of the line (it was more than an hour's wait) and another 20-oz. bottle of Gatorade before I got on the subway, now on my second can of seltzer.

Tomorrow's ride is going to be warm but very flat, I will bail if I really and truly overheat or have mental cycling breakdown but I'm optimistic that it will be OK. Early start tomorrow - 4:30am rendezvous at Penn Station....

My swim set was lovely - in this weather swimming is the best, the feeling of cool water on skin is very calming. I did a little set that I saw here (I am keen to do the 4 x 600 main set also, but today was not the day).

Warmup: 100 swim, 100 pull, 100 kick

5 x 100 (1) 100 free (2) 25 fly 75 free (3) 50 back 50 free (4) 75 breast 25 free (5) 100 free
5 x 100 (1) 100 free (2) 25 breast 75 free (3) 50 back 50 free (4) 75 fly (!) 25 free (5) 100 free
200 flutter kick with every fourth length whip


:55 spin (2 x 10min climb)
1500 yards swim

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Home run

Very happy to be back at home. Keen to be TRAINING properly, but my lungs are not quite right, I think they never quite got 100% after that thing early in the month & then travel, missed sleep, allergies, etc. kept 'em vulnerable. Weather forecast for this week is truly dreadful - it is supposed to be 90 and humid for entire second half of the week. I will consider this week 0 of triathlon training....

1hr, 6mi

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Belated brief run report

Rewarding but tiring day attending wedding things. Did get out for brief run in the morning, and the weather has totally turned (more imp for wedding than for running!): brisk but sunny earlier, and then turned into absolutely lovely day. Just did 30 min. out and back, I would say 3mi. (I was running with B., which makes me keep my pace and cadence up - my huffing and puffing system is clearly not quite as it should be, need to make it a priority to see that lung doctor when I am back in NYC).

.5hr, c. 3mi.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Just a short one - the weather is dreadful, freezing cold and pouring rain (hands and arms so cold as I write this that I can hardly type properly). We didn't get out this morning (stayed out too late last night having drinks with friends and family!) but it seemed to me worthwhile at least to have a short slow one - pavement very slippery and covered with huge puddles...

35 min., c. 3+mi.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


That was lovely: exercise v. beneficial. We are staying at a nice but no-frills hotel, no fitness center, but there is an expensive but absolutely beautiful one next door. Not cheap for a day pass, but worth every penny!

1hr spin
1000m swim (a beautiful 25m lane pool that I had entirely to myself - not quite as elegant as the one at the Hyatt in Buenos Aires, which really was the pinnacle of hotel pools, but absolutely fully 100% amazing for a workout (300 warmup with free every third length back, 100 fly drill, 100 breast drill-swim by 25; 5 x 100 as odds free evens IM)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Short run

Nice but scant - we were shooting for an hour, found a good path along the south side of the Thames from our hotel at London County Hall - but I had mild digestive woes and had to find a bathroom around the half-hour mark, and by the time I had located one and used it, it seemed counterintuitive to fire things back up again. Jet lag and general discombobulation has made it difficult to exercise, but it is a priority to get in at least some short bits over the next couple days....

.5hr, c. 3mi

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The puddle club

Spinervals 42.0: Quads on Fire. I like this one, though I really have to do it at lower effort levels than Coach Troy recommends. I did the first long intervals at top of zone 3/zone 4 and found myself questioning my motivation to stay on the bike, so I eased off for the next set!

2 x 12min z3/4, 2:00 recovery

2 x 8min z3, 1:30 recovery

2 x 6min z3/4, 1:00 recovery

3 x 1:00 all out, 1:00 recovery


Total volume for the week (really five days, as I skipped Thursday altogether and probably won't do anything tomorrow after I get to London, barring perhaps a bit of a walk or an easy run), just over 7.5hr - not great, but acceptable. I had imagined having a large-volume week, but the combination of coming off the respiratory ailment plus need to finish book manuscript limited my ability to get it done; I think the transition from NYC to Cayman also takes a while to get used to (really there are great opportunities here for fitness, but my New York routine is a little easier and more comfortable). I rather wish I was just flying HOME now, but since I am going to another country, it is very nice that B. is coming with me!

Friday, May 17, 2013


Very nice masters swim this morning. Really masters swim is probably my favorite thing other than running - it is good. Got some useful stroke advice from the coach - the sight of my flat left arm smacking down into the water was enough to prompt him to get me out of the pool and give me some coaching on deck! It is the fault of the flat freestyle I learned in the 1970s, plus the fact that I'm so much a rightie - if I really concentrate, I can get it right, but in general my pull on that side is much worse than on the right.

Can't say exactly what we did to start, it was bits and bobs (I was a little late getting over there - it seemed more trouble than it was worth to dig my bike out from behind things, but it's a longer walk than I quite remember), let's say 1600m total. I didn't exercise this week nearly as much as I'd hoped, but it was for the good reason that I have been working very hard on book revisions - hoping to get new version to my editor before I leave tomorrow evening for London.

Misc. drill, including some kick and some 75s as one-arm, catch-up, technique swim

Main set: 6 x 150 descending in pairs (3:16, 3:13; no time, 3:08; 3:03, 3:00)

c. 1600m

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hot yoga

That was good. Not surprisingly, the 75-minute class gives a much better approximation of the 90-minute than the 60-minute one can do.

1.25hr hot yoga

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Very happy to have finally had what I call a really good day of exercise! 1hr evening masters swim at Camana Bay.

Warmup: 400m

Preliminary set: 3 x (4 x 25 free) (1) catch-up (2) fast breakout (3) fast finish (4) sprint second half

Main set: 12 x 50 on 1:15 as 2 fast, 1 slow; 12 x 50 on 1:15 as 1 fast, 2 slow

100 cooldown

2000 meters

Hot yoga!

Just the 1hr class - it is awkwardly truncated, but really it was quite enough, I haven't been doing enough hot yoga to retain heat acclimation! Obviously there is such a thing as Bikram yoga in London, but I think that I will be better off concentrating my resources there on getting some triathlon sessions in. I'll hope to hit some more hot classes here this week before we travel on Saturday.

1hr hot yoga

Warm little run!

I should really have done an hour, but I don't have good heat acclimation! Now, at 7:30, it's 81F and 83% relative humidity - really if I want to do the full hour, I need to get out the door earlier than 6:30 (ugh) and also with more than just one small bottle of water. Live and learn - very good to be running again, nevertheless, after more than a week's layoff. My Garmin isn't working properly - yesterday it had low battery, so I thought I'd recharged overnight, but it was still giving the low battery message this morning, and then it froze on the screen where you change sports - need to look online to see if there is an obvious way to reset.

44:45, c. 4+mi., zone 2 (on feel)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Back in the saddle

Huge relief to be able to exercise again! Lungs still weren't quite right yesterday, though much better, but today I figured it was time to give it a go. Ugh, that was not the week I'd imagined having - though it must be said that it was a very good week in all sorts of other respects, so I shouldn't complain.

Tomorrow I'll run first thing in the morning (it will be somewhat horrible as I have little heat acclimation), midday yoga, evening masters swim as B. has a triathlon committee meeting. (Usually Tuesday evening is sacrosanct - steak night at Fidel Murphy's!)

1hr spin (3 x :15 sprint, 1:45 recovery, with 5:00 set rest)

Friday, May 10, 2013


It was premature to return to hot yoga - after 10 minutes, as we reached the so-called "awkward series," I realized I should call it a day and go home! Frustration - I think I will need tomorrow 'properly' off too (unless there is a gentle yoga class of some sort), what a waste of a week...

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Made it to Cayman safely, but the inevitable consequence of Sunday's anxiety/wheezing situation is that I now have a minor lung ailment. Don't think I should swim tomorrow morning, alas, but if I feel the same or slightly better, I think I'll go to 10:30am hot yoga. This is frustrating, but all part of the learning process I suppose. Interesting to have such an incredibly clear demonstration of how the kind of respiratory strain that comes with anxiety-triggered asthma on top of strenuous physical exertion produces inflammation and then infection.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hot yoga!

Recovery week, with travels on Thursday. Very happy to be back at yoga, I miss it when I don't do it. Got a good night's sleep and am hoping lungs will survive yesterday's adrenal system stress more or less unscathed.

1.5hr hot yoga

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Swings, roundabouts

Well, I had a fascinating and highly enjoyable day, but I must say right up front that I bailed on the ride at the mile 27 aid station! I was agonizing beforehand about whether to switch from the long course to the short course, but on balance I thought it worth trying for the long course (79.6 vs. 37, with - I know, I know, why did I think I could ride so much? - almost 2000 meters of climbing for the long ride); the particular incentive was to see whether it might be a ride I could go back and do on my own as a training ride. (It started right at the Metro-North station in Cold Spring, i.e. place I can get to with bicycle on public transportation.) In fact NOT - course was safe because of lots of sheriffs at intersections, but there are lots of turns across traffic on main roads, lots of stretches with no shoulder, and worst of all VERY STEEP HILLS!

So my cycling anxiety has been significantly relieved over the past six months, mostly just because my general anxiety levels have been so much more manageable. I consider it a minor triumph that I rode my bike this morning to the train at 125th and Lexington - it is true, light traffic only on a Sunday morning at 7:30am, but in prior years I would have taken subway to Grand Central so as to avoid that ride, even if it meant getting up a whole hour earlier. (I didn't ride home, as late-afternoon traffic is too wacky for me and there's no good route - nice livery car driver let me take bike in back seat with me when it wouldn't fit in the trunk, even after I took the front wheel off.)

I had some spikes of anxiety the other week riding hills around Nyack, but I attributed it (I now see erroneously) to the fact of riding next to PRECIPICES - I always complain about this, why couldn't they build all roads (as it were) clockwise around mountains so that when you are riding uphill you are riding with your right-hand-side to the WALL rather than to the PRECIPICE? I was very happy that the Putnam ride turned out not to be precipicey - it is a more domestic enclosed landscape - but clearly it's not the precipice as such, it's just the combination of feelings you get riding up a hill. HR is very high on a long steep hill, even in granny gear (someone said there were 4 12% gradient hills on the course, no idea if this is right but it is MASSIVELY hilly), and the feeling of breathing hard just seems to trigger an anxiety that only partly subsides thereafter. The immediate bad consequence of this is that anxiety is unpleasant and affects the entire body, and the other medium-term consequence is that anxiety triggers asthma - my lungs were increasingly tender and I felt very overwhelmed with the whole experience. Not in the "this is physically strenuous, just keep plugging on through it" way, nor in the "I am having low morale but it will rise in a while" way, more in the "what is the best choice to salvage this ride?"

I rolled into the 27-mile aid station as pretty much the last rider on the long route (I really should have done short, of course that's also what the slower riders will gravitate to and it was disheartening when I split off and lost the 5-6 riders I'd been in front of, then toiled alone up a MASSIVE hill!), and proclaiming, sincerely, "I should have done the short course, this is too much!" It was my good fortune that this station wasn't being run by random volunteers, but rather by an experienced cyclist who had driven the course to mark it the day before and who could see that I was not being irrational! I think there is a tendency in these situations for well-meaning people to say "you can do it!," but he made a split-second assessment and agreed with me, informing me that they were wrapping up the feed zone right then and that I would be welcome to ride with them as they patrolled the course.

This was so clearly the sensible thing to do that I gave it not a moment's thought before accepting the offer. I am hoping lungs are not going to have been so wrecked that I'll come down with something, but they are certainly quite sore still, and it was good to bring the stress to a halt. In fact he was a cycling buccaneer, and it was fascinating driving the course with him - I have never been in the SAG vehicle on a cycling course - it was interesting seeing what sorts of trouble different cyclists get into, but we also helped another guy finish - it was an extraordinary day! - this fellow had ill-advisedly raced a criterium early this morning and then set out on this ride too, and his legs were cramping terribly. He held on to the passenger-side car window with his left arm and we pulled him up all the hills! He must have had nerves of steel, that is what I would never be able to do - and the looks on the faces of the other cyclists toiling up these huge and endless hills was really one of the most memorable things I have ever seen (really when we see strange things in a race we should give them the benefit of the doubt rather than getting angry). This guy really needed to get back to the finish and there was simply no other obvious way for it to happen. (It was just a Volvo station wagon, with 2 people in front, me in the back and a huge table and two bicycles and all the other aid station stuff - I thought we probably could have crammed in one more person, but one more bicycle was perhaps a trickier matter.)

I met some great folks on the train up there and rode home with them as well, the team from Transportation Alternatives. Finally, it was the most absolutely gorgeous weather imaginable, perfect cycling weather (high 40s but very sunny and clear first thing in the morning, and then rising to mid-50s), and there were quite a few stretches in the first hour where I thought "Gosh, I really do see why people like cycling so much, this is great!"

Anyway, 27mi, 2:14, 12.1mph, and lessons learned for future experimentation. It is frustrating to be hampered in this way, and there is really only so much I can do about it, but what I think I can do when I am back in NYC at the end of May is have 2 rides a week in NY/NJ. Wednesday: take bus to Lamont campus for a long ride of 3-4 hours (plus whatever additional time I need on a spin bike at Chelsea Piers - there is a route I can do that I think I am comfortable enough with, but I know from past experience riding with Lauren that some of the precipices past Haverstraw and near Bear Mountain make me feel very unpleasantly panicky - the training plan I'm loosely following builds to a 6-hour ride, but as a slow cyclist I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to shoot for 6:30 instead, and this is I think the best way for me to do it). And another weekday to ride hill repeats in Alpine - it is a very steep longish hill, I should be able at least to desensitize to some of the unpleasantness. I still haven't recently ridden back over the GWB, but whereas I think the approach from this side is truly not something I will surmount, the other side is much more manageable - straight ride onto the bridge, none of this nonsense with ramps and hairpin bends, and of course it is always easier riding HOME than riding AWAY....

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Double spin

That was good. Rode my bike down - left it a little too late to run down, unfortunately. Path very crowded on a weekend day once the weather is nice!

10mi round trip
1:55 spin

Friday, May 3, 2013

Blissful day of exercise!

The weather is just gorgeous - not too hot, low 60s and sunny and crisp in the air. Rode my bike down to Chelsea Piers for midday spin class, then had a short swim afterwards (last night's swim practice was canceled), showered and ate a snack in the cafe and then rode home. This is my "load" week - I'm going to do double spin tomorrow as well as the challenging ride Sunday, then it's some very easy days to follow (and to get myself organized to get out of town).

10mi round trip Chelsea Piers
1hr spin
1000 yards swim (200 free, 200 kick, 200 pull, 4 x 100 stroke in IM order as 50 kick, 25 drill, 25 swim)

Thursday, May 2, 2013


OK, that was super-nice. I curtailed my more ambitious initial plan, as the flowering trees in Central Park yesterday gave me a huge day of allergies after my bike ride - I had thought of doing 2 x 5mi upper loop (it's 1mi each way to park, that would have given me 12mi/2hr), but the pollen was overwhelming, so I ran out of the park after the first round and back over to Riverside, where the trees are less flowery, to do a couple more miles.

Other things of minor note:

-ran into C. just north of boathouse! We stopped to catch up briefly - he is coming back to running after a 9-month layoff due to the evil sciatica, so we will try to run together on Wednesday next week before I leave town

-alas, this iteration of the running shoe I've been using for the last four or so years is hopeless! It has a very stiff interior plastic bit on inside left heel that is persistently giving me a blister, even with Bodyglide on the spot and after I've softened the shoes up by running some miles in them. I think I have to switch to something different - might hit the triathlon store later today if I have time. I have some pull-on tri running shoes that have worked well for me, so it may be I will just switch to those as primary pair. But this pair must be demoted to gym wear - I was hobbling once I stopped running!

- HR monitor very unreliable for first half-hour, though it settles in after that. Might have to try using that electrode gel to get a better connection right away? Also - chafing!

- note to self - top priority of training is not to do anything that courts respiratory ailments! Running shorter/elsewhere will always be a better idea than stubbornly hewing to initial plan and then getting sick...

- note to self - left knee rather sore last night and during first mile of run today; also, lower right calf stiff. Might start doing those calf stretches again.

1:24:41/8.61mi. (9:50/mi.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Park ride

I managed to talk myself out of riding on the other side of the Hudson, mostly for good reasons (I have an epic ride on Sunday, so legs and lungs really don't need another epic one today, and also various minor important business to conduct as I wait for my computer to get repaired at the shop). Rode in the park instead, and it was very nice: absolutely perfect weather, sunny and crisp and just approaching 60F as I was finishing. Logjam in lower end of park appreciably increases as morning advances (last lap was noticeably slower due to crowding), and really I should get out there a little earlier. Alas, the dictates of speed and the dictates of safety and traffic law (the latter two are not always identical either, unfortunately) are significantly at odds. I chatted with a cyclist on Harlem Hill who'd just been ticketed for riding through a light, but it is very hard to see what the best way of managing things is - the whole thing reads as "park" rather than "road," and pedestrians ignore lights too....

HR readings seem quite inaccurate, especially in first part of ride - not sure what to do about this.

1:41, 24.12mi, avg 14.2mph