Tuesday, July 30, 2013


BEAUTIFUL running weather finally (this is about the only day this summer that I could say such a thing!). Would have been even better if I'd gotten out earlier, but though I was up earlier, I went back to bed for meditation and a nap. Upper 70s, but low humidity & gorgeous fresh breezy feeling - I had almost forgotten that it could be like that here....

Snail's pace I'm afraid - lungs felt rather raw in first 10 minutes, and though it was better once I'd warmed up, I figured I'd best take it easy. Legs a bit tired from yesterday, not too bad though - back very tight and a bit sore, I need to do daily stretching! (I was too tired to do it last night, that was a mistake.) Strange how running is so enjoyable even with these minor aches (oh, and terrible chafing under front band of sports bra!) - low humidity makes such a beneficial difference.

I realize I have slightly misconceived this week. I had it as slightly amorphous still-build-but-also-race-and-travel week, but I think that given travel time (it's maybe 7-8hr drive each way) and the fact that I will be racing for c. 7hr on Saturday (that's just ballpark, I don't have a keen idea of times/paces), I need to take it easier for the next couple days. I won't try and swim this afternoon as originally planned; tomorrow I'll just perhaps have a short run and/or swim, then swim/spin first thing Thursday morning.

(This is the race we're doing. It is a tiny race, like maybe only thirty people! I did a double-take of horror when I first looked at last year's results - middle column numbers prompted me to think "Wait, I thought this was a short not-too-hilly bike!" - then I realized that times were cumulative rather than broken down, phew. In fact I think the bike course this year is shortened from 35 to 30 due to construction somewhere - so that is a truly Davidsonian race, 3.5mi swim, 30mi bike, 13.1mi run! I won't be fast, but it should be a great training day, and a very good chance to take my new bike out for a spin!)

1:30, 8.03 (Central Park loop), c. 11:14 pace

Monday, July 29, 2013

Long ride #9

First half: sublime. Middle interlude: anxiety-producing! Second half: psychologically taxing due to lingering effects of anxiety.

My legs remained very strong, really I feel that physically I am ready to go LONG, but once I have a fit of anxiety, I become increasingly unable to do the thing that is always rather hard for me - namely, to get back on my bike and ride through the intersection after I have stopped at a light! Once that ability is really eroded by mental fatigue, I feel an increasingly strong urge to cut the ride short, for obvious reasons.

(All my long rides in this training block have been a bit short, I pretty much just had to resign myself to it - #7 was 4:15 rather than 4:30 due to heat, #8 was 4:53 rather than 5hr and today's was 5:07 rather than 5:30 - I had already done an out-and-back beforehand, I did do another good out-and-back but the feeling of going away from the "home" of where I get the bus got the better of me, plus aforementioned intersections issue; I turned around a little short of where I had gotten to on the first one!)

The strange thing is that Ironman training as I have been doing it is relatively short in duration - so that is my last really long ride on 9W for this season of training. I have one more big block of training, but it will be done in Cayman: so I am shooting for 5.5hr on 8/11, 6hr on 8/17 and 6.5hr on 8/25. Will do one more 3hr ride on 9W the week I'm back at the end of August, but it's taper by then, so no more huge long ones. This is good as the terrain is mentally taxing to me - I had a dreadful time today coming back up the "ramp of evil" at Haverstraw, the ramp itself wasn't bad and I made it through the intersection at the top without having to stop, which is always helpful, but the NEXT intersection pretty much stymied me - the light turned red, I stopped, it's a horrible configuration for me (anxiety already running very high due to this ramp and steep elevation change, brief ride on shoulder of 9W in very trafficky and truck-heavy stretch and then the intersection leaves you on a steep uphill to cross, with an even steeper hill rising up on your right). I must confess that if a car had pulled up beside me and said "I will take you home right now!" I would not have hesitated! However really if I did not do my ride today, I would have to do it AGAIN tomorrow, so that was not really an option. I walked my bike across the intersection, as I simply could not persuade myself to get on it as it was, took a few puffs of asthma inhaler and collected myself and got back on to ride up the hill.

Anyway, it was really a good ride, and I have saved the best part for last. I was thinking very much of two of Joanna's pieces of advice - "9 and 3" on the rare occasions of coasting without pedaling, "heel down." And I am sure both were beneficial. But my single huge mission for the ride was to ride as much as seemed sensible or feasible in the big ring, and it was amazing! My average speed is strikingly faster, in fact this sort of explains why I have been so slow on my long rides - I really thought I should be riding a bit faster, but it is easy to put it down to (a) too many pounds and (b) poor descending skills. This is transformative - I really think I may be able to ride 15mph at IMWI, actually....

5:03:48 (rolling time), 73.4mi, 14.3mph (compared to 13.0mph last week in very similar weather conditions)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

And to round out the week

an illuminating and useful coaching session on the new tri bike, in Prospect Park, with cycling coach par excellence Joanna Paterson. Too much even for me to try and write about here, I think. My general cycling anxieties are the same as my tri bike cycling anxieties, only exacerbated by newness to the machine. In a way I am surprised by how comfortable I am, in brief moments of ideal setting - switching from aero to upright and vice versa is a lot less stressful than I imagined it would be, for instance, and this bike really feels great in the aero position. But I think it is likely that I just don't have enough time to ride it between now and September to make myself as mentally comfortable as I now am on my other bike - I'm definitely pretty strongly leaning towards taking my road bike to Wisconsin.

(I'll be in Cayman for much of August, and I really wouldn't consider traveling with a bike, it is way too much trouble! Which means that all my riding there will be indoors or on the road bike I have there. Away Aug. 8-27, and have to drop off bike with TriBike Trnasport on Aug. 30, so I really only have a handful more days to ride it in this next stretch of weeks.)

There are so many things to think about on a long ride like that, and I don't have enough time to try out different solutions for hydration/calories/inhaler/seat comfort etc. on this bike, whereas I totally have it down for the other - let's say that worry beforehand and anxiety during are X on my road bike, even the most optimistic assessment is that they are 1.1X or 1.2X on the tri bike, and it might be more than that - I have never changed a tube on this bike, I don't know how uncomfortable the saddle will be if I ride half aero and half upright for eight hours, etc. etc.

Anyway, really interesting, and I think I will have one more session with Joanna, on my road bike if that's the one I go with, at the end of the month. And I am happy to say that I WILL ride my new bike for the triathlon next weekend, as it's only a 34mi. bike (unorthodox "even-up" triathlon, with 3.4mi swim, 34mi bike and 13.1mi run, i.e. the premise is that a fast person would spend about 1.5hr on each leg!), and I really am enjoying riding it - this will have few racers and quiet country roads, it won't be as chaotic as things are at start/finish/aid stations of a huge triathlon. Long trip up there - we'll leave Thursday night and get back very late Sunday. Thus attempt to pack a lot of training into the next few days...

Notes to self - things to remember from this session

when coasting, feet in 3 & 9 position, knees in
don't be afraid to ride in the big ring, the strength is there, it gives power with an added bonus of stability!

1hr coaching (c. 10mi.)


Hahaha, I am RIDICULOUS - it is the running theme of this summer's blog posts that I have no willpower in the morning, either about getting up in the first place or about getting out of the house for a run once I am up. This morning was no exception! I meant to run 2hr early, then shower/refuel/digest before noon swim practice, but it was not meant to be. At some point I realized that really I could run with swim stuff in trail backpack and basically just run straight to City College after my Central Park loop, so that was what I did (if I had decided further in advance, I could even have eaten breakfast first!). Running at a snail's pace, but feeling fairly strong (it is very humid, not hot but moist); swimming ditto. Again moved from back of lane 5 to front of lane 6 when I saw the intervals: I think I am as fast as the slowest swimmer in lane 5, but really for endurance training it's better for me to lead on the intervals that give me a bit of rest.

Run: 9mi, 1:38


Warmup: 100 kick, 200 reverse IM drill, 100 drill free-breast (I was a little late getting in the pool - had to get emergency Gatorade post-run and pre-swim!)

8 x 75 free, first four on 1:45, next four on 1:40

2 x 250 free on 5:15

4 x 25 stroke on 1:00

50 easy

3 x 200 free on 4:10

4 x 50 stroke on 1:30

50 easy

4 x 100 free on 2:00

50 easy double-arm back

2950 yards total

Slightly compressed schedule today, I have ONE more workout - a tri-bike-specific coaching session with Joanna in Prospect Park! Need to get out of here in 10 mins or so to make sure I am not late, the subway often takes FOREVER on a weekend day....

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Super spin class. Rode my bike down; class featured a 15-minute climb and 20 minutes of speedwork. My lovely sister-in-law and niece are visiting, so now I must expeditiously shower so that we can go out for brunch - we are having an excellent visit, yesterday featured a trip to the Egyptian rooms (plus, of course, arms and armor - can't go to the Met without visiting that room!) and a superb Szechuan meal in midtown.

:45 round-trip bike
:55 spin

Friday, July 26, 2013


It's humid still, but it's also cool, which is a huge improvement.  Ran down to Chelsea Piers. Got here a little too late for yoga. Thought I would have a short swim, but turned out I brought the wrong set of keys - no locker key on this set, no swim!  Probably for the best. Meeting sister-in-law and niece at train at 11 for NYC junket. Nicer not to be rushed!

57:30, c 5.5mi

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I loved the workout this evening. I really wasn't feeling so good today - just exhausted, in spite of having slept on the late side, bleary-eyed, could have fallen back asleep at any juncture. Alas, it was a cool day but I missed the opportunity for a midday run! However I was determined to go to swim practice, I will have the opportunity for very few more over the next six weeks or so, and it was highly worthwhile - my fitness has snuck up on me gradually, I am not swimming very fast but I felt extremely strong in the water. When I saw the intervals for the lanes, I switched from back of lane 5 to front of lane 6, and that was a good choice, it meant I got a lot of rest but had to stay focused as I was leading.

Warmup: 250 (200 free, 50 back)

6 x 50 on 1:05 as 25 stroke, 25 free (2 x fly, back, breast)

Main set:

2 x 50 on 1:10
4 x 100 on 2:15
8 x 200 on 4:30
4 x 100 on 2:15
2 x 50 on 1:10

100 double-arm back cooldown, at which point I was sneezing so much and overcome with phlegm that I figured I'd better get out - my sensitivity to pool chemicals has not decreased, I think I may have to take some Benadryl to kill the histamines!

I was swimming strong but comfortable 200s in 4:00 exactly, it seems pretty reasonable. This is an ideal workout for the back-of-pack Ironman swimmer.

3150 yards total

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Long ride #8!

OK, in every respect but one that was an absolutely lovely ride. Weather much more humane this week than last - it's only just up to low 80s, and humidity not terrible, definitely some breeze. I rode out through Haverstraw (definitely desensitized to the terrain there - I still don't like it, but I felt much less physically anxious than last week) and then all the way almost to Bear Mountain - turned around at the bait shop just past the Cove Deli, and stopped at the deli for Gatorade before heading back towards Nyack. Added on a bit extra, somehow missed riding past the Runcible Spoon (I still haven't figured out why I sometimes do pass it and sometimes don't, it is the hazard of having a poor sense of direction!), stopped at a deli in Piermont instead for more water and Gatorade.

I was determined to make a stab at crossing the bridge home, so I rode past the observatory (where shuttle bus drops me off - I've been getting bus home from there too, but it would be more time-effective if I could ride all the way home instead). Rode down the Alpine Hill and along River Road - forgot QUITE how hilly it is, in both directions. Came up the wrong path out of the park (in retrospect I should have paid attention to the big sign with a picture of a bicycle and a red slash through it, but I was worried about whether there would be another exit!) and found myself not, as I'd imagined, just south of the bridge and with a direct route to the bike path, but instead in a very trafficky bit of 9W. Kept my cool very well, really, riding in traffic - I am definitely acclimating. Then the bridge was looming and I couldn't at all figure out how to find the path - got off my bike so that I could investigate.

Had a longish walk to path entrance, but there it was, I got on my bike and all was well until I came to the first bollard. The path is very narrow and it takes three sharp turns to get round - I lost my nerve, got off my bike and then just could not quite persuade myself to get back on it, though honestly it is much quicker on a bike than walking (death grip on bicycle!) - it is a long bridge! Felt very anxious but considerably on the right side of actual panic. Very relieved to get off on the other side, though I was too frazzled to ride properly all the way home - the route takes you through a very congested bit in front of the hospital, too many vehicles with conflicting priorities, so I walked some more before getting to a quiet enough bit of Riverside Drive that I really could ride the rest of the way home.

I was shooting for 5hr and almost made it - it was about 4.75hr when I got off my bike in Fort Lee. Added a little extra time en route home, but didn't want to keep turning Garmin off and on (convinced that of all reasons to have an accident, "I was turning on my Garmin" must be about the worst one!). So the numbers are a little odd, it was stop and go at the end without turning off watch obviously, I rode some bits that didn't get logged, and there were a lot of hills in the main ride.

I am sorry I am not a faster rider, but really I am riding well and I am pretty optimistic that I can make race cutoffs in Wisconsin!

Re: bridge - it was informative, I clearly do need to continue with the shuttle-bus workaround in both directions. I am left more just with a sense of amazement that so many people can tolerate that path! (Quick internet trawl gives me this video by a more fearless rider than I am - the place where I got off comes at 1:38, really it is very stressful! Though less crowded on a weekday than it is there....)

4:53, 62.05 (13mph), avg HR 130, max HR 156

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tri bike!

OK, I love this bicycle. I am admittedly still riding it ridiculously, in upright position half the time and slowly and easily when I am in aero. But it is a beautiful piece of machinery - I can feel how good the components are! - and it is more similar to my road bike than I would have imagined.  I didn't ride as long as originally projected, but only on the sensible grounds that when trying something new and a bit daunting, it is a good idea to stop while it still feels genuinely easy and fun and enjoyable.

Will do my long ride tomorrow on the road bike, then ride Thursday on this one again, doing some hill repeats on River Road (mostly traffic-free).  My road bike has a triple, so this definitely will take a little getting used to for long steep hills.  Also saddle v comfortable in aero but hard under sit bones upright. I have another pair of shorts with better padding there. Will wear those Thursday!

21mi, 1:45 (slow from caution rather than timidity, and much easier effort than my standard ride - this bike will be fast one I get used to it!)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Minor yoga

Final meeting this evening of the very good eight-week mindfulness meditation class I've been taking this summer. Yoga has been integrated throughout, and we did half an hour this evening that was strenuous enough to get logged here. (The sweat was pouring off me, though admittedly it was a somewhat warm room!)

Then I got even more overheated en route home - waited on an infernally hot subway platform through substantive delays. I am hoping to ride tomorrow on 9W, which means getting the shuttle, but I think it will be more sensible to shoot for the 9am than the 8am - otherwise I don't get enough sleep, I need to restore my core temperature to normal before there's any point lying down! If thunderstorms are looming, I may talk myself out of it, but I really would like to get it done....

.5hr yoga


OK, that is great, I have really had a modest but lovely day of cycling! Rode my road bike down to Chelsea Piers for Joanna's spin class, which was super as always. It is not as hot, but disgustingly humid - raining on and off. Thunderstorms on deck for tomorrow, but I am hoping late enough in the day that I can do a serious morning ride on 9W.

:45 round trip
:55 spin

Test ride!

Just took the new bike out for a cautious spin along the west side path. It is an AMAZING bicycle! It will take a little bit of getting used to, but we set it up in a fairly conservative position for now, sort of halfway between road bike setup and proper tri/aero positioning - more psychologically challenging than practically not to be able to have hands resting on the brakes, as really once you're going quickly slamming on brakes would almost always be counterproductive....

:45 test ride!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Had a very nice birthday morning run with S. The weather has returned to more normal summer pitch - still not lovely, it's 80 and humid/overcast, but MUCH better than it has been all week. We did the Central Park loop, at her easyish and my moderate-hard pace. Wasn't wearing Garmin, took slightly shorter route to park than I sometimes do, so call it 7.8mi, 1:22.

I wanted to get out for a test ride on the new bike, but have lost momentum - instead am going to shower and then perhaps go back to bed for a short nap!

Training this week somewhat limited by heat, but a fairly solid week regardless. Three runs, three swims, three spins plus a 4:15 long ride, one yoga class and a couple round-trip rides to Chelsea Piers. Total hours for week 7: 16.

(I'm shooting for this coming week to be HUGE! We will see if I can execute that. I'd like to ride 3hr Tuesday, 5hr Wednesday, 3hr Thursday, like a sort of mini-'camp'....)

Saturday, July 20, 2013


SUPER morning at Chelsea Piers! It started inauspiciously in that I fairly dramatically overslept - I had initially set alarm for 7, with intention to do a couple hours of work before going to the gym, but I was awake for a bit around 4 and was really so shatteringly tired yesterday that I decided to turn off the alarm and set one for a more realistic 8:15 instead. However resetting alarms when half-asleep is always a dangerous business - I woke up of my own accord and found it was 9:15, indeed almost more like 9:20! However it was certainly for the best, it's the first day all week that I actually felt reasonably well-rested when I got up.

Just about made it in time for 10am spin (I was a couple minutes late, but not horribly so), we did a series of climbs and then a speed workout along lines similar to others we've done recently - this is an amazing set, 5 x 2min in not-easy gear at 100rpm, 105, 110, 105, 100, then 1min at 110 and 1min at 115. True "red zone" heartrate at the end of that (5b in the Friel system, albeit only briefly in conclusion)!

I'm not keen on the current 11am spin class (the teacher is nice, but it's not suited to endurance training), so I indulged myself and instead went to the run intervals class. Unfortunately that teacher had also overslept! (I think it's the heat, it's messing everyone up.) So we all ran for a while on our own on the track (air-conditioned! I must do more of my summer running there...), then had an excellent substitute who got us started on a conditioning routine that involved running 400s at 70-80% and then doing three minutes of ab work on mats in between - the 'real' teacher then got there and finished things off. I really love this kind of class - I have been denying it to myself as the double spin is more to the point, but I was glad to indulge myself today.

After refueling and showering, I then spent the afternoon at the BIKE STORE getting fitted on my new bike - which I am going to take out for a short spin tomorrow morning, weather permitting. I am extremely excited about it!

:50 spin
1hr run/conditioning (c. 3.5mi.)

Friday, July 19, 2013


Good midday spin class, and I also had a productive day of work (one more pass through style manuscript, to try and reduce excessive length of some of the quotations!) in high-quality air-conditioning at Chelsea Piers. Rode my bike home just now through such heat that I am soaked to the skin with sweat - I am going to have to take another shower once I cool down....

1hr spin


Met up with new friend S for a swim session. She is a strong runner and cyclist who wants to get her swim up to speed.

Then J's gentle yoga, v beneficial.  Now I slightly need to go back to sleep - alas, not an option!

C. 1000 drills

1hr yoga

Thursday, July 18, 2013


I have an irrational and aggrieved sense that the world is conspiring to overheat me! (Actually I feel better now I ate something and drank some water.) Getting to swim workout practically killed me with heat - it was bliss bliss bliss to get in the cool cool water, and I quite enjoyed the workout (low yardage, though). But getting home killed me with heat AGAIN - I just missed a train, and then it turned out after a long hot platform wait and one stop that all trains were being held/stopped - I walked home from 125th St. By this time it was almost an hour since I'd stopped swimming and I was starvationally underfueled and underhydrated.

Can't reproduce details of set, but 2 main bits were 1650 total (lots of 50s of kick and stroke at high intensities with lots of rest, though I was unfortunately at the back of the lane and a faster stroker than those ahead of me - it was fine, though, I didn't need a sprint workout). Maybe 600 warmup before that, call it 2250 yards total.

Defeated by heat!

That was frustrating. I thought that if I kept a really slow pace, I'd be OK for easy 2 hours (c. 10mi.), but it was a bit of a disaster! I'm not sure if I just subjectively misremember - it is also possible that the large number of trees that have come down in last couple years of storms has made a difference - but the Central Park loop seemed much, much less shady than I thought it would be. I was doing a mix of walk-run, but I felt increasingly dangerously overheated (it's 94F, not too humid & not bad in shade but brutal in sun). Back of neck in particular just seemed overwhelmingly hot. I stopped when I reached the north end of the park and decided I'd turn off my watch, walk up the (hot, steepish) street back to 'my' more shady bit of Riverside Park and finish there. But the walk didn't make me feel as much better as I thought it would - I bought and drank a Gatorade, but by now my neck felt clammy and I was even a little bit cold, so it seemed clear that I had better just come home and recalibrate! Not quite lightheaded, but pre-woozy, and definitely having to concentrate to hold a straight line!

I can do a two-hour run indoors on the track at Chelsea Piers after 10am Saturday spin class - I had wanted to go to the 11am run intervals, I will either do that and an additional hour or just run steady for the entire 2. Arghhhh, this week and next week are my big training weeks, this extreme heat is frustrating....

1:11, 6.21mi., walk/run (11:26/mi.)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


(I didn't run yesterday evening after all - my eyes and nose and sinuses were just streaming with pool-chemical irritation, and I felt flattened with heat and fatigue - no point doing it if the body isn't going to absorb it.)

Week 7 long ride

That was a tough one - it came in a little short, but I was DONE, I didn't have it in me to do one more over-shoot and return! It is 95 degrees, not particularly humid but the sheer heat is intense! Gosh, glad to be done with that - it will go better for me in the two long rides I have scheduled for upcoming Wednesdays if it is not quite so hot. First couple hours lovely (and I finally got the exact route right - I have been wondering why this highwayish stretch and bridge seemed so unfamiliar, I now realize it's because there's a detour that is the proper way that Lauren and I used to take!). After that it was a slog. I rode past Haverstraw - I've been avoiding it because there's a junction my reptile brain really isn't happy about on the way back, but I dimly recalled that I like the terrain on the other side of that, and it was indeed very nice - there's a marina and the roads are ridiculously quiet.

My Garmin battery died early on, and though I now have a functioning bike computer (yes!), I didn't look at the starting mileage until after the other device went down, so distance is approximate. Hot, hilly - I came back a slightly wrong way, parallel to what I really wanted - it took me into Bergen County - then I followed signs back to Alpine and 9W, but it was the HOTTEST and STEEPEST long hill imaginable - so I did a loop rather than strictly an out-and-back. I suppose I was at the 3:45 mark when I came within sight of Lamont - rode back out north on 9W, but when I came to the turnoff, I just didn't have the heart to take it, I turned around even though I knew I'd come in short!

Notionally I have a second three-hour ride in the week, but I've decided I want to do them outside rather than indoors (the current Saturday 11am spin class isn't suited to endurance training purposes), and I think this week I'm just going to have to let it go. Heat is too much and I need to do a long run tomorrow morning rather than ride on 9W again - I've been rightly emphasizing cycling over running, but that can be taken too far. Hopefully next week will really be a primo perfect training week? (Just saying that threatens to jinx it....)

4:15, c. 58mi, c. 13.7mph (will try and get more accurate pace for next couple)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I meant to do my long run this morning and go to masters swim in the evening, but I couldn't fall asleep till late, and it was clearly the case that I needed to sleep as much as I could. It wasn't super-late when I got up, but I didn't get out the door expeditiously, and heat persuaded me that I should switch up the plan and instead swim the midday workout at Chelsea Piers and run in the evening. I think that was the right call - nice to get in a little bit of time on bike, it's a good plain workout and running at dusk/dark seems wiser when the weather is so extreme.

Not sure this is exactly right, but workout along these lines:

600 warmup as 300 pull, 200 swim, 100 kick

6 x 50 descend in 3s

1 x 300 pull (pace/steady)
2 x 150 build by 50
3 x 100 descend
6 x 50 strong on 1:10

200 triathlon practice - 50 moderate, 50 hard & trying to overtake leaders

100 easy

2400 yards total

NB I heard something fall off my bike in Sunday's race, but it is neither safe nor sensible to stop and attempt to retrieve - it was indeed my frame pump! Hmmmm, better replace that....

Monday, July 15, 2013

Recovery spin!

You know you are training for a really long race when your recovery ride is almost two hours! Rode bike down to Chelsea Piers and did an easy spin at Joanna's class (capped effort at top of zone 2). Must rush to be showered, dressed and fed in time for a series of meetings that start at 3....

:45 round-trip Chelsea Piers
:55 spin

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I was slightly grumbling to myself this morning, along "Why am I doing this race again?" lines - it was an early morning, and there is much complexity to a big-city race, especially in the age of terror - it is inordinately expensive for an Olympic-distance triathlon - and finally and more importantly, it's clearly more fun doing races with a friend, that should be more of a guiding principle for me - but I was sucked into the delightfulness of it all as always!

Had very nice chat waiting for our swim wave start with some other ladies 40-44. Had a LOVELY bike ride - it was amazing, it wasn't really faster than the last time I did this race (when I was, I am sorry to say, 20lb lighter - it was 2009 - if only it were as easy for me to lose weight as it is for me to train a lot of hours!) but I felt so strong and it felt easy and short! I overtook a TON of people. The run was a bit of a slog, as it is pretty darn hot and humid (even leaving my apartment at 4 in the morning, I had sheets of sweat pouring down my neck), but I felt that I held my own. Post-race protocol went very well, I drank a bottle of water and ate a bagel and got free pedicab expeditiously back to transition, then rode bike home - I was home and in the shower by 11:30.

I just really enjoyed the feeling of what a long way I have come since the first time I did this race, five years ago, in 2008 - I'm not a faster runner than I was then, but I'm a hugely more experienced endurance athlete and most of all I have exponentially more confidence on the bike. I raced faster and stronger in 2009 than in 2008, but 2010 was a year of setbacks, and I feel very lucky that I've been able to take the time this year to really try and improve my cycling.

My actual time this year was a little slower than 2009, but it's hard to compare, the assist from the current and wind and heat/humidity really affect conditions. Also I've "aged up," as they say! But I think I should be pleased - in 2008, I was 132/189 in my division (W35-39); in 2009, 104/189; this year, I am (slightly to my surprise - I can only explain it by saying that a lot of first-timers do this race, and people on hybrid bikes!) 56/140 in W40-44. Provisos about population notwithstanding, that really is a result I can feel good about!

Swim: 25:27 (fast assist from current, but not as fast as other years - late wave)
T1: 8:28 (long run from swim exit to transition)
Bike: 1:34:41 (not super-fast, but felt GREAT)
T2: 4:00
Run: 1:04:47 (10:25 pace - given how little I've been running, and the heat/hills/humidity, that is just fine - I didn't push it too hard, as I forgot to take my final dose of asthma medicine when I got off the bike - usually I carry an inhaler in handheld bottle on the run, but I didn't today as there were many aid stations and it wasn't a long one - I was surprisingly ok, I suppose partly because I was walking up hills and still had residual benefit of previous dose - I had to leave an inhaler in the morning swim bag drop, that's the one I would usually have with me on the run course)

Total time: 3:17:22

Notes to self: be super-careful re: arrangements for asthma inhalers, building in redundancy; think about getting a "shorty" wetsuit (I was eyeing them - I didn't swim with a wetsuit, I hate mine, and I think that having a sleeveless one that stops above the knee might be the way to go, easier to get on and less constricting once it's on); figure out why the brakes on the bicycle are making such a strange sound!

Final note to self: I have been spending a lot of money on triathlon this year, that's OK but at a race like this one is chastened and inspired by the people raising money for various charities! Three that particularly caught my eye and that I will make modest donations to later today: Paul's Posse, because I had such a good conversation with the woman who founded this charity to raise money for amyloidosis research after she lost her husband to the disease; Athletes to End Alzheimer's, because it is a cause close to my heart; and the Challenged Athletes Foundation, because nothing is more awesome (in the old-fashioned literal sense) than seeing amputees running on their prostheses, often clearly in pain but ready to endure that for love of the sport.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Week 6 provisional long ride

Really I'm on a ten-day week just for this week - I did my real long ride #5 last Sunday, missed my mid-week notional 3hr stopgap ride due to post-travel fatigue, had 3hr on the schedule for today and will ride long again next Wednesday (so week 6 doesn't really have a long one).

Things did not work out quite according to plan, due to usual inability to get out the door for a run right after I get up (I meant to run down and THEN do my 3-hour spin), but this was a fine substitute, and really I didn't need to run today. Also today it was legit to log Chelsea Piers round trip as bike miles (did double spin plus some extra in the middle) - on the way down, it was rainy and very uncrowded, still quite overcast and though there were more people on the way home, I was riding into a wind almost the whole way, which keeps effort levels honest.

Bike dropoff is 2-9pm. I was very briefly tempted to take the option of leaving everything in transition the night before and taking my chances on bike tires etc., but really it's not worth it. (That said, transition is open 4-5:15, and I need to leave at least half an hour to get there, which basically means getting up not long after 3 - whereas if I were just going to the swim start, which is less than a mile away from home, I could get up at 5:15, eat a quick breakfast and be there in very reasonable time for my c. 6:20 swim wave start. Hmmm, maybe it really is worth taking the chance - as long as I bring my own bike pump, it wouldn't delay me much if I had to pump tires post-swim and pre-bike....)

3:08 spin

Friday, July 12, 2013


A thoroughly triaspirational day, in its way, from start to finish. Hit the allergy doc in the morning for shots (because the great incentive to get on top of these allergies and asthma is to stop getting the respiratory infections that prevent me from training and degrade my quality of life!). Then to Chelsea Piers for a lovely long midday spin - I think I was on the bike by 11:55, class starts at 12:30 and runs till 1:15, so log it at 1:20. In addition to usual climbing intervals, we did some speedwork that was pretty amazing: 3 sets of 4min in a not-easy-though-not-too-hard gear, with first minute at 100rpm, second @ 105, 3rd @110 and 4th @115. Woo-hoo! Then I had a short swim (600 warmup as 200 swim, 200 pull [breathing every 3, 5, 7, 3], 200 kick, then 6 x 100 on 2:10 as 75 build 25 easy).

I proceeded to do something naughty and entirely self-indulgent - I went to Sid's bikes and took the plunge on the tri bike! I was originally thinking of this but they had an almost unbelievable markdown on the next model up the line (it is the giddiness of consumerism that one finds oneself, in bicycle stores, saying blithely "$400 difference is nothing in the world of bicycles!"), so I went for it. (The salesperson could hardly believe the markdown either, she had to double-check that it really was valid! I guess by this time of year they are making way for 2014 models.) We did preliminary fit stuff on a fit bike, and I'll go back at the end of next week for further tweaking on the real thing. Then I just have to set aside the time to learn to ride it properly - it is going to be PROJECT TRI-BIKE the week of July 22 and July 29, as if I do not feel as happy on it as I do on my road bike, I will need to get aerobars put on the road bike before I leave for Cayman on August 8; I'm keeping an open mind about which of the two bikes I will ride in Wisconsin.

Then I went and attended the race briefing and packet pick-up for the NYC triathlon. Race day is Sunday - I am excited!

I have also gotten 98% towards having replaced the batteries on both my Suunto and my Garmin heart-rate straps. Both have been on the fritz for a while, and it is one of those little jobs that never quite seems to get done; first I got the wrong size battery, then when I got the right ones I found that though the Suunto flips open with a coin, the Garmin needs a tiny Phillips screwdriver. I have just purchased the smallest, cutest Phillips screwdriver imaginable and will soon have restored functionality...

Thursday, July 11, 2013


It must be said that a day with a 90-minute run in the morning and a 90-minute swim workout in the evening is pretty much my ideal day of exercise. (Would have been even better if it weren't so humid this morning - MEGA-CHAFING!) Very nice lanemates tonight - I hope I can get there quite a bit over the next couple weeks. This is my substantive middle block of training, and though it remains the case that cycling is more important than everything else, it is also fair to say that as long as I am doing sufficient cycling, I can swim and run as much as I like (within reason and realistic capacity!).

Not sure this is exactly right, and I can't reproduce intervals (they were a bit haphazard anyway), but along these lines:

500 warmup with every fourth length back
2 x 200 pull breathing every 2, 3, 5, 7 by 25
4 x 200 with fins as 150 free 50 dolphin kick on back
8 x 100
8 x 50 stroke-free in IM order
100 pull easy
3 x 50 stroke sprint on 3:00 (I did fly, and so did everyone else, it was pretty amazing!)
50 double-arm back

3200 yards total


I am laughing at myself now, it is so goofy - I haven't been running nearly enough (it's more or less deliberate, it is the price of prioritizing cycling), and that lets a little bit of residual dread build up about running, especially given heat and humidity. My sleep quality last night wasn't great - it seemed like I was awake briefly every hour, with lots of tossing and turning. But I did sleep long, and I feel much more myself this morning. And in fact it was a great run! Central Park loop. Slow as hell, and rather overheated (fortunately it's overcast, but humidity is high and temperature close to 80), but highly enjoyable. Still have that annoying blister on bottom of fourth toe of right foot, need to see what I can do to dispel it. This current training block is my most important one - doing the NYC tri this weekend is inevitably going to throw me off slightly, but the coming three weeks are crucial, I am excited....

1:29, 8.2mi

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Out of sorts!

Really I need to be more realistic about post-travel recovery! I had one of those mornings - got up at 7:15 with intention of taking bike on bus to ride on 9W for 3hr, but felt both utterly fatigued and also worried about thunderstorms - figured I'd run instead and ride inside later on at Chelsea Piers - instead I went back to bed!

Felt a little better when I got up again a couple hours later, but still very much out of sorts - itchy (cat dander always hits me hard on apartment reentry), greasy (high humidity), overheated (New York summer weather is not lovely).

(I didn't go to masters swim yesterday, by the way - it was clear that I was just utterly knackered and would be better off having a quiet evening at home.)

Anyway, I rode my bike down to the gym (I'm not logging it, on these crowded summer days you basically have to coast most of the way), got started on what was notionally to be a 3hr ride, but bailed on it shortly after the one-hour mark. I'm not sure that HR monitor strap is working properly (I'm headed out shortly to get batteries for both Suunto and Garmin - the latter is definitely out of juice), that may have been a factor too, but I think it was mostly fatigue that wouldn't let me hold heartrates in the intended zone. First hour, I did 3 x 12min Z2/3 (alternating 3 minutes standing and seated - HR solidly z3 while standing but dropping to high z2 while seated), 3min recovery; then I talked myself into staying on longer by dint of switching to basic zone 2 ride, but as soon as I decided that, I could hardly even hold HR at the bottom of Z2. Got off around 1:10 and went for a short swim instead - that is always more soothing to me, though it doesn't make me less itchy.

I wish it wasn't so hot! I have 2 window-unit air conditioners in my apartment, and I almost always sleep with the one in the bedroom on during the summer, but I tend to avoid using the one in my home office - it makes the cat so crazy when that door is closed. Need to contemplate possibility of cat doors - and in the somewhat unlikely event that I am ever seeking an apartment on the open market, I am definitely putting a premium on central air!

The swim was a good idea. Though I then defeated its purpose by getting very hot and sweaty again on ride home! Warmup: 200 free, 200 pull, 200 kick. 100 IM drill, 100 IM. 4 x 50 fly-back on 1:20. 2 x 100 free on 2:10.


1:10 spin (3 x 12min z2/3 intervals)
(:50 very easy though warm outdoor riding)
1200 yards swim

Monday, July 8, 2013


Excellent flow yoga class. Best possible start to the day after a long bike ride, a day that will be spent in airports - speaking of which, I need to get a move on and pack up my stuff! This visit felt a little short, but it was the inevitable consequence of summer triathlon choices I made a long time ago - I will be back for a longer visit in August, that will be good.

1hr flow yoga

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Long ride #5!

That was super. It was clear to me last week that the combination of wind and an unduly taxing recovery week (little exercise, too much everything else) meant last week's three-hour recovery ride was much more arduous than I needed it to be. I was afraid today's ride would seem dreadfully hard and long, but really it was excellent, I enjoyed it pretty much from start to finish (not saying I wasn't ready to stop at the end, but it was genuinely enjoyable throughout, even on the windy stretches). I didn't ride much in the new aerobars - I need to move the seat significantly further back, I thought this already even for the upright position but I couldn't get good power/leverage with my legs from that position with the seat so far forward.

One slightly sorry moment came when I crushed a land crab - there are a ton of them making their way across the road at this time of year, they scuttle as soon as they detect motion but unfortunately it is often in the wrong direction. This was a bigun that self-destructed under my wheel with a resounding crunch...

4:23, 72.36mi, 16.5mph

(Current week's total is 15:11 - I might try and have a short swim later in the very warm sea, though I imagine I am more likely to recline on the couch reading a book. I feel very sheepish that I have gone two weeks without swimming! Didn't run much this week either, but on the other hand this is basically according to plan - I believe in the "keep it simple" school of training, and I pretty much said to myself at the start of this season that as long as I did sufficient quality and volume of bike training, it really didn't matter too much what else I did or didn't get done.)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Short run/double spin

I cannot really explain why I am so partial to Saturday morning double spin. I suppose there's just something very simple about it, it's at a set time and place, you show up and do the work, it requires less willpower than various other long exercise sessions. Picked up my bike - Jerome put aerobars on it for me (every reason to use them here, as it is flat as a pancake and often quite windy), plus did general tuneup - now it's all spiffy for tomorrow's long ride.

2.2mi./:24:31 run (carrying 2.5L water - heavy!)
1:45 spin

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hot yoga!

That was super. It was a bit naughty to go to hot yoga instead of doing masters swim first thing in the morning, but I was feeling selfishly yoga-oriented, and it suited me better for other reasons as well: my bike is in the shop (having aerobars put on!) so it would have been a long walk there & back, and I wanted to do a good three-hour work session before blowing energy on exercise. Sat at the cafe from 7 to 10 and got a lot done before going to 10:30 yoga.

On Tuesday, I must confess that I was very discouraged at how hard class seemed - I was slightly queasy at various points and overwhelmed with heat almost throughout the hour, and I feared I'd lost all my heat adaptation and would have to start from scratch. But class today felt fantastic, I never felt sick or even, really, overheated. In retrospect I think I didn't pay enough respect to the fact that on Tuesday I'd already done a very warm hour of spinning and half an hour walk home afterwards; it is not surprising that I didn't have so much of a reserve, as I am always prone to sweating heavily and overheating. (Notion is that a heavy sweater in warm exercise conditions might be sweating 1.5L an hour - I certainly drink 1.5L/hr. in spin class, easily - so even if I replenish during and after, there's no doubt it's a serious strain on the system to undertake another very sweaty warm exercise session only a couple hours later.) I dimly recall from January that even when I was doing hot yoga almost every day, it made a huge difference as to whether it felt manageable or slightly overwhelming depending on whether I'd already had a warm hour of exercise first thing in the am.

1.25hr lovely hot yoga

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mid-week long 'ride'

Spinervals Wisconsin DVD. It was a solid ride, but I did not manage the intensity levels recommended - I am a little frustrated with myself, it's partly mental but it's also the fact that this particular spin bike has quite uneven tension, so that the difference between a tension that gives me low zone 2 and a tension that's too hard to maintain anything like the recommended cadence of 85-95 is basically a knife's edge. Fine for today, I was in zone 2 the whole time with some bits of zone 3 (really a lot of this ride should be zone 3 with some zone 4), I will ride harder on Saturday and Sunday, but it may be that in August I need to put my real bicycle on the trainer for these mid-week rides.

3hr indoor ride (zone 2)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Revealed preferences

After again flaking out on notional early-morning run today, I think I just have to admit to myself that I am not enough of a morning person to get out early here and beat the heat. Will have to revert to treadmill running I think - early evening is the time I like to spend at home with B.! However this evening was Wednesday Night Run Club - I am a little slower than the slowest of the regular runners, so I fell back and went with the run-walkers - 5min run, 1min walk - I needed a confidence-builder more than I needed a hard workout. Very humid. Took an overly long and deep nap this afternoon after getting overheated in the late morning - have had to postpone long indoor spin to tomorrow morning, but that's fine really....

c. 47min, c. 4mi.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hot yoga

The heat is overwhelming after being away from it for six weeks - I was glad it was only an hour-long class. Am still pondering things about training schedule and yoga - it may be that effectively "regular" (i.e. non-hot) yoga is a more beneficial complement to the heavy-volume triathlon training, but I am keen on the hot, even if it makes me feel a bit queasy at moments when I am not used to it...

1hr hot yoga


Good class at Revolutions. Walked home rather than jogging, I had no vim for it and I had already drunk all the water I brought with me! Stopped en route home to say hello to a lovely dog being walked by a volunteer outside the Humane Society.

:55 spin
(:35 walk)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Week 5 begins

Not very auspiciously, I must confess - my recovery week had too much else crammed into it, I think (book-finishing, doing a lot of errands to get ready to leave town) and I do not really feel at all rested! I meant to run early this morning, but flaked out on it even after I'd taken asthma medicine and gotten dressed etc. - grabbed another hour of sleep, which was beneficial, as really I was up too late last night. Ran outside at midday - it is not quite as brutally hot as usual, though I was still thoroughly overheated by the time I got home - only did 4 miles as I just wasn't feeling it, and wanted to go to 2pm flow yoga to get some stretch. (Yesterday afternoon turned into a long couch-lounging session, I really couldn't face making it back out the door!) Anyway, I feel much better now that I've run and stretched. Tomorrow: 6:30am spin class, midday hot yoga (it's only 1 hour, so hopefully that won't be too overwhelming), evening masters swim.

:42, 4mi
1hr flow yoga