Monday, August 31, 2015


Ah, I am an idiot - I didn't realize we were going to be testing max deadlifts today (possibly wouldn't have done anything differently this weekend even if I had realized?), but it became woefully clear as we started raising the wait that weekend running and especially swimming have left me BRUTALLY fatigued! I tried my belt for the first time, it totally threw me off, but even aside from that I just didn't have it, couldn't even make my old max from 10 weeks ago. ARGHHHHH! Frustrated with myself - do feel a bit better now I ate some food - will ride bike home and try to let go of my disappointment with myself...

1hr deadlifts (plus hip thrusters)
10mi bike


Very underenthused for this one. The weather has gotten humid again and it is not so pleasant to be outside. First impression, when I started plodding along, was that my legs were pretty beaten up from this weekend's workouts, but this quickly was revised to reflect the fact that left leg is fine, but I am still having some soreness at that right glute-hamstring attachment. Anyway I did an easy :24 as 3:1 - the "daily" nature of the process is kicking in to the extent that though I wasn't feeling keen on this, it wasn't terribly hard to get out the door....

Sunday, August 30, 2015


RT bike (10mi), so it turned into an authentic SBR day, which is very nice - I didn't have nearly enough of those this summer....


I was having strong but irrational dread beforehand. It's so long since I've done a proper swim workout, and doing it in a new circumstance is always a bit nerve-racking. But in fact it was LOVELY (and there was no better way to end a day spent thinking so much about Oliver Sacks and Doug Stern).

Nice group of ladies in the lane, I was a little slow (and had to skip some of the pull bits - the others were all using paddles, but it's also where I always fall behind) but it was basically a good fit. Don't think I can reproduce the whole workout, but I probably swam something like 3100 of 3600 notional yards along these lines:

500 warmup with every fourth length kick (I did 400)

500 as 4 x 125 drill-swim (100-25, 75-50, 50-75, 25-100: I did fly, back, free, free)

2 interim sets that I cannot now remember....

6 x 50 on 1:15 concentrating on turns
200 pull (I did 100)
150 kick
50 hard (600)

6 x 50 on 1:15
150 pull (I did 50)
100 kick
50 hard (600)

6 x 50 on 1:15
100 pull (I did 50)
50 kick
50 hard (500)

100 easy cooldown

I stopped swimming much for a few different reasons: I think I lost heart for it a bit once I couldn't write to Wendy about it, and also I made a conscious commitment at one point that as my swimming was on balance stronger than my cycling, I had to swap out swimming for spin class. And then the TNYA workouts near me have all evaporated: it's years since they had Columbia workouts, the City College pool never reopened, the Hostos times conflict with powerlifting and John Jay has always been offputting because it's super-crowded with the result that even the slowest lane is sometimes wanting to go on 1:40 sendoffs. But I'm shifting focus a bit, I think, from triathlon back to running and powerlifting, and this means (paradoxically) that I can start swimming a lot more again if I can fit it in!

Short morning run!

(Well, barely technically morning - "my" morning, anyway!)

Don't want to lull myself into a false sense of complacency, but I feel like I'm back in a groove (this is important as once school starts everything always goes haywire). Morale is better and I feel like I will be able to cope with upcoming frenetic work chaos (really I enjoy that more than the quiet times - those are fine when I am really productively writing a book, or what have you, but I flounder when not purposeful!).

:20 with 8 x ten-second accelerations

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Long run!

Ah, this run made me happy. (With proviso that I am still going so slowly it hardly counts as a run, but we will ignore that for the nonce!)

I had 90 minutes on the schedule. It was hot again today, and I didn't get out early, so I waited till dusk, which actually suits me well as long as I have not had an overly taxing day (which I did not). The 45 minutes out was a bit of a slog - my calves were very tight, and that sore spot in my right lower back was bothering me right away. I made a deal with myself that I could take walk intervals on the way back, and it was a good idea - did 4:1 jog-walk on the way home, the calves by that point were feeling much more normal and it gives the back a bit of relief. Stopped the clock at the 79th St. boat basin on the way back and got a Gatorade - NECTAR OF THE GODS....

Anyway, 90min easy with 45 straight and 45 as 4:1. Woo-hoo!

Friday, August 28, 2015


Amazing sense of physical well-being today post-workout. Immediate cause is possibly the LOW HUMIDITY - most gorgeous weather EVER. More generally I guess I do feel well now that I've shed last of travel-related ailment and gotten back onto a good regular exercise schedule.

Great session with Josh, anyway. 4 x 3 x 100 bench with 3-second isometric hold at the bottom. Can't remember exactly what else we did, but military press with football bar (3 x 10) and rows with football bar + 50 (4 x 10).

RT bike - this beautiful upright sedate purple bicycle has allowed me to rediscover childhood pleasure in riding a bike. I am not sure how I will feel about it once weather is colder and (especially) when I am riding home in the dark, but it has been a very good feature of the last couple months!

1hr upper body
10mi bike

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Ah, this workout made my day take a huge turn for the better! It's the lift I've been struggling with all year, but I think things are finally coming together such that we can actually start doing some WORK.

Main work set: 3 x 5 x 75

Narrow-stance: 3 x 12 x 45

Dumbbell hamstring curls: 2 x 20 x 37.5

Hip thrusts with barbell and band: 3 x 10

Bulgarian split squats: 2 x 20 on each side (skipped third set as we'd already gone long and I still needed to ride home)

It is amazing, the technique stuff just seems suddenly to have fallen into place: my back stays arched, I'm going low enough, etc. etc. The wide grip with no thumbs is very helpful.

1:20 lower body
10mi bike


Lovely run colored after the fact by the horrible realization that what I thought was an interview supposed to take place at 1pm at Bowling Green was actually scheduled for 11am, AND I HAD ALREADY MISSED IT. Horrible panicky spell on the phone on hold, but I have a new appointment a week from tomorrow (this is for the Global Entry travel card). It is not as convenient, there were no more Manhattan appointments till October and I really want to get this done, but I can do it at Newark airport (more convenient by public transport than JFK), and the nice man I finally talked to was extremely pleasant and did not seem nearly as horrified as I was by the turn of events (in fact, I think if I'd been downstairs, they probably would have taken me, but it's an hour away by subway so it wasn't as though I could just suddenly come up).

ANYWAY, now that's off my chest....

I executed plan more as it was supposed to be, though still with excessive alarm snoozing (which in retrospect was a DISASTER rather than just brain-secretly-knows-when-it-can-stay-in-bed-until!). Did have brief email check, but on iPad uncomfortably on living-room couch rather than on real computer, which limits browsing time usefully.

Lower humidity is having an extremely beneficial effect on my running morale. Just did :24 as 3:1. Very nice indeed.

I think I'd better do 20 minutes of meditation now to try and calm down! Oh, or eat something, that will probably have a calming effect - really it's lunchtime and I haven't eaten yet....

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Run of bliss!

1. Couldn't get up this morning.

2. Insofar as it isn't just rationalization to distinguish between the two, it was the not-getting-up of genuinely not enough sleep rather than the not-getting-up of laziness! (Was rereading the dissertation for today's defense until after 11, then read a novel for a while to wind down; turned out lights around one, but couldn't fall asleep for a long time.)

3. Knew I had a contained enough day of responsibilities that I would be able to run later, and just resigned myself to it. (This doesn't work if I either have a super-demanding day or if it's winter and it will be cold and dark by the time I get around to it.)

4. (At B.'s, I am able to request tipping - he asks the night before I need to be tipped in the morning, and I tell him if and when I do and under what circumstances the order can be rescinded!)

5. The defense went fine except for a massive technology fail despite all my anxious preparations; we lost about fifteen minutes in the middle as we had to switch from Skype (computer crashed) to conference-call-plus-cellphone-on-speaker (couldn't get both absentee examiners onto a single conference call despite presence of tech support!). I had a couple student meetings as well and it was effectively a very nice "first day of school," though I don't actually teach for two more weeks - this may have been partly why I had a hard time falling asleep.

6. Came home and lay down at 3 for what I thought would be just a very brief nap, woke up after 6....

7. It's still 80F but it's MUCH less humid.

8. Wanted to go a little longer than the 30 minutes on the schedule, but didn't want to make things hard.

9. Decided to do 40 as 4:1, with 2 segments for warmup and six as 3:30 jog, :30 hard, 1:00 walking recovery.

10. It was the most enjoyable run I've had for ages! Shady and a bit of breeze, low humidity - RUN OF BLISS!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Didn't ride my bike down today (coming from something else) and felt noticeably fresher and less overheated - however once weather's a bit cooler, that won't make such an obvious difference re: hydration.

Bench! I don't love it quite as much as I love deadlift day, but that's because it's easier in a way - so you could say it's the easiest and funnest day of the week.

3 x 5 x 80-85% (100)

Then with football bar, 4 x 4 x 7X% (bar c. 35 plus 2 x 25) with 4-second isometric hold a couple inches from the bottom of the lift

5 x 10 x 40 one-arm lat pulldown with full extension

3 x 6 x pull-up substitute (hanging row underneath bar)

100 band pulldown for abs

This is a very enjoyable workout (with the exception of the rows - my bodyweight is too high for that to be fun!). 1:20 or so all told - I like how the workout usually extends into the second hour....

Very short run

Had idea that I was going to do the first build-up version of Megan's hills (x6), but my legs felt like blocks of wood, the weather is steamy and I've got a sore spot on the right glute-hamstring attachment (I was having a bit of soreness there earlier in the summer, I think - it's not a strained muscle as such, I would guess, perhaps slight tendonitisy thing and the "deficit" deadlifts put a ton of pressure on that area). I did hill #1 and it felt noticeably prongy so I just jogged home instead, that's fine....


Monday, August 24, 2015


I am pretty sure that the best thing about this year has been the powerlifting! Certainly it is the thing that most consistently and regularly lifts my mood. Great workout today (Monday/deadlifts is my favorite day pretty much all the time).

Main work set: 2 x 8 x 181 (72%)
On one mat ("deficit" lifts): 2 x 5 x 181

Barbell shrugs (3 x 12 x 145)
Dumbbell hamstring curls (2 x 10 x 37.5, 1 x 10 x 42.5)
Grip work (52.5)

+ 10mi bike

Run! (phew....)

Ah, it should have been very simple - today's the first day of my new commitment to just run every morning for a short time unless I have a bona-fide other morning workout planned! IT WAS NOT SIMPLE, and I was having dark midday of the soul - but in the end I did get up and out, so that is fine. (I feel much better now that I've gotten that done, though temporally discombobulated - I had an 8am dentist appointment, to have a new night mouthguard fit - the old one is unwearably uncomfortable, I truly don't see how they imagine anyone could fall asleep with it in - but didn't get much sleep, and came home and went back to bed after).

It is way too hot still - PLEASE, FALL WEATHER, COME SOON!

:22 easy jog

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Hahahaha, it can't actually be called a failure because at this juncture really any run is a success, but I did rather set myself up to fail on that one!

Had 40min on the schedule; alarm was set for 9, but really I only struggled out of bed closer to noon, and by the time I got out the door it was about 12:30. It's not grotesquely hot, but it's 80 and sunny and a little more humid than yesterday; my legs were incredibly stiff (we did calf raises on Thursday, that was part of it, but perhaps also just general stiffness from a week back at it - overnight whenever I got up to pee I was yelping as I tried to get my heels flat onto the ground!).

I ran down to the river but it is incredibly sunny down there at midday - I really prefer to do out-and-back along the river, but today I should have just said to myself at the outset that I was going to do 2 loops in "my" shady bit of park. So I turned back, and when I got back to starting point the clock was at 22:30 and I just didn't have it in me to turn around and do another loop (it was one o'clock and I obviously hadn't eaten anything yet - not underfueled or actively hungry, just with the mind running much more on farmer's market peaches and tomatoes than on staying out there longer!).

This is OK, I am thinking I'm going to TRY (we will see if it happens) to get to master's swim later - there's a 5:30 Sunday session at Chelsea Piers that it strikes me would be a nice thing to get on the calendar on a regular basis.

Anyway, 22:30 of very easy rather warm stiff-legged running....

Saturday, August 22, 2015


I am happy to report that I did not forget HOW to run, after long hiatus - in fact fitness doesn't seem much diminished (it wasn't that great to begin with, though, so this is only faint praise!). It is a shockingly beautiful evening: still quite warm (80-ish), but low humidity, and I ran as dusk was falling along the river. Lovely!

Turned around a little early and didn't have vim to make up extra minutes at the end, so I'm a few minutes short, but it's a good start back up at things. Coach David and I have a PLAN coalescing that is going to be good for mental and physical health - this evening run notwithstanding, I think a very short daily morning run is the secret to happiness....

(Lower back very tight, not painful exactly but I stopped to stretch it a few times and wished it weren't feeling like that - will see what I can do to stretch it out.)

:55 very easy

Friday, August 21, 2015


Ah, life would be meaningless if I ALWAYS could just do as I pleased and spend every morning having expensive and decadent exercise sessions - but certainly it is a good way to boost morale now and again, work obligations notwithstanding. (What I have really done too much of with morning time this week is WASTE IT READING THINGS ON THE INTERNET - this needs to change....)

Anyway rode bike down to Chelsea Piers and had a lovely upper-body workout with Josh. We were doing board press at something like 5 x 3 x 130 - at least in theory, I should be able to press more than that (the range of motion is narrower, but it's the harder part of the lift). It is irrational, but I am very happy to think that I am coming close to being able to do "plated" work sets on the bench! (For the uninitiated, the bar is 45lb, and though plates come in different sizes it's the 45-pounders that really get called and considered "plates" - like, "Plate it!") Then some narrow-grip work, triceps, lats.

I really like riding this bicycle - it is genuinely relaxing, and a good way of having some low-stress low-level aerobic exercise added to the week. I am going to be in Cayman for the triathlon weekend in November, and I'm toying with the idea of registering for the sprint triathlon - the Olympic distance will really be more than I want to do (brutal run in heat with no acclimation), but the sprint could be fun....

1hr upper body
10mi bike


This is still the day I dread of the three - progress measured only in tiny inches and I can easily backslide! But it was a very productive session, I think; we experimented with various changes and ended up with a wider grip and a narrower stance (the main obstacles are mental - I have figured out a lot of the technique stuff that wasn't there at first, the hip rotation and the arch in the back etc., but my brain starts overthinking before I even go down for the first time and that's never good!). No real work set in other words but useful experimentation and reasonable volume with light weights.

Then some abs and calf raises. Bike ride there was HOT but ride home was lovely, it has cooled down some and there's a bit of a breeze. God I am ready for summer to be OVER - it is really my least favorite season! Always better for mental health once school starts, though I know that come the beginning of the semester I will be regretting the long quiet days of summer - but it takes a good deal of vim to really make good use of that kind of day, I have been struggling with that a little this week...

1.25hr lower body
10mi bike

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Ah, that was perhaps cumulatively a little too much. I was feeling rather poorly all day - hard to break it down in terms of travel fatigue/jet lag versus just NYC being MUCH TOO HOT. Had already way overheated meeting an old friend and her family for lunch at the Museum of Natural History (hot subway platforms are the worst - I found myself thinking that Bikram experience leads me to conclude that the platform temps when it's 90F outside must be very close to the Bikram-recommended 105F...), thought I'd ride my bike to the gym to avoid more mass transit. But the ride down was just INCREDIBLY hot (it's very sunny), and I was overheated even before the workout began...

... which is just to say it passed in a bit of a daze! I can't even quite say what my work set was - 4 x 8 x 105, maybe? - and misc. other stuff. Also, note to self - EAT CALORIES AFTER WORKOUT if you're riding bike home! Otherwise I feel like I am about to burst into tears with every minor bicycle-related interaction....

Anyway, it's a solid workout - 1+hr upper body, 10mi bike. I think the temperatures are supposed to be a little cooler for the rest of the week, which is helpful - I'd like to run for an hour tomorrow if I can get my act together!

Monday, August 17, 2015


Ah, very good to be back at the gym. Got back from travels yesterday - it was a great trip in many respects (especially spending so much time with B.!), but I got a minor but quite unpleasant sinus infection a few days into the England week and was basically still battling lung junk till, well, NOW.

Deadlift day: work set 3 x 2 x 215, plus 4 x 5 x 135 with 2-inch pads underfoot and leg curls with dumbbell (face-down flat on bench, with 27.5 dumbbell held by feet - 3 x 12).

Happy to be back at it!