Thursday, December 31, 2015

Hot yoga!

The 1.25hr class, and that was at least a quarter of hour (possibly half an hour) more heat than I really had in me! The standing sequence was surprisingly OK, I sat out a couple bits at the end but didn't feel queasy or even really overwhelmed. But the mat sequence never let up - IT WAS JUST TOO HOT. Ah, if only hot yoga would be about ten degrees cooler, it would be perfect!


1.25hr hot yoga

Warm run!

Made it to Cayman yesterday on three hours sleep. Took advantage of 1/2 tablet (I don't always have sleeping pills, but they are occasionally very useful) to go to bed EARLY - like, early - and got up early to run. Couldn't quite get out of bed/out the door as I early as I meant to, it was getting light by the time I was ten minutes in, but it is much better than nothing. Figuring out what else I am going to do today - the server I'm on blocks the yoga studio schedule, but that is a distinct possibility....

:40 warm easy run

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Locomotive run/unsatisfactory bench

Hmmmm, not very satisfied with either of those, but perhaps it was just a day when getting it done is all you can hope for!

Jogged down very slowly (it was nice, damp and cool but not actually raining and no wind, not too many people out there), with right glute-hamstring attachment feeling very tender. (Knee was curiously fine.) Then the upper-body workout was a bit of a disaster! I feel like I forgot how to bench (and in fact I suspect that if I look back through the records of this training cycle, I haven't been doing it as regularly as in prior cycles - I know I missed at least a few, and I didn't have any Friday second bench sessions either). I can do better than this!

Finally did find my groove (literally) on the narrow-grip set (Josh was convinced on the first ones that it was a technical failure rather than a strength failure, but in either case it's frustrating!). Knee was acting up, Josh pressed it painfully but helpfully but I'm grumpy that I've left it so long without doing anything, and I can't really do anything about it while I'm in Cayman. Might try and find some sport massage or physio - at this point I think most of the discomfort is from things being horribly tight as a result of overcompensation.

Resolved: lift more in the first few months of 2016 than I did in the last couple months of 2015! (EVIL HOLIDAYS BREAK MY HAPPY ROUTINE.)

Anyway, bench session:

A couple singles at 115 (work set should have been 3-4 x 2-3 @ 115-120 but I JUST DIDN'T HAVE IT)

Narrow-grip bench: 2 x 10 x 75

Single-arm rows: 4 x 10 x 42.5

Banded: 150 abs, 100 face-pull, 100 triceps

1hr upper body
plus about 1:08 VERY SLOW jogging....

Monday, December 28, 2015


Gosh, today has been utterly overwhelming - I was out of the house for too much of it, that was the main thing, but also wrangling bicycle and soft case on subway to the bike store so they could pack it for me (and then getting it home again - it was good that they got to it today, though) has done me in! It was a very good workout with Josh and Howard, though. Let me see if I can get this right:

5 x 10 x bar squats (concentrating on technique for now, and figuring that even this very low-level submaximal work can lead to strength gains - I'm now going to do everything slow on the way down for extra work without extra craziness!)

slow deadlifts: 4 x 4 x 131 (3 seconds down, 3 seconds up)

goblet squats: 5 x 6 x 37.5 (hold 3 seconds at bottom)

band gunshow x 100

And a bunch of rolling and stretching - my whole left leg is now completely messed up, if this knee business is still bothering me when I get back from Cayman I'd better get someone to take a look at it! I definitely need more warmup - it's worst after I've been sitting a while later in the day after a workout....


Haven't been to a Monday class for a while. Joanna is missed but it was nice to see some of the other familiar faces

:45 spin

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Endurance ride!

Very good final indoor ride with Joanna in her studio. Happy about how this turned out - locking it in as a regular Sunday commitment (this was #6 of 6, with a couple weeks off over Thanksgiving) has worked extremely well. Suddenly seized with huge excitement about the Mercuryman aquabike - it's not a performance race or anything, but it should be really fun....

2hr ride

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Am now on virtually nocturnal schedule so ditched notion of trying to make it to 9am masters swim and slept late. Just had nice 1hr easy run - nothing dramatic...

1hr easy

Friday, December 25, 2015

Holiday run!

That was extremely nice. I took Advil beforehand as my back was rather sore last night and when I got up, it completely alleviated back and knee pain but my right glute-hamstring attachment was very tight and sore throughout - it's always like that the day after deadlifting.

Not quite as muggy as yesterday but still very balmy running weather! 60F, virtually no wind, still rather damp and overcast. Slightly modified Coach's workout as I am trying to minimize walk time while here (I will need it more in Cayman for heat management, both indoors and out).

1.5hr as 16:00 easy, then 15 x (2:30 easy, :30 hard, 1:00 walking recovery), cooldown

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Day of bliss!

The only thing that could make it better would be a writing session, but I'm not at "production of quota" stage on anything currently so it wasn't an option. Very good day, though! It is ridiculously warm and mild (it did finally mostly stop raining, though it's still damp). Rode bike down to Chelsea Piers in short sleeves (into an awful headwind - when I passed the heliport at 30th St. the wind sock was pointing obnoxiously right at me). Did a slightly curtailed version of the lower-body workout Josh sent me, then met up with Lauren for spinning, stretching and a snack in the cafe. Ride home was blissfully easy with wind at my back!

10mi bike
:40 spin
:45 lower body

Had to make a couple compromises on the work set from Josh. First of all my hamstrings were ridiculously tight even after I'd warmed up (and I'd been toiling against wind on bike). Work set for deadlifts was assigned as 4 x 8 @ 185 which even at the best of times I think would require moral support/egging on from an onlooker, and I didn't think I had it in me to do it on my own. Based on Josh's comments on Tuesday I thought he'd prefer me to keep the weight same and lower reps, so that was what I did. Then my back was so tight that I didn't want to do anything extreme on the goblet squats. So:

deadlift: 4 x 5 x 185
goblet squat: 5 x 10 x 37.5
band hip thrust: 3 x 10 @ red band (4-second pause at top)
plank: 5 x :30 plank, :30 recovery

Skipped the lat pulldown as I couldn't get the machine set up properly and I was running out of time before spin class anyway. Good cumulative workout though!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


A very good one, too. Not beautiful outside (very damp and overcast), but mild - near 60. Modified run to suit personal taste/mood of the day.

1:10 as

:20 easy
15 x (1:00 hard, 1:00 walking recovery)
:20 easy


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Upper body!

It was a very good workout, though having also had three long grading sessions (everything is now read and marked and I just need to enter final grades into the computer) I now feel utterly knackered and forlorn. Hopefully things will seem a bit brighter in the morning!

Not sure I can remember everything now, but it was like this:

bench with football bar (it weighs a little less than a regular bar) + 25s: 10, 8, 8, 7.5 (spotter wanted to count it as 8 but it only went up with help)

standing shoulder press with football bar: was set as 3 x 10, I think I was only on eights by the last set

circuit x 3:

incline bench (set as 8, but we are short the appropriate weights, I was using 27.5 and did) 8, 6, 4
incline row (10 x 27.5)

One other thing, what was it? Oh, skull-crushers again with football bar: 4 x 15.

Alas, no Thursday morning workout after all, and I can't come to the makeup one tomorrow at 5 as I annoyingly have a haircut appointment I can't change (it is overdue, hair in my eyes is making me crazy). Will run instead but I think I just don't like it that we won't be lifting as a group again till Monday! The gym is only closed on the 25th, however, so really I am fine - will have a good run tomorrow morning and a short one Thursday plus midday spin at Chelsea Piers with Lauren, who is in town for the holidays!

OK, gotta get these grades in now....

Nice rainy run!

Hahahahaha, I like running in the rain (and it's very mild) but I would have donned somewhat different garb if I had realized quite how rainy it actually was: a visor to keep water out of my eyes (and no glasses!), a less absorbent jacket....

Anyway did :40 as 4:1 with first two for warmup and then 6 x (3:30 easy, :30 hard, 1:00 walking recovery). Wanted to go longer but at the :20 mark I was so drenched I thought I'd better start for home - didn't have any money in my pocket and suddenly started envisaging bad outcomes!

Monday, December 21, 2015


Ah, it was particularly nice today - it's quiet at the gym because of the approaching holiday, and I think we had good focus. That said, my mental block on squatting seems to me as active as ever, hahahaha, what a DISASTER! Went back to square one after a very poor first set and did this with a box under me (with just bar and box everything is perfect, it's uncanny - I think that feeling of weight on the back is just something that's hard to get used to?):

box squats: 6 x 10 x 45

deadlift (speed): 10 x 3 x 141 (on 1:00)

dumbbell hamstring curls: 5 x 10 x 38.5

Not sure quite how that added up to 1:20 but it did! H. was deadlifting heavy and doing deficits, C. and P. were both benching and doing some additional conditioning, we were lifting according to a rota?

Also: H. got us all CPNY Powerlifting trucker caps as a holiday present! Pictures to follow, we didn't take any this evening....

Sunday, December 20, 2015

2hr ride...

(Which is not very long as cycling goes, but it was good to get up to that mark at least....)

Was having a hard time getting HR high enough in the first hour - a bit of fatigue (taxing week), a bit of lack of concentration - but I felt like things came right in the second hour.

2hr indoor ride

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Glorious long run!

I was feeling very sheepish as I inadvertently slept all day. In retrospect, it's not surprising - I very regularly sleep for twelve hours on a Friday night at the end of a taxing week, and last night I was out in Brooklyn at dear old friends' holiday party until late, only got home around 2 and couldn't wind down to go to sleep till after 3. Woke up briefly at 10:15 to feed importunate cats, went back to sleep and only woke up again at 3:45!

Which meant it was getting dark as I got out for my long run, so I abandoned the more detailed plans that required checking a watch (it has an indiglo button but it's a pain needing to press it to see where I am on the clock) and just did 1:40 straight. It was lovely - chilly and rather windy, especially on the way out, but pleasantly deserted and genuinely enjoyable. Happy about this - I like this time of year....

1:40 easy run

Friday, December 18, 2015


I truly did not have it in me to get out this morning. But I had a window in the early evening that made sense, and am very happy that I did indeed get out for thirty minutes. Not especially cold (mid-40s?) but VERY windy! This day has had a lot of human contact and a short run will give me fortitude for further socializing (lobby Xmas party downstairs, then old friends' annual party in Brooklyn). Fortitude such that I am at least TOYING with the idea of wearing a dress, though I suspect I will enjoy myself more in jeans and a t-shirt....

:30 windy dark run!

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Pleasant surprise to get to lifting and find out we were doing deadlifts first and then squats. Work set was assigned as 4 x 3 but weight was too heavy for me to execute that fully! So:

DL 231lb (3, 1, 1, 1)

pause squats (4 seconds at the bottom) 4 x 3 x 65

(I'm still sticking with really light weights and working on technique - it feels a lot better....)

150 abs with band

100 "gunshow"


Morning work stuff ran a bit late and I was ten minutes late for class, which I hate, but it's a great workout even curtailed like that. :35 with mostly short high-cadence intervals (seated and standing). This is hard which means it must be good for me.

Hanging around the gym cafe now and trying to motivate myself to write two letters of recommendation that have been eliciting strong procrastinatory impulses! Squats later and then the gym so-called "member appreciation" party which I think I will stay for (or at least do preliminary scoping out of free food and drink - you can take the professor out of graduate school, but you can't take the graduate student out of the professor)....

:35 intervals

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Felt very bleary-eyed and low in the afternoon - didn't sleep well or indeed enough last night. But second workout perked me up (and I finished my spring-semester syllabus, though not the two letters of recommendation - the unfortunate thing at this time of year is that one is both fielding huge numbers of emails and logistical things about the fall-semester teaching while also finalizing the spring semester, needing to place course book orders etc. and indeed also sorting out next year's teaching - I am frazzled!).

1hr upper body

5 x 10 bench @ 85, 90, 90, 90, 90 (failed on final rep of final set, that really must be mental!)

Circuit x 6: (6lb medicine ball)

6 ring rows
10 medicine ball slams
10 mb side slams
10 mb overhead

lateral raise: 3 x 15 x 5lb

plank: 5 x :30 on 1:00

Glorious run!

Another almost miraculously nice one. The weather this December is conspiring to make my running life happy and easy - it's 50F and sunny with very little wind, running along the Hudson in those conditions is pure bliss!

Knee is good; felt some tenderness in right glute-hamstring attachment (this seems inevitable the day after deadlifting, even though I wasn't lifting heavy or high volume yesterday - nothing major).

1:15 as follows:

:20 easy
12 x 3:00 as (1:00 easy, :40 fast, 1:20 walking recovery)
:20 easy

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Spin/lower body

Yesterday turned into an unwanted null day due to anxiety about my poor little cat Mickey! At his check-up last week the vet found he had significant periodontal disease (no reason, apparently some cats just have bad teeth). So I dropped him off yesterday at 8 (getting him into the carrier was the most stressful thing I've done in living memory!) and waited anxiously all day for word that I could pick him up. Cats have to have general anesthesia for tooth-cleaning and extraction (five or six teeth came out), and I was really obsessing about it unduly. Relieved indeed to pick him up around 6. He was wobbly on his feet and pretty groggy last night and overnight, but he ate a hearty plate of tinned food this morning and is just as cuddly and purry as usual (I guess he doesn't hate me for putting him in the bag).

Missed powerlifting inevitably, and have just made that workout up this afternoon as follows:

:50 spin
:35 lower body

squats: 4 x 6 x 65 (used lower end of weight options as I am still building technique and confidence on that lift)
deadlifts for speed: 6 x 2 x 155 on 1:00
lateral pulldowns: 5 x 10
single-arm row: 3 x 10 x 42.5

Now need to go and get allergy shots then buckle back down on work stuff....

(Our evening lifting session for this evening is canceled and will be rescheduled for tomorrow, which actually for once suits me pretty well - will be good to be home while it is still light.)

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Another good ride at Joanna's. Still only at 1.5hr as it was clear that it made more sense to use the rest of the time with bruisingly painful foam rollerdom! I'm not really riding enough for my January event, but it is going to have to do - certainly it's quality time (and I will make sure to get to midweek rides). Possibility that Joanna is going to start teaching a couple daytime spin classes at a gym on the Upper West Side - that would be excellent....

1.5hr indoor ride


Just a short one as I want to maximize crazy spring-like December running weather. (Once I'm in Cayman, it's too hot to run so enjoyably outside!) This was not lovely - legs had no spring in 'em, patch of chafing under my arm was bothering me and most of all my right lower back was unpleasantly tight. Still, good to get out there (I saw a funny pug running very athletically with its master, and lots of other nice dogs).

:30 easy

Saturday, December 12, 2015


Gosh, that was absolutely glorious! Not exhilarating as such, more meditative, but probably the easiest and least effortful long run I've had forever - nothing was unduly sore/painful, and I felt at the end as though I could have done exactly the same thing all over again (strong biomechanically, metabolically, huffing and puffing).

The morale boost was much needed as I was just wishing I could get a total personality transplant. This week was unduly taxing, which made me go what I sometimes think of as FULL DORMOUSE - slept yesterday afternoon 3:45-5:45, then slept 11:30pm-11:30am, then went back to bed around 1pm and slept deeply for another 2.5 hours. Was disgusted with myself when I woke up, not to mention still drowsy! But my knee felt completely normal for the first time in weeks (took yesterday off to rest it), and internal self-examination told me that there were no obstacles to getting out to run, even if it was almost dark. (Also, it's 65F!) And as I say, it was an absolutely lovely one - still going very slow, but feel like I'm moving better and as though systems are all coming into good train.

1.5hr easy (tried first :20 sprint, but it twinged my knee so I decided to stay at easy effort level)

Thursday, December 10, 2015


OK, I haven't really been complaining about it here, especially since it hasn't stopped me from doing workouts, but my left knee really isn't right - very sore walking downstairs or any time it's hyperextended, though not sore as such while running or doing other forms of exercise. I felt super-cautious re: squats - knees were strong and stable at the bottom, but as soon as I was close to upright (or indeed even in the walkout phase, with straight legs/locked knees) I was getting major twinges. So did assigned squat set with no weight other than the bar:

4 x 10 x 45 (impatient to be back at real weights but must not do anything to further break slightly broken things!)

150 abs with band (5 x 30)

lat pulldowns 3 x 6 heavy

4 x 10 x 6-pound medicine ball slam

Then we had team powerlifting dinner ("Friendsgiving") and it was lovely - aside from everything, 2 extremely nice little dogs!


Almost uncannily good running weather - it must be almost 60F, sunny and mild! Had a couple morning things I needed to dispatch first, but got out midday for a very nice one:

:52 as

:20 warmup
10 x (:20 fast, 1:40 walking recovery)

I really felt like I was flying on the fast bits!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Very good one too. For once I got up "early" enough to finish crucial work bit and still get out to run (though if I do not scamper pretty quickly - or even if I do - I will be a few minutes late to my noon meeting).

:50 as

15:00 warmup
10 x (:45 fast, 1:15 walking recovery)
15:00 cooldown

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Upper body!

So glad to be back in the routine. Felt a bit rocky at first (fatigued!) but got in the groove pretty quickly. Had a really good day in the end (yesterday was overwhelming and not particularly good) - both exercise sessions were satisfying, very nice late lunch with friends in Chelsea Market, got necessary work done. Ready to go home now, though - cats, pajamas!


2 x 3 @ 95
1 x 10 @ 95

3 x (a) flat bench press (b) incline row @ 27.5

cable fly 3 x 25

100 abs with band

1hr total


Hmmmm, pressure-cooker aspect of academic life in December has led to surge in stress without any real other specific precipitating factor. They were doing roadwork on my block late last night and I had some trouble falling asleep, then woke (horribly) at 4:30 and was awake for long enough that finally I gave in, got up and read the 2 dossiers that I needed to write reports on today! Went back to sleep around 7:15, dragged myself out of bed a few hours later and cranked out the reports, then cabbed it down to Chelsea for midday spin. Had hoped to get here early enough to run first for 30 minutes, but it was not meant to be (and I have lunch now with friends, so it will have to happen later or not at all).

A good spin class - this is really helpful for laying down some bike fitness to make sure January's 56-miler isn't too horrible....

:50 spin!

Monday, December 7, 2015


I had a very demanding day, including an extra half-hour of school stuff that detained me uptown and made me half an hour late to lift, but it's not a big deal, they do a second session at 6pm anyway and running 5:30 to 6:30 doesn't seem to bother anybody (I texted Josh to let him know I'd be late). Still babying my left knee - it felt fine yesterday while I was working out, but stiffened up afterwards and is clearly not quite right - also decided I'd better forego notional spin class. More important to stay healthy than to overdo it, a lesson I have learned more than once....

1hr lower body! (SO happy that we are all back in the normal routine - it really didn't feel right last week without it!) Did baby weights on squats because of (a) knee and (b) trying some different technique stuff (bar very much lower down on back).


3 x 2 x 185
1 x 10 x 185 (hahahaha, forgot how strenuous a set of 10 deadlifts feels even when it's not at super-heavy weights!)


3 x 2 x 65
1 x 10 x 65

Circuit x 4:

20 shrugs (42.5)
10 single-arm row (37.5)
5 4-second eccentric ring row


Sunday, December 6, 2015

And spin!

And an equally lovely endurance ride in Joanna's studio - 90min, I did not have vim for more, but will hope to get up to 2hr next week. Definitely starting to feel a little more at home on the bike again - it was good/important to get to midweek spin classes this week, will try and do the same this coming week.

1.5hr indoor ride (Friel zone 2-3, verging more on the latter)


I am ashamed that I had three days this week with no exercise, that is pretty pitiful, but on a brighter note I have just had a most GLORIOUS run. High 40s and sunny, very little wind - went along the river and felt very happy to be out there!

1.5hr (:20 warmup, :50 with every fifth minute faster, :20 cooldown)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Short run!

Demanding Friday of committee meeting and report writing-up. Did a little bit of tidying up in my extremely squalid and chaotic apartment, scaled down more ambitious exercise plan at that point as we were close to dusk and just went out for short local run. As always, even a short run is worthwhile on a day with no other exercise!

:35 as :10 warmup, 10 x (:30 hard, 1:30 walking recovery), :5 cooldown

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The boom-bust cycle

I am feeling naughty in various regards: first for taking off downtown for glorious midday exercise when a huge pile of work tasks awaits me (but my usual Thursday 2:15 meeting was pushed back to 3:30, and I don't have powerlifting later either, so it was irresistible); second for falling into the boom-bust trap instead of the more on-point mode of daily consistency! Except when under true duress of hard deadlines, I conduct my writing life on an admirably daily and regular basis - it is all about the production of quota. Why, then, should the exercise binge be so irresistible?!?...

Anyway I had an even more grandiose plan that was going to include three (powerlifting) or perhaps even four (powerlifting and swimming!) components, but I am trying to keep my insanity in check and don't want to overdo it. Run and spin proved sufficient - put me into an incredibly good mood (also the sun's out again, which is extremely helpful).

Jogged down to Chelsea Piers as follows:

21min warmup jog

then 14 x (1:40 jog, :20 hard, 1:00 walking recovery)

5min cooldown jog

1:08 total

That was on an empty stomach, it felt surprisingly good/easy though I was ravenous for calories by the time I got to the gym. Had a creamsicle smoothie that made the goosebumps come up on my skin (beautiful running weather, high 40s and sunny, but very windy and I was in short sleeves with gloves), realized that I had better go straight to the spin studio to start warming myself back up. Can do the other lower-body workout tomorrow afternoon, I think, in conjunction with a swim.

So 1hr spin (the class is :45)

Very happy about having laid down a solid double and made it to two mid-week spin classes this week. Priorities for the next seven weeks: (1) nutrition and weight loss (2) enough time on bike that the 56-mile Mercuryman ride is pleasant rather than horrible. There are other things too, of course - run a lot in December while I am in NYC, start swimming again, continue with powerlifting progress - but none of those is quite as important just now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Hybrid workout!

Yesterday was a wash - I took the train home from Baltimore and was so tired when I got back to my apartment that I fell into bed for an ill-advised mega-nap (and was predictably up till 2am as a direct consequence). There are many work things I should be doing, but I trust they will get done, and I decided to prioritize exercise today to get back on track. Coach Josh is away this week so we have our powerlifting workouts to do on our own - run schedule just said 15-20 min easy so I am counting the slightly escalated conditioning bit I did as part of the lower-body workout - then went to spin class for the first time in too long. Rainy dark day here and I now feel about 100 times better than I did when I first got up!

:40 lower body:

3 x 10 squats @ 65

2 x 20 walking lunges @ 12.5 (there is only one each of 17.5 and 22.5 and I really didn't think it necessary to go up to 27.5!)

100 x abs with band

10min conditioning on sand volleyball court (jog 2 laps, walk 1)

Then :40 spin.

I am keen to have December and the first three weeks of January be months of fantastic exercise and scrupulous nutrition - the spring semester is going to be challenging, I need to get into good shape for it beforehand....