Monday, February 29, 2016


Very good day. We worked up to some heavy singles, and I am very happy to find that even on submaximal training (we haven't been lifting heavy at all), I got up to within 10 pounds of my max at the end of last year. This bodes well for my desire of reaching 300 by May!

Warmups and heavy singles up to 260

Rack pull: 4 x 4 x 225

Hip thrusts with band: 3 x 20

Dumbbell hamstring curl: 5 x 10 x 37.5

Abs: 6 x 20 ball-to-each-side

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Week in review

Didn't manage to swim, not even the short technique swim I thought I'd substitute for masters swim - was in the cafe at the gym for a few hours working but suddenly felt that I would basically DIE if I wasn't at home and in a horizontal position in the near future. That was the right call as I had a whole further stint of work I needed to get through this evening, the nap was ill-advised in terms of what it means for sleep tonight but absolutely necessary if I was going to get anything done. (NB years of treating sleep like this is one of the reasons I have such a problem with it!)

A pitiful swim total for the week of two, but on a happier note four lifts and five runs - that is how it should be.

Intrepid run

Ugh, more of this terminal insomnia, it is not my usual thing at all to wake up at 5:30 and not be able to go back to sleep - I'm knackered! But I gave in and got up and did my long run, it was pretty OK (though I was going so slowly I am not sure I really activated the happy exercise chemicals - but at least my back wasn't hurting like it did the day before!).

1:40 - turned around at the Intrepid

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Short run

It would be an exaggeration to describe it as a disaster - but I was not feeling the love - right lower back very sore/tight, right toes curiously sore (might need to loosen the laces on these new shoes? I think I loosened only the left ones), sore quads from Thursday's squatting, generally feeling hopeless! Made a detour en route home to Morton Williams for some overpriced Advil, though probably what I need more than painkillers is some stretching.

This week really did me in, I am still feeling pretty wiped out and discouraged. Very behind on preparing this talk for Thursday, slightly behind on a host of other stuff. Need to go to a birthday brunch downtown at 11am tomorrow, hoping I can get myself up early enough to do the long run before that so that the rest of the day is clear for work. Ugh....


Friday, February 26, 2016

Magic workout!

Last week was just a week of terrible overwork and ended with identity theft episode, but this week has tipped me over the edge - some good friends having a very difficult time of things, various extended family having medical woes, etc. etc. I haven't written up any of my cases from this morning - I was so tired when I got home that all I could do was lie in bed and feel awful (couldn't even fall asleep for a nap, too stressed out!). But a strength workout really is like a magic cureall. I was feeling as I walked over to the gym that nothing was ever going to seem good again - and I walked out an hour later feeling like a normal human being again.

(Going to see if I can ride that wave at least to the point of writing up one of my cases!)

(That gym really is hellish - even with a trainer it's almost impossible to get a good place to work, we didn't even do a real bench set due to crowding, but there is of course plenty you can do when you put your mind to it. I feel like setting up this Friday close-to-home workout was almost the only sensible thing I have done for myself this semester!)

1hr upper body and core


I always have a lot of trouble falling asleep, and it wasn't a surprise that I was still awake at 2:30 - at that point I turned off my "optimistic - might be able to run before 9:30 meeting" alarm and only left on the "absolutely must get up at that time" one. But in fact stress levels are running high enough that I had the (for me) relatively rare visitation of the fantastically named TERMINAL insomnia. Was fully awake at 6:15, couldn't go back to sleep. Have been having total yen to run this week just as I haven't been able to, so I took advantage of wakefulness to get out for a beautiful easy half-hour down to the river. I love the light at that time of day - it's not quite up to freezing and a bit windy, but I am very keen on that kind of a sunny slightly wintry run! And have now cooked and eaten a large omelet with spinach and feta and black beans, so I feel that the day is altogether off to a better start than the last few have been....

:30 run!

Thursday, February 25, 2016


This week is actually trying to kill me - I wouldn't say I'm at the end of my tether, but I'm definitely at the limit of my resources....

I'm pretty much down to bare bones on workouts - I intended to do a treadmill run as well as squatting, but I didn't have time to do it before (didn't eat lunch till almost 4 due to circumstances beyond my control, needed to digest!) and I don't think it's smart to do it post-squat when I'm so overextended in life stress. I felt subjectively very tired, but not having run over the last few days probably helped me lift better/heavier.

Josh was in a very stern mood and having self-reproach about not having pushed me hard enough on this lift over the past couple months. So I had what is probably the best set I've done yet with the safety squat bar. Still with box - Josh offered a deal at the end that if I can get up to sets at 135 he'll let me get rid of the box, that is a good incentive....

Single-leg hip thrusts: 3 x 12

Squats (safety squat bar and box): warmup set of 10 with bar (70), then 6 x 10 at 80, 80, 85, 90, 90, 100

Eccentric lunges (1 chain): 5 x 6 (7 seconds descending)

Hip thrust with band and slight knee movement to outside: 3 x 30

Then I stretched. Call it an hour - need to eat again now, I am woefully down on calories for the day....

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Swimming lesson;

A lesson with Slava has restored my faith in the fundamentally delightful nature of life in the world.

Today, 2 drills:

Alternating sweet spot with 6 kicks (difference between 2- and 6-beat kick)

And an amazing one you do by hundreds. First with right paddle left fin, then the reverse, then both full set, then swim. Core and kick coordination!

1hr happy swim

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bench/"Tread and Shred"!

My morning went awry for reasons utterly beyond my control (it was a day of freezing rain in any case which makes everything harder), but I am happy I was able to pull things back round for the evening: very good lifting session with Josh and the guys and then I had signed up to go afterwards to the small-group 6:30 "Tread and Shred" class. There was too much Shred for my purposes and not quite enough Tread, but it is an excellent commitment mechanism - there are only 6 slots and you sign up online in advance, you are a SCOUNDREL if you claim a spot and don't use it, so I may need to call on that option again later in the semester...

Bench: 5 x 3 @ 105, 105, 105, 110, 110 (I was lifting well)

Close-grip bench: 3 x 10 x 80

Incline rows: 5 x 10 x 42.5

Circuit x 5: 5 pushups, 20 pullaparts with band, 10 ring rows

Triceps pushdown: 100 assigned, but I just did 3 x 10 as I was on the heavier weight with Joe and Howard and also did a lot of them yesterday, and my eye was on the clock for 6:30 class....

1.25 upper body

+ 1hr tread and shred!

Monday, February 22, 2016


Not a very productive day, but modestly restorative: only a couple visitors to office hours, and I headed straight downtown afterwards to the gym even though we didn't have a workout scheduled for today (Josh's birthday!). Happily I ran into Howard and a few others with the same thought, we even had a workout from Josh (I skipped the prowler set and added deadlifts - it is so much my favorite, I hate to miss it - I think he just didn't want to assign anything generally that would let anyone do anything stupid!):

6lb medicine ball: 5 x (10 chest, 10 above head, 10 each side)
deadlift work set: 6 x 3 x 181 (had intended 5 x 5 but felt a lot of fatigue from yesterday's workouts and decided lower reps was a better idea)
circuit x 5: 20 triceps pushdown, 20 curls with band, 20 abs (did 3 sets of V with small medicine ball side to side, then 2 x :45 plank)

:50 total

Plus :20 swim - had to do those drills one more time before Wednesday's lesson!

100 swim
100 pull
100 as 25 salute/stroke coordination, 25 swim
100 as 50 right arm/left arm, 50 swim
100 as 50 shark, 50 swim
100 as 50 reverse shark, 50 swim

600 yards total


High 40s and sunny - the weather today is conspiring with my desire to have a good exercise week. Also my Monday schedule has a bit of slack in it, thank goodness - I really needed a quiet morning at home....

:30 easy

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week's totals

Based on stars: 3 lifts, 3 runs (that's poor!), 4 swims (that was my priority). It was an unusually taxing work week with evening obligations Tuesday and Thursday, and identity theft was the last straw. Moving on!

This week I am hell-bent on getting 4 lifts, 4 swims and 5 runs....

(This coming week is the mostly regular week before two weeks that both have extra/complicated work things that will affect scheduling, so I am really hoping it will be a good one.)


Having an annoying computer problem (not related to identity theft, I hasten to add) - last week a visitor used my laptop to log in to her gmail account, then the accounts got inappropriately linked. On my ipad at the office today I tinkered until I could properly log out of that one - but now when I try and get into my blogger account on my laptop, it asks me to sign in by taking me to my Columbia gmail, which isn't the one that's linked to the blogs! Writing this now on iPad as I am sufficiently fatigued that I have not been able to figure out how to fix it - have a nasty feeling that I may have to make an appointment with campus IT folks....

swim - 1.5hr, c. 3400? Was mostly doing a better job keeping up except on long pull sets and longer swim. I had dinner afterwards with a friend downtown and it is now completely beyond me to reconstruct all the different pieces of what we did. Need to get offline and read a book to wind down!

[ED. Have figured out how to delink accounts again. Ugh, it really was a pain for me that CU switched to a gmail-based interface - it is very difficult to keep the two in play without muddle re: this kind of login situation....]

Happy happy long run!

Patience was rewarded and I am today having the day of exercise I had hoped to have yesterday. It is 53F in NYC with very little wind! Not quite as beautiful as yesterday, but still pretty much ideal running weather. Best long one I've had in a while; right glute-hamstring was virtually silent for first fifty minutes or so, then I could feel it on the way back and it was rather sore by the end of the run, but not as bad as it was on that long one a few weeks ago. Should be able to go to masters swim later barring unforeseen calamity.

1:40 run!

Saturday, February 20, 2016


Nothing epic, but I count it a huge success that I got anything done....

Yesterday was a disaster and a zero. I was busy with my big meeting till 12:30, then came home and was horribly on the phone till almost four dealing with identity theft ramifications. At that point I'd done pretty much everything I could except for filing the police report, so I walked over to the 26th precinct and took care of that. I was foolishly optimistic that I might still have time to make it to Chelsea Piers before family dinner downtown at 6 - that was a fantastical delusion!

(It has to be said that the police were extremely nice and helpful, it's just that the paperwork takes a terribly long time to fill out....)

Slept horribly and was grumpy when waking up (late) because I still had ALL FOUR of my Friday meeting reports to write. Went to my office and cranked out three of them, at that point eyes were popping out of my head and I decided I'd better leave the fourth for tomorrow.

The 1 train isn't running this weekend, but the weather is beautiful - I had a 5pm MUCH OVERDUE hair appointment for highlights and cut, bushy hair at the back has been making me crazy, so I walked to 96th St. and got the train downtown. Got in a little early, was finished there around 7 and walked over to Chelsea Piers. They are open in theory till 9 but the pool shuts at 8:30 and the showers close at 8:45 so I didn't have time for anything epic, just a nice short technique swim and a short treadmill run with a few intervals.

Swim (c. :40)

200 pull
200 free
100 as salute-swim by 25 (stroke coordination)
100 as 50 right arm/left arm, 50 swim
100 as 50 shark, 50 swim
100 as 50 reverse shark, 50 swim
100 swim
50 frog kick
100 IM

1050 yards total

Short treadmill run (:20)

:10 warmup at 5.0mph
5 x :30 hard (6.5, 3 x 7.0, 7.5), 1:30 @ 3.5mph

Hoping for morning long run and evening masters swim tomorrow. I really hoped that my "star chart" would help me not have any zeroes this semester, but I already had one last Sunday (polar vortex + family visitors) and this one yesterday (identity theft) - one begins to suspect that a zero once a week is a life inevitability....

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Was feeling really exuberant about both of these at the time, but then went to a long evening work event and proceeded finally to get home at 9:30 and find - evidence of identity theft! Someone has opened a store credit card in my name and spent over $2,000 on it (in Ohio) - and there's another store suggesting that an account has been requested and asking for more information - and it's too late this evening for me to do anything about it other than start a report at the government identity theft site! Stewing - it is NOT going to be easy to go to sleep now, and I am busy all morning/all day with important work stuff, how am I going to find the time to deal with this promptly?!?


Lovely swim! Promised myself after swim delinquency this week (I blame it on the polar vortex!) that I am going to swim every day between now and my next lesson, even if only for 20 minutes. I think I'm on track for it - will do masters swim Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, which just leaves tomorrow and Monday as the challenge....

About :45 total as follows:

2 x drill warmup set as per Slava's injunctions (1000):

100 swim
100 alternating 25 swim with salute and 25 swim (stroke coordination)
100 as 50 right arm, left arm with SWIPE, 50 swim concentrating on left arm (high/bent elbow, clean entry)
100 as 50 shark (core/rotation), 50 swim from core
100 as 50 reverse shark (core strength), 50 swim from core

200 pull with paddles
100 back (I fear this is really my best stroke!)
100 fly with fins (2 kicks not 3!)
100 easy free

1500 yards total

And then about :45 lifting (had to leave early to get back uptown for dinner and talk):

medicine ball right-left sledgehammer (8lb - should have been 10 but there isn't one!), 4 x 6

hip thrusts with one raised leg, 3 x 10

safety squat bar: 7 x 3 x 100 (that's heavier than I've been doing mostly and it felt super-manageable - I am hopeful that Josh's trick is working and that when I am finally back on the regular bar with no box I'm going to be incredibly strong and confident!)

OK, I will deal with this identity theft business tomorrow, there is really nothing more I can do about it now....

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Day of bliss!

Starting the day like this really makes me feel as though I am leading a charmed life (yesterday was similar - partly I think the contrast is just to how dreadful things were at this time last year - Jim died at the end of this week last year, and then my father died very unexpectedly two weeks later, and the rest of the semester was just a scramble to keep the head above water).

Jogged down to Chelsea Piers and it was GREAT - knee muscles are behaving appropriately, and my legs really benefited from having had some days off (I saw this with strength workouts Monday and Tuesday also, I was much fresher than usual) - less of a slog than it sometimes is. And then I had a lovely swimming lesson with Slava, though I had to confess that polar vortex and family visitors made it hard for me to get to the pool - lack of practice was evident in the first lengths I swam, where I forgot exactly everything I'd been supposed to work on!

3 essential drills for me for freestyle:

salute (stroke coordination)
one-arm with forehead swipe (slice entry, concentrate on left arm especially)
shark and reverse shark for body rotation from core and core strength

Then he had a quick look at my IM, backstroke is good and fly is effective though not particularly clean (I am doing an extra kick, will work on this - I know where it should be and where it shouldn't be). Breast is horrible! So we made one BIG substitution - frog kick instead of whip kick, better for tender knees! - and then worked a bit on timing.

One more lesson next week I think - the week after that I have a Wednesday midday department meeting I can't miss....

1:05 run
1hr swim lesson!

Now I must write the other half of my lecture - not teaching till 6:10pm is a blessing and a curse....

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Excellent session with Josh as I am giving a talk in the evening and will have to miss powerlifting (giving a lunchtime presentation too, I will be sick of the sound of my own voice!). He seems to think I have gotten a lot stronger - this is good. Not sure this is exactly it, but along these lines:

bench: 6 x 2 @ 85

board press: 4 x 2 @ 95, 115, 135, 135 (!) (with competition pause - missed the pause on the last rep of the last set, it was a failure of confidence)

lats 5 x 10 x moderately heavy weight

overhead press with football bar: couple tens to warm up with empty bar, then 3 x 6 @ 45

single-arm row with band (4 x 15)

:50 upper body

Monday, February 15, 2016


I loved this workout! Very pure and simple, the basics....

Conditioning/warmup: 5 x 30 bounces/10s. (hard medicine ball) at chest, overhead, each side

Deadlift set with 3-second ascending and descending: 5 x 4 x 171

Safety squats: 3 x 10 x 85

Dumbbell hamstring curls: 3 x 10 x 42.5

Tried a treadmill jog after, but have been having knee trouble today (not pain as such, other than the ongoing bit of soreness inside the knee, but my medial muscles on left knee were totally clenched when I got up this morning, I was hobbling, and I could feel it coming on again as I did the DB hamstring curls) - even easy jog was activating it so I got off, it will be better to be cautious.

Saturday, February 13, 2016


I have to make the effort to get to Saturday morning masters swim - Slava told me the slow lane was a little slower than Sunday's, and it is true, much better for me not to be scrambling to keep up! We ran out of time to do the last bit of the set, but here was the lovely workout:

250 warmup

(1) 3 x (150 as 50 swim, 50 drill, 50 swim, 150 as 50 kick, 50 swim, 50 kick) (I missed one 50 due to spacing out - by the time I had my kickboard in hand the other two were already down at the other end for the last 50 and I realized I'd better just come back in for the next bit) (mostly free, one set of back) (850)

(2) 4 x 200 pull with stroke count (there was more to it than that, but I am too lazy to write it up!) (800)

(3) 4 x (6 x 25 stroke drill + 100 IM with the 25 of that stroke fast) (learned funny new backstroke drill - the Titantic drill!) (we only had time for fly, back, breast) (750)

2650 yards

I meant to get there early enough to run 40 minutes on the track beforehand, but it was not to be. Will see if I can get myself to do it on the mini Columbia track later, but I think really as long as I did one good workout today, that's fine. Brent and I have tickets to a matinee and it may be preferable for once just to lounge and be lazy together!

Friday, February 12, 2016


That was really good - my system is going to work well (but the trainer is out of town next week, so I will have to come up with some sort of backup commitment mechanism!). Jogged 15 minutes on the track (it's woefully cold outside, definitely have to do all running this weekend indoors), then met Paul for a good hour-long session in the weight room. Won't bother to write down everything I did but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

And Brent is here, and now we are going to go out for food and drink! This is very nice - Friday end of day is often when I just feel forlorn and exhausted, but not able to go to sleep for a long time more....

15 min. easy run
1hr upper body and abs!

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Good workout, though we were late getting started and I had to leave before we finished everything.

5 x 1:00 fast wall bounce, 2:00 recovery

5 x 6 safety squat bar (80)

3 x 8 Bulgarian split squat (6-second eccentric, 10lb in each hand)

Rest of assigned work would have been abs, dumbbell hamstring curls, one other thing I've forgotten now.


Still having to fight to get there (this was the second time), but it's really nice once I'm in the pool. Just did .5hr of mostly drill stuff, let's see - it was along these lines anyway, not sure it was this exactly:

100 swim
100 as 50 sweet spot, 50 swim
100 as 50 alternating sweet spot, 50 swim
100 as 50 swim with sweet spot and salute, 50 swim
100 as 50 shark, 50 swim
100 as 50 reverse shark, 50 swim
100 as 50 right arm, left arm (other arm to front), 50 swim
100 as 50 right arm, left arm (other arm to side), 50 swim
200 IM drill
100 IM
100 back
100 free

1300 yards total

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


Clear to me that at least for now when I'm doing my run as a run to Chelsea Piers from home, I just don't have mental and physical wherewithal to do intervals as well - I hope that will change, but for now I'll just put the intervals into the shorter runs. Anyway:

1:07 slow run

1hr swim lesson!

Another very good one. We were working on core, hand entry and pull; drills are shark for core rotation, reverse shark for core strength (a.k.a. Boomer), one-arm freestyle with full rotation. Also a funny one where you balance princess-and-the-pea style on a stack of kickboards (star, Y, I, hold it).

Must get on now with my actual work day, which skews late on Wednesdays....

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The 300!

Hmmm, naughty mega-stint of midday exercise. B. is arriving momentarily and while this is an unequivocal good, I always get a huge spike of anxiety beforehand about how I am ever going to get all my work and exercise done when there is, as it were, another human being in the immediate vicinity!

("Naughty" for me is often synonymous with "self-protective"! The work will get done, after all, whereas if the exercise isn't done by a certain point in the evening the day's a write-off....)

ANYWAY, glorious trio of exercises, really verging on excessive in a pleasant/soothing way:

(1) 50 minutes upper body

bench: 5 x 6 x 95
close grip bench: 2 x 10 x 75
DB floor press: 4 x 6 @ 32.5 (1-second pause at the bottom)
skull-crusher with football bar: 3 x 10
lat pulldown: 5 x 10 x moderate weight
circuit x 4 (@ 5, no rest): (a) front raise x 10 (b) lateral raise x 10

(2) 1hr masters swim! A swim of 300s (I had to sit out 50s when I was behind - hmmm, very striking how much better I keep up on the IM sets than the freestyle, that must change):

300 as (2 x 50 swim, 25 right arm, 25 left arm, 50 swim) (I did 150)

6 x 50 as back-breast by 25 (I did 250)

300 pull with paddles (I did 200 - paddle selection and adjustment issues!)

3 x 100 as FRIM (free substituting for fly in IM) (I did 250)

300 swim with paddles (I did 200?)

6 x 50 as ABCB (assigned on 1:00, :55, 1:00, :50 but I can't keep up quite yet!) (I probably did 200?)

12 x 25 as kick on back down on :50 fly back on :40 (woo-hoo, my set!) (300)

2 x 100 easy swimdown (200)

1750 yards total. Good tip from Coach Michael who points out with horror that my left hand in particular is like a CLAW entering the water and under water, but both hands will have a tendency to claw themselves into fists rather than to serve as big paddles - another thing to work on....

(3) Treadmill intervals! 30min, warmup 10min @ 5.0 then 10 x (:40 @ 7.0, 1:20 @ 3.5). (You have do :40 in order to get a full :30 at the correct pace).

So a lovely lift-swim-run day, three things I love, and now I can welcome B. with a happy heart!

Monday, February 8, 2016


I got in the hole for calories earlier in the day, I realized post-workout, and by the time I was done working out I was about ready to eat a horse! Once you're really down, it's hard to make it back up - I can do better....

Anyway, I didn't feel focused during the workout, but that was also because there was this horrible thing with the band for the deadlifts, which I couldn't figure out how to hold without it slipping - not a quality set, I am afraid. Anyway, workout more or less as follows:

4 x 6 medicine ball "sledgehammer" slams (R and L, 6lb)

5 x 4 deadlift with resistance band to add uneven tension (135lb)

3 x 10 safety squat bar (70lb) with box! (I really like this, though I'm anxious about taking it back to the regular squat bar - but when I said that, Josh says not yet, all in good time, so I will listen to him!)

3 x 10 one-arm rows (42.5)

3 x 10 bicep curl (12.5)

Possibly one other thing that I am forgetting?

1:15 lower body

Then I took my stuff to a treadmill for a notional 30-minute run with intervals and I just had NOTHING - was sitting on end of treadmill trying to get a sock on and after some struggling I realized that brain fog was telling me I needed to eat rather than do more exercise!....

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Just writing a quick log on iPad before heading downtown for dinner with G. This was the whole workout as I remember it (I've minused the 50s I had to sit out!):

300 (minus 50)

(1) 3 x (50-50-50 drill-swimm-drill, 50-50-50 kick-swim-kick) (900 - I probably did 700)

(2) 2 x 300 (swim, pull); 2 x 200 (swim, pull); 2 x 100 (swim, pull) (1200 - I probably did 1000)

(3) 8 x (50 build choice, 25 sprint choice): we did IM order x 2 (fly drill on the 50 - I did an extra fly in place o the last breast since mine is so slow!) (these short IM sets I can actually more or less keep up!) (600)

200 swim down

c. 2850


Like night and day (not having a pack on is helpful too) - glute-hamstring still a little tender, right side of back still a little tight, but nothing like yesterday. Really the difference has to do with Friday having been extremely taxing and Saturday having been a day of recovery - when I am finding it a huge mental effort just to get out the door it often means I have overdone it in some respect (work or socializing) the previous day.

Gorgeous weather too - 45F, sunny and mild, with not a hint of wind!

1.5hr easy

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Run hodgepodge

Hahahaha, really it's a fail, but it was worthwhile in its own right, and I'm going to have a try at doing it tomorrow (a real ninety-minute run) which I think was always the more realistic possibility!

Got up pretty early to have breakfast with my mother before she went back to Philadelphia, but inevitably went back to bed when I got home. Slept maybe 11 all the way to 2pm, oh dear - and I had a date to meet Lauren at 4 at Chelsea Piers. So I thought I'd run there plus a bit extra, but I was groggy and dragged my heels on getting out of the house (and it's a cumbersome pack you have to bring with winter change of clothes), so by the time I left there was no slack for a bit extra.

And once I was jogging, although the weather was beautiful I just felt slightly horrible - big pack, sore back, sore right glute-hamstring attachment, dead legs, etc. etc. So I told myself I just had to "run" 30 minutes (which is what's on the schedule for tomorrow) and I could powerwalk the rest of the miles to the gym. And I did that (hahahaha, powerwalk is only a hair slower than very slow run!).

Then Lauren and I did 30min on the treadmill, I kept mine at a walk as everything was tender (right knee also a bit sore!) but did brief easy run intervals - 3.5mph base, plus 10 x (:30 @ 6mph, 1:30 walking recovery). And some good stretching.

:30 jog
:42 fast walk
:30 walk on treadmill with easy run intervals

That's actually at least a pretty decent amount of time moving - as I say, I will try and do the real run tomorrow instead!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Upper body!

In an ideal world I'd have my second upper body workout either with Josh or with a teammate as a training partner, but it doesn't seem feasible this semester - Friday's the best day for me to do it, and Josh doesn't have an open slot at the beginning or end of the day, while I'm tied up 9:30-3:30 uptown in TRAC and report-writing (the reports in particular use up every ounce of willpower so that for the first two Fridays of the semester I just came home and fell into bed afterwards for an overly long nap). Teammates have other things going on and I don't really want to look at Saturday, which I think should be considered long run day.

So I bit the bullet and hired a trainer through Columbia - that gym is horribly crowded, but on the other hand it's one block from home and office and setting up something like this is clearly the only way I'm going to EITHER get a second upper body workout in regularly OR work out on Fridays at all! So - it was great! It's going to be a really good arrangement. I am fortunately at the career stage where the problem of being overly busy can be largely remedied by throwing money at problems and making them go away (taxis, prepared foods).

We did the workout exactly as Josh specified!

(1) dumbbell floor press (1-second pause at bottom): 4 x 6 @ 35

(2) lat pulldown: 5 x 10 x moderate weight

(3) close grip bench: 2 x 10 @ 75 ("competition pause")

(4) dumbbell skull-crusher (single-arm as we could only find one of the set): 3 x 10 x 15

(5) lateral raise: 3 x 10 @ 5 (6-second eccentric tempo)

Then some really hard abs stuff - I don't usually do such a good job with that! 2 times each through 2 short circuits, pretty challenging....

1hr upper body!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Lower body!

That was really good. We started using this safety squat bar last week and it seems incredibly helpful for me in particular - my block on squats is more mental than physical, and with this bar I feel a lot more stable and secure. Good workout today - the infrastructure is changing a little but the transition seems to have worked pretty smoothly. I really want to be able to do a decent squat for the meet in May, but decent in this case has more to do with me feeling that the lift has become absolutely reliable and predictable to me than anything specific in the way of numbers - I'm working out at a very low percentage of max due to caution.

kneeling medicine ball slam (8lb): 3 x 6

squats with safety bar: 4 x 10 x 80

weighted eccentric lunges (1 chain): 3 x 8 x 6 seconds descending

dumbbell hamstring curls: 3 x 10 x 37.5

8 x :30 plank on 1:00 (substitution for 200 abs with band)

c. 1.5hr with warmup and stretching


It is so strange: the aversion one feels before doing something either new or that one hasn't done for a long time is very strong! It's years I think since I swam at Dodge, but I've signed up for Tues-Thurs-Fri 11am-noon lap swim this semester as a backup for days I can't get downtown (I will never be able to swim in the Friday slot, and I should usually be able to get to Tuesday masters swim in Chelsea but the Thursday slot is potentially quite useful, and work commitments sometimes prelude Tuesday downtown daytime swimming too, so I think it's worth it). Had a very hard time getting myself out the door (next week I will go straight from my meeting, but it finished early and I hadn't brought work so I came home instead), but it was nice once I got there. The Columbia gym is fairly awful (built underground, a labyrinth, mediocre facilities) but the pool itself is nice, albeit in the DUNGEON (4 floors underground). Deeper and cooler water than Chelsea Piers, but also I think with more chemicals - I am sneezing like crazy and with streaming nose!

There is a gal supervising who will give stroke advice and/or a workout, but I was happy today to do my own thing (my homework from my lesson yesterday!). Not sure this is exactly right, but let's say:

100 swim
100 kick
100 sweet spot drill
100 alternating sweet spot drill
100 swim with salute and sweet spot
100 free concentrating on form
2 x (50 swim with salute and sweet spot, 100 free)
4 x 50 drill-swim (IM order)
100 IM
100 free
one more set of 50 swim with salute and sweet spot, 100 free

x. 1450 (I was in for about 40 minutes, that seems right)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bliss in three drills

In utter state of euphoria now. How could I have forgotten that a lesson with a great swimming teacher is one of the most absolutely heavenly things in the whole world?!?! Hahahaha, Slava is a genius - we had a very productive session. No need to tally yardage as it was all drill, but here is my lesson and homework:

Three drills:

(1) Sweet spot. Kick on one side, rebalancing as you go and concentrating on staying relaxed and with an easy kick. Five rules: (i) chin to shoulder; (ii) if legs are sinking, lower head more deeply into the water; (iii) if you're swallowing water, bend neck very slightly to lift head higher in the water; (iv) if you're not moving forward strongly, leg should come out more resoundingly forward; (v) if you're floundering/moving unsteadily from side to side, leg should go more strongly backward.

(2) Alternating sweet spot. One side, then the other side. Rebalance each time. Easy kick with same rules as (1). Starting to think about stroke coordination.

(3) Swim with salute and sweet spot. Stroke coordination as a priority: salute (alternate: "time to switch" drill where you only go for catch and pull in front hand when your back hand reaches the position where you could check your watch), begin catch/pull, sweet spot each time.

I love it so much! Really I am leading a fortunate life: now have just over two hours to read a student article draft, write a few paragraphs of response to positive readers' reports on a book proposal so that it can move forward to the final stage of review at the press, retool my Wordsworth lecture opening given that we're coming off Marvell rather than Milton. Then student meetings and office hours, lecture on Lyrical Ballads and post-lecture teaching meeting with seminar leaders (at my apartment - must do a bit of tidying as well!). A day full of things I really enjoy....


Slow ambulatory one from home to Chelsea Piers. Nice slightly rainy mild morning in NYC. Have just eaten an energy bar and will now have a swimming lesson!

1:05 slow run

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Very good afternoon work session in the cafe (work work, not athletic work!), then a fun upper body session with the team. I had that tendonitisy feeling in head of biceps that comes from swimming with poor technique, and perhaps should have eaten one more thing, but the factor that killed my first attempt at the bench work set was something that's been bedevilling me recently, namely concentrating so much on tucking elbows that I am moving bar down at a snail's pace and fatigue unduly soon! Josh cut the work weight back from 100-105 to 85 and it was fine thereafter, I felt good (though at the 1:20 mark I called it, there were still abs and rope pull but I needed food more than I needed either!).

Medicine ball slams (3 x 10 on each side, standing, winding up to side and then hammering it down hard)

5 x (10 ring rows, 5 pushups)

bench: 5 x 6 x 85

lat pulldown: 4 x 10 x misc. weights

1:20 total

Happy happy run swim!

Hmmm, it is a beautiful day, I am in a good mood. I am doing some slightly naughty things this semester in terms of discretionary use of daytime hours for exercise and also lavish use of TAXIS to facilitate good mental and physical health in conjunction with the realities of life demands...

40min run as 20:00 easy, then 10 x :30 fast, 1:30 walking recovery

1hr masters swim! Today the coach gave a good modification to the lead swimmer so that she mixed in breast or back to make us able to have the same sendoffs, that was thoughtful (and accommodating of C. to modify!). Hmmm, not sure I am reproducing this at all accurately, but it was along these lines:

400 warmup (I was a bit late getting in the pool - it was notionally 3 x 200 as (1) free (2) back (3) reverse IM swim-kick by 25) - 50 free, 200 back, 150 reverse IM (free-breast-back)

4 x IM on 2:10 (I sat out a couple of 50s, so call it 300)

Then I really found my groove!

5 x 50 fly-back on brief rest

200 pull (I did 100)

5 x 50 free alternating on 1:10 and 1:00

5 x 100 free on 2:10 (this was lovely - C. was alternating back and free, I had 12-13s rest and swam very steady for the whole set)

200 free

100 easy swimdown

2100 yards total (is that implausibly much? I think that's right actually - we stayed in a little late and didn't have a lot of rest or hanging around more generally)

Monday, February 1, 2016


Deadlift day: my favorite....

Medicine ball toss for power (seated) 3 x 10 (6lb)

DL: 4 x 4 (3 seconds eccentric/concentric) @ 151

squats with safety bar (70lb): 3 x 10 (with box)

landmine rows plus 50: 4 x 10

4 x 20 alternating curls with band and plank (30s)

1.25hr lower body


Last week I put down a very good nutrition week and a pretty good exercise week. This week I'm shooting for a PERFECT exercise week! Off to a good start anyway (but Monday isn't my tricky day):

:30 easy!